Mythological Figures: Paul Bunyan (5E)

The Mythological Figures treatments made using A Touch More Class have now included Sherlock Holmes (the savant), Nikola Tesla (the tinkerer), and Billy the Kidd (the gunfighter) but with the Kickstarter now underway (and crushing stretch goals! Over $42,000 in less than a week!!) we're going for someone really, REALLY big. The biggest in the country of bigness. A myth most certainly far too large to be contained in my poor-minstrelesque rambling prologue: Paul Bunyan!


Paul Bunyan BANNER.jpg


If you live in the states you know who Paul Bunyan is--a really, really, really big lumberjack. In true American fashion he’s said to have traipsed all over the country inadvertently creating national landmarks by dragging his axe along behind him (the Grand Canyon), stepping a lot (the 10,000 Lakes), creating the Mississippi River, and so on. Anyone that’s from the northern states (particularly in the midwest) has probably driven by (giant) statues of Paul Bunyan and/or Babe. To perhaps be even more American, there’s a debate over his authenticity and he’s referred to by some as ‘fakelore’ (a literary invention passed off as an older folktale).

Design Notes: Below is a modest start for Paul Bunyan--the man that might be behind the mythology, whether that be French-Canadian lumberjack Fabian Fournier or the soldier Paul Bon Jean. I anticipate that some of you will be wanting a very big Paul Bunyan however and I do hate to disappoint so to increase this one to Gargantuan size, do the following: multiply his carrying capacity by x8 (to 2,160 pounds), increase his space and reach to 20 feet, give him a greataxe that deals 3d12 slashing damage, and increase his challenge rating by 1.


Paul Bunyan
Medium humanoid (human), chaotic good monster tamer (animalist) 11/ranger 1/fighter 2
Armor Class 17 (studded leather, defense fighting style, natural armor)
Hit Points 116 (11d12+3d10+28)
Speed 30 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
20 (+5)16 (+3)14 (+2)10 (+0)12 (+1)10 (+0)

Saving Throws Dex +8, Wis +6
Skills Animal Handling +11, Athletics +10, Insight +6, Nature +5, Perception +6, Survival +6
Senses passive Perception 16
Languages English, French
Challenge 11 (7,200 XP)

Background: Wildborn. Paul 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, Paul can take an additional action on top of his regular action and a possible bonus action.

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

Feat: Grappler. Paul has advantage on attack rolls against a creature he is grappling. In addition, he can use his action to try to pin a creature he has grappled. To do so, he makes another grapple check. On a success, Paul and the creature are both restrained until the grapple ends.

Keeper’s Grasp. Paul gains the Grappler feat and is able to grapple creatures up to two sizes larger than him.

Monster Tamer. When controlling his pet, Paul can use Wisdom (Animal Handling) regardless of the creature’s type. He is able to use Wisdom (Animal Handling) to try to control any type of trainable creature (with an Intelligence of 5 or less and the aberration, beast, dragon, monstrosity, or ooze type) but has disadvantage against creatures other than beasts.

Mystical Ferocity. Paul’s pet’s natural weapons count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

Natural Explorer: Forests. When Paul makes an Intelligence or Wisdom check related to the forest, his proficiency bonus (+5) is doubled if he is using a skill that he’s proficient in. While traveling for an hour or more in his favored terrain, Paul gains the following benefits:

  • Difficult terrain doesn’t slow his group’s travel.
  • Paul’s group can’t become lost except by magical means.
  • Even when he is engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), Paul remains alert to danger.
  • If Paul is traveling alone, he can move stealthily at a normal pace.
  • When he forages, Paul finds twice as much food as he normally would.
  • While tracking other creatures, Paul also learns their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.

Pet: Blue. Paul’s pet is friendly to him and his companions. During combat Paul’s pet takes the Dodge action each turn unless provoked or given a verbal command by him (a bonus action or action). Unless commanded otherwise, Paul’s pet remains adjacent to him. Paul’s pet remains with him until it dies, he dismisses it, or he is unable to feed it.

  • Monster Trick: Attack. Paul commands his pet to make a single attack against a target he chooses that is within its reach.
  • Monster Trick: Carry Rider. Paul’s pet is able to be used as a mount.
  • Monster Trick: Interfere. Paul commands his pet to harass a creature within its reach, making it difficult for the target to attack effectively. Until the start of his pet’s next turn, the target has disadvantage on attack rolls.
  • Monster Trick: Work. Paul commands his pet to do labor. Its carrying capacity increases by half. In addition, Babe is able to cut down trees, dig holes and trenches, or perform any other labor the GM deems suitable.

Second Wind (1/Short Rest). Paul can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+2 hit points.

Sense Pets (2/Long Rest). As an action, Paul can open his awareness to detect beasts. Until the end of his next turn, he knows the location of any beast within 60 feet that is not behind total cover, but not its identity.

Trainer’s Zeal (2/Short Rest). On his turn, Paul can use a bonus action to regain 1d12+11 hit points.

Whipmaster. Paul deals an additional 1d4 damage with whips. Additionally, while wielding a whip Paul has advantage on Charisma (Intimidation) checks made against creatures of Intelligence 5 or less.


ACTIONS
Extra Attack. Paul attacks twice, instead of once, whenever he takes the Attack action on his turn.

Greataxe. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (1d12+6) magical slashing damage.

Handaxes. Ranged Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6+5) slashing damage.


REACTIONS
Lend Vigor. As long as Paul can see his pet, he can use his reaction to take up to 13 damage, and his pet gains a number of temporary hit points equal to the damage he takes. These temporary hit points last for 1 minute or until combat ends (whichever is later).
Alternatively, Paul can reduce the temporary hit points granted to his pet by 5 to remove one level of exhaustion from his pet instead. Paul can remove multiple levels of exhaustion with a single use of Lend Vigor, reducing the temporary hit points by 5 for each additional level of exhaustion removed (for example, removing 2 levels of exhaustion costs 10 temporary hit points).



Babe the Blue Ox
Huge beast, unaligned
Armor Class 12 (natural armor)
Hit Points 76 (8d12+24)
Speed 40 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
22 (+6)9 (-1)17 (+3)3 (-4)11 (+0)6 (-2)

Senses passive Perception 10
Languages --
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)

Trampling Charge. If Babe moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a gore attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 12 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, Babe can make one stomp attack against it as a bonus action.


ACTIONS
Gore. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (3d8+6) piercing damage.

Stomp. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one prone creature. Hit: 22 (3d10+6) bludgeoning damage.

View attachment 107240
 
Last edited:
Mike Myler

Comments

dave2008

Hero
Mike, thank you for sharing. Another fun entry. One semi-preemptive question (I think I know the answer): Paul is usually describe as being a giant, but you have him as Medium sized. Care to explain/clarify?
 

Mike Myler

Adventurer
Mike, thank you for sharing. Another fun entry. One semi-preemptive question (I think I know the answer): Paul is usually describe as being a giant, but you have him as Medium sized. Care to explain/clarify?
Giants/humanoids larger than Medium size just aren't RAW. :/ This build is of the man that might be behind the mythology (whether that be French-Canadian lumberjack Fabian Fournier or the soldier Paul Bon Jean) but to increase it to Gargantuan size, do the following: multiply his carrying capacity by x8 (to 2,160 pounds), increase his space and reach to 20 feet, give him a greataxe that deals 3d12 slashing damage, and increase his challenge rating by 1.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
And here I thought he was just a statue that haunted my childhood...

Sure, it's a brand (was?), but I think the Green Giant may have been a friend of Paul's, and might make a good Mythological Figure (eat your green beans, kids)!
 

Mike Myler

Adventurer
And here I thought he was just a statue that haunted my childhood...

Sure, it's a brand (was?), but I think the Green Giant may have been a friend of Paul's, and might make a good Mythological Figure (eat your green beans, kids)!
I think the Jolly Green Giant is definitely not public domain (which is the trick to the column--every character is PD).
 

Mike Myler

Adventurer
They aren't RAW for players, but they are RAW for NPCs / Monsters. I guess what I am saying is that maybe Paul fits the "Epic Monster" thread better.
Mayyyyybe? I'm pretty happy with how his PC build came out though and would be fine rolling around with an enlarge magic item or a few potions to make the change. As a 100% monster it'd be a totally different statblock--I did have him on the request list for Mythological Figures however so I'm feeling good about the NPC-with-class levels approach.
 

dave2008

Hero
Mayyyyybe? I'm pretty happy with how his PC build came out though and would be fine rolling around with an enlarge magic item or a few potions to make the change. As a 100% monster it'd be a totally different statblock--I did have him on the request list for Mythological Figures however so I'm feeling good about the NPC-with-class levels approach.
I agree it is a pretty good PC build for Paul.
 

Connorsrpg

Adventurer
Okay, I have no idea who this is. Funny though.

Re size, wouldn't your adjustments make him Huge (not Gargantuan)? Medium > Large > Huge > Gargantuan? If you went all the way to Gargantuan, axe would be dealing 4d12 damage.
 

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