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I'm building a Human Dragonfire Adept (from Dragon Magic) with the Draconic template (as presented in Races of the Dragon), as well as a feat for Draconic Tail, but I need a bit of help picking out certain feats. For example:

  • Is Flyby Attack basically a midair version of Spring Attack, or does it actually grant a second move action while airborne if I attack in that round? Does it stack with Spring Attack?

  • Would Hover and Wingover be useful, or does Draconic Flight already confer their effects?

  • What are some feats that can help me make the best of my 3 natural weapons (2 claws, tail)

  • Alternately, what are some weapon/equipment options that would synergize well with natural weaponry?

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This is really three different questions - one each about those flying feats, and one about natural weaponry. Shouldn't it be split up rather than have several questions together which are unrelated except for the class they relate to? –  doppelgreener Mar 11 '13 at 7:39
    
They're all relevant to a particular character build. –  Cobalt Mar 11 '13 at 14:10

2 Answers 2

Is Flyby Attack basically a midair version of Spring Attack, or does it actually grant a second move action while airborne if I attack in that round? Does it stack with Spring Attack?

Flyby attack lets you make any standard action in the middle of a move, so it's much more versatile than Spring Attack. However, it doesn't defend against AoO! This lends itself to drastically different usage than Spring Attack, despite the superficial similarity; flyby attack works best with ranged/magic attacks, such as a breath weapon.

The text of the feat specifically forbids a second move action.

Would Hover and Wingover be useful, or does Draconic Flight already confer their effects?

Draconic Flight grants good maneuverability, which already gives the ability to hover (the feat hover has an error in the description). Wingover probably wouldn't be that useful by itself. However, if you really want to improve your flight capabilities, you'd be better off taking Improved Flight (Races of the Wild) to improve your maneuverability class. RAW this isn't allowed, since it says it requires "natural flight", but I think anyone who can has an intrinsic ability to fly meets the spirit of the requirement. So you could try convincing your DM of the same if this is important to you!

What are some feats that can help me make the best of my 3 natural weapons (2 claws, tail)

Multiattack, certainly! I imagine there are some dragon specific feats that might help, too. But, I'm not super familiar with Draconic Adept, so you might want to make sure focusing on your natural weapons will be effective. Glancing over the class, it has a poor BAB and no melee abilities, which makes me doubtful that your claws+tail will be very useful if you stick with the adept!

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Creatures with Good maneuverability can hover. The only difference between Good and Perfect is that Perfectly-flying creatures can go straight up with no loss of movement. Also, pretty sure the "natural flight" requirement of Improved Flight was written specifically to prevent magical means like draconic flight from being used. It's intended to be for Raptorans (introduced in the same book) mostly. –  KRyan Mar 10 '13 at 23:06
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@KRyan Ah, I forgot the Hover feat has an error in it. ("Without this feat, a creature must keep moving while flying unless it has perfect maneuverability.") I'd guess Improved Flight was supposed to not apply to external forms of flight such as magic items and spells; personally I'd allow it for anything that was an intrinsic feature of the PC. I acknowledge that this isn't RAW. –  starwed Mar 10 '13 at 23:13
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I actually misspoke a bit; there are a few other differences between Good and Perfect with respect to turning radii and the like. But Good can hover. –  KRyan Mar 10 '13 at 23:20
    
I think it makes more sense that Improved Flight wouldn't work; otherwise Greater Draconic Flight would be rendered redundant. –  Cobalt Mar 11 '13 at 1:23
    
@Cobalt Well, it does increase speed by 30, which is a big jump. –  starwed Mar 11 '13 at 1:30

Draconic Template

Seems kind of pointless on a Dragonfire Adept. Just saying. It’s much better than Half-dragon, but Dragonfire Adepts get most of the benefits of Draconic anyway by virtue of their class features. Yes, you don’t have the natural weapons, but your dragon breath is better much of the time anyway. The dragonfire adept does not have good melee skills.

Fly-by Attack

No, it’s much superior to Spring Attack, because you get a normal Standard Action rather than just getting to make an attack. Since Spring Attack is a full-round action, you cannot combine it with Fly-by Attack. Spring Attack is a really awful feat anyway.

Hover and Wingover

Hover is basically required for anyone who has less than Good maneuverability and needs to make Full-round Actions (most importantly Full-Attack). As a dragonfire adept, your draconic flight invocation gives Good maneuverability, and you don’t really need full-round actions much anyway. Pass.

Wingover isn’t nearly as useful in general, but again, your Good maneuverability means you don’t need it at all. You can reverse by default and lose only 5 feet of moevement, unlike Wingover which costs 10.

Feats for Natural Weapons

I really don’t recommend focusing too much on your natural weapons unless you plan on multiclassing or prestige classing for some better BAB and HD, or for better natural weapons than Draconic gives you (Totemist from Magic of Incarnum and Psychic Warrior from Expanded Psionics Handbook are the two reigning champions of the natural-weapon schtick, for reference).

Anyway, Multiattack is probably a decent pick-up for you, particularly if you’re required to treat the claws as secondary, but I probably wouldn’t bother with Improved Multiattack. Going from −5 to −2 is a pretty big deal; going from −2 to −0 is less so. Sure, go for it if you have extra feats, but who has those? Normally Multiattack is must-have for a natural-weapon attacker, but you only have three so it’s less crucial.

In addition to that, Improved Natural Attack is not an awful feat by any means, but you’d only get to apply it to either Bite or Claws (or take it twice for both), which is kind of lame.

And if you can manage to get one of the required types (aberration, dragon, elemental, magical beast, or plant), Rapidstrike and Improved Rapidstrike from Draconomicon are excellent at higher levels.

Finally, at low levels, you’ll have a lot more attacks than anyone else, so dipping Rogue or another Sneak Attacker and taking Craven (Champions of Ruin) could be very useful.

Items for Natural Weapons

Consider picking up a necklace of natural attacks from Savage Species, or failing that, an amulet of mighty fists (with three natural attacks, the amulet of mighty fists is no longer strictly overpriced, though I’d argue it still is).

Dragon Magic’s fanged ring is also solid, but notice that the wyrmfang amulet from the same book was reprinted in Magic Item Compendium for less money. Also in MIC, a combination of the bracers of the arcane and the ring of adamantine touch allow you to handle some DR that would otherwise be problematic. Along the same lines, ghost shroud (still MIC) grants Ghost Touch, which will help you out with incorporeals.

Bonus: Feats for Breath Weapons

Mostly, I want to mention Entangling Exhalation from Races of the Dragon. This feat turns your breath weapon from fairly-meh damage to fairly-meh damage plus half-decent crowd control. The combination turns the breath weapon from an OK-ish option to a great one. There are other [Breath] feats in Races of the Dragon that are worth considering, though none are as good.

In Draconomicon, we instead have [Metabreath] feats, which are different because they require a breath weapon that has a “cooldown” period. Many argue that the dragonfire adept’s doesn’t qualify. However, if your DM lets you qualify, or you get another breath weapon that does have a cooldown (the Dragonborn of Bahamut template is a pretty easy option, for example), you can apply the feats to your dragonfire adept breath weapon. Entangling Exhalation’s still better but they do give you some more options.

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"As a dragonfire adept, your draconic flight invocation gives Good maneuverability, and you don’t really need full-round actions much anyway. Pass." -- well, they do if they insist on focusing on natural attacks... –  starwed Mar 10 '13 at 22:44
    
@starwed: Yeaaah... I'm kind of trying to encourage not doing so. But the statement still stands anyway because dragonfire adepts do have Good maneuverability, which was more my point. Even if he wants to use his natural weapons, if he's placed in a situation where he cannot full-attack, he has his breath or an invocation. Fighters and the like in the same situation rarely have similarly-good options. –  KRyan Mar 10 '13 at 23:02
    
Ok, so in short: -Don't focus too much on melee attacks, use breath whenever possible; -Flyby Attack is a good feat to take; -Don't put too much sauce on natural attacks exept maybe for Rapidstrike and Multiattack (Dragon type would probably let me qualify for the latter); -Entangling Breath is awesome. Got it. –  Cobalt Mar 11 '13 at 1:17
    
@Cobalt: I don't know about using breath whenever possible; I'd try to mix those up with invocations, but yeah, your natural weapons are unlikely to be particularly scary. Which is why I questioned the template to begin with. Otherwise pretty much spot-on. –  KRyan Mar 11 '13 at 2:16
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Yes, Cobalt, you do get those things, but at what price? +1 level adjustment is fairly significant. –  Matthew Najmon Sep 15 '13 at 16:49

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