5E Epic Monsters: Antaeus

Today’s subject for Epic Monsters is the wrestler of all wrestlers, the man who can’t be beat while he’s still on his feet, the Heracles-grappling, earth-loving, skull-temple building Antaeus!

Antaeus dnd 5e BANNER.jpg


The son of Gaia and Poseidon, Antaeus was a (small) giant who really liked to wrestle. He wrestled anyone willing to, challenging even Heracles/Hercules. While he remained in contact with the ground however, Antaeus was utterly invincible—so Hercules picked him up and crushed him to death in a bear hug. Before that however the wrestler had bested and killed countless opponents, so many that he built a temple to Poseidon out of their skulls. Nothing says I love you like skulls amirite?

Design Notes: So as far as I can tell Antaeus isn’t actually any bigger than a regular fellow but he’s many times referred to as a giant. It is a relatively small distinction but gives him some neat mechanical immunities (giants aren’t humanoids) that fit with his real trait: he can’t be beat while he’s on the ground. When we go to do the numbers though, the DMG and Blog of Holding rubrics (3.25/2.166 and 3.05/2.75, depending on whether or not you’re factoring in Power Attack) can only guide us so far. This is a special case because you really need to do one specific thing to beat him. So where do we go from here? He’s accurate with his swings, he’s tough and keeps getting back up, and for low level parties (without access to telekinesis or the foresight to have levitate prepared) presents a very enduring challenge. However Antaeus here doesn’t really hit very hard and isn’t that difficult to strike either. Given his lack of lethality I’m inclined to weight his relative invincibility at only a +1 CR increase, bringing him up to CR 4.

Antaeus
Medium giant, neutral
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 57 (6d8+30)
Speed 30 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
20 (+5)​
14 (+2)​
20 (+5)​
10 (+0)​
10 (+0)​
12 (+1)​
Saving Throws Dex +4
Skills Athletics +7, Perception +2
Senses passive Perception 12
Languages Common
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)

Gaea’s Strength. As long as Antaeus is in contact with the earth, his Strength is increased by 4 (included in his statistics), and he has advantage on Strength checks and saving throws. This feature functions if he stands on earth, stone, sand, or mud; even a wooden or stone floor of a building or street is sufficient as long as that is in contact with the actual ground.

Gaea’s Vitality. If he is knocked unconscious or killed while in contact with the earth, Antaeus regains all of his hit points, ends any conditions other than prone that he is being affected by, and can take actions on his next turn. He can only be permanently killed if it is done while he is not in contact with the earth. To physically lift him up a creature must be grappling Antaeus and succeed on an opposed Strength (Athletics) check to pin, then has disadvantage on a second opposed Strength (Athletics) check to lift him into the air.

Power Attack. When Anteus makes his first melee weapon attack in a turn, he can choose to take a -5 penalty to his melee weapon attack rolls in exchange for a +10 bonus to melee weapon damage. In addition, Anteus can use a bonus action to make one melee weapon attack after he uses a melee weapon to reduce a creature to 0 hit points or scores a critical hit with it. Anteus can only use this feature on his turn.

ACTION
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d4+5) bludgeoning damage.
 
Mike Myler

Comments

Oooooh that's a mythological deep cut, nice. Re: killing him, presumably if you reduced him to 0 HP, if PCs still have actions they turn they reduce him to 0, they can lift him with no checks, because he is, very temporarily, a side of beef? Going by the wording that he doesn't get his HP etc. back until his next turn (which presumably is the same initiative number next round).

Or is it already too late as he was killed/KO'd whilst in contact with the ground? I.e. His regen is already inevitable. In which case he must always be preemptively lifted into the air? So they could presumably lift him for free because he is "dead" but would need to be ready to start over from his turn next round.

Also presumably falling from any height on to the actual ground will never kill him (going to have to drop him onto a levitating platform or something.
 

Mike Myler

Adventurer
Oooooh that's a mythological deep cut, nice. Re: killing him, presumably if you reduced him to 0 HP, if PCs still have actions they turn they reduce him to 0, they can lift him with no checks, because he is, very temporarily, a side of beef? Going by the wording that he doesn't get his HP etc. back until his next turn (which presumably is the same initiative number next round).

Or is it already too late as he was killed/KO'd whilst in contact with the ground? I.e. His regen is already inevitable. In which case he must always be preemptively lifted into the air? So they could presumably lift him for free because he is "dead" but would need to be ready to start over from his turn next round.

Also presumably falling from any height on to the actual ground will never kill him (going to have to drop him onto a levitating platform or something.
It'd be too late. If he's in contact with the ground, the instant he hits to 0 hit points he regains them all (if it was meant to be at the end of the round or start of his turn, it'd say that). Technically I think a Shadow could reduce him to 0 Strength and destroy him that way while he was on the ground? I didn't cover ability score damage because it's so remote and not really something PCs have access to.

Also yes, I too was amused by how air-dropping him would be a pointless maneuver. :3
 

Weiley31

Adventurer
I recently watched Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and they were riffing on Hercules Unbound: and the first major boss fight in the movie is THIS GUY.

I had no idea about his gimmick power at first and thought it was BS how Hercules had difficulties beating him down. Then the movie mentioned his Gaia gimmick and it all made sense. Hercules picked him up, and threw him off a cliff and into the ocean below to beat him.

So I find your timing on this great!
 

Mike Myler

Adventurer
I recently watched Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and they were riffing on Hercules Unbound: and the first major boss fight in the movie is THIS GUY.

I had no idea about his gimmick power at first and thought it was BS how Hercules had difficulties beating him down. Then the movie mentioned his Gaia gimmick and Hercules picked him up, and threw him off a cliff and into the ocean below to beat him.

So I find your timing on this great!
Awwwwwwww I hadn't even thought about drowning him that's also super viable.
 

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