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D&D 5E Meet Achilles, Greatest Warrior of the Trojan War!

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters, coming soon to Kickstarter, compiles Mike Myler's fantastic column here on EN World, with brand new art in a gorgeous full-colour book. Here's a quick look at a preliminary version of Achilles' entry.

achilles_2.png


Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters

Achilles. Lancelot. Robin Hood. Thor. Heroes, all.

The world is full of myths and legends which inspired those in our modern fiction and games. Iconic warriors and wizards, vampires and things from the deep, these legends are universally known.

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters delves into these paragons of literature, fable, and folklore. From Ancient Greece to the Outer Realms, deepest Transylvania to the High Seas, you’ll meet champions and thieves, pirates and knights, demigods and fey queens, ancient evils and urban legends. Archetypal heroes meet exemplars of villainy like Blackbeard, Rasputin, Dracula, and Baba Yaga.

From Mike Myler’s popular column, this epic compilation of over 100 legendary heroes, villains, and monsters brings these characters to life for the 5th Edition of the world’s oldest roleplaying game.
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
If nothing else, this is sure looking wonderful! Any hint to when it will be ready for download after the kickstarter is complete?
Ah, clearly you've not participated in an EN Publishing Kickstarter before! :)

The last one took me 6 minutes after the campaign ended to send the PDF to all backers. The tardy timing (6 whole minutes!) was because there were 12 reward tiers, and Kickstarter makes you fulfill them one at a time, so it was 30 seconds per tier.

The one before that I think was about 8 or 9 minutes. I felt bad that was so slow. I'm going to go for a record with this one.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Maybe that is not the goal? I see Mike's work as trying to be faithful to 5e first, and then how do you make these legendary figures within that box. Truth be told, by RAW, he could give Achilles a blessing or boon to increase stats to whatever is needed. However, anyone can do that, I personally find it more interesting to work within the box and see what sacrifices have to be made to get as close as possible to the myths. It creates a much more interesting NPC IMO. After all, it is trivially easy to add a few points to STR and DEX if I feel they are needed. All the other design work takes a lot more effort, and that is what I like / want to see from @Mike Myler

Yes, I understand. Both approaches are perfectly valid, and I appreciate the work being done. I just think, in the end, I'd take the approach of trying to emulate the source material. The approach being used produces a high level PC by the name of Achilles, but it isn't quite the Achilles of the Iliad.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Yes, I understand. Both approaches are perfectly valid, and I appreciate the work being done. I just think, in the end, I'd take the approach of trying to emulate the source material. The approach being used produces a high level PC by the name of Achilles, but it isn't quite the Achilles of the Iliad.
We'll include a web-enhancement with all the Mythological Figures having a Strength score of 30. :)
 


Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
You haven't done The Morrigan/Badb (or the Morigna may all be the same character manifesting differently) sometimes called a War Witch or War goddess and Prophetess. She once generalized her contributions in battle beside the Tuatha as pursuing, destroying and subduing. But some stories are more explicit to include Raining Mist and Fire down on the enemy and Confusing and frightening enemies in general possibly with inducing friendly fire and battlecry causing a fear potent enough to induce suicide. Also very much a shape shifter taking various forms but with crow as her signature form; Not sure why but I associate a sword with the character could be a modern story that had her walking amongst soldiers as one of them but not sure where I am remembering that one. She is a kingmaker (sovereignty goddess) so there is an aspect of Defending the People to her warring. Note one of the things to seal Cu Chulainn's fated early death was by not accepting her attentions when she appeared as a beautiful young woman offering him help in war. Chulainn could heal wounds btw and while I normally see him more like a Battlemaster/Barbarian he also definitely fits oath bound hero I would like to see your interpretation of him there is plenty of room for variations.
 
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Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
You haven't done The Morrigan/Badb (or the Morigna may all be the same character manifesting differently) sometimes called a War Witch or War goddess and Prophetess. She once generalized her contributions in battle beside the Tuatha as pursuing, destroying and subduing. But some stories are more explicit to include Raining Mist and Fire down on the enemy and Confusing and frightening enemies in general possibly with inducing friendly fire and battlecry causing a fear potent enough to induce suicide. Also very much a shape shifter taking various forms but with crow as her signature form; Not sure why but I associate a sword with the character could be a modern story that had her walking amongst soldiers as one of them but not sure where I am remembering that one. She is a kingmaker (sovereignty goddess) so there is an aspect of Defending the People to her warring. Note one of the things to seal Cu Chulainn's fated early death was by not accepting her attentions when she appeared as a beautiful young woman offering him help in war. Chulainn could heal wounds btw and while I normally see him more like a Battlemaster/Barbarian he also definitely fits oath bound hero I would like to see your interpretation of him there is plenty of room for variations.

The Queen of Terror is a really hard one because of her tri-form and that she features in so many different cycles, the name is also probably a title as she is the primordial Queen Goddess of Celtic Britain - Gentle Annie, the Black Annis is her English derivative.

I suppose you could do the three sisters seperately -
Macha the Raven (aka Banba) is the First Queen, goddes of Sovereignty and Fertility. Some claim the name Albion is derived from her nam She is married to Mac Cuille (Sun of the Hazel).

Badb "Hooded Crow" (aka Eiru) is a goddess of War, Fate and Death. She often takes the form of a crow and spreads fear.
From her comes the name Eire-land (Ireland). The Morrigan of the Ulster Cycle is Badb. She is married to Mac Griene (Son of the Sun)

shes mostly associated with a spear rather than a sword

Nemain "Frenzy." (aka Fotla) - is the goddess of Battle Frenzy, often depicted as a giant she was also married to Mac Cecht (Son of the Plough)
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
The Queen of Terror is a really hard one because of her tri-form and that she features in so many different cycles, the name is also probably a title as she is the primordial Queen Goddess of Celtic Britain - Gentle Annie, the Black Annis is her English derivative.

I suppose you could do the three sisters seperately -
Macha the Raven (aka Banba) is the First Queen, goddes of Sovereignty and Fertility. Some claim the name Albion is derived from her nam She is married to Mac Cuille (Sun of the Hazel).

Badb "Hooded Crow" (aka Eiru) is a goddess of War, Fate and Death. She often takes the form of a crow and spreads fear.
From her comes the name Eire-land (Ireland). The Morrigan of the Ulster Cycle is Badb. She is married to Mac Griene (Son of the Sun)

shes mostly associated with a spear rather than a sword

Nemain "Frenzy." (aka Fotla) - is the goddess of Battle Frenzy, often depicted as a giant she was also married to Mac Cecht (Son of the Plough)
Lots of variations is kind of the point serious overlap. and you are likely right about the spear as it was king of of weapons it was Lugs and Cu's favored as well... with whom she interacted. The fact that we have descriptions of celtic blatant war magic's I think makes translating a bit easier to do casters. And a druid might work almost out of box
 




Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Oh, the book contains a list of weapons too?

so is Ruyi Jingu Bang written up too?
Well, not a list. On some entries where it's appropriate we include a legendary item or something. You can't really do Arthur and not give you Excalibur. It'd just be wrong.
 

Mike Myler

www.epic5e.com/ <-- New Project!
Oh, the book contains a list of weapons too?

so is Ruyi Jingu Bang written up too?

1584735101384.png
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Well, not a list. On some entries where it's appropriate we include a legendary item or something. You can't really do Arthur and not give you Excalibur. It'd just be wrong.
and actually totally seems appropriate to ignore certain characters magic items
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Actually the weapon I've always really wanted is Jiǔ chǐ dīngpa

I've used Ranseur as a stand-in but its just not as satisfying as an authentic Nine-toothed Rake refined from divine ice−iron

Zhu Baije even gives a helpful list of the things it can do:
1 When I raise it, fire and light stream forth
2 When I lower it, a snowy blizzard blows.
3 It terrifies the Heavenly Generals and makes the King of Hell too quake with fear.
4 It changes into anything I like,
5 and leaps about whenever I say the spell.





View attachment 120070
 

Caliburn101

Explorer
I must agree with the detractors here. Putting aside just the statblock, Achilles was legendary, peerless. If you must stick to a set formula on stats then at least put a special ability which gets his attack bonus and AC up to levels worthy of his legendary status. +9 is weak, and so is AC19. I would have put in two special abilities like 'Lord of Myrmidons' - when using a spear or shortsword Achilles adds +2 to his attack bonus, and 'One Man Phalanx' - when using a shield Achilles adds +2 to his AC. I can build a standard array Kensai half that level with the same AC wearing nothing but a kimono. Then you can keep the stats formula in the admittedly terribly unrealistic 'only Str is relevant to attack bonus' of D&D and still explain why Achilles isn't eventually eclipsed by PCs.

The most feared warrior of an age, amongst a people particularly noted for their martial prowess and one so great he killed the Queen of the Amazons ij single combat (a title only given to the greatest warrior amongst a people who were ALL warriors) - maybe deserved to be represented as the 'undefeatable' warrior of legend as 20th level, with maybe even a few bespoke epic levels from the DMG on to to explain the additional special abilities.

There are of course many reasons why one should be cautious about maxing out the level of famous figures just because they are famous, but Achilles is really in a class of his own in many ways (for a non-Demigod Greek hero that is...), and 20th level in the DMG even with your other design principles intact would surely have been justified.

This looks more like the kind of statblock (minus the invulnerability) that would have been good for Hector.
 
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