Mythological Figures: Daedalus (5E)
  • Mythological Figures: Daedalus (5E)


    Today in Mythological Figures we’re circling back to Ancient Greece with one of history’s most famous inventors—Daedalus! I think we’re all familiar with his larger achievements (the hubris myth of Icarus flying too high, the creation of the labyrinth for the minotaur) but did you know he was credited with inventing carpentry and was murderously petty? Daedalus took on his nephew as an apprentice and after the lad invented the saw (and made two compasses) he was pushed off the Acropolis to a plummeting death! Even if you think you know his tale it’s worth brushing up on.


    Design Notes: There was a lot of “should I/shouldn’t I” going on here and it took a bit to settle on his archetype and background. I wasn’t feeling confident on the rogue class even until I finally figured on this premise: Daedalus is rolling 20s and has a hella-cool GM. He doesn’t really ever use magic, instead constructing things that are so sublime and perfectly-made that they move of their own accord—sounds like a classic case of “wow that’s a high check! The god of ______ takes notice and ____.” To that end I poured all the mechanical oomph I could into his carpentry and mason tool kits so at the very least he should be rolling a +10 on any of given check with them. When he’s not doing his thing (making stuff) he’s savvy, has a crossbow (which is technically late-era Greece but as a master of the mechanical arts, not outside of the realm of possibility for him), and can figure some things out quickly but Daedalus is definitely not a combat-oriented character (outside of being good with pot shots). Also if you're interested in more encompassing 5E Ancient Greece action, I have a thing for that which posts weekly on Sundays.


    Daedalus
    Medium humanoid (human), neutral good rogue (genius) 9

    Armor Class
    14 (studded leather)
    Hit Points 36 (8d8)
    Speed 30 ft.

    STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
    14 (+2) 15 (+2) 10 (+0) 20 (+5) 14 (+2) 8 (-1)

    Saving Throws
    Dex +6, Int +9
    Skills History +9, Insight +10, Investigation +13, Perception +6, Religion +9, Stealth +6
    Tools carpenter’s tools +8, disguise kit +4, forgery kit +4, dice set +4, mason’s tools +8
    Senses passive Perception 16
    Languages Common and two others
    Challenge 3 (700 XP)

    Background: Advisor - Master.
    Daedalus is frequently made to take on apprentices, training them in the ways of the mechanical arts. His subordinates obey his commands and believe what he tells them (within reason).

    Cunning Action (1/turn). Daedalus can take a bonus action to take the Dash, Disengage, Help, or Hide action.

    Evasion. When Daedalus is subjected to an effect that allows him to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, he instead takes no damage if he succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if he fails.

    Fast Learner. After Daedalus has heard a creature speak for 1 minute or longer, he can mimic its manner of speaking as long as he knows the same language as the creature (allowing him to seem like he is local to a given region).

    Sneak Attack (1/turn). Daedalus deals an extra 17 (5d6) damage when he hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of Daedalus that isn’t incapacitated and Daedalus doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.

    Tactician. Daedalus is able to use the Help action to aid an ally attack a creature as long as the target of the attack is able to see and hear Daedalus and is within 30 feet of him.

    Tactician’s Insight. After Daedalus has observed or interacted with a creature for 1 minute, he learns whether or not it has higher or lower Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma scores than him. In addition, he learns if the target has more or fewer class levels than him. Daedalus also knows when he and the target have equal scores in one of these categories.

    ACTIONS

    Dagger.
    Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. or thrown 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4+2) piercing damage.

    Light Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 80/320 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) piercing damage.

    REACTIONS

    Uncanny Dodge.
    When an attacker Daedalus can see hits him with an attack, Daedalus can use his reaction to halve the attack’s damage against him.
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Thank you again for another fun entry. My only grip is it seems his strength might be a bit high. i am not overly familiar with the character, I would have pegged him with average strength (10-12 max). Regardless I really like this entry, he would make a great NPC in almost any campaign.
    1. Andrea Rocci's Avatar
      Andrea Rocci -
      The correct spelling is "Daedalus", "Daedelus" is incorrect. The entry uses a mix of the two, but mostly the wrong one.
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      Thank you again for another fun entry. My only grip is it seems his strength might be a bit high. i am not overly familiar with the character, I would have pegged him with average strength (10-12 max). Regardless I really like this entry, he would make a great NPC in almost any campaign.
      You are most welcome! I didn't think of him as particularly strong either but realized that the tool kits he's going to be frequently making use of could sometimes call for a Strength check, I had the points to spend, and he's the craftsman so he shouldn't be a weakling (he didn't just draft plans, he builds). I'm gearing up for some excellent Greek D&D next month and look forward to him making an appearance.

      Quote Originally Posted by Andrea Rocci View Post
      The correct spelling is "Daedalus", "Daedelus" is incorrect. The entry uses a mix of the two, but mostly the wrong one.
      Right you are! Fixed it where I can (which is in most places, I think). Thank you for pointing it out!
    1. Jay Verkuilen's Avatar
      Jay Verkuilen -
      This is a tough one.

      D&D doesn't really have a useful crafting system to speak of, certainly not the kind of "items are so amazing they push into magic" that Daedalus would do unless you want to treat his impressive craftings as reskinned spells. I guess I just don't feel like this really does the greatest craftsman of the age, especially with his high skills in Investigation and Insight and not in Carpenter's Tools, literally the thing he's famous for inventing! I think you might consider some possibilities such as making him a multiclass bard/knowledge cleric/rogue, to cherry pick as many expertises as possible and choose spells that back up his crafting ability, e.g., Guidance.

      I'm also not convinced that Neutral Good is a fitting alignment for a man who murdered his own nephew out of spite....
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Myler View Post
      I didn't think of him as particularly strong either but realized that the tool kits he's going to be frequently making use of could sometimes call for a Strength check, I had the points to spend, and he's the craftsman so he shouldn't be a weakling (he didn't just draft plans, he builds).
      Good point!
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jay Verkuilen View Post
      This is a tough one.

      D&D doesn't really have a useful crafting system to speak of, certainly not the kind of "items are so amazing they push into magic" that Daedalus would do unless you want to treat his impressive craftings as reskinned spells. I guess I just don't feel like this really does the greatest craftsman of the age, especially with his high skills in Investigation and Insight and not in Carpenter's Tools, literally the thing he's famous for inventing! I think you might consider some possibilities such as making him a multiclass bard/knowledge cleric/rogue, to cherry pick as many expertises as possible and choose spells that back up his crafting ability, e.g., Guidance.
      Well he would probably a good choice for an artificer class, if we had one!
    1. Jay Verkuilen's Avatar
      Jay Verkuilen -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      Well he would probably a good choice for an artificer class, if we had one!
      Absolutely. I hacked one based on the Bard early on because we converted a late 4E game to 5E and I was playing an artificer. WotC has thrown out a few examples but don't seem to follow through with one.
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jay Verkuilen View Post
      This is a tough one.

      D&D doesn't really have a useful crafting system to speak of, certainly not the kind of "items are so amazing they push into magic" that Daedalus would do unless you want to treat his impressive craftings as reskinned spells. I guess I just don't feel like this really does the greatest craftsman of the age, especially with his high skills in Investigation and Insight and not in Carpenter's Tools, literally the thing he's famous for inventing! I think you might consider some possibilities such as making him a multiclass bard/knowledge cleric/rogue, to cherry pick as many expertises as possible and choose spells that back up his crafting ability, e.g., Guidance.

      I'm also not convinced that Neutral Good is a fitting alignment for a man who murdered his own nephew out of spite....
      Tool kits aren't inherently tied to any one ability score--they're usually used with one score, but they aren't tied to it in the same way that a skill is. I alluded to that in the Design Notes but assuming what he's doing with carpentry involves planning (ie Intelligence) he'll have the same bonus for that as he does Investigation. I did consider having some reskinned divine goodies via Athena's blessings but ultimately figured ancient greek campaigns to be about low magic so shirked that to GM fiat and kept things mundane. It's not like he was making winged harnesses every day, so working out 5 levels of a class to get him access to fly felt like using the wrong tool.

      Ah, and alignment--on the whole I think he was an alright guy. Everyone makes mistakes and you'd expect somebody that caused their son's death to be prone to the occasional irrational act.

      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      Well he would probably a good choice for an artificer class, if we had one!
      Quote Originally Posted by Jay Verkuilen View Post
      Absolutely. I hacked one based on the Bard early on because we converted a late 4E game to 5E and I was playing an artificer. WotC has thrown out a few examples but don't seem to follow through with one.
      Stay tuned to EN5ider
    1. Jay Verkuilen's Avatar
      Jay Verkuilen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Myler View Post
      Tool kits aren't inherently tied to any one ability score--they're usually used with one score, but they aren't tied to it in the same way that a skill is. I alluded to that in the Design Notes but assuming what he's doing with carpentry involves planning (ie Intelligence) he'll have the same bonus for that as he does Investigation. I did consider having some reskinned divine goodies via Athena's blessings but ultimately figured ancient greek campaigns to be about low magic so shirked that to GM fiat and kept things mundane. It's not like he was making winged harnesses every day, so working out 5 levels of a class to get him access to fly felt like using the wrong tool.
      I guess the problem I have is that the rogue has a lot of relatively irrelevant abilities such as Sneak Attack (helps for killing annoying nephews I suppose), Evasion, etc. Of course 5E really lacks any other reasonable way to make a non-spellcasting scholar type, in addition to the lack of a crafting system. I wish that there was a way to make a character like that without MacGyvering one through multiclassing and house rules, precisely for the low magic kind of setting. A low magic, half caster or even third caster, type bard would also be very welcome, for instance for a more Norse or Ancient Greek kind of game.

      You're right that skills aren't definitely tied to a particular ability. I'm not a huge fan of "tools" proficiencies because they're so ill-defined and many are essentially useless (Tambourine, Gaming Set) while others are nearly essential in most campaigns (Thieves' Tools). IMO Thieves' Tools should be a bona fide skill (Thievery) like it was in 4E given how important it tends to be in game applications.


      Ah, and alignment--on the whole I think he was an alright guy. Everyone makes mistakes and you'd expect somebody that caused their son's death to be prone to the occasional irrational act.
      True, but that doesn't seem to fit with my image of Neutral Good. Maybe Chaotic Good, or Chaotic Neutral. I'd also suggest that his tendency to make inventions that backfire is evidence of a not necessarily great Wisdom. Certainly not Lawful!
    1. Eltab's Avatar
      Eltab -
      Maybe
      Flaw: When I stew in my anger or my jealousy, I act out my feelings without thinking about the consequences … or the morality.
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