5E Mythological Figures: David

Remember that fellow so often shown using a sling to throw a stone into Goliath’s eye, killing him despite his opponent’s far greater size? Me too! Apparently there’s much more to this character however, so click onward and let’s dive into David.

David DnD 5e banner.jpg


Let’s get right to it: this is a very mythological character insofar that there are few concrete facts about him. It’s generally agreed there was once a ruler named David but that’s pretty much where all agreements about him stop. Shepherd, general, prophet, king--depending on who’s asking and where, he’s one or more or all of these things. For our purposes here we’re going to stick with the biblical narrative (the young shepherd who slayed Goliath, the much greater champion of the Phillistines) partly because we’ve already got a few ancient kings rolling around this series, and also because its far and away the most popularized representation of the character. That does not however mean that we should ignore the rest of his milieu, and it’d be remiss of me not to bring up David’s place in various histories.

Christian: David kills Goliath, gains King Saul’s favor, is spurned by the ruler, they die and he takes the throne, conquers Jerusalem and brings the Ark of the Covenant there, gets intimate with Bathsheba, has her husband assassinated, as recompense god has his son Absalom try to overthrow him, and he returns after said offspring has died to rule over the kingdom. During his reign he’s said to have been a kind and just king, and just before dying he picks Solomon to take his place.​
Judaic: So I think that generally this follows along the same lines as above, but here David goes about shepherding while his brothers go to school, and more importantly his transgressions with Bathsheba are decidedly less transgress-y (the narrative is more about repentance, and it may have not been adultery at all because of an old Jewish practice of battle-eve divorces). This might actually be about being excessively self-conscious (narcissistic?), in that David was specifically trying to test himself to have his name united with God’s (like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).​
Islamic: This is where the prophet stuff comes in because David (aka داود or Dāwūd) was sent by God to guide the Israelites, gifted kingship, wisdom, and the Psalms (some wise books) from above when he slays Goliath to become the divine’s “viceregent on earth”. This lore dump included how to work iron rather than just cast it and how to make chainmail--definitely an advantage against bronze weaponry and a means to great wealth. The whole Bethsheba thing isn’t mentioned in the Quran at all so they dropped that part of the story, but they did make him extra zealous and a faster, and he’s still great with a tune.​

Design Notes: As mentioned above we’re going for the Sunday School cartoon version of David here so a rock-slinging fellow which any GM can make use of as a rote NPC marksman. With this information about chainmail however, I can’t pass the opportunity to include it (and if you don’t dig on that give him studded leather instead, or no armor and a shield--same AC either way, although no greatsword action for the latter option). For final touches he’s got Sharpshooter and Lucky to really pound in that skill for aimed shots. Looking at the numbers he squeaked in above a 4 on the DMG’s rubric and slightly under that on the Blog of Holding’s, averaging out juuuuuuuuust above the threshold for a final CR of 4.


David
Medium humanoid (human), lawful good fighter (archer) 8
Armor Class 16 (chainmail)
Hit Points 52 (8d10+8)
Speed 30 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
13 (+1)​
18 (+4)​
12 (+1)​
12 (+1)​
14 (+2)​
12 (+1)​
Saving Throws Str +4, Con +4
Skills Acrobatics +7, Animal Handling +5, Insight +5, Performance +4
Senses passive Perception 12
Languages Hebrew (?)
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)

Background: Virtuoso. David is never without a stage or room to sing for entertainment whether in a queen’s castle or a tavern. He receives free accommodations (including a room and meal) each night he performs and is recognized while going about a settlement where he’s sung at least one evening (and is typically well-liked for his vocal talents).

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

Attentive Gaze. David can use a bonus action to take the Search action.

Excellent Aim (3/Short Rest). David can spend a bonus action to aim a wielded ranged weapon at a target within its range. Until the end of his turn, ranged attacks that David makes against the target deal an extra 5 damage.

Feat: Fortune Points (3/Long Rest). David can spend one fortune point to reroll an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, or to force an attacker to reroll an attack made against him.

Feat: Superb Aim. David ignores half cover and three-quarters cover when making a ranged weapon attack, and he doesn’t have disadvantage when attacking at long range. When David makes his first ranged weapon attack in a turn, he can choose to take a -5 penalty to his ranged weapon attack rolls in exchange for a +10 bonus to ranged weapon damage.

Second Wind (1/Short Rest). On his turn, David can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+8 hit points.


ACTIONS
Extra Attack. David attacks twice.

Greatsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (2d6+1) slashing damage.

Sling. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d4+4) bludgeoning damage.
 
Mike Myler

Comments

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Lugh Lamfada / Samildánach - killed his giant father (of the Balor) with a single sling shot. A very elaborate character you might want to investigate and given the story is 3k bce it could be the first, but also given how many stories get copied could be an older one still. Lugh may actually also be a source for Wotan/Odin the educated spear wielding leader who invented runes.
 
Finally! This has been a long time coming. Someone who's actually going to use all those bags of magical sling bullets that accrue at the bottom of party bags of holding like odd socks in the dryer. Solid build,.
 

Rafael Martin

Explorer
Based on my reading of the Bible, and watching TV shows of the event in question, I would conclude thay David prayed to YHWH and He guided the stone from the sling into Goliath's forehead. Maybe David is more of a Champion for YHWH. Just thinking out loud...

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Traveller

Explorer
Nice write up ...
Nitpicks first :)
From intro - hit him the forehead - actually poetically written as "sunk/imprint (same word in Hebrew) into his forehead"
Pre-eve battle divorce - is a later interpretation not in the scripts (to get him slightly off the hook?)
And he might have repented, but still paid a heavy price, his sons killed each others (Amnon raping his half sister Tamar, Avshalom killing Amnon) and rebelled - Avshalom then Adonia.

More on the build - I think he is in "need" for a three phase build -
A) The shepherd - light warrior killer of Goliat.
B) The War-band leader - on the run from Shaul, hiding in the desert or a mercenary with the Plishtim.
Properly armed, and gaining command skills.
C) The King - consolidates the kingdom, expansion, population census and organises a standing and reserve army.

Hey Conan you've been usurped ;-)
 

Mike Myler

Adventurer
Nice write up ...
Nitpicks first :)
From intro - hit him the forehead - actually poetically written as "sunk/imprint (same word in Hebrew) into his forehead"
Pre-eve battle divorce - is a later interpretation not in the scripts (to get him slightly off the hook?)
And he might have repented, but still paid a heavy price, his sons killed each others (Amnon raping his half sister Tamar, Avshalom killing Amnon) and rebelled - Avshalom then Adonia.

More on the build - I think he is in "need" for a three phase build -
A) The shepherd - light warrior killer of Goliat.
B) The War-band leader - on the run from Shaul, hiding in the desert or a mercenary with the Plishtim.
Properly armed, and gaining command skills.
C) The King - consolidates the kingdom, expansion, population census and organises a standing and reserve army.

Hey Conan you've been usurped ;-)
I fear Conan will never be usurped (273 comments!) Mythological Figures: Conan the Barbarian (5E)
 

Traveller

Explorer
Based on my reading of the Bible, and watching TV shows of the event in question, I would conclude thay David prayed to YHWH and He guided the stone from the sling into Goliath's forehead. Maybe David is more of a Champion for YHWH. Just thinking out loud...
Well, in the Bible, David does not pray.
Goliat curses him and his God (loosely translated) "Am I a dog that you carry a stick against me?": and he cursed David with/in his God; "Come to me I will feed your body to birds and animals"
David answers "You come to me with a sword and a Javelin and a spear [weapon name translations are problematic, the sword is safe; javelin and spear not so much] While I come to you in the name of the "Lord of Hosts", the "God the armies of Israel" that you cursed... "

He is presented as a competent fighter, who knows how use his mobility against the heavy armed single opponent.
 

Mike Myler

Adventurer
Well, in the Bible, David does not pray.
Goliat curses him and his God (loosely translated) "Am I a dog that you carry a stick against me?": and he cursed David with/in his God; "Come to me I will feed your body to birds and animals"
David answers "You come to me with a sword and a Javelin and a spear [weapon name translations are problematic, the sword is safe; javelin and spear not so much] While I come to you in the name of the "Lord of Hosts", the "God the armies of Israel" that you cursed... "

He is presented as a competent fighter, who knows how use his mobility against the heavy armed single opponent.
You could swap out Lucky or Sharpshooter for Mobile instead if you like (but I figured those feats were more important for the lucky shot aspect).
 
Allow me to quote from the OP "As mentioned above we’re going for the Sunday School cartoon version of David here so a rock-slinging fellow which any GM can make use of as a rote NPC marksman.". Hence no Bard levels.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Lugh Lamfada / Samildánach - killed his giant father (of the Balor) with a single sling shot. A very elaborate character you might want to investigate and given the story is 3k bce it could be the first, but also given how many stories get copied could be an older one still. Lugh may actually also be a source for Wotan/Odin the educated spear wielding leader who invented runes.
This one could be built as the Longarm (Spear Specialist) or as Lighting Thrower or with the I am good at every skill emphasis. Sling is definitely on the list but maybe just a side note but the Celt used brain balls for their magical stones so maybe not.
 

Rafael Martin

Explorer
Well, in the Bible, David does not pray.
Goliath curses him and his God (loosely translated) "Am I a dog that you carry a stick against me?": and he cursed David with/in his God; "Come to me I will feed your body to birds and animals"
David answers "You come to me with a sword and a Javelin and a spear [weapon name translations are problematic, the sword is safe; javelin and spear not so much] While I come to you in the name of the "Lord of Hosts", the "God the armies of Israel" that you cursed... "
David tells Goliath that he comes in the name of the "Lord of Hosts", the "God the armies of Israel" that you cursed... " That sounds like a Champion/Paladin to me. Just saying...
 

Mike Myler

Adventurer
Why doesn't David have any levels in bard? He was skilled with the harp and could lull King Saul to sleep when he was having trouble getting to sleep.
He does have the Entertainer background so there's at least a little nod to that.

Allow me to quote from the OP "As mentioned above we’re going for the Sunday School cartoon version of David here so a rock-slinging fellow which any GM can make use of as a rote NPC marksman.". Hence no Bard levels.
I do so love it when people read all the post! ♥

They say there is a secret chord that David played.... Oh, nevermind. :D
I don't really care for music. Do you?
 

Arvok

Explorer
I still have some problems with this (and I know this isn't a terribly serious analysis). When David fought Goliat he was still a boy, without (I would argue) any character levels. I realize this is supposed to be David before he is king, but if he's a mid-level fighter (probably when he was rising through the ranks and starting to draw Saul's jealousy), he should have a level in bard.

Maybe I'm taking this way too seriously...
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I still have some problems with this (and I know this isn't a terribly serious analysis). When David fought Goliat he was still a boy, without (I would argue) any character levels.
Level == "The kind of adversaries you are capable of dealing with".
 

Samloyal23

Explorer
David was like a Level 1 Fighter when he slew Goliath. He rolled a natural 20, got that critical, and knocked the giant out, then used Goliath's own sword to do a coup de grace on him and take his head as a trophy. Later on, I think he took a few levels of Bard that allowed him to calm Saul's manic episodes and depression by singing.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
David was like a Level 1 Fighter when he slew Goliath. He rolled a natural 20, got that critical, and knocked the giant out, then used Goliath's own sword to do a coup de grace on him and take his head as a trophy.
Or it was divine guidance remember we can throw out the fantastic part of stories and make a lot of characters pretty mundane... never seemed the point of D&D
 

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