Today marks our 300th post. To mark the occasion I challenged Wimwick to a contest. Create King Leonidas as depicted in the movie 300. We chose level 16 and used the RPGA character creation guidelines. We have to use character builder and he has to be legal. Let the best man win. – Ameron
The challenge was simple: recreate Leonidas as represented in the movie 300. Sounded like a great idea to use for our 300th post. Of course the challenge was to create a better version of Leonidas than Ameron. Below I’ve outlined the thinking behind my major decisions. I’ll also say for the record that I love this character and look forward to playing him in a Dungeon Delve soon. – Wimwick
The first question I asked myself was what class is Leonidas? As King of Sparta it made sense to very quickly consider the Fighter. However, as King Leonidas is more than just a defender on the field. In all I considered the Fighter, Warlord, Barbarian and Ardent. The Barbarian and Ardent were the first to be eliminated as neither class came with training in shields. Further Barbarian powers primarily require two-handed weapons and the Ardent appears to be a ranged class. Though thematically either of these classes could be made to work, the powers suggested otherwise. This left the Fighter and the Warlord, in the end I opted to go for a hybrid build allowing me to take the best of both classes.
After watching 300 again it was clear to me that Leonidas is more than just a Fighter, he’s a Warlord. He’s an awesome soldier, but his men look to him for leadership. He commands his men to fight and they do. He decides tactics and battle formations. He inspires. His 300 men will follow him anywhere because they are loyal to their king.
This proved to be a tougher choice than I anticipated. The debate was optimizing Leonidas for combat or create the character representing attributes that made sense. I choose the later option, starting with a lower initial Strength in favour of a higher starting Constitution, Dexterity and Wisdom. I put a small allocation towards charisma to represent the natural force of personality that is represented by Gerrard Butler’s portrayal of the character. What I really would have liked was about another 10 points to play with.
When you’re creating a hero of legend like King Leonidas, you want to make all of his abilities above average. But with point buy that’s not possible. I decided that his Charisma and Strength had to be his best scores. He’s the king. He exemplifies what’s best in all Spartans. His force of personality is what makes him truly great. He’s also highly Intelligent using logic and tactics to accomplish his goals in and out of combat.
Not much to say here. I debated training in Diplomacy and then I recalled the scene where Leonidas kicks the messenger down the well and thought Intimidate was much more appropriate.
Throughout the movie Leonidas uses Diplomacy (discussions with the priests, the council, his men and Xerxes himself). He also used Intimidate. I opted to leverage his background (noble) to give him training in Insight as well.
Feats and Powers
I was looking for several things from the powers: pushing enemies, providing bonuses to allies and anything that required a shield to be equipped. My focus on selecting powers was to consider the phalanx and that Leonidas would have allies all around him.
When choosing feats and powers I looked for anything that let Leonidas command his men or help defend them. So I choose powers that let allies attack, powers that keeps soldiers alive and on their feet, and anything that provided a defensive bonus.
The Frostwolf Pelt was a given as this is a major part of the back-story we are given about Leonidas. The Aftershock Spear has a great property for criticals that I thought worked with the character.
For me, this was the hardest part of building Leonidas. I knew he needed a really powerful spear. He can use the Hungry Spear as a heavy thrown weapon (using his Strength rather than his Dexterity). I opted to give him the Medallion of Death Deferred as this seemed to provide in-game mechanics for the final scene of the movie when he rises after being hit with multiple arrows.
Now that you’ve seen each of our builds, which do you think is better? Keep in mind that we are only using the movie 300 for reference. What do you like or dislike about each of the builds? Are we on the right track or did we really miss the mark? What would you have done differently?