Dragoon (3.5e Class)
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A dragoon is a character who specializes in charging to deal extra damage. Most dragoons have had some time serving as mercenaries or soldiers. Dragoons are mounted infantry, a seeming oxymoron. This mean that all dragoons will know how to ride horse, allowing the entire unit to ride, meaning the dragoons can be at the right place at the right time. Despite being infantry, dragoons often find need to fight on horseback, and constantly seek to improve their horsemanship. Dragoons are similar to other calvary in that they are often flashy and flamboyant, at least when off-duty. Their uniform experience with Heavy Crossbows reflects the real dragoons use of carbines as a ranged weapon of choice, as well as the fact that, if he needs to fight on horseback, a crossbow would be much more wieldy than a normal bow.
Dragoons train in a variety of weapons, generally favoring those that deal good, consistent damage over those with more of a utility purpose; a dragoon will generally use a glaive over a guisarme, considering the better damage of the glaive more important than a guisarme's ability to trip, and will chose a longsword over a heavy pick, preferring the longsword's consistent damage to the erratic critical hits of a pick. This reflects these weapons ease of use from horseback; a longsword is rather like a cavalry sabre, and is more easily wielded while mounted than a pick. These are general trends, a given dragoon will use whatever weapon he is most comfortable with. The dragoons many combat styles represent the many styles different nations and different organization use. For the most part, all dragoons in a given military unit will use the same style.
Making a Dragoon
Dragoons are primarily melee fighters. In most respects they will serve a similar role as a barbarian or offensive focused fighter in combat. They charge to deal incredible damage; on open ground the dragoons ability to deal more damage while remaining mobile can be a decisive advantage, even over otherwise superior opponents. Most dragoons have served in a military or mercenary unit, and have a lot of experience in combat and tactics.
Abilities: Since he is a melee combatant, Strength and Constitution are important, especially due to his poor fortitude save (compared to other melee combatants). Wisdom affects his primary class features (Combat Veteran and Dragon Rush) as well as his skills such as Spot and Sense Motive. Since he is restricted to medium armor, some Dexterity is good for improving his AC. Charisma can be useful since he has access to Charisma-based skills, but it is not necessary.
Races: This class' many options appeal to humans, as well as many other base races such as elves, half-elves and half-orcs. Dwarves can make good dragoon, as the fast movement makes up for their low base speed; conversely, humans, elves and half-orcs find that this class complements their strengths, if they make the right choices.
Alignment: Any, but with a tendency for extremes such as lawful good or chaotic evil. Tends more toward law than chaos. A dragoon will often be a paragon of whatever alignment he is.
Starting Gold: 5d4 x 10 gp (125 gp).
Starting Age: Moderate.
|1st||+1||+0||+2||+0||Dragon Rush 1/day, Momentum Striker +1|
|2nd||+2||+0||+3||+0||Combat Style, Fast Movement|
|4th||+4||+1||+4||+1||Dragon Rush 2/day, Heavy Metal Armor|
|5th||+5||+1||+4||+1||Momentum Striker +2, Mount|
|6th||+6/+1||+2||+5||+2||Improved Combat Style|
|7th||+7/+2||+2||+5||+2||Medium Armor Mobility|
|8th||+8/+3||+2||+6||+2||Dragon Rush 3/day, Unfettered Charge|
|9th||+9/+4||+3||+6||+3||Improved Dragon Rush +1d6|
|10th||+10/+5||+3||+7||+3||Momentum Striker +3|
|11th||+11/+6/+1||+3||+7||+3||Greater Combat Style|
|12th||+12/+7/+2||+4||+8||+4||Dragon Rush 4/day|
|14th||+14/+9/+4||+4||+9||+4||Improved Medium Armor Mobility|
|15th||+15/+10/+5||+5||+9||+5||Momentum Striker +4|
|16th||+16/+11/+6/+1||+5||+10||+5||Dragon Rush 5/day|
|18th||+18/+13/+8/+3||+6||+11||+6||Improved Dragon Rush +2d6|
|20th||+20/+15/+10/+5||+6||+12||+6||Dragon Rush 6/day, Momentum Striker +5, Monumental Charge|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the dragoon.
Dragon Rush (Ex):When a dragoon charges he may declare his attack a Dragon Rush (thus, a failed attack ruins the attempt). He adds his wisdom bonus to the attack roll (in addition to the +2 from the charge). He deals double damage if he hits (this stacks with the double damage from charging with a lance while mounted; it does not stack with the Spirited Charge feat or the cavalier class feature deadly charge). You may perform this attack once per day at 1st level. At fourth level and every four levels thereafter (8th, 12th 16th and 20th) you may make a dragon rush one additional time per day. The only damage multiplied by this attack is weapon damage, bonus damage from a high strength score, the dragoons momentum striker class feature, and the damage bonus from his weapons magic enhancement bonus. For example, a 5th level dragoon charges and uses dragon rush. His +1 shocking glaive's 1d10 damage is multiplied to 2d10, his +6 damage from his 18 STR score (+4 bonus * 1.5 since his glaive is two handed) is multiplied to +12, his +1 damage bonus from his weapons enhancement bonus is multiplied to +2, and his +2 damage from momentum striker is multiplied to +4. His +1d6 lightning damage from his weapons shocking mod is not multiplied, nor is any bonus damage from power attack, if he has and is using that feat. This bonus damage only applies to the first successful attack in a charge if the dragoon has an ability, such as pounce or the dragoon's improved two-weapons style, that allows him to make more than one attack on a charge.
Momentum Striker (Ex): Even when he isn't charging a dragoon can use his momentum to dish out more devastating blows. When a dragoon moves at least 10 feet in a straight line before attacking a foe in melee, even if he isn't charging, he gets a +1 damage bonus. At 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, this bonus increases by 1. This 10 foot movement must be the last movement before the dragoon strikes; a dragoon cannot move 10 feet in a straight line, then turn, move to an opponent and attack, gaining this bonus, the last part of his move must be moving 10 feet towards the target. The benefits of this ability are halved (to minimum of 1) while wearing light or no armor; a dragoon must wear medium or heavy armor to gain the full benefit of this feat.
Combat Style (Ex)At second level a dragoon picks a melee combat style to master. He also gain the Carbine Style automatically. He loses lose these benefits, and the benefits of the improved and greater versions, whenever he wears heavy armor or carries a heavy load.
- Two Weapon Style: If a dragoon picks this style he is treated as having the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.
- Rodelero Style: If a dragoon picks this style he may deal damage with an one handed weapon he is wielding in one hand, and a buckler in the other hand, as though he was wielding it in two hands (so he adds 1 1/2 times his STR bonus to damage and deals double bonus damage with power attack).
- Polearm Style: If a dragoon picks this style he is treated as having the Shorthaft feat with a polearm of your choice, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat. Alternatively, he may buy a special version of a non-reach polearm (such as a halberd) that he can switch between reach and non-reach as a swift action (as though it was a reach weapon and he had the short haft feat with it). this weapon costs an extra 10g to purchase (20 g if masterwork). This can also be added to an existing magic polearm at the cost of 50g. It is still a nonreach weapon when used by any character without this ability, and any character without this ability using such a weapon takes a -1 penalty to attacks, since its slightly longer haft makes it unwieldy to those without proper training. This alternative counts as short haft for anything which requires it.
- Flail Style: If a dragoon picks this style he is treated as having the Cleave feat when wielding a flail (for the purpose of this class feature a spiked chain, and any weapon with "flail" in its name, is treated as a flail), even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.
- Carbine Style: When a dragoon gains this style he is treated as having the Rapid Reload (Heavy Crossbow) feat, even if he does not have the normal prerequisites for that feat.
Fast Movement (Ex): A dragoon’s land speed is faster than the norm for his race by +10 feet. This benefit applies only when he is wearing no armor, light armor, or medium armor and not carrying a heavy load. Apply this bonus before modifying the dragoons’s speed because of any load carried or armor worn.
Combat Veteran (Ex): At third level, a dragoon begins to develop a sixth sense based on his prior experience. He adds one point of his wisdom bonus per 3 class levels (+1 at 3rd, +2 at 6th, +3 at 9th, and so on) to his AC, all saves (this bonus stacks with his wisdom bonus to will saves), and his initiative rolls. He loses the benefit of this class feature any time he wears heavy armor or carries a heavy load.
Heavy Metal Armor (Ex): At fourth level, a dragoon can treat any mithral version of a medium armor (such as a mithral breastplate) as medium armor (instead of reducing the weight to light armor) to gain DR 1/-. All other bonuses from mithral armor (increased max dex bonus, lower armor check penalty) still apply. The dragoon also gains Endurance as a bonus feat.
Mount (Ex): At 4th level, a dragoon gains an animal companion selected from among options on the driud and ranger lists, with the restriction that it must be large enough to ride (and capable of being ridden). Large enough to be ridden generally means one size category larger than the character. This animal is a loyal companion that accompanies the dragoon on her adventures as appropriate for its kind.
This ability functions like the druid Animal Companion ability, except that the dragoons’s effective druid level is equal to his dragoon level minus 3. A dragoon may select from the alternative lists of animal companions just as a druid can, though again his effective druid level is his dragoons level minus 3, and must still be large enough to ride. Like a druid, a dragoon cannot select an alternative animal if the choice would reduce his effective druid level below 1st.
Improved Combat Style(Ex):At sixth level the melee combat style the dragoon picked at second level improves. His Carbine Style improves as well.
- Two Weapon Style: A dragoon who picked this style as 2nd level may make one attack with each weapon as a standard action or at the end of a charge. However, both attacks take a -2 penalty (in addition to the normal -2 for two weapon fighting). When making a Dragon Rush, if his main hand attack (the one that would have its damage doubled) misses, then his offhand attacks damage will be doubled in the same way.
- Rodelero Style: A dragoon who picked this style as 2nd level can deflect arrows, as the Deflect Arrows feat, with the difference that he must have a buckler in one hand and a one handed weapon in the other; he cannot deflect arrows with a free hand, like a monk can. He may take feats that require Deflect Arrows, other than Snatch Arrows (which cannot by used without a free hand), as though he had Improved Unarmed Strike (and Deflect Arrows), but does not gain the benefits of the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, and any feats taken this way are also restricted to being used while wielding a buckler in one hand and a one handed weapon in the other. If a dragoon has the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, he may deflect arrows while one hand is free or while wielding buckler and a one handed weapon, and may use any feats requiring deflect arrows, other than Snatch Arrows, while with a free hand or while wielding buckler and a one handed weapon.
- Polearm Style: A dragoon who picked this style as 2nd level deals 1d6 extra damage on a charge with the weapon he chose for the Shorthaft feat (or the alternate ability) at second level (2d6 with a lance, if mounted). A dragoon with this ability also modifies the way Shorthaft or the alternate ability works; during his turn, the dragoon may attack as though his weapon was both reach and non-reach (like a spiked chain). However, at the end of his turn, he must choose whether to threaten reach or non-reach squares. This choice lasts until his next turn.
- Flail Style: A dragoon who picked this style as 2nd level has a chance to hit an extra opponent with a flail. When he attacks a foe with a flail (he does not have to hit) he may attack a second opponent at a -2 penalty for damage equal to half of what he would deal to his original target (determine this damage before applying damage reduction). This extra damage is not doubled on a charge or Dragon Rush, as the original target damage is already doubled. (For example if a dragoon charges with heavy flail (base damage 1d10) and uses dragon rush to deal 2d10 damage, this ability does 2d10/2 damage)
- Carbine Style: A dragoon may now reload a heavy crossbow with unusual quickness. As a full round action, a dragoon may attack twice with a heavy crossbow, reloading twice and firing twice as part of the action (so if the bow was loaded at the start, it will be loaded at the end and if it wasn't, it won't be). Both attacks take a -2 penalty. This is a full attack, so the second attack is at 5 less BAB than the first.
Medium Armor Mobility (Ex):At seventh level a dragoons speed penalty for medium armor is reduced by half (round up to the next 5 foot increment). For example, if his normal speed is 30 feet his armored speed is 25 feet (instead of 20) and if his base speed is 20, his armored speed is still 15 (half of a -5 penalty, rounded up, is still -5). In addition, he may use the Spring Attack feat in medium armor.
Unfettered Charge (Ex): a dragoon of eighth level or higher may ignore up to 10 feet of non-magical difficult terrain each round, whether moving or charging. At 10th level he may make a single 90 degree or less turn, and does not need to have line of sight to begin his charge. At 13th level he may ignore any allies or prone opponents along the path of his charge, and may ignore 20 feet of non-magical difficult terrain. at 17th level, he may ignore all non-magical difficult terrain, and up to 10 feet of magical difficult terrain.
Improved Dragon Rush (Ex):At ninth level a dragoon deals an extra 1d6 damage when he charges. At 18th level, this extra damage improves to 2d6. This damage is not doubled by a Dragon Rush.
Greater Combat Style (Ex):At eleventh level the dragoon masters the melee combat style he picked at second level and improved at 6th level. He masters the Carbine Style as well.
- Two Weapon Style: A dragoon who picked this style as 2nd level now only takes a -1 penalty when he attacks with both weapons as a standard action (or at the end of a charge).
- Rodelero Style:A dragoon who picked this style as 2nd level now adds twice his STR bonus to damage when he wields an one handed weapon in one hand and a buckler in the other.
- Polearm Style: A dragoon who picked this style as 2nd level deals an extra 2d6 damage on a charge, instead of an extra 1d6 (4d6 with a lance, even if unmounted).
- Flail Style: A dragoon who picked this style as 2nd level now deals his full damage to his secondary attack target, and takes no penalty on this attack. He may also attack a third target at a -4 for half damage.
- Carbine Style: A dragoon may now attack and reload 3 times as a full round action, with a -2 penalty on all the attacks. this is a full attack, so the second attack is at 5 less BAB than the first, and the third is at 10 less than the first.
Improved Medium Armor Mobility (Ex):At fourteenth level a dragoons speed penalty for medium armor is removed completely. He no longer takes twice the armor check penalty on swim checks (he only takes the normal penalty).
Monumental Charge (Ex):At twentieth level a dragoon gains the ability to, once per day, perform a truly awesome charge. When a dragoon initiates this charge his movement is quadrupled instead of doubled by the charge. He may take 20 on any roll required during this movement (such as a jump check to clear a gap in the ground, or a tumble check to move through an occupied square), and he ignores armor check penalties to his skills. He also ignores all difficult terrain, magical and non-magical. He provokes no attacks of opportunity from movement during this round. A dragoon may not perform this action while in heavy armor, or while carrying a heavy load.
Homebrew Options: With (additional) DM permission, the Rodelero Style may allow you to use the Cavalry Saber as a one handed weapon, even when not mounted, and/or you may use the Heavy Arbalest in place of the Heavy Crossbow for the Carbine Style.
|24th||Dragon Rush 7/day|
|25th||Momentum Striker +6|
|27th||Improved Dragon Rush|
|28th||Dragon Rush 8/day|
|30th||Momentum Striker +7|
4 + Int modifier skill points per level.
Improved Combat Veteran (Ex): at 21st level and every 3 levels thereafter, the dragoon may add one more point of his Wisdom bonus to his AC and all saves.
Dragon Rush (Ex): At level 24 and every 4 levels thereafter, the dragoon may execute a Dragon Rush one additional time per day.
Momentum Striker (Ex): The dragoons Momentum Striker ability continues to increase by one ever five levels above 20th.
Improved Dragon Rush (Ex): at 27th level and every 9 levels thereafter, a dragoon deals 1d6 more damage on a charge.
Bonus Feats: The epic dragoon gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic dragoon bonus feats) every 3 levels after 20th.
Epic Dragoon Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Blinding Speed, Combat Archery, Damage Reduction, Dexterous Fortitude, Dire Charge, Epic Endurance, Epic Fortitude, Epic Leadership, Legendary Commander, Epic Prowess, Epic Reflexes, Epic Speed, Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Epic Weapon Specialization, Shattering Strike, Fast Healing, Instant Reload, Legendary Climber, Legendary Leaper, Legendary Rider, Overwhelming Critical, Devastating Critical, Penetrate Damage Reduction, Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting(only if Two-Weapon Style), Superior Initiative, Two-Weapon Rend(only if Two-Weapon Style), Uncanny Accuracy. Feel free to add any you feel should be here. I'll fell free to subtract them if i don't agree (just kidding, I'll ask about it on talk page first).
Human Dragoon Starting Package
Armor: Scale Mail (+4 AC, armor check penalty -4, speed 20 ft., 30 lb.)
Weapons: Glaive (1d10 x3, 10 lb., slashing) , Heavy Crossbow (1d10, 19-20/x2, 8lb, piercing) with 20 bolts.
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier.
Feat: Weapon Focus (Glaive).
Bonus Feats: Dodge(Human).
Gear: Backpack with waterskin, one day's rations, bedroll, sack, flint and steel. Hooded lantern, 3 pints of oil.
Playing a Dragoon
A dragoon acts like a veteran fighter in most respects.
Religion: Nothing special, dragoons often worship gods of warfare. A Lawful Good dragoon may act like a paladin in many respects.
Other Classes: Gets along well with most fighters and rangers, seeing them as brothers in arms. Most barbarians have too little discipline, as do some fighters and rangers, to get along well. A dragoon will most likely get along well with paladin if their alignments are similar, but can clash with them if too different. Respects mages and clerics, knowing how a single spell can often turn the tide of a battle.
Combat: Hit the enemy hard and fast. With the Dragon Rush class feature, the first round of combat may also be the last. After the initial charge stay on the move. Spring Attack can be useful here. If you have ride-by attack move past your foe and charge him again. With the spring attack feat, and especially with the Bounding Assault and Rapid Blitz feats, a dragoon can move back, spring forward to deal increased damage from Momentum Striker, then move off in hope of being able to charge on the next turn. At low levels, using tumble to avoid attacks of opportunity can allow a dragoon to move out and back to enable him to deal extra damage with momentum striker every round. If that isn't an option, the first level of the combat style gives the dragoon some extra ability in a standup fight. At higher levels, staying on the move is a necessity; a dragoon has less hit-points than most front-line fighters, and should try to avoid letting an enemy get a full attack in on him, unless the dragoon gains an advantage from it (such as when using a Dragon Rush).
Advancement: Paladin levels can give a dragoon even more first round damage dealing (by combining a smite evil with dragon rush). Fighter levels can give a dragoon more feats to round himself out with. Ranger levels aren't as good since the ranger and dragoon combat styles are mutually exclusive (you can't dual wield polearms, you cant use the einhander or rodelero style with two weapon style) or overlap (both two weapon styles give two weapon fighting), and the rangers archery style can't be used with a heavy crossbow well. The sole exception is the dragoon's flail style and the Ranger's two weapon style. Feats such as Mounted Combat and Ride-By Attack can be useful for a dragoon who plans to fight often while mounted, and the spring attack chain can be very useful, allowing repeated use of the momentum striker ability.
Dragoons in the World
|“||Strike hard, strike first, and don't stop moving||”|
|—Alan Shima, Human Dragoon, giving advice to new recruits|
Most NPC Dragoons are serving as soldiers or mercenaries. They are often the elite shock troops of whatever organization they are a part of.
Daily Life: Most dragoons will spend a typical day practicing for when they must fight, along with the necessary chores of normal life (eating, sleeping, etc).
Notables: Alan Shima, a human dragoon, has popularized the dragoon by creating a rather honorable and incredibly effective, but loud and colorful, mercenary company made almost exclusively of dragoons, most trained personally by him. Their style and effectiveness have made them both feared and admired; children dream of joining their numbers.
Organizations: Dragoons do not usually form organizations solely of dragoons, for the sake of being dragoons. Many militaries and mercenary groups will have a handful of dragoons, often in a single squad. Some nomadic groups will have dragoons as their protectors, in place of paladins or barbarians.
NPC Reactions: NPCs with a layman's knowledge of dragoons will treat them with the same respect they would any other veteran fighter, whether that be disdain or awe. Those who know more about dragoons will not be appreciably different in reaction, but will see them as more worthy of respect.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (History) or Knowledge (Local) can research dragoons to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|5||A dragoon is a warrior who specializes in charging.|
|10||Dragoons specialize in medium armor.|
|15||Dragoons have many combat styles that differentiate them from their brethren.|
|20||A player who rolls this high may learn information about specific dragoons in the campaign world.|
Dragoons in the Game
Dragoons can easily be integrated into an existing campaign since, for the most part, they act just like fighters. That mercenary captain the players have already met can just as easily be a dragoon as a fighter or ranger.
Adaptation: Adding an alignment restriction can, with some additional flavor, make the dragoon class be the elite shock troops of a deity's church, whether that deity is good or evil. If doing this, it may be worth it to make the Dragon Rush act to bypass alignment based DR, and restrict the classes weapon style to one that uses the weapons of the church. For example, the church of Heironious could require its dragoons to use the rodelero style with a longsword, or the two-weapon style with a longsword and any offhand.