Final Fantasy in D&D: The Alternate Dragoon

Last week I designed a couple of Final Fantasy-themed subclasses: the Dark Knight for the paladin, and the Dragoon for the fighter. And while I do think I did a pretty good job of translating the mechanics of those games over into a D&D context, there was something about the dragoon that bothered me.

Its mechanics kind of…don’t work in D&D. Like, it took me forever to come up with a way for the Jump action to actually, you know, work. Figuring out the damage method, the attack’s range, and the necessary actions revealed a major problem:

Video game mechanics, particularly those from the old turn-based or ATB RPGs, don’t often work in a D&D context. A spell that hits “all enemies” in a side-view RPG has to be re-interpreted to have some kind of area effect. And abilities that are single actions in those same RPGs, such as the dragoon’s Jump, Chrono Trigger’s X-Strike, or various “Limit Break” attacks that involve multiple attacks and a variety of intricate movements sure look cool on the screen, but tend to go against the general conceit of D&D.

Actions are often delineated in tabletop RPGs like this. You don’t say “I use my jump command.” Instead, you would describe yourself leaping into the air and coming down on a foe like Artorias in Dark Souls. The dragoon I designed last week is explicitly designed to feel like the version from the video game. It has the “Jump” command.

This week, I decided to design one that’s a little less video game and a little more D&D. It’s still a magical warrior with enhanced aerial ability and the power to draw in an opponent’s energy to enhance themselves. However, I added in a litle more “dragon” to this dragoon, giving it a frightful presence, and I expanded the utility of its Lancet ability, giving you three categories to choose from when you strike a foe. Overall, it probably doesn’t feel exactly like the Final Fantasy dragoon. However, I think it does feel more like something you might actually use in a D&D campaign.

PDF Link: The Dragoon v2.0

The Dragoon

It is said that the first Dragoons were barbarian kings who learned their magicks from dragons themselves. Now, however, they are an elite fighting force under the command of the king of Baron. Their command of the skies and ability to drop on their enemies without warning makes them ideal for ambushing enemy forces and taking out high-value targets.

FFLTnS_Onion_Dragoon_Artwork

DRAGOON FEATURES
Level Feature
3rd Ride the Wind, Lancet
7th Death From Above
10th Frightful Presence
15th Dragon Heart
18th Highwind

Ride the Wind

When you choose this martial archetype at 3rd level you can jump three times the normal height and distance, though you can’t jump farther than your remaining movement speed would allow. You also no longer take damage from falling less than 100 feet.

Lancet

Starting at 3rd level, you can draw on your enemy’s power when you strike them. Once per round, when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can gain one of the following benefits. This benefit lasts for 1 minute, or until you replace it with a different benefit.

  • Might: Once per round when you hit with a weapon attack, you may deal an additional 1d6 points of cold, fire, or lightning damage. This damage increases to 1d8 at 7th level, 1d10 at 10th level, and 1d12 at 15th level.
  • Vigor: You gain temporary hit points equal to your fighter level.
  • Mobility: You increase your movement speed by 10 feet. This increases to 15 feet at 7th level, 20 feet at 10th level, and 25 feet at 15th level.

You may use this feature three times, and you regain all expended uses of it when you complete a short or long rest.

Death From Above

Starting at 7th level, you gain advantage on all weapon attack rolls so long as you are in midair.

Frightful Presence

Starting at 10th level, as a bonus action, you exude an aura of intimidation, instilling great fear in your foes. Each creature that can see and hear you within 30 feet must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat this saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to this feature for the next 24 hours.

The saving throw DC for this feature is equal to 8 + your Proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier.

Once you use this feature, you cannot do so again until you complete a short or long rest.

Dragon Heart

When you reach 15th level, when you roll initiative and have no uses of your Lancet feature remaining, you regain a single use of that feature.

Highwind

Upon reaching 18th level, when you take damage that brings you to 0 hit points but does not kill you outright, you may immediately regain hit points equal to 1d10 + your fighter level. In addition, for 1 minute thereafter, you regain 1d10 hit points at the start of each of your turns.

Once you use this feature, you cannot do so again until you complete a short or long rest.

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2 thoughts on “Final Fantasy in D&D: The Alternate Dragoon

Add yours

  1. I’d love to try out playing this subclass.
    Just a few general thoughts on it.

    Ride the wind: Really captures the flavor and movement of the class I’m a big fan of it. I’d love to see at level 18 them just becoming forever immune to fall damage.

    Lancet: Lots of cool options and ways to use it makes it flexible and gives round by round decisions to keep it interesting. It being a rider that activates off an attack works really well with the fighter since that gives it a lot of chances to proc and gets rid of the problem a lot of abilities have of being bonus action dependent. All in all a really good set up for level 3. not too powerful to make it too dipable but really gives the core of this class a solid foundation. One quick question about it though, is only the vigor supposed to scale off fighter level or are all of them supposed to get stronger off specifically fighter level? (as written might and mobility keep scaling off total class level not fighter level right now)

    Death from above: if a DM allows every attack to be mid jump this is probably a little too strong given the volume of attacks a fighter can pump out. I love the idea but probably should be limited to once per round.

    Frightful Presence: This is a great way of making it feel more draconic! I love it. Is it intentional that right now it effects allies? (nothing wrong with that being the case I just wasn’t sure if that was the intent)

    Dragon Heart: this mechanic continues to work well for every fighter subclass in the game that uses it. Good case of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Works well.

    Highwind: awesome ability that works well the themes of endurance already in the fighter with its second wind and indomitable and that was already reinforced by this subclass at level 3 with them giving themselves temp HP. Works well thematically I’m a big fan. I assume it is intended to make you keep getting back up from 0hp at the start of your turns for 1 minute? Since that is about as strong as regenerate (a 7th level spell) for combat purposes maybe limit it to only once per long rest? But I also get that everything else in this subclass comes back off short rest so I understand why it is per short or long rest.

    As always I love reading your work. Please understand that what critique I have comes from a place of respect and a desire to help. (kind of like an editor would)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment! The best kind of critique is the kind that tells me you really engaged with the content in question, so I absolutely welcome it.

      Re: Lancet: It was intended to scale with fighter level. I have this weird problem when I design things where I assume multiclassing doesn’t exist for some reason. Future updates will reflect this.

      Re: Death from Above: I actually flipped back and forth on whether or not to limit this to once per round during the design phase. I even considered including a note about encouraging DMs to only allow one aerial attack per round. In the end, I landed on the old designer standby: leave it overpowered, and see what happens in playtesting.

      Re: Frightful Presence: It wasn’t intended to affect allies, but I also find that to be an interesting wrinkle. I’ll let playtesting bear this one out.

      Re: Highwind: I didn’t consider the Regenerate connection. The intent was to create a more limited but strategically useful version of the Survivor class feature found in the Champion. Along the way, I decided to blend it with the Second Wind feature (thus the initial 1d10 + fighter level in healing). Limiting it to once per long rest wouldn’t break the class, and will likely be integrated into future updates.

      Again, thank you for the feedback. It’s this sort of engagement that I love to see.

      Like

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