Draconic Shadow (3.5e Prestige Class)

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Draconic Shadow[edit]

I have targets, and I have kills, but I have no enemies.
—Eilorias Marahnn, Half-Elf Draconic Shadow, "Holy Instruments of Bahumut"

Draaconic Shadows are autonomous mercenaries that operate in the name of their draconic deity. Experts in stealth-based combat, often secretive, and typically reclusive; Draconic Shadow is not a title that is worn, but rather earned by those few that witness their deeds and manner. For this reason, some are misidentified as Draconic Shadows by those around them. Likewise, due to their secrecy, many true Draconic Shadows are mistaken as common mercenaries, rogues, and under certain circumstances, even priests. More seasoned Draconic Shadows are unmistakable, however, as they begin to take on physical characteristics of their namesake. This is because those that rightly earn the name Draconic Shadow owe their devotion, in-part, to a blood oath pledged to the dragon deity they worship. As time progresses and the Draconic Shadow proves his mettle and his devotion, he is granted increasing benefits from the draconic blood that has mingled with his own. Some Draconic Shadows are rumored to have been completely transformed into dragons, themselves.

Becoming a Draconic Shadow[edit]

Worshipers of dragon gods often persue the path of a Draconic Shadow, because it so-well matches the strengths and goals they already had before, either as rogues or as fighters. In addition to these, monks occasionally decide to follow this path as well, assuming they already worship one of the draconic deities. Draconic Shadows, while moderately successful in conventional combat, truly excel in the area of stealth tactics. They strike from the shadows with deadly effeciency and are often only seen by their targets when they deem it necessary or advantageous.

Entry Requirements
Alignment: Any alignment within one step of their deity.
Base Attack Bonus: +5.
Race: Any Humanoid.
Skills: Balance 6, Climb 5, Hide 6, Jump 5, Move Silently 6.
Feats: Dragonfriend (Dragonthrall if Evil), Two-Weapon Fighting.
Patron: Any dragon deity.
Special: You must find a dragon of the bloodline you wish to be part of. Request that the dragon give you a trial of strength or cunning to gain their favor and pass that trial. The dragon will then perform a ritual, infusing your body with his magical blood that will begin your path as a draconic shadow and start your gradual transformation into a True Dragon.

Table: The Draconic Shadow

Hit Die: d10

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +1 +0 +1 +0 Sneak Attack 1 D6, Ophidian Eye, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
2nd +2 +1 +1 +1 Mobility, Uncanny Dodge, Scales
3rd +3 +1 +2 +1 Sneak Attack 2 D6, Free Running, Breath Weapon
4th +4 +2 +2 +2 Parry Attack, Quick Draw, Wings
5th +5 +2 +3 +2 Sneak Attack 3 D6, Moving Shadow, Frightful Presence
6th +6/+1 +3 +3 +3 Dexterous Attack, Aerial Combat, Dual Strike
7th +7/+2 +3 +4 +3 Sneak Attack 4 D6, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Rampant Growth
8th +8/+3 +4 +4 +4 Deft Strike, Dive Bomb
9th +9/+4 +4 +5 +4 Sneak Attack 5 D6, Improved Parry Attack, Flyby Attack
10th +10/+5 +5 +5 +5 Elusive Target, Aerial Strike, Ranged Parry
11th +11/+6/+1 +5 +6 +5 Sneak Attack 6 D6, Spin Attack
12th +12/+7/+2 +6 +6 +6 Hide in Plain Sight
13th +13/+8/+3 +6 +7 +6 Sneak Attack 7 D6, Advanced Aerial Combat
14th +14/+9/+4 +7 +7 +7 Improved Dive Bomb, Instant Grapple, Resistances
15th +15/+10/+5 +7 +8 +7 Sneak Attack 8 D6, Wyrm's Coil, Immunities

Class Skills (7 + Int modifier per level)
Balance, Climb, Craft, Disable Device, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge, Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, Sense Motive, Spot, Tumble, Use Rope.

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Draconic Shadow. Wings, Rampant Growth, and Wyrm's Coil transformations each occur over a period of 24 hours. A Draconic Shadow does not gain feats normally. Typically, the feats a Draconic Shadow takes are earned as class features upon leveling. You can take a feat of your choice at every odd level, but if you do, you do not acquire the class features normally gained at that level. If, due to taking a feat outside your normal progression, you would gain a class feature for which you lack a required feat(s), you automatically gain one of the required feats instead.

Ophidian Eye (Ex): Your pupils become slits like a snake and change to the color of their chosen dragon type. He gains Dark Vision 60ft and low-light vision. If he already has Dark Vision, then it extends out another 30ft.

Sneak Attack (Ex): If The Draconic Shadow is able to use stealth to get close to an unaware target, he can strike at vital areas swiftly for extra damage. This damage starts at 1d6 at level 1, and increases every odd-numbered level. The character may only use his Sneak Attack ability with the weapons he is proficient with, and may only use it on enemies with a discernible anatomy or those not immune to critical hits. This ability stacks with any other Sneak Attack bonuses the Draconic Shadow may gain from other classes.

Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (Ex):Whenever you make a standard melee attack, a charge attack, or an attack of opportunity with a light or one-handed melee weapon you may also make a melee attack with a light or one-handed weapon held in your off-hand at the same attack bonus. If you do, each of those attacks suffers two-weapon fighting penalties. In addition the penalties to your attacks for fighting with two weapons are reduced by 2 (to a minimum of -0). Remember to add only half your Strength modifier to off-hand damage rolls.

Mobility (Ex): You gain a +4 dodge bonus to your armor class when moving in and out of a threatened area. This benefit stacks with any other dodge bonuses acquired from previous classes.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): You retain your Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if you are caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, you still lose your Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. If a character already has uncanny dodge from a second class, the character automatically gains Improved Uncanny Dodge instead.

Scales (Ex): Your skin hardens and scales begin to form. You gain a Natural Armor equal to +1/4 character level (rounded down).

Free Running (Ex): You can add any bonus from your Wisdom attribute to your Balance, Climb, Jump, and Tumble skill rolls. This also allows the character to climb at one half his normal speed, instead of one quarter as long as he has handholds and footholds to use.

Breath Weapon (Ex): The character gains a breath weapon he can use every 1d4 rounds that deals damage equal to 1d8 plus 1d8/3 character levels. The shape of the breath and its energy type is determined by the bloodline you have chosen. Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 character level + Con modifier) reduces damage by half.

Dragon Bloodline
Dragon Variety Breath Weapon Dragon Variety Breath Weapon Dragon Variety Breath Weapon
Black 60-foot line of acid Brass 60-foot line of fire Battle 30-foot Cone of sonic energy
Blue 60-foot line of lightning Bronze 60-foot line of lightning Chaos 60-foot line of random energy
Green 30-foot cone of corrosive (acid) gas Copper 60-foot line of acid Fang None*1
Red 30-foot cone of fire Gold 30-foot cone of fire Radiant 60-foot line of force
White 30-foot cone of cold Silver 30-foot cone of cold Shadow 30-foot cone of shadows*2
  • 1:Three times per day, a draconic shadow of the fang bloodline can choose to deal 1d4 Constitution drain with its bite attack (Fort DC 14 negates). Also, his natural attacks are increased by one damage step.
  • 2:Shadow dragon breath bestows 1 negative level.
  • 3: Other true dragon varieties can be used with DM permission.

Parry Attack (Ex): You can roll a reflex-based save against one attack every 1 d4 +1 rounds. If this evasion succeeds, you may then make an attack of opportunity against the attacker. Also, you may add your Two Weapon Defense bonus (if applicable) to the reflex-based save when it is rolled. At 9th level, the Draconic Shadow gains Improved Parry Attack, so that when attacking after a successful evasion, the attack is considered a touch attack, and the character may use half of his sneak attack damage when striking (A sneak attack of 4d6 would become 2d6, if it is an odd number, round down). The Parry Attack and Improved Parry Attack only work against melee attackers, not ranged ones.

Quick Draw (Ex): You can draw a weapon as a free action instead of as a move action. You can draw a hidden weapon (see the Sleight of Hand skill) as a move action.

A character who has selected this feat may throw weapons at his full normal rate of attacks (much like a character with a bow).

Wings (Ex): At 4th level, the Draconic Shadow undergoes a dramatic transformation, having wings erupt from his shoulders. He can fly at twice his base land speed (maximum 120 ft.) with average maneuverability.

Moving Shadow (Ex): You are able to utilize your Hide and Move Silently skills more efficiently and no longer suffer penalties for trying to run while hidden. You also gain +2 to all move silently checks while at least partially concealed.

Frightful Presence (Ex): You can activate frightful presence as a free action. Creatures within a 30ft radius are subject to the effect if they have fewer Hit Dice than the Draconic Shadow (dragons are immune to the effect). A potentially affected creature that succeeds on a Will save (DC 10 + Draconic Shadow’s class level + Cha modifier) remains immune to that champion’s frightful presence for 24 hours. On a failure, creatures with 4 or fewer HD become panicked for 2d6 rounds and those with 5 or more HD become shaken for 2d6 rounds.

Dexterous Attack (Ex): Choose one weapon. When wielding this weapon, add your Dexterity bonus to damage rolls. This does not stack with your Strength bonus.

Aerial Combat (Ex): When using weapons in flight you gain +2 to attack rolls.

Dual Strike (Ex): You can strike at two opponents at once without incurring any penalties for doing so. You must be aware of both targets' presence and able to reach them both. You cannot use this skill for sneak attacks.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): The Draconic Shadow can no longer be flanked. This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack the Draconic Shadow by flanking him, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target has Draconic Shadow levels. If a character already has uncanny dodge from a second class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum level a rogue must be to flank the character.

Rampant Growth (Ex): At 7th level, the Draconic Shadow's body expands and grows to enormous proportions, gaining thews of iron, similar to an Enlarge Person spell. He increases his size by one size category, and takes -1 to AC and Attack Rolls due to this. His Strength and Constitution increase by +3. His Dexterity decreases by -1. All equipment worn or carried by a creature is similarly enlarged by this ability permanently. Melee and projectile weapons affected by this ability deal more damage. Other magical properties are not affected by this spell. Any enlarged item that leaves an enlarged creature’s possession (including a projectile or thrown weapon) retain their new size.

Deft Strike (Ex): As a standard action, you can attempt to find a weak point in a visible target's armor. This requires a Spot check against a DC equal to your target's Armor Class. If you succeed, your next attack against that target (which must be made no later than your next turn) ignores the target's armor bonus and natural armor bonus to AC (including any enhancement bonuses to armor or natural armor). Other AC bonuses still apply normally. If you use a ranged weapon to deliver the attack, your opponent must be within 30 feet of you in order for you to benefit from this feat.

Dive Bomb (Ex): You may make a dive-bomb attack. Any melee attack that you make gains a -4 attack and +4 damage.

Flyby Attack (Ex): When flying, you can take a move action (including a dive) and another standard action at any point during the move. You cannot take a second move action during a round when you make a flyby attack.

Elusive Target (Ex): You gain the following effects based on your base attack bonus.

Elusive Target
Base Attack Bonus Effect |
+0 +2 Dodge bonus to AC |
+1 Opponents do not gain flanking or higher ground bonuses against you. |
+6 Opponents do not inflict extra damage from the Power Attack option. |
+11 Diverting Defense - As an immediate action, you may redirect an attack against you to any creature in your threatened range, friend or foe. You may not redirect an attack to the creature making the attack. |
+16 As an immediate action, you may make an attack that would normally hit you miss instead. |

Spin Attack (Ex): You gain a wing slap attack that does 1d8 damage. Treat as a natural weapon.

Hide in Plain Sight (Su): You can use the Hide skill even while being observed. As long as you are within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, you can hide from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind.

Advanced Aerial Combat (Ex): Your effective attack area is double that of normal.

Improved Dive Bomb (Ex): You may make an improved dive-bomb attack, +6 damage and no attack penalty.

Instant Grapple (Ex): Once a round, and as a free action, either before or after an attack, the character can attempt a single grapple. If used before an attack, you can still use your Sneak Attack to strike the pinned target. You also gain a +4 bonus to grapple checks, regardless if you started the grapple or not, and using this ability does not provoke an attack of opportunity. This stacks with the Improved Grapple feat.

Resistances (Su): Gain +4 on all saving throws against sleep, paralysis effects, and frightful presence of dragons.

Wyrm's Coil (Ex): The Draconic Shadow turns into a full fledged member of the true dragons. He changes his type to Dragon. He now ages like a dragon, old age starts at 401 years, very old age starts at 601 years, ancient age starts at 801 years and wyrm age starts at 1001 years and great wyrm age starts at 1201 years. He no longer takes penalties to his ability scores for aging and cannot be magically aged. Any such penalties that he has already taken, however, remain in place. Bonuses still accrue, and the draconic shadow still dies of old age when his time is up.

Immunities (Su): Gain immunity to sleep, paralysis effects, frightful presence of dragons, and an additional immunity based on the Draconic Shadow's breath weapon.

Ex-Draconic Shadows[edit]

If a draconic shadow's alignment shifts to two or more steps from his patron deity, or if he acts against his patron deity's morals or edicts, he is stripped of all of the abilities he earned while in service to that dragon. To get back into their deity's good graces, an ex-draconic shadow is often required to slay another ex-Draconic Shadow under the same deity or a Draconic Shadow in good standing with an opposing deity. After this, he must seek a dragon of his own bloodline, request a trial of redemption, and pass that trial. At that time, the Draconic Shadow is considered to be in good standing with his deity once more. Repeat offenders are invariably hunted down and killed.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing a Draconic Shadow[edit]

Combat: In combat, the Draconic Shadow uses stealth to his advantage. Striking quickly and efficiently from the shadows, and often demoralizing unprepared foes. Allies are often bolstered by the shadows presence in a conflicts, as enemies find themselves outflanked early and often.

Advancement: After advancing through the Draconic Shadow class, the character will often return to a previous class or some epic prestige that builds on their experience in stealthy combat tactics.

Resources: While Draconic Shadows are usually solo mercenaries, there are ocassional instances of 2 to 3 cooperating toward a common goal.

Draconic Shadows in the World[edit]

I live in the shadow of Bahamut to strike down those that seek to snuff his light.

As they don't typically pursue the title of Draconic Shadow, but have it placed on them by various NPCs, most Draconic Shadows would simply identify themselves as mercenaries or as servants of their patron deity. They take know offense to the title either, rather adopting an attitude of indifference to being identified as such. While they are secretive and somewhat reclusive, Draconic Shadows dont waste their time hiding from common folk. They occasionally venture to towns to trade and look for jobs, and are seen regularly by well-travelled individuals. Despite this, very few know too many details about how they operate or where they can be found outside of those occasional incursions into nearby cities.

NPC Reactions: Due to how little is known about Draconic Shadows and because of the spectrum of alignments a Draconic Shadow may be, NPCs often give those they believe to be Draconic Shadows a wide berth. They dont flee in fear of their lives at the mere sight of one, but you will definitely find more locked doors and fewer children in the streets when a Draconic Shadow is thought to be in town.

Draconic Shadow Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Local) can research Draconic Shadows to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (Local)
DC Result
11 A man in the local tavern says he saw a suspiscious sillhouette beyond the treeline just north of town.
16 A couple of Draconic Shadows came through recently looking for mercenary work.
21 The leader in a nearby town was killed last week by a draconic shadow.
26 An ex-Draconic Shadow has infiltrated the local government in an attempt to complete a trial of redemption.

Draconic Shadows in the Game[edit]

NPC Draconic Shadows are often in the middle of a very important job and seldom have time to socialize. Their time spent in any given town that doesn't house their latest job is typically short-lived. PC Draconic shadows are somewhat similar except that they tend to be slightly less reclusive due to their affiliation with a party.

Adaptation: For the sake of role-playing, a DM might treat any Draconic shadow as a stealth/combat-focused dragon disciple

Sample Encounter: One of your players' character has been targeted for assassination by a Draconic Shadow.

EL: Avg party level More info to come.

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