Physically smaller than others of his tribe, Kherakus learned at an early age to rely upon cunning and his social grace (which only goes so far among dracotaurs) to make his way in the world. Frequently, the runt dracotaur stayed behind when the others went out to hunt, and during these times he would be put to work, memorizing the stories of his people as well as doing manual labor not fit for the hunters of the tribe.
Over time however, he demonstrated an aptitude for sorcery, prized among the dracotaur people, and because of this he found himself sent to the tribe elders for instruction so that he could further develop his skill. Though still chastised and harassed for his stunted size by the warriors of his tribe, Kherakus had achieved a favored position among the elders, and as such was saved from being consumed by his larger brethren. Thankful for this blessing, Kherakus began to worship Tiamat, the queen of dragons, in earnest. He believed that she saved him from the wrath of his fellow dracotaur by granting him the ability to manipulate the external forces of magic.
Even as he developed as a sorcerer, Kherakus devoted himself fervently to the worship of Tiamat, learning so much about his dread queen that he would teach the younger dracotaur about the glory of her strength and power, so that they might come to appreciate Tiamat for all the gifts with which she graced them. Kherakus went so far as to venture away from his tribe in search of their favored enemy, centaurs. When he stumbled upon a warband of the horse-folk, he lured them back, using his superior speed and magic to bring them into an ambush set by the dracotaur hunters. That night, the dracotaur tribe ate of the flesh of centaur, and the entire proceeding was said to be blessed by Tiamat herself. Kherakus was ordained that night, and he has presided as Tiamat's faithful cleric among his people since then, developing his powers as a sorcerer even as he preaches the strength and power of Tiamat.
Note: Dracotaurs are described in Monster Manual III.
Kherakus uses superior speed and movement capabilities to keep distance between himself and those he would destroy, employing whatever magic he has at his disposal to bring them down. He tends to favor fiery, explosive magic, reducing opponents that would normally be considered inedible to cinders, even though he might attempt to entrap those who could potentially feed his tribe.
Kherakus (Level 4)
Kherakus is just coming into his power as a sorcerer. Capable of flinging bolts of force and beams of pure fire at his enemy, the dracotaur is effective in combat. Kherakus is particularly dangerous when he has the strength of dracotaur ragers to assist him. As he has just come into his own however, he is still kicked to the wayside by many of his fellow dracotaurs, not considered skilled enough to hunt, but favored with sorcery, making him too dangerous to attempt to eat as well.
Kherakus CR 7
Kherakus at 7th Class Level
Kherakus is not only an accomplished sorcerer at this point, but he also is an acolyte devoted to Tiamat as well. Since he can defend himself and also assist others with spells that protect, empower, and heal, he has become a member of good standing among his fellow dracotaurs. He still keeps to the back whenever combat ensues, staying as far from harm's path as he can place himself and still be of use to his fellow dracotaurs.
Kherakus CR 10
Kherakus at 12th Class Level
Kherakus is truly a terror to behold at this stage in his life, possessing considerable power with both arcane and divine magic. Capable of bringing down an entire enemy force single-handedly, Kherakus is considered to be the chosen of his tribe, despite his 'diminutive' size. The ragers and hunters of the dracotaur pay their respects to him equally, prizing his assistance and fearing his wrath at the same time.
Kherakus CR 15
Dracotaur Template Class
Brutal predators, dracotaurs revel in their strength, sweeping away all those who would threaten the security of their nomadic lifestyle, as well as any creature they might view as suitable for eating. The table below shows the advancement of these creatures as they grow to maturity. You are far more likely to encounter these creatures in their adult or advanced forms than as wyrmlings (1st through 3rd level), juvenile (4th through 6th level), or even young adults (7th level). Nevertheless, unwary adventurers that do stumble upon dracotaurs typically find that the older members of their tribe are waiting in ambush.
Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level): Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (arcana), Listen, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Spot, Survival, Swim, Use Magic Device
All the following are class features of the dracotaur template class. A dracotaur must take all levels of this class before they can take levels in any other class. Sorcerer is the favored class of the dracotaur. Dracotaurs speak Draconic.
Ability Score Adjustments: At 1st level the dracotaur receives a +2 racial bonus to Intelligence. At 2nd level dracotaurs receive a +2 racial bonus to Strength. At 4th, 6th, and 8th level dracotaurs receive an additional +2 racial bonus to their Strength as well as a +2 racial bonus to their Constitution. At 5th level dracotaurs receive a +2 racial bonus to their Dexterity, and at 7th level dracotaurs receive a +2 racial bonus to their Charisma. Typical dracotaurs (without a character class) possess the standard array. However, dracotaurs that advance into one character class or another possess an elite array.
Skills: Because of their tails, dracotaurs have a +4 racial bonus on Balance, Jump, and Swim checks.
Natural Armor: At 1st and 2nd level dracotaurs have a natural armor bonus of +0. This bonus increases as shown on the table above, to a maximum of a +5 natural armor at 8th level.
Bite Attack: A dracotaur's primary attack is its bite. Possessing a powerful set of jaws, the creature is capable of dealing 1d6 damage on a successful hit starting at 2nd level; this increases to 1d8 damage at 4th level.
Tail Slap Attack: The spikes on a dracotaur's tail grow steadily as it matures, allowing the creature a wicked tail slap attack that deals 1d6 damage starting at 4th level. This damage increases to 1d8 at 7th level, as the spikes reach full size.
Speed: An adult dracotaur is extraordinarily quick on its feet; it possesses a 50-foot speed. However, younger dracotaurs begin with a 30-foot speed at 1st level, advancing to a 40-foot speed at 4th level, and finally to a 50-foot speed at 7th level.
Spit Fire (Su): Starting at 3rd level, dracotaurs can spit a glob of fire as a standard action once per day. Once a dracotaur spits, it cannot spit again for 1 minute. The dracotaur's spittle is a sticky adhesive substance that ignites when exposed to air, much like alchemist's fire. Theis glob of fiery spittle is treated as a ranged touch attack with a range increment of 20 feet.
A direct hit deals 2d6 points of fire damage. Every creature within 5 feet of the point where the spittle hits takes 1d4 points of fire damage from the splash. Unlike alchemist's fire, a dracotaur's spittle does not continue to burn. At 5th level the dracotaur can spit fire three times per day, and at 8th level the dracotaur can spit fire as often as once per minute.
About the Author
Chris Lindsay plays at Wizards of the Coast during the day and spends evenings with his lovely wife and kids in not-so-sunny Renton, Washington.
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