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D&D 5E Mythological Figures: Maid Marian

Today Mythological Figures features one of the most important characters in the legends of Robin Hood: his paramour Maid Marian!

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Among the Merry Men Maid Marian was respected for her courage, independence, and loyalty—one of English literature’s earliest positive portrayals of a strong female character. Though she doesn’t appear in his earliest tales, Robin Hood’s paramour became a part of the legend by at least 1600. Like Friar Tuck she gets into the mythology through the May Games (and may even have tried to solicit herself to him!), and it’s generally believed that France has more to do with her inclusion than anyone else does (in Le Jeu de Robin et Marion in 1283 there’s a shepherdess named Marion and she’s got a shepherd lover named Robin). She’s not Robin’s first lover though—that’d be Clorinda, the Queen of the Shepherdesses—but over time the two characters become one in the same. Or maybe it’s a confusion bred by The Downfall of Robert, Earl of Huntingdon and its real world parallels to Robert Hood of Wakefield (who married a woman named Matilda who, like the woman in the play, changes her name to Marian after marrying him). Perhaps even it’s from another play but in any case, by the 1500s all that shepherd business was out the window and Maid Marian became a noblewoman (the only child of the Earl of Huntingdon), albeit not a terribly proper one.

Like so many of the Merry Men her first meeting with Robin Hood begins with a fight because she’s disguised, ending when he loses and begs for mercy (at which point Marian recognizes who he is). After that it’s a matter of which author and stories you’re reading—or watching as she’s quite popular in film adaptations—but in general she’s a good person with a position of some limited authority, disdaining the more criminal elements of Robin Hood’s crusade against the rich but ultimately supporting him and his band of Merry Men against the evils imposed by the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Design Notes: There’s not much to go on with Maid Marian, but with that independent streak and wilderness experience a little ranger is due. Past that since she’s able to throw down with Robin Hood in a fight and she’s a courageous warrior which sounds like a swashbuckler, so most of her statistics lean into that—except for the noble-y bits. She is after all often a crux for fooling society’s elite in the highwayman’s many varied stories, so in addition to some attention to social skills she’s got Diplomat too. Let’s do the numbers! The DMG cruised in at an even 6 and the Blog of Holding 6.6, putting her solidly at CR 6.

Maid Marian

Medium humanoid (human), neutral good ranger 1/rogue (swashbuckler) 11
Armor Class 16 (studded leather, defensive fighting style)
Hit Points 79 (1d10+11d8+24)
Speed 30 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
10 (+0)​
16 (+3)​
14 (+2)​
12 (+1)​
13 (+1)​
17 (+3)​
Saving Throws Str +4, Dex +7
Skills History +9, Insight +9, Perception +9, Persuasion +11, Stealth +11; thieves’ tools
Senses passive Perception 19
Languages English
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)
Background: Noble. Due to her place as a woman of noble birth, Marian is treated with a measure of respect wherever she goes. She 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 her if requested to do so).

Combat Footing. Whenever she makes a melee attack against a creature on her turn, Marian doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks from that creature until the end of her turn.

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

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

Favored Enemy. Marian has advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track beasts, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them.

Feat: Diplomatic. Marian can make a Charisma (Persuasion) check contested by the Wisdom (Insight) check of a creature that can understand what she says during 1 minute of talking. On a success, as long as Marian remains within 60 feet of it (and for 1 minute afterward) the target is charmed by her. Marian automatically fails on the check if she or her companions are fighting the target.

Feat: Maneuver Master (1d6 Maneuver Die/Short Rest). Marian can expend a maneuver dice to perform a single maneuver with an attack.
  • Command. Marian uses her bonus action to forgo one of her attacks and direct a friendly creature who can see or hear her. The creature uses its reaction and makes a weapon attack, dealing 1d6 additional weapon damage on a successful hit.
  • Feint. Marian can use her bonus action to feint against one creature within 5 feet. She has advantage on her next attack roll against that creature as long as it is before the end of her turn. On a hit she deals 1d6 additional damage.
Natural Explorer: Forests. When Marian makes an Intelligence or Wisdom check related to the forest, her proficiency bonus (+4) is doubled if she is using a skill that she’s proficient in. While traveling for an hour or more in her favored terrain, Marian gains the following benefits:
  • Difficult terrain doesn’t slow her group’s travel.
  • Marian’s group can’t become lost except by magical means.
  • Even when she is engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), Marian remains alert to danger.
  • If Marian is traveling alone, she can move stealthily at a normal pace.
  • When she forages, Marian finds twice as much food as she normally would.
  • While tracking other creatures, Marian also learns their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.
Reliable Talent. Whenever Marian makes an ability check that lets her add her proficiency bonus, she can treat a d20 roll of 9 or lower as a 10.

Sneak Attack (6d6, 1/Turn). Marian deals an extra 21 (6d6) damage when she hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of Marian that isn’t incapacitated and she doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll, or when the only creature within 5 feet of Marian is her target.

Stylish. Marian makes a Charisma (Persuasion) check opposed by the Wisdom (Insight) check of a creature able to hear and understand her.
If the creature is hostile, on a success for the next minute it can’t make opportunity attacks against creatures other than Marian, and it has disadvantage on attack rolls against creatures other than Marian. This effect ends early if the creature is more than 60 feet away from Marian, or if one of Marian’s allies attacks the creature or targets it with a spell.
If the creature is not hostile, on a success for the next minute it is charmed by Marian, regarding her as a friendly acquaintance. This effect ends early if Marian or an ally of hers harms the creature.

Swashbuckling. Marian adds her Charisma modifier (+3) when rolling for initiative.


ACTIONS
Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) piercing damage.
Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8+3) piercing damage.


REACTIONS
Uncanny Dodge. When an attacker Marian can see hits her with an attack, she can use her reaction to halve the attack’s damage against her.
 
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Mike Myler

Mike Myler


Mike Myler

Level Up is LIVE on Kickstarter and FUNDED!
Given that she ends up a nun in at least two well-known versions of the legend, I'd be inclined to give her Religion rather than History. (Or in addition to, if feasible.)
You could swap out Diplomatic for Theologian (which would be a little off with the spells) or Skilled (and pick up Deception along with Religion).
 






Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I really like this Marion, when I first saw Rogue 11 I thought it a tad excessive, but leaning in to her evasiveness and charisma really works
 
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