With it being that last week of October we decided to bring you some of our favorite spooky characters as D&D NPC’s. You can throw these in games or use them as a starting idea for a new character to play, but let’s cut to the chase. We are starting out with one of my favorite character from back when I was an “edgy” teen but still one of my favorite ideas, The Crow. For this we will be basing it all off the original character but again, you could take this idea and flavor it to fit any idea you have. Maybe even use him as a “bad guy” in a town that has come back to kill those that wronged him and his family and let your players uncover the mystery of what is going on. You could make this as big or small as you wanted to.
Click below to download the free character sheet!
So in the movie, if you don’t know, a mans loved one is killed and when he walks in, he is thrown from a window high up on the building. Long story short he comes back to life to avenge the loss and pain that they were subjected to and he does this through hunting down all of those involved and tracking it down to the source. So the first thing we have to figure out is how to we make him a man come back from the dead. You could use the Revenant stats that were in an older UA called gothic hero’s but I wanted to make sure this was something from a book, so i used the REBORN from Van Richten’s Guide. This fits perfectly with the flashes of his past that he keeps having and particularly when he is confronting someone involved in the crimes. This gives him advantage on his death saves and makes him very hard to kill, along with advantage against disease and poison. There’s no need for sleep or food. All the classic undead traits.
Moving on the meat of the build, what class do we use? To me it came down to 2 choices. The Oath of Vengeance as a paladin or the one I chose to go with, The Zealot Barbarian. In the movie his ability to relentlessly continue to fight is a driving element in the character. The “Rage Beyond Death” ability was the one that got me to finally go with this. The ability for him to keep fighting after hitting zero hit points until the rage ends fits too perfectly with the character not to use it. Once his task is complete, he is allowed to rest and finally pass on. The “Fanatical Focus” also allows him to avoid damage and effects more easily and makes him more invulnerable to magic. Not to mention the damage he is able to absorb with little issue. With this you get a character that is nearly impossible to stop once he is in that rage state and even if you manage to deplete his hit points, will continue to come at you until the job is done with no worry of his own well being. You have the Crow, almost.
One of the main things he uses to find his enemies and scout ahead is the help of the somewhat magical crow that guides him. Being a barbarian makes having magic hard to do but thankfully we have our trusty feat “ Magic Initiate”. Using this we get 2 cantrips and a 1st level spell. We will be using that slot to get the spell “Find Familiar”. This will give us access to his trusty helper and bring this character to his completion.
WAIT! BDC HAS AN IDEA!
Nice build, Steps! I get where you’re coming from and I know he’s one of your personal faves, but I DO have an idea and it goes back to a recent article about a certain god of poetic justice!
Not long ago, I spent time delving into the old Forgotten god of vengeance himself, Hoar!
The above mentioned Steps who started things out actually played a devotee to the odd god, Hoar (check the article out), and was actually starting his ‘X’ (Step’s first Forgotten Realms character) build somewhat like the Crow, I feel. Either way, the Revenant race from the UA (Gothic Heroes), I think, does work very well. You think you’ve killed him? Nope, he’s back! You destroy the body? He’s STILL back! And he won’t stop till he’s gained the proper justice against those who wronged him and his.
And this thirst for justice calls from beyond the grave and is so in line with Hoar who would definitely be the catalyst for the return of our dead, wronged hero. This could work one of three ways.
As Steps said, Paladin was the other choice. And it really fits when you pair the Revenant with the Oath of Vengeance! The Crow rose to not only be a conduit for personal revenge, but an outlet of pure justice where no justice had been found. He could have easily been a force called upon by Hoar to exact justice as a part of his path. Hoar gets a warrior and the warrior (The Crow) gets his revenge.
Taking the Blessed Warrior fighting style will give you a couple of Cantrips that can be handy. The Necrotic seem on theme: Spare the Dying and Toll the dead. This death/life motif, I think, lends a lot to this Crow build along with all that comes with the Paladin.
The Oath itself allows you to frighten enemies sending them on the run or take a vow against an enemy giving you advantage. The Relentless Avenger also keeps an enemy from cutting and running. And finally, Avenging Angel brings wings like an angel or a raven and a flying speed. That and an aura that frightens the enemy is on spot!
Possibly, just being a Revenant is enough to power your character’s drive for revenge or justice. And I think the GRAVE DOMAIN is just perfect!
Not 0nly can you heal those deserving more, but you can mark an equally deserving dark soul for termination (Channel Divinity: Path to the Grave) by making them vulnerable to the next attack! And calling back Critical Hits with Sentinel at Death’s Door is potent in saving the faithful. And Keeper of Souls can use the souls of the recently dead to heal those who have more good to do in this world!
Or just make him an outright HUNTER subclass of Ranger. This is especially good if the creature or creatures they wish to exact their revenge are not human. Colossus Slayer is good all around, but is definitely a must if they are hunting a rather durable opponent or maybe a monstrosity. Giant Killer is useful against, well, Giants or other Large or LARGER enemies. And Hoard Breaker becomes important if you are dealing with an enemy who run in packs. Goblinoids come to mind, but Gnolls as well as many other creatures gather in hard to fight communities!
All of this stacked on the natural hunter abilities of the Ranger make them a force to be reckoned with!
ONE LAST THOUGHT: How about go full crow with Aarakocra, Kenku or even Ravenfolk!
What changes would you make? Is there anything you think we forgot or something that you would do differently? Let us know in the comments or find us on social media and tell me all about it! Enjoy the character sheet and use them in your game to see if your party will look beyond the obvious and help him get his vengeance.