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Tarzan of the Apes, 1918 silent film, alternate publicity poster Date 1918, Tarzan
Tarzan of the Apes, 1918 silent film, alternate publicity poster Date 1918

Tarzan is a fictional character, an archetypal feral child raised in the African jungles by the Mangani great apes; he later experiences civilization only to largely reject it and return to the wild as a heroic adventurer. Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan first appeared in the novel Tarzan of the Apes (magazine publication 1912, book publication 1914), and subsequently in twenty-five sequels, three authorized books by other authors, and innumerable works in other media, both authorized and unauthorized.

Mythological Figures: Tarzan (5E)


Unlike most of the characters in this series Tarzan is a character from relatively recent fiction authored by Edgar Rice Burroughs. In his infancy John Clayton and his noble parents were stranded on the African coast. They died to the wilderness and he survived, turning feral before the Mangani great apes took him in as one of their own and named him Tarzan (‘White-Ape’). After he turns 18 he meets Jane Porter, falling in love and tracking her back to the United States only to find he despises civilization. They have a child and move back to Africa where Tarzan goes on many more adventures.

Medium humanoid (human), neutral good barbarian (animalist) 9

Armor Class
 16 (Constitution)
Hit Points 85 (9d12+27)
Speed 40 ft.

16 (+3)16 (+3)16 (+3)9 (-1)13 (+1)9 (-1)

Saving Throws Str +7, Con +7
Skills Athletics +7, Nature +3, Perception +5, Survival +5
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing (while raging)
Senses passive Perception 15
Languages Common
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Background: Wildborn. Tarzan 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.

Beast Quality (Wolf). Tarzan can travel at a fast pace while he is tracking creatures, and while traveling he can move stealthily at a normal pace.

Brutal Critical. Tarzan can roll an additional weapon damage die when determining the extra damage for a critical hit with a melee attack.

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

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

Feat: Brawling. Tarzan is proficient with unarmed strikes.

Feral Instinct. Tarzan has advantage on initiative rolls. Additionally, if he is surprised at the beginning of combat and isn’t incapacitated, he can act normally on his first turn, but only if he enters his rage before doing anything else on that turn.

Nature Speaker. Tarzan can cast speak with animals as a ritual. He can also can also spend 10 minutes performing a ritual on one willing beast he touches. For as long as he concentrates, up to 1 hour, he can see through the beast’s eyes and hear what it hears, gaining the benefits of any special senses that the beast has. During this time, Tarzan is deaf and blind with regard to his own senses.

Rage (4/Long Rest). On his turn, Tarzan can enter a rage as a bonus action. 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. Tarzan can also end his rage on his turn as a bonus action. While raging, he gains the following benefits if he isn’t wearing heavy armor:

  • advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws,
  • when he makes a melee weapon attack using Strength he gains a +3 bonus to the damage roll,
  • he has resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage,
  • opportunity attacks made against him have disadvantage,
  • and he can take the Dash action as a bonus action on his turn.

Reckless Attack. When Tarzan 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 his next turn.


Extra Attack. Tarzan can attack twice, instead of once, whenever he takes the Attack action on his turn.

Unarmed. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4+3) bludgeoning damage and Tarzan can use a bonus action to grapple the target with a successful Strength (Athletics) check opposed by the target’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check.

Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8+3) bludgeoning damage.

Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4+3) piercing damage.

Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8+3) piercing damage.

Tarzan (John Clayton, Lord Greystoke)

Originally Posted by Kain Darkwind of the Dicefreaks d20 Community.

On this Thread

Tarzan has competence bonuses applied to various skills rather than magic items, as his story suggests a level of skill far beyond human norm. And uh…….no magic items.

Poster for The Adventures of Tarzan (1921). The wild animal serial supreme starring Elmo Lincoln in 15 electrifying episodes. Produced by Great Western Producing Co. for Weiss Brothers' Numa Pictures Corp. Picturized from the concluding chapters of The Return of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Photolithograph.
Poster for The Adventures of Tarzan (1921). The wild animal serial supreme starring Elmo Lincoln in 15 electrifying episodes. Produced by Great Western Producing Co. for Weiss Brothers’ Numa Pictures Corp. Picturized from the concluding chapters of The Return of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Photolithograph.
Tarzan (John Clayton, Lord Greystoke)
Medium humanoid (Human)
Hit Dice15d10 + 90 (240 hp)
Speed45 ft.
Armor Class25 (+11 defense, +4 Dexterity), touch 25, flat-footed 21
Base Attack/Grapple+15/+26
AttackSpear +23 melee (1d10 + 10 /x3) or bow +20 ranged (1d8 + 5 /x3) or fist +22 melee (1d4 + 7 nonlethal) or lasso +20 ranged touch (special)
Full AttackSpear +23/+18/+13 melee (1d10 + 10 /x3) or bow +20/+15/+10 ranged (1d8 + 5 /x3)
Space/Reach5 ft./5 ft.
Favored enemies (animals +8, humans +6), lasso
Animal Empathy (+20), improved uncanny dodge, scent, savage
SavesFort +14, Ref +13, Will +9
AbilitiesStrength 24, Dexterity 19, Constitution 21, Intelligence 16, Wisdom 18, Charisma 17
SkillsBalance +31, Craft (wooden weapons) +8, Climb +32, Diplomacy +7, Escape Artist +11 (+13 ropes), Handle Animal +21, Heal +5, Hide +10, Intimidate +8, Jump +32, Knowledge (nature) +20, Listen
+24, Move Silently +25, Ride +10, Sense Motive +9, Spot +24, Survival +30 (+32 above ground), Swim +12, Tumble +13, Rope Use+9 (+11 bindings)
FeatsAcrobaticAgile, AlertnessAthletic, BrachiationCombat Expertise, EnduranceImproved Bull Rush, Improved Grapple, Improved InitiativeImproved Toughness, Improved Trip, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Survival), Track
OrganizationSolitary (unique)
Challenge Rating12
AlignmentChaotic Good

Lasso: As an attack actions requiring a successful ranged touch attack, Tarzan can loop his grass rope around the neck or legs of a Large sized or smaller creature. A creature caught around the neck begins to choke, suffering 1d6 points of nonlethal damage per round. This is otherwise identical to slow suffocation. A creature caught around the legs cannot move and falls prone. In either case, an Escape Artist opposed check against Tarzan’s Rope Use check allows the victim to free itself. An opposed Strength check can disarm Tarzan of the rope. The rope has 0 hardness and 4 hit points and is immune to bludgeoning damage. A choking creature has a 20% chance of striking themselves while attacking the rope.

Savage: Tarzan treats unarmed strikes as natural weapons, although they still deal nonlethal damage.

Possessions: Tarzan carries a knife, spear, grass rope, bow and quiver of 20 arrows. These are sometimes of masterwork quality.

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