My D&D 3.5 paladin took the Dragon Cohort feat in order to obtain the services of a gold dragon (and negotiate being allowed to use the cohort as a mount from time to time) but now I'm not sure what kind of dragon mount is allowed.

Given these premises:

  • paladin character level 9
  • lawful good alignment
  • charisma modifier +4
  • no Leadership feat
  • no cohorts or followers lost
  • no paladin mount (I took the Weapon Bond ACF instead)
  • significant regional reputation (DM willing to add +1 to my Leadership score)

... I would expect my Leadership score to be 9 + 4 + 1 = 14. according to the Draconomicon p 139, table 3-14, a very young gold dragon is ECL 16 (although I expected ECL 17 based on the HD and LA listed in the srd) or ECL 13 with the Dragon Cohort feat.

Does this mean my paladin can have a sometimes-ridable very young gold dragon as a cohort or am I overlooking something?

I am not sure about the rideable part because the Draconomicon has one chapter on Dragons as Cohorts (referencing the Dragon Cohort feat, awesome) and one on Dragons as Mounts (referencing the Dragon Steed feat, terrible). However I'm not interested in the special mount summoning ability nor in arranging for a dragon lair on a celestial plane.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The title could be better phrased as: "Can I use a Dragon Cohort as a mount?" Also, this question might help you find an answer: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/37098/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 13:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SamsyTheUnicorn thanks but that question is really different from mine and using the cohort as a mount does not fully cover my question \$\endgroup\$
    – mtijn
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


The biggest problem I see with your plan lies in the rules for attracting followers (my source):

Cohort Level

The character can attract a cohort of up to this level. Regardless of a character’s Leadership score, he can only recruit a cohort who is two or more levels lower than himself. (emphasis mine)

That means your dragon cohort has to have a maximum ECL of 7 (adjusted up to 10 with the Dragon Cohort Feat). Your best option, at your level, for a draconic companion will be a bronze wyrmling.

If you want a gold dragon to ride, you'll have to wait until you can cover the ECL of a very young gold. With its normal ECL at 16 and adjusted ECL (with the Dragon Cohort Feat) at 13, you'll need to be level 15 before you'll have a rideable cohort. You'll notice that's pretty close to the level (16th) that you would need to be to have one as a special mount. That's not an accident.

If you're not picky about what kind of draconic creature you're occasionally riding, wyverns are a lower level alternative and you could have one as a cohort as early as 11th level, though alignment restrictions may be a problem.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What level would he need to be at to get a half-dragon horse as a cohort? \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 0:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 interesting question, I had to figure out if you even could have a half-dragon horse as a cohort. By my math, he already qualifies, the ECL for a heavy horse with the half dragon template is 6. It doesn't look like the dragon cohort feat would apply, though. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 17:14

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