Dragon Layer / Sorcerer Army (5e Optimized Character Build)
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Dragon Layer / Sorcerer Army
We've all heard the DM (and maybe the PCs) complain about the 20 Charisma chaotic neutral bard who seduces everything that breathes. But have you ever thought about using such talents for more than just petty annoyances and potential temporary allies? What if your seduction skills could be used for something greater? What if you could command an entire army of loyal magic users using nothing but your lips and your loins? What if you could give your DM a major headache and story rewrite without being a monk? Time to become the dragon layer.
You read that right. Dragon layer, not dragon slayer.
Let's start with the basics. For our dragon layer's race, let's choose the dark elf, since they have a Charisma increase and superior darkvision, always helpful when traversing a dragon's lair, in addition to a Dexterity increase, helpful for when things get off on the wrong foot. But most importantly, elves can live incredibly long, yet mature at a somewhat-early age, which will help us greatly with our army. Making a male or female character has its advantages and disadvantages. For males, the actual process involved with creating your army will be *cough* easier, but for females, it will be much easier to make a getaway after you have *cough* done your business, since you won't have to wait for an egg or anything like that. If your DM allows homebrew, the lover background is a great choice (as long as a dragon's lair counts as a location). Otherwise, background isn't super important, however, try to get a background that lets you take an extra language; choose Draconic.
Obviously, we choose bard for our class, making Charisma our highest stat (try to get to 20!). College of Lore is probably the best subclass choice, since you can use peerless skill to further supplement your rolls, as well as cutting words to detract from your current dragon target succeeding on saving throws. For spells, we should focus on charm spells. Choose the Friends cantrip and Suggestion at level 3, and once we hit level 7, pick Charm Monster. At level 12, make sure to take Programmed Illusion (it'll make sense later). Invisibility and/or Greater Invisibility are also good picks; so is Locate Creature. At higher levels, you can even go for Dominate Monster or Shapechange (using your magic secrets) if that's your thing. If you know you're going into risky territories, Elemental Bane (using your magic secrets) is a good choice.
How to Lay your Dragon
Time to make the magic happen (literally)!
Option 1- Hit-and-Run
This method requires the most time and effort, and is a much more worthy challenge for mid or high-level dragon layers. And it's definitely more fun.
The Hit-and-Run method has 3 stages:
- Stage 1- Ah, More, Bard-kun
You'll need to track down a dragon. Adult dragons are favorable over ancients, and wyrmlings and young are obviously off the table (hey kid, want some candy?). Most chromatic dragons will be more difficult than metallic dragons, other than gold dragons (metallic dragons can also polymorph themselves, resolving biology issues but retaining their draconic genes). To find them, you could use Locate Creature, or enlist the help of a ranger who specializes in dragons. Make sure the dragon is opposite your gender. Advance to their lair, which, aside from hazards found there, shouldn't be an issue. Once you're there, you can either try your hand at seduction by a Charisma check (assuming the dragon doesn't attack you on sight or send its kobold slaves after you, if it has any), or fire off any of your charm spells. It is important to note that, although dragons don't exactly have great Wisdom, they do have legendary resistance, so don't waste your cutting words (if you have it) until you've tried at least 3 times to cast a charm spell. Either way, once the dragon is seduced, you know what to do. (Note: DMs, may Bahamut/Tiamat have mercy on your poor souls, should you be forced to describe the dragon layer, well, dragon laying. Especially if they get creative with Shapechange or anything like that.)
- Stage 2- Don't Notice Me, Senpai
After your "fun" with the dragon, try to make your getaway, but hang around the lair. Time to do some not-at-all creepy stalking! Use Invisibility or Greater Invisibility to fly under the dragon's radar, but keep in mind that they have blindsight and can still see you if you get too close. If the dragon expects commitment, you can use Programmed Illusion to fake your death, but once again, beware the blindsight. Wait until either you wind up pregnant, or your dragon lays an egg. This is where your gender matters. Stealing an egg is likely a difficult task, and making it out with one unscathed is even harder. If no child is evident (and you didn't fake your death), you can try again with the same dragon, but it isn't recommended.
- Stage 3- Give Me the Child
Like the little pig you are, get the heck away from the dragon and don't come back, with either an egg or an embryo in tow. Then wait those fateful 9 months, and, a baby! But not just any baby. You've just produced a half-dragon dark elf. While it isn't guaranteed, it is highly likely that this child contains draconic magic, in addition to the half-dragon template's bonuses. That's right, you've just produced your first sorcerer for your army! Then rinse and repeat. What's that, you say? I'm insensitive? Why then are you here? You're listening to me tell you how to exploit random dragons for power and pleasure.
Option 2- Actually Loyal Spouse
If being a three-way infiltrator (infiltrating a dragon's lair, infiltrating the dragon's personal boundaries, then infiltrating the dragon itself) isn't your thing, there is another way. And it's actually kind of easy, as it requires little magic. This type of dragon layer is a bit more restricted, and is recommended only for characters of good alignment and players who prefer genuine relationships over freedom of action. Either that, or if you're Seto Kaiba.
Track down a silver dragon. Why specifically a silver dragon, you ask? Their kind and bubbly personalities make them the perfect targets for seduction, especially since they like to socialize with humanoids. Try your hand at seducing a silver dragon, but keep the beat going. Commit yourself to being an actual spouse; heck, maybe have a formal wedding. Then let your silver dragon husband/wife know that you want a bunch o' kids, then make that a reality. See, there's always a way to be a goody-two-shoes and to let true love reign supreme, even when creating an army of sorcerers by romancing the heck out of dragons.
Building your Sorcerer Army
If you make full use of your long fertile years as a dark elf, you should have enough kids by now to receive a contract from TLC, and roughly 2/3 or so should have draconic magic. Raise them to their teenage years, then instruct them in the ways of magic and combat. As a bard yourself, this shouldn't be an issue. Your few kids without innate magic can become bards like yourself. Also, enforce your morals. Try to teach them the cause you fight for, whether it's an actual cause, or you just really like power. Though it isn't recommended, especially not if you used the Actually Loyal Spouse method, you can abuse them under your will. Once they're all either adults or teenagers, your army is complete. If you really want to, you don't have to stop building upon it. Just keep the children coming, and once you hit the end of your fertile years, teach your eldest child the ways of the dragon layer, cast True Polymorph on them to make them fertile, and appoint them the leader of the army (they'll have twice as many fertile years, since they were a half-dragon, and their draconic ancestry trait will make things even easier). This can go on for generation after generation, which, in since elves life basically forever, means you can establish a permanent mark on the world.
Not-at-All Overpowered Draconic Sorcerers
What exactly are your magic dragon children capable of? Let's take a look:
Since their race will be half-dragon dark elf, they get a Dexterity and Charisma increase (plus the Charisma they likely picked up from you), in addition to their drow magic, damage resistance, and breath weapon. Breath weapons in particular are devastating at early levels (got a problem, dragonborn?). Their Dexterity feeds their natural armor gained from draconic resilience, and sorcerers (and bards, for that matter) use Charisma as their spellcasting ability. Their darkvision goes out to 120 ft. by default, plus their blindsight, making them deadly accurate with ranged spells, even when impeded by effects. If you used the Hit-and-Run method, your children will likely be able to mix up a lot of damage types with their different draconic parents. And on top of all that, you, as a bard, can buff them up. Oh, and the children who became bards because they didn't get draconic magic can do it, too. This is somewhat unrelated, but sorcerers are the rich kids of magic users. They just get all their powers from their daddy. I imagine a wizard walks up to a sorcerer and says, "Dang you sorcerers, you're so entitled! We wizards have to work hard to study magic and get our powers, you're just born that way! And why can you regain spell slots without resting? That's so unfair!" and the sorcerer's just like, "Well you can suck my Chromatic Orbs, I cast Fireball and give you disadvantage on the saving throw. What's wrong, not fire resistant?"
After all your hard work seducing, parenting, and teaching, you know have an army of min-maxed draconic sorcerers, who, if you raised them right, regard you as their precious daddy/mommy and obey anything you say. You, as a bard, who has probably reached 20th level at this point, can buff them all up and heal their lousy-d6-hit-die butts. Plus, if you played your cards right, you can keep this army going forever, potentially starting an entire bloodline/cabal of sorcerers for many generations to come. What you use them for is up to you. Your work as a dragon layer is complete, but you'll probably have to abandon your dragon layer character after you complete your quest. No DM I've ever played would be able to handle having a bard command several dozen edgy teenage sorcerers with dragon powers against every task he/she throws at them whilst the bard actively searches out dragons to produce even more children with. At least not without a bottle of whiskey on hand.