5E Epic Monsters: Dorian Gray

A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a pleasure. I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” Which is the precarious proposition at the heart of the man, the portrait, the monster: Dorian Gray.

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The victorian aristocrat Dorian Gray is the protagonist of Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray and if you’re not familiar with the general idea, it’s that his portrait ages and suffers injury instead of him. This nobleman falls into some good fortune and moves to London, joining the upper crust of society and getting into some weird friendships. One is with an artist who makes his best portrait ever because Dorian is such a marvelously handsome subject, the other a narcissistic hedonist that convinces the newbie that pleasure seeking is the only way to live life. This painting is so good that Dorian wishes he could remain as beautiful as it is rather than suffer the same fate of all beautiful things (to wither and wane with age). They all go see this play featuring an actress that Dorian’s taken to, but she’s lost her passion for the stage thanks to his affections so she’s just awful. His buddies leave early and shortly afterward he spurs her love for him, and the actress takes her life before he gets a chance to apologize. Also suddenly his expression in the painting has changed! Hedonist buddy uses that as an opportunity to further drive Dorian into debauchery, and the nobleman gradually figures out that whatever maladies or injuries which should befall him are inflicted on his illustrated visage instead.

Eventually Dorian gets bored with what jolly old England has to offer and goes traveling, journeying across the world to do all sorts of presumably questionable and immoral things to entertain himself (after murdering the artist who painted his picture as they’d gotten into a heated argument about the phenomenon). After a few decades this too loses its luster and he returns to London where the brother of the actress who committed suicide starts stalking him. Dorian convinces this fellow that he can’t possibly be the man he thinks he is (that was 18 years ago and how could he be so young!) but soon that’s not a problem as he’s shot while on a hunting trip, leaving the immortal noble without consequence--but Dorian turns a new leaf, promising to live righteously. Unfortunately this doesn’t have a positive effect on the painting and, fearing that he’d corrupt his current paramour and hating his own black soul, he takes the knife he used to kill his painter friend and stabs into the supernatural portrait, destroying it and killing himself in a final act of possible redemption.

Design Notes: A worldly victorian noble fellow with a portrait-based Rejuvenation trait--can do! A jacked up Jack-of-All-Trades trait for skills, a lot of feats to represent general combat mastery (without the devotion of a fighter or monk), and some Regeneration to keep him on his feet. Taking a look at the numbers, the DMG lands him at a 6 and the Blog of Holding at 6.8. With the movement control (via Mobility and Soldier Tactics) and the extremely high amount of hit points he gets back each round (which have been considered into those numbers) I think he’s tougher than what the book straight out suggests. It’s going to be a steep hill for some adventuring parties to take him out and if they don’t figure it out quickly, they might burn the resources that need to be concentrated together to do the job and get forced into retreat. So I’m going with a 7.

Dorian Gray
Medium humanoid (human), neutral evil
Armor Class 14
Hit Points 85 (10d8+40)
Speed 40 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
13 (+1)​
18 (+4)​
19 (+4)​
17 (+3)​
14 (+2)​
20 (+5)​
Saving Throws Con +7
Skills Deception +11, Insight +8, Perception +8, Persuasion +11
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities disease, poisoned
Senses passive Perception 18
Languages Common
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)

Feat: Athletic. Dorian can stand up from being prone with only 5 feet of his movement, climbing doesn’t cost him extra movement, and he only has to move 5 feet before making a running long jump or running high jump.

Feat: Diplomatic. Dorian 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 Dorian remains within 60 feet of it (and for 1 minute afterward) the target is charmed by him. Dorian automatically fails on the check if he or his companions are fighting the target.

Feat: Mobility. Dorian can Dash through difficult terrain without requiring additional movement. Whenever he makes an attack against a creature, he doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks from that creature until the end of his turn.

Feat: Soldier Tactics. A creature hit by Dorian’s opportunity attack reduces its speed to 0 until the beginning of the next round and disengaging from Dorian still provokes opportunity attacks. In addition, Dorian can use his reaction to make a melee weapon attack against a creature within 5 feet when it makes an attack against a target other than Dorian.

Master of All. Dorian adds his proficiency bonus (+3) to any ability check he makes that doesn’t already include his proficiency bonus.

Regeneration. Dorian regains 30 hit points at the start of his turn if he has at least 1 hit point.

Rejuvenation. While his treasured portrait remains intact, 1d4 hours after Dorian dies he regains all his hit points and becomes active again. Should the portrait ever be destroyed, Dorian immediately suffers decades of injuries and aging all at once, dying on the spot.

Swordmaster. A sword deals one extra die of its damage when Dorian hits with it (included in the attack).


ACTIONS
Multiattack. Dorian attacks three times.

Rapier. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8+4) piercing damage.

Revolver. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 40/120 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8+4) piercing damage.


REACTIONS
Feat: Master of the Sword. Dorian can use his reaction when wielding a sword to gain a +1 bonus to his AC until the start of his next turn or until he is disarmed. In addition, Dorian has advantage on opportunity attacks.
 
Last edited:
Mike Myler

Comments

Mike Myler

Adventurer
Don't know if any of my Sunday group reads this column but if so: yes, in the near future you will come across a reeeaaally difficult to kill droid named Gray. :D
 
I dunno about Feat: Master of the Sword - I get you are taking stuff from UA sources, but the "burn a reaction for +1 AC" conflicts with his other reaction abilities in a way that seems pointless.

Can we refactor the stuff to be less of a PC-based build?

Regeneration - it isn't clear if the 30 HP regeneration occurs before/after the 0 HP death check.
 

Mike Myler

Adventurer
I dunno about Feat: Master of the Sword - I get you are taking stuff from UA sources, but the "burn a reaction for +1 AC" conflicts with his other reaction abilities in a way that seems pointless.

Can we refactor the stuff to be less of a PC-based build?

Regeneration - it isn't clear if the 30 HP regeneration occurs before/after the 0 HP death check.
I won't deny that but he's supposed to be a master swordsman and that's the core design element for being a master of swords. You can feel free to remove it--his CR won't change. It is definitely a shitty feat.
Fixed the regeneration though!

No, that is the point of this series. EnWorld has a book coming out that will be more monster / NPC design focused.
This actually isn't a class build-NPC (Mythological Figures is indeed strictly class builds, the Epic Monsters half are not) but I wanted to try and focus it on feats that players can achieve--he is meant to be a very old, very learned fellow so basing most of his traits off of feats seemed like a sound decision for the character's concept. I was going to have to bump out to monster traits anyway for his regeneration/rejuvenation bits so I figured on keeping that element of design (feats) as a bridge back to his mortality.
 

Rafael Martin

Explorer
I've been vaguely familiar with him since the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen years ago (liked the film, loved the comics) but as research for this post I watched the 2009 movie and skimmed the novel. The movie was pretty solid! :)
I saw the movie too, so I see where you got the master of the sword. He was really good in the fight scenes. However, maybe you an do a write up of Agent Tom Sawyer or dare I say Mark Twain. That would be interesting! Also I am still waiting for a Hercules write up. Maybe he could be a barbarian...
 
Another idea would be to strip some of those feats and gice him the equivalent of infinite superiority/flourish dice.

So when he hits, he can force a save or knock prone, grant himselfmAC, push 5+1d8' and move the same, ripose when missed as a reaction, reduce damage by 1d8+dex as a reaction, etc.

Basically enhance that +1d8 damage feature.

That would feel more epic than a bunch of fiddly static/passive bonuses to me.
 

Mike Myler

Adventurer
Another idea would be to strip some of those feats and gice him the equivalent of infinite superiority/flourish dice.

So when he hits, he can force a save or knock prone, grant himselfmAC, push 5+1d8' and move the same, ripose when missed as a reaction, reduce damage by 1d8+dex as a reaction, etc.

Basically enhance that +1d8 damage feature.

That would feel more epic than a bunch of fiddly static/passive bonuses to me.
Do it! ^_^
 
Master Swordsman:
When Dorian hits a creature with a sword, he deals +1d10 damage can apply one of the following effects:

Defensive: Add the damage bonus to his AC until the start of his next turn. If multiple Defensive moves are used, only the highest applies.
Slashing: Deal the damage bonus to another target adjacent with the sword.
Mobile: Push the target 5'+damage bonus. Optionally Dorian may use a reaction to move up to his speed.
Disarming: Target makes a Strength saving throw (DC 15) or drop a held item (not including a shield) damage bonus feet away.
Precise: This can be used if the attack would miss. Add the 1d10 damage bonus to the to-hit roll.
Trip: Target makes a Strength saving throw (DC 15) or falls prone.
Distract: Dorian gains advantage on his next attack on the target.

In addition, Dorian has enhanced reactions:
Parry and Riposte: When hit, as a reaction reduce the damage by 1d10+4 and make an attack back.
Flow: When missed, as a reaction move up to 20' and attack a different target. This movement does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
Trap: As a reaction make an attack on a creature who leaves Dorian's reach, even if they have used the disengage action. If the attack hits, the creature's movement speed is reduced to 0 until the end of the current turn.
 

dave2008

Legend
Master Swordsman:
When Dorian hits a creature with a sword, he deals +1d10 damage can apply one of the following effects:

Defensive: Add the damage bonus to his AC until the start of his next turn. If multiple Defensive moves are used, only the highest applies.
Slashing: Deal the damage bonus to another target adjacent with the sword.
Mobile: Push the target 5'+damage bonus. Optionally Dorian may use a reaction to move up to his speed.
Disarming: Target makes a Strength saving throw (DC 15) or drop a held item (not including a shield) damage bonus feet away.
Precise: This can be used if the attack would miss. Add the 1d10 damage bonus to the to-hit roll.
Trip: Target makes a Strength saving throw (DC 15) or falls prone.
Distract: Dorian gains advantage on his next attack on the target.

In addition, Dorian has enhanced reactions:
Parry and Riposte: When hit, as a reaction reduce the damage by 1d10+4 and make an attack back.
Flow: When missed, as a reaction move up to 20' and attack a different target. This movement does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
Trap: As a reaction make an attack on a creature who leaves Dorian's reach, even if they have used the disengage action. If the attack hits, the creature's movement speed is reduced to 0 until the end of the current turn.
I assume the 1d10 is additional? I might suggest:

Master Swordsman. When Dorian hits a creature with a sword, he deals and additional 1d10 slashing damage and can apply one of the following effects:
 

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