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 69 Comments
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by jasper View Post
      I have to disagree with Pauln6. I think stringing his bow was either a trick. Or a special attuned item which only allow him to string it.
      Stringing the bow was definitely a feat of strength in the myth, so Pauln6 is right on that count, but I think this is a good way to represent it in D&D without over-inflating his STR stat.

      ^^^Not my comment. Not sure what's going on but will address yinz tomorrow! --MM
    1. Pauln6's Avatar
      Pauln6 -
      The only possible issue is that he was the only one strong enough to string his bow so he needs either a higher base strength or something to give him expertise or advantage on athletics?
    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. 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. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Hmm. It seems my first comment disappeared. So I will make a new one!

      In general I like it, but it seems odd that a 20th level character would not have a maxed stat or at least one stat at 18. Obysseus is a hard one because he as basically good at everything. He should probably have higher strength, but there is only so much room for improvement. I don't recall him being overly dexterious, but my last classics class was 26 years ago, so my memory is not so great. I would probably give him higher strength and then a trait / feat to allow him to use his strength modifier when using his longbox. That way you can lower his Dex.

      Also, there is something wrong with the longbow damage. It should be: 7 (1d8 + 3)

      EDIT: I forgot to thank you for another great entry - thanks you for sharing!
    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. SolidPlatonic's Avatar
      SolidPlatonic -
      Huh, with all of his ASIs, couldn't have pumped up his intelligence and strength, the two things that he is legendarily known for.
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Wiseblood View Post
      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.
      Though I generally agree with you, I believe the intent of this series is to make it as RAW as possible. As such, it is difficult if not impossible to get all high numbers and the feats you need to create Odysseus and use point buy (which is what I think he is using). I would revise some things, but I don't think you can reasonably get three 18s with the concept of this series.
    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. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mercurius View Post
      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.
      Mike has made this pretty clear from the beginning and every time this is brought up, but I will just repeat my response from post #10 in this thread:

      "Though I generally agree with you, I believe the intent of this series is to make it as RAW as possible. As such, it is difficult if not impossible to get all high numbers and the feats you need to create Odysseus and use point buy (which is what I think he is using). I would revise some things, but I don't think you can reasonably get three 18s with the concept of this series."

      EDIT: 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.
    1. Beowülf's Avatar
      Beowülf -
      Quote Originally Posted by Wiseblood View Post
      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.
      They were not all of the same length, and he had the foresight to make sure they were arranged in a perfect parabola.
    1. Saelorn's Avatar
      Saelorn -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      Though I generally agree with you, I believe the intent of this series is to make it as RAW as possible. As such, it is difficult if not impossible to get all high numbers and the feats you need to create Odysseus and use point buy (which is what I think he is using). I would revise some things, but I don't think you can reasonably get three 18s with the concept of this series.
      RAW, the primary method of stat generation is to roll for it, so it's entirely legal to say that Odysseus naturally started with multiple 18s.
    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. Wiseblood's Avatar
      Wiseblood -
      Beowülf definitely deserves XP for using parabola. My IPhone doesn’t do what I want it to.
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Saelorn View Post
      RAW, the primary method of stat generation is to roll for it, so it's entirely legal to say that Odysseus naturally started with multiple 18s.
      Yes, but that is not a common point of reference from which we can analyze and discuss his choices. You could, in theory, roll all 18s. It is just not a realistic constraint.

      I believe he stated he was using point buy (or standard array) for this series. So arguing you can do it differently is kinda pointless as it is not the concept of this thread / series.

      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.
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
      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.
      I agree. I am not saying I agree with where he put the stats, I am just explain why he didn't simply use a bunch of 18s. The point of the series is to present an NPC and then discuss why and what we would do differently within the concept of the series (NPC made with PC rules using point-buy / standard array). This was pretty thoroughly reviewed with Conan I believe.

      EDIT: Mike usually jumps in and explains his choice and then we can discuss some more if you so desire. I think one thing he should address is why Str is so low.

      Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
      Also, the OP does say

      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.
      Yes it is an NPC. But you can build an NPC with PC rules and I believe that it the concept of this series. Hopefully @Mike Myler will jump on here soon and clarify this one more time!
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Beowülf View Post
      They were not all of the same length, and he had the foresight to make sure they were arranged in a perfect parabola.
      That is only helpful if he knows the arc of the flight of arrow. This of course varies by how much force is applied to arrow. So he would have to know the parabolic arc of the axe handles and then be able to draw the bow the correct amount to match that arc with his arrow. A very impressive feat. It seems just as likely that the where nearly straight and close enough that the flight of the arrow was nearly straight which only requires him to provide as much force as possible.
    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.
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