Homebrew Mythological Figures: Odysseus/Ulysses (5E)
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  1. #1

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    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.
    Last edited by Mike Myler; Monday, 3rd December, 2018 at 10:20 PM.
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  2. #2

    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)



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    First, thank you as always for your time and effort.

    I haven't done an indepth look yet, but I find it a bit odd that a 20th level character for D&D doesn't have at least on stat maxed or at least an 18. However, in general I like the build it covers the majority of his diverse qualities I think.
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  3. #3

    Waghalter (Lvl 7)



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    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?
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  4. #4

    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)

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    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![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.
    Last edited by jasper; Friday, 14th December, 2018 at 10:44 PM. Reason: that not what I said.

  5. #5

    Lama (Lvl 13)



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    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.
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  6. #6

    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)

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    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.
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  7. #7

    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)



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    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!
    Last edited by dave2008; Monday, 3rd December, 2018 at 05:55 PM.
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  8. #8

    Lama (Lvl 13)



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    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.

  9. #9
    Huh, with all of his ASIs, couldn't have pumped up his intelligence and strength, the two things that he is legendarily known for.

  10. #10

    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)



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    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.

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