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By The Antimenes Painter - Jastrow (2006), Public Domain,, Ajax
By The Antimenes Painter – Jastrow (2006), Public Domain,

Ajax king of Salamis played an important role in  the Trojan War. To distinguish him from Ajax, son of Oileus, he is called Telamonian Ajax, Greater Ajax, or “Ajax the Great”

  • Gender Male
  • Race – Human
  • Occupation – Prince/ Soldier
  • Religion – Hellenic Pantheon
  • Allies – Achilles, Teucer
  • Enemies – Hector, Odysseus
  • Base of operations β€“  Salamis Island/ Troy
  • Nationality – Salamis (Greek Island State)
  • Languages – Greek
  • Alignment β€“ Chaotic Good
  • Affiliation (s) –
  • Significant others –

Of great stature and colossal frame, the tallest and strongest of all the Achaeans, second only to his cousin Achilles in skill-at-arms. He was trained by the centaur Chiron (who had also trained his father, Telamon, and Achilles‘ father Peleus), at the same time as Achilles. Aside from Achilles, Ajax is the most valuable warrior in Agamemnon’s army, though he is not as intelligent as Nestor, Idomeneus, or, of course, Odysseus. He commands his army wielding a great axe and a huge shield made of seven ox-hides with a layer of bronze. He is not wounded in any of the battles and he is the only principal character on either side who does not receive personal assistance from any of the gods who take part in the battles.

Trojan War

Ajax is notable for his abundant strength and courage, seen particularly in two fights with Hector. Ajax is chosen by lot to meet Hector in a duel which lasts most of a whole day. Ajax at first gets the better of the encounter, wounding Hector with his spear and knocking him down with a large stone, but Hector fights on until the heralds, acting at the direction of Zeus, call a draw: the action ends without a winner and with the two combatants exchanging gifts.

The second fight between Ajax and Hector occurs when the latter breaks into the Achaean camp, and fights with the Greeks among the ships. Ajax throws a giant rock at Hector which almost kills him. Hector is restored to his strength by Apollo and returns to attack the ships. Ajax, wielding a spear as a weapon and leaping from ship to ship, holds off the Trojan armies virtually single-handedly. Hector is able to disarm Ajax (although Ajax is not hurt) and Ajax is forced to retreat under heavy fire. Hector and the Trojans succeed in burning one Greek ship, the culmination of an assault that almost finishes the war. Ajax manages to kill many of the other Trojan lords, including Phorkys.

Achilles was absent during these encounters because of his feud with Agamemnon. Agamemnon and the other Greek chiefs send Ajax, Odysseus and Phoenix to the tent of Achilles in an attempt to reconcile with the great warrior and induce him to return to the fight. Although Ajax speaks earnestly and is well received, he does not succeed in convincing Achilles.

When Achilles‘ best friend Patroclus is killed, Hector tries to steal his body and feed him to the dogs. Ajax is the man who fights to protect the body, and he takes it back safely to Achilles at the camp. Ajax, assisted by Menelaus, succeeds in fighting off the Trojans and taking the body back with his chariot; of course, the Trojans had already stolen the armor and left the body naked. Ajax’s prayer to Zeus to remove the fog that has descended on the battle to allow them to fight or die in the light of day has become proverbial.

Like most of the other Greek leaders, Ajax is alive and well as the Iliad comes to a close. Later, when Achilles dies, killed by Paris (with help from Apollo), Ajax and Odysseus are the heroes that fight against the Trojans to get the body and bury it next to his dear friend, Patroclus. Ajax, with his great axe, manages to get the Trojans away, while Odysseus pulls the body towards his chariot, and rides away. After the burial, both claim the armor for themselves, as recognition for their efforts. But in the end, after some discussion, Odysseus is given the armor.

Ajax is furious about it, and falls to the ground, exhausted. When he wakes up, he is under the influence of a spell from Athena goes to a flock of sheep, and slaughters them, imagining they are the Achaean leaders, including Odysseus and Agamemnon. When he comes to his senses, covered in blood, and realizes what he did, with diminished honor he decides that he prefers to kill himself rather than to live in shame. He did it with the same sword Hector had given him when they exchanged presents. When Odysseus visits Hades, he begs the soul of Ajax to speak to him, but Ajax, still resentful over the old quarrel, refuses and descends silently back into Erebus.

Ajax is the son of Telamon, who was the son of Aeacus and grandson of Zeus, and his first wife Periboea. He is the cousin of Achilles, the most remembered Greek warrior, and elder half-brother of Teucer.


Trojan War: Roleplaying in the Age of Homeric Adventure

A Mythic Vistas Sourcebook for the d20 System

Written by Aaron Rosenberg

Ajax (or Aias) is the king of Salamis, and the largest and strongest man in the Achaean army. He is its greatest fighter after Achilles. Ajax is tall and handsome with curly brown hair and brown eyes. He has a massive build and heavy features.

Ajax is arrogant about his size and strength, and wades into battle when he should not; he trusts his own might to protect him. He is not bright, but is content to follow the lead of the other kings. He is straightforward, however, and does not like clever stratagems, preferring to attack head-on. Ajax is closest to his cousin Teucer, who often stands behind his shield and fires arrows into the enemy forces. Ajax is also good friends with Ajax the Runner (sometimes known as Lesser Ajax), with Achilles, and with Patroclus. He is one of the few who dislikes Odysseus, since he disapproves of the smaller manΒ’s constant need for cleverness.

Male human
Fighter 19
Hit Dice19d10+76; hp 180
InitiativeInit +3
SpeedSpd 20 ft.
39, touch 11, flat-footed 38
Base Attack/Grapple+19; Grp +23
Attack+26 melee (1d10+9/17Β–20, +1 bronze bastard sword) or +21 ranged (1d8+5, +1 throwing spear)
+26/+21/+16/+11 melee (1d10+9/17Β–20, +1 bronze bastard sword) or +21 ranged (1d8+5, +1 throwing spear)
Space/Reach5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks
Special Qualities
SavesFort +15, Ref +7, Will +6
AbilitiesStrength 18, Dexterity 13, Constitution 18, Intelligence 10, Wisdom 10, Charisma 14.
SkillsBoat +4, Climb +10, Decipher Omen +1, Diplomacy +4 (+6 against commoners), Drive +7, Handle Animal +6, Intimidate
+18 (+22 against commoners), Jump +14, Knowledge (tactics) +6, Ride +5, Spot +2, Swim +4
FeatsCleave, Distinctive*, Diehard, Dodge, Endurance, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword), Great Cleave, Greater Weapon Focus (greatsword), Greater Weapon Specialization (greatsword), Improved Critical (greatsword), Improved Sunder, Lion of the Field*, Mobility, Noble*, Power Attack, Quick Draw*, Shield Swing*, Weapon Focus (greatsword), Weapon Specialization (greatsword).
Challenge Rating19
AlignmentChaotic Good

Possessions: +1 bronze panoply, Shield of Ajax, +1 bronze bastard sword, +1 throwing spear.

Shield of Ajax

This huge +8 tower shield has seven layers of ox-hide and one of bronze. It is so large that it requires a 16 Strength to carry. It is built specifically for Ajax and is large enough to cover two individuals.

Strong transmutation; CL 30th; Weight 85 lb.

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