Dragoon (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||"You can fly?!?"||”|
|—A blue dragon simultaneously discovering the existence and capabilities of Dragoons|
The Dragoons are a group of warriors dedicated to slaying large monsters. Of course, they are most famous for taking on dragons, to the point that many of them have a definite dragon motif to their armor. Armed with a spear to be able to reach vital points on barn-sized creatures with hides like rock, Dragoons leap fearlessly into battle. And I do mean leap.
It is hypothesized that the amazing physical abilities shown by a Dragoon are the result of natural talent for magic combined with a strict training regimen, and channeled towards something other than spells.
Becoming a Dragoon
Generally, Dragoons are recruited and trained as a sort of public service; even Evil civilizations have a problem with big monsters, so Dragoons can hail from those places, too.
|Skills:||Jump 8 Ranks|
|Feats:||Giant Slayer (DnD Feat) for those using Races of War (3.5e Sourcebook) rules, Skill Focus: Jump for those who aren't.|
|Special:||Heavy armor proficiency, Weapon Focus (shortspear, longspear, guisarme, ranseur, glaive, halberd, any similar such weapon)|
|1st||+1||+2||+2||+0||Evasion, Jump Attack, Jump Good|
|8th||+8||+6||+6||+2||Dragonheart, Improved Evasion|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)
Overtrained: While not exactly a Code of Conduct, Dragoons do have a few things drilled into their head by their teacher: Defend the People From Monsters, Especially Big Monsters.
The majority of their training is concerned with finding ways to stab monsters in the face when it seems improbable that the Dragoon would be able to reach that high. Naturally, a Dragoon's first reaction upon seeing a monster chewing on a few cows in the street and hearing people scream, would be to heft his spear and then endeavor to stab the monster in the face. I'm not saying they must do it, but it will be their first, second, and third thoughts.
Evasion (Ex): Really big creatures can often unleash really big blasts of fire or acid or some other unpleasantness. For this reason, Dragoons are trained in the arts of evasion. Should a Dragoon already have Evasion, this stacks to Improved Evasion.
Jump Attack (Ex): At first level Dragoons learn a specialized mode of attack—one called 'death from above'. As long as one falls at least thirty feet and performs a standard-action attack at the end of the fall, he does double damage on a successful hit; if he's wielding a spear or a lance of some kind, he does triple damage and ignores either armor or natural armor (whichever is higher). Should he score a critical hit with a Jump Attack, damage is caculated by adding 1 onto the weapon's critical multiplier, or 2 if using a spear or a lance or similar weapon.
Jump Good (Su): At 1st level, A Dragoon's Jump DCs are halved, and the formula for figuring vertical jump height is the same as for horizontal jump height (one foot per point on the check).
Dragoons jump extraordinarily quickly, letting them complete an entire jump, no matter how far it is, as a move action, and their Armor Check penalty does not apply to their Jump checks; they are always considered to benefit from a running start on Jump checks.
They also gain immunity to falling damage as long as they’re conscious and always land on their feet.
Spear Mastery (Ex): Dragoons like spears. They’re simple to use, and the reach makes it easier to damage vital points on their chosen foes—big, big monsters. At 2nd level, a Dragoon may use a reach weapon to attack adjacent squares as if it were not a reach weapon. The critical threat range with spears and lances and other piercing polearms is increased by 1 (this stacks with anything that doubles the critical threat range, but is added after the doubling).
Dragonbreath (Su): Dragoons have a career fighting monsters who tend to have breath weapons or some ability to turn an entire area into pain. Naturally, there is a desire to get even and at 3rd level it's become strong enough to take over more of the Dragoon's natural magical talent and grant him a breath weapon known as Dragonbreath.
At levels 3, 5, 7, and 9, select an energy type out of fire, electricity, cold, acid, and sonic. The Dragoon can use his Dragonbreath with any of his repetoire of energy types. Dragonbreath is a 15-foot cone which inflicts 1d8 per character level of the energy type (selected when used), Reflex save DC 10 + 1/2 Character level + Con mod for half. After Dragonbreath is used, it may not be used again for 1d4 rounds.
Killer Jump (Su): If a Dragoon has learned anything about science by 4th level, it’s that there is a huge amount of energy to be gained from falling.
Killer Jump is full-round action. It begins when the Dragoon makes a Jump check to land on a target, and with this particular check he may travel travel up to 10 feet (vertically and/or horizontally, at his discretion) for every two points on the check.
When he lands on the target, he makes a touch attack roll. It is like a normal Jump Attack (does double damage on a successful hit (triple if using a spear)) but an additional d6 of damage for every 10 feet he fell, and this attack is considered a critical threat and resolved as such; the bonus falling damage is not multiplied. He may do this every 1d4 rounds.
Giantkiller (Ex): A 6th-level Dragoon has some experience with killing big creatures, and has discovered a very interesting fact--big creatures have big vital areas. Of course, having a long weapon helps in exploiting these areas.
A Dragoon gets a doubled critical range for spear-like weapons, as long as the target is Large size or larger. He also gets a +2 on his attack rolls to confirm critical hits for each size the creature is above medium.
Improved Evasion (Ex): As the Rogue. If the Dragoon already has Improved Evasion, he gets a bonus feat for which he meets the prerequisites.
Dragonheart (Su): A Dragoon who hits his stride will enter a euphoric state of mind. It's a good place for him, and a bad place for his enemies.
If a Dragoon succeeds on a saving throw or confirms a natural critical hit (the auto-threat from Killer Jump does not count, unless the attack roll was naturally in the threat range), Dragonheart activates as a free action. The Dragoon gains Fast Healing equal to 1/2 his character level + his Con modifier, and becomes immune to mind-affecting effects, ability damage or drain, and morale and fear effects. Dragonheart lasts for a number of rounds equal to his class level.
Double Jump (Su): The Dragoon is now a master of jumping on things to kill them. When he connects with a Jump Attack or a Killer Jump, he may make a swift action to perform a Jump check and a resulting Jump Attack upon the same target.
Generally, Dragoons only retire when old age makes fighting giant monsters risky. Most of them, though, default to being Dragoons and, as such, seek out, recruit, and train suitable people to replace themselves in the ranks.
Dragoons can be formal military units, formal organizations, or just a particular school of combat. Here's some suggestions for handling all three:
- Military Unit: In this model, armies have small units of Dragoons, who serve as elite troops and commanders, as well as their duty to protect people from attack by big monsters. In this, even a level 1 Dragoon is considered fit to command a small amount of troops--and as Dragoons get higher-level, the amount of power they have in the military increases.
Given that at least a little aptitude for magic is required (or suggested, anyway) (DMs, it's suggested that if someone wants to play a Dragoon, they get to write 'Has latent magical talent' in their background and that satisfies the requirement) Dragoon numbers are few, and as soldiers, they're outfitted with good equipment by the army itself.
- Organization: Rather like the knights of the round table, Dragoons are an organization in which membership is quite the resume buff. Their purpose is easy enough--protect civilized people from big monsters. Having a Dragoon responsible for an area or a city/town is a good way to do this.
- Combat School: In this, there's no actual organization, just a bunch of people who learn, know, and teach the secrets to fighting like a Dragoon. Their numbers are relatively few, but they're still out there.
Playing a Dragoon
Combat: A Dragoon quickly becomes a high-mobility, high-damage combatant, whose survivability is supplemented by their use of armor.
Advancement: Fighter is a good choice.
Resources: Dragoons can count on the support of other Dragoons in the face of a big monster. Legend has it that a war was halted in mid-battle because of a dragon attack, and Dragoon units from the opposing armies cooperated flawlessly and without hesitation to slay the monsters.
Dragoons in the World
|“||That armor's heavy, isn't it? That's good. That weight will become your weapon. That'll keep you alive. When you can stand up, try jumping. You'll fall over when you land, but you'll get up. And when you do get back up, jump again. Fall down and get up a thousand times, until you can jump a thousand times without stopping. Then keep going until you can jump a thousand times and another thousand besides. Soon you won't even feel that armor on you when you jump.||”|
|—Gorden Drunkaxe, dwarven dragoon (retired)|
NPC Reactions: In civilized regions, Dragoons get respect--they are known as the defense against monsters which, for whatever reason, decide to attack settlements and cities. In uncivilized regions, their impressive physical prowess and skill with spears earns them respect from local tribes.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (History) or (Nobility and Royalty) 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.
|11||The Dragoons are heavy-hitters who like spears and jump better than grasshoppers.|
|16||Dragoons have natural magic; maybe they could have been sorcerors. Now their magic makes them a little dragon-like. Their breath is certainly the same.|
|21||Dragoons are bound by unofficial rules, and two Dragoons trying to kill each other will cease their own fight to cooperate against a giant monster which attacks them.|