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Leonidas I

Leonidas at Thermopylae (1814) by Jacques-Louis David, who chose the subject in the aftermath of the French Revolution as a model of "civic duty and self-sacrifice", but also as a contemplation of loss and death, with Leonidas quietly poised and heroically nude
1814 — by Jacques Louis David — Image by © The Gallery Collection/Corbis

Leonidas I ( “son of the lion”) was a king of the Greek city-state of Sparta, and the 17th of the Agiad line, a dynasty which claimed descent from the mythological demigod Heracles and Cadmus. Leonidas I was son of King Anaxandridas II. He succeeded his half-brother King Cleomenes I to the throne in c. 489 BC. His co-ruler was King Leotychidas. He was succeeded by his son, King Pleistarchus.

Leonidas had a notable participation in the Second Persian War, where he led the allied Greek forces to a last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC) while attempting to defend the pass from the invading Persian army; he died at the battle and entered myth as the leader of the 300 Spartans. While the Greeks lost this battle, they were able to expel the Persian invaders in the following year.

D&D 5E Mythological Figures: Leonidas

Leonidas DnD 5E BANNER.jpg

D&D 5E – Mythological Figures: Leonidas | EN World | Dungeons & Dragons | Tabletop Roleplaying Games

Leonidas was born in 540 BC and was the third son of King Anaxandridas II, the second born by his first wife. Twenty years later after his father’s death his eldest brother Cleomenes assumed the throne of Sparta. Leonidas’ second eldest brother Dorieus (from the same mother as Leonidas) was so dissatisfied with his country’s treatment of him that he left to try and start a colony in Africa which failed, then died in Sicily. The rule of Cleomenes continued for three decades until around 490 BC when he was jailed and imprisoned as insane, leaving Leonidas to become king by virtue of his skill and talents as a soldier as much as his lineage. Unfortunately, his reign was only a decade for when the Persian invasion led by Xerxes loomed in 480 BC, he was chosen to command the Greek forces repelling the invaders in what would become one of the most famous military actions throughout history: the Battle of Thermopylae.

With a total of 7,000 soldiers (300 of which were Spartan hoplites) arrayed against 70,000 to 300,000 Persians, it seemed like the Greeks were doomed but they held fast, making their enemy engage in terrain where numbers could not force a quick defeat. Then on the seventh day Ephialtes betrayed the rest of the Greeks by leading the Persian general Hydarnes through the mountains to flank Leonidas’ soldiers. Following that day of battle most of the Greeks were sent away with only 300 Spartans, 900 helots, 400 Thebans and 700 Thespians remaining in the pass. Eventually the Persians finally claimed victory, but not without sacrificing a great deal and ultimately setting themselves up for defeat a year later. For his courageousness Leonidas became enshrined in Greece as the subject of worship by a hero cult that lasted until 192 AD.


Medium humanoid (human), lawful neutral fighter (battlemaster) 20
Armor Class 18 (breastplate, shield)
Hit Points 210 (20d10+100)
Speed 30 ft.

18 (+4)​14 (+2)​20 (+5)​11 (+0)​12 (+1)​10 (+0)​

Saving Throws Str +11, Con +11
Skills Athletics +11, History +7, Perception +7, Persuasion +6
Senses passive Perception 17
Languages Greek
Challenge 13 (10,000 XP)

Background: Noble. Due to his position as King of Sparta, Leonidas is treated with a measure of respect wherever he goes. He 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 him if requested to do so).

Action Surge (2/Short Rest). On his turn, Leonidas can take an additional action on top of his regular action and a possible bonus action.

Feat: Athletic. Leonidas 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: Master of the Shield. While he has his shield, Leonidas adds +2 to Dexterity saving throws against spells or other harmful effects that only target him and he can use a bonus action to use it to shove a creature within 5 feet when he takes the Attack action.
In addition, Leonidas can reflexively protect his body with his shield. When he is subjected to an effect that allows him to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, Leonidas can use his reaction to take no damage if he succeeds on the saving throw.

Feat: Mobility. Leonidas can Dash through difficult terrain without requiring additional movement. Whenever he makes an attack against a creature, he doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks from that creature until the end of his turn.

Feat: Soldier Tactics. A creature hit by Leonidas’ opportunity attack reduces its speed to 0 until the beginning of the next round and disengaging from Leonidas still provokes opportunity attacks. In addition, Leonidas can use his reaction to make a melee weapon attack against a creature within 5 feet when it makes an attack against a target other than Leonidas.

Indomitable (3/Long Rest). Leonidas can reroll a saving throw that he fails. If he does so, he must use the new roll.

Maneuver Master (6d12 Maneuver Dice/Short Rest). Leonidas can expend a maneuver dice to perform a single maneuver with an attack. When Leonidas rolls initiative and has no maneuver dice, he gains 1 maneuver die.

  • Command. Leonidas uses his bonus action to forgo one of his attacks and direct a friendly creature who can see or hear him. The creature uses its reaction and makes a weapon attack, dealing 1d12 additional weapon damage on a successful hit.
  • Disarm. A creature Leonidas has hit with an attack takes 1d12 additional damage and makes a DC 18 Strength saving throw or drops one held item of his choice.
  • Menace. On a successful hit with a melee weapon, Leonidas deals 1d12 additional damage and the target makes a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw or is frightened of him until the end of Leonidas’s next turn.
  • Parrying Twist. Leonidas uses his reaction when damaged with a melee weapon attack to reduce the damage by 1d12+2.
  • Sweep. Leonidas chooses a creature adjacent to his target and within his reach and on a hit, the adjacent creature takes 1d12 damage (of the same type as the weapon attack).
  • Trip. Leonidas deals 1d12 additional damage and if the target is a creature of Large size or smaller, it makes a DC 18 Strength saving throw or is knocked prone.

Second Wind (1/Short Rest). On his turn, Leonidas can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+20 hit points.

Tactician’s Insight. After Leonidas has observed or interacted with a creature for 1 minute, he learns whether or not it has higher or lower Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma scores than him. In addition, he learns if the target has more or fewer class levels than him. Leonidas also knows when he and the target have equal scores in one of these categories.

Extra Attack. Leonidas attacks 4 times when he takes the Attack action.

Shortsword.Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6+4) piercing damage.

Spear.Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6+4) piercing damage.

Fighting Style: Intercept. When an attacking creature Leonidas can see hits a target other than him that is within 5 feet of him, if Leonidas is wielding a shield or martial weapon he can use his reaction to reduce the damage by 11 (1d10+6).

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