Half Dragon

Half-Dragons: Half-dragons born from a fully draconic parent are a rarity in Alvena; but many bloodlines from the times before the Demon Wars still thrive, and in some places small communities of half-dragons still live secluded away, breeding more half-dragons from half-blooded parents; never breeding the draconic traits away. Once in a long while, a true dragon will be discovered to have infiltrated humanoid societies for any number of reasons, and a new half-dragon child will be the result…


The Half-Dragon
Hit Die: 1d10
Base Attack: Best
Fort: Good
Ref: Poor
Will: Good
Skill Points: 6 + Int modifier
Class Skills: Concentration, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Intimidate, Listen, Knowledge (any), Sense Motive, Spot, Search and Use Magic Device.

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special
1d10 +1 +2 +0 +2 Draconic Ancestry
2d10 +2 +3 +0 +3 Ability Increase
3d10 +3 +3 +1 +3 Ability Increase

Draconic Ancestry (Ex)
At 1st level Half-dragons half dragons have the following racial qualities.

  • Dragon Type (Ex): A half-dragon's type changes to Dragon with the Augmented subtype. This also grants simple weapon proficiency, as well as immunity to sleep and paralysis effects.
  • Breath Weapon (Su): A half-dragon has a breath weapon that deals 1d8 energy damage for every 2 HD the half-dragon possesses (minimum 1d8) with a reflex save for half. The half-dragon must choose either a 15ft cone or a 30ft line, and the type of energy damage: Acid, Cold, Fire, or Electricity. Once chosen, the energy and area of effect cannot be changed. This breath weapon may be used once every 5 rounds. The reflex save is 10 + 1/2 HD + constitution modifier.

At 3rd level the range of the half-dragon's breath becomes 30ft (if a cone) or 60ft (if a line).

  • Energy Immunity (Ex): A half-dragon has energy resistance 10 to the energy type chosen for its breath weapon. At 3rd level, this resistance becomes Immunity to that energy type.
  • Natural Attacks (Ex): A half-dragon gains two claw attacks and a bite attack if it did not possess them normally. The half-dragon may decide to treat either their bite or claw attacks as their primary natural weapons. The damage for a medium half-dragon's bite is 1d6, and its claws are 1d4.
  • Natural Armor (Ex): A half-dragon gains a +1 natural armor bonus as its skin grows thicker and stronger. The half dragon's natural armor bonus increases by 1 at 5, 10, 15, and 20 hit dice (to a maximum of +5).
  • Darkvision (Ex): A half-dragon gains darkvision 20ft (or increases its existing darkvision by 20ft). The half-dragon increases their darkvision by 20ft at 2nd level, and again at 3rd (for 60ft darkvision).
  • Low-light vision (Ex): At 3rd level, a half-dragon gains low-light vision.

Ability Increase (Ex)

  • At 2nd level, a half-dragon increases its strength score by +4, and its intelligence and charisma by +2.
  • At 3rd level, a half-dragon increases its strength score by +4, and its constution by +2.

OPTIONAL RULES
Half-dragons may choose Sonic or Force damage for their breath weapon type. Sonic breath weapons deal 1d6 per 2HD, and force deals 1d4 per 2HD.

Notes: The half-dragon's abilities are broke down across 3 levels (the same as the half-dragon's +3 level adjustment). The abilities start of weakest at 1st level and slowly advance to full power by 3rd level. The breath weapon was simultaneously nerfed at low levels (down to 1/2 level d8s from the 6d8 the template provides) but now scales with level better, allowing it to be more viable at high levels. It was also given a recharge time of 5 rounds, allowing it to be used in more than one encounter but prevent it from being spammed. This is similar to the Binder's ability to cast strong spells as part of their vestige abilities (see Tome of Magic); and is very balanced. At 1st level they deal an average of 4.5 damage with a reflex save for half. At 20th level, this is an average of 45 damage with a reflex save for half; again only usable once every 5 rounds. The ability is minor by default; but can be improved if you wish to make it a character focus with the paragon progression mentioned further down.

Additionally their natural armor was reduced at low levels to +1, but scales up to +5 at 20th level (one point higher than the basic half-dragon template). This prevents them from being so hard to kill at low-levels but returns it as a properly scaling advancement. This way they slowly gain their power many levels; furthering the balance between them and other classes.

Their ability score modifiers equal those of the standard half-dragon template but require three levels worth of investment to get all of them. That being said, the ability modifiers don't match the powers of actual class features - and also the levels cannot be bought off as LA usually can; making the ability score boost require an investment of two character levels worth of focus. This again prevents them from growing too powerful to quickly, or exceeding the expected power of standard player characters.

Most of their racial qualities - including immunity to an element, darkvision, and low-light vision have been spread out over the three levels of the progression; preventing humans and other races from planning to be half-dragons merely for those cognitive perks, before advancing 19 levels in other classes.

Half-Dragon Breath Paragon
Some half-dragons learn to tap into deeper reserves of draconic power. As they repeatedly use their breath weapons time and time again, they develop the ability to breath faster and with more energy.

Hit Die: 1d10
Base Attack: Best
Fort: Good
Ref: Poor
Will: Good
Skill Points: 6 + Int modifier
Class Skills: Concentration, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Intimidate, Listen, Knowledge (any), Sense Motive, Spot, Search and Use Magic Device.

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special
1d10 +1 +2 +0 +2 Hasten Breath
2d10 +2 +3 +0 +3 Breath Mastery
3d10 +3 +3 +1 +3 Hasten Breath
4d10 +4 +4 +1 +4 Breath Mastery

Hasten Breath (Ex)

  • At 1st level, the half-dragon paragon reduces the number or rounds he must wait for his breath weapon to recharge to 4 (from 5).
  • At 3rd level, the half-dragon paragon reduces the number of rounds he must wait for his breath weapon to recharge to 3 (from 4).

Breath Mastery (Ex)

  • At 2nd level, the half-dragon paragon adds +2 per die to the damage of its breath weapon (so 3d6 becomes 3d6+6). For a breath weapon that deals force damage, this ability only adds +1 per die.
  • At 4th level, the half-dragon paragon adds +4 per die to the damage of its breath weapon (so 5d6 becomes 5d6+20). For a breath weapon that deals force damage, this ability only adds +2 per die.

Notes: This progression allows the character to get more out of their breath weapon; the iconic feature of a half-dragon. While the numbers may look intimidating to some, the mechanics check out. The average damage for a breath weapon by 20th level (the strongest it gets) is 75 damage with a reflex save for half, once every 3 rounds (making it effectively 25 damage per round); which is decent for that level of play, but hardly very potent (especially after considering energy resistances, and abilities like Evasion. Combined with breath weapon feats, it can be toyed with by increasing the number of rounds you have to wait before it recharges. The most damage you can do with your breath weapon is 120 damage (using the Maximize breath feat) with a Reflex save for half damage, before applying weakness or resistances and abilities like Evasion; which then increases your recharge time by +4 rounds (7 rounds in this case); which equates to roughly 17 damage per round - which is less than usual - but you got to unleash it all at once (which may be important as a finishing move).

Assuming a character devotes enough of his or her growth to developing their half-dragon racial abilities to their fullest, the character will have invested 7 levels worth of their character into it. This is more than a fair exchange for the perks of being a half-dragon. Additionally, for those wondering; the Half-Dragon Paragon progression isn't fully compatible with this rule-set. To alleviate this, merely use the alternate class feature provided here:

Meta-Breath Focus (Ex): When applying a meta-breath feat to your breath weapon, reduce the number of rounds you must wait before using your breath weapon again by 1. Additionally, increase the save DC for your breath weapon by +1. This feature replaces the Breath Weapon 3/day feature of the Half-Dragon Paragon.

Notes: Finally, by using this alternative class feature, the half-dragon gains further ability to advance their breath weapon, natural armor (slightly) and gains a solid option for multi-classing with sorcerer to create a solid fighter/mage themed character; which can make for a very fun character to play; and functions well within the existing 3.5 SRD/Core rule-set.

Please consider allowing this so that Veric may re-build his character to be more suited for all levels of play. If there are questions or concerns, please opt to discuss possible issues before passing final judgment on anything. I would be more than happy to explain anything in detail, or to show more detailed comparisons if balance or flavor questions arise.

Also, should you like what you see here, I am currently available for designing rules by request.


Written by J. Scott Mohn, freelance game designer and writer

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