D&D 5E Mythological Figures: Comte de Saint Germain

Today’s entry in Mythological Figures may be the most appropriate yet, an adventuring alchemist and artist that quite intentionally left a legend in his wake: the Comte de Saint Germain!

Comte de Saint Germain DnD 5E banner.jpg

Also known as Chevalier Schoening, Comte Bellamarre, Comte Soltikoff, Count Weldon, Graf Tzarogy, the Marquis de Betmar, the Marquis de Montferrat, and Prinz Ragoczy, trying to pin down when or where the Comte de Saint Germain (not to be confused with the French general Claude Louis, Comte de Saint-Germain) was born is a pointless exercise—much like Aphra Behn we are talking about a master charlatan. Unlike her however he claimed a vast litany of sometimes absurd things such as being 500 years old, that he could melt and combine diamonds, and magical powers like levitation, telepathy, and teleportation.

If all you know about this guy is from the Castlevania animated series you need to strap in.

Let’s start with his origins. Obviously this man was not centuries old and based on historical research his birth year is either 1691 or decades later in 1712, though the date and locale of his death are not in question: the 27th of February in 1784 (a leap year, of course) in Altona, Schleswig (the part of it that’s in modern day Germany). Who was he born to and what was his name? Prince Charles of Hesse-Kassel hosted Saint Germain for the final 5 years of the man’s life and claims to have been personally told his real identity: the 88 year old son of Prince Francis II Rákóczi of Transylvania. Rákóczi’s eldest son died at 4 years of age and it wasn’t uncommon for nobility to perform these kinds of mortal ruses as a way to protect their children (secreting them away to somewhere far away to be schooled and raised under the cover of a false death).

Regardless of where he originated, Saint Germain was a wealthy and well educated fellow—purportedly in Italy by Gian Gastone, the last of the Medicis, and at the University of Siena. Again though it should be noted that this man was constantly obfuscating his origins and real name, so it’s likely there were lies about his education too. This confusing list of attributions include being an Alsatian Jew from Stasbourg named Simon Wolff, the Spanish Jesuit Aymar, the Marquis de Betmar from Portugal, the son of a tax-collector and Italian princess born in San Germano, a Pole, that he married into fortune in Mexico, a fiddler, a spy (true, Louis XV used him as a diplomat), and rich (also true, though by what means none were sure). Probably the best thing about this man is that by most accounts people knew that he was a bold-faced liar, but liked him anyway. Saint Germain was also an avowed friend of royalty, obtaining vast amounts of funds for things like new processes for dying and other quasi-scientific ventures.

Saint Germain was a proper musician too—6 sonatas for duo violins with a bass for harpsichord or violoncello, 7 solos for solo violin, 4 English songs, and 34 Italian arias are attributed to him—and authored La Très Sainte Trinosophie and the untitled Triangular Manuscript. The former is dubiously credited to him, while the latter only finally published 7 years ago and details magical rituals. That starts off an incredible rabbit hole we aren’t going down here, but it involves him still being alive and also having been the following people throughout history: a high priest of Atlantis, Hesiod, Plato, Merlin, Christopher Columbus, and Francis Bacon.

Design Notes: This man was both a bard and artificer, and for once we’re not stuck leaning away from the magical bits. Given his propensity for charming royals and basically being loved by everyone his Charisma takes the lead among his ability scores, his Intelligence taking a backseat. Charming the pants off of more than a few rulers requires more than fancy words however, so for class levels we’ll put the emphasis more on artificer than bard (alchemist and eloquence being the fitting choices for his archetypes). What we end up with is a suboptimal high level adventurer—but dig a little deeper and you find a remarkably useful ally able to boost checks and saving throws by +4–11 (average +8!) while spreading around a host of helpful items. That’s when he isn’t talking circles around everyone with his minimum 25 Charisma (Deception) and Charisma (Persuasion) checks. Otherwise this wide array of abilities also gives him the capacity to do what people wrote he could do, and feels like the kind of character sheet Saint Germain would end up making were he to play the game. Let’s do the numbers! Upcasting flaming sphere and shatter gives him a little damage potential, and though he’s a wimp (such low AC) blink and staying on the fringes of a fight should keep him alive long enough to do what he’s really meant to do in combat (amp everyone else and save peoples’ butts). The DMG came in at an 8 and the Blog of Holding at 10.5, averaging out to a CR 9.

Comte de Saint Germain

Medium humanoid (human), chaotic neutral bard (eloquence) 6/artificer (alchemist) 10
Armor Class 15 (improved defense padded)
Hit Points 88 (16d8+16)
Speed 30 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
9 (–1)​
14 (+2)​
12 (+1)​
16 (+3)​
10 (+0)​
20 (+5)​
Saving Throws Dex +7, Cha +10; Proficiency +5
Skills Deception +15, Insight +10, Nature +13, Persuasion +15, Sleight of Hand +7
Damage Resistances fire
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages English, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)

Background: Charlatan (Fake Documents). Saint Germain has the papers, clothing, and contacts required to justify an entirely different identity. When Saint Germain has access to an official document or example of a creature’s handwriting, he can make forgeries of similar papers (whether personal or official).

Attuned. Saint Germain is able to attune to one additional magic item (4 in total). In addition, it takes him a quarter of the normal time and half as much gold to common and uncommon magic items.

Bardic Inspiration 1d8 (5/Short Rest). As a bonus action on his turn, Saint Germain can choose one other creature within 60 feet who can hear him. That creature gains one Bardic Inspiration die, a d8. Once within the next 10 minutes, the creature can roll the die and add the number rolled to one ability check, attack roll, or saving throw it makes. The creature can wait until after it rolls the d20 before deciding to use the Bardic Inspiration die, but must decide before the GM says whether the roll succeeds or fails. A creature regains a Bardic Inspiration die gained from Saint Germain after it uses an Bardic Inspiration die from him on a failed ability check, attack roll, or saving throw.

Brew Good Health (3/Long Rest). As long as Saint Germain has alchemist’s supplies to use as his spellcasting focus, he can cast lesser restoration without expending a spell slot or having the spell prepared.

Brewing Genius. Saint Germain’s spells are more powerful when he uses alchemist’s supplies as his spellcasting focus, either healing 3 extra hit points (if a healing spell) or dealing 3 extra damage (if it is a spell that deals acid, fire, necrotic, or poison damage).

Countercharm. Saint Germain can use an action to start a performance that lasts until the end of his next turn. During that time, he and any friendly creatures within 30 feet of him have advantage on saving throws against being frightened or charmed. A creature must be able to hear Saint Germain to gain this benefit. The performance ends early if he is incapacitated or silenced or if Saint Germain voluntarily ends it (no action required).

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

Feat: Master of Intrigue. Saint Germain can use an action to fool one humanoid he can see within 30 feet of him. The target must be able to hear him make a Charisma (Deception) check contested by its Wisdom (Insight) check. On a success, the target is fooled until the end of Saint Germain’s next turn or until he attempts to fool a different target. Saint Germain doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks from movement around a fooled target and he has advantage when attacking a fooled target. On a failure, Saint Germain can’t fool the target for 1 hour.

Imbued Items. At the end of a long rest Saint Germain can touch up to 4 nonmagical objects, turning them into magical objects containing one of the following abilities. If it requires attunement, Saint Germain is automatically attuned to it unless he decides otherwise. The object retains this ability indefinitely or for 5 days following his death. When Saint Germain imbues a fourth item, the effect ends on the oldest use of this feature.
  • Armor Protectives: A creature gains resistance to a type of damage (acid, cold, fire, force, lightning, necrotic, poison, psychic, radiant, or thunder) while wearing this armor.
  • Improved Defense: A creature’s AC increases by 2 while wearing this item.
  • Mechanical Enchantment: The item duplicates the effects of a periapt of wound closure.
  • Mechanical Enchantment: The item duplicates the effects of goggles of night.
  • Mechanical Enchantment: The item duplicates the effects of a ring of mind shielding.
  • Mechanical Enchantment: The item duplicates the effects of a medallion of thoughts.
  • Mechanical Enchantment: The item duplicates the effects of a wand of secrets.
  • Teleporting Shoes. While wearing these shoes, a creature can use a bonus action to teleport up to 15 feet to an unoccupied space it has already been in on its turn.

Incisive Doubt. Saint Germain can use a bonus action to expend one use of his Bardic Inspiration and choose a creature within 60 feet that he can see. The next saving throw the creature makes before the start of Saint Germain’s next turn is reduced by an amount equal to the roll of his Bardic Inspiration die.

Jack of All Trades. Saint Germain adds +2 to any ability check he makes that doesn’t already include his proficiency bonus.

Minor Inventions. Saint Germain can use an action to touch a nonmagical object, working on it with his tinker’s tools or other artisan’s tools. It gains one of the following properties until he spends an action touching it to end the effect:
  • It sheds bright light in a 5-foot radius and dim light for an additional 5 feet.
  • It stores a spoken message up to 6 seconds long. Whenever a creature manipulates the object, it emits the spoken message loud enough for creatures as far as 10 feet away to hear it.
  • It continuously discharges a scent or plays a nonverbal sound loud enough for creatures as far as 10 feet away to hear it.
  • It displays a visual effect on one surface (as many as 25 words, simple illustrations, or a mixture of both).
Saint Germain can affect up to 3 objects at the same time, ending the effect on the oldest use of this feature when he exceeds his maximum.

Mystery Potion. When Saint Germain finishes a long rest, as long as he has alchemist supplies he can touch up to two empty flasks to create Mystery Potions. He can only have a maximum of two Mystery Potions made in this way at a time. He can make additional Mystery Potions by using an action and expending a spell slot of 1st level or higher. When a creature uses an action to drink a Mystery Potion or administer it to an incapacitated creature, it gains 10 (2d6+3) temporary hit points and a random effect determined by rolling 1d6:
1: Healing. Creature regains 8 (2d4+3) hit points.​
2: Quickness. For the next hour, the creature’s walking speed increases by 10 feet.​
3: Hardiness. The creature’s AC increases by +1 for 10 minutes.​
4: Bravery. For the next minute, the creature gains a +1d4 bonus to attack rolls and saving throws.​
5: Soar. For the next 10 minutes, the creature gains a flying speed of 10 feet.​
6: Morph. For the next 10 minutes, the creature is targeted by the alter self spell (transforming as it desires).​

Never Without A Toolbox. With 1 hour of uninterrupted work and using tinker’s tools, Saint Germain can craft a set of artisan’s tools in an unoccupied space within 5 feet. He may do so during a short or long rest. Saint Germain can only have a single set of artisan’s tools crafted using this feature at a time.

Smoothtalker. Saint Germain treats d20 rolls of 9 or lower as a 10 when making Charisma (Deception) and Charisma (Persuasion) checks.

Song of Rest. After a short rest, Saint Germain or any friendly creatures who can hear his performance regain hit points by spending one or more Hit Dice, each of those creatures regains an extra 1d6 hit points.

Spellcasting. Saint Germain is an 11th level spellcaster that uses Intelligence as his artificer spellcasting ability (spell save DC 16; +8 to hit with spell attacks) and Charisma as his bard spellcasting ability (spell save DC 18; +10 to hit with spell attacks). He requires a set of tools he’s proficient with or an imbued item to cast artificer spells. Saint Germain has the following spells prepared from the artificer’s spell list and knows the following spells from the bard* spell list:
Cantrips: dancing lights, mage hand, minor illusion*, prestidigitation*, shocking grasp, vicious mockery*
1st-level (4 slots): cure wounds, disguise self, feather fall*, healing word, hideous laughter*, identify, knock*, ray of sickness, thunderwave*
2nd-level (3 slots): acid arrow, enhance ability*, flaming sphere, levitate, rope trick, shatter*, suggestion*
3rd-level (3 slots): blink, clairvoyance*, gaseous form, mass healing word, speak with dead*, protection from energy, revivify
4th-level (3 slots): —​
5th-level (2 slots): —​
6th-level (1 slot): —​

Superlative Diplomacy. Saint Germain can use a bonus action and expend one use of Bardic Inspiration, rolling it and choosing a number of creatures equal to the result that are within 60 feet and able to see him. These creatures can understand Saint Germain regardless of what language he speaks (even if a target knows no languages), and he has advantage on Charisma checks made against them. After 10 minutes, this effect ends.

Tool Mastery. When Saint Germain makes an ability check that uses a tool kit, he gains double his proficiency bonus (total +10).


ACTIONS
Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4+2) piercing damage.

Pistol. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 30/90 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d10+2) piercing damage.


REACTIONS
Brilliant Suggestion (3/Long Rest). Saint Germain can use his reaction when he or another creature he can see within 30 feet makes an ability check or saving throw, gaining a +3 bonus.
 
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Mike Myler

Mike Myler




Redthistle

Explorer
Supporter
Comte de Saint Germain came to me by way of the novels of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. She used his legend to create the character of a vampire who's been around since his mortal days in the ancient Egyptian priesthood.

Her tales were not written in historical order, but each book is set in a time of strife, and the novels included a 20th century setting or two.

Myler, thank you for this spin on the legend.
Super fun guy! What a long stat block though when you multiclass those two....
One correction
1: Healing. Creature regains 18 (2d4+3) hit points. <-- you mean 8
What?!? Such math as I've never seen before! That charlatan struck again! LOL
 

There's a fellow who claims to be him in Foucault's Pendulum, probably one of the academic-nerdiest novels ever written.

I guess this is too meta, and maybe it's too soon...but could you stat up Gary Gygax? He could have powers based around rewriting the game to deal with players' attacks--say you swing a sword +1 at him and on the next round swords +1 are removed from the rulebook.
 





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