Hello everyone and welcome to another great edition of Best in Class, where we bring you new class features and new archetypes each and every week. It’s Dragon Week here at Necromancers of the Northwest, and that means that all this week you will be treated to a series of fantastic articles about fantasy’s most iconic monster, and perhaps that genre’s most iconic symbol. Dragons aren’t really for player characters in D&D and Pathfinder, and with dragons themselves out of the picture, we’ll be focusing on the dragon’s equally pervasive nemesis, the dragon slayer. Below you will find archetypes for rangers and paladins looking to take up this most sacred of mantels.
New Ranger Archetype
The Dragon Hunter
Unlike some dragon slayers, the dragon hunter is not a questing knight. He isn’t concerned with chivalry or the affections of princess. Whether motivated by profit, a desire to protect, or a genuine hatred of the winged beasts, a dragon hunter is concerned with but one thing: killing dragons. He uses whatever means are available to him to accomplish his goal.
Draconic Enemy (Ex): The dragon hunter learns secrets of draconic anatomy and special combat techniques for fighting his chosen foe. He gains a +1 bonus to all attack rolls and a +1d6 bonus to damage against creatures of the dragon type. At 5th level, and every five levels thereafter, this bonus increases by an additional +1 to attack and +1d6 to damage. This ability replaces favored enemy.
Track Dragons (Ex): The dragon hunter adds his class level to any Survival checks made to follow the tracks of creatures of the dragon type. This ability replaces track.
Dragon Slayer (Ex): At 20th level, the dragon hunter is a master of his craft, capable of slaying a dragon in a single blow. Whenever he successfully hit a dragon who is currently flat-footed, the dragon must succeed on a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 +1/2 the ranger’s level + the ranger’s Wisdom modifier) or die. Even creatures who succeed on their saving throws suffer damage as though the attack were a critical hit.
New Paladin Archetype
These mighty paladins are crusaders against evil who share a powerful bond with metallic dragons. Together with these custodians of righteousness they strive against evil, and particularly against evil dragons, believing these creatures pose a great threat to civilization.
Detect Dragons (Su): The dragon knight is aware of any dragons within a radius of 1 mile per class level. This ability is always active and informs the paladin only of the presence or absence of dragons. By spending one or more full rounds concentrating on these presences, the dragon knight can gleam additional information about the dragons in the area. By spending one full round concentrating on these presences, the dragon knight can determine the number of dragons in the area. By spending an additional round, he can learn the locations of those creatures. A dragon knight may then spend an additional round of concentration to focus on a single dragon within the area, alerting him to the creature’s alignment, color and age category if it is a true dragon. This ability replaces detect evil.
Draconic Bond (Sp): At 5th level, the dragon knight gains the service of a powerful draconic ally. This is a spiritual entity reflecting the dragon knight’s own soul, and is fueled by holy energy. When manifested, this draconic ally has the same statistics as a metallic true dragon with Hit Dice less than or equal to the dragon knight’s Hit Dice, and which obeys the dragon knight’s will as though it were created with the spell summon monster I (the caster level is equal to the dragon knight’s paladin level).
Manifesting this draconic ally is a standard action, and it can be dismissed as a swift action. You can manifest this draconic ally for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier each day, though these rounds need not be consecutive. At each level beyond 5th, you can manifest this ally for an additional 2 rounds (for example, at 6th level you can manifest this ally for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier + 2, at 7th level you can manifest this ally for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier + 4, etc.). Each time you use this ability, you may summon a dragon of a different type.
If your draconic ally is slain in battle, you cannot summon a new one for 1 week. During this time, your detect dragons ability ceases to function. Any damage sustained by the draconic ally while manifested does not heal until he rests and recovers his spells, even if the dragon knight summons a dragon of a different color or of a different age category, that creature will have sustained damage equal to the damage accrued by the previously manifested dragon.
This ability replaces divine bond.