Eclipse, the Ways of Dragons II

Picture of a dragon

I say old bean! Do I have to get involved in this?

Now that we’ve got a standard dragon set up, it’s time to create one for a particular game. In this case, rather than a straight conversion, the player was interested in the Federation-Apocalypse Dragon Template. Unfortunately, the setting doesn’t allow more than 12 CP worth of innate enchantment – and being a supernatural being is not a big disadvantage in a setting where that doesn’t restrict your ability to visit large parts of it and isn’t at all remarkable. Just as importantly, the local dragons are born talking and with a few other tweaks and the player wants the basic youthful dragon to be Large, rather than Tiny. Ergo, this version is probably going to wind up as a +1 ECL race, rather than as a +0 ECL race. Given that the character is being created at ECL 5, that will leave several levels worth of abilities.

The Dragon Package:

  • +3 Spot (Or, in this particular game, “Perception”) (3 CP).
  • Speaks Draconic (1 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Low-Light Vision (6 CP).
  • Occult Sense/120′ Darksight (12 CP).
  • Occult Sense/Blindsense 60′ (6 CP).
  • Martial Arts/1d8 Natural Weapons (9 CP). As before, we don’t really care what body parts our dragon uses – bite, claws, tail, wings, tail spike, body slam, whatever – or what sequence it uses them in. The player can simply describe what it does as he or she likes. After all, it’s a dragon, with talons, spikes, fangs, sharp tough scales, great strength, and iron-hard flesh. It’s entire body is a weapon one way or another.
  • Innate Enchantment: (12 CP): The local limit is 12 CP here – so we’ll have to settle for a few of the most vital ones.
    • +2 to Enhancement Bonus to all characteristics save Charisma (7000 GP). That’s convenient, especially at lower levels, but won’t stack with most attribute-boosting items.
    • +2d6 Hit Dice (Maximized) (1400 GP). Again, convenient at lower levels, but this will soon be swamped by level-based hit dice.
    • Enlarge Self (1400 GP): +1 Size Category (+8 Str, -2 Dex, +4 Con, -1 Attack Modifier, -4 Skill Modifier, +2 Natural armor, Reach 10). This is THE cheap way to be larger – and requires using the Practical Enchanter version of Enlarge Self rather than the SRD version. Of course, the game master should also feel free to play up the characters massive food demands, inability to use many magical devices, the impossibility of getting into many buildings or through most doors, and all the other limitations that go with being the size of a horse.
    • Personal Haste (1400 GP): +30′ Movement, +1 attack at full BAB when making a full attack. One of THE most helpful minor spells around. Fortunately, it’s short duration is offset by the use-activated aspect.
  • Immunity/The XP Cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial, 1 CP). This isn’t actually saving much – but having it in the racial template means that baby dragons are born with their natural magics, rather than having to pay XP to activate them later.
  • Immunity to Antimagic and Dispelling vrs Innate Enchantments (Uncommon / Minor / Epic, 9 CP).
  • Celerity/Additional Mode (Flight): Corrupted (Requires use of wings), Specialized: Poor Maneuverability (6 CP), 60′ total base (including the Personal Haste ability).
  • Defender [(Level/5)+1] Natural Armor bonus to AC (12 CP).
  • Universal DR 2/- (3 CP). “Universal” means that it applies to everything – energy and physical attacks alike. Dragons are just big and tough enough to ignore any number of minor scratches.
  • Energy Infusion (in this case Cold, 6 CP).
  • Immunity to Aging (Uncommon/Minor/Great, 3 CP: can expect to live for many centuries).
    • Shaping (6 CP). Dragons are presumed to be magical enough to pull prestidigitation-level effects off at will – or they can Corrupt and Specialize this ability to allow them to use some minor special trick at whim. Since the player still wants a White Dragon, we’ll do just that to turn this into the “Icewalking” ability.
    • Dragonfire, Specialized/only for cone energy attacks (3 CP). This gives us a base of a 30′ cone – although the user is welcome to spend a few more points to expand on that later on.
    • Breath of the Dragon, Specialized and Corrupted/only to change to Cold, must be used (2 CP).
    • Eye of the Dragon, Specialized/only to store energy from Pulse of the Dragon, only to power Dragonfire (3 CP). This ability allows a dragon to store a reserve of energy to power Dragonfire with – thus bypassing the usual 1d4 round delay on using their breath weapon. Sadly, the supply is limited, and requires days to recharge – but the trick can still be very VERY useful in a tight spot.
    • Pulse of the Dragon (6 CP). This may have more uses later on – but for the moment it’s principle use is to charge the Eye of the Dragon power reserve.
    • Heart of the Dragon (6 CP). This allows the user to shape cantrip-level effects from ambient magical energy – allowing the use of many small magical tricks. Of course, if you Specialize in a particular theme – in this case Conjuration – you can pull off level one effects.
    • Blood of the Dragon, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect/only to fuel Dragonfire, requires a wait of 1d4 rounds in between discharges (6 CP). Normally this is Charisma-based, but if the character has a lousy Charisma, Finesse (another 6 CP) may be used to substitute another attribute, such as Constitution.

With a total cost of 121 CP that would be a +3 ECL race – but fortunately, the entire package is Specialized; the user is a blatantly non-human dragon, is subject to powerful draconic instincts, craves treasure, has valuable magical body parts, has to deal with rivals and dragon-hunters, is vulnerable to anti-dragon weaponry, radiates magical power and an aura that disturbs people and animals, can’t wear most armor or use a lot of other magical devices, has automatic alignment tendencies, and has to deal with any other being-a-dragon problems that the game master feels like applying. That brings it down to 60 CP – and +1 ECL.

So that leaves us with four character levels – worth a base of 120 CP. Add +8 for Duties and +12 for L1 and L3 Bonus Feats for a total of 140 CP available. To stick with the Dragon theme, spend those on…

  • 4d12 Hit Dice (32 CP).
  • +6 BAB, Specialized/only with natural weapons and inherent magic (18 CP).
  • +24 Skill Points (24 CP).
  • Base Saves of +2 (18 CP).
  • Might of Dragons: Improved Augmented Bonus x3 (Str Mod to all saving throws), Specialized/Half Effect (18 CP).

That leaves 30 CP available for more special abilities. In this case the player picked two feats from the Monster Manual IV – Clinging Breath and Lingering Breath (twice), along with the Stoic (making the character resistant to massive damage, 6 CP), Ferocity (allowing the character to continue functioning until death, even if below zero hit points, 3 CP), and extended breath weapon (to 60′, discussed above, 3 CP) abilities

Clinging and Lingering Breath could both be translated into Eclipse as the Amplify Metamagic with four levels of Streamline, Specialized and Corrupted/only for boosting the “breath weapon”, boosted damage is delayed, cannot vary effects if used, delays additional breath weapon uses, etc, etc – but it’s easier to just use them as-is since, in general, feats from other books work just fine in Eclipse at 6 CP each. The few exceptions are things like “Spellfire”, which winds up costing more in Eclipse because, as written, it’s pretty overpowered for a single feat.

And that pretty much spends all our points. Attributes were 32-point buy, which gives us…

Basic Attributes: Str 22, Dex 14, Con 22, Int 17, Wis 12, and Chr 10 – all but Charisma including a +2 enhancement bonus.

Equipment Allowance was 15,000 GP. That’s spent on…

  • Ring (Bracer) of Shielding: Shield Spell, SL1 x CL1 x 2000 GP = (2000 GP). +4 Shield Bonus to AC.
  • Studded Leather Dragon Barding (Large) +1, 1250 GP. +4 Armor Bonus to AC. You’re not proficient with this, but since it’s masterwork and has no armor check penalty, it doesn’t matter.
  • Bandana (Cloak) of Resistance +1 (1000 GP). +1 Resistance Bonus to Saves.
  • Hewards Handy Beltpouch (Haversack)(2000 GP).
  • Quaal’s Feather Token/Tree x2 (800 GP) – suitable for dropping on things from very high up.
  • Amulet of Natural Armor +1 (2000 GP). +1 Natural Armor.
  • Eyes of the Eagle (2500 GP). +5 Perception.
  • Ordinary Gear/Rations/Etc ~450 GP.
  • Healing Wristlet (Belt, 750 GP): +2 Competence Bonus to Healing Checks, 3 Charges per day, each heals 2d8 damage with a touch (included to let you heal yourself in a reasonable length of time).
  • That leaves about 2250 GP cash – not much of a hoard, but it’s a start!

Basics:

  • Hit Points: 42 (4d12) +12 (2d6 Max) +36 (6 x Con Mod) = 90. Reduce all damage by two.
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +5 (Natural) +4 (Shield) +4 (Armor) +2 (Dex) -1 (Size) = 24
  • Initiative: +2 (Dex)
  • Move: 60′ (Ground and Flight). Has Icewalking.
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: +2 (Purchased) +3 (Augmented Bonus) +6 (Con) +1 (Resistance) = +12
    • Reflex: +2 (Purchased) +3 (Augmented Bonus) +2 (Dex) +1 (Resistance) = +8
    • Will: +2 (Purchased) +3 (Augmented Bonus) +1 (Wis) +1 (Resistance) = +7

Usual Weapons:

  • Ice Breath: 60′ Cone, 4d6 (Clinging, Lingering x2, Save DC 19). May be used every 1d4 (plus one per clinging/lingering option used) rounds up to a limit of 21d6 per minute without cost. Reserve of 44d6 that may be used up to 4d6 at a time any time, but the reserve is only rechargable at a rate of 17d6 per day.
  • Natural Weapons: +12/+12/+7 (+6 BAB +6 Str, Personal Haste), 1d8+6, Crit 20/x2, 10′ Reach.

Skill Points: 24 (CP) +14 (Int) = 38

  • Arcana, Specialized in Knowing about Dragons: +10 (5 SP) +3 (Int) = +13
  • Athletics: +7 (SP) +6 (Str) = +13
  • Deception: +7 (SP) +0 (Cha) = +7
  • Perception: +7 (SP) +0 (Wis) +3 (Racial) = +10
  • Socialize: +7 (SP) +0 (Cha) = +7
  • Stealth: +7 (SP) +2 (Dex) -4 (Size) = +5
  • Specialties: +3 in Deception (Intimidation), +3 in Arcana (Dragons), +3 in Acrobatics (Aerial Maneuvering).

Special Notes

  • Senses: Low-Light Vision, 120′ Darksight, 60′ Blindsense, +3 Perception,
  • Immune to Cold, double damage from Fire.
  • May cast first level conjuration spells at will.

That’s a straightforward young dragon – formidable, if not exactly utterly overwhelming, which is just about right!

2 Responses

  1. […] Dragons: Part I (the basic small dragon), Part II (a playable ECL 5 Dragon), and Part III (a level one golden dragon […]

  2. I’m quite a bit late to the party, but I was reading this and double checking numbers I couldn’t initially find reasons for. I got most everything down, the only thing I’m struggling with is this character’s Ice Breath. His Int score is 17 and Con score is 22, so I understand the charge rate and max storing with Pulse + Eye of the Dragon.

    What I’m wondering is, how is Blood of the Dragon giving him 21d6 per minute? With the assumption that the finesse is added, letting him use Con rather than Cha for it, that would be (6×3[for spec/corruption]) 18d6 per minute. I mostly ask this as I was attempting making something like this for a character in my campaign recently, saw your article had a great chunk of good confirmations and little tidbits I haven’t seen, and was just curious if I was missing a hidden gem, or if it was a small little typo.

    Thanks in general for the articles, they certainly have helped a time or two in the past couple years.

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