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D&D 5E Mythological Figures: Gilgamesh (5E)

As last week was a great example of a Mythological Figure from the perspective of transference of media between cultures (Aladdin’s unique place via the ancestral “game of telephone”), now we’re going way back to a figure even older than our first entry—GILGAMESH! As you can see from the artwork for today’s entry there’s really not a lot about him in popular culture until relatively recently, so the best depictions of this God-King are thousand and thousands of years old.


The first thing I did was run through some summaries of the Epic of Gilgamesh (it’s been over a decade since I read it) and it quickly became clear that I’m not going to get away with a paragraph. Some highlights: two-thirds god and one-third man, demanding and tyrannical ruler, so much so that his taking of the “lord’s right” (prima nocta) on brides on the night of their wedding led to pleas to the gods that resulted in the wild man Enkidu (who ultimately becomes his greatest friend and go-to sidekick). This guy goes around slaying other demigods, wrestling just about everything, cuts down forests, entreats nature (and numerous gods), tracks down immortals—the list goes on (even summarized I was at four pages). He is definitely an interesting figure and I encourage folks to familiarize yourselves with his story. It truly is epic! (Wiki, Sparknotes)

Design Notes: Ultimately the designers of days past probably had it right: “He is noted for going out and getting things done when others were unable.” They are also what ultimately helped me figure out what build he ought to have, which is to say a mix of ranger, monk, and cleric (I’d prefer bard because he does a lot of pleading, but for the sake of keeping him within the bounds of stats we’re reigning in some attributes and putting a focus onto Wisdom). The math puts his CR slightly lower but Gilgamesh here has a host of abilities (as a god-king ought to!) so I’ve bumped him up slightly.

As ever let us know who you'd like to see stats for! We are steadily making it through the list and your favorite may not yet be on there. ;)

Gilgamesh
Medium humanoid (demigod, human), neutral good ranger (hunter) 8/monk (open hand) 8/cleric (nature) 4

Armor Class
16 (Wisdom)
Hit Points 148 (8d10+12d8+40)
Speed 30 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
20 (+5)16 (+3)14 (+2)9 (-1)16 (+3)11 (+0)

Saving Throws
Str +11, Dex +9
Skills Athletics +11, History +5, Nature +5, Perception +9, Persuasion +6, Survival +9
Senses passive Perception 19
Languages Amorite, Assyrian, Babylonian, Sumerian
Challenge 12 (8,400 XP)

Background: Noble - Lordship. Due to his position as a god-king, Gilgamesh is treated with a measure of respect wherever he goes. He is treated as royalty (or as closely as possible) by most peasants and traders, and as an equal when meeting other authority figures (who make time in their schedule to see him if requested to do so).

Channel Divinity (1/short rest). Gilgamesh can channel his divine energy to fuel one of two magical effects.
Befriend Nature. As an action, Gilgamesh extends some of his natural divinity to befriend nature. Beasts and plants within 30 feet that are able to hear Gilgamesh make a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw or is charmed by him for 1 minute (or until it takes damage). Creatures charmed this way are friendly to Gilgamesh and his allies.

Turn Undead.
As an action, Gilgamesh 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 17 Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes any damage. A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from Gilgamesh 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.​

Defensive Tactics: Multiattack Defense. When a creature hits Gilgamesh with an attack, he gains a +4 bonus to AC against all subsequent attacks made by that creature for the rest of the turn.

Evasion. When Gilgamesh is subjected to an effect that allows him to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, he instead takes no damage if he succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if he fails.

Favored Enemy. Gilgamesh has advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track humans and monstrosities, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them.

Feat: Grappler. Gilgamesh has advantage on attack rolls against a creature he is grappling and he can use an action to try to pin a creature he’s grappled. To do so, Gilgamesh makes another grapple check. If he succeeds, Gilgamesh and the creature are both restrained until the grapple ends.

Hunter’s Prey: Giant Killer. When a Large or larger creature within 5 feet of Gilgamesh hits or misses him with an attack, he can use his reaction to attack that creature immediately after its attack, provided that Gilgamesh can see the creature.

Ki (8 points/short rest). Gilgamesh can spend ki to fuel the following features:

  • Patient Defense. Gilgamesh can spend 1 ki to take the Dodge action as a bonus action on his turn.
  • Step of the Wind. Gilgamesh can spend 1 ki to take the Disengage or Dash action as a bonus action on his turn, and his jump distance is doubled for the turn.
  • Stunning Strike. Gilgamesh can spend 1 ki to attempt to stun a creature he hits with a melee weapon attack. The target must succeed on a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or be stunned until the end of his next turn.

Open Hand Technique.
Whenever Gilgamesh hits a creature with one of the attacks granted by a bonus action or expending ki, he can impose one of the following effects on that target:

  • It must succeed on a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw or is knocked prone.
  • It must make a DC 17 Strength saving throw. If it fails, Gilgamesh can push it up to 15 feet away.
  • It can’t take reactions until the end of Gilgamesh’s next turn.

Ranger Features.
Gilgamesh has the Land’s Stride, Natural Explorer (desert or grassland), and Primeval Awareness ranger class features.

Spellcasting. Gilgamesh is an 8th-level spellcaster that uses Wisdom as his spellcasting ability (spell save DC 17; +9 to hit with spell attacks). Gilgamesh knows the following spells from the ranger spell list and has the following cleric spells prepared:
  • Cantrips: guidance, light, produce flame, resistance, thaumaturgy
  • 1st-level (4 slots): cure wounds, jump, speak with animals; bane, command
  • 2nd-level (3 slots): pass without trace, spike growth; aid, enhance ability
  • 3rd-level (3 slots): beacon of hope, bestow curse
  • 4th-level (2 slots): divination

Stillness of Mind.
Gilgamesh can use his action to end one effect on himself that is causing him to be charmed or frightened.

Wholeness of Body (1/long rest). Gilgamesh can spend an action to regain 24 hit points.

ACTIONS

Multiattack. Gilgamesh attacks twice (if attacking with unarmed strikes he can spend his bonus action to attack a third time, or his bonus action and 1 ki to attack a third and fourth time).

Unarmed. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6+5) magical bludgeoning damage.

Godly Mace. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (1d6+9) magical bludgeoning damage.

REACTIONS

Deflect Missile. Gilgamesh can spend his reaction to strike a missile when his is hit by a ranged weapon attack, reducing its damage by 16 (1d10+11). If he reduces the damage to 0, he can catch the missile if it is small enough for him to hold in one hand and he has at least one hand free. If Gilgamesh catches a missile in this way, he can spend 1 ki point to make a ranged attack with the weapon or piece of ammunition he just caught, as part of the same reaction (+9 to hit, range 20/60 ft., minimum 1d6+5 damage).

Slow Fall. Gilgamesh can use his reaction when he falls to reduce any falling damage he takes by 40.
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Mike Myler

Mike Myler

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
We can definitely make one ;)

In 4e they have something called Martial Practices they are loosely like rituals that use skills including athletics AND now you just gave me some ideas for how to use Gilgamesh to make up some epic flavored ones. Challenging the elements might allow you to purify and improve harvests and broadly reduce bad weather and other things hmmm

Stoppering the Volcano makes the kingdoms effective land area and wealth increase. And may cause the lava beast to attack a neighboring country because you have intimidated it. (Marshal it alongside your forces in your next large scale battle)

Hmmm not sure if I can find satisfying in there.

I forgot about martial practices.
 

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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I have started thinking some of these early figures including Cu Chulainn are served better by some of the monks abilities .... although with more application of strength mixed in if that makes any sense and I noticed you put that in here.
 



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