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Mythological Figures: Hua Mulan (5E)

Today we’ve got another entry in Mythological Figures that’s had the House of Maus treatment, a warrior-general from ancient China: Hua Mulan!



The first distinction (and one I like most) is that there’s a crater on Venus named after her—how cool is that? More importantly she’s one of the most enduring and popular characters in all of chinese mythology, and because records going back to that area and era of the world are more plentiful we know at least that she was likely a real person back in 386-536 AD.

Most of us have seen the animated movie but for anyone who hasn’t, here’s the lowdown: Mulan’s father (or younger brother, depending on the source material) is conscripted into the army but fearful for his life, she dresses up as a man and enlists in his place. She proceeds to be a badass, earning distinction as a fine soldier over 12 years of service until refusing rewards to retire back home. In the earlier tales everybody is surprised she’s a lady but otherwise make no fuss about it, and in later iterations it can go the other way (one version has her committing suicide rather than becoming the emperor’s concubine).

Design Notes: Mulan has reached a legendary status in Chinese culture so she’s fairly high level. That said when she’s entirely on her own, she’s not going to be a wrecking ball like Thor. Consider using Mulan with other NPCs to use the warlord archetype features to their full effect, increasing her effective CR by +1 (if mooks like guards) or +2 (if using veterans or gladiators). With lots of allies to move around and boost she’ll make for an exciting encounter, and given her talents for deception Mulan is somebody that can play a part off of the battlefield as well.


Hua Mulan

Medium humanoid (human), neutral good monk (kensei) 4/fighter (warmaster) 12
Armor Class 18 (breastplate, dextrous parry)
Hit Points 110 (4d8+12d10+16)
Speed 40 ft. (50 ft. when not in armor)


STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
14 (+2)​
14 (+2)​
12 (+1)​
16 (+3)​
10 (+0)​
14 (+2)​

Saving Throws
Str +7, Dex +8
Skills Athletics +7, Insight +5, Intimidation +7, Stealth +8
Senses passive Perception 10
Languages Chinese
Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)

Background: Military Service - Rank. Mulan still commands respect from her time serving in the army. Soldiers loyal to the same forces view her as their superior, and Mulan can use her influence to temporarily requisition simple equipment or horses, possibly even gaining entrance to military fortresses and outposts.

Action Surge (1/short rest). Once on her turn, Mulan can take an additional action on top of her regular action and a possible bonus action.

Battle Maneuvers. Instead of moving her speed on her turn, Mulan can allow up to three allies who can see or hear her to move up to half their speed. Only allies able to take actions can benefit from Battle Maneuvers.

Dextrous Parry. Mulan can defend herself with a longsword or longbow on the same turn she makes an unarmed strike as part of her Attack action, gaining a +2 bonus to AC until the start of her next turn so long as she is not incapacitated and has the weapon in one of her hands.

Feat: Acting. Mulan has advantage on Charisma (Deception) and Charisma (Performance) checks made to impersonate. In addition, she can mimic the speech of other creatures she’s head speak for at least 1 minute. A suspicious listener can see through her mimicry by succeeding on a Wisdom (Insight) check opposed by Mulan’s Charisma (Deception) check.

Feat: Athletic. Mulan can stand up from being prone with only 5 feet of her movement, climbing doesn’t cost her extra movement, and she only has to move 5 feet before making a running long jump or running high jump.

Feat: Mobile. Mulan can Dash through difficult terrain without requiring additional movement. Whenever she makes an attack against a creature, she doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks from that creature until the end of her turn.

Feat: Soldier Tactics. A creature hit by Mulan’s opportunity attack reduces its speed to 0 until the beginning of the next round and disengaging from Mulan still provokes opportunity attacks. In addition, Mulan can use her reaction to make a melee weapon attack against a creature within 5 feet when it makes an attack against a target other than Mulan.

Forward Leader. Creatures that Mulan hits with a weapon attack have disadvantage on saving throws made to resist her Tactical Stratagems until the end of her next turn.

Indomitable (1/long rest). Mulan can reroll a saving throw that she fails but must use the new roll.

Ki (4 points/short rest). Mulan can spend ki points to fuel various ki features.

  • Flurry of Blows. Immediately after Mulan takes the Attack action on her turn, she can spend 1 ki point to make two unarmed strikes as a bonus action.
  • Patient Defense. Mulan can spend 1 ki point to take the Dodge action as a bonus action on her turn.
  • Step of the Wind. Mulan can spend 1 ki point to take the Disengage or Dash action as a bonus action on her turn, and her jump distance is doubled for the turn.

Martial Arts.
Mulan can use Dexterity instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of her unarmed strikes and monk weapons. In addition, when Wukong uses the Attack action with an unarmed strike or a monk weapon on her turn, she can make one unarmed strike as a bonus action.

Path of the Weaponmaster. Mulan has particular affinity with longswords and longbows, treating them as monk weapons.

Second Wind (1/short rest). On her turn, Mulan can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+12 hit points.

Tactical Focal Point. Mulan selects a 10-foot square to be her 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 she cannot take actions or uses this feature again. Each time Mulan completes a long rest, she can swap one of these benefits for a different one.

  • Area Clear. When an ally inside Mulan’s tactical 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 Mulan’s choice can use a reaction to move up to their speed when an enemy that she can see enters her 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 Mulan’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, Mulan and her 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 her tactical focal point.
  • Run Away! When an ally inside of Mulan’s 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 (9/long rest).
Mulan uses part of her Attack action or a bonus action to take mastery of the battlefield, granting it to herself and allies within her tactical focal point by expending uses of this feature. A creature that is granted a use of Mulan’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.

Tactical Stratagems (4/long rest). Mulan can use a stratagem as an action. Each time she completes a long rest she can swap one of her stratagems for a different one.

  • Luring Feint. As part of this strategem, Mulan can take the Attack action. On her turn if she hits a creature with a melee weapon attack, it makes a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or she and her allies are invisible to it until the end of her next turn.
  • Pincers Movement. As part of this stratagem, Mulan can take the Attack action. Up to two allies that can see or hear Mulan can use their reactions to move up to their speed. Any creature adjacent to both of her allies or to Mulan and one of the chosen allies at the end of their movement makes a DC 16 Strength saving throw or is restrained until the end of her next turn. As part of this gambit, you may take the attack action.
  • Vexing Maneuvers. As part of this stratagem, Mulan can take the Attack action. Each enemy in Mulan’s tactical focal point that she can see makes a DC 16 Intelligence saving throw or it cannot leave her tactical focal point using its move until the end of her next turn. As part of this gambit, you may take the attack action.

Weaponmaster Strike.
Mulan can use a bonus action when she hits a target with a longbow attack on her turn, dealing an extra 1d4 piercing damage on ranged attacks with her longbow until the end of her next turn.


ACTIONS

Extra Attack. Mulan attacks three times when she takes the attack action (using a bonus action she can attack a fourth time with Martial Arts and her longsword or longbow monk weapons).

Unarmed. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4+2) bludgeoning damage.

Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) slashing damage if wielded in one hand or 7 (1d10+2) slashing damage if wielded in two hands.

Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) piercing damage.


REACTIONS

Deflect Missiles.
Mulan can use her reaction to deflect or catch the missile when she is hit by a ranged weapon attack. When she does so, the damage she takes from the attack is reduced by 1d10+4. When the damage is reduced to 0, she can catch the missile if it is small enough for her to hold in one hand and she has at least one hand free. If she catches a missile in this way, Mulan can spend 1 ki point to make a ranged attack with the weapon or piece of ammunition she just caught, as part of the same reaction (+10 to hit, range 20/60 ft., 1d4+2 damage).

Slow Fall. Mulan can use her reaction when she falls to reduce any falling damage she takes by 20.
 
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Mike Myler

Comments

dave2008

Legend
Another great entry - thanks Mike!

FYI, I noticed at least once who said "his" instead of "her," but I can't find it now.
 




Nathaniel Lee

First Post
As an American-born Chinese person, I'm heartened to see legendary figures from my ancestors' culture included, especially since anytime anything "Asian" is used in Dungeons & Dragons and similar games, it seems like it's always based heavily on Japanese culture. I love how much stuff she's got to play with!
 


I am not Chinese-American, but I love this kind of writeup. BTW, this is the second game where Hua Mulan appears: the online mobile game Evony: The King's Return has her as a general that players can employ in their empires.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Am I right in thinking her saves basically are very meh for someone her level. I could be wrong but I think this might actually be a flaw in the Warlord design it properly encourages Intellect and team play (very awesome) but fails to show how that planning and quick thinking benefit the characters and their allies ability to react to incoming ie (saving throw boosts).
 

Mike Myler

Advanced Fifth Edition: https://www.levelup5e.com/
Am I right in thinking her saves basically are very meh for someone her level. I could be wrong but I think this might actually be a flaw in the Warlord design it properly encourages Intellect and team play (very awesome) but fails to show how that planning and quick thinking benefit the characters and their allies ability to react to incoming ie (saving throw boosts).
She has no magic items to boost saving throws and multiclassed a touch so only has one use of Indomitable. That said, fighters aren't too well known for solid all-around saves (thus Indomitable existing). It probably wouldn't be the end of the world to give her a stone of good luck and/or a ring of protection (she can certainly afford at least one of those).
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
She has no magic items to boost saving throws and multiclassed a touch so only has one use of Indomitable. That said, fighters aren't too well known for solid all-around saves (thus Indomitable existing). It probably wouldn't be the end of the world to give her a stone of good luck and/or a ring of protection (she can certainly afford at least one of those).
Giving her luck tokens is definitely in keeping with the character. (the Disney fans will even appreciate it) - Lucky Cricket Ahoy.

I could see Tactical Mastery being opened up to benefit saves... although that is something you want to provide or use as a reaction so maybe not.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Come to think of it Mearles did provide a rather nice (but only applicable to Dex)

Get Down. If an allied creature in your tactical focus must make a Dexterity saving throw, it can use its reaction to move up to its speed. If this movement takes it out of the range or area of the effect that caused the saving throw, it is no longer subjected to the effect. *Advantage on save? Force to go prone? Cancel next move?*
 

Mike Myler

Advanced Fifth Edition: https://www.levelup5e.com/
Giving her luck tokens is definitely in keeping with the character. (the Disney fans will even appreciate it) - Lucky Cricket Ahoy.

I could see Tactical Mastery being opened up to benefit saves... although that is something you want to provide or use as a reaction so maybe not.
Come to think of it Mearles did provide a rather nice (but only applicable to Dex)

Get Down. If an allied creature in your tactical focus must make a Dexterity saving throw, it can use its reaction to move up to its speed. If this movement takes it out of the range or area of the effect that caused the saving throw, it is no longer subjected to the effect. *Advantage on save? Force to go prone? Cancel next move?*
All of the Mythological Figure builds (and for that matter the Epic Monsters too) are OGL-compliant, which is to say that only SRD material appears with them--in this case that Warlord feature is re-worded (along with the rest of the Warlord features) as Run Away! in Mulan's statblock. :)
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
All of the Mythological Figure builds (and for that matter the Epic Monsters too) are OGL-compliant, which is to say that only SRD material appears with them--in this case that Warlord feature is re-worded (along with the rest of the Warlord features) as Run Away! in Mulan's statblock. :)
Nods (I missed that)
One could also call it "take cover"

One of the problems with the "focus area" design of Mearles Warlord was that it encouraged "Redcoat tactics" ie my allies are more likely to be clumped up and all targeted by enemy explosive fire than a group without a warlord.

Perhaps that makes "Run Away" even more vital and it should be opened up to any save vs area of effect?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Mike Myler

Advanced Fifth Edition: https://www.levelup5e.com/
Nods (I missed that)
One could also call it "take cover"

One of the problems with the "focus area" design of Mearles Warlord was that it encouraged "Redcoat tactics" ie my allies are more likely to be clumped up and all targeted by enemy explosive fire than a group without a warlord.

Perhaps that makes "Run Away" even more vital and it should be opened up to any save vs area of effect?
For use by an NPC with a bunch of soldiers and such lower than Mulan's level? Yeah that'd probably do. I think the thing to keep in mind is that the warlord is intended to be used with other adventurers and that was probably part of the thinking with its design.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight

An almost opposite concept also comes to mind



  • Stand Firm! When an ally inside of Mulan’s focal point is forced to make a Wisdom saving throw, they may forgo half movement on their turn to gain advantage on the save against it and if they also remain within her area of fucus gain a bonus equal to her Charisma modifier.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I think the thing to keep in mind is that the warlord is intended to be used with other adventurers and that was probably part of the thinking with its design.
That it encourages redcoat clumping is intended? hmmmmm.

I could use a clump of heros (myself and 2 others) as fireball bait then get myself and them out with "run away" in effect saving the unclumped ones too.
 

Mike Myler

Advanced Fifth Edition: https://www.levelup5e.com/
That it encourages redcoat clumping is intended? hmmmmm.

I could use a clump of heros (myself and 2 others) as fireball bait then get myself and them out with "run away" in effect saving the unclumped ones too.
Aye--I wasn't into 4E long enough to play the Warlord but that was the sense I got out of it. Put the paladin and the cleric into a nearby area to draw attacks and glom up assault vectors, put the ranger and the wizard elsewhere, rogue is sneaking about being nefarious.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight

An almost opposite concept also comes to mind



  • Stand Firm! When an ally inside of Mulan’s focal point is forced to make a Wisdom saving throw, they may forgo half movement on their turn to gain advantage on the save against it and if they also remain within her area of fucus gain a bonus equal to her Charisma modifier.
think I reversed that if you forgo half movement bonus is based on attribute if you remain within focus advantage but regardless of thematics I am not that fond of abilities which encourage stationary fighting.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Aye--I wasn't into 4E long enough to play the Warlord but that was the sense I got out of it. Put the paladin and the cleric into a nearby area to draw attacks and glom up assault vectors, put the ranger and the wizard elsewhere, rogue is sneaking about being nefarious.
I shouldn't worry about clumping D&Ds throughout the editions no wounding effect makes focus fire super optimal and with melee combatants that means clumping.

Rogues are usually in melee being nefarious but they might be a wicked knife thrower (the 1e thief was hiding in the bushes hoping he wasnt noticed). That group you mention probably has 4 melee combatants (with either the ranger sometimes being in Melee or the Rogue) and somehow I think a 10x10 square is not enough. ;)

I wonder if Mulan will have any direct benefits for her ranged allies.
 

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