When my D&D group started Kingmaker, Shane told us we needed to have backup characters ready. You know, just in case. We were going in over-leveled, so he was adding a template to it that was going to introduce a bunch of mysterious NPCs who may or may not have it in for us.
I spent quite a while researching classes, because if I was going to make a backup, I wanted it to be different from what I was playing. But nothing really appealed to me.
Eventually, I decided on a bard hybrid, and with my DM’s permission, I decided to combine it with a third-party prestige class, the dragon fury.
It’s basically musical Natsu.
Meet Diana, the Dragonsong.
Diana is a Lympasi, built using the race I created based on a Disney movie. I rolled her stats based on a 6×6 grid where all ones and everything under 10 is re-rolled.
Based on that, her starting stats are: Strength 20, Dexterity 19, Constitution 17, Intelligence 12, Wisdom 13, and Charisma 20.
She’s designed to function as an overpowered fighter and competent healer, both necessary in the unfriendly wilderness of Kingmaker. That does make it a little complicated, and it needs three classes to shine:
- Bard, with the arcane healer archetype
- Fighter, nominally with the two-weapon warrior archetype
- Dragon fury
And because it’s going to be so dependent on two-weapon fighting, I’ve designed her to dual-wield two sickles.
Building a Dragonsong
When building this class, there are a few things you’ll want to focus on to build it as quickly and efficiently as possible.
First, the key stats are Charisma and Dexterity, with Strength and Constitution falling just after. Intelligence and Wisdom won’t really matter. The only reason I placed Strength above Dexterity in my build for Diana is because the numbers were close enough that I could maximize damage and still keep Dexterity high for skills.
Second, there’s a feat chain that’s absolutely necessary to build it: The Martial Training chain. Because this build is based on a bard for the healing ability, and not on a class that gets a martial discipline, this chain is a prerequisite for unlocking the dragon fury class. It requires you to have a base attack bonus of +3 and three ranks in Knowledge (Martial) before you can take it.
Third, to unlock dragon fury, you’re also going to need to have six ranks in Knowledge (Martial) and Acrobatics, along with everything else I outline in this build.
Her level progression
This build focuses on bard and dragon fury, and only really brings in fighter for the extra feats. Each level gets the regular bonuses to base attack bonus, saves, and spells—I haven’t written them in, but I’ll link to them throughout this post for you!
Level 1: Level 1 bard
Bard is the core class for this build, and this level unlocks bardic performances. These performances can be used 4 + Charisma modifier rounds per day, which with Diana’s stats means nine rounds. You get an additional two rounds for every level you take as a bard.
For the first-level character feat, use Two-Weapon Fighting to reduce the penalty for dual wielding with a light weapon in your off-hand to -2.
Level 2: Level 2 bard
This is where the arcane healer archetype comes in. At second level, this type of bard gets the ability to channel positive energy as a cleric one level lower than its own level. It’s not super strong, because you can only use it once per day at this level, but that’s one healing spell you don’t have to use up.
Level 3: Level 3 bard
Along with an additional type of performance, you get another feat here. This build uses the Combat Reflexes feat, which means you can make extra attacks of opportunity and make them while flat-footed.
It’s good, but not great—its main strength is that it’s the first step in the Asura feat chain. You’ll see.
Level 4: Level 1 fighter
This is where it starts to get fun. Taking fighter at this point unlocks a bonus feat through the fighter’s first-level writeup, and by now you meet the prerequisites for Martial Training I.
This feat unlocks a martial discipline, so you’ll want to take Thrashing Dragon as your discipline, choose Charisma for your initiation mod, and choose two first-level maneuvers from the discipline. You can ready one for use at this point, and it takes a full-round action to recover it for use again.
Maneuvers I chose: Inner Sphere Stance, Swift Claws.
Level 5: Level 4 bard
Back to the bard, and you’ll see why at next level. The highlight here is your fifth-level character feat, Martial Training II. This unlocks two new maneuvers and one new stance from the Thrashing Dragon discipline, and means you can ready two for use instead of one.
Maneuvers I chose: Outer Sphere Stance, Sun Dips Low, Flash Kick.
Level 6: Level 5 bard
At fifth level, an arcane healer gains the ability to expend two rounds of bardic performance to cast cure light wounds as a spell-like ability. And by this point, based on Diana’s stats, she’ll have 17 rounds of bardic performance to use for that.
Assuming I don’t use a lot of bardic performance for other things, that’s basically eight extra spell slots specifically for healing.
Level 7: Level 2 fighter
The main reason for going back to fighter is the second-level bonus feat—you get your seventh-level character feat, but you’ll need to take two feats here for dragon fury.
It doesn’t matter which you take for the bonus feat or for the character level feat, but the two you want are Martial Training III, which unlocks third-level maneuvers, and Discipline Focus (Thrashing Dragon), which is the last prerequisite you need for dragon fury. You need third-level maneuvers to be able to take your discipline focus.
Maneuvers I chose: Vicious Swipe, Battle Dragon’s Stance.
Level 8: Level 1 dragon fury
From here on out, this build rushes every level of dragon fury. You don’t get any extra maneuvers or anything just for taking this class, but you do get some bonuses:
- Dragon fury training, which means you can now add your dragon fury level to the number of uses of bardic performance per day (which means more heals)
- Dual fang focus, which gives you a +1 competence bonus to attack and damage rolls when dual wielding
- Sharp fang, which automatically gives you Power Attack and lets you treat both weapons as main-hand weapons when calculating your damage bonuses
Level 9: Level 2 dragon fury
Most levels of dragon fury will give you the option to add more stances, maneuvers, and counters to your arsenal.
Maneuver I chose: Devastation Roll.
The other highlight at this level is the feat, Asura Technique. It’s still not the finished product, but it means opponents flanking you get a -1 penalty on their flanking bonus, and you get a +2 to your dodge AC to avoid attacks of opportunity from moving through threatened squares.
Level 10: Level 3 dragon fury
Here, you unlock dragon fury defense, which gives you a +1 shield bonus to your AC when in a Thrashing Dragon stance and dual wielding. You also get an extra maneuver, for which I chose Deadly Dragon Strike.
At this level, you can now prepare four maneuvers for use.
Maneuver I chose: Deadly Dragon Strike
Level 11: Level 4 dragon fury
At this level, you both get another maneuver, and your dual fang focus from first-level dragon fury increases to a +2 bonus. This means that by now, your -2 from dual wielding is completely negated.
Maneuver I chose: Doom Talon
You also get a character level feat, for which I picked Asura Motion, the last in the Asura feat chain. This feat means that each melee attack you make in the same round against different targets takes an additional 2d6 damage.
That’s right. The first thing you hit takes regular damage, the second one takes an extra 2d6, and the third one takes an additional 4d6. It does cap at 4d6, and works even if you don’t cleave.
Level 12: Level 5 dragon fury
Along with an extra stance, this level means you get vicious fang. And this means that you treat sharp fang, from dragon fury level 1, as if both your dual-wielded weapons were two-handed weapons.
Which basically means that when you power attack, instead of adding just your regular Strength mod to the damage, you add one-and-a-half times your Strength mod.
Maneuver I chose: Bend with the Wind
Level 13: Level 6 dragon fury
Here, your shield bonus from dragon fury defense increases to +2. You also get another maneuver and you can prepare five maneuvers for use.
Maneuver I chose: Alacrity on Wing
You also get a character level feat, which—finally—means that you get to use Cleave. Usually, this feat is much, much earlier, especially for fighters. But for this build, which already dual wields, it made more sense to go with the Asura chain for more damage on each thing than the Cleave chain for more things hit.
Level 14: Level 7 dragon fury
The only real thing of note here, along with all your regular bonuses and additions, is that your dual fang focus bonus increases to +3.
Level 15: Level 8 dragon fury
At this level, you unlock deadly fang recovery, which means that whenever you last-hit something while using a martial strike or dual wielding, you recover one of your expended maneuvers.
Maneuver I chose: Thrashing Dragon Frenzy
You also get a character level feat, Great Cleave. Essentially, as long as you succeed on your first hit, you can keep rolling to hit anything adjacent to the first thing and within your range. Combined with dual wielding and the Asura feat chain, this gets deadly really quickly.
Level 16: Level 9 dragon fury
By now, you’re almost done the dragon fury class. Your dragon fury defense bonus goes up to +3, and you get both another stance and the ability to prepare six maneuvers per day.
Maneuver I chose: Dragon Warrior’s Talons
Level 17: Level 10 dragon fury
This is it, the last level available for dragon fury! Which means you unlock some pretty cool stuff. Along with the bonus for dual fang focus increasing to +4, you also get your seventeenth-level character feat, Cleaving Finish. Which basically means that when you KO something, you can hit another thing within reach once per round.
It also unlocks the true Natsu potential of this build. At level 10, the dragon fury gains dragon war god’s dance, an intense stance that lets you, as a full-round action:
- Move any distance as a free action (as long as the total for the round doesn’t exceed twice your movement speed)
- Make attacks up to your maximum on a full-round action, with each attack dealing an additional 4d6 damage
This, when combined with the Asura chain and the Cleave chain, makes for some pretty serious map control and damage. You can keep dashing as a free action, and keep hitting as long as there are things to cleave.
The only downside is that a lot like Outrage for Dragonites, it can only be maintained for 5 + your Constitution mod rounds, after which you’re fatigued for the same number of rounds you were berserking.
Level 18: Level 6 bard
Now that this build is all done with the dragon fury, it’s back to the bard for better healing. At this level, your uses of channel energy from the arcane healer increases to two per day.
Level 19: Level 7 bard
For your character level feat, finish off the Cleave chain with Improved Cleaving Finish, which removes the once-per-round cap for Cleaving Finish.
Level 20: Level 8 bard
Along with your regular bonuses, this gives you another bardic performance.
Level 21: Level 9 bard
Fun fact: Although classes all stop at level 20, characters can build higher than that, as long as the DM is okay with it.
Along with another bardic performance, at this level you get Reactive Healing as a character level feat—which means that when damage would reduce you to 0 or fewer hit points, you can expend one use of channel energy as a reaction to heal yourself. It doesn’t burst, though.
Level 22: Level 10 bard
A bard classic, here you unlock Jack of All Trades, which means you can use any skill even if you aren’t trained.
Level 23: Level 11 bard
This is where I consider this build finished. The arcane healer’s ability to expend bardic performance in exchange for cure spells increases to cure moderate wounds here, and you get another character level feat, Toughness.
Usually I like to use Toughness earlier on, when characters are squishy, but well, there were other things I needed the feat space for. And this makes for a good finishing touch, too.
So there you have it—the Dragonsong. I’m currently playing it in our Kingmaker campaign, and although it’s been a bit tough at first level (bards are squishy), I’m excited to see how it goes. Let me know if you decide to try it, too!