Dragon Mount

A dragon sovereign has a mystic bond with youthful true dragon, a bond that guarantees the dragons loyalty to the sovereign (as long as it is treated with respect), and allows the dragon sovereign to tap into some of the dragon’s arcane power. A character that begins on the dragon sovereign mythic path is approached by a dragon of his choice as a prospective bonded mount within 30 days of obtaining a sovereign relic. Once approached, the character is then considered a 1st tier dragon sovereign and gains a dragon mount. He is assumed to have already bonded with the dragon. The bond causes the dragon to grow slightly in size, and drives it to gain power as its dragon sovereign gains experience, rather than as it gains age categories. Many of a dragon’s normal powers (spell-like abilities, spellcasting, unlimited breath weapon use) are either suspended or modified as the arcane power that drives them is used to fuel the bond between dragon sovereign and dragon mount. This bond, once forged, ends only if both sovereign and dragon decide to end it, or if one is killed and not resurrected in a timely fashion.

Most true dragons are unwilling to undergo this bond (though there is always one that will do so and is able to find a dragon sovereign without a dragon mount). For good dragons this is often done to aid good-aligned dragon sovereigns in facing the evils of the world. In some cases it is part of ancient pacts dating back centuries or even millennia that dictate service of a set number of dragons of a given bloodline. Even among neutral and evil dragons however, there are always a few who seek out such bonds willingly.

The reason for this is a desire for power, and an ability to take a long view. A dragon mount bonded to a dragon sovereign grows in size and power as the dragon sovereign gains experience. The payoff comes when the dragon sovereign dies, though dragon sovereigns often live as long as their mounts, due to their mythic nature. At first, if the dragon sovereign dies, the dragon mount simply must survive as an underpowered dragon, but after a year and a day from its sovereign’s death if it has no not bonded with a new dragon sovereign, the dragon begins to gain the full power of a normal dragon of its size (or the oldest category in its size class, to a maximum age category of very old).

Consider a red dragon wyrmling. It is Small, and won’t reach Large size for roughly 20 years. It won’t be Huge for 45 years, and Gargantuan size is at least 4 centuries off. But if that red serves as a dragon mount, it becomes Large immediately, and stands a fair chance to become Gargantuan within a few years. If it survives its dragon sovereign’s loss, the red dragon will gain the full power of a very old dragon within a few years, jumping its (ubiquitous) plans for world domination ahead 6 centuries. While most red dragons feel the price is too high, there are always a few youngsters willing to serve now (though somewhat grudgingly, see the Focus score in the descriptions of dragon mount, below) for hundreds of years worth of powers later.

A dragon mount can carry its dragon sovereign immediately, as it is Large size. Dragons’ carrying capacity is modified for their size as normal creatures, and as bonded dragon mounts they can fly (at full speed) even if heavily encumbered. A dragon can carry two creatures one size smaller than it, four creatures two sizes smaller, and sixteen creatures three or more sizes smaller (all assuming it has the Strength to do so).

A dragon mount can carry its dragon sovereign as soon as it is the same size category as its dragon sovereign, assuming it’s strength is great enough to bear the dragon sovereign and his gear. A dragon mount’s carrying capacity is modified for its size as normal creatures, and as bonded dragon mounts they can fly (at full speed) even if heavily encumbered. A dragon mount can carry two creatures one size smaller than it, four creatures two sizes smaller, and sixteen creatures three or more sizes smaller (all assuming it has the Strength to do so).

The link between dragon sovereign and dragon mount grows in strength as the dragon sovereign gains levels, allowing them to communicate more easily, feel each other’s location, and even transfer life essence to one another. The abilities the dragon mount gains with his dragon sovereign are listed on Table: Dragon Mount Base Statistics.

A dragon sovereign’s dragon mount functions in all ways as a dragon steed from the Dragonrider* class except for the following changes.

Breath Weapon (Su): The dragon mount breath weapon deals an amount of base damage multiplied by 1/2 the dragon sovereign’s class level (minimum x1) and its range increase as shown on Table: Dragon Mount Base Statistics. This otherwise functions the dragon steed’s breath weapon* ability.

Share Spells (Ex)
: The dragon sovereign gains the dragonrider’s share spells* ability when it first gains its dragon mount. 

Wyrm Link (Su): The dragon sovereign and his bonded dragon mount always know the direction to each other, and are aware of any conditions the other is suffering. Also, while the dragon mount is of the same size category or smaller as the dragon sovereign, the two can fuse together as a standard action. While fused, the dragon sovereign gains the dragon mount’s hit points as temporary hit points. If all these temporary hit points are lost while fused, the dragon mount immediately reappears with a number of hit points equal to its Hit Dice. The dragon sovereign also gains his dragon mount’s natural attacks, but uses his own BAB and abilities scores to calculate his attack and damage rolls. In addition, the dragon sovereign gains a natural armor bonus to his AC equal to 1/2 the dragon mount’s Hit Dice, as well as the dragon mount’s movement speeds, but only at half the mount’s normal speeds (minimum 20 ft.). The dragon sovereign’s fly speed is accomplished by magic rather than wings. A dragon sovereign and his mount can fuse for a number of minutes per day equal to his mythic tier. These minutes do not need to be consecutive, but must be spent in 1–minute increments. This replaces the dragon steed’s link* ability. Class Level: This is the character’s class level.


Table: Dragon Mount Base Statistics


Class
Levels
 

HD


BAB


Fort


Ref


Will


Skills


Feats
Natural
Armor
Bonus
 
Str/Con
Bonus

Int/Cha
Bonus 
 

Special
 1st  2 +2 +3        
 2nd  3  +3 +3        
 3rd  3 +3 +3        
 4th  4 +4 +4        
 5th  5 +4 +4        
 6th  6 +5 +5        
 7th  6 +5 +5        
 8th  7 +6 +5        
 9th  8 +6 +6        
 10th  9 +7 +6        
 11th  9 +7 +6        
 12th 10 +8 +7        
 13th 11 +8 +7        
 14th 12 +9 +8        
 15th 12 +9 +8        
 16th 13+10 +8        
 17th 14+10 +9        
 18th 15+11 +9        
 19th 15+11 +9        
 20th 16+12 +10        


HD: This is the total number of twelve-sided (d12) Hit Dice the dragon mount possesses, each of which gains a Constitution modifier, as normal.

BAB: This is the dragon mount’s base attack bonus. A dragon mount’s base attack bonus is the same as that of a dragon sovereign of a level equal to the animal’s HD. Having a high base attack bonus does not grant dragon mounts any additional attacks with their natural weapons.

Fort/Ref/Will: These are the dragon mount’s base saving throw bonuses. A dragon mount has good Fortitude, Reflex and Will saves.

Skills: This is the number of skill ranks the dragon mount has. A dragon mount with an Intelligence bonus gains additional skill ranks per level equal to the bonus. It’s worth noting that dragon mounts have fewer skill ranks than unbonded true dragons. This is because dragon mounts spend considerable effort learning how to work with their bonded riders, which takes up the learning capacity they could otherwise use for additional skills. A dragon mount cannot have more skill ranks than it has Hit Dice.

Dragon mounts can have ranks in any of the following skills: Acrobatics* (Dex), Climb* (Str), Escape Artist (Dex), Fly* (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Perception* (Wis), Stealth* (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim* (Str). All of the skills marked with an (*) are class skills for dragon mounts. Dragon mounts with an Intelligence of 3 or higher can put ranks into any skill.

Feats: This is the total number of feats possessed by a dragon mount. Dragon mounts are free to take any feats other than Armor Proficiency, Shield Proficiency and Weapon Proficiency feats. (A dragon is never comfortable wearing any armor beyond its own scaly hide, and its hands are not designed to hold weapons.) Note that dragon mounts must meet all the normal requirements for the feats they select.

Dragon mounts can select from the following feats: Acrobatic, Agile Maneuvers, Armor Proficiency (light, medium, and heavy), Athletic, Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Diehard, Dodge, Endurance, Great Fortitude, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Armor, Improved Natural Attack, Improved Overrun, Intimidating Prowess, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Power Attack, Run, Skill Focus, Spring Attack, Stealthy, Toughness, , and Weapon Focus. Dragon mounts with an Intelligence of 3 or higher can select any feat they are physically capable of using. GMs might expand this list to include feats from other sources.

Natural Armor Bonus: The number noted here is an improvement to the dragon mount’s existing natural armor bonus.

Str/Con Bonus: Add this modifier to the dragon mount’s Strength and Constitution scores. Dragon mounts also gain increases to Strength and Constitution (and reductions to Dexterity) as they advance, as listed under ability scores for each dragon mount. Do not also adjust dragon mount’s ability scores for size.

Int/Cha Bonus: Add this modifier to the dragon mount’s Intelligence and Charisma scores.

Special: This includes a number of abilities gained by dragon mounts as they increase in power. Each of these is described hereafter.

Breath Weapon (Su): The base breath weapon is listed with each dragon mount, below. Every mount deals one kind of damage, and has either a line or a cone. Each breath weapon allows a Reflex save for half damage, the save DC for a dragon mount’s breath weapon is 10 + 1/2 the mount’s Hit Dice + the mount’s Constitution modifier. A dragon mount may use its breath weapon once every four rounds, not to exceed a total number of uses per day equal to 3 + the mount’s Constitution modifier. As the dragon sovereign gains levels, the dragon mount’s breath weapon deals more dice of damage (equal to its 1/2 the sovereigns class level) and its range increase as shown on Table: Dragon Mount Base Statistics.

Share Spells (Ex): Starting at 1st level, the dragon sovereign may cast a spell with a target of “You” on his dragon mount (as a spell with a range of touch) instead of on himself. A dragon sovereign may cast spells on his dragon mount even if the spells normally do not affect creatures of the mount’s type (dragon). Spells cast in this way must come from a class that grants a dragon mount. This ability does not allow the mount to share abilities that are not spells, even if they function like spells.

Wyrm Link (Su)
: A dragon sovereign and his bonded dragon mount always know the direction to each other, and are aware of any conditions the other is suffering. Also, while the dragon mount is of the same size category or smaller as the dragon sovereign, the two can fuse together as a standard action. While fused, the dragon sovereign gains the dragon mount’s hit points as temporary hit points. If all these temporary hit points are lost while fused, the dragon mount immediately reappears with a number of hit points equal to its Hit Dice. The dragon sovereign also gains his dragon mount’s natural attacks, but uses his own BAB and abilities scores to calculate his attack and damage rolls. In addition, the dragon sovereign gains a natural armor bonus to his AC equal to 1/2 the dragon mount’s Hit Dice, as well as the dragon mount’s movement speeds, but only at half the mount’s normal speeds (minimum 20 ft.). The dragon sovereign’s fly speed is accomplished by magic rather than wings. A dragon sovereign and his mount can fuse for a number of minutes per day equal to his mythic tier. These minutes do not need to be consecutive, but must be spent in 1–minue increments.

Evasion (Ex): At 3rd level the dragon mount gains the Evasion ability. When subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex save for half damage, a dragon mount takes no damage if it makes a successful saving throw.

Ability Increase (Ex): At 4th, 9th, 14th, and 19th level, the dragon mount adds a +1 to one of its ability scores.

Devotion (Ex): At 6th level, a dragon mount gains a +4 morale bonus on Will saves against enchantment spells and effects.

Advancement: At 8th level, and again at 16th level, a dragon mount advances in size and power (see individual dragon descriptions).

Multiattack: At 11th level, a dragon mount gains Multiattack as a bonus feat.

Improved Evasion (Ex): At 15th level, a dragon mount gains Improved Evasion. When subjected to an attack that allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage, a dragon mount takes no damage if it makes a successful saving throw and only half damage if the saving throw fails.


Dragon Mount Choices
Any willing true dragon can be a dragon sovereign’s bonded mount, but the bond has a heavy price for a dragon. All spellcasting ability, most spell-like, and a considerable amount of other power is stripped from the dragon to power the bond between it and its dragon sovereign.

Each dragon mount has similar starting sizes, speed, attacks, and ability scores, but different breath weapons and special qualities based upon its type and subtype. Dragon mount attacks add the dragon’s Strength modifier to the damage roll. All dragons have special abilities, such as scent. As you gain levels, your dragon mount improves as well, gaining special advancement at 8th level and 16th level, in addition to the standard bonuses noted on Table: Dragon Mount Base Statistics.

A dragon sovereign’s alignment must be within one step of his dragon mount.

While it is unusual for a dragon sovereign to take anything other than a metallic or chromatic dragon as a mount, it is not totally unknown. A GM wishing to allow such characters can use other dragons as additional dragon mount choices. A dragon sovereign may choose any dragon type described in the Dragon Choices section of the Dragonrider, or from the following additional types.


PLANAR DRAGON MOUNT CHOICES

Adamantine Dragon (Extraplanar, Good)
Starting Statistics: Size Large; Speed 40 ft., fly 30 ft. (clumsy); AC +8 natural armor; Attack bite (1d8, 10 ft. reach), 2 claws (1d6); Ability Scores Str 19, Dex 14, Con 15, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 12; Focus standard action; Special Attacks breath weapon, 1d10 fire, 30 ft. line; Special Defenses immunity to fire, paralysis, sleep; Special Qualities darkvision (60 ft.), low-light vision, scent.

8th–Level Advancement: Size Huge; Speed 50 ft., fly 60 ft. (clumsy); Attack bite (2d8, 15 ft. reach), 2 claws (2d6); Ability Scores +8 Str, +4 Con, –2 Dex; Focus move action; Special Defenses DR 5/magic; Special Qualities adamantine touch (natural attacks bypass adamantine damage reduction), darkvision (120 ft.), greater damage.

16th–Level Advancement: Size Gargantuan; Speed 60 ft., fly 100 ft. (clumsy); Attack bite (3d8, 20 ft. reach), 2 claws (2d8); Ability Scores +8 Str, +4 Con, –2 Dex; Focus swift action; Special Defenses DR 5/adamantine, DR 10/magic; Special Qualities paralyzing breath (counts as two uses of breath weapon and uses same area, targets failing a Fortitude save are affected as by a hold person spell).