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Dragon Shaman, a Martial Class Inspired by 3.5e
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Dragon Shaman, a Martial Class Inspired by 3.5e

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To many, strength and power is the ultimate goal.  And no creature embodies these traits like dragons.  Those who seek to emulate these majestic beings call themselves Dragon Shamans.  Their very bodies adapt to more draconic forms, granting them boosting auras, resilient scales, and even powerful wings.  To become a Dragon Shaman is to become power, and to gain the will to use it.

The Dragon Shaman class presented in this title is based on the Dragon Shaman in 3.5e's Player's Handbook II.  There, the Dragon Shaman acted as something of a buff-providing leader and damage-dealing striker.  Their auras gave the entire party useful combat as well as social buffs, while the dragon shaman herself slowly became more and more dragonlike.  In 5e, the Dragon Shaman fulfills the same types of rolls, acting as a strong party face, buffing her allies, and gaining powerful draconic abilities based on the type of totem dragon they select; Chromatic or Metallic.

The Barbarian subclass concept I released in September, 2017 will no longer be available by normal means, as I've decided to focus my products on the best options available.  However, if you really want it, just contact me and I will happily provide it for you.

This work is part of the collections of the Arcane Athenæum.  Check out our other works below.

The Artificer class

The Dragon Shaman class

The Ranger class

The Swordmage class

The Barbarian: Path of the Wild Soul subclass

The Monk: Way of the Mystic Force subclass

The Wizard: Blue Magic and Sangromancy subclasses

The Sharkfolk player race

The Treant player race

Crafting Magic Items: A Guide to Artifice

The Draconomicon for 5e

The Explorer's Guide to the Wilderness


Version 3.0 02Feb2019


  • Document has been updated with the new formatting that all of my content will have going forward.  As a result, much of the art assets have been removed.
Metallic Totem Dragon
  • The 10th and 14th level features have been switched; you know gain the Alter Appearance ability at lvl 10, and your second breath weapon at lvl 14.  This was partly because Alter Appearance wasn't a powerful enough feature to justify the high level to attain it, while a second breath weapon is certainly much stronger.  Additionally, this falls in line with the Chromatic Totem Dragon scaling, where they get a breath weapon-affecting feature at lvl 14 as well.

Version 2.5 20Sep2018


  • The levels when you gain the Double Draconic Aura (now called just "Dual Aura") and Commune with Dragon Spirit features have been swapped; Commune is lvl 13 and Dual Aura is lvl 17.  As much as I would love to have that earlier double aura, being that I'm currently playing a Dragon Shaman myself, that is quite a strong feature and I think deserves to be higher up.  Besides that, commune is a 5th level spell, and Totem Barbarians get access to a similar 5th level spell in commune with nature at 10th level, so I'd like the similar feature to be access around a similar time.  That, and 17th level just seems too high for it.
  • The Toughness draconic aura has been changed.  Due to a misunderstanding on my part with how certain 3.5e features worked, the aura as I wrote it was providing completely the opposite kind of benefit to it's intended one; to protect against nonmagical damage.  Now it works similarly to the Heavy Armor Master feat, as it is supposed to.
  • With the change to Toughness, I decided to add a 10th aura; Magic Resistance, which does what the old Toughness did.

Version 2.4 10Sep2018


  • Someone pointed out that the way certain Draconic Auras were working with Totem Dragon features (like associated energy types) created issues, since at lvl 1 you don't get any associated energy type for Energy Shield or Resistance.  After thinking about it more, and considering the design philosophy behind whether you gain your subclass at 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level, I decided to swap around the Totem Dragon and Draconic Aura features.  Now at 1st level you pick your subclass/Totem Dragon and gain some skill proficiencies, and at 2nd level you get your Draconic Auras.  Ultimately I think this makes a bit more sense; first you pick your dragon, then you start getting draconic features.  Honestly, not sure what my logic was before hand. 
  • Draconic Adaptation now grants darkvision for everyone when you get it.  I always felt it was a bit wonky that a human or dragonborn who becomes more draconic doesn't get better eyesight, considering that's a hallmark of dragons.  So now even they get to see in the dark.
Metallic Totem Dragon
  • The 14th level feature which allows the individual to change their apperance has been made at-will, to bring it up to actual usefulness at the higher level.


For a full changelog, click here.

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Reviews (1)
Discussions (7)
Customer avatar
Jeremy G March 28, 2019 3:59 pm UTC
I would love to add a gem dragon subclass to this already amazing class!
Customer avatar
Jeff V April 08, 2019 5:17 pm UTC
I'm currently working on porting the other metallic dragons from 4e, and after that I'll be doing gem dragons in *some* capacity. I need to look over Matt Colville's gem dragons a bit and decide if I want to to something differently from them OR base a gem dragon subclass off his. But they will come.
Customer avatar
Craig E February 03, 2019 10:09 pm UTC
You should make sure the Dragon Scales ability mentions whether you can use a shield. And run a spell check. Otherwise, great work.
Customer avatar
Jeff V February 06, 2019 6:07 pm UTC
I'll be sure to add that when I do a revision. 'Cause you're right, most features which give a new way to calculate AC include that part. And thank you for the note on the spell checker; I do of course proofread but sometimes things slip through.
Customer avatar
Jonathan S December 11, 2018 6:45 pm UTC
I have a concern about how the Chromatic Dragon "subclass" has Black and Green have the exact same effect for the 6th level ability. Is this a typo, perhaps?

Upon further investigation, the Metallic Dragon "Subclass" has Bronze and Gold have the exact same effect at the same level.
Customer avatar
Jeff V December 18, 2018 1:28 pm UTC
Not at typo; their adaptations are supposed to be the same, because those dragon's have the same sort of lifestyles and biological abilities.
Customer avatar
Craig E September 08, 2018 7:19 am UTC
I've been waiting for this class to show up for forever, and I'm glad to see you brought my favorite 3.5e class to the modern era!

That said, you need to specify how to deal with the "energy shield" aura at level 1. As it stands, there's no reason to pick it up as part of your starting bundle, because you don't have a totem dragon yet, and therefore no specified energy type. So really, you have to wait until level 5 in order to get it! That said, level 1 is debatably the point at which "energy shield" would do the most good, but not if it does nothing at all!

Come to think of it, the "resistance" aura is the same way.

On a side note, maybe you should revisit the level 14 metallic totem ability. I can see where you got it, but by level 14, the ability to shift your appearance once per day is nothing, barely a ribbon (and that assumes you aren't playing a changeling dragon shaman, who gets it for free at level 1!). At least the chromatic totems...See more
Customer avatar
Jeff V September 10, 2018 12:57 am UTC
Good point with the lvl 1 thing and energy shield. I'll probably just make it bludgeoning for simplicity's sake, since before the totem dragon at lvl 2 I don't think there should be any elemental damage associated with it. I could choose Force as a general "magic" damage option, but force is actually a very strong damage type and I think it would be a bit silly if you got the best damage type at lvl 1 and then immediately lost it.

Resistance is a bit trickier. I don't want to make it any of the physical damage types since again, at those levels it's potentially stronger than intended and doesn't really fit the theme.

Come to think of it, I might just swap the Totem Dragon and Draconic Aura levels around. I vaguely remember not doing this for some reason, but I can't think of why at this point in time. Looking over it though, it doesn't look like this would break anything. Hmmmm.

For that 14th level ability, I think the dragon strike idea is neat. Alternatively,...See more
Customer avatar
Jeff V September 10, 2018 1:17 pm UTC
For now, I've swapped the Totem Dragon and Draconic Aura features in the newest version. I am going to keep the 14th level feature for metallics as it is for now, but I've made it unlimited use. I like the idea of metallic dragons focusing less on combat numbers and more on skills and less-violent-features, as I feel it fits the theme for them better. But I'll keep an eye on things to see if I should make another change.
Customer avatar
Craig E September 11, 2018 2:57 am UTC
Back in 3e, Damage Reduction applied to PHYSICAL ATTACKS, a distinction from Energy Resistance, which worked on... well, energy. The main difference was, energy resistance applied only to the listed type of damage (fire resistance 10 reduced every incident of fire damage by 10 points, to a minimum of 0, but did nothing versus cold or sonic damage), while DR was considered all-inclusive, barring those attacks that met the listed criteria. DR 5/magic at level 20 was worse than useless, because it reduced every physical attack by 5 points, unless it came from a magical source... such as magic weapons, a monk's unarmed strikes, or the natural weapons of pretty much any creature of CR 10 or higher (and some creatures as low as CR 1!). In fact, DR didn't even apply to physical damage that wasn't a direct attack, like falling damage, traps, or running into a cactus!

For the record: dying from "cactus damage" is NOT the most unusual death I've ever experienced! Just imagine the possibilities...
Customer avatar
John R August 08, 2018 6:19 pm UTC
I am curious if you plan on keeping to the core 10 dragons or maybe have thoughts of expanding to other true dragons from old supplements such as the Gem Dragons or the Shadow Dragon for example. Outside of that curiosity I find that this product has been well designed and seems to balance well with official material.
Customer avatar
Jeff V August 09, 2018 1:02 pm UTC
I do! If you download my Draconomicon product ( you'll get rules for brown, gray, and purple dragons. Eventually, though this is taking longer than I hoped, I will be doing other metallic dragons (iron, cobalt, etc.) and those will receive rules as well, and eventually gem dragons beyond that. With Matt Colville's gem dragons eventually coming out though, I'm not sure what my plan is with that. With only a couple of exceptions I don't like to make content for stuff where great versions already exist. If I end up really liking Colville's gem dragons I probably will just provide supplement rules for them.

Shadow dragons I probably won't be doing, since they aren't really a "species" of dragon so much as a dragon which has undergone a magical transformation.

Thank you for the interest!
Customer avatar
Alexander G July 28, 2018 2:51 pm UTC
You accidentally wrote the whole "Draconic Adaptation" Column down twice in the Chromatic Dragon subclass.
Customer avatar
Jeff V July 29, 2018 1:43 pm UTC
Oh dear. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. I’ll try to get a fixed version up soon.
Customer avatar
Jeff V July 29, 2018 2:06 pm UTC
Unexpectedly had some time, so the fixed version is up!
Customer avatar
Matthew C September 20, 2017 5:31 am UTC
I've made this class available for play in my home campaign.

The flavor is good and the sort of narrative placement of it fits, but I swear the general design rankles something fierce.

After much reflection I think it's because this class seems to basically give the barbarian another "core mechanic" in the auras and as a result their Rage is just this other thing they do instead of the focus of their schtick. I have a player interested in making one, we'll see how it functions in game and my reservations might be rooted in the fact I've never seen any barbarian played past level 6.
Customer avatar
Jeff V September 22, 2017 9:32 pm UTC
The Dragon Shaman Barbarian still has to rage in order to use the auras; the auras are really just a bonus effect for the rage, but their rages function exactly the same otherwise (advantage on Strength checks, extra Rage damage, resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage, etc.) So I still consider Rage the focus of their schtick; it's just a special rage (much like Berserker Barbarians get a special kind of rage, and some Totem Barbarians get extra effects with their rages).

Please let me know how it goes if anyone takes it. Playtesting is super important to me.
Customer avatar
Matthew C September 23, 2017 9:31 pm UTC
Ah, I see. There's some language in the descriptions that make that unclear. Paragraph 1 under Draconic Aura reads "... you can channel the mighty powers of dragonkind and project an aura that grants you and nearby allies a special benefit." No mention is made of projecting while raging until... paragraph 3. My initial reading made it seem you have an aura and it explands to a 10ft radius when you rage.

Paragraph 1 under Empowered Aura reads "... you can have two draconic auras active at one time rather than one, and can activate two when you rage." Which makes the issue a little unclear since activating an Aura is not described as requiring an action of any sort. This further reinforced my earlier interpretation making it seem like you have 1 but when you're raging you can now have 2 going at once.

I'd recommend tightening up the initial description from Draconic Aura Paragraph 1 by adding some variation of "when raging."

Now that I'm digesting...See more
Customer avatar
Jeff V September 28, 2017 7:07 pm UTC
I shall tighten up the description a bit for the auras to ensure the ability is clear.

When it comes to the concerns about the auras needing to be separated by level, however, I disagree. For a simple reason; Dragon Shamans are very MAD. Barbarians already want good Str, Dex, and Con for their abilities to shine. By requiring Cha for the auras, this effectively puts Dragon Shaman characters in a position where boosting the bonus to their auras makes them weaker as a Barbarian overall, since they then don't improve those other qualities. Sure, you could put your highest lvl stat into Cha and thus get a +2 or +3 aura right at lvl 3, and even increase this all the way up to +5 at later levels, but if you do that then you are making everything else that makes them a Barbarian worse.

I think by making the subclass so MAD we inherently avoid those sorts of problems. Most Barbarians are either going to have a +0 or +1 in their Cha at most. By comparison, most Paladins are going to have...See more
Customer avatar
Matthew C September 30, 2017 6:31 am UTC
I recognize you've stated your commitment to keeping it as is, I can always house rule it (though that will impact my player's feedback on it). Without too much back and forth, you can ignore strength making this Barbarian Path only as MAD as a normal Barbarian. Good luck with it in any event.
Customer avatar
Jeff V September 30, 2017 8:21 pm UTC
I'll look into it a bit more; you may be correct about the auras getting too strong. And doing some napkin math, it occurs that the boost provided by the auras could override the loss of Strength, for example, in certain ways.
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This title was added to our catalog on September 12, 2017.