Darastrix Caex (pronounced dare-ah-strix say-ex), or “Dragon Swords” in common, are an elite group of mortals mysteriously chosen to form a powerful bond with a single dragon. Caex, as they’re called for short, and dragons find the relationship mutually beneficial since both gain considerable power from the symbiotic relationship shared by their souls. Dragons often refer to their mortal companion as Vethicaex, which literally translates to “my sword.”
Mortals probably have the most to gain from the symbiotic relationship that forms between their soul and the soul of a dragon. Many heroes of old used the power bestowed upon them to forge a great destiny as benevolent protectors of their home lands, but such tales of glory have been lost to the sands of time. The chosen bear the mark of the dragon, which burns itself into the shoulder blades in the form of draconic wings as soon as the bond becomes active. Typically this happens when the dragon is in close proximity and typically dragons feel the call to their bonded mortal at a time of great distress, often arriving just in time to intervene in a situation that would otherwise result in the mortals demise. The mark cannot be removed through any means, including divine intervention, but can be hidden or disguised with mundane and magical means. Should the mortal’s flesh be ripped away, his skin will heal back with the mark still perfectly intact. The mark is always a breathtaking and inhuman work of art to behold and each mark appears as though it was burnt into the mortal’s flesh using the element that corresponds to their dragon’s breath weapon.
Longevity – Humanoids share the considerable life span of their bonded dragon. They never suffer physical penalties from old age and their life force becomes unconditionally tied to their dragon’s. Should their bonded dragon die, the mortal then continues aging at a normal progression for their species. The mortal’s physical age is effectively frozen when the mark of the dragon is etched in their flesh.
True Speech – Dragons are the only creatures ancient enough to remember the true names of all things in the world. The connection with their soul their Caex shares allows them to impart this knowledge to their bonded mortal. This ability otherwise functions exactly as Truename magic (with Words drawn from the Evolving Mind Utterances) but uses the following progression based on the mortal’s level:
Empathic Link: At 2nd level, the first ability that results from the soul link is a mutual empathic link between the Caex and the dragon. This ability otherwise functions as the familiar supernatural ability of the same name.
Know Condition: Beginning at 4th level, the Caex and dragon gain an inherent understanding of the other’s condition. This ability otherwise functions as the spells status and deathwatch but is always active, only effects the dragon and Caex, and has no range limitation.
Share Senses: At 6th level, by taking a full round action to concentrate, the dragon or Caex can perceive the other’s surroundings through their senses. This ability continues to function as long as the user continues to concentrate but can be ended as a free action. While invoking this ability, the user gains the fascinated condition.
Know Direction: Beginning at 8th level, both the Caex and dragon can always sense the direction of the other provided they are on the same plane of existence. This ability functions regardless of impedance or encumbrance. When contested by spells that obfuscate location, the user rolls an opposed caster level check against the caster level of the active effect.
Telepathy: At 10th level, the connection of the Caex and dragon grow to allow for telepathic communication between them. This ability otherwise functions as telepathic bond but has an indefinite duration and cannot be dispelled.
Draconic Knowledge: The world reveals itself even further to the Caex and dragon upon the Caex reaching 12th level. Both add an insight bonus of the dragon’s age category to all Knowledge skill checks.
Draconic Immunities: Upon reaching 14th level, the Caex gains the same immunities as their bonded dragon. This includes being immune to the dragon’s frightful presence, sleep, paralysis, and any other immunities (such as energy) the dragon gains by virtue of its race. This ability does not confer immunities granted from class features or magic items.
Know Location: At 16th level, the bond between the Caex and dragon intensifies to the point where they can feel one another’s place in the universe regardless of magic, space, and even time. This ability functions identically to the spell discern location save that even powerful magic such as mind blank does not prevent it.
Freedom: The pinnacle of power at 18th level, the Caex and dragon’s souls become one. While one is free, the other cannot be hindered or bound. No force of man or god can keep them apart. This ability functions identically to the spell freedom for both the Caex and dragon provided the other is unhindered. Effects that target both at the same time or coordinated efforts that take place simultaneously can trump this ability.
Soul Power – Each Caex has the ability to draw power from their bonded dragon which manifests as a pattern of abilities that grow and develop over time. Individual sets of powers are divided into sets of abilities, called Paradigms, and each Paradigm is a path of abilities that must be learned in order. Starting at 3rd level, and every other level thereafter, the Caex gains a single Soul Power which can be used to learn the next ability in a Paradigm. The Caex also gains an additional Soul Power for every age category of their bonded dragon. Further, the Caex gains the first ability in their dragon’s favored Paradigm for free.
The Caex can only have one Paradigm active at a time and to do so must resonate their soul with their dragon’s in order to activate it. To do so, the Caex spends a full round action harmonizing their soul with their dragon’s which requires them to be within 30 feet of one another. The Caex then makes a concentration check. The DC of this check is 20 plus 1 for every Hit Die difference between the Caex and the dragon. The closer the Caex and dragon are in power, the easier it is for their souls to harmonize. For spellcasters, the concentration check follows the same format as their spellcasting concentration checks. For non spellcasters, the Caex uses their highest mental (Int, Wis or Cha) ability modifier. If the concentration check is successful, the two souls resonate with one another and the Caex gains the abilities purchased in the Paradigm they declared upon attempting the activation roll. The dragon must also forfeit its next action to focus on stabilizing the resonance, regardless of whether or not the attempt is successful. Attempting to establish Soul Resonance provokes an attack of opportunity, but the Caex can voluntarily raise the difficulty by 5 to not provoke.
This Soul Resonance lasts until the end of the scene or until the Caex and dragon move more than 30 feet away from one another. It requires concentration by the Caex to maintain much like a wizard maintains a spell. While the Caex need not devote actions to maintaining the connection, checks are required to maintain resonance under certain circumstances. These conditions are identical to those outlined in casting spells, except the Caex substitutes the Hit Die difference for the spell level. The Caex need not make concentration checks from violent motion caused by riding a bonded dragon.