Beowulf is the legendary hero and king of the Anglo-Saxon, epic poem of the same name. He was the son of Ecgþeow, a banished warrior of the Swedish Wægmundings. Ecgþeow had slain Heaðolaf, a man from another clan named the Wulfings the ruling dynasty of the Geatish petty kingdom of Östergötland).
Because the victim was from a prominent family the weregild was set too high, and so Ecgþeow was banished and had to seek refuge among the Danes. The Danish king Hroðgar generously paid the weregild, and had Ecgþeow swear an oath.
Ecgþeow was in the service of the Geatish king Hreðel, whose daughter he married. They had Beowulf, who grew up with the Geats. Beowulf’s childhood friend was Breca of the Brondings “supposed to be the inhabitants of the island Brännö, lying off the coast of West Gothland in the Cattegat”). This would be a realistic location for a childhood friend of Beowulf, and the poem describes a swimming contest between them.
When king Hroðgar, his wife Wealhþeow, and his court were terrorized by the monstrous Grendel, Beowulf left Geatland (West Götaland) and sailed to Zealand with twelve warriors in order to pay his father’s debt. During the night, Grendel arrived to attack the sleeping men. Beowulf attacked him without his sword and tore the arm off the beast. Grendel returned to the bog and his arm was attached to the wall of Heorot. The next day, Beowulf was lauded and a skald sang and comparing Beowulf with the hero Sigmund.
However, during the following night Grendel’s Mother arrived to avenge the death of Grendel and collect weregild. As Beowulf slept in a different building he could not stop her. He resolved to descend into the bog in order to kill her. They fought beside Grendel’s corpse, and Beowulf finally won with the aid of an enchanted giant sword stolen from the lair’s plunder. Beowulf was recompensed with gold and horses by queen Wealhþeow, and they returned to Geatland.
Having returned, Beowulf took part in a historic raid against the Franks with his king Hygelac. Hygelac died during the raid, and Beowulf swam home in full armour. Back in Geatland, queen Hygd offered Beowulf the throne but Beowulf declined in favour of the young prince Heardred. However, Heardred received two Swedish princes, Eadgils and Eanmund who reported that they had fled their uncle Onela who had usurped the Swedish throne. This led to a Swedish invasion in which Heardred was killed. Beowulf was proclaimed king and decided to avenge Heardred and to help Eadgils become king of Sweden.
Beowulf ruled the Geats for 50 years, until his realm was terrorized by a dragon. He attacked the dragon with his theins, but they did not succeed. Beowulf decided to follow the dragon into its lair, at Earnanæs, but only his young relative Wiglaf dared join him. Beowulf finally slew the dragon but was mortally wounded and was carried out by Wiglaf. He died after prophesying that the Swedes would attack the Geats once again. He was buried in a barrow by the sea.
Hrunting was the magical sword given to Beowulf by Unferth in the ancient Old English epic of the same name. Beowulf used it in battle against Grendel’s Mother.
The sword possessed great power and never failed anyone who used it, however when Beowulf descended to the bottom of the lake where Grendel’s Mother dwelt, the sword lost its power and the Hrunting was ineffective against the creature. Beowulf instead searched the inside the lair and found a sword which belonged to the Jotuns, which only he was strong enough to lift. Beowulf used this sword to kill Grendel’s Mother and decapitate the body of Grendel, but her poisonous blood melted the Giants’ sword’s blade like wax.
Beowulf returned to the surface with the head of the monster (and the hilt of the sword) as proof of his victory.
Mythological Figures: Beowulf (5E)
If you somehow missed the 2007 CGI film or forget learning about this fellow in English class, here’s the breakdown. Hrothgar makes the great hall Heorot for his warriors to drink and revel in, but then the monstrous Grendel (a descendant of Cain) overhears their joy and is pained by it so goes to wreck the place as the revelers sleep. In response Hrothgar beseeches the aid of Beowulf who lures Grendel the same way and proceeds to beat the monster to death with his bare hands, ripping off one of the monster’s arms (along with a shoulder).
Grendel’s mother is infuriated that her son was killed in such a way and she comes the next night, killing Hrothgar’s favorite warrior (Æschere) while Beowulf is elsewhere. Upon his return they track her to a lake so (after accepting a possibly magical sword called Hrunting) he jumps in after her, discovering her cave lair at the bottom. Unfortunately the weapon proves ineffective so he throws it away until after the fight, taking up a giant’s sword and hacking the monster to death with that instead. Hrunting is used to decapitate Grendel but dissolves in the creature’s toxic blood, and the hero returns to gain many gifts from Hrothgar–including another dope sword, this one called Nægling.
Half a century later and Beowulf is king of his own lands where a dragon starts causing trouble when somebody steals a golden cup from its hoard. Like you do, he goes out to meet it in single combat but Nægling shatters in his hands and is only saved from defeat by the bravery of his ally Wiglaf. Unfortunately in the fight Beowulf suffers mortal wounds and passes soon after, his remains burned away on a pyre.
Design Notes: Oh, Beowulf, you are so difficult to pin down. A large part of me feels that he’s a fighter but his strength is referenced again and again. He rips off a monster’s arm and breaks magic swords with his hands–not on the dragon he’s fighting but because he is so freaking strong. With that so prominent I really felt to do Beowulf justice we need to hit that beat as hard as we possibly can and that landed me on full barbarian, falling back onto berserker because I wanted to make sure he can relentlessly pummel something to death. I’d like to have gotten him a proper brawling feat but he’s wailing away with 8 damage anyway, and if raging he’s doing 12 damage probably 4 times in a round so does he need it? Checking the CR on both the DMG table and the Blog of Holding breakdown results in the same cushy CR 17–a terrifying prospect I’m liable to drop on a high-level party soon.
Medium humanoid (human), lawful good barbarian (berserker) 20
Armor Class 18 (Constitution or scalemail, shield)
Hit Points 250 (20d12+120)
Speed 40 ft.
|24 (+7)||14 (+2)||22 (+6)||11 (+0)||12 (+1)||10 (+0)|
Saving Throws Str +13, Con +12
Skills Athletics +13, Insight +7, Perception +7, Survival +7
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing (while raging)
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened (while raging)
Senses passive Perception 17
Challenge 17 (18,000 XP)
Brutal Critical. Beowulf can roll three additional weapon damage dice when determining the extra damage for a critical hit with a melee attack.
Danger Sense. Beowulf 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: Power Attack. When Beowulf makes his first melee weapon attack in a turn using a heavy weapon, 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, Beowulf 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. Beowulf can only use this feature on his turn.
Feral Instinct. Beowulf 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.
Indomitable Might. If Beowulf’s total for a Strength check is less than 20, he can use 24 in place of the total.
Intimidating Presence. Beowulf can use his action to frighten someone with his menacing presence. When he does so, he chooses one creature within 30 feet that he can see. If the creature can see or hear Beowulf, it must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened of Beowulf until the end of his next turn. On subsequent turns, Beowulf can use his action to extend the duration of this effect on the frightened creature until the end of his next turn. This effect ends if the creature ends its turn out of line of sight or more than 60 feet away from Beowulf. If the creature succeeds on its saving throw, Beowulf can’t use this feature on that creature again for 24 hours.
Mindless Rage. Beowulf can’t be charmed or frightened while raging. If he is charmed or frightened when he enters his rage, the effect is suspended for the duration of the rage.
Rage. On his turn, Beowulf can enter a rage 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 +4 bonus to the damage roll,
- and he has resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.
His rage lasts until Beowulf is knocked unconscious. Beowulf can also end his rage on his turn as a bonus action. Beowulf can go into a frenzy when he rages. If he does so, for the duration of his rage he can make a single melee weapon attack as a bonus action on each of his turns after his first turn raging. When his rage ends, he suffers one level of exhaustion.
Reckless Attack. When Beowulf 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.
Relentless Rage. If Beowulf drops to 0 hit points while he’s raging and doesn’t die outright, he can make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw. If he succeeds, he drops to 1 hit point instead. Each time he uses this feature after the first, the DC increases by 5. When he finishes a short or long rest, the DC resets to 10.
Extra Attack. Beowulf attacks twice (and can use a bonus action to attack once if both raging and frenzied).
Unarmed. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 bludgeoning damage.
Hrunting. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (1d8+8) magical slashing damage or 13 (1d10+8) magical slashing damage if wielded in two hands.
Giant’s Sword. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d6+7) slashing damage.
Retaliation. When Beowulf takes damage from a creature that is within 5 feet of him, he can use his reaction to make a melee weapon attack against that creature.
You see standing before you, a 6 ½ ft. tall shirtless man. His hair is brown, long and has many single braids. He is handsome and rugged. His body is muscular. He holds in his hand, a shiny longsword. Strapped to his back is a sheath holding a massive jeweled sword. On his feet he wears boots with a metal plate on them. This is Beowulf, The Hero of the Geats.
Originally Posted by RAGNAROKISCOMING2007 of the Wizards Community forums.
|Medium humanoid (Chaotic, Good)|
|HD||15d12 (Barbarian) + 120 + 10d10 (fighter) + 80 (480 hp)|
|AC||37 (+ 7 Dexterity, + 20 natural) touch 17, flat-footed 30|
|Attack||+ 5 keen longsword, Hrunting +54 melee (1d8 + 27/17-20/x2), or +8 Large keen, mighty cleaving, vorpal, greatsword, Giant Sword +55 melee (3d6 + 30/17-20/x2)|
|Full attack||+ 5 keen longsword, Hrunting +54/+49/+44/+39 melee (1d8 + 27/17-20/x2), or +8 Large keen, mighty cleaving, vorpal, greatsword, Giant Sword +57/+52/+47/+42 melee (3d6 + 30/17-20/x2)|
|Space/reach||5 ft./5 ft.|
|Special attacks||Greater Rage, Tear Limbs|
|Special qualities||DR 9/-, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Indomitable Will, Mighty, Tough Skin, Trap Sense, Uncanny Dodge|
|Saves||Fort +26, Ref +15, Will +8 (12 when raging)|
|Abilities||Strength 40, Dexterity 24, Constitution 27, Intelligence 11, Wisdom 10, Charisma 16,|
|Skills||Climb +27, Escape Artist +16, Handle Animal +12, Hide +16, Intimidate +13, Jump +25, Listen +9, Ride (Dexterity)+16, Survival +10, Swim +30, Tumble +16|
|Feats||12 Athletic, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Leadership, Martial Weapon Proficiency (greatsword), Martial Weapon Proficiency (longsword), Power Attack, Skill Focus (Swim), Weapon Focus (greatsword), Weapon Specialization (greatsword), Weapon Focus (longsword), Weapon Specialization (longsword)|
|Epic Feats||Legendary Wrestler|
|Organization||Solitary (Unique) or Group (Beowulf and 10-20 10th level fighters)|
|Treasure||Giant Sword, Hrunting|
Combat: Beowulf usually grapples with foes weaker than he is, or those that are unarmed. From there, he uses his Grappling techniques to do damage. For stronger foes he uses his longsword, Hrunting. If this is not enough to defeat his foe, he’ll unsheathe his Giant Sword.
Grappling Techniques (Ex): Beowulf loves to grapple with his foes, using his strength to destroy them. He has developed 3 grappling techniques.
Bear Hug (Ex): Beowulf can use this technique on foes of Large size or smaller without penalty. After making a successful grapple, Beowulf can proceed to crush his foe between his interlocked arms. This deals 5d6 + 22 points of damage. If Beowulf tries to use this technique on foes of Huge size he receives a -10 penalty. He cannot use this ability on Gargantuan and Colossal sized creatures.
Break Limbs (Ex): Beowulf can use this technique on foes of Huge size or smaller without penalty. After making a successful grapple, Beowulf can break a limb if his Grapple check is 5 points higher than the opposing creature. For each limb broken, the affected creature suffers the following penalties:
- 1 arm: creature takes a – 5 penalty to damage
- 2 arms: creature takes a – 10 penalty to damage
- 3 or more arms: Multi-armed creatures take a – 2 penalty to damage for each arm broken after the second.
- 1 leg: creature can only travel at 2/3 its normal land speed and can’t run. Flying and swimming creatures do not suffer the penalty unless they are on the ground.
- 2 legs: creature can only travel at 1/2 its normal land speed and can’t run. Flying and swimming creatures do not suffer the penalty unless they are on the ground.
- 3 or more legs: Multi-legged creatures take a – 5ft. penalty to speed for each leg broken after the second.
For each limb broken, the creature takes 1d3 points of temporary Constitution damage.
He cannot use this ability on Gargantuan and Colossal sized creatures.
*Beowulf can only break one limb at a time.
Tear Limbs (Ex): Beowulf can use this technique on foes of Huge size or smaller without penalty. After making a successful grapple, Beowulf can tear off a limb if his Grapple check is 10 points higher than the opposing creature. He cannot use this ability on Gargantuan and Colossal sized creatures.
- 1 arm: creature cannot attack or hold a shield with that arm.
- 2 arms: creature cannot attack or hold a shield with that arm.
- 3 or more arms: same as above.
- 1 leg: creature can only travel at 1/2 its normal land speed and can’t run. Flying and swimming creatures do not suffer the penalty unless they are on the ground.
- 2 legs: creature can’t move. Flying and swimming creatures do not suffer the penalty unless they are on the ground.
- 3 or more legs: If 2 feet are broken, multi-legged creatures can still travel at 1/2 land speed. For every limb torn off they take a – 5 ft. penalty to speed for each torn limb after the second.
He cannot use this ability on Gargantuan and Colossal sized creatures.
*Beowulf can only break one limb at a time.
Mighty: Beowulf possesses great Strength. He gains the Legendary Wrestler epic feat as a bonus feat, even though he does not meet the requirements. He also takes no penalty for wielding over-sized weapons and can apply 1.5 times his Strength bonus to damage on both weapons.
Tough Skin: Beowulf’s skin is extremely tough. He gains DR6/-. This stacks with his Barbarian bonus.
Possessions:Beowulf has two magical swords. They are called Hrunting and Giant Sword.
Hrunting is a + 5 keen longsword.