Login with Patreon
D&D > Off TopicOct 28, 2021 4:30 pm CT

Should I be playing a Drakewarden Ranger or Ascendant Dragon Monk in D&D?

There are two new subclasses in Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons, the Drakewarden Ranger and Ascendant Dragon Monk, and both of them are a lot of fun. I personally am playing a Monk with the Way of the Ascendant Dragon subclass and enjoying it greatly, and while I’m not playing a Drakewarden Ranger, I mean… they get a pet drake. I’m not sure how you can think that’s not cool — I mean, I certainly can’t. But the real question here is: are either of these subclasses worth playing when compared to other subclasses?

Let’s talk about how the Drakewarden Ranger and Ascendant Dragon Monk play in D&D — and why you should give these two new subclasses a try.

Drakewarden Rangers: Who’s my good scaly girl? You are! You’re the best Drake!

The Drakewarden is a good, solid Ranger subclass. It’s not the Gloom Stalker, which might just be the best Ranger subclass out there in terms of what it adds to the class, but it’s pretty solid — I’d put it slightly above subclasses like the Beast Master, if only because the Drake companion has some significant benefits over the typical animal companion.

At third level when your Drakewarden first gets their Drake companion, it will have 5 hp plus five times your character level (3) giving your Drake 20 hp, and that’ll go up by 5 for every level you have. In addition, the Drake uses your proficiency bonus for attacks and it can even infuse the attacks of you or anyone else in your party with damage of its Draconic Essence type, so you can add elemental damage like Fire, Acid, Lightning and so on. That’s an extra 1d8 damage to one attack a round, like your Drakewarden’s bow attacks, or the party Fighter’s sword strikes, or the Rogue’s Sneak Attacks, since there’s no limit on which attack the Drake can add its damage type to. Furthermore, the Drake, once summoned, hangs around indefinitely — it leaves if it drops to 0hp, if you die, or if you summon it again while it’s already up. You can do this once a day per long rest, and if you’ve already done so, you can use a spell slot of 1st level or higher to summon it again.

And your Drake becomes much more powerful as you level up. The Bond of Fang and Scale ability (level 7) growing the Drake to Medium size and makes it useable as a ground mount as well as giving it the ability to fly when you’re not riding it. The Perfected Bond ability (level 15) grows the Drake to Large size at which point you can absolutely fly while using it as a mount. You also get more straight-up damage abilities: at level 11, you gain a breath weapon that either you or your Drake can use, that can do Acid, Fire, Cold, Lightning, or Poison damage (8d6 at 11, 10d6 at 15) which is useable once per long rest, and you can also spend a level 3 spell slot to do it again after using it in case you want to keep breathing fire on someone.

This means you can have a reasonably strong Drake companion that grows steadily stronger as you level, that you can summon once and it stays with you until it or you die, and if it dies while you’re still up you can basically just summon it again, because you get one free summon per long rest or you can spend a level one spell slot. Basically, you’ll almost always have your Drake friend by your side. You’ll even be able to ride it or even ride while it flies around once you’re a high enough level.

I can’t see why you’d pick Beast Master over this subclass, frankly. If you prefer having a companion, Drakewarden may be the best Ranger subclass for that role. Imagine putting Hunter’s Mark on an enemy, then getting the benefit of Infused Attacks — at level 3, you could easily do 1d8+2d6 plus your damage bonus on every ranged attack, and it would only get better as you leveled up. Meanwhile, you can use your Bonus Action to order your Drake to bite your enemy, dealing 1d6+ your proficiency bonus in Piercing damage, and at level 7 another 1d6 of Acid, Fire, Cold, Lightning or Poison damage depending on which one you chose when you summoned your Drake, and that goes up to 2d6 additional damage at level 15.

This is a really strong subclass, and absolutely worth your time. The Drake isn’t ridiculously strong, but it has a lot of utility that gets better as it and you level up.

Monks can punch, kick, and use the power of the dragon on their foes

The Way of the Ascendant Dragon isn’t actually all that strong as Monks go, but because Monks themselves are so useful it’s still a solid option. The subclass’ level 3 gains are two decent options and one pretty good one:

  • Draconic Presence lets you reroll any failed Persuasion or Intimidation check with a reaction, giving you more chances to talk your way into or out of trouble even if you’re not terribly charismatic.
  • Tongue of Dragons is basically just you can speak Draconic now unless you already can speak it, in which case it’s just a free language.
  • Draconic Strike is the real winner, letting you convert your melee attacks from bludgeoning to Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, or Poison damage at will. You don’t do more damage, but say you were fighting a Troll — suddenly, instead of watching that thing regenerate all your damage off as you fought him, you could make your attacks fire based.
  • Breath of the Dragon is exactly what it sounds like — a breath weapon you can use as many times per long rest as your proficiency bonus, or you can spend 2 Ki points to use it again after that. You can choose the kind of damage it does from Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning ,and Poison, and it does double your Martial Arts damage. At level 11 the damage increases to 2 of your Martial Arts damage dice.

Level 6 Ascendant Dragon Monks get Wings Unfurled, a pair of ephemeral wings that appear when you use Step of the Wind, giving you a flying speed until your turn ends. Yes, this means you could hit Step of the Wind, move then double move and then use your Dash move to travel three times your usual move distance while flying. So using my Monk as an example, They could easily travel 120 feet in a single round straight up or across a chasm, flying until finished with their movement.

11th level grants you Aspect of the Dragon, which means you can emit an Aura out to 10 feet around you like a Dragon’s Frightful Presence and pick someone within the aura to make as saving throw or be Frightened of you for one minute. Or you can instead grant your party and yourself resistance (meaning, half damage) from Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, or Poison damage. And the level 17 abilities augment your breath weapon, grant you Blindsight 10 feet, and let you explode when you activate your Aura, picking everyone inside that aura that you choose take 3d8 Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, or Poison damage.

It is a lot of fun and meshes well with things Monks can already do that are bonkers like run up walls, fall great distances without taking damage, and so on. So yes, I’d say both are very much worth playing.

In short, the new subclasses in Fizban’s add some great dragon theming to some old favorites. If you’re rolling a new character, either makes a good option.

Blizzard Watch is made possible by people like you.
Please consider supporting our Patreon!


Join the Discussion

Blizzard Watch is a safe space for all readers. By leaving comments on this site you agree to follow our  commenting and community guidelines.

Toggle Dark Mode: