Mythological Figures: Thor Odinson (5E)

The Gods of EN World have spoken and demanded their brethren, the master of lightning and storm: Thor! A lot of folks have requested Thor but I was asked to move him up the Mythological Figures queue so here he is! There is a plethora of mythology on Odinson here—check out Wikipedia or the Ancient History Encyclopedia for more information. The really important bits that get into the stats below are his belt, gloves, and of course his hammer. I really blew it out with Sun Wukong however (he'll post soon!), so today let’s focus on the build because Thor’s extremely well known these days (although as a blonde fellow and not a redhead which is strange).




Design Notes: Thor here is a straight-up power build (inspired by one of my PCs who I’m trying to retire because paladin + eldritch knight is devastating and multiclassing those archetypes is weird). On that note, “eldritch knight” is a great example of one of those game terms that straddle the OGL and the 5ESRD—it’s a term that’s covered by a previous OGL in the context of a prestige class (not a class archetype), but because it’s under that OGL and I’m not explicitly using the wording of the features of that archetype (explicitly being the key word) it’s fit for print. Anyone interested in seeing some more IP treatment of Thor can check out a decidedly more Marvel-bent build over yonder, although if your goal is to make your character a RAW Thor—what’s below is one way to go about it provided you can get the three key items here.

Also of note I was really torn on figuring out what the classic Thor’s alignment is—on the whole he seems to be good, but often enough he’s doing something nefarious or untoward that I landed on neutral, but another ENWorld user pointed out that Lawful Good is more appropriate. For that little bit of divinity factor and a way to shoulder into his hits to really be a powerhouse he's got some feats which I'm sure you can all figure out the official names for. :cool: The CR calculation for brought him in at only 13 but I think given his damage potential (all those smites!) that it should be something more like 15.

What do you folks think? My Norse-fu is weak and I’m keen to see how this can better embody the god of thunder so tell us what you’ve got!

Thor
Medium humanoid (human), lawful good fighter (eldritch knight) 14/barbarian (lightning harbinger) 4/paladin 2

Armor Class
18 (Constitution)
Hit Points 198 (16d8+4d12+100)
Speed 30 ft.

STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
25 (+7)​
16 (+3)​
20 (+5)​
13 (+1)​
10 (+0)​
12 (+1)​

Saving Throws Str +13, Con +11
Skills Animal Handling +6, Athletics +13, Perception +6, Survival +6
Senses passive Perception 16
Languages Old Norse
Challenge 15 (13,000 XP)

Background Feature: Commoner’s Friend. Thor is always able to rely on the hospitality of commoners to help him hide or rest provided he poses no danger in doing so, going so far as to shield him from being discovered (though not at the cost of their lives).

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

Bonded Weapon: Mjölnir. Thor’s hammer can only be disarmed from him when he is incapacitated. In addition, as long as he is on the same plane of existence as Mjölnir he can use a bonus action to summon it into his hand.

Danger Sense. Thor has advantage on Dexterity saving throws against effects that he can see, such as traps and spells. To gain this benefit, Thor can’t be blinded, deafened, or incapacitated.

Disrupting Arcana. When Thor hits a creature with a weapon attack, it has disadvantage on the next saving throw it makes to resist a spell before the end of Thor’s next turn.

Divine Sense (2/long rest). As an action, until the end of his next turn Thor knows the location of any celestial, fiend, or undead within 60 feet of him that is not behind total cover. He knows the type (celestial, fiend, or undead) of any being whose presence he senses, but not its identity. Within the same radius, he also detects the presence of any place or object that has been consecrated or desecrated, as with the hallow spell.

Divine Smite. When Thor hits a creature with a melee weapon attack, he can expend one spell slot to deal radiant damage to the target, in addition to the weapon’s damage. The extra damage is 2d8 for a 1st-level spell slot, plus 1d8 for each spell level higher than 1st, to a maximum of 3d8. The damage increases by 1d8 if the target is an undead or a fiend.

Feat: Fortune Points (3/long rest). Thor can spend one fortune point to reroll an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, or to force an attacker to reroll an attack made against him.

Feat: Power Attack. When Thor makes his first melee weapon attack in a turn, he can choose to take a -5 penalty to his melee weapon attack rolls in exchange for a +10 bonus to melee weapon damage. In addition, Thor can use a bonus action to make one melee weapon attack after he uses a melee weapon to reduce a creature to 0 hit points or scores a critical hit with it. Thor can only use this feature on his turn.

Indomitable (2/long rest). Thor can reroll a saving throw that he fails but must use the new roll.

Járngreipr. Thor’s magic iron gloves allow him to wield the hammer Mjölnir as a maul instead of a warhammer and are otherwise treated as gauntlets of ogre power.

Lay on Hands (10 points/long rest). As an action, Thor can touch a creature and restore a number of hit points to it, up to the maximum amount remaining in this pool. Alternatively, he can expend 5 hit points to cure the target of one disease or neutralize one poison affecting it.

Megingjörð. Thor’s magic belt increases his Strength to 21 (as a belt of hill giant strength; without it his Strength score is 15). While wielding Mjölnir, wearing this belt, and the gloves Járngreipr Thor’s Strength increases to 25.

Rage (2/long rest). On his turn, Thor can enter a rage as a bonus action. He is unable to cast or concentrate on spells while raging (although he can still use Divine Smite). His rage lasts for 1 minute, ending early if he is knocked unconscious or if his turn ends and he hasn’t either attacked a hostile creature since his last turn or taken damage since then. Thor can also end his rage on his turn as a bonus action. While raging, he gains the following benefits.

  • Thor has advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.
  • When Thor makes a melee weapon attack using Strength, he deals 2 extra damage.
  • Thor has resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.
  • Lightning Aura. Thor can use a bonus action while raging to make lightning jump out from in him a 10-foot radius. Total cover blocks this lightning. He chooses a creature in the area when he activates this feature, forcing it to make a DC 19 Dexterity saving throw or take 3 (1d6) lightning damage (success halves).

Reckless Attack.
When Thor makes his first attack on his turn, he can decide to attack recklessly. Doing so gives him advantage on melee weapon attack rolls using Strength during this turn, but attack rolls against him have advantage until Thor’s next turn.

Second Wind (1/short rest). On his turn, Thor can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+14 hit points.

Spellcasting. Thor is an 8th-level spellcaster that uses Intelligence as his spellcasting ability (spell save DC 15; +7 to hit with spell attacks). Thor has the following spells prepared from the wizard’s spell list. In addition, he can cast paladin spells[D] as a divine spellcaster (using Charisma; spell save DC 15; +7 to hit with spell attacks).
Cantrips: light, prestidigitation, shocking grasp
1st-level (4 slots): bless[D], charm person, detect magic, fog cloud, shield of faith[D], thunderwave
2nd-level (3 slots): misty step, shatter, suggestion
3rd-level (3 slots): lightning bolt, fly, haste
4th-level (2 slots): none​

War-Magician. Thor can use a bonus action to make one weapon attack after casting a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.


ACTIONS

Extra Attack (2). Thor attacks three times.

Mjölnir (Hammer of Thunderbolts with 5 charges). Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d6+8) magical bludgeoning damage. When Thor rolls a 1 or 2 on either of the damage dice, he can reroll the die and must use the new roll. On a critical hit against a giant, the giant must succeed on a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or die.

Thrown Mjölnir (1 charge). Ranged Weapon Attack: +16 to hit, range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d6+8) magical bludgeoning damage and all creatures within 30 feet must succeed on a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or be stunned until the end of Thor’s next turn.
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Mike Myler

Comments

dave2008

Adventurer
My discussions about Viking Era Norse folkbelief correspond to the consensus of Norwegian archeologists and linguists.
What are those discussions or where can someone read about them. I believe I am personally more familiar with the "english speaker" version I got from my old books on mythology. i would be curious to hear other versions. That is what I love about myths, there is rarely one "correct" answer. People often miss that. I am familiar with several different versions of Greek & roman mythology, but I am not familiar with the different versions of Norse mythology. If you could point me in the right direction it would be appreciated.

Conversely, I believe that is a failure in D&D lore in general. They have have not done enough to provide different stories of the same events. They treat it to much like history and not myth. That is another aspect of 4e that I liked, as it seemed to do a better job of present stories of gods like myths.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
What are those discussions or where can someone read about them. I believe I am personally more familiar with the "english speaker" version I got from my old books on mythology. i would be curious to hear other versions. That is what I love about myths, there is rarely one "correct" answer. People often miss that. I am familiar with several different versions of Greek & roman mythology, but I am not familiar with the different versions of Norse mythology. If you could point me in the right direction it would be appreciated.

Conversely, I believe that is a failure in D&D lore in general. They have have not done enough to provide different stories of the same events. They treat it to much like history and not myth. That is another aspect of 4e that I liked, as it seemed to do a better job of present stories of gods like myths.
Most of the discussions about Viking Era Norse beliefs are in Norwegian, in periodicals and books coming out of the University in Bergen and the University in Oslo. Sometimes the archeological site reports are in English, but these tend to be highly specific and technical, yet occasionally the discussions show up ad-hoc when interpreting certain remains that appear to have ritual use.

The main point is how animistic the Norse are. There are no ‘priests’ (the only spiritual leaders are vǫlur shamans). There are no ‘temples’ (there are only open-air sacred spaces or a personal shrine in someones own home). Indeed, there are no ‘gods’ (the æsir are moreorless equally powerful to humans, dvergar, and jǫtnar). And so on. The animistic worldviews explain better the archeological record.

Note, there is a famous report about a ‘temple’ in Sweden in Uppsala. However there is no archeological evidence for it. One camp of archeologists doubts that that temple ever existed. Personally, I assume it did exist, but it appears to be a non-Norse import by the specific family that ruled in Uppsala, under the influence of the traderoutes to beyond Scandinavia.

Generally, the way that the Norse relate to the æsir appears to be the same as the way they related to troll, alfar, and other nature spirits.



In D&D terms, the æsir are more like archfey.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
Most of the discussions about Viking Era Norse beliefs are in Norwegian, in periodicals and books coming out of the University in Bergen and the University in Oslo. Sometimes the archeological site reports are in English, but these tend to be highly specific and technical, yet occasionally the discussions show up ad-hoc when interpreting certain remains that appear to have ritual use.

Indeed, there are no ‘gods’ (the æsir are moreorless equally powerful to humans, dvergar, and jǫtnar). And so on. The animistic worldviews explain better the archeological record.

Generally, the way that the Norse relate to the æsir appears to be the same as the way they related to troll, alfar, and other nature spirits.

In D&D terms, the æsir are more like archfey.
Interesting, i guess I was asking more about specific legends / myths. I am not overly interested in a scholarly / archaeological interpretation (we all to often mess that up), I was interested in various regional / cultural versions of the same or similar myths. Perhaps you hinted at that with "the aesir are moreorless equally powerful to humans" since this varies quite a bit from some of the myths I remember about Thor (though not all). But like I said, I am interested in specific differences. I am sure the Norse myths were as rich in their variety as the Greeks, maybe we just don't have as good a record of it?

Is there a particular reason you left out the Vanir (other than Thor being Aesir).
 

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
There are no ‘priests’ (the only spiritual leaders are vǫlur shamans).
How would you translate the word goði?

There are no ‘temples’ (there are only open-air sacred spaces or a personal shrine in someones own home).
How would you translate the word hof?

Indeed, there are no ‘gods’ (the æsir are moreorless equally powerful to humans, dvergar, and jǫtnar).
How would you translate the word goð?

Note, there is a famous report about a ‘temple’ in Sweden in Uppsala. However there is no archeological evidence for it. One camp of archeologists doubts that that temple ever existed. Personally, I assume it did exist, but it appears to be a non-Norse import by the specific family that ruled in Uppsala, under the influence of the traderoutes to beyond Scandinavia.
And what of other hofs which have been excavated by archaeologists, as far apart as Hofstaðir and Uppåkra?
 

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
Interesting, i guess I was asking more about specific legends / myths. I am not overly interested in a scholarly / archaeological interpretation (we all to often mess that up), I was interested in various regional / cultural versions of the same or similar myths. Perhaps you hinted at that with "the aesir are moreorless equally powerful to humans" since this varies quite a bit from some of the myths I remember about Thor (though not all). But like I said, I am interested in specific differences. I am sure the Norse myths were as rich in their variety as the Greeks, maybe we just don't have as good a record of it?
You're right, sources of Norse mythology are scarce. Everything you've heard about Ragnarok, for instance, comes from one poem in the Poetic Edda, Vǫluspá, and from a section of the Prose Edda, Gylfaginning, which is largely just Snorri recapping Vǫluspá. And when I say "poem", I don't mean a ponderous book-length epic like Homer or Virgil or Milton fat with juicy details; it weighs in at a trim 66 stanzas, some of which are just lists of random dwarves, and some of which make even less sense.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Interesting, i guess I was asking more about specific legends / myths. I am not overly interested in a scholarly / archaeological interpretation (we all to often mess that up), I was interested in various regional / cultural versions of the same or similar myths. Perhaps you hinted at that with "the aesir are moreorless equally powerful to humans" since this varies quite a bit from some of the myths I remember about Thor (though not all). But like I said, I am interested in specific differences. I am sure the Norse myths were as rich in their variety as the Greeks, maybe we just don't have as good a record of it?

Is there a particular reason you left out the Vanir (other than Thor being Aesir).
The Norse Eddas are the main texts that survive, compiled in 1200s. Personally, I am in the camp that views them as (reasonably) representative of diverse local beliefs during the Viking Era, 800-1100. Some of the earlier Sagas are useful for understanding what the Norse actually *did* with regard to their animistic beliefs. There are also various runic inscriptions that are sometimes helpful, such as for understanding Norse magical practices. An archeological perspective is vital for sorting out these texts, and understanding what certain terms are referring too.



I didnt mention the vanir because the ones that are wellknown − Njǫrðr, Freyr, and Freyja − became members of the æsir clan. The rest of the vanir clan are obscure.



With regard to power, the different clans are ‘nature spirits’ (vættir) are moreorless equal in power.

Consider the story Hreiðmarr. He is more powerful than the æsir, and single-handedly defeats three of the most powerful æsir, namely Óðinn, Þórr, and Loki.

Hreiðmarr has three sons. Sigurðr the human kills two of them, namely Reginn and Fafnir.

I am in the camp that reads the texts relating to Hreiðmarr to mean that he and his sons are dvergar. In which case, the situation is a family of dvergar is more powerful than the æsir, but a human is more powerful than this family of dvergar.

An other camp reads the same texts to mean Hreiðmarr is a human, in which case, the situation is a single human who is more powerful than the most powerful æsir.

To be fair, Loki (who is a jǫtunn who became one of the æsir) outwits Hreiðmarr, giving him a cursed ring that eventually destroys Hreiðmarr and his family. But to be fair again, it is a dvergr who created this ring of ill fate, and the æsir lack the power to create such a ring.

No matter how one reads this and other Norse stories, it is clear these different kinds of ‘nature spirits’ (vættir) are moreorless equal to each other. Some individuals are stronger than other individuals, and sometimes it seems like a game of paper-rock-scissors.

In the Norse worldview, there are no ‘gods’ who are more powerful than everyone else.

These kinds of stories reflect an animistic worldview.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
In archeology in Norway, the term hof means a personal shrine in someones own home.

The term goði is one of the later titles that the Icelanders invented for their jarl. Generally, it was his duty to inaugurate a new session of the þing parliament, at which time he would invoke various nature spirits for a successful year.

The Norse term goð means something like ‘helpful nature spirits’, as opposed to ‘unhelpful nature spirits’ (jǫtnar and dvergar). Etymologically, it means something like ‘invoked one’, referring to those spirits that are called on to thank for helpful actions. Note, when trying to translate the Christian concept of a god into the Norse worldview, a different Norse term, guð, was used instead.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Hofstaðir is in Iceland, not in Norway. But in any case, the archeological structure is a large longhouse, the home of a wealthy family. Archeologists speculate that their home included a personal shrine, a ‘hof’. There is evidence of the family hosting feasts.
 

Jhaelen

Villager
The term goði is one of the later titles that the Icelanders invented for their jarl. Generally, it was his duty to inaugurate a new session of the þing parliament, at which time he would invoke various nature spirits for a successful year.

The Norse term goð means something like ‘helpful nature spirits’, as opposed to ‘unhelpful nature spirits’ (jǫtnar and dvergar). Etymologically, it means something like ‘invoked one’, referring to those spirits that are called on to thank for helpful actions. Note, when trying to translate the Christian concept of a god into the Norse worldview, a different Norse term, guð, was used instead.
Soo, you're basically saying the wikipedia article is wrong (or at least inaccurate)?

Maybe you should edit the wikipedia article!
 

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
He is more powerful than the æsir, and single-handedly defeats three of the most powerful æsir, namely Óðinn, Þórr, and Loki.
Complication the first: Regin in Vǫlsungasaga says that "he" seized the three gods, but in Reginsmál he says that "we" did it. So unclear on the "single-handedly" part. Complication the second: All this happened in Hreidmar's house, the gods complicit in killing Hreidmar's son. It's never even stated that they resisted him. Their lives may have been forfeit due to guilt and the unwitting violation of hospitality code, irrespective of their power.

Consider a comparable story, that in Gylfaginning of the builder who offered to build the walls of Asgard. The gods strike a bargain with him, and at first try to stay within the terms of the bargain even as they wriggle out of paying him. But in the end, they realize he's a giant in disguise, and Thor kills him without any apparent difficulty. In short, it does not seem to have been any equivalence in power that compelled the gods to try to behave justly towards the builder. He never presents a physical threat to them. Rather, just conduct seems to have been valued in its own right, even though they could have solved their problem through violence at any time.

So by this reading, Odin, Loki, and Thor in Hreidmar's hall could not have simply fought back and killed their host, not because they lacked the power, but because justice demanded that they provide recompense for Otter's death instead.

Remember, too, that Ragnarok itself is implicitly recompense for Odin's murder of Ymir. The theme of cosmic justice is strong in the Norse tradition. And I will give you this: it is very interesting that gods and mortals and giants and dwarves all seem to stand as equals under this justice. But it's quite a jump from there to "the gods aren't gods". After all, they aren't the only example of a god bound to mortals by an oath or contract or, shall we say, "Covenant"...
 

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
In archeology in Norway, the term hof means a personal shrine in someones own home.
But what does it actually mean in Old Norse?

The term goði is one of the later titles that the Icelanders invented for their jarl. Generally, it was his duty to inaugurate a new session of the þing parliament, at which time he would invoke various nature spirits for a successful year.
I think @Jhaelen already fielded this one, but I'll add that even if what you say is accurate (which it isn't), you are still describing a spiritual leader. Which you just said didn't exist.

The Norse term goð means something like ‘helpful nature spirits’, as opposed to ‘unhelpful nature spirits’ (jǫtnar and dvergar). Etymologically, it means something like ‘invoked one’, referring to those spirits that are called on to thank for helpful actions.
...as opposed to a god, who is invoked and thanked for helpful actions...?

Note, when trying to translate the Christian concept of a god into the Norse worldview, a different Norse term, guð, was used instead.
Making the distinction is understandable given the cultural context, but they're just variants of the same underlying word with the same "invoked one" PIE etymology. The feminine form of goði, gyðja, is even derived from guð rather than goð. And at the risk of stating the obvious, both are cognates of "god".
 
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TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
Hofstaðir is in Iceland, not in Norway.
When did I say it was in Norway? What's so important about Norway?

But in any case, the archeological structure is a large longhouse, the home of a wealthy family. Archeologists speculate that their home included a personal shrine, a ‘hof’. There is evidence of the family hosting feasts.
Firstly: Some archaeologists speculate that. But other archaeologists, whom I guess you just so happened not to deem fit to mention, speculate that it was a more dedicated place of worship. The take-home point is that this is all speculation, not settled fact as you state it.

Secondly: Even if it was a shrine attached to a more conventional home, the evidence of, as you say, the family hosting feasts suggests that it was not a personal shrine, but rather a place of worship to which lots of people were invited.

Thirdly: Even if it was a personal shrine, that doesn't come close to demonstrating that the entities worshiped there were not gods. Lots of other theistic religious traditions also feature personal shrines attached to homes.

And fourthly: You didn't say anything about the Uppåkra hof. (Which, for the record, is also not in Norway.)
 
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Yaarel

Adventurer
Uppåkra is in Sweden, not in Norway. It is in Skåne, the southern most tip of Sweden, across from Denmark and Germany. In the Iron Age (preceding the Viking Era), it was a prominent trade center, meaning foreign influence is possible from traderoutes.

One archeologist suggested the remains of a wooden structure in Uppåkra might resemble a structure that was later used for churches, and in this vein, it might be a kind of ‘temple’. He also thought it is was the only evidence for a temple in Sweden. Archeologists who are responsible for this site today seem to have rejected his identification of a temple, but there are references to a (vaguely worded) ‘ceremonial house’, suggesting some kind of local folkbelief custom might be present here. The Uppåkra site is interesting because of a large number of Iron Age small gold images (gullgubbe), interpreted variously as amulets or as votive offerings, however whether these actually had any ceremonial use or not is itself speculation.

My take on this site is, we still need to know more. This might be evidence of some kind of local spiritual custom. Or not. But in either case, there seems to be no ‘temple’ here.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Wikipedia is useful but untrustworthy, especially about anything that might be controversial, like religion and politics.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
The Old Norse term hof means a personal shrine in someones own home.

The Old Norse term vé means the boundary marker (often a cord, or row of stones) of an open air sacred space.

The goði is an Icelandic political leader.
 
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Yaarel

Adventurer
A takeway from Ragnarǫk is, all the nature spirits are moreorless equal in power. For example, one the æsir (Þórr) and one of the jǫtnar (Jǫrmungandr) kill each other simultaneously. Equally.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
A takeway from Ragnarǫk is, all the nature spirits are moreorless equal in power. For example, one the æsir (Þórr) and one of the jǫtnar (Jǫrmungandr) kill each other simultaneously. Equally.
That seems fairly simplified. There may have been equals across the divide (Thor and the Migard Serpent), but that is not the same as all gods being equal to all giants. Thor slew most giants with little effort (and without being slain). They were not his equal (at least physically).
 

dave2008

Adventurer
The Norse Eddas are the main texts that survive, compiled in 1200s. Personally, I am in the camp that views them as (reasonably) representative of diverse local beliefs during the Viking Era, 800-1100. Some of the earlier Sagas are useful for understanding what the Norse actually *did* with regard to their animistic beliefs. There are also various runic inscriptions that are sometimes helpful, such as for understanding Norse magical practices. An archeological perspective is vital for sorting out these texts, and understanding what certain terms are referring too.
Ugh! I accidentally deleted my long reply. So now you get the short version!

Thank you for your response! The time and effort are appreciated.

I was hoping you had some different text you were referencing. Now that I know we are basically talking about the same text, I can say with confidence that I disagree with your viewpoint / interpretation. But that is the great thing about myth, I am sure we are both correct! People and belief are so wonderfully diverse that I am sure those that lived this myths so it both ways and probably more!

Thank you again!
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
You made a lot of good points in the message you sent last week and I won't post it here (that doesn't seem cool of me to do) but you totally should.
I'm still curious to find examples of Thor dong some spellcasting. I've been looking, but nothing yet.
 

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