Dragon Rider is a new role in SpliceHack. Dragon riders are competent melee fighters and middling spellcasters. They are most known for their ability to tame dragons as most roles would tame domestic animals, and their inability to wear dragon armor. Dragon riders begin the game with a saddled tame baby dragon as a pet. Only humans, elves, drow, and changelings can begin the game as Dragon riders.
Each Dragon rider starts with the following:
- A +1 broadsword
- A +1 scale mail
- High boots
- A potion of healing
- A lamp
- A leash
- 2 food rations
- 2 tripe rations
- 10% chance of a magic marker
Dragon riders gain intrinsics at these experience levels:
- Level 7: Speed
- Level 15: Poison Resistance
- Level 16: Sleep Resistance
- Level 18: Fire Resistance
- Level 19: Cold Resistance
- Level 21: Shock Resistance
- Level 23: Disintegration Resistance
Dragon Tamer: Allows the user to tame dragons by chatting with them. Additional ranks in dragon tamer increase the chance of success. This skill is unique to the class, so you can only advance it by starting as a Dragon Rider, or gaining 5 levels in the class as a multiclass character.
Dragon riders begin the game with a tame baby dragon as a pet. This baby dragon is selected randomly from all dragon types except black. Dragon riders gain a number of benefits from their relationship with dragons.
- Dragon riders can tame any dragon as one would tame a domestic animal, with the notable exception of SpliceHack's elder dragons.
- Dragon riders can ride their pet dragons without reducing their tameness.
- Each turn a pet dragon spends adjacent to a Dragon rider, they provide the Dragon rider with one point of passive energy regeneration.
Pet dragons will assist a Dragon rider when adjacent to them in times of need.
- Dragons will free stuck Dragon riders.
- Dragons will nudge sleeping Dragon riders awake.
- Red dragons and baby red dragons will exhale on the Dragon rider to cure them of sliming.
- Dragon riders are incapable of wearing dragon scales or dragon scale mail.
- Eating a dragon corpse is considered cannibalism.
Due to their preexisting reliance on pets, Dragon riders are a good choice to go for the conducts of pacifist and never hitting with a wielded weapon.
Dragon riders excel in the early game. Their pet dragon, although slow, is strong enough to take care of most monsters for them. Dragon riders can afford to hang back and let it do the fighting for them. Enormous care should be taken when bringing dragons into shops, since they are likely to attack and get killed by shopkeepers.
Be on the lookout for anything that can be used to improve AC. Additionally, finding a wand of speed monster should be a priority, since one zap transforms their pet from a strong sidekick into a terrifying destructive force. Finally, pick up as many food items as possible in order to be prepared for taming dragons later in the game.
Dragon riders struggle in the mid game. Their pet becomes much less useful, and their lack of powerful intrinsics and inability to wear dragon armor hurts them. Finding strong items in general can be a struggle. While the Dragon rider quest is not terribly difficult, the reward obtained from it is mediocre. Sharur is very weak as far as artifact weapons go, and can usually be invoked immediately for an additional pet.
Find as many items as possible to increase AC, and enchant your armor. Prioritize items that will grant magic resistance, since gray dragon scale mail is not an option.
If they are adequately prepared, Dragon riders have a strong late game. The increased presence of dragons means that numerous powerful pets are readily available, and those with pet red dragons will be safer from delayed instadeaths via sliming. The plane of air generates with five random dragons spread throughout the level, potentially providing the Dragon rider with pets to take through the planes.