Dragon Aerial Combat
Dragon Creation: (you get your level in points to spend each level, as well as 1 HD for free).
All start at 8, costs 1 can be upgraded at a rate of 1:1
Small: 10 pts
Medium: no charge
Large: 10 pts
Cone, Line, or Shot
20pts/HD(d12s); these HD count for HP, feats, stats, skills, dmg, etc
1 starting + 1/3 HD
Extra’s can be purchased for 15pts
The Ride Skill:
The ride skill is now 3 separate skills. Ride: Fancy Maneuvers is the skill used for performing high difficulty aerial stunts. Ride: Recovery is the skill used for recovering from damage and stalls while in flight. Ride: Land Animals is the ride skill that’s used in a normal d20 game, and governs riding all land based creatures. Whenever the dragon rider must make a Ride: Fancy Maneuvers or Ride: Recovery check, he gets a bonus to the roll equal to his dragon’s charisma modifier, to simulate their ability to work well together.
Strength (str): Used to determine carrying capacity, melee dmg/attack rolls
Dexterity (dex): Used to determine mobility, add ½ of modifier to AC
Constitution (con): Used to determine fatigue, ammo, breath dmg, add modifier to AC
Intelligence (int): Used for spell casting and skills
Wisdom (wis): Used to ranged combat
Charisma (cha): Used to aid with ride checks
Firing the breath weapon of a dragon is much more an exercise in vision and anticipation then firing a bow on foot is. Therefore, rather then adding dex to the attack roll, dragons add their wis modifier to the attack roll when firing their breath weapon. The pilot may also make a “sense motive” check (with an addition +2 if they have 5 or more ranks in “Ride: Fancy Maneuvers”) to attempt to anticipate to moves of their target. This rolls takes a -1 for every 5’ of distance and must beat a DC of 20 or the opposed “Ride: Fancy Maneuvers” roll of the target. If this roll wins, the rider may help the dragon with its aim, adding a bonus to the dragon’s attack roll equal to ½ of the rider’s base attack bonus.
Range is based on size/con. Base range is 50’. Small is ½ this, large is 2x this. Base range is further modified by con modifier. Small adds 2.5’x con mod, medium adds 5’ x con mod, and large adds 10’ x con mod.
Assume a con of 10. A small dragon will have a base range of 25’, med of 50’ and large of 100’. If con were assumed to be 20, a small dragon would have a base range of 50’, a med of 100’, and a large of 200’.
Ammunition is based solely on con and feats. A dragon holds ammunition equal to 2x it’s con.
Dragons can fire 45 degree to the left and right from their front facing. They can fire up/down 1 elevation level per 20’.
Base dmg is ¼ of the dragon’s HD in d6s + con.
10 HD dragon with a con of 12 has a base breath dmg of 2d6 + 1
Line Weapons (delay 5):
Range = Base Range
Dmg = ½ base dmg * (1 + 0.25/5’ overlap)
Medium dragon with a con of 12 and 10HD fires at a target that is 40 feet away. Since his range is 55’, that is 15’ under range, thus his dmg will be d6×1.75, rounded down. If he rolls a 4, he will deal a total of 7 dmg.
Cone Weapons (delay 7):
Range = ½ base Range in 90 degree arc, centered anywhere horizontally within firing arc. For vertical rang, assume changes 1 elevation level up/down for every 10 ft out.
Dmg = ½ Base Dmg * (1 + 0.25/5’ overlap)
To Hit Modifier = No to hit, instead target must make a reflex save vs a dc of 10 + 1/2HD of dragon + con modifier
Shot Weapons (delay: 3):
Range = 2x base Range
Dmg = 2x base Dmg
Shots per round:
The number of shots per round a dragon can make is based on the delay of its breath weapon and its base attack bonus. Take the base attack bonus of the dragon, that’s used for the 1st shot. Then subtract the breath weapon’s delay from the base attack, if the remainder is greater then 0, that’s the base attack used for the 2nd shot. Repeat until the remainder is 0 or less to a maximum of 6 shots/round.
Example: Shot (delay 3): (+10, +7, +4, +1)
Line (delay 5): (+10, +5)
Cone (delay 7): (+10, +3)
Maneuverability is based on a number of factors. Size, dex and con all influence it in various ways. There are 7 Maneuverability ratings ranging from superb to clumsy (1 being the best). In order to get your dragon’s maneuverability rating, start with the number 4, add your size modifier (2 for large, -2 for small, 0 for medium), then add ¼ your con modifier, then subtract ¼ your dex modifier. This will give you a number, and that is your maneuverability. All dragons can maneuver at a worse rating if that would benefit them more.
1 Superb 180 degree turn costs 5’ of movement, change 1 elevation level/5’ traveled (minimum forward movement is halved)
2 Excellent 90 degree turn costs 15’ of movement, change 1 elevation level/10’ traveled
3 Good Forward 5’; turn 90 degrees (1/round), change 1 elevation level/10’ traveled
4 Average Forward 5’; turn 45 degrees, change 1 elevation level/10’ traveled
5 Below Average Forward 5’; turn 45 degrees (3/round) change 1 elevation level/15’ traveled
6 Poor Clumsy Forward 10’; turn 45 degrees (2/round) change 1 elevation level/20’ traveled
7 Clumsy Forward 10’; turn 45 degrees (1/round), change 1 elevation level/30’ traveled
Large dragons are unable to get a rating better then 4 (average), and medium dragons are unable to get a rating better then 2 (excellent). If your con is greater than 25, an excellent or superb maneuverability rating is impossible.
Small dragons must move at least 10’/round, medium dragons must move at least 25’/round, and large dragons must move at least 540’/round. This move must be made before any turns.
Speed is a function of the dragon’s dex as well as their size. The speed by size is 50’ for small/medium and 75’ for large. Add to this 5 x dex (not dex modifier, the actual dex number).
A small or medium dragon with a dex of 20 would have a base speed of 150’/round, a large dragon with that same dex would move at 175’/round
Flight combat is very strenuous for dragons, thus they have a limit to how long they can keep up with the aerial acrobatics needed to survive. Thus dragons have a fatigue rating. All dragons can keep up with aerial combat for a number of rounds equal to their con. After that, fortitude saves are necessary every round to keep from becoming fatigued. One hour of “cruising” (that is, flight without combat) counts as a single round of in flight combat. Once an enemy is spotted or suspected however, the dragon’s heart and adrenal glands go into a sort of hyperactive mode, causing the dragon to begin burning it’s energy at an increased rate (thus, once an enemy is spotted, the dragon is assumed to be in “combat” and thus rounds start counting towards fatigue). The DC begins at 15 and increases by 1 every round, and must be made every round. Upon failure, the dragon gains a “point” of fatigue. These “fatigue points” count as a negative modifier on all rolls. In addition, add this number to the dragon’s maneuverability rating to get its current maneuverability. If a dragon ever reaches a “10” in maneuverability due to fatigue, they are unable to maneuver and can only glide. This allows them to move at the same speed as the round before, in the same heading, and they drop 1 elevation level every round. They are unable to maneuver left/right at all, and cannot regain altitude.
There are 20 levels of “normal” elevation. Each level corresponds to approx 50’, but is essentially the same for the sake of combat. At the bottom of these levels is the ground. At the top is what can be referred to as the “optimal” ceiling. A dragon can operate at altitudes of 21+, however, this is incredibly taxing on a dragon, and fatigues them much quicker. A dragon loses fatigues at a rate of +1 for every altitude over 20.
A dragon with a con of 10. It takes this dragon 1 hr to fly to the combat zone where it engages in aerial combat for 4 rounds (it’s down to 5 rounds of combat left). It then “Goes Vertical” and climbs up to an altitude of 23 (at the end of this round, it has 1 round to end the combat before it has to start making checks). The following round it “Dives” towards an enemy and engages in a grapple, grabbing the opponent and dropping towards the ground. The beginning of the next round it must first make a Fort save with a DC 15.
Aerial Melee Combat:
Dragons are incredibly strong creatures; something that “conventional” aerial combat doesn’t make use of. Therefore, some dragons/pilots have taken to forcing melee aerial combat. This style of combat is very dangerous, as the chances of catching a full force cone breath weapon are high, as are the chances of a panicked dragon shredding a wing as you fly by in an attempted joust. However, a capable melee dragon can wreck havoc on an enemy squadron, if things go as planned.
One type of aerial combat maneuver is called Jousting. Just as knights on horse back joust by charging each other with lances, then wheeling about and repeating until there is a victor, dragons do something very similar. In aerial jousting, a dragon flies directly at an opponent passing just to the side/above/below; they then rend them with their wicked claws deal significant damage while passing by, usually unharmed. The attacking dragon then quickly turns about and repeats the attack. In this manor, an agile dragon is able to literally rip a larger more heavily armed/armored dragon to shreds.
Another more dangerous type of aerial combat maneuver is grappling. This is where a dragon will literally grab a hold of another and bite/breath/scratch/claw etc dealing damage in a bloody frenzy. In order to initiate a grapple, the attacking dragon must first make a touch attack against the opponent. If this succeeds, both combatants must then make opposed grapple checks. A grapple check is d20 + str modifier + size + elevation bonus. The elevation bonus is a bonus added if the attacking dragon attacks from above, and is equal to the number of elevation levels dropped in this round. If the defending dragon meets or beats the attackers roll, the grapple is unsuccessful. If the attacker wins, however, then a grapple has been initiated. Every round during a grapple, both combatants must make opposed grapple rolls, the winner has “control” over the grapple.
Grappling while flying is an incredibly difficult task, thus in order to do so, a dragon takes a minus 15 to its grapple roll. If only one dragon attempts to fly and grapple (and wins the grapple), that dragon must be able to carry the weight of the other dragon, else they begin to fall anyways.
The winner of a grapple check has a few options:
Pin: This is where the attacker literally pins the defending dragon preventing all movement (including flying).
Full Attack: The attack can make a full attack action, attacking with all natural weapons, including wings if it gives up flying (all at a -4 to hit), and breath weapon.
Dive: The attacking dragon attempts to force the other dragon to the ground by holding it tight and turning into a dive. This doubles the decent rate of the dragons.
Break Free: The winner can choose to end the grapple and fly away. It generally kicks off the “losing” dragon, thus imposing a -5 modifier on the losing dragons “Ride: Recovery” check. Attack Rider: The winning dragon can choose to direct its attacks at the rider of the opposing dragon, same as a Full Attack action, but the target benefits from a further +4 AC due to the nature of Dragon Rider saddles.
If the grappling dragons are unable to maintain flight, they begin to fall at a rate of 1 elevation level/round. If the dragons decide to break the grapple in an attempt to save themselves, the dragon must first “Break Free” (or be freed by the opposing dragon breaking free). Then they must make a “Ride: Recovery” check DC equal to 10 + elevation change + maneuverability rating of the dragon. If this check fails, the dragon continues to fall at a rate of 2 elevation levels/round, if the check succeeds, the dragon has regained control of it’s flight, and may continue flying as normal.
If the dragons do maintain flight, the “flying” dragon steers the combat and must adhere to a maneuverability rating equal to its normal rating +1 (max of 7).
A bull rush is when a dragon physically charges another dragon, slamming into it with the full weight of its body. This maneuver doesn’t usually deal great amounts of physical damage, but is rather used to stun an opponent, or force them off course.
In order to initiate a bull rush, a dragon must physically move into another dragon’s square and make a touch attack roll. This provokes an attack of opportunity. Once contact has been made, opposed strength checks are made, with a bonus to the attacker equal to 1 for every 20 feet flown this round, and a bonus to the defender equal to damage dealt with it’s attack of opportunity. If the attacker wins the bull rush attempt, the losing dragon is “knocked off course.” The losing dragon is moved 10’ in the opposite direction of the attacker, and must make a “Ride: Recovery” check with a DC equal to the roll of the attacker or be stunned for 2 rounds. If the defending dragon wins the opposed roll, then the attacker is stunned for 1 round.
Being stunned in combat is always a bad thing, but it’s even more deadly when that combat takes place hundreds of feet in the air. When a dragon is stunned, it begins an uncontrolled descent. While stunned, a dragon drops 2 altitude levels/round, and continues traveling in its previous direction at ½ the speed of the round before (thus gradually slowing down). If the dragon drops below “minimum forward distance,” its rate of descent doubles to 4 altitude levels/round. After the stun effect wears off, the dragon rider must make a Ride: Recovery check with a dc equal to 10 + altitude change. If this fails, the dragon continues to plummet to the ground with a check being made every round until either the check succeeds or the dragon goes spat.
Taking damage while flying is both dangerous and distracting. A dragon’s wings are made of a tough leathery material, however, this material is nothing next to the concentrated blasts of energy dragons routinely fire at each other, or the wickedly sharp claws they sometimes employ in melee combat.
When a dragon takes more then 1/4th of it’s hp in dmg in a single shot, the shot is considered to have done “noticeable” dmg. This damage threatens to distract the dragon, causing a potentially deadly delay. In order to prevent this, the rider may choose to make a “Ride: Recovery” check against DC 10 + dmg dealt. If this is successful, then nothing happens (aside from the dmg), if it fails however, more deadly effects may take place.
Compare the difference between the “Ride: Recovery” check and the DC and look on the following chart for what additional effects occur.
1 -5’ movement for the next turn
2-5 -15’ movement for the next turn
6-10 Stunned* for 1 turn
11+ Add 2 to the number of rounds of in flight combat that have been enacted thus far
There are a number of special flight maneuvers that a dragon with a skilled rider is capable of. These all, however, require that the rider be very skilled, and that the dragon also trusts the rider to know both of their limits. All of these skills require a “Ride: Fancy Maneuvers” roll, as well as the Fancy Flying feat. The base DC is listed, add to this 2x the maneuverability number of the dragon attempting the move. If the roll fails, the dragon adds another round to his combat round total.
Barrel Roll: (Base DC of 25)
This defensive maneuver is performed in order to try and force a trailing opponent to overshoot your position. Keep your forward trajectory; however, your minimum movement is halved due to your changing altitude. Turning is impossible while performing this aerial stunt.
Going Vertical: (Base DC of 25)
This maneuver is one that is used to gain altitude quickly and with a minimum of forward movement. If this maneuver is performed correctly, move forward only 5’ and gain a level of altitude. Then you may trade distance for altitude at a rate of 20’/level, with no forward movement.
Nose Dive: (Base DC of 20)
This maneuver allows for a dragon to lower its altitude significantly in a very short distance. If the roll is made, the dragon moves forward 5’ for its first 2 levels of altitude loss, and can then drop altitude at a rate of 10’/level, with no forward movement.
Skid: (Base DC of 20)
This maneuver allows for a slight lateral movement with out actually turning in exchange for altitude. If the roll is successful, the dragon may more 10’ either left or right, and drop 1 level of altitude (minimum forward movement is still required).
Break Turn: (Base DC of 35 )
This maneuver allows for the dragon to drop forward momentum and use it to power a hard right or left turn. If the roll is successful, the dragon immediately turns left or right (with no forward movement) and then must use its minimum forward movement.
Loop: (Base DC of 40)
This handy defensive maneuver places you up to ¼ your total movement directly back from your current facing, facing the same direction. You must have at least 10 feet free in front of you, and at least 4 elevation levels up directly above you must be free, with that elevation level clear of obstruction back to your destination.
Requirements: Maneuverability of 5 or better, Ride: Fancy Maneuvers 5
The character has been trained in fancy (and dangerous) flying maneuvers. This feat allows the use of “Fancy Moves.”
The dragon is capable of carrying other dragons over both short and long distances. The dragon being carried must be at least 1 size smaller (can carry 2x if they are both 2 sizes smaller), and the weight must be within the dragons flight capacity. When let go, the carried dragons drop 1 altitude level directly below the carrying dragon, and must make a Ride: Recovery check DC of 15.
Requirements: Con of 15+
The dragon has developed a 2nd type of breath weapon. Pick a new type of breath weapon (cone/line/shot). The dragon must determine each round which breath weapon to use, and this new breath weapon uses 2x the ammo. If this feat is picked up a 2nd time, the 3rd breath weapon uses 4x the ammo.
Requirements: Dex of 19+, Med Size
The dragon’s neck is longer and more flexible then average, thus allowing it a greater firing arc. The dragon’s base firing arc is now 180 degrees (90 in each direction), and can fire up/down 1 elevation level every 10 feet.
Requirements: Con of 19+, Dragon Level 5+
The dragon gains the ability to regenerate damager dealt to hit at the cost of fatigue. As a standard action, for 1 round of fatigue, the dragon can regenerate d6 hp, up to a maximum of 5d6/round. The dragon cannot do this if already being forced to make fortitude saving throws.
Requirements: Dex of 22+, Con of less then 20, Medium size or smaller
The dragon and rider are apt at waiting for just the right moment to dodge an incoming attack. When using this maneuver, the dragon/rider pair “ready an action” for when an opposing dragon fires/charges/attacks, the pair then immediately move up to ¼ of their base movement, or can make a Fancy Flying move. This counts towards movement from the round before (such as turns etc), though minimum forward movement must be done without the use of this feat.
Requirements: Con 20+, Medium size or larger, Shot Breath Weapon
The dragon is a master as dealing significant damage from afar. Forsaking maneuverability for increased damage potential, the dragon’s Shot Breath damage is doubled, but the dragon may not turn or gain/lose elevation for 1 round before, after or during the round in which this feat is activated. Ammo is also consumed at 2x the normal rate.
On Their Tail…
Requirements: Dex of 25+, Medium size or smaller, Fancy Flying
The dragon and rider pair is good at getting on an enemies tail and staying there, regardless of he attempts of the opponent. To do this, the dragon must get directly behind an opposing dragon of equal or larger size and be within the rider pair’s base movement. The rider pair may then “ready a partial action” to stay on the opponent’s tail. When the tailed dragon goes to move, the rider pair make a “Sense Motive” check (+2 synergy bonus if they have 5 or more ranks in Ride: Fancy Maneuvers) vs a DC of 10 + the distance between the two dragons – the tailed dragon’s maneuverability rating. Or the dragon being tailed may attempt to shake the trailing dragon by opposing the roll (replacing the DC) with a Ride: Fancy Maneuvers check, to which he gets a bonus of ½ the distance between the dragons minus his maneuverability rating. If the trailing dragon fails, they continue on their current direction at ½ their base speed. If the trailing dragon succeeds, they stay directly behind the dragon they’re tailing and move up to their base speed after it, regardless of maneuverability (they stay in the wind vacuum created by the first dragon). The only way for a dragon to lose a tail is either to win the roll, or perform a “Fancy Move.” If the trailing dragon is unable to perform the fancy move on its own (doesn’t have the feat, fails the Ride: Fancy Maneuvers check) then it is considered that the trailing dragon failed it’s Sense Motive check.
Requirements: Wis 16+, Medium size or larger, Shot Breath Weapon
The dragon is capable of steadying its flight to deliver is Shot Breath with pin-point accuracy. The dragon cannot turn or gain/lose elevation the turn before, during, or the turn after this feat is activated. In exchange for this loss in mobility, the dragon gains a bonus to hit equal to 10 – its maneuverability rating. This feat may be combined with Heavy Breathing, but if done so, the # of rounds of no turning is doubled (2 rounds before, 2 rounds after) and both feats are active at the same time. Both feats may remain active for up to 3 rounds as long as the dragon takes no damage. The dragon is stuck on its trajectory with no turning left/right and no elevation gain/loss for 2x the number of rounds these feats are active. The dragon takes a -6 AC penalty while this feat is active.
The dragon is capable of boosting speed significantly when needed. As a free action the dragon can add 5’ x its con number (not modifier) to its base movement for a round. This is very taxing on a dragon’s body, and any rounds that this is active count as double for determining fatigue.
The dragon is capable of converting ammunition to adrenaline and back. The dragon can increase the number of rounds of aerial combat it can endure by 1 for every 3 units of “ammo” sacrificed. The dragon can increase ammo by 1 by adding 1 to the number of rounds of aerial combat thus far endured. This is a free action.
Requirements: Energy Conversion
The dragon is able to convert energy with supreme efficiency. The rate of ammo -> fatigue is now 1 for 2 (2 units of ammo sacrificed for every 1 extra round of combat endurance) and the rate of fatigue -> ammo is now 2 for 1 (1 round of combat endurance sacrificed for 2 units of ammo).