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Mythological Figures: Confucius (5E)

Mythological Figures once again heads to the far east, this time considering one of the best known figures in all of recorded history, a person with teachings that still have influence today more than a century after their time: Confucius!


It might surprise you to learn that while alive Confucius didn’t really get that much recognition other than that people of influence found him to be threatening. All the same and without any military power himself, he utilized diplomacy to try (and fail) to return the authority of Lu to a duke rather than the triumvirate of ruling clans. The Viscount Ji Huan becomes his nemesis and for decades Confucius goes into self-exile instead of resigning, traveling around the states of central and north-east China where he shared his political beliefs but never saw them implemented. In the twilight of his years he returns to the province of Lu, teaching the Five Classics to more than 70 disciples before dying himself in his early 70s. Details on his legacy are fairly involved but to be short about it Confucius’ teachings are widely adopted soon after and become the backbone of education in China until less than a century ago.

Designer Notes: It was a struggle to figure out what classes fit best for Confucius here but I’m happy with where he landed--he’s a multi-linguist with a +11 bonus in all of his skills and plenty of intrigue-related tricks. While I would’ve liked to get him a higher Intelligence, the balanced high mental ability scores seem appropriate and make him a fierce social combatant. For CR statisticians: the Blog of Holding rubric really had a big impact here rating him as a 6 and the DMG down at 3.9 so I went for CR 5. If for some reason combat breaks out before Confucius can get his intrigue and drama game going on proper, treat him as CR 4 instead because he’s really not very damage-oriented.


Confucius
Medium humanoid (human), lawful good rogue (genius) 6/cleric (knowledge) 4


Armor Class
15 (bracers of defense, ring of protection)
Hit Points 45 (10d8)
Speed 30 ft.

STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
9 (-1)​
14 (+2)​
10 (+0)​
16 (+3)​
16 (+3)​
16 (+3)​

Saving Throws Str +0, Dex +7, Con +1, Int +8, Wis +4, Cha +4
Skills Arcana +11, Deception +11, History +11, Insight +11, Investigation +11, Perception +11, Persuasion +11, Religion +11
Tools thieves’ tools +4
Senses passive Perception 21
Languages Common, four other languages
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Background: Bureaucratic Official. Confucius is able to use his position as a scholar-official to access the bureaucratic functionings of organizations that he encounters. He is able to identify who has authority and influence, what the group is recently concerned with, and how to acquire something from them.

Channel Divinity (1/Short Rest). Confucius can channel his divine energy to fuel one of two magical effects.
Divine Knowledge. As an action, Confucius gains proficiency with one skill or tool he chooses. This proficiency lasts for 10 minutes.
Turn Undead. As an action, Confucius presents his holy symbol and speaks a prayer censuring the undead. Each undead within 30 feet that can see or hear him must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes any damage. When an undead of CR 1/2 or lower fails its saving throw the creature is instantly destroyed. A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from Confucius as it can, and it can’t willingly move to a space within 30 feet of him. It also can’t take reactions. For its action, it can use only the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there’s nowhere to move, the creature can use the Dodge action.​

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

Fast Learner. After Confucius has heard a creature speak for 1 minute or longer, he can mimic its manner of speaking as long as he knows the same language as the creature (allowing him to seem like he is local to a given region).

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

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

Tactician. Confucius is able to use the Help action to aid an ally attacking a creature as long as the target of the attack is able to see and hear Confucius and is within 30 feet of him.

Spellcasting. Confucius is a 4th level spellcaster that uses Wisdom as his spellcasting ability (spell save DC 15; +7 to hit with spell attacks). He has the following spells prepared from the cleric’s spell list:
Cantrips: guidance, light, mending, sacred flame
1st-level (4 slots): cure wounds, protection from evil and good, sanctuary, shield of faith; command, identify
2nd-level (3 slots): calm emotions, enhance ability, zone of truth; augury, suggestion

ACTIONS

Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4+2) piercing damage.


REACTIONS

Uncanny Dodge. When an attacker Confucius can see hits him with an attack, Confucius can use his reaction to halve the attack’s damage against him.
 
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Mike Myler

Mike Myler


MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Without getting into debates over the historical Confucius or the role of the Jesuits in creation of the Confucian myth, and accepting that this is an attempt to portray the current familiar mythical version of Confucius, I think that it wholly overlooks Confucius's warrior background.

Confucius was said to be an accomplished horseman/charioteer and archer, which is believable given the upper-class he moved around in. He was a warrior of noble birth.
 

KenNYC

Explorer
I would enjoy seeing you take a crack at Tarzan. Would be interested in seeing how you make a half naked guy with a dagger into the most dangerous ape-man in town. All of these are interesting.
 

Mike Myler

Advanced Fifth Edition: https://www.levelup5e.com/
Without getting into debates over the historical Confucius or the role of the Jesuits in creation of the Confucian myth, and accepting that this is an attempt to portray the current familiar mythical version of Confucius, I think that it wholly overlooks Confucius's warrior background.

Confucius was said to be an accomplished horseman/charioteer and archer, which is believable given the upper-class he moved around in. He was a warrior of noble birth.

Confucius was part of the shi class (which were warriors between commoners and nobility) but I don't think he had a great warrior background aside from being trained in the 6 arts (rites, music, archery, charioteering, calligraphy, and mathematics; and not at a highly respected or vaunted institution, only a local school). I figured for those he just got by with good ability scores--Confucius, as far as I can tell, was not the world's best chariot driver or a miraculous marksmen so putting emphasis on either of those as opposed to what he's best known for seemed out of place.

I would enjoy seeing you take a crack at Tarzan. Would be interested in seeing how you make a half naked guy with a dagger into the most dangerous ape-man in town. All of these are interesting.

Tarzan is on the list :D
 


Mike Myler

Advanced Fifth Edition: https://www.levelup5e.com/
What's this rogue (genius) thing all about? A renamed Mastermind?

Got it in one! Because these are being "published" on the website here (which is a thing that turns a profit) I can't refer to non-OGL material directly. I can imply all day though and I am glad to see I'm on target. ;)
 

Aaron L

Hero
I would enjoy seeing you take a crack at Tarzan. Would be interested in seeing how you make a half naked guy with a dagger into the most dangerous ape-man in town. All of these are interesting.

High level Barbarian/Rogue with great Dex and Con?
 

Mike Myler

Advanced Fifth Edition: https://www.levelup5e.com/
High level Barbarian/Rogue with great Dex and Con?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Stay tuned into the article series and find out! :D
(It will be a while on Tarzan though. I made a good-sized backstock of posts and won't be toiling on these for atleast a month plus.)
 




BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
A while back I was in a discussion about "what class would a philosopher be." I argued any class as philosophy does not necessarily help or inhibit or even change how you would kill things and get loot.

Still I think you did a bang up job on a character that would seek to perceive, understand, and influence the world in equal parts.
 

Quartz

Adventurer
While Mastermind / Genius seems a great fit, I'm really not seeing the Cleric in Confucius. Rather, I think you should look at the Lore Bard. Specifically, he should have the Bard's Vicious Mockery cantrip for verbal put-downs, and Dissonant Whispers for a powerful put-down. Detect Thoughts and Calm Emotions also seem appropriate. Other Bardic abilities are suitable too: Inspiration, Expertise, Jack of All Trades, and so on.
 

Mike Myler

Advanced Fifth Edition: https://www.levelup5e.com/
While Mastermind / Genius seems a great fit, I'm really not seeing the Cleric in Confucius. Rather, I think you should look at the Lore Bard. Specifically, he should have the Bard's Vicious Mockery cantrip for verbal put-downs, and Dissonant Whispers for a powerful put-down. Detect Thoughts and Calm Emotions also seem appropriate. Other Bardic abilities are suitable too: Inspiration, Expertise, Jack of All Trades, and so on.

I considered Bard but landed on Cleric (specifically Knowledge domain cleric) because Confucius didn't win in his time--he won afterward. To me that says "I was wise to start with but didn't get chummy until later on" so a focus on Wisdom and insight less than Charisma and personal magnetism. Can't refer to dissonant whispers which is tricky (maybe infer to it as fearful whisper or something like that) but he's got calm emotions as is. :)
 

Stalker0

Legend
Confucius was said to be an accomplished horseman/charioteer and archer, which is believable given the upper-class he moved around in. He was a warrior of noble birth.

He has a +6 to attack and can basically kill a man with his pinky (1 damage unarmed + 3d6 sneak attack). He looks like a damn fine warrior to me!
 

DeanP

Explorer
I can't believe Confucius doesn't have Fireball. I'm sure there's historical precedent for giving Confucius Fireball, at will.
 



Ganymede81

First Post
Why did you build him as a PC? If the point is to highlight legendary figures as potential NPCs, why not build him like an NPC as seen in the Monster Manual? It'd be far simpler and less restricted.
 

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