Dragon Disciple

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  • Red Dragon Disciple information on NWNWiki.

Dragon Disciples are tanks with huge strength scores and innate immunity to a single element. They utilize their physical prowess to wield a large weapon and a shield at the same time. They inspire fear and are able to reduce spellresistance, making their enemies weaker and more susceptible to the offensive magics of the party.

Contents

HG customization

Paths of Discipline

  • A character with a half dragon subrace will become a disciple of that colour dragon, gaining the appropriate immunity in place of fire immunity. They still get all the other advantages of the class. Non-half-dragons have the opportunity to pick what colour of dragon disciple they wish to be. They may only make this selection when they have between one and three levels of dragon disciple. They must find a secret location to select their path. Once chosen, they are unable to change their path. If no path is selected when they gain their fourth level of dragon disciple, they will be Red dragon disciples.
    • Prismatic Half-Dragons are the exception to this rule. They may select a non-RDD path at any time before they reach 10 levels of XDD.
  • Dragon Disciples gain absolute immunity to the element that corresponds to their chosen path: Red-Fire, Blue-Electricity, White-Cold, Green&Black-Acid. This immunity starts at level 4 with 10% and increases by 10% every following disciple level, until 100% is reached at level 13.
  • Absolute immunity means they will always have at least that percentage as an immunity. For example, a character with 4 levels of Red Dragon Disciple, wearing a ring with 50% fire resistance on it, will normally have 60% fire resistance. If his fire resistance is then lowered by 100%, he will still have 10% resistance, instead of 40% vulnerability. Having 13 levels of Dragon Disciple means a character is completely immune to his chosen element at all times, no matter what the circumstances are.

Draconic Armour

  • Draconic Armour grants 1 AC per 3 levels of Dragon Disciple. This AC bonus does not completely stack with bonuses a character gains from the tumble skill. In effect, the bonus from tumble is lowered by the bonus from Draconic Armour, to a minimum of 6. This effect can be observed by using the !list ac command.
XDD levels Draconic armour bonus Maximum effective base tumble skill tumble bonus total
3 +1 55 +11 +12
6 +2 50 +10 +12
9 +3 45 +9 +12
12 +4 40 +8 +12
15 +5 35 +7 +12
18 +6 30 +6 +12
21 +7 30 +6 +13
24 +8 30 +6 +14
27 +9 30 +6 +15
30 +10 30 +6 +16

Dragon Abilities

  • Dragon Disciples (XDDs) on Higher Ground continue to gain in power after level 10, in ways much more substantial than the standard Bioware progression. In order to do this, however, they must take the Epic Toughness feats, a token of the investment they make in developing the hidden powers of their physique.
Level Bonuses Requirements
2 +2 Strength none
4 +2 Strength, absolute immunity starts at 10% none
7 +2 Constitution none
9 +2 Intelligence none
10 +2 Charisma, Dragon Breath improvement none
13 Absolute immunity reaches 100% none
15 +2 Strength none
20 +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, True Sight, Immunity to Sneak Attacks, Spell resistance Epic Toughness 5
25 +2 Strength Epic Toughness 7
30 +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, +2 Charisma, Wing Buffet, Dragonfear Aura, and Draconic Size improvements Epic Toughness 10
35 +2 Strength "Secret"
40 +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence "Secret"
45 +2 Strength "Secret"
50 +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, +2 Charisma "Secret"
  • Dragon Disciples using the open Half-Dragon subraces (Half-Dragon - Black, Blue, Green, Red, or White) have lesser requirements, due to their dragon heritage. They require one Epic Toughness less in order to gain the benefits. For example, at level 20, they require Epic Toughness 4, instead of Epic Toughness 5, to gain the characteristics.
  • For determining what XDD bonuses a character gains, Legendary levels count as XDD levels, if your character has control class XDD.
  • The total ability score bonuses a pure XDD gains from taking all the Epic Toughness feats are:
    +20 Strength
    +10 Constitution
    +6 Intelligence
    +6 Charisma
    • For a pure XDD, the intelligence bonuses provide additional skillpoints ranging from 81 to 90, depending on when you took your 9th level of XDD. If this was level 10, you get 90, if this was level 19, you get 81.
  • Epic Dragon Disciples gain a bonus feat every 4 levels, namely levels 14, 18, 22, 26 and 30, for a total of 5.
    • The complete list of bonus feats is: armor skin, automatic quicken spell, automatic silent spell, automatic still spell, epic damage reduction, epic prowess, epic reputation, epic spell focus, epic spell penetration, epic toughness, greater spell focus, improved combat casting.

Level 10:

  • Dragon breath gains unlimited uses, but may only be used every two minutes. Damage and DC increase with XDD levels, including legendary levels if the character's control class is also XDD. They are capped at certain points if the character does not have the Epic Toughness feats required for his level of XDD.
    • Red Dragon Disciples do fire and magical damage. Black disciples do acid and divine damage. Blue disciples do electrical and positive damage. Green disciples do acid and negative damage. White disciples do cold and magical damage. For non-red disciples, the breath ability is accessed from the Special Abilities menu as a Wyrmling Breath.
    • Damage = 6d12 each of the two types, plus 1d12 for every 2 XDD levels past 10, to a maximum of 26d12 at XDD level 50.
      • If the Dragon Disciple chooses to use The Orb of Dragonkind, the damage dice increase from d12 to d20 and a 50% vulnerability infliction to the Dragon Disciple's chosen element is applied to any enemies caught in the breath.
    • DC = 19, plus 7/10ths of the character's RD levels, to a maximum of 54 DC at XDD level 50.
    • The breath is capped at level 20 unless the character has the Epic Toughness 5 feat, at level 25 unless the character has the Epic Toughness 7 feat, and level 30 unless the character has the Epic Toughness 10 feat. Once again, characters using the open Half-Dragon subraces (Half-Dragon - Black, Blue, Green, Red, or White) have lesser requirements.


Level 20:

  • Spell resistance equal to 20 + XDD level (including legendary levels if the character's control class is XDD) to a maximum of 70 SR at XDD level 50.

Level 30:

  • Draconic Size: The character takes on a much larger and scalier form. The form is large-sized, enabling the character to wield a large weapon and shield, or a large weapon and a medium weapon, or a huge weapon in two hands.
    • To suit their tastes, transformed Dragon Disciples may use the PC Scry to change their appearance and/or activate tails.
  • Dragonfear Aura: The Aura lasts 1 round per XDD level (including legendary levels if the character's control class is also XDD), but has unlimited uses. It terrifies the character's opponents, inflicting penalties to attack, skills, and saves on them while they are in the aura. Those penalties increase as the XDD gains levels:
Level Power
30 -1
40 -2
50 -3
  • Wing Buffet: The wing buffet attack does 1d12 points of damage to every creature in a large-sized area, for every 5 XDD levels the character has (including legendary levels if the character's control class is XDD) for a maximum of 10d12 at 50 levels XDD. It also knocks each target down if they fail a reflex save against a DC equal to the character's XDD levels (maximum of 50). The buffet also clears away AoE effects in the area like a Gust of Wind.

Level 35 and beyond:

  • In order to gain the stat bonuses at XDD levels 35 and beyond (this includes legendary levels), the character will have to seek out a particular object, in addition to having all the Epic Toughness feats. Once they find it, they will have to return every 5 levels (at levels 40, 45 and 50) to gain the next bonus. This requirement is listed as "Secret" in the bonuses table above.

Types of Dragon Disciple

First of, there are the 5 different Disciplines a Dragon Disciple has to choose between:

  • Red is the default colour and is associated with fire. It is not a bad choice, since fire is a very common damage type on HG.
  • Blue is associated with electricity. Since it is far from the most prevalent amongst damage types, this is probably the least favourite colour for normal XDDs.
  • White is associated with cold. There are two layers of Hell where cold is a very common damage type, as well as at least 1 Legendary Level run.
  • Green & Black are associated with acid and quite popular. A common enemy in the lower layers of hell, Pitfiends, cause personal acid and magic kickback. The last map of Nessus also features some nasties against which absolute acid immunity helps a lot.

All Dragon Disciples are Strength tanks, but if you use a subrace with high strength and/or dexterity bonuses, it is very easy to make a tank that can also make a large number of dexterity checks. Just make sure your attack bonus remains high enough.

Play Guide

Abilities

  • Fear Aura: Keep this up at all times! Stacking penalties to attack, skills and saves are a great way to increase party performance. If there is a monster that needs to die, but the casters are having a hard time bringing it down, keep it inside your fear aura and it'll generally go down quicker. After re-logging, you must rest before you can use your fear aura again.
    • If for some reason you need to disable your aura, use type: /tp "PlayerName" !cancel 198
  • Wing Buffet: with this ability, you can aid the casters in your party getting rid of the nasty cloudlike effects that some monsters create. In combat, you can try and use this to knock down the opponents around you, depending on the area you are visiting (the DC is not that great, which means it's very unreliable in the harder areas of the module).
    • The damage part of this ability will trigger party wide kickback when used near monsters with that ability, so beware when you use it.
    • Using this ability will cancel the rest of your action queue, so you will be flatfooted if you do not immediately afterwards add a new action (such as attacking, or drinking a potion). Timing this exactly right will take some practice, but it's not very hard to do.
  • Dragon Breath: your breath weapon can actually deal quite a bit of damage. Use it on a tightly packed crowd of monsters for maximum efficiency. Note that it breaks loot, so always check for unpopped loot before using it.
  • Scrolls and wands: most dragon disciples have found a way to use scrolls and wands, either through sorcerer levels or ranks in UMD. Try and get some of the following:
    • Greater Sanctuary: GS scrolls are always nice to carry around for those moments you would rather not be targeted by monsters. Sometimes needed for a party that needs to regroup.
    • Mind Blank: while mind immune from items usually does the job, sometimes, a scripted immunity, such as that from mind blank, is needed to avoid effects.
    • Black Blade of Disaster: always nice to have an additional meat shield to keep monsters busy. Sometimes good to use in combination with GS.
    • Timestop: timestop can be a true lifesaver. If you resurrect a party member while TS is in effect, the raised character will not be affected and will therefore have the time to prepare for the monsters that will be moving again in a few seconds. Sometimes, the spells bugs and monsters can actually move and attack your flat-footed party members. This makes it a little unreliable, but if its the only way to save the party, why not use it?
  • Persuade: since the effect of a successful persuasion stacks with other sources of SR reduction, this is a wonderful skill to pick up and use frequently.

Tanking

You are a tank, which means you will have to take the hits instead of weaker party members. There are a couple of reasons why XDDs are good at it.

  • Armor class: Pure XDDs gain an AC advantage compared to non-XDDs, because of their draconic armor. Typical ACs for XDDs are upper 120s to middle 130s (sometimes even higher).
  • Elemental immunities: being immune to a single element means you will not have much trouble covering your elemental immunities, as long as your own immunity is needed. There are various tower shields available that will help you with this. Note that some of those shields can't be used if you have more than 19 base dexterity.
  • Hitpoints: a high constitution and 12 base hitpoints per level make for a very large HP buffer. Should you take large amount of damage, this will help you survive by giving you more time to quaff a healing potion.
  • Ability checks: due to the various bonuses you get as a dragon disciple, strength, constitution, intelligence and charisma checks will not cause you a lot of problems. Unless you managed to put a considerable number of points into dexterity, dexterity based checks, such as Malebranch KD and Erinyes domination, are your Achilles' heel. Avoid these when possible, or just hope for good party support (UUU, assist other, etc).
  • Taunt: if you can fit in a maximised taunt skill, do so. The monsters you taunt will often switch targets and attack you instead. This will give you ample opportunity to do your job as a tank.

For a very complete guide on tanking in general, have a look at Tanking for Those With A Low INT Score.

Building a Dragon Disciple

A pure XDD has only 10 levels to really customize in terms of class choices. First you have to choose between bard and sorcerer for your enabler class:

  • Sorcerer: a good choice if you want your character to use scrolls without a chance of failure. It is advisable to not take more than 2 levels of sorcerer, because that would hurt your base attack bonus to the point that you no longer receive a 4th base attack.
  • Bard: bard levels allow you to put 23 points in both tumble and use magic device at level 20. This means you only need to spend 7 additional points in order to raise your tumble to 30 and that you can use scrolls through UMD. For the latter, make sure you have a decent charisma score. Bards also receive more skillpoints per level than sorcerers. Take only a maximum of 4 levels of bard in order to keep that 4th base attack.


The other levels are generally chosen to be a tier 1 BAB class. XDDs are tanks and will therefore want as high a base attack bonus (BAB) as possible (16 minimum for 4 base attacks).

  • Barbarian: barbarian levels do not really add much. A few skillpoints and uncanny dodge are the only useful things you get, while you will need to spend feats on saves. In addition, you will not be able to wear heavy armour.
  • Fighter: if you are short on pre-epic combat feats and have enough spare legendary feats to spend on saves, fighter is not a bad option.
  • Paladin: in total, XDDs get a +8 bonus to their charisma score. Paladin levels are a great way to use this boost. Divine grace means you will not have to spend a lot of feats on saves and you can even try and get Divine Might to boost your damage output. Also features innate fear and disease immunity.
  • Ranger: dualwielding somewhat counters the point of being a tank, since your AC will not be spectacular. Lack of heavy armor proficiency is going to hurt. Ranger levels therefore add almost nothing of use.


The only way to use tier 1 BAB prestige classes without losing out on that 4th attack is by using a subrace with a lore boost (i.e. Tinker Gnome, Dragonblooded and Salamander). Take sorcerer or bard at level 1, then start with XDD at level 2. Without a lore boost, you will need more than 4 levels of bard (or sorcerer) and therefore lose out on BAB.

  • Arcane archer: while the ability to switch to a bow without much loss in AB might seem nice, the required feats have no synergy with the "tankish" nature of an XDD.
  • Blackguard: much like paladin, this is the evil version. You do not gain fear immunity, but you gain a bit of sneak attack and the ability to wear Gift of Undeath. The required feats are also required for Devastating Critical.
  • Champion of Torm: much like fighter, except that you first have to focus in a simple weapon. You basically lose out on 2 feats compared to fighter and gain nothing in return, except for a very weak divine wrath, a weak smite evil attack and some save bonuses that fall within the save bonus cap. Figher is far superior.
  • Dwarven Defender: the flanking immunity and 3/- damage reduction you get at 6 levels of DD are quite nice to have, but you need to spend feats on toughness, dodge and saves. The fact that dwarves get -2 charisma does not help either since you have to start with sorcerer or bard, which both have a 11 charisma minimum requirement.
  • Weapon Master: only possible with the Salamander subrace if you want to get the 7 levels (before level 20) that give maximum damage increase, you can get 5 levels with a race such as Stinger/Kolyarut that give bonus WM feats. A great way to boost damage output from critical hits, but you will need more feats to spend on saves, as well as a decent weapon of choice.


There are several ways to boost your damage output:

  • Get all possible weapon focus feats as well as improved and power critical.
  • Maximize your listen score. Taking Epic skill focus: Listen is great way to enhance your listen score (unless you have an item with ESF: Listen as a bonus feat, like Visor of Vigilance and Sonar Amplifier). If you don't think you can reach the +50 skillbonus cap through gear and bardsong, Legendary skill focus: Listen will help you as well.
  • Get Divine Might (only for paladin and blackguard versions).
  • Get the Devastating Critical feat.


The only way to get 63 base ranks of taunt on a Dragon Disciple is through the use of Elf Able Learner. You will need 1) elf base race, 2) at least 1 level in a class with taunt as a class skill (bard, paladin, blackguard for example) and 3) at least 158 skillpoints (135 if you maxed it at level 20). Should you be having to drop some other skill in favor of taunt, drop craft weapon. Since a successful taunt lowers AC, you will not miss the 1-3 possible points of AB.


Because of the constitution bonuses, it is not very hard to unlock the Legendary Battle Hardened feats. A nice way to boost your defenses, if you can fit in all 5 feats.


You can find dragon disciple builds on the wiki or in the Dragon Disciple forum section.

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