Mythological Figures: Odysseus/Ulysses (5E)
  • Mythological Figures: Odysseus/Ulysses (5E)


    In Mythological Figures today we’re headed after a person that is more popular in terms of ancient Western mythologies than probably anyone else: Odysseus/Ulysses!



    Odysseus is known for two principal things: his role in the Trojan War (recounted in The Illiad) and his long, perilous journey back home collectively known as The Odyssey. If you find yourself saying, “that word looks familiar…” that’s what I’m talking about with Odysseus’ lasting popularity--the whole reason we have a word for “a long series of wanderings or adventures, especially when filled with notable experiences, hardships, etc.” is this guy right here. I’ve no intention to repeat the entirety of that trip here and instead refer folks to better resources for that (Wikipedia, Video SparkNotes, full text at The Internet Classics Archive). Suffice to say that of the many greek heroes, Odysseus is Captain Greece.

    Design Notes: Odysseus needs to be a few things--he’s got to be clever and wise, have some agility, he’s not weak, and he’s good with a bow. With that in mind we’ve got our first ranged battlemaster build with a healthy dose of mastermind rogue to reflect his legendary cunning. The archery fighting style and a smattering of feats fill out the rest of his iconic profile, with Expertise ramping up the essential skills for his many successes to whopping +15s. For the CR equation this time around the DMG said 10.6, the Blog of Holding rubric claimed 11, and I’m inclined to agree with the latter--Odysseus here is definitely a considerably dangerous foe and as long as he’s not wasted in a suicidal charge will be an NPC that adventurers will quickly decide to focus their ire upon.


    Odysseus
    Medium humanoid (human), rogue (genius) 9/fighter (master of battle) 11


    Armor Class
    17 (breastplate or 19 with shield)
    Hit Points 101 (9d8+11d10)
    Speed 30 ft.

    STR
    DEX
    CON
    INT
    WIS
    CHA
    12 (+1)
    16 (+3)
    10 (+0)
    16 (+3)
    16 (+3)
    14 (+2)

    Saving Throws Dex +9, Int +9
    Skills Deception +14, History +9, Insight +15, Investigation +15, Perception +9, Persuasion +14
    Tools gaming set +6, thieves’ tools +6
    Senses passive Perception 19
    Languages Common, two other languages
    Challenge 11 (7,200 XP)

    Background: Noble - Prince. Due to his position as a noble, Odysseus is treated with a measure of respect wherever he goes. He is treated as royalty (or as closely as possible) by most peasants and traders (at least until it is clear he is quite mad), and as an equal when meeting other authority figures (who make time in their schedule to see him if requested to do so).

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

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

    Evasion. When Odysseus 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 Odysseus 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).

    Feat: Brilliant. Odysseus always knows how long it will be before the next sunset or sunrise, the northerly direction, and can perfectly remember anything he’s experienced within the last 31 days.

    Feat: Diplomatic. Odysseus can make a Charisma (Persuasion) check contested by the Wisdom (Insight) check of a creature that can understand what he says during 1 minute of talking. On a success, as long as Odysseus remains within 60 feet of it (and for 1 minute afterward) the target is charmed by him. Odysseus automatically fails on the check if he or his companions are fighting the target.

    Feat: Moderate Protection Master. Odysseus adds +3 from Dexterity instead of +2 when he is wearing medium armor.

    Feat: Superb Aim. Odysseus 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 Odysseus 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.

    Indomitable (1/Long Rest). Odysseus can reroll a saving throw that he fails but must use the new roll.

    Maneuver Master (5d10/Short Rest). Odysseus can expend a maneuver dice to perform a single maneuver with an attack.

    • Command. Odysseus uses his bonus action to forgo one of his attacks and direct a friendly creature who can see or hear him. The creature uses its reaction and makes a weapon attack, dealing 1d10 extra weapon damage on a successful hit.
    • Disarm. A creature Odysseus has hit with an attack takes 1d10 additional damage and makes a DC 17 Strength saving throw or drops one held item of his choice.
    • Inspire. Odysseus uses a bonus action and chooses an ally able to see and hear him. That ally gains 1d10+2 temporary hit points.
    • Maneuver. On a successful hit with a weapon attack, Odysseus deals 1d10 extra damage and chooses a friendly creature that can see and hear him. That creature can move half its speed by using its reaction. This movement does not provoke opportunity attacks from the target of Odysseus’ attack.
    • Trip. Odysseus deals 1d10 additional damage and if the target is a creature of Large size or smaller, it makes a DC 17 Strength saving throw or is knocked prone.


    Second Wind (1/Short Rest). On his turn, Odysseus can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+11 hit points.

    Sneak Attack (1/Turn). Odysseus 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 Odysseus that isn’t incapacitated and Odysseus doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.

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

    Tactician’s Insight. After Odysseus 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. Odysseus also knows when he and the target have equal scores in one of these categories.

    ACTIONS

    Extra Attack. Odysseus attacks three times.
    Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) piercing damage.
    Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, range 600 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d8+3) piercing damage.
    Comments 86 Comments
    1. Wiseblood's Avatar
      Wiseblood -
      Beowülf definitely deserves XP for using parabola. My IPhone doesn’t do what I want it to.
    1. pemerton's Avatar
      pemerton -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      The idea is: you have certain constraints and then how to you make the best version of X based on those constraints. It is an interesting idea and I enjoy the results, even if I don't always agree with his choices. How do you make Odysseus while giving him whatever stats and abilities you want is not as interesting, IMHO, as how to make him within the constraints of the expected stat array (point but or standard array) and D&D race and class system.
      This may be a difference of taste - I tend to prefer considering how a system (in this case, D&D) can do a character based on its range of mechanical options, rather than its PC build constraints. Especially if those constraints are already known to struggle with producing mythic/literary results!

      On a slightly different tangent - I think this thread brings out how punishing D&D is on certain options for no obvious reason. The punishment in question, here, is having an intellectually capable fighter; and when I say it's "for no obvious reason", what I mean is that it's purely a side-effect of a set of build constraints that are there for quite different reasons. That is, the rationing of stat points is there to stop 18 STR/DEX/CON fighters, to stop 18 INT/CON mages, etc - ie to impose some degree of mechanical balance. But Odysseus gets relatively little mechanical pay off from having high INT and WIS, but gets hosed in physical stats as a result.

      The point can be brought out in a slightly different way: in a free descriptor game, Wily Soldier and Master of Magic would both look like acceptable descriptors to provide the starting point for a character. If anything, Master of Magic might be more considered a bit powerful or generic and need reining in.

      But in 5e Master of Magic requires only one stat (INT for wizard, CHA for warlock) while Wily Soldier requires two to four, as we see in this case. So the system treats Wily Soldier as if it were more mechanically powerful than Master of Magic, even though in almost all D&D games it will be mechanically less effective.
    1. Kobold Stew's Avatar
      Kobold Stew -
      Quote Originally Posted by Wiseblood View Post
      Beowülf definitely deserves XP for using parabola. My IPhone doesn’t do what I want it to.
      Got ya covered.
    1. Wiseblood's Avatar
      Wiseblood -
      He then fired it through seven axe handles. Or at least the rings on the back which I would think needs a pretty strong draw to flatten the arc of the arrow. Unless they were very close together. I am not an archer so I don’t know.
    1. Kobold Stew's Avatar
      Kobold Stew -
      This is really good -- we actually have a lot of information about him, from the same pair of sources (the Homeric poems), and so I think this is a reasonable challenge. I'm going to suggest some slightly different solutions, but in general I think this is the best of this series so far.

      Drawing only in the Iliad and Odyssey, there are many specific abilities that it is worth trying to replicate:

      Iliad 23 - Od is the fastest at Troy (~Mobility feat and at least Rogue 2?)
      Iliad 23 - Od is the best wrestler at Troy (Grapple build: perhaps 18 Str, Expertise in Athletics from Rogue 2, Second attack from Fighter 5, Reliable talent with Rogue 11; possible the Lucky feat (Athena's influence)).
      Od 8 - Od is able to throw heavier discus further than others (5e doesn't mess with ranges much, but I suspect the Sharpshooter feat (first two points, which work with thrown weapons) is adequate.)

      Let's start with those three.

      I agree with your choice of a Fighter/Rogue split. My instinct is that Reliable Talent means that It should be 11 Rogue/9 Fighter (with one use of Indominable) or 12 Rogue/8 Fighter (with an extra ASI), or even 13 Rogue/7 Fighter (if you accept my suggested Rogue specialization, below).

      XGTE gives subclasses that help:

      Rogue (skirmisher) gives
      * expertise equivalent in Nature and Survival (cf. his raft building and trading water in Od 5)
      * superior mobility (cf. footrace in Iliad 23)
      * a level 13, Ambush master, giving advantage on initiative (cf. Iliad 10, and the story told by Helen in Od 4)

      Fighter (samurai) gives
      * more skill proficiencies
      * fighting spirit (advantage on select attacks; cf. Od 21, which also seems to be a Sharpshooter +5/-10)
      * elegant courtier gives wisdom bonus to Persuasion checks, and proficiency in Wisdom checks (and wisdom supports insight and survival, which both seem relevant). The strongest argument against this is that he significantly fails a wisdom check when Penelope brings up the bed in Od. 23. Whatever stats he ends up with, she is BETTER at deception (or her Deception is more successful than his insight); cf. also the trick with the shroud.So the question becomes when does he get his 7th level in fighter?

      Odysseus is certainly proficient (and perhaps with Expertise) in Deception (the three Cretan stories in Od. 13, 14, 19) and Performance (Od 9-12, esp. 11 when the king interrupts and says "How like a bard you speak...".) I'd also say proficient in Persuasion (Il 2 -- possibly Charismatic Leader here) and (as above) Athletics (with Expertise). Other skills would include Stealth (Il 10), and proficiency in the lyre, vehicles (water), and disguise kit. He might not be proficient in Insight, though (as above, and cf. his stupid moves with the Cyclops in Od 9).

      If there is a feature from a background that Odysseus seems to have, I'd suggest it's the "By Popular Demand" feature of the Entertainer.

      Rogue 13/Fighter 7 still leaves six ASIs, and (personal opinion here) if Homer played D&D, Odysseus would be his character and he would have rolled all those 18s at home, honestly -- so they can all be used for feats (I've suggested Sharpshooter, Lucky, and Mobility).

      Arguably, he doesn't show the benefits I've suggested of Fighter 7 until he is on the Island of the Phaeacians in Od. 6 (just weeks before he returns to Ithaca), but (if the above is reasonable) he is Rogue 13/Fighter 3 (at least) by Iliad 10 -- though he is the only one inside the Trojan Horse who makes the Insight check vs. Helen's Deception (told in Od 4).

      Re: stringing the bow: Odyssey 21. 128-29 shows that Telemachus too has the ability to string the bow, but with difficulty (no one else can). It doesn't pay to try to understand the trick shot -- the text is not clear, and there are many scholarly interpretations, none of which is generally accepted).

      Thanks a lot! I hope my comments show how provocative this one is.
    1. Flexor the Mighty! -
      12 STR? Must have been a revised Odyssey I missed.
    1. Wiseblood's Avatar
      Wiseblood -
      I would say he has at least a 16 Strength and 16 constitution. Probably 18. The bow being one example he could string every time. His son could do it but it took 4 tries. None of the suitors could string it and it was twelve axe handles.

      He physically restrained at least three of his men I think they were lured by sirens.

      He clung to a rock during a storm conjured by Poseidon.

      He was a warrior leading other warriors. He was cunning, brave, strong, handsome and wise to say the least. A lead from the front kind of guy. The guy up there is a fine specimen as far as scholars go but far too frail to be the hero of the Iliad or the Odyssey.
    1. Garthanos's Avatar
      Garthanos -
      His strength was considered proof of his divine status and a significant story feature ... sigh sad.
    1. Wiseblood's Avatar
      Wiseblood -
      Ahh I see, fair enough.
    1. Mercurius's Avatar
      Mercurius -
      For the life of me I don't know why you give such (relatively speaking) low ability scores for mythological figures. A 12 Strength of Odysseus?! That's just the obvious one, but all of them are way too low.

      Part of his greatness is that he was well-rounded and good at everything, without the flaws of some of the other heroes. He was a bit prideful, is all. But I can't see a justification for lower than 14 in anything, and most scores will be 18-20.

      I assume you want to design them as if they were PCs with the standard array (although even then, shouldn't he have higher scores by 20th level?), but that just doesn't fit with mythic figures.

      Again, Odysseus is no mere mortal. He is the last of the great Greek heroes and in some ways the greatest of all.

      My recommendation would be to imagine an optional "Heroic Status" rule, as follows:
      +2 to all ability scores (if using standard array, 17, 16, 15, 14, 12, 10), or re-rolling 1s and 2s if doing 4d6;
      +4 for ability score increases
      ups the maximum to 22.


      That would give something like STR 19, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 19, WIS 19, CHA 19

      Even then I think you could argue for some of those being in the 20-22 range.

      You could also have some kind of "Blessed by the Gods" feat that allows him to connect with Athena (who adored him) and gain advantage once per encounter, or something like that. Or perhaps more Inspiration than usual.
    1. Kobold Stew's Avatar
      Kobold Stew -
      Quote Originally Posted by Saelorn View Post
      A trick bow wouldn't prove that Odysseus was a better person than any of the suitors present. Otherwise, they could watch him string it, and then repeat the trick.
      Remember that all others try before Odysseus successfully strings the bow.
      The story always made perfect sense, in any edition of D&D that included Strength bows. Odysseus had Strength 18/00, and a bow built to support that. Only one in 21600 individuals could possibly match him.
      That is one interpretation.
      Quote Originally Posted by TheCosmicKid View Post
      If Homer described a magic bow that has a trick to stringing it, I'd accept that. But he doesn't.
      Odysseus is the only one described as sitting when stringing the bow. All others are standing.
      He repeatedly describes the bow-stringing challenge as a contest of strength, and Odysseus himself boasts of his strength immediately after stringing the bow.
      Odysseus has been disguised as a beggar, remember, and has been made to look other than what he is by Athena. The boast you mention (I presume you refer to Od. 21.426) -- eti moi menos empedon estin -- does not use a straightforward word for physical strength, but rather menos:
      Name: Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 8.32.37 AM.png ► Views: 215 ► Size: 146.0 KB. the semantic field is much less focused. Note also the word eti ("still") -- it is against expectation [because of the disguise].

      Remember also what's going on here narratively: this is a demonstration of Odysseus' right to wed Penelope and rule Ithaca as king.
      That's what the suitors think, but there is much more going on than this, as noted.
      Quote Originally Posted by Beowülf View Post
      He wasn't actually winning the right to marry Penelope; he was tricking all the suitors into thinking it was a contest to win that right, so that he could kill them.
      Odysseus has married Penelope, and he is returning to his home, and restoring it to its right state. In his mind he is not part of the contest.

      Remember also that the contest is Penelope's idea. She has been consistently putting off acceding to the suitors, despite their testosterone-soaked inappropriate demands. The shroud trick worked for a long time, and now this. It is possible she doesn't expect anyone to be able to string the bow, let alone make the trick shot. The bow hasn't been attempted to be strung in 20 years, after all.
    1. Arnwolf666's Avatar
      Arnwolf666 -
      no reason 20 character levels needs to be max. if any character cries out for epic boons it is Odysseus. And i do like that he was designed RAW. but boy is it hard to play a badass with a con 10. but i understand within the rules constraint.
    1. Garthanos's Avatar
      Garthanos -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      Divine (epic) boons would be great for that, but that is not the concept of this project as I understand it. Try to embrace what it is, not what it is not.
      What it is not is a good representation of the character in the stories who was known for Strength
    1. Garthanos's Avatar
      Garthanos -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post

      That is a good point. It would be a better balancing tactic to make everyone need more than one stat. I have been strongly thinking about going back to Reflex/Fort/Will for my next campaign partially for this reason.
      To me those allowed a lot of flexibility. you only need 3 attributes for defenses but which three? is very up in the air.

      however any time you do the uber heros attributes are sticking points.
    1. Garthanos's Avatar
      Garthanos -
      What the greeks meant by wisdom in battle seemed more like cleverness and trickiness with a dash of knowing when to run (maybe). Ulysses loved taunting or rubbing it in when he maybe shouldn't have to my thinking it wasn't what we think of as wise though I suppose perception was likely there. It would be reasonable to give the character meh wisdom while riding significantly higher on Str .
    1. Kobold Stew's Avatar
      Kobold Stew -
      Quote Originally Posted by Beowülf View Post
      Citation needed.

      From somewhere legitimate.
      This is a well-established idea in the scholarly literature. See, e.g. Caroline Sutherland, "Archery in the Homeric Epics", Classics Ireland 8 (2001) 111-20. I've attached the first page, where the presumption is at the start of the second paragraph.

      It's not certain, because Homer doesn't give enough information, but it is the explanation that accounts for what is in the poems, and I (at least) know of no other explanation that does. Name: Unknown.gif ► Views: 209 ► Size: 38.7 KB
    1. jasper's Avatar
      jasper -
      In Mythological Figures today we’re headed after a person that is more popular in terms of ancient Western mythologies than probably anyone else: Odysseus/Ulysses![PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]



      Odysseus is known for two principal things: his role in the Trojan War (recounted in The Illiad) and his long, perilous journey back home collectively known as The Odyssey. If you find yourself saying, “that word looks familiar…” that’s what I’m talking about with Odysseus’ lasting popularity--the whole reason we have a word for “a long series of wanderings or adventures, especially when filled with notable experiences, hardships, etc.” is this guy right here. I’ve no intention to repeat the entirety of that trip here and instead refer folks to better resources for that (Wikipedia, Video SparkNotes, full text at The Internet Classics Archive). Suffice to say that of the many greek heroes, Odysseus is Captain Greece.

      Design Notes: Odysseus needs to be a few things--he’s got to be clever and wise, have some agility, he’s not weak, and he’s good with a bow. With that in mind we’ve got our first ranged battlemaster build with a healthy dose of mastermind rogue to reflect his legendary cunning. The archery fighting style and a smattering of feats fill out the rest of his iconic profile, with Expertise ramping up the essential skills for his many successes to whopping +15s. For the CR equation this time around the DMG said 10.6, the Blog of Holding rubric claimed 11, and I’m inclined to agree with the latter--Odysseus here is definitely a considerably dangerous foe and as long as he’s not wasted in a suicidal charge will be an NPC that adventurers will quickly decide to focus their ire upon.


      Odysseus
      Medium humanoid (human), rogue (genius) 9/fighter (master of battle) 11


      Armor Class
      17 (breastplate or 19 with shield)
      Hit Points 101 (9d8+11d10)
      Speed 30 ft.

      STR
      DEX
      CON
      INT
      WIS
      CHA
      12 (+1)
      16 (+3)
      10 (+0)
      16 (+3)
      16 (+3)
      14 (+2)

      Saving Throws Dex +9, Int +9
      Skills Deception +14, History +9, Insight +15, Investigation +15, Perception +9, Persuasion +14
      Tools gaming set +6, thieves’ tools +6
      Senses passive Perception 19
      Languages Common, two other languages
      Challenge 11 (7,200 XP)

      Background: Noble - Prince. Due to his position as a noble, Odysseus is treated with a measure of respect wherever he goes. He is treated as royalty (or as closely as possible) by most peasants and traders (at least until it is clear he is quite mad), and as an equal when meeting other authority figures (who make time in their schedule to see him if requested to do so).

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

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

      Evasion. When Odysseus 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 Odysseus 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).

      Feat: Brilliant. Odysseus always knows how long it will be before the next sunset or sunrise, the northerly direction, and can perfectly remember anything he’s experienced within the last 31 days.

      Feat: Diplomatic. Odysseus can make a Charisma (Persuasion) check contested by the Wisdom (Insight) check of a creature that can understand what he says during 1 minute of talking. On a success, as long as Odysseus remains within 60 feet of it (and for 1 minute afterward) the target is charmed by him. Odysseus automatically fails on the check if he or his companions are fighting the target.

      Feat: Moderate Protection Master. Odysseus adds +3 from Dexterity instead of +2 when he is wearing medium armor.

      Feat: Superb Aim. Odysseus 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 Odysseus 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.

      Indomitable (1/Long Rest). Odysseus can reroll a saving throw that he fails but must use the new roll.

      Maneuver Master (5d10/Short Rest). Odysseus can expend a maneuver dice to perform a single maneuver with an attack.

      • Command. Odysseus uses his bonus action to forgo one of his attacks and direct a friendly creature who can see or hear him. The creature uses its reaction and makes a weapon attack, dealing 1d10 extra weapon damage on a successful hit.
      • Disarm. A creature Odysseus has hit with an attack takes 1d10 additional damage and makes a DC 17 Strength saving throw or drops one held item of his choice.
      • Inspire. Odysseus uses a bonus action and chooses an ally able to see and hear him. That ally gains 1d10+2 temporary hit points.
      • Maneuver. On a successful hit with a weapon attack, Odysseus deals 1d10 extra damage and chooses a friendly creature that can see and hear him. That creature can move half its speed by using its reaction. This movement does not provoke opportunity attacks from the target of Odysseus’ attack.
      • Trip. Odysseus deals 1d10 additional damage and if the target is a creature of Large size or smaller, it makes a DC 17 Strength saving throw or is knocked prone.


      Second Wind (1/Short Rest). On his turn, Odysseus can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+11 hit points.

      Sneak Attack (1/Turn). Odysseus 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 Odysseus that isn’t incapacitated and Odysseus doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.

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

      Tactician’s Insight. After Odysseus 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. Odysseus also knows when he and the target have equal scores in one of these categories.

      ACTIONS

      Extra Attack. Odysseus attacks three times.
      Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) piercing damage.
      Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, range 600 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d8+3) piercing damage.
    1. Kobold Stew's Avatar
      Kobold Stew -
      Quote Originally Posted by Garthanos View Post
      What the greeks meant by wisdom in battle seemed more like cleverness and trickiness with a dash of knowing when to run (maybe). Ulysses loved taunting or rubbing it in when he maybe shouldn't have to my thinking it wasn't what we think of as wise though I suppose perception was likely there. It would be reasonable to give the character meh wisdom while riding significantly higher on Str .
      Od 13.297-8, Athena says to him "You are among mortals the best in council/advice and speech/stories.

      It's not just wisdom in battle.

      Quote Originally Posted by Pauln6 View Post
      Personally, I think it would still be within the OPs ambit to grant divine boons to boost stats where the literary characters are demi gods or favoured by the gods.
      Quote Originally Posted by Garthanos View Post
      His strength was considered proof of his divine status and a significant story feature ... sigh sad.
      Or, perhaps more appropriately, the gods favoured him because of his high stats.
      We see Athena making him more beautiful, but I can't think of anything else where it's divine favour that is helping him out (though we are regularly left to infer Athena does help, which is why I suggested the Lucky feat above).



      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      Also I know it has been a long time since I took classics, but I never remember Strength being a core trait of Odysseus. At least not compared to Herakles, Theseus, Achilles, or even Perseus. Similarly, he is rarely portrayed in movies as particularly strong. In general we seem to emphasis / value his other traits. The only feat of strength I can think of off the top of my head is the stringing his bow. And that could be expertise in athletics or just a bunch of wimps in his court room you couldn't do it It seems like a a low strength (but training or maybe expertise in athletics) night be a reasonable approach. Though I still think a bit higher STR is in order. But like I said, my memory is hazy.
      Odysseus' "strength" is shown (as far as I remember):
      Il. 23 speed and wrestling
      Od 5 staying afloat for days (cf. Beowulf, actually)
      Od 8 throwing a discus further than anyone else
      Od 9 holding his body under a ram
      Stringing the bow, as others have mentioned, works at the speed of plot -- it is a strength challenge for the suitors and Telemachus (who alone is able to do it); for him it is instant.
    1. pemerton's Avatar
      pemerton -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      To clarify, the point of this thread is not to create a NPC that best reflects a mythic hero, but the more difficult challenge of creating a mythic hero with the RAW PC rules, and then discuss what changes we would make within the concept of the thread. It is an interesting challenge, not a definitive D&D Obysseus.

      Its like taking a mythic hero and imaging them as a real person (in D&D terms) and then making stats for them. So if Odysseus was real, what would he really be like? And then debate what he come up with.
      This doesn't fully address some of the comments, though, like Why is STR so lacking when Odysseus was renowned for his strength. There are feats in this build (eg Brilliant) that could be traded for STR without apparent loss.

      Also, the OP does say

      Odysseus here is definitely a considerably dangerous foe and as long as he’s not wasted in a suicidal charge will be an NPC that adventurers will quickly decide to focus their ire upon.

      So the build is intended to be a NPC, not a PC, and there is no requirement in the 5e rules that a "real person" NPC follow PC build rules - eg NPCs have proficiency bonuses that follow their CR, not their PC level (insofar as that might be inferred by, say, spells useable).

      There's also a bigger question, also relating to your idea of "real person" - it's at least open to argument that if the ruleset can't model a hero like Odysseus then there is a weakness in the ruleset.
    1. Kobold Stew's Avatar
      Kobold Stew -
      Quote Originally Posted by Garthanos View Post
      "speech and stories" is still charisma again no? Yes his public speaking rocked and cleverness might still cover what they mean by council ... he definitely pulled some serious derps wrt what I would call wisdom and notably behavior that featured lack of discipline. Which is why I think maybe Athena's ideas of wisdom may not be exactly the D&D wisdom stat.
      True -- charisma is solid (see also him taking over from Agamemnon for a minute in Iliad 2; admittedly in Iliad 9 when speaking to Achiles, he is little more than a mouthpiece, and it is Ajax that rolls well, as it were.

      In the Odyssey, we see him learning wisdom, I would say. By his own account, he has learned nothing as he leaves Troy (Od 9 -- the first thing he does is lay siege to another town; and he foolishly reveals his name to Polyphemus), but by the time he's with the Phaeacians 9 years later, he as matured and (I'd say) is wise. The transition comes in the Underworld, when (ironically) it is Achilles who provides hi with a true understanding of the human condition, which he then adopts (Od. 11). The comment from Athena in Od 13 reflects both Wisdom (boule -- council) and charisma (muthoi -- stories/speech).

      That said, all the stories of him at Troy from the Odyssey reflect his compassion, insight, and understanding (e.g. Menelaus' story of his Insight roll vs. Helen's deception in Od. 4).
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