D&D 5E Is Kratos a good representative of a high-level martial?

Asisreo

Patron Badass
I've been playing GOW (2018) and GOW:Ragnarok. Both fantastic games but as I was playing them, I wondered if Kratos was enough of a fantasy for those who want "powerful high-level martials."

He's a god, but he also feels fairly grounded. He'd fit perfectly with the Barbarian fantasy and while he doesn't necessarily punch mountains like an anime protagonist, he does have epic-level feats under his belt.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
It’ll of course vary from person to person. But I’d say Dad of Boy Kratos is a pretty decent model for a high-level Barbarian. He performs superhuman feats of strength, takes hits from gods in stride, and has a rage ability that heals him when he enters it. Not to mention a decent arsenal of powerful magic items. I haven’t played the original trilogy or Ragnarok, so can’t comment on those depictions.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Show me a stat block (since I have no clue what you are talking about) and I'll let you know. :)
He’s a video game character. Making a D&D stat block for him would kinda defeat the point of the question, which seems to be to gauge what people want high-level martial characters to be capable of.

The important thing to know about Kratos is he’s a god (err… demigod? Son of Aries and a Spartan woman, if I’m not mistaken), but in a setting where gods are fairly grounded. They are superhumanly strong, some can do magic (but Kratos either can’t or chooses not to) and they can survive some pretty brutal damage, but can be killed. In fact, killing most of the Greek pantheon was kinda the whole premise of the original trilogy, and in the 2018 and 2022 sequels he’s gained some chill and is trying to break the cycle of violence but still ends up in situations where he has little choice but to kill gods of the Norse pantheon.
 


I've been playing GOW (2018) and GOW:Ragnarok. Both fantastic games but as I was playing them, I wondered if Kratos was enough of a fantasy for those who want "powerful high-level martials."

He's a god, but he also feels fairly grounded. He'd fit perfectly with the Barbarian fantasy and while he doesn't necessarily punch mountains like an anime protagonist, he does have epic-level feats under his belt.
Fundamentally I don't think there is a single answer, but it does highlight the most-fought-over sticking points of the question.

Kratos does some superhuman feats of strength, and takes and does damage at a scale the game tells us are godlike, but he doesn't move mountains, wrestle rivers, or lead armies. He can solve (most) any problem that can be solved by lifting (discreet objects), jumping (to objects within the landscape feature he currently inhabits, so across a ravine but not across an ocean or to the moon), or making things dead. That is, arguably*, what high level martials already get to do. The question then becomes 'is that enough (when non-martials can do X, Y, and Z at the same point)?' and to that 4 people will have 5 incompatible opinions.
*and this D&D edition or that makes magic-unassisted jumping really weak, and the other one lifting, and the third maybe the damage they do isn't actually that impressive compared to things defined as godly.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
He’s a video game character. Making a D&D stat block for him would kinda defeat the point of the question, which seems to be to gauge what people want high-level martial characters to be capable of.
Thanks. I've watched a couple videos of his fights online so that gives me a better idea.

I wondered if Kratos was enough of a fantasy for those who want "powerful high-level martials."
For me, that would be "epic" levels (21-30), not just "powerful high-level martials" (as in maybe 14-20 levels for me).

The question then becomes 'is that enough (when non-martials can do X, Y, and Z at the same point)?' and to that 4 people will have 5 incompatible opinions.
Yep. That is the problem with people sporting "remove wizard" and "wizard should be godlike" and such. I've always viewed D&D preferences on three ranges: mundane, heroic, and superheroic. I wish WotC would design D&D to model those by levels 1-10, 11-20, and 21-30, respectively.

Alternatively, have the regular levels 1-20, but for each class, monster, etc. have them developed so that the baseline mundane is default, add on features for a heroic game, and additional features for a super-heroic game.
 


Yep. That is the problem with people sporting "remove wizard" and "wizard should be godlike" and such. I've always viewed D&D preferences on three ranges: mundane, heroic, and superheroic. I wish WotC would design D&D to model those by levels 1-10, 11-20, and 21-30, respectively.
4e vaguely did so. I don't think it really would work because people want the option to advance (even if most games never reach the cutoffs*).
*see also: TSR-era racial level limits

Personally, I think what should have happened (probably too late now, but who knows) was for maybe levels 1-10 (3, 5, maybe 10) be the same for all, and then there be separate versions of the game for higher levels depending on your preferences. In the superheroic game, wizards can do neigh anything, but non-casters can wrestle rivers or sing so sweet death gives back their loved ones or the like. In the mundane game, fighters never do something a real medieval soldier couldn't; but the wizard also never got the truly game-changing spells.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
Fundamentally I don't think there is a single answer, but it does highlight the most-fought-over sticking points of the question.

Kratos does some superhuman feats of strength, and takes and does damage at a scale the game tells us are godlike, but he doesn't move mountains, wrestle rivers, or lead armies. He can solve (most) any problem that can be solved by lifting (discreet objects), jumping (to objects within the landscape feature he currently inhabits, so across a ravine but not across an ocean or to the moon), or making things dead. That is, arguably*, what high level martials already get to do. The question then becomes 'is that enough (when non-martials can do X, Y, and Z at the same point)?' and to that 4 people will have 5 incompatible opinions.
*and this D&D edition or that makes magic-unassisted jumping really weak, and the other one lifting, and the third maybe the damage they do isn't actually that impressive compared to things defined as godly.
I would argue that it isn't what high level martials get to do.

Let's compare the same fighter at different levels.

Let's assume this fighter rolled an 18 and therefore starts with 20 STR (if you'd rather, we could instead assume a 6th level fighter that used the array and put their ASIs into STR).

At 20th level this fighter also has a 20 STR.

The 1st level fighter can lift 600 lbs. The 20th level fighter can also lift 600 lbs.

The 1st level fighter can make a running jump of 20 ft. The 20th level fighter can make a running jump of 20 ft.

Of course, the DM can allow the fighter to exceed those limits with an athletics check! Well, the 1st level fighter has an athletics bonus of +7, while the 20th level fighter has a whopping +11.

The 20th level fighter can take more damage than the 1st level fighter, and can deal more damage than the 1st level fighter. Not Kratos levels of damage, IMO (admittedly, I haven't played the games, though I have watched some gameplay). That's about it.
 

ECMO3

Hero
I've been playing GOW (2018) and GOW:Ragnarok. Both fantastic games but as I was playing them, I wondered if Kratos was enough of a fantasy for those who want "powerful high-level martials."

He's a god, but he also feels fairly grounded. He'd fit perfectly with the Barbarian fantasy and while he doesn't necessarily punch mountains like an anime protagonist, he does have epic-level feats under his belt.
To be a "good" representative of a high-level 5E martial he would need to have at least some spells.
 


Asisreo

Patron Badass
I would argue that it isn't what high level martials get to do.

Let's compare the same fighter at different levels.

Let's assume this fighter rolled an 18 and therefore starts with 20 STR (if you'd rather, we could instead assume a 6th level fighter that used the array and put their ASIs into STR).

At 20th level this fighter also has a 20 STR.

The 1st level fighter can lift 600 lbs. The 20th level fighter can also lift 600 lbs.

The 1st level fighter can make a running jump of 20 ft. The 20th level fighter can make a running jump of 20 ft.

Of course, the DM can allow the fighter to exceed those limits with an athletics check! Well, the 1st level fighter has an athletics bonus of +7, while the 20th level fighter has a whopping +11.

The 20th level fighter can take more damage than the 1st level fighter, and can deal more damage than the 1st level fighter. Not Kratos levels of damage, IMO (admittedly, I haven't played the games, though I have watched some gameplay). That's about it.
I'd argue Kratos is more barbarian than fighter, in which there are fundamental differences between a level 1 barbarian's capabilities and a level 20 barbarian.

For example, a level 1 barbarian lifts 600lbs. A level 20 barbarian lifts 810lbs. Not including subclasses or races that can boost capabilities further.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
I'd argue Kratos is more barbarian than fighter, in which there are fundamental differences between a level 1 barbarian's capabilities and a level 20 barbarian.

For example, a level 1 barbarian lifts 600lbs. A level 20 barbarian lifts 810lbs. Not including subclasses or races that can boost capabilities further.
Okay, but make the same comparison between level 1 and level 19 barbarian, and you see the same issues.

Subclasses and races don't count if we're talking things that all martials should get. Those things need to be baked into the base classes.
 


Fanaelialae

Legend
I'd argue Kratos is more barbarian than fighter, in which there are fundamental differences between a level 1 barbarian's capabilities and a level 20 barbarian.

For example, a level 1 barbarian lifts 600lbs. A level 20 barbarian lifts 810lbs. Not including subclasses or races that can boost capabilities further.
Apologies for two responses, but I had a few more thoughts on this.

Even if you compare the level 1 vs the level 20 barbarian, is it really Kratos levels of power?

Lifting 210 more lbs?

Jumping 4 more feet?

Having a +13 Athletics vs a +7? (This is almost double, so I'll grant that this is the closest one out of the three to being in a decent range.)

I'll grant that it's better than what the fighter gets. But it doesn't exactly scream epic (at least not to me). A bad 1st level spell (Jump) triples (+200%) your jump distance. The barbarian capstone 20th level ability adds +20%. Granted, that's not all the capstone does, but still...
 


SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
One of the issues that D&D has, and isn't going away, is the notion that martial characters are bound by some element of the real world, even at high levels. In older editions, you would have these deficiencies made up by magic items. I remember a 1E fighter a friend had with winged boots and a hammer of the thunderbolts. We all joked that this was a Thor wannabe character.

When we largely decouple magic items from the game... you're left with what I'd call a bland chassis for these characters in contrast with spell casters. This could be fixed, but I believe it's working as intended. The mindset seems to be that they shouldn't be able to do things like that. It's not something I like, but I just don't play martials as a result.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
One of the issues that D&D has, and isn't going away, is the notion that martial characters are bound by some element of the real world, even at high levels. In older editions, you would have these deficiencies made up by magic items. I remember a 1E fighter a friend had with winged boots and a hammer of the thunderbolts. We all joked that this was a Thor wannabe character.

When we largely decouple magic items from the game... you're left with what I'd call a bland chassis for these characters in contrast with spell casters. This could be fixed, but I believe it's working as intended. The mindset seems to be that they shouldn't be able to do things like that. It's not something I like, but I just don't play martials as a result.
Yeah the belief that if they aren’t explicitly ‘magicial’ that they’re implicitly limited by the mundane world, there doesn’t seem to be an allowance for the idea that someone who’s part of a fantasy world can do fantastical things without magic or some sort of other ‘justification’ for their feats (being a demigod, the chosen one, magically biologically enhanced, ect...)
 

SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
Yeah the belief that if they aren’t explicitly ‘magicial’ that they’re implicitly limited by the mundane world, there doesn’t seem to be an allowance for the idea that someone who’s part of a fantasy world can do fantastical things without magic or some sort of other ‘justification’ for their feats (being a demigod, the chosen one, magically biologically enhanced, ect...)
For me, when you reach a "heroic" tier character level (whatever you define that is, I honestly don't have a good grasp on tiers of play in 5E) everyone becomes magical in some way. In sort of the same way that a Wuxia character would be able to do things, a fighter or other martial character gains those powers. I realize at the same time that is not traditional D&D and don't expect that to change. I know enough people would be furious at that notion because I've argued it for the Martial power source in 4E.

Would it break things if a Champion Fighter at level 7 could jump like a Jump spell all the time? I don't think it would, but I know that I'm in the minority here for D&D players. That's why I play spellcasters in 5E.
 

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