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


    In today’s Mythological Figures entry we’re going after probably the only forged *cough cough* individual on the list: Talos, the metal man of ancient Crete!



    Where precisely Talos is from isn’t completely clear--was he made by Hephaestus and gifted to Minos or Europa, or the last bronze man from the third age of man and gifted to Europa by Zeus? It depends on which scripts and translations you’re reading. Regardless of his origins his thing was wandering around the island of Crete (doing the perimeter three times a day), throwing rocks at unwelcome visitors before they could come ashore. A critical weakness (in his ankle no less!) leads to his downfall when Medea (or a brilliant Argonaut archer named Poeas) causes him to take a wound in this most vital vein, killing him--again it matters what you’re reading for how that came to happen. Did she blind him with magic? Pull out a bronze nail plugging up the vein after tricking him?

    Design Notes: Ideally Talos is throwing much bigger rocks (dealing at a minimum 2d6 damage) but the goal in this side of the column is to do things RAW for character creation so here we are. If you’re interested in more of a monstrous take on Talos check out the D&D Greece series on my website.


    Talos
    Medium humanoid (forged folk), neutral fighter (archer) 6

    Armor Class
    17 (light proficiency)
    Hit Points 45 (6d10+12)
    Speed 35 ft.

    STR
    DEX
    CON
    INT
    WIS
    CHA
    16 (+3)
    16 (+3)
    14 (+2)
    10 (+0)
    10 (+0)
    10 (+0)

    Saving Throws Str +6, Con +5
    Skills Athletics +6, History +3, Perception +3, Survival +3
    Damage Resistances poison; bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
    Condition Immunities disease, sleep
    Senses passive Perception 13
    Languages Common
    Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)

    Background: Wildborn. Talos never forgets the geographic arrangement of terrain, settlements, and areas of wilderness. In addition, he can forage fresh water and food each day for as many as 6 people as long as the environment nearby can support it.

    Action Surge (1/Short Rest). On his turn, Talos can take an additional action on top of his regular action and a possible bonus action.

    Critical Vulnerability. Talos is immune to sneak attack damage and extra damage from critical hits, and has resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage. A creature targeting Talos’ singular point of vulnerability (its heel) has a -10 penalty on its attack roll, but on a hit the attack deals normal damage (ignoring the immunities and resistances of this feature).

    Efficient Steps. When traveling by himself for one or more hours, Talos can move stealthily at his normal speed at no penalty.

    Excellent Aim (3/Short Rest). Talos can spend a bonus action to aim a wielded ranged weapon at a target within its range. Until the end of his turn, ranged attacks that Talos makes against the target deal an extra 5 damage on a hit.

    Feat: Brawling. Talos is proficient with improvised weapons.

    Feat: Superb Aim. Talos ignores half cover and three-quarters cover when making a ranged weapon attack, and he doesn’t have disadvantage when attacking at long range. When Talos makes his first ranged weapon attack in a turn, he can choose to take a -5 penalty to his ranged weapon attack rolls in exchange for a +10 bonus to ranged weapon damage.

    Forge Resistant. Talos has advantage on saving throws against being poisoned. He does not need to breathe, drink, or eat. Talos still requires a 6 hour resting period that emulates sleep in order to recharge his inner workings. While resting he is still conscious but any movement by Talos interrupts his rest. In addition, he does not become exhausted from lack of rest.

    Second Wind (1/Short Rest). On his turn, Talos can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+6 hit points.



    ACTIONS

    Extra Attack.
    Talos attacks twice.

    Unarmed. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4+3) bludgeoning damage and Talos can use a bonus action to grapple the target with a successful Strength (Athletics) check opposed by the target’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check.

    Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 60 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) bludgeoning damage.
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Thank you as always for sharing. Personally I don't see the benefit in doing Talos as a PC build. That was never how I understood his character (but then again I don't know a lot about him). I would prefer seeing this in the Epic Monster series. (PS I know there is another version on your site, I just don't quite understanding doing this version.)
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      Thank you as always for sharing. Personally I don't see the benefit in doing Talos as a PC build. That was never how I understood his character (but then again I don't know a lot about him). I would prefer seeing this in the Epic Monster series. (PS I know there is another version on your site, I just don't quite understanding doing this version.)
      I was keen to get a warforged up here at some point but more importantly somebody requested him so he was on the queue. Certainly a strange build for a PC ("I want to be a guy made of metal that throws rocks! har har har") but there it is.

      Mind you to any new readers--these are all by request. If there's somebody you want to see appear in the column, tell us here! So long as they're in the public domain we will get to them eventually.
    1. Sabathius42's Avatar
      Sabathius42 -
      While I see that making Talos immune to sneak attack is thematic, I think its too "unfun" for a monster. I would recommend changing the wording so that sneak attack damage applies fully and buffing up Talos' HP to compensate. Its better to give the rogue a moment in the sun rather than just telling them to sit out a fight.

      BBEGs being immune to sneak attack reminds me too much of the catastrophic end to the Age of Worms adventure path way back in 3.5. The party rogue just walked away and didn't take part because it was one big monster immune to sneak attack (the only way high level rogues have of doing useful amounts of damage).

      DS
    1. Arnwolf666's Avatar
      Arnwolf666 -
      a character from one of my favorite mythological stories. thanks. i may use him for my game with 3rd level PC’s.
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sabathius42 View Post
      While I see that making Talos immune to sneak attack is thematic, I think its too "unfun" for a monster. I would recommend changing the wording so that sneak attack damage applies fully and buffing up Talos' HP to compensate. Its better to give the rogue a moment in the sun rather than just telling them to sit out a fight.

      BBEGs being immune to sneak attack reminds me too much of the catastrophic end to the Age of Worms adventure path way back in 3.5. The party rogue just walked away and didn't take part because it was one big monster immune to sneak attack (the only way high level rogues have of doing useful amounts of damage).

      DS
      I can see how that'd be a problem! A few things:
      1) This is hardly a BBEG (CR 4 feels a bit flat for that)
      2) Rogues can still sneak attack him they are just at a huge penalty to do so
      3) I don't think Talos here is going up against any high-level rogues but that's why they got Use Magic Device in previous editions and the Thief archetype gets it as well. Sometimes having that backstab just won't cut it and you need to use that thing you stole from the party's wizard.


      Quote Originally Posted by Arnwolf666 View Post
      a character from one of my favorite mythological stories. thanks. i may use him for my game with 3rd level PC’s.
      Woot woot! Have at it and let us know how things went!
    1. pemerton's Avatar
      pemerton -
      I always thought that Talos was a triple iron golem . . .
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
      I always thought that Talos was a triple iron golem . . .
      The goal of Mythological Figures is to keep the builds as RAW as possible so if you wanted to play Talos, you could do so. Some GMs might ban warforged as a player race but I reckon nearly *all* GMs will ban iron golems.
    1. pemerton's Avatar
      pemerton -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Myler View Post
      The goal of Mythological Figures is to keep the builds as RAW as possible so if you wanted to play Talos, you could do so. Some GMs might ban warforged as a player race but I reckon nearly *all* GMs will ban iron golems.
      I was alluding to Gygax's description in his DMG. Gygax certainly wasn't envisaging Talos as a PC!

      I assume a "triple iron golem" has 3x the hit points of a standard MM golem (ie 240 hp) and does 3x the damage (ie 12d10). And mabye is also three times as tall (ie 36'). (An ordinary iron golem already attacks on the 16+ HD table, so no improvement there.)
    1. Sabathius42's Avatar
      Sabathius42 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Myler View Post
      I can see how that'd be a problem! A few things:
      1) This is hardly a BBEG (CR 4 feels a bit flat for that)
      2) Rogues can still sneak attack him they are just at a huge penalty to do so
      3) I don't think Talos here is going up against any high-level rogues but that's why they got Use Magic Device in previous editions and the Thief archetype gets it as well. Sometimes having that backstab just won't cut it and you need to use that thing you stole from the party's wizard.
      1. I (possibly in error) assume that even though you are designing this as a character, its really meant to be a "monster" to challenge the players. Giving a monster lots of PC abilities makes it much more complex than other monsters of its CR neighborhood and as a GM I usually look at these more intricate monsters as a BBEG in my campaigns. The CR of 4 just means to me its a BBEG for the first adventure in my campaign, not one I would use at higher levels. This may not be your intention and only my interpretation.

      2. Assuming a low level PC has a +5 to-hit bonus...they already have to roll a 12+ to hit this guy in melee. Tacking on the crazy -10 modifier to an already difficult attack roll means you are asking all the martial damage characters to roll 20s to have a chance to do normal damage which means you are essentially telling the PCs they are just going to be doing half damage (and no SA/Crit) with any of those attacks because nobody is going to take that gamble.

      I guess my feelings on this monster comes down to what your design goal is.

      If you are trying to make an opponent that PCs have to tackle with other tactics (like swarms do) then I would just eliminate the crazy -10 modifier special rule and just make it immune to SA/Crits/BSP damage.

      If you are trying to make an opponent that the PCs are encouraged to "gamble" to get around the SA/Crit/BSP defenses then I would change the -10 modifier to instead use Disadvantage.

      Edit: It is more clear to me based on the replies after my original one that your series is intended to create PLAYER characters, not monsters for the PCs to encounter. You can pretty much disregard everything I have been saying since that was based around creature design, not character design.
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sabathius42 View Post
      Edit: It is more clear to me based on the replies after my original one that your series is intended to create PLAYER characters, not monsters for the PCs to encounter. You can pretty much disregard everything I have been saying since that was based around creature design, not character design.
      Aye if you just want monster Talos, he's only got the one feature (and is much better at rock throwing I reckon).
    1. Stacy Forsythe's Avatar
      Stacy Forsythe -
      Shouldn’t monster-version Talos have the ability where he stands in fire to superheat himself and then grapples people agonizingly? I seem to remember that from one version of the Argonaut story. I can see where it would be impractical to assign that trick to playable Talos (though it sounds like something a PC with s metallic body and fire immunity might try), but I was surprised not to see it on monster Talos.
    1. DMMike's Avatar
      DMMike -
      Oh, THAT Talos. Thought it might have been the other one, per this guy:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWq9PZ_PB-0

      His character sheet is a little shorter in Modos RPG:

      Talos
      Concept:
      Medium humanoid (forged folk), neutral fighter (archer) 5
      Hero points: for rock-throwing accuracy against concealed opponents and to resist special (poison, weapon) damage with Diehard perk. Goal: repel all invaders, at all costs. Flaw: forge resistant. He does not need to breathe, drink, or eat. Talos still requires a 6 hour resting period that emulates sleep in order to recharge his inner workings. While resting he is still conscious but any movement by Talos interrupts his rest. In addition, he does not become exhausted from lack of rest.

      Physical Mental Metaphysical
      15 8 12

      Skills:
      Armed +4 (2), Sneak +3 (1), Knowledge (nature) +1 (2)
      Perks:
      Bonus Action (Armed), Martial Artist, Diehard, Weapon Training (rocks), Armor Training (natural)
      Gear:
      Forged Punch d6 and Forged Skin d6, or Rock d6 and Forged Skin d4

    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by Stacy Forsythe View Post
      Shouldn’t monster-version Talos have the ability where he stands in fire to superheat himself and then grapples people agonizingly? I seem to remember that from one version of the Argonaut story. I can see where it would be impractical to assign that trick to playable Talos (though it sounds like something a PC with s metallic body and fire immunity might try), but I was surprised not to see it on monster Talos.
      You know I ran across that while prepping this post but aye, it doesn't seem to be a widely accepted part of his core story so it's not here. All of the D&D 5E Ancient Greece posts on my website are just conversions of Sean K. Reynold's (brilliant) New Argonauts PDF from years ago and he didn't include that, thus it isn't in the conversion. That said it sounds like a worthwhile trick to include and when my group eventually gets to Crete I'll probably make Talos scorching hot before he picks a fight with them.
    1. rmcoen's Avatar
      rmcoen -
      Does true strike still exist in 5e? That's the way to take out that ankle! Or, as in the stories, you aren't supposed to fight him -- trick/ambush/enchant him instead!
    1. ART!'s Avatar
      ART! -
      I only have this to add:

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