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D&D 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.

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.
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).

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.

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.

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Mike Myler

Mike Myler


There were 3 productions that I absolutely loved with Dorian Gray. I loved the 2009? Movie with Ben Barnes. I loved the portrayal of Dorian Gray in League of Extraordinary Gentleman the movie and the series Penny Dreadful.

I am very pleased with the write up and it is something I would use in many of my mock historical settings.

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