B&T Lost Classes: The Dragon Disciple

I love classes. Since I picked up my first Dragon ages ago and discovered the concept of the “NPC class” (like we weren’t going to try to play them), I’ve loved classes. I’ve posted quite a few on this blog. When it came to Blood & Treasure, I wanted to stick to the classes in the SRD – i.e. the classic classes of AD&D plus the sorcerer. I decided, to make Blood & Treasure a little different, I would throw in one more, in this case converting the Duelist prestige class into a class of its own. That gave me 13 classes, which I somewhat doubled by giving examples of variant classes one could create with a little reassembly of existing parts.

All along, though, there were a few other classes I wanted to throw in. The psychic (my version) was one of them, but I decided with four dedicated spell casters in the game already (cleric, druid, magic-user and sorcerer), one more was overkill. From the SRD, three other classes caught my eye. The first was the soulknife, and it nearly made it in. The other two, both prestige classes, were the shadowdancer and dragon disciple. I’m calling these three the “lost classes” of Blood & Treasure, and I’m posting them here, starting with the dragon disciple.

And yeah, I know, I’m posting “lost classes” from a book that hasn’t been published yet. So sue me.

Dragon disciples are men and women who enter into secret dragon societies with the object of harnessing the powers of dragons and eventually transforming themselves into dragons. All of them have the mystic blood of dragons flowing through their veins, and by energizing their chakras, they can become dragons themselves.

Requirements: Dragon disciples must have intelligence, constitution and charisma scores of 13 or higher.

Hit Dice: d10 (+3 hit points per level from 10th to 20th).

Armor: None.

Shield: No.

Weapons: Club, crossbow (any), dagger, hand axe, javelin, kama, nunchaku, punching dagger, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, siangham, sling and spear.

Skills: Escape, find secret doors and listen at doors (see Heroic Tasks below).

Dragon disciples are scholars as much as they are warriors, and have the abilities of a sage (see Henchmen).

At 1st, 4th, and 7th level, a dragon disciple gains a +1 bonus to their existing natural armor. As his skin thickens, a dragon disciple takes on more and more of his progenitor’s physical aspect.

At 2nd level, a dragon disciple gains claw and bite attacks if he does not already have them. Medium-sized dragon disciples deal 1d6 points of damage with bite attacks and 1d4 points of damage with claw attacks. Smaller dragon disciples reduce these values by one dice size, while larger dragon disciples increase these values by one dice size.

As a dragon disciple gains levels, his ability scores increase as follows:

Level | Boost
2nd | Str +1
4th | Str +1
6th | Con +1
8th | Int +1

At 3rd level, a dragon disciple gains a minor breath weapon. The type and shape depend on the dragon variety whose heritage he enjoys (see below). Regardless of the ancestor, the breath weapon deals 2d6 points of damage of the appropriate energy type.

Dragon Variety |  Breath Weapon
Black |  Line of acid
Blue |  Line of lightning
Green | Cone of corrosive gas (acid)
Red |  Cone of fire
White | Cone of cold
Brass |  Line of fire
Bronze | Line of lightning
Copper |  Line of acid
Gold |  Cone of fire
Silver |  Cone of cold

At 7th level, the damage of the breath weapon increases to 4d6, and when a disciple attains dragon apotheosis at 10th level it reaches its full power at 6d6. Regardless of its strength, the breath weapon can be used only once per day. A line-shaped breath weapon is 5 feet high, 5 feet wide, and 60 feet long. A cone-shaped breath weapon is 30 feet long.

At 5th level, the dragon disciple can use nonvisual senses to notice things it cannot see. He usually does not need to make checks to notice and pinpoint the location of creatures within 60 feet, provided that he has line of effect to that creature.

Any opponent the dragon disciple cannot see still has a tactical advantage against him.

At 9th level, a dragon disciple grows a set of draconic wings. He may now fly at a speed equal to his normal land speed.

At 12th level, a dragon disciple takes on the half-dragon template. His breath weapon reaches full strength (as noted above), and he gains +2 to strength and +1 to charisma. His natural armor bonus increases to +4, and he acquires the low-light vision of elves, darkvision to a range of 60-ft, immunity to sleep and paralysis effects and immunity to the energy type used by his breath weapon.

Shades of Black

The last color dragon to be given the shade treatment, though not the last article in this series. Shades of black really turned into shades of dark gray, but hopefully you’ll find these reptilian horrors useful.

ARSENIC DRAGON: The arsenic dragon is small and serpentine, with small, clawed legs that allow it to scamper and climb. Frills run along its sides that allow it to glide at a speed of 18 for a distance equal to 3 x the height at which is begins its flight. Arsenic dragons can always speak, and are quite talkative. They never cast spells because they are immune to magic. They dwell in small places, being able to curl up into a surprising small ball (3-ft in diameter) and stash their treasure all over their territory in tiny parcels usually wrapped in animal skins. An arsenic dragon’s bite is poisonous, forcing folk to pass a save or suffer one of the following effects: Fail by 1 to 3 points – fall asleep for 1d3 turns; fail by 4-6 points – paralyzed for 1d3 rounds; fail by 7+ points – suffer damage equal to normal breath weapon damage.

ARSENIC DRAGON: HD 6; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), bite (3d6 + poison); Move 9 (F18); Save 11; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Poisonous bite, immune to magic.

BISTRE DRAGON: These large dragons dwell in large rivers and occupy a niche similar to whales. They are quite graceful when swimming, but become lumbering brutes on land. One often finds them floating on their backs in the midst of a river, seemingly immune to the current and snoozing or daydreaming. Bistre dragons are sagacious and have acerbic personalities – they are not as thoroughly evil as black dragons, but have a general disdain for others only overcome by their need to dominate them intellectually. Bistre dragons have a 90% chance to speak, and those who can speak have a 25% chance to cast 1d4 first level magic-user spells and 1d3 second level magic-user spells. A bistre dragon’s acidic spit does not affect flesh, but corrodes, tarnishes and rusts all forms of metal as the touch of a rust monster destroys iron. Creatures that are spat at must pass a saving throw or lose one random piece of metal equipment.

BISTRE DRAGON: HD 8; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), bite (3d6); Move 6 (S24); Save 8; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Corrosive breath.

CHARCOAL DRAGON: These medium-sized dragons despise life. They dwell alone, rarely interacting with other dragons and often turning chance meetings into fights to the death. They are surrounded by a miasma of fumes that burn the eyes and throat and can vomit an acidic tar that sticks to flesh, clothes, etc and deals 1d6 points of damage until it can be scraped or peeled away (one can do nothing else, and must pass an open doors check to rid themselves of the tar). Charcoal dragons have the normal chance to speak and cast spells. They dwell in burrows.

CHARCOAL DRAGON: HD 7; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), bite (3d6); Move 9 (B6, F24); Save 9; CL/XP 9/1100; Special: Acidic tar.

LIVER DRAGON: Liver dragons are tall beasts with a body shaped reminiscent of a reptilian, winged giraffe. They are quick runners, with over-large heads, downward curving horns and saucer-like eyes that never seem to close. Liver dragons despise pretense and have a puritanical love of severity and honesty. They can see through all illusions and have the normal chance for a black dragon to speak and use magic. Their breath weapon is a cone of black energy that strips people of their lies and pretenses. Those struck are incapable of lying and deceiving in any way for 24 hours; they must also pass a saving throw or have their appearance altered to represent their inner selves (up to the player and Referee how this works out). This change in appearance is permanent unless one can be polymorphed or otherwise magically altered.

LIVER DRAGON: HD 8; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), bite (3d6); Move 12 (F18); Save 8; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Immune to illusions, strip away pretense.

TAUPE DRAGON: Taupe dragons are small, quick and persistent dragons. They ooze acid from their teeth, claws and scales and are thus a blight on any landscape. Taupe dragons are territorial, marking their territory by rubbing their acidic bodies against trees and eating away the bark. Pools they visit frequently are often mildly acidic. Taupe dragons are more obsessed with treasure than most black dragons, using the precious metals as bedding, for precious metals are immune to their acidic bodies. Victims of the dragon’s claw and bite attacks may make a saving throw to avoid the extra acid damage. Touching a taupe dragon’s body causes 1d4 points of acid damage, and normal weapons used against a taupe dragon might be eaten away. Each time a hit is scored on a taupe dragon, a saving throw must be made. If failed, the weapon’s damage dice is reduced by one dice size (i.e. 1d6 to 1d4 or 1d4 to 1d3). A weapon reduced to 0 damage is useless. Weapons can be repaired, but will only regain one dice size at a maximum. Magical weapons need not make this saving throw. Each time a victim suffers acid damage from a taupe dragon, their armor’s armor bonus is reduced by one (no save). Again, magical armor is unaffected. Taupe dragons have a 25% chance of speech and the normal chance for black dragons for casting spells.

TAUPE DRAGON: HD 6; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d4 + 1d4 acid), bite (3d6 + 1d6 acid); Move 12 (F24); Save 11; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Acidic body and bite.

ONYX DRAGON: Onyx dragons have glistening black scales, short, thick necks, faces reminiscent of pit bulls with a double pair of horns, one curving upward, the other downward. They are stocky, with long, powerful tails that they make use of in combat to knock their opponents off balance. Each round in melee combat, those who fail to hit the dragon must pass a saving throw or be knocked off balance, suffering a 1d4 point penalty to AC for that round. Onyx dragons are lazy, physically and mentally, but no less arrogant for it. They consider themselves the most intelligent of creatures, when in fact their ignorance is monumental. When forced into discourse, they prattle on about this and that, vomiting streams of jargon and referencing obscure texts but never really proving anything. The acidic breath of an onyx dragon seeps into one’s bloodstream and affects the mind. Those hit by the breath must pass a saving throw or suffer one of the following hallucinogenic effects: Fail save by 1-3 = confusion for 1d6 turns; fail save by 4-6 = waking nightmare (per the spell); fail save by 7-9 = phantasmal killer effect (as the spell). Onyx dragons have a 65% chance of speaking, and those with speech can use telepathy out to 120 feet. They have a 15% chance of using 1d6 first level magic-user spells as psychic powers (i.e. they need not speak or move to engage them).

ONYX DRAGON: HD 7; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), bite (3d6); Move 9 (F24); Save 9; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Hallucinogenic breath, tail slap.

Illustration from Karen’s Whimsey

Shades of White

And so we come to the trickier dragons – black and white. That means, to some extent, shades of light gray and shades of dark gray. Still – let’s see what we come up with for the white dragon’s kin.

Achromatic Dragon: The small, feral cousins of the white dragon are covered in spiked hide reminiscent of a rhinoceros’, with swept back antlers on its head and cruel, gnashing teeth in its long snout. Achromatic dragons hunt in the manner of crocodiles, lurking beneath the snow and then lunging out at victims. Achromatic dragons never speak or use spells, but they are capable of breathing a swirling vortex of snow that acts as an 8 HD air elemental’s whirlwind ability and inflicts 1d6 points of cold damage each round for ten rounds.

ACHROMATIC DRAGON: HD 5; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d4) and bite (2d8); Move 9 (F24); Save 12; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Breathes blizzards.

Cinereous Dragon: Also called the ashen dragon, the cinereous is a small white dragon with an especially vicious streak. More intelligent than most white dragons, they have a 65% chance of speaking, and those who speak have a 15% chance of casting spells. Cinereous dragons cast spells as an anti-cleric and have three 1st level spells, two 2nd level spells and one 3rd level spell. A  cinereous dragon has an ash gray hide, black eyes, a purple tongue and mouth and hundreds of jagged teeth in its long snout. Atop its head are two long, black horns – like those of a Texas longhorn – and a cluster of black, horn-like spikes tips its thick tail. Cinereous dragons have no breath weapon. Rather, their presence seems to steal all the warmth and kindness from the area. All creatures within 20 feet of the beast must save each round or suffer 1d6 points of cold damage. All creatures within 50 feet of the beast must pass a saving throw any time they wish to do something unselfish or kind – i.e. a cleric using a cure spell on someone other than themselves.

CINEREOUS DRAGON: HD 5; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), bite (2d8), gore (1d6), tail spikes (1d4); Move 9 (F24); Save 12; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Steal warmth and kindness, anti-cleric spells.

Ghastly Dragon: The ghastly dragon dwells on abandoned battlefields of the frozen north, where man has spilled the blood of man. It feeds on corpses, like a raven and can whip up the echoes of the spiritual agony of men who have died in battle. These echoes appear as swirling maelstroms of screaming spirits that cover an area 60-ft in diameter around the dragon and force people within the maelstrom to save (once) or lose 1d6 points of wisdom. Ghastly dragons have scales the color of dead, human flesh, with blotches reminiscent of decay. They have stubby spikes that run from their heads to their tails and bloated bodies that waddle about on four stubby legs. Ghastly dragons have a 15% chance of speech, and those who speak have a 15% chance of casting the following spells: Phantasmal force, cause fear and animate dead.

GHASTLY DRAGON: HD 6; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d4) and bite (2d8); Move 6 (F18); Save 11; CL/XP 9/1100; Special: Maelstrom of agonized spirits, spells.

Isabelline Dragon: Isabelline dragons are large and regal, with dull, delicate scales and long, swan-like neck. Isabelline dragons have petite heads, large, sapphire eyes and swirling horns reminiscent of unicorns. Isabelline dragons dwell in vaults beneath snowy mountains. They are capable, while holding their breaths, of passing through earth as easily as air, giving them an effective burrowing speed equal to their flying speed for up to 5 rounds. Their palaces are wondrous and luxurious, with all of the dragon’s riches being spent on creature comforts and art – isabelline dragons have one-tenth the normal coins in their horde and triple the art objects/jewelry. Isabelline dragons always speak and have a 45% chance of casting 1d4 first level and 1d3 2nd level magic-user spells. In place of a breath weapon (how crude and vulgar!) they can sap the color from themselves and their surroundings (but not living creatures) in a diameter of 300 feet. Everything becomes stark white, granting the dragon the equivalent of improved invisibility and forcing those who linger in this area for more than 3 rounds to pass a saving throw or suffer from the equivalent of snow blindness (lasts for 1d3 hours).

ISABELLINE DRAGON: HD 7; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d4) and bite (2d8); Move 9 (F24); Save 9; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Drain color, spells.

Ivory Dragon: Ivory dragons dwell in cold woodlands in icy caves obscured by the boughs of pine trees. It is said they even smell like pine, making detecting them difficult even for creatures with a powerful sense of smell. They have ivory colored scales of varying sizes, with two ridges of bony, fan-shaped protrusions running down their backs (in the style of a stegosaurus), long necks, small, quick heads (they enjoy a +1 bonus to initiative rolls) and whip-like tails. Two long, ivory tusks jut out of their mouths, giving them a powerful bite attack. Ivory dragons are collectors, eschewing treasure for collections of books, armor, weapons, jewels, hour glasses or some other such nonsense. Their ill-tempers often drive them to scatter treasures of coins atop mountains just to keep them from the hands of folk who do value such objects. An ivory dragon’s breath weapon is a cone, like that of a typical white dragon, but instead of cold damage, it has a hold monster effect (save negates) that lasts for 1 hour, as the spell. While held, a creature’s skin takes on an ivory sheen, making them look like a statue. Ivory dragons have a 20% chance of speech, but never cast spells.

IVORY DRAGON: HD 6; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d4) and bite (3d8); Move 9 (F24); Save 11; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Breath weapon (hold monster).

Pearl Dragon: Pearl dragons dwell in arctic oceans, swimming with the monsters of the deep and surfacing only to torment humanoids and demand tribute from them. Pearl dragons have bodies like elasmosauruses, with sleek heads. Their hemispherical scales gleam like pearls and their eyes shine with malevolence. Pearl dragons never speak, but can communicate telepathically up to 1 mile. They can use this telepathy to summon a pod of 1d6 orcas with a 50% chance of success once per day. Pearl dragons can cast spells as psychic powers, having 1d6 first level, 1d4 second level and 1d2 third level magic-user spells at their disposal. In place of a breath weapon, they can implant a phobia inside a person’s mind. People fighting a pearl dragon must pass a saving throw or suffer from one of the following fears:

1. Fear of boats or ships
2. Fear of pain
3. Fear of open spaces
4. Fear of wind
5. Fear of water
6. Fear of magic

The fear lasts for 1 hour, with a 1% chance of it becoming permanent. When presented with the phobia, a character must pass a saving throw or go into a panic attack, losing their turn, breathing heavily and attempting to flee from the source of the phobia. If they cannot flee from the source of the phobia, they become catatonic until the phobia disappears from their mind.

PEARL DRAGON: HD 7; AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 bite (3d6); Move 6 (S30); Save 9; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Summon orcas, spells, zone of fear.

Image from CLKER

Shades of Red

Yeah, yeah – the mighty red dragon, paragon of scaled evil and terror in the game. But where’s the subtlety, the range? Leave your players guessing with the following six sub-species of the venerable red dragon. The remainder of this post is declared Open Game Content.

Carnelian Dragon: The carnelian dragon is medium-sized for a red dragon (i.e. 10 HD) and always intelligent, though never capable of speech. Carnelian dragons always possess the following spells: Detect evil (3/day), ESP (3/day), Legend Lore (1/day), Suggestion (1/day). They communicate telepathically in a screeching voice that raises the hairs on the nape of the neck. A carnelian dragon replaces the red dragon’s cone of fire breath with a psychic pulse that disrupts the synapses of the brain. All within 30 feet must pass a saving throw or be affected. For the next 6 rounds, the person must pass a saving throw whenever they want to perform an action other than running away or dodging blows (but without the benefit of a shield, which requires active thinking). Any other act – attacking, spell casting, talking, tap dancing, playing checkers – requires a successful save.

| Carnelian Dragon: HD 10; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d8), 1 bite (3d10); Move 9 (F24); Save 5; CL/XP 12/2000; Special: Spells, psychic pulse.

Crimson Dragon: The crimson dragon is a large, ponderous beast with a shortened snout and heavy eyes. Crimson dragon’s never speak and are relatively un-intelligent. They relish the infliction of distress and pain, and are as often on the move as in their lairs. In place of fire breath, a crimson dragon can breath a blast of wind – hot as a desert wind – that destroys water (reduces all water stores by half), withers plant life (normal dragon breath weapon damage to plant creatures) and sucks the moisture from other living creatures (half normal dragon breath weapon damage to non-plant creatures of flesh and blood).

| Crimson Dragon: HD 11; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d8), 1 bite (3d10); Move 6 (F15); Save 4; CL/XP 13/2300; Special: Drought breath.

Florid Dragon: The florid dragon is an ill-tempered brute of medium size (i.e. 10 HD). They have shinier scales than most red dragons, and smaller, saw-like teeth in their mouths. A florid dragon has the normal chances for speech and magic use. In place of fire breath, it simply radiates a wave of punishing heat from its body. The heat causes 1d6 points of damage per round to creatures within 10-ft of the dragon, 1d4 points to creatures from 10 to 20 feet away from the dragon and 1 point of damage per round to creatures within 20 to 40 feet of the dragon. Wearing metal armor increases this damage to 1d8/1d6/1d4 respectively. The florid dragon can maintain this heat for 10 minutes per day.

| Florid Dragon: HD 10; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d8), 1 bite (2d10); Move 9 (F24); Save 5; CL/XP 12/2000; Special: Radiate heat.

Ginger Dragon: The ginger dragon is a smaller, less wicked cousin of the red dragon. Lonely and somewhat sensitive, its evil nature usually manifests in flashes of murderous rage when rejected or criticized. When not murderously angry, though, it is a welcoming companion, even generous to adventurers. Where the florid dragon radiates intense heat, the ginger dragon absorbs heat, making the area around him very cool, and thus his warm presence (think of him as a radiator with a 5-ft radius range) all the more pleasant. Within 100 feet of the dragon, the air is absolutely frigid, and people unprotected from the cold suffer 1d6 points of damage per turn from the frost. Within 1 mile of the dragon, things are notably cold, though not damaging. Ginger dragons are always capable of speech and have the normal chance for magic use. Their claws are overly long and razor sharp.

| Ginger Dragon: HD 9; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d8+1), 1 bite (3d10); Move 12 (F24); Save 6; CL/XP 11/1700; Special: Absorb heat, immune to fire.

Sanguine Dragon: These infernal brutes are ever in league with the dark powers of Hell, acting as their messengers and assassins in the world of mortals. They are small for red dragons and possessed of black, branching antlers that are lovely to behold if they aren’t gouging out your eye or spleen. Sanguine dragons can always speak and cast spells, and choose their spells from the anti-cleric’s spell list. They replace the red dragon’s cone of fire with a cone of spiritual hellfire, which numbs the soul and robs one of their common decency. Those hit must pass a save or be drained of one level. Those drained of a level must pass a second saving throw or have their alignment move from Lawful to Neutral or Neutral to Chaotic for the span of one month.

| Sanguine Dragon: HD 9; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d8), 1 bite (3d10), 1 gore (1d8); Move 9 (F24); Save 6; CL/XP 12/2000; Special: Hellfire, anti-cleric spells.

Vermilion Dragon: The noble vermilion dragon replaces the fury of the red dragon with a sense of superiority and mild disdain for lesser creatures. Nevertheless, they are as close as a red dragon can get to benevolence, and officially have a Neutral alignment (with benevolent tendencies). Vermilion dragons, like actors, love nothing more than to talk about themselves and hear others talk about them, especially in glowing terms. They are large, with refined features and have a lust for gold (especially in the form of crowns and other regalia) that borders on the obsessive. A vermilion dragon’s cone of fire causes full damage on neutral creatures, 150% normal damage on chaotic creatures, and only half damage on Lawful creatures. Lawful creatures struck by the breath also have all curses and diseases removed from their person and any drained level has a 50% chance of being restored if drained in the last year. Vermilion dragons can always speak, and have the normal chance for magic use.

| Vermilion Dragon: HD 11; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d8), 1 bite (3d10); Move 9 (F24); Save 4; CL/XP 13/2300; Special: Cleansing fire.