Fate and Phantasms #277: Odysseus
Today on Fate and Phantasms we’re building the wandering king Odysseus! This ramblin’ man is a Swashbuckler Rogue to use his wit in combat, and an Armorer Artificer to use his wits. Also so he can have sick flying armor and a giant horse, but he relies more on the first two things.
Check out his build breakdown below the cut, or his character sheet over here!
Next up: Gee, I wonder what fighter subclass the Dioscuri will be?
Race and Background
Odysseus is a Human, but we can cheat in a feat by making him a variant, it’s what he would want. And more importantly, what I want. This gets him +1 Dexterity and Intelligence, as well as History proficiency and the Martial Adept feat for one d6 superiority die to use on one of two maneuvers per short rest. The first is Tactical Assessment, adding the die roll to any History, Insight, or Investigation check.You’re smart, no surprise. You also get the Bait and Switch, spending 5′ of movement to swap places with an ally without provoking opportunity attacks, and the die roll is added to your or your ally’s AC for a round. You’ll get a lot of taunts as the build progresses, but not all of them will be targeting you.
You’re one hell of a Sailor, so you’ve got proficiency in Athletics and Perception. Your name is literally synonymous with “long-ass journey”, no wonder you know your way around a ship.
Odysseus is pretty spicy, so picking his god was pretty difficult. He certainly beat long odds, but Iroas doesn’t like deceit, so that’s out. I was also thinking Keranos since he’s so clever, but FGO focuses on his tactical strength and how he’s protecting the barrier to Olympus, so that says Ephara to me. Or I guess Athena, if you want a Greek god for comparison.
To gain piety/klironomia, you can defend a city, defeat a tyrant, or create masterworks. ...Yeah probably just that first one. You also lose piety by betraying trust, destroying institutions, or breaking the law for your own needs.
But who cares about all that roleplay stuff? The meat is in the bonuses! At 3+ piety, you can cast Comprehend Languages Intelligence times a day. Obviously not every island you land on will speak Greek, so this’ll help you chat up those nice lotus-eater guys. At 10+, you have advantage on persuasion checks while in a city. You can also re-roll a failed intelligence save or check once a day. Even if you do fool Odysseus, you haven’t really fooled him. At 25+. you can cast Mordenkainen’s Private Sanctum once a day. Not really in character, but making your tent nicer than Achilles’ is always a nice flex. Finally, at 50+ you can increase your current and maximum possible Intelligence or Charisma score by 2. Technically both help out, but I’d go with breaking Intelligence over patching up Charisma.
Odysseus literally introduces himself as a clever bastard, so of course his Intelligence is on top. He’s also single-minded as hell, so his Constitution is almost as solid. His Wisdom should also be pretty good to protect against charming, but we use that less so it’s only number 3. After that is Dexterity, since we need that for multiclassing. We also need Strength to be passing, at least for a bit, since we specialize in unarmed attacks. That means we’re dumping... Charisma??? That can’t be right, right? Wrong. Yes, Odysseus is a tricksy bastard, but he’s also incredibly blunt, and the only reason he went on that odyssey in the first place is because he’s great at making enemies wherever he goes. So yeah, we’ll get skills to make him good at manipulating people, but his base stat’s pretty low.
Rogue 1: Oddy’s a clever guy, so since rogues start with extra proficiencies so will we. They get proficiency in Dexterity and Intelligence saves, plus four skills like Deception and Persuasion to trick people and Insight and Investigation to figure out better ways to trick people and defeat them.
They also get Expertise in two skills, doubling your proficiency bonus with them. Doubling up on Deception and Persuasion means you now have a +3 bonus to those despite dumping the stat. Which means you might still be the most deceptive person in your party.
You also get Sneak Attack, adding 1d6 damage to your attack once a turn. Only if you’re using ranged or finesse weapons though- you usually punch people or use magic lasers, neither of which work for sneak attack.
One thing that does work regardless of your fighting style is Thieves’ Cant. It’s a language! Yay.
Rogue 2: Second level rogues can take a Cunning Action as a bonus action to dash, disengage, or hide as a bonus action. You can’t get caught up on the frontlines if you’re trying to keep the big picture in mind.
Rogue 3: At third level you get your subclass, but you also get Steady Aim. If you don’t move that round, you can spend a bonus action to get advantage on your next attack this turn. Given your best offensive option has a total of +3 to hit with proficiency and dexterity, I suggest you use that wherever possible.
You also become a Swashbuckler, learning you some Fancy Footwork. Basically you can ignore opportunity attacks if you punch the creature you’re escaping from first. You also get Rakish Audacity, adding your Charisma modifier to your initiative rolls! A whole +0!
At least your sneak attack bumps up to 2d6, and you can use it without advantage if you’re fighting someone one-on-one OH WAIT.
This build gets stronger in a second, I swear.
Rogue 4: At fourth level rogues get their first Ability Score Improvement. Round up your Dexterity for better attacks and AC, and put that extra point into Consitutiton for later.
Artificer 1: Okay, being a rogue with bad dexterity sucks. Let’s be an artificer instead, that’s way more fun. At first level artificers can do Magical Tinkering, adding minor magical effects to tiny objects. They also learn Spells that they prepare and cast using their Intelligence.
Prestidigitation and Dancing Lights are both non-combat cantrips, but they’re very flexible. If you’re clever (and you are), you can find plenty of ways to abuse these. You also get first level spells- Absorb Elements is the first signs of Aegis-based protection, and you can use Disguise Self to sneak back into your castle to see how the suitors are treating it, Detect Magic to see through other’s shenanigans, and Snare to set up some of your own.
Artificer 2: At second level, artificers can create Infusions, turning regular items into maaaaaagic items!
Turn your armor into an Armor of Magical Strength to bolster your less-than-stellar strength by adding your intelligence modifier to your strength checks and/or saves by spending a charge, which can also be used to prevent the wearer from being knocked prone. The armor holds up to six charges, and recharges a bit each day.
A Bag of Holding is never out of fashion, and an Enhanced Weapon will add +1 to a weapon’s attack and damage rolls, which’ll help you keep up with your more martially-focused allies.
Finally, a Wand of Secrets lets you find hidden doors and traps, storing up to three charges. The only way a plan can work against you is if uses something you don’t know, so know everything, just in case.
You get four options, but you can only have 2 options up at a time. Unless we say otherwise, expect to have only have your total options available at once.
Artificer 3: At third level you become an Armorer, giving you the protection of Aegis in full. You become proficient in heavy armor, and thanks to your Arcane Armor you can ignore strength requirements on your gear, use it as a spell focus, and it can’t be removed unless you will it. It’s also a lot easier to take it off and put it on.
You can customize it with an Armor Model of your choice, though for our money the Guardian model is the best option here. You can use Thunder Gauntlets to punch with your intelligence modifier, dealing 1d8 thunder damage on a hit. It also gives disadvantage on attacks against creatures that aren’t you, for one of many focus options.It also creates a Defensive Field as a bonus action, giving you temporary HP up to Proficiency times per day.
If you ever find yourself without a needed tool, you can always create The Right Tool for the Job over a short rest. You can only have one at a time, but it’s always good to have them on hand.
One last thing: you always have your subclass spells prepared. Just a little bonus. Magic Missile and Thunderwave are some good beams for a suit of armor to have, even if it feels a little anachronistic.
Artificer 4: Fourth level artificers get their own ASI. Use this to become Resilient with Constitution saves, giving you proficiency and rounding up that score for 8 more HP this level.
Artificer 5: Fifth level artificers have an Extra Attack, giving you a second chance to use your sneak attack each turn. Wait...
You also get second level spells, like your freebies Mirror Image and Shatter. The former is meh, but the latter could be a giant horse hoof falling down on people.
For more cleverness, use Enhance Ability to give you advantage on one kind of skill check for up to an hour, and Web is just neat. Slow people down, restrain them, obscure them, and then set them on fire when you’re bored.
Artificer 6: Sixth level artificers get Tool Expertise, doubling your proficiency with any kind of tool you’re proficient in, just in case you didn’t have enough skill bonuses already.
You also get two more infusion options- Boots of Elvenkind help make up for the plate armor, giving you advantage on stealth checks and your footsteps make no sound. If you’d rather foil someone else’s sneakiness, check out the Lantern of Revealing to reveal invisible creatures and objects in the lantern’s light.
Artificer 7: Seventh level artificers have a Flash of Genius Intelligence modifier times a day, adding your Intelligence modifier to checks and saves around you if you want to.You’re clever enough to do just about anything you set your mind to, eventually.
Artificer 8: Speaking of Intelligence, let’s bump that up with this ASI for stronger punches, spells, and flashes. Turns out artificers love intelligence, who knew? You did, because you’re smart.
Artificer 9: Ninth level artificers can make Armor Modifications, making your arcane armor count as four items for infusions, so you can enchant the boots, weapon, armor, and helmet separately. You can also infuse two more items if they’re part of your armor, so that’s 5 out of six infusions up at a given time. Honestly Wand of Secrets is kind of dead weight, I don’t think you’ll miss it too much.
On top of that, your third level spells kick in, so you can create Hypnotic Patterns and Lightning Bolts. Neither are super in character, but your lostbelt self is technically working for Zeus, so I’ll allow it.
More importantly, you can get advantage on soft stat saves with Intellect Fortress, and your armor can finally Fly now.
Rogue 5: If an attack gets through anyway, use an Uncanny Dodge as a reaction to halve the incoming damage. This is one of the chunkier rogues we’ve built, but half damage is always useful.
Rogue 6: At sixth level you get another round of Expertise to help you double down on Investigation and Insight. FGO really focuses on the journey more than the trickery along the way, but everyone agrees you’re smart and good at noticing stuff.
Rogue 7: Seventh level rogues get Evasion, so Athena’s protection shields you from fireballs completely if you succeed on your dex save. Even if you don’t, you’ll still only take half damage.
Rogue 8: Use this ASI to max out your Intelligence for the strongest of spells and attacks. This’ll be a +5 bonus if your DM doesn’t like Theros, or maybe a +6 if they’re cool.
Rogue 9: Ninth level swashbucklers have Panache, the charisma-based skill you can actually use. As an action you can make a Persuasion check against someone else’s Insight check if you speak the same language. If you fail, nothing happens. If you succeed, one of two things happen. Hostile creatures have disadvantage to hit other creatures as long as you stay within 60′ of them. If they’re nonhostile, they’re charmed for a minute and you’re considered a friend. You might think nobody is that charming, and you’d be right!
Rogue 10: Use this last ASI to bump up your Constitution for 19 extra HP and stronger concentration saves. Seasickness is a pain, especially when your concentration is the only thing keeping you airborne.
Rogue 11: Eleventh level rogues have Reliable Talent, so every time you roll a skill check you’re proficient in you’re guaranteed at least a 10. That means your minimum persuasion or deception check is a 21. In the stat we dumped. Rogues are fun.
Pros and Cons
Rogues are great at survival even when they don’t have a lot of HP. You have a lot of HP. With 200 HP naturally plus an extra 50 from your Guardian model armor, all while wearing platemail, makes you one heck of a tank.
You’re also great at altering the battlefield, with crowd control like Web and ways of weakening enemy attacks thanks to your Thunder Gauntlets and Panache you can easily ruin an enemy’s battle strategy.
Mixing rogue and artificer gives you plenty of ways to be great at skills. Advantage from Enhance Ability and your klironomia, expertise, and flashes of genius combine so that it’s almost impossible for you to fail something when the chips are down.
Playing to character will seriously hamper you if your campaign doesn’t start after level 7. Low dexterity rogue is not fun to play. If I was playing this at a table, I’d definitely jump over to artificer as soon as level 2. Also, dumping charisma basically annihilates any reason for your rogue subclass before level 18, which is bad.
Also, learn how to use a fucking dagger. Ignoring your sneak attack craters your damage output. A free 6d6 per turn is nothing to sneeze at.
Dumping Charisma doesn’t hurt you skill-wise for once, but it does make your charisma save bad. Given your history of getting locked out of your home for long periods of time, I wouldn’t flirt with banishment any more than you already have.