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I'm currently having a few issues with a character of one of my players. When the new third party Pathfinder book In the Company of Dragons came out he was on fire to play a dragon. Now after looking at the book I've seen a small problem with that: The ability to take on humanoid form is delayed. According to the book he would get it at level 4 at the earliest (normally 3rd, but he started with one level of sorcerer). The campaign is starting with 1st level characters.

The campaign we are playing we are going as realistic as possible in terms of social reactions. Dragons are seen as monsters in the region. He is a dragon that is about the size of a human child. So the "best" reaction he can hope for is for people to run away and the "worst" that they gather all soldiers in the village to kill the monster before it grows enough to become a threat to the village (the region already has a werewolf problem and people there are superstitious and there is no way I see them letting a child dragon live without being killed or sold).

To fit the campaign, a dragon PC would need to be able to take on humanoid shape from 1st level.

The first idea I had was the Alter Self spell, maybe in a ring. Then I saw the price, and even with the Rich Parent trait it would be impossible (as far as I can tell) to gain that without me bending the rules.

So are there any ways for a 1st level dragon to gain the ability to take on a human form, even temporarily, for long enough to cover a couple days' stay in a city? Without resorting to house rules?

I know of the Inheritance optional rules that allow a gamemaster to give a player such items (for backstory hooks), but I see the Inheritance rules more as a last ditch solution than a rule and I would rather a solution that is more by-the-book, if it's possible. I can always resort to the Inheritance rules if it's not.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There's a short story by Tamora Pierce in her collection Tortall and Other Lands that deals with exactly this sort of problem: it's from the perspective of a dragon who is annoyed at having to stay in camp while her human friends have adventures because she scares people. If I remember right it's called "The Dragons Tale". If you're considering going without the shapeshifting you might look into stories like that for ideas \$\endgroup\$ – Yamikuronue Aug 2 '14 at 12:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question, while discussing a Hat of Disguise and alternatives to allow a human to pass as an elf, may have some relevant discussion and ideas. \$\endgroup\$ – G0BLiN Aug 2 '14 at 13:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hey - please don't answer in comments. Answer in an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Aug 2 '14 at 21:40
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There are a lot of solutions here.

  1. Give him a magic item anyway, as discussed in the similar question Should I allow a Wondrous Item on level 1 character creation?.

  2. It's a third party class/race anyway, move the "Pass as Human" ability up a couple levels and push some other ability they get back a couple levels in compensation.

  3. He could stay outside the city - I've been in many games where some paranoid spaceship pilot stays happily ensconced in the ship and just watches the rest of the party vicariously (and calls them from time to time).

  4. He could disguise himself. You mentioned "well he wouldn't stoop to that" - well, that's his choice.

  5. Pose as the party's pet dragon/captive dragon they're looking to sell. The "Chewbacca Gambit."

There's other example solutions here but I'm stopping at this point to say that this is not your problem to solve.

It's the player's. He has decided to pick a character and he knows the consequences of his choice. It's up to him to figure out a way to pass as a non-monster or to be excluded from some activities (or get shot at). Just like other party-formation and problem-character questions, it is a trap for the GM to consider resolving it their responsibility. Players can be pretty innovative if you make them be. Make him come up with a solution himself that works in your game world.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Heck, they don't even have to sell him! They can use him as advertising; "Killed his parent, but the head was too big to cart around. 'sides, he's kinda cute". If people don't believe small ones are intelligent, you could claim planning on training him as a (future) mount. Or that your party priest has done the impossible - redeemed one of the fiends by conversion! There's a million and one uses for such a creature... \$\endgroup\$ – Clockwork-Muse Aug 3 '14 at 11:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm still amused by the "pet dragon" as another player shouted when hearing about the dragon and its size....."I want that as a pet" I think I'll go with 1 there (as for my problem / players problem: The player had asked me as he knows I'm a perfectionist when it comes to things like background,... with what I would be ok the most. Like I said the first idea was "1". but wanted to make sure that I'm not overlooking something there, or another option that would be less item handing. tnx a lot there. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas E. Aug 5 '14 at 20:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 to "this is not your problem to solve." \$\endgroup\$ – BobTheAverage Mar 20 '17 at 19:47
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I think there might be a pretty easy solution to the problem, as long as your friend is willing to make a small change to his character.

There is a race called the "true dragon", which I am assuming is what your friend is playing (probably a bronze dragon if he's getting his ability later). If this is the case then there are a number of different dragons in that category that get their shape-shift ability from the get-go. As long as your friend doesn't mind changing the color of his scales (as well as a slight shift in personality) you could solve your problem.

The Gold Dragon is pretty good. Here's a link so that you can see some of the different types of true-dragons: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/dragonTrue.htm (The different dragon types are at the bottom of the page, so don't forget to scroll down)

Hope this helps :)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi @Regnu, and welcome to the site. Questions are considered eternal here. There's no late answers (even for something that might be 2 years old), and likewise, don't worry about whether the asker might not have already found a solution. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Aug 31 '14 at 0:17
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Just tell him to use his first feat for the Extra Dragonic Gift feat and take the Humanoid Gift that way at level 1. There, problem solved.

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    \$\begingroup\$ From how I read it you can only take that gift if you already are allowed to have a draconic gift (which is at lvl 3 in the draconic paragon class) or did I misread the rules there? \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas E. Aug 10 '14 at 5:45
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You can use your level 1 feat to take the feat Latent Draconic Gift from In the Company of Dragons. It's completely within the rules and what I'm doing in a campaign with the same dangers.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "From how I read it you can only take that gift if you already are allowed to have a draconic gift (which is at lvl 3 in the draconic paragon class) or did I misread the rules there?" does that not also apply to the latent one?Ä \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas E. Mar 20 '17 at 16:58

protected by Oblivious Sage Mar 20 '17 at 15:44

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