5E Mythological Figures: General George Washington

We’re getting positively colonial today in Mythological Figures with the man most often credited with finding the United States of America. I’m of course talking about the Delaware River-crossing, (not really) cherry tree-chopping, ironic enemy of hero worship George Washington!


general george washington BANNER 5e.jpg


I’m from the USA and specifically the East Coast (Pennsylvanians what up!) so I’ve had George Washington shoved in my face forever. There are plenty of non-American readers here though so let me give you the quick rundown:
  • George Washington was a surveyor by the age of 16.
  • He kicked off the Seven Years War (or at the least was involved with the first battle).
  • Didn’t make any babies of his own although he had plenty of step-kids.
  • Wooden teeth. Yes. Here’s 10 facts about his teeth. Yes, 10 facts. In your face innit?
  • He loved booze and ran the biggest distillery in the colonies/early USA.
  • Led the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. He lost more often than he won, although obviously achieved overall victory.
  • First President of the United States (way back when people thought that was cool and respectable).
  • Founded the US Navy.
  • Second inaugural address was 135 words and took less than 2 minutes.
  • Didn’t wear a wig! That’s his hair!
  • Very pro-mule.
  • Released all his slaves upon his death (what a guy).
  • The whole “chopped down his dad’s cherry tree and admitted to it” is 100% myth.
  • George Washington specifically did not want to be deified or worshiped (coined the term ‘Mr. President’ as opposed to ‘Your Highness’) which is what makes what’s happened to his legacy so very American-ly ironic.
If you clicked through today looking for a biography of Washington I’m not sorry I didn’t deliver, but I promise, you will find a bajillion web sites/documentaries/propaganda pamphlets more than happy to make good on that for you.

Design Notes: In my mind George Washington is all about commanding troops and that’s where the build is focused, making good use of the Mearls’ Warlord fighter archetype. Considering what all he can do—grant 20 temporary hit points to his commanders or a crack assault squad, or heal (on average) 11 hit points from Tactical Mastery (or use that 2d10 to deal extra damage), control his Tactical Focal Point—I’m able to believe this guy led militia-farmers to victory over the King’s trained soldiers.
That brings us to the end and as usual a look at the numbers: the DMG lands George here at 6.8 which feels pretty low, and the Blog of Holding’s rubric put him at 8.166 which I feel is much more on the money. If for some reason he’s caught in a duel or by himself in the wilderness or what have you, treat him as CR 7 as he’s really designed to be used with soldiers and not all by his lonesome.


General George Washington
Medium humanoid (human), fighter (warmaster) 16
Armor Class 16 (studded leather, defense fighting style)
Hit Points 136 (16d10+48)
Speed 30 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
12 (+1)​
16 (+3)​
16 (+3)​
14 (+2)​
14 (+2)​
18 (+4)​
Saving Throws Str +6, Con +8
Skills Athletics +6, Insight +7, Perception +7, Persuasion +9, Survival +7
Senses passive Perception 17
Languages English, Latin
Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)

Background: Wildborn. George never forgets the geographic arrangement of terrain, settlements, and areas of wilderness. In addition, he can forage fresh water and food each day for as many as 6 people as long as the environment nearby can support it.
Action Surge (1/Short Rest). Once on his turn, George can take an additional action on top of his regular action and a possible bonus action.
Commanded Movement. Instead of moving on his turn, George can choose up to 3 allies able to hear him. These allies move up to half their Speed. An ally that cannot take actions cannot benefit from this feature.
Feat: Diplomatic. George 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 George remains within 60 feet of it (and for 1 minute afterward) the target is charmed by him. George automatically fails on the check if he or his companions are fighting the target.
Feat: Inspirational. When George 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 20 temporary hit points but cannot gain more temporary hit points from this feature until after they have completed a long rest.
Indomitable (2/Long Rest). George can reroll a saving throw that he fails but must use the new roll.
Leading Example. When George hits a creature with a weapon attack, until the end of his next turn the target of his attack has disadvantage on saving throws against his Tactical Maneuvers.
Second Wind (1/Short Rest). On his turn, George can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+16 hit points.

Tactical Focal Point. George selects a 10-foot square to be his tactical focal point as a bonus action or as part of the attack action, choosing one of the following benefits to apply to it. This lasts until he cannot take actions or uses this feature again. Each time George completes a long rest, he can swap one of these benefits for a different one.
  • Area Clear. When an ally inside George’s focal point hits a creature with an attack, the ally can move that creature 5 feet.
  • Cover the Flank. As many as three target creatures of George’s choice can use a reaction to move up to their speed when an enemy that he can see enters his focal point, so long as that movement does not end in the focal point. If a target creature is ending their movement adjacent to the enemy that triggered this feature, they do not have to use their reaction.
  • Phalanx Sidestep. An ally inside of George’s tactical focal point doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks as long as they move from a square adjacent to an ally and into another square adjacent to an ally. In addition, George and his allies can end their movement in space occupied by an ally. The ally immediately moves 5 feet away from the direction they came in and must end movement inside of his tactical focal point.
  • Run Away! When an ally inside of George’s tactical focal point is forced to make a Dexterity saving throw, they move up to their speed by using their reaction and are no longer subjected to the triggering effect if their movement takes them outside of the area or range.
Tactical Mastery (16/Long Rest). George uses part of his Attack action or a bonus action to take mastery of the battlefield, granting it to himself and allies within his focal point by expending uses of this feature. A creature that is granted a use of George’s Tactical Mastery can either regain 2d10 hit points when it is granted (any hit points greater than its maximum are temporary hit points) or use it to deal an extra 2d10 damage with an attack.


ACTIONS
Extra Attack. George attacks three times when he takes the Attack action.
Saber. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) slashing damage.
Musket. Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, range 40/120 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d12+3) piercing damage.

Tactical Maneuver (6/Long Rest). Each time George completes a long rest, he can swap one of these benefits for a different one.
  • Group Assault. George takes the Attack action and chooses a creature he can see within his tactical focal point. The creature makes a DC 15 Constitution saving throw at the start of his next turn provided that George or an ally hits it with an attack after he activates this feature. The creature has disadvantage on the saving throw if it has been hit by 3 or more attacks this turn. On a failure, it is stunned until the end of George’s next turn.
  • Move to Flank. George takes the Attack action and calls out to as many as 2 allies that can see or hear him. They can use their reactions to move up to their speed. A creature makes a DC 15 Strength saving throw if it is adjacent to these allies or George and one of these allies at the end of their movement. On a failure, it is restrained until the end of George’s next turn.
  • Confounding Maneuvering. Enemy creatures that are inside of George’s Focal Point make a DC 15 Intelligence saving throw or can’t leave that area until the end of his next turn. In addition, George can take the Attack action.
 
Mike Myler

Comments

Jay Verkuilen

Dogsbody Waghalter
one might as well call him anti-theist like Thomas Paine or even actually Thomas Jefferson that is deists were as close to atheists ( Mark Twain as George Carlin) as their era would support. I hadn't read the spy angle as an international figure central to bringing France in on the side of the new country its pretty strange.
Franklin was a Deist (as were a number of the other Founding Fathers) but he was notable for being pretty stridently anti-Catholic. This was not uncommon for an Englishman of his time and, indeed, in England, Catholic emancipation didn't happen until 1829. Many of these same attitudes existed in the USA, despite there being no established religion. These lasted for a long time. There are a lot of folks here in the USA who almost deify the Founders for what they wrote in 1787 or otherwise cherrypick from what they said or thought. Madison, for instance, changed many of his views not that long after 1787. I guess my point is, Franklin, like the other Founders, are much more complicated (and interesting and, ultimately, human) figures of their time than the hagiography that often gets written about them would imply. It's always a risk when one tries to do a mythological take for a game of a historical figure, of course.

Trying to take this back to the topic of ENWorld, I suspect one could run a pretty cool game based on that period of history with the serial numbers filed off. The game Seventh Sea is clearly based on 17th Century Europe, though a caricature obviously. There's no really good reason one couldn't manage it with an adapted 5E.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Franklin was a Deist (as were a number of the other Founding Fathers) but he was notable for being pretty stridently anti-Catholic.
Yes I didnt consider it a any big deal ;) one of the things that makes him interesting... read Paine hugely anti-hell fire of any flavor really. I am not sure there were any deists who werent also strongly against the claims made by just about every theist regardless of kind.
I guess my point is, Franklin, like the other Founders, are much more complicated (and interesting and, ultimately, human) figures of their time than the hagiography that often gets written about them would imply.
Oh definitely I find the complexities interesting - TJ has more problematics I think than BF and GW was eating very well while his troops suffered. /js
Trying to take this back to the topic of ENWorld, I suspect one could run a pretty cool game based on that period of history with the serial numbers filed off. The game Seventh Sea is clearly based on 17th Century Europe, though a caricature obviously. There's no really good reason one couldn't manage it with an adapted 5E.
Oh I kind of like the numbers ;) on... gives it more bite.
 

Aaron L

Adventurer
I can’t help but feel like, were he around today, Franklin would have been like some weird amalgamation of Barack Obama, Elon Musk, and PewdiePie, from a cultural standpoint. Too politically nuclear to hold a prime office, but always near the levers of power and EVERYONE would follow him whether they liked him or hated him because they wanted to see what he did next...
HA! I can totally see that. :)

21st Century Ben Franklin as major league political/scientific/social Influencer.
 

Jay Verkuilen

Dogsbody Waghalter
Yes I didnt consider it a any big deal ;) one of the things that makes him interesting... read Paine hugely anti-hell fire of any flavor really. I am not sure there were any deists who werent also strongly against the claims made by just about every theist regardless of kind.
Oh, I'm not talking about philosophical opposition, but the pretty heavy burden of legal discrimination that existed. For instance, under British rule, Catholics couldn't own property, be officers in the army, or vote (assuming they met the restrictive conditions of the franchise). In the USA, legal discrimination disappeared when the Constitution was adopted and when state constitutions finally became disestablished, but of course there was a lot of informal discrimination that stuck around for a long time afterwards.

Oh definitely I find the complexities interesting - TJ has more problematics I think than BF and GW was eating very well while his troops suffered. /js
Eating well when your troops suffered is something many generals have done for a long time. There was a whole lot of that in many later wars. There's a reason the term "REMF" exists in the US Army. :/


Oh I kind of like the numbers ;) on... gives it more bite.
Not sure what you mean there.

I've recently been pondering a new campaign world based heavily on Europe of this time or a century earlier, particularly including Eastern Europe, but I think an expanded version containing the colonies might be cool, as the exploration and colonization really drove a lot of the politics of the time. The Fall of Constantinople really pushed the Spanish and Portuguese to start looking elsewhere. One twist, however, is that humans will be very rare (having been mostly killed by the Plague).
 
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Aaron L

Adventurer
I think it's important not to make historical figures too good, projecting our own desires onto them.

Franklin, for instance, was stridently anti-Catholic (not at all unusual for someone of his time and origin), there is good reason to suppose in the leadup to the Revolution was playing both sides of the fence, and he was, unquestionably the prototypical dirty old man.
By "rad" I didn't simply mean he was "pure goodness and light." I meant he was an endlessly fascinating and multi-talented person seriously worthy of study, and respect just for the sheer mithril balls he had and things he accomplished. Insert Ben Franklin as a native of Oerth or Toril and watch an amazing adventurer take that world by storm.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Oh, I'm not talking about philosophical opposition, but the pretty heavy burden of legal discrimination that existed.
Ah live and learn
Eating well when your troops suffered is something many generals have done for a long time. There was a whole lot of that in many later wars. There's a reason the term "REMF" exists in the US Army.
Sure common but not as pretty as would be idealistic ;). He to put the other foot on it - I seem to recall did pay for his own personal caviar.
 

Jay Verkuilen

Dogsbody Waghalter
Sure common but not as pretty as would be idealistic ;).
Idealistic to us now, certainly. At the time, I'm not so sure. I'm not sure if you've read them but the Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell make quite a bit of point of how the expectation of officers was that they were to be clear "gentlemen" and superior to the rank and file. Now those are about the British Army, but I suspect that a lot of the same attitudes existed with someone like George Washington given that he was a scion of aristocratic Virginia and a very wealthy man. Virginia was much closer to the traditions of aristocratic England than, say, Massachusetts (despite the latter being called "New England") due to the differences in the settler populations.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
Idealistic to us now, certainly. At the time, I'm not so sure. I'm not sure if you've read them but the Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell make quite a bit of point of how the expectation of officers was that they were to be clear "gentlemen" and superior to the rank and file. Now those are about the British Army, but I suspect that a lot of the same attitudes existed with someone like George Washington given that he was a scion of aristocratic Virginia and a very wealthy man. Virginia was much closer to the traditions of aristocratic England than, say, Massachusetts (despite the latter being called "New England") due to the differences in the settler populations.
Washington was also colonel in the Brisith Colonial Army during the Seven Year War. So, he was very much used to be treated as a gentleman and an officer.
 

Jay Verkuilen

Dogsbody Waghalter
Washington was also colonel in the Brisith Colonial Army during the Seven Year War. So, he was very much used to be treated as a gentleman and an officer.
If I recall correctly, one of the reasons that set Washington on the path of rebellion was the fact that the British refused to let him obtain a regular commission.
 

MGibster

Adventurer
Washington was also colonel in the Brisith Colonial Army during the Seven Year War. So, he was very much used to be treated as a gentleman and an officer.
And he decided to sit out the rest of the French and Indian War when he, as a colonel in the militia, would be required to take orders from a lieutenant in the British army.
 

Jay Verkuilen

Dogsbody Waghalter
And he decided to sit out the rest of the French and Indian War when he, as a colonel in the militia, would be required to take orders from a lieutenant in the British army.
Exactly. The hagiography makes them look inhuman. The dirty reality is that they were all too human with frailties such as exactly that. The amazing thing is that they realized this, for the most part. Washington deciding that being king would be a really bad thing was a profoundly good insight.
 

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