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5E Mythological Figures: Captain Ahab

ALIGNMENT: Was Captain Ahab...

  • Chaotic Evil

    Votes: 2 40.0%
  • Chaotic Neutral

    Votes: 3 60.0%
  • Another alignment (explained in comments)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    5
Whether or not you’ve read the classic today’s Mythological Figure is from you know who he is because of the massive creature of the sea he endlessly hunts after. I’m talking up that peg-legged mad-eyed obsessed sailor extraordinaire known as Captain Ahab!

This launched on Kickstarter, funded in 15 minutes, and it's giving Mike heart attacks every 20 or so.

Captain Ahab DnD 5e banner.jpg


Herman Melville’s literary classic Moby Dick is not being summarized in full here because we all know the basic plot anyway. Captain Ahab (a lifelong sailor) has lost his foot and been horrifically scarred by the biggest whale anyone has ever seen, and he is positively obsessed with hunting it down to take his vengeance. He is an inspiring and charismatic commander but utterly consumed by his maddened pursuit, until in his final battle against the great white whale he’s dragged away to his presumed death as his ship the Pequod sinks into the murk and his first mate Ishmael survives floating in a companion’s coffin.

Design Notes: Whether he did it consciously or not Melville’s protagonist is at least partly based on Admiral Blas de Lezo y Olavarrieta so that’s where I started with Captain Ahab’s statblock. He obviously wasn’t quite so much of a badass as old Blas (knocked off a few levels), but he knows the sea so he kicks off with a dashing of ranger (because his Wisdom is too low to multiclass into it), then picks up more maritime skills as a rogue, finally settling in as a survive-near-death-many-times Brute fighter to round out the build. Super purists can replace his Harpoon with a regular spear or javelin but it’s worth pointing out that’s a Medium-sized version of a merrow’s basic weaponry so one might argue it still qualifies as rules-as-written (and he’s far more effective shooting people anyway). Let’s do the numbers! The DMG landed right on the dot with 7 while the Blog of Holding ended up at 7.8, so when all’s said and done Captain Ahab is a confident CR 7.

Bonus: I won’t rule out one day taking a stab at making statistics of my own for Moby Dick, but until then any GMs including ol’ Ahab here in their campaign can turn to Legendary Games (great people over there) for a solid great white whale statblock.

Edit: Lowered Int by 1 to raise Wisdom to 13.


Captain Ahab
Medium humanoid (human), chaotic neutral ranger 1/rogue (swashbuckler) 5/fighter (brutal) 7
Armor Class 16 (chain shirt, sealegs fighting style)
Hit Points 92 (8d10+5d8+26)
Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft., swim 30 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
16 (+3)​
14 (+2)​
14 (+2)​
11 (+0)​
13 (+1)​
14 (+2)​
Saving Throws Str +8, Dex +7
Skills Athletics +8, Deception +12, Insight +6, Investigation +5, Nature +5, Perception +6, Persuasion +12, Survival +11; artisan’s tools (any one) +6, navigator’s tools +5, thieves’ tools +7, vehicles (water) +7
Senses passive Perception 16
Languages English, any one other
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)

Background: Nautical. Captain Ahab is able to acquire passage on a sailing ship for him and his allies free of charge. He has no control over the ship’s route, departure, or return, and although no coin is required he and his companions do have to help crew the vessel.

Action Surge (1/Short Rest). Once on his turn, Captain Ahab can take an additional action on top of his regular action and a possible bonus action.

Brutal Toughness. Captain Ahab gains a +1d6 bonus to saving throws and death saves (treating final results of 20 or higher on a death saving throw as a natural 20).

Combat Footing. Whenever he makes a melee attack against a creature on his turn, Captain Ahab doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks from that creature until the end of his turn.

Cunning Action (1/Turn). Captain Ahab can use a bonus action to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.

Favored Enemy. Captain Ahab has advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track beasts, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them.

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

Feat: Prodigal. Captain Ahab has Expertise with the Persuasion skill (included in his statistics).

Fighting Style: Sealegs. As long as he is not wearing heavy armor or using a shield, Captain Ahab gains a +1 bonus to AC, and he gains both climbing and swimming speeds equal to his speed (included above).

Indefinite Madness. Achieving the death of Moby Dick is the only thing of interest to Captain Ahab, and he ignores everything else to pursue it—his own safety, the well-being of his crew, and the lives of innocents mean nothing in the face of slaying the great white whale.

Natural Explorer: Coasts. When Captain Ahab makes an Intelligence or Wisdom check related to the coast, his proficiency bonus (+5) is doubled if he is using a skill that he’s proficient in. While traveling for an hour or more in his favored terrain, Captain Ahab gains the following benefits:
  • Difficult terrain doesn’t slow his group’s travel.
  • Captain Ahab’s group can’t become lost except by magical means.
  • Even when he is engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), Captain Ahab remains alert to danger.
  • If Captain Ahab is traveling alone, he can move stealthily at a normal pace.
  • When he forages, Captain Ahab finds twice as much food as he normally would.
  • While tracking other creatures, Captain Ahab also learns their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.

Second Wind (1/Short Rest). On his turn, Captain Ahab can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+7 hit points.

Sneak Attack (3d6 1/Turn). Captain Ahab deals an extra 10 (3d6) damage when he hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of Captain Ahab that isn’t incapacitated and Captain Ahab doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll, or when the only creature within 5 feet of Captain Ahab is his target.

Swashbuckling. Captain Ahab adds his Charisma modifier (+2) when rolling for initiative.


ACTIONS
Extra Attack. Captain Ahab attacks twice when he takes the Attack action.

Harpoon. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d8+1d4+2) piercing damage. Instead of making a second attack or by using his bonus action, Captain Ahab can attempt to pull a creature hit by his harpoon. If the target is a Large or smaller creature, it must succeed an opposed Strength check against Captain Ahab or be pulled up to 10 feet toward him.

Revolver (12 bullets). Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 40/120 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8+1d4+2) piercing damage.

Hunting Rifle (6 bullets). Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 80/240 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d10+1d4+2) piercing damage.


REACTIONS
Uncanny Dodge. When an attacker Captain Ahab can see hits him with an attack, he can use his reaction to halve the attack’s damage against him.
 
Last edited:
Mike Myler

Comments



Rafael Martin

Explorer
You know I put a lot of time into both the image and the write-up on this one so I am very glad somebody is getting a real kick out of it. :)
Just one change. I see Captain Ahab as Chaotic Neutral. He thinks he's doing the right thing by going after Moby Dick. He has been driven absolutely insane by his desire for vengeance. Chaotic Evil characters know they are evil and they reveal in the mass slaughter they do. Other than that your write-up is perfect. 😀
 

Mike Myler

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters KS soon
Just one change. I see Captain Ahab as Chaotic Neutral. He thinks he's doing the right thing by going after Moby Dick. He has been driven absolutely insane by his desire for vengeance. Chaotic Evil characters know they are evil and they reveal in the mass slaughter they do. Other than that your write-up is perfect. 😀
Maybe! After rummaging about in the minds of folks more into Moby Dick than I am I landed on Chaotic Evil. Scale of 1-10 how strongly would you say you feel about him being CN instead of CE?
 

Rafael Martin

Explorer

Mike Myler

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters KS soon
11. Clearly, Captain Ahad is out of his mind crazy, and his actions cause a great deal of evil. BUT, he really believes he's doing the right thing. To me that screams Chaotic Neutral. That's what I really believe.

I don't think he's about personal freedoms though, I think he's about bloodlust. He wants to kill Moby Dick and it's the only thing of importance for him in the whole world. And a lot of that motivation is because of injuries and wounds inflicted from previous attempts to kill Moby Dick. There's no code to it (ie lawful), it's not about opportunism (neutral), it's "that whale needs to die no matter the cost" innit?

Edit: Alignment stuff here.
 
Last edited:

Rafael Martin

Explorer
I don't think he's about personal freedoms though, I think he's about bloodlust. He wants to kill Moby Dick and it's the only thing of importance for him in the whole world. And a lot of that motivation is because of injuries and wounds inflicted from previous attempts to kill Moby Dick. There's no code to it (ie lawful), it's not about opportunism (neutral), it's "that whale needs to die no matter the cost" innit?

Edit: Alignment stuff here.
I disagree. Here is a quote from Spark Notes that explains it better than me:

Ahab, the Pequod’s obsessed captain, represents both an ancient and a quintessentially modern type of hero. Like the heroes of Greek or Shakespearean tragedy, Ahab suffers from a single fatal flaw, one he shares with such legendary characters as Oedipus and Faust. His tremendous overconfidence, or hubris, leads him to defy common sense and believe that, like a god, he can enact his will and remain immune to the forces of nature. He considers Moby Dick the embodiment of evil in the world, and he pursues the White Whale monomaniacally because he believes it his inescapable fate to destroy this evil. According to the critic M. H. Abrams, such a tragic hero “moves us to pity because, since he is not an evil man, his misfortune is greater than he deserves; but he moves us also to fear because we recognize similar possibilities of error in our own lesser and fallible selves.”

1593563805064.png
 

Mike Myler

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters KS soon
I disagree. Here is a quote from Spark Notes that explains it better than me:

Ahab, the Pequod’s obsessed captain, represents both an ancient and a quintessentially modern type of hero. Like the heroes of Greek or Shakespearean tragedy, Ahab suffers from a single fatal flaw, one he shares with such legendary characters as Oedipus and Faust. His tremendous overconfidence, or hubris, leads him to defy common sense and believe that, like a god, he can enact his will and remain immune to the forces of nature. He considers Moby Dick the embodiment of evil in the world, and he pursues the White Whale monomaniacally because he believes it his inescapable fate to destroy this evil. According to the critic M. H. Abrams, such a tragic hero “moves us to pity because, since he is not an evil man, his misfortune is greater than he deserves; but he moves us also to fear because we recognize similar possibilities of error in our own lesser and fallible selves.”

I don't think that Captain Ahab is a hero, I think he's a charismatic villain obsessed with vengeance who cajoles and convinces his crew that he is a good guy so they'll go along with him. There's death and suffering he is responsible for, but it doesn't matter because there is nothing more than killing the white whale.

I'm going to make a Twitter poll (and one on here) and see how it pans out.
 

Rafael Martin

Explorer
I just voted on your Twitter poll and so far it's 100% for Chaotic Neutral. In fact, Captain Ahab could be Lawful Neutral and completely insane. I just don't see him as being evil. If I ever create a fantasy world, I will include Captain Ahab, and he will not be evil. He'll be just like Patrick Stewart's version in a TV show I saw.
 

I think you will want to review the multiclass rules. My reading is that you need the 13 in attributes for both the original class and the new one
 



Rafael Martin

Explorer
The people have spoken! Chaotic neutral it is :)
Excellent the people have spoken! Captain Ahab is insane, but not evil. Ahab considers Moby Dick to be the embodiment of evil, and he thinks his actions are completely justified. Now I patiently wait for the Moby Dick write-up...
 
Last edited:

Quartz

Adventurer
Fighting Style: Sealegs. As long as he is not wearing heavy armor or using a shield, Captain Ahab gains a +1 bonus to AC, and he gains both climbing and swimming speeds equal to his speed (included above).
I'm not familiar with this one, though I appreciate it's a renaming, but I wouldn't want to fall into the water wearing any sort of armour. Why not just lift the Barbarian's (or Monk's) Unarmoured Defence?
 

Mike Myler

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters KS soon
I'm not familiar with this one, though I appreciate it's a renaming, but I wouldn't want to fall into the water wearing any sort of armour. Why not just lift the Barbarian's (or Monk's) Unarmoured Defence?
That'd be the "Mariner" fighting style. https://media.wizards.com/2015/downloads/dnd/UA_Waterborne_v3.pdf

What really attracted me to it for him was the climbing/swimming speed. +1 AC is like, you know that's great sure, but mobility on the high seas seemed more fundamental for a sea-facing adventurer build.

Guy definitely seems to rage a lot so barbarian wouldn't have been a bad choice either. :)
 

"To the last, I grapple with thee...From Hells heart, I stab at thee...For hates sake, I spit my last breath at thee..." - Dunno if that is the dying speech of a Neutral man, myself. Presumably, to stat up Khan Noonien Singh you'd just wind everything up to eleven?
 


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