Prestige Classes


"When you cross me, you cross my entire heritage. And my ancestors were unstoppable tyrants of the skies."

-Lauthus Thulcher, dragon descendant

A secretive monastic order, dragon descendants tap into the power of their draconic heritage to call on their ancestors in times of need. Then they fight in synthesis with the spirit of a long-dead dragon that bolsters both offense and defense.


Almost all dragon descendants are monks with multiple chromatic dragons in their family tree. But they aren't necessarily evil, nor do they necessarily know all the details of their ancestry.


You know that you are part of a long line of dragons, even if the details of your genealogy are revealed only gradually, and that heritage is important to you. Whenever you call an ancestor spirit to share your soul, that connection deepens.

The scholars of the First Scroll share many of your values, such as an interest in the power of dragon bloodlines and the potency of draconic magic. They teach the meditation techniques that open your soul to your ancestors. Likewise, some dragons know these techniques and can teach them to students. Certain dragons go so far as to watch their human relative from a distance, revealing the true "family history" when the character reaches adulthood.

Thus, it's not uncommon for a dragon descendant to learn the techniques of the class but grow horrified by the evil acts of the dragons that teach them. Fortunately, once a dragon descendant learns the meditation techniques, he subsequently needs only solitary practice. The path to ancestral enlightenment doesn't require constant study with dragons or the First Scroll.


The most important choice you make in combat is which ancestor spirit you want.

  • The rampaging ancestor is always a solid choice in melee; no one looks askance at bonuses on attack rolls and damage rolls.
  • The subtle ancestor is useful when infiltrating and attacking with surprise, but it's less helpful if your foes are aware of you.
  • The eldritch ancestor has only one benefit, but it's a big one: a ranged attack no monk can match. Combined with your monklike maneuverability, it makes you an elusive foe.
  • Choose the enduring ancestor when you're trying to occupy a monster's full attention while your allies do something else.
  • Call the ancient ancestor in climactic fights to the death with a major enemy.

Most dragon descendants learn the necessary meditative techniques from a dragon or from members of the First Scroll. As you gain more levels in this class, First Scroll researchers might ask for your help. On the other hand, a chromatic dragon might tempt you with power and an alliance, bringing you face to face with the truth about your heritage - there are powerful evildoers in your past.

After you've learned how to connect with your ancestor spirits, advancing as a dragon descendant is mostly a matter of solitary practice and meditation. Once you enter the class, your instructors have no further insight to provide, and they can't prevent your advancement even if you spurn them.

At every odd-numbered level, you become able to connect to a new ancestor dragon spirit. The first time you do so is during an extended meditation not unlike a seance. You converse with your ancestor, and thereafter that same ancestor spirit will return whenever you call. Some dragon descendants revel in the connection with their ancestry and treat the spirits as friends. Others hold them at a serene distance, and a few smile as they force the evildoers of the past to make amends by using their power for good.

When you gain access to a new ancestor, take some time to think about who that dragon was in life. It's more interesting to plead, "Aid me, oh Kur-i-yah of the Howling Mountains" than to simply say "I call my rampaging ancestor."


Because dragon descendants are solitary in nature, individuals provide little if anything in the way of resources for one another. Unless you are affiliated with an organization such as the First Scroll, it is likely that the only resources you have access to are those that you procure for yourself.


"I don't know where she learned such martial arts techniques. They have a... sinuous quality I've never seen before."

-Horu Desh, master of the Knife-as-Wind school

Dragon descendants engage in the same rigorous physical and mental exercises that monks do, plus they spend time in meditation communing with their ancestors. A dragon descendant is almost always sharing spirit-space with a long-dead ancestor, so it's common for him to make historical references that other members of his party don't understand. Some dragon descendants change personalities - at least to a degree - depending on which ancestor spirit they're currently hosting.


Dragon descendants have no formal organization of their own. A human monk known only as Brother Denka was the first dragon descendant among members of the First Scroll, more than 400 years ago. He taught the technique to dozens of disciples before being summoned to meet with the group's upper hierarchy, after which he was never seen again.

Today, many dragon descendants remain affiliated with the First Scroll, taking directions from the group's leaders. Others serve mighty dragons as trusted lieutenants. In fact, a human dragon descendant who has risen to the top of the Shadow's Fangs cabal actually shares an ancestor with the group's secret master, Vaeratrux.

NPC Reactions

Chromatic dragons show great respect to dragon descendants because they have a special connection to their own bloodline and heritage. Thus, chromatic dragons have an initial attitude of friendly toward any dragon descendant who is not overtly hostile or is not known to be working against that dragon's particular machinations.

Few others know about dragon descendants and so have no preconceptions about them. However, historians - characters with 4 or more ranks in Knowledge (history) - are fascinated with the idea of conversing with long-dead ancestors, and a dragon descendant who demonstrates this ability gains a +2 circumstance bonus on social interactions with them.


Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) can research dragon descendants to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.

DC 10: Some people with dragon blood in their family tree can speak to their dead dragon ancestors through meditation. They're called dragon descendants.

DC 15: Dragon descendants can call an ancestor dragon spirit into their bodies. When they do, they take on some of the abilities of that ancestor, including fighting styles, stealth, and magic.

DC 20: The more powerful a dragon descendant, the more different ancestor spirits he can call - but only one at a time.

DC 25: A group known as the First Scroll can teach the techniques necessary to become a dragon descendant.

DC 30: Characters who achieve this level of success can learn important details about a specific notable dragon descendant, the areas where he operates, and the kinds of activities he undertakes.


At first, dragon descendants appear to be similar to monks. Other characters usually don't notice a difference until they start changing their abilities and appearance as they shift ancestor spirits.

Dragon descendants invite players to make interesting tactical choices by picking the best ancestor spirit for a given situation. The class should appeal to players who like family history to be an important part of their characters' backgrounds. And because dragon descendants are connected to evil dragons, the class makes a great option for players who like their characters to have a sinister past but have also vowed to reform.


As written, the dragon descendant is a 10-level prestige class. But if you have a player who is fascinated by this option, consider extending the class rather than forcing a less interesting choice (probably back to monk) after 10th level. Offer new ancestor spirits at every odd-numbered level, and cap the extended version of the class by granting the double synthesis ability at the highest level.

If the notion of an evil heritage doesn't work for your game, it's easy to imagine metallic dragons having dragon descendants. This adaptation requires nothing more than changing the rampaging ancestor to a crusading ancestor instead.

Sample Encounter

A good encounter with a dragon descendant keeps players guessing as the NPC shifts abilities to handle changing tactical situations. The more times he calls a new ancestor and exhibits the attendant physical and ability changes, the more interesting the encounter. Perhaps the PCs come into contact with a dragon descendant through their dealings with the First Scroll, or maybe their quest for ancient lore leads them to a strange but knowledgeable villager who is thought to be cursed because of his frequent personality shifts and incessant mutterings.

EL 12: Lauthus Thulcher (LE male human monk 5/dragon descendant 5) is a dragon descendant utterly loyal to the green dragon Tranchaminax (LE young adult green dragon) because it taught him to tap into the power of his ancestry. As a war orphan, he knew nothing of his heritage until Tranchaminax showed him how to reach his ancestor spirits. Now he performs assassinations on behalf of his master and sometimes leads small groups of the dragon's minions.

Hit Die: d8.


To qualify to become a dragon descendant, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Skills: Concentration 8 ranks.

Feats: Combat Reflexes, Dragontouched or Draconic Heritage (any chromatic dragon), Improved Unarmed Strike.

Special: Still mind class feature.

Class Skills

The dragon descendant's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), and Tumble (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: The Dragon Descendant

Level Base
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Monk abilities, rampaging ancestor
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Ancestral lore
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 Subtle ancestor
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 Slippery mind
5th +3 +4 +1 +4 Eldritch ancestor
6th +4 +5 +2 +5 Rapid calling
7th +5 +5 +2 +5 Enduring ancestor
8th +6 +6 +2 +6 Detect dragonblood
9th +6 +6 +3 +6 Ancient ancestor
10th +7 +7 +3 +7 Double synthesis
Class Features

As you attain higher levels, you gain access to more of your ancestral heritage, culminating in your ability to call on the spirits of two of your ancestors at the same time.

All of the following are class features of the dagon descendant prestige class.

Monk Abilities: Throughout your career as a dragon descendant, your dragon descendant levels stack with your monk levels for determining your unarmed damage, Armor Class bonus, and unarmored speed bonus.

Ancestor: At every odd-numbered level, you can tap into the power of a specific, notable ancestor dragon to augment your own abilities. When you call an ancestor's spirit to you, your facial features shift to become a combination of your own face and that of your ancestor. Calling an ancestor spirit is a standard action.

Until you reach 10th level, you can have only one ancestor spirit active at a time. When you call a new one, the old one automatically departs.

Rampaging Ancestor: Starting at 1st level, you can call a dragon ancestor known for its destructive rampages through the countryside. When you call that ancestor's spirit, you become immune to fear and gain a +1 insight bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls. At 5th level the insight bonus increases to +2, and at 9th level it increases to +3. In addition, your unarmed strikes are considered to be magic and chaotic-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Subtle Ancestor: Starting at 3rd level, you establish a connection to an ancestor dragon that was a puppet master, wielding influence among the lesser races with subterfuge. When you call that ancestor's spirit, you gain an insight bonus on Hide checks and Move Silently checks equal to your dragon descendant class level, and you don't take the standard -5 penalty for moving quickly while you sneak around. You can also make sneak attacks as a rogue of your dragon descendant level, dealing an extra 2d6 points of damage with each successful sneak attack (this stacks with any existing sneak attack or similar class feature you have).

Eldritch Ancestor: Starting at 5th level, you can connect to an ancestor dragon that was a powerful spellcaster. When you call on the eldritch ancestor's spirit, you gain the spell-like ability to emit a ray with a range of 60 feet. This ranged touch attack affects a single target, allows no saving throw, and deals 1d6 points of damage per two dragon descendant class levels. The ray is the equivalent of a spell whose level is equal to one-half your dragon descendant class level (round down). The ray is subject to spell resistance, and it deals half damage to objects.

Enduring Ancestor: Starting at 7th level, you connect to an ancestor dragon that survived such adversity as attacks from other dragons, would-be dragonslayers, and adventurers seeking to raid its hoard. When you call on this ancestor's spirit, you gain an insight bonus on saving throws equal to one-half your class level. You also gain damage reduction X/cold iron, where X is equal to your dragon descendant class level.

Ancient Ancestor: Starting at 9th level, you reach an ancestor dragon known widely to sages and historians even today - one of the great ancient dragons of folklore. When you call on this ancestor's spirit, you can make an attack of opportunity against any foe who attempts a melee attack against you, until you have reached your limit of attacks of opportunity set by your Dexterity score and the Combat Reflexes feat. Furthermore, you gain an insight bonus to your Armor Class equal to one-half your dragon descendant class level.

Ancestral Lore: When you meditate, you sometimes hear the whispers of your ancestors, and if you concentrate hard enough, you can briefly communicate with them and benefit from their draconic lore. This contact functions like bardic knowledge, except that you substitute a Concentration check for the bardic knowledge check. Starting at 2nd level, you can meditate in this way once per week.

Slippery Mind: Starting at 4th level, the presence of an ancestor dragon's spirit can jar your mind free of magical effects that would otherwise control or compel you. For more details, see the rogue class feature.

Rapid Calling: By 6th level, you have made such lasting connections to your ancestors that you're able to call them forth more quickly. From now on, connecting to an ancestor spirit takes only a swift action, not a standard action.

Detect Dragonblood (Sp): Starting at 8th level, you can detect nearby dragons at will; their blood seems to sing to you faintly. See the detect dragonblood spell.

Double Synthesis: Starting at 10th level, your soul is such a welcome home for your ancestors that you can have two ancestor dragon spirits active at the same time, gaining the full benefit of each. If you call a third ancestor, the spirit that has been with you the longest departs to make room for the newcomer.