D&D 5E Mythological Figures: Alexander the Great

When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.” A fitting subject for this final post in the Mythological Figures column.

Alexander the Great DnD 5E banner.jpg

While that’s probably the most famous quotation related to Alexander the Great, it should be noted that its a motley quote at best and likely a conglomeration of sentiments from different works by Plutarchs.

Through military campaigns throughout his 13 years of rule (from 336 BC to 323 BC), after ascending to the throne when his father Philip was assassinated, Alexander III of Macedon (a student of Aristotle) created one of the world’s largest empires, controlling lands as far from Greece as northern India that touched upon no less than five seas. For all his glory however his brief and undefeated reign came to an end in Babylon before he could continue his quest for domination into Arabia, felled by sickness—though whether this was from disease, the consequence of a longer illness, or from poison is uncertain. The massive empire that Alexander the Great created fell apart to infighting after his death, but his impact on the world (spreading the Greek language far and wide) is still felt today, and he entered the pantheon of Grecian mythological heroes beside Hercules, Jason, Odysseus, and all the rest.

Design Notes: Alexander is getting a full level 20 fighter build with the Banneret archetype—mostly so we can get access to all those Ability Score Improvements! When all that’s done playing out Charisma ends up as his highest ability score—this guy can get people to do what he tells them to do when he wants them to do it—though he’s not a slouch in a fight either and can ramp up allies pretty well with Inspiring Action Surges so when it's time to throw down he's holding his own. Let’s do the numbers! The DMG came in at 11.25, the Blog of Holding nearby with 11.4, giving our last entry in the column Challenge Rating 11.

Alexander the Great

Medium humanoid (human), lawful neutral fighter (banneret) 20
Armor Class 19 (breastplate, shield, defensive fighting style)
Hit Points 130 (20d10+20)
Speed 30 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
16 (+3)​
14 (+2)​
12 (+1)​
16 (+3)​
14 (+2)​
18 (+4)​
Saving Throws Str +9, Con +7; Proficiency +6
Skills History +9, Insight +8, Perception +8, Persuasion +16
Senses passive Perception 16
Languages Greek, Macedonian, others
Challenge 11 (7,200 XP)

Background: Noble. Due to his kingship Alexander receives a measure of respect wherever he goes. He is treated as royalty (or as closely as possible) by most peasants and traders, and as an equal when meeting other authority figures (who make time in their schedule to see him if requested to do so).

Feat: Leader’s Words. When Alexander spends 10 minutes speaking inspirationally, he can choose up to 6 friendly creatures (including himself if he likes) within 30 feet that can hear and understand him. Each creature gains 24 temporary hit points but cannot gain more temporary hit points from this feature until after they have completed a long rest.

Feat: Soldier Tactics. A creature hit by Alexander’s opportunity attack reduces its speed to 0 until the beginning of the next round and disengaging from Alexander still provokes opportunity attacks. In addition, Alexander 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 Alexander.

Indomitable Bulwark (3/Long Rest). Alexander can reroll a saving throw that he fails but must use the new roll. When he is not incapacitated and uses this feature to reroll an Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma saving throw, Alexander can choose an ally within 60 feet. If his ally can see or hear Alexander, his ally can reroll its saving throw, using the new roll.

Inspiring Action Surge (2/Short Rest). Once on his turn, Alexander can take an additional action on top of his regular action and a possible bonus action. In addition, he chooses up to 2 allied creatures within 60 feet that can see or hear him. A chosen creature can use its reaction to make a melee or ranged weapon attack.

Second Wind (1/Short Rest). On his turn, Alexander can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+20 hit points. In addition, he chooses 3 creatures within 60 feet that can see or hear him. Each target regains 20 hit points.


ACTIONS
Extra Attack. Alexander attacks four times when he takes the Attack action.

Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) piercing damage.

Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) piercing damage.




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Mike Myler

Mike Myler



Keldryn

Adventurer
Great article! And now I feel the urge to headbang to a bit of Somewhere In Time

Near to the east
In a part of ancient Greece
In an ancient land called Macedonia
Was born a son
To Philip of Macedon
The legend, his name was Alexander

At the age of nineteen
He became the Macedon King
And he swore to free all of Asia Minor
By the Aegean Sea
In 334 B.C
He utterly beat the armies of Persia

Alexander the Great
His name struck fear into hearts of men
Alexander the Great
Became a legend amongst mortal men

King Darius the third
Defeated fled Persia
The Scythians fell by the river Jaxartes
Then Egypt fell
To the Macedon King as well
And he founded the city called Alexandria

By the Tigris river
He met King Darius again
And crushed him again in the battle of Arbela
Entering Babylon
And Susa, treasures he found
Took Persepolis, the capital of Persia

Alexander the Great
His name struck fear into hearts of men
Alexander the Great
Became a God amongst mortal men

A Phrygian King had bound a chariot yoke
And Alexander cut the 'Gordian knot'
And legend said that who untied the knot
He would become the master of Asia

Hellenism he spread far and wide
The Macedonian learned mind
Their culture was a western way of life
He paved the way for Christianity
Marching on, marching on

The battle weary marching side by side
Alexander's army line by line
They wouldn't follow him to India
Tired of the combat, pain and the glory

Alexander the Great
His name struck fear into hearts of men
Alexander the Great
He died of fever in Babylon
 

Abstruse

Legend
My favorite story about Alexander the Kinda Neat was when he got to the Beas River, they reached the end of their maps. Alexander was preparing to cross when his men stood their ground and said no. Because if that's where their maps ended, that must be the end of the world and, if they crossed that river, they would fall off.

Now, it's highly unlikely they actually believed that. I mean, they could see the other side of the river. But they needed an excuse because they'd been gone for eight whole years fighting constantly and just wanted to go home so grabbed hold of any excuse that might work on Alexander the Lightweight (some reports say he died of alcohol poisoning partying too hard on his way back to Macedonia).
 

Hard to know what's real over two thousand years later, but from Plutarch (via Wikipedia):

Thereupon many statesmen and philosophers came to Alexander with their congratulations, and he expected that Diogenes of Sinope also, who was tarrying in Corinth, would do likewise. But since that philosopher took not the slightest notice of Alexander, and continued to enjoy his leisure in the suburb Craneion, Alexander went in person to see him, and he found him lying in the sun. Diogenes raised himself up a little when he saw so many people coming towards him, and fixed his eyes upon Alexander. And when that monarch addressed him with greetings, and asked if he wanted anything, "Yes," said Diogenes, "stand a little out of my sun." It is said that Alexander was so struck by this, and admired so much the haughtiness and grandeur of the man who had nothing but scorn for him, that he said to his followers, who were laughing and jesting about the philosopher as they went away, "But truly, if I were not Alexander, I wish I were Diogenes."

Perhaps I've grown cynical in middle age.

Thanks for so many wonderful writeups!
 

Hard to know what's real over two thousand years later, but from Plutarch (via Wikipedia):

Diogenes raised himself up a little when he saw so many people coming towards him, and fixed his eyes upon Alexander. And when that monarch addressed him with greetings, and asked if he wanted anything, "Yes," said Diogenes, "stand a little out of my sun."
One thing worth mentioning is that this phrase had a double meaning. The obvious one was that Alexander should stop obscuring the sun. The second one is something like "lead me out of darkness/oblivion - show me the truth".

(Although not a direct translation, the pun sort of works with a slight adaptation:
-"what can i do for you"
- "show me the light".)

So it can be read as: Either a rude request to stand aside/get lost/get off my lawn. Or an appeal to what is highest in Alexander, or the listener: an appeal to be a paragon of virtue that transforms others by showing them the truth.

The fact that the same phrase can be interpreted in two radically different ways, and it's entirely up to the listener to decide its meaning, makes it even more powerful and effective.
 

Zander

Explorer
The ‘When Alexander saw…’ quote isn’t really attributable to Plutarch as he never expressed the thought the quote encapsulates. The closest is Jean Calvin, the French theologian and reformer, who did say something along those lines though not in those exact words.
 



Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
@Mike Myler how many are left on your list?
Are you or @Morrus going to post a recap thread of the one's you've completed?
 

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