Dungeons and Dragons Character Concept: Wizard of Oz Part 3 – The Tin Woodsman

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Are you stumped for what you want your next D&D 4e character to be? Wish you could somehow adapt one of your favorite characters to a medieval, high fantasy setting? Look no further, in this series I’ll be taking Frank L. Baum’s beloved characters and turning them into D&D badasses.

Don’t forget to check out the previous two entries Dorothy and The Scarecrow.

What this is: This is a progression loooooooooooooosely based on a character from the Wizard of Oz, it will allow you to create a playable character that is reminiscent of The Tinman, while still jiving with D&D’s very particular feel.

What this is not: This is not a way to simulate The Tin Woodsman exactly. Since D&D has a lot more violence and a lot less dancing.

As we go through, keep in mind that if you actually use the character, then the character will be yours. If you decide not to take a power I suggest, or swap out a feat, you are not anymore likely to mysteriously disappear for three weeks with no recollection of the time elapsed. These characters are somewhat tied to an off-beat D&D setting, but with a little tweaking can fit into any standard D&D game.

The Pitch: In the strange land known as The Other Zone where the Feywild and the Shadowfell mingle, stands motionless an automaton. Tasked with maintaining the whispering woods he has been rendered motionless by his own melancholy. Brought back to action by the kindness of a young girl, The Woodsman joins her in her quest to meet the Magus Magnificus. Perhaps he, with all his wisdom and power can fix his our hero’s emotional capacitor.

With the character concept done, let’s dive into the progression. A number in parentheses means that page in the Player’s Handbook, (Eb XX) means that page in the Eberron Players Guide, (PHbII XX) Means that page in the Players Handbook 2.

Level 1:

Ability Score Array: 16 STR, 16 CON, 10 DEX, 10 INT, 12 WIS, 10 CHA
The Woodsman is strong and tough, he is also aware and in-touch with nature, Which is usually what wisdom represents.
Race: Warforged
Seriously, were you expecting something else?
Class: Warden
I thought long and hard about what class to make our Woodsman. I thought about simply making him a fighter and training him in nature. But since we have already taken a lot of (some might say drastic) liberties with the other characters, I figure we could make him a warden. This way the Woodsman is less of a robo-lumberjack and more of an alchemical automaton created to maintain a mystical woods.
Guardian Might: Earthstrength (PHbII 153)
We’ll select Earthstrength, which will give our robit a solid armor class on account of his crazy high CON.
1st Level Feat: Warforged Tactics (Eb 89)
Warforged Warden, though alliterative, is an unusual combination, thus it gives us the ability to craft an interesting character with the best picks from both columns.
Trained Skills: Athletics, Endurance, Nature (Class), Perception
At Will Powers: Earth Shield Strike, Weight of the Earth (PHbII 154)
Encounter Powers: Thunder Ram Assault (PHbII 155)
Daily Powers: Form of the Winter Herald (PHbII 156)
Our starting power array gives us a good amount of melee control, which is important for a defender. Weight of the Earth keeps enemies from moving away, and Thunder Ram Assault has a good chance of scattering enemies if you find yourself outnumbered.
Also of note is Form of the Winter Herald. The big warden ‘thing’ is to channel the spirits of nature to become a huge totemic monstrosity of some sort. In the Woodsman’s case however we can visualize it as extensions of his natural plant-tending abilities. Clearly he is able to create zones of cold around himself for those plants that prefer that type of clime. However in a fight he can crank it to eleven, making it very uncomfortable for incoming attackers.
Gear: Great Axe, Hide Armor, Adventurer’s Kit, 25 gold.
Our hero starts with his trusty axe for pruning stray trees (and vandals), as well as his padded chassis. He also has an internal compartment with assorted useful things.

Level 2:

Utility Power: Nature’s Abundance (PHbII 156)
Feat: Sudden Roots (PHbII 189)
There’s plant matter everywhere, and the Woodsman’s ability to produce hyper-effective fertilizer cocktails allows him to use this to great effect. Nature’s Abundance provides cover to allies by sprouting a bunch of plants in a 5×5 square, Sudden Roots slows an enemy who’s trying to get past you by entangling them with roots.

Level 3:

Encounter Power: Burst of Earth’s Fury (PHbII 157)
Get your burst-area attacks while the getting’s good!

Level 4:

Ability Bumps: +1 CON, +1 WIS
Feat: Skill Focus: Nature
Level 4, puts us closer to a tougher, more perceptive character. Don’t forget that adding 1 to Constitution also increases your HP by 1. It also makes our woodsman supremely knowledgeable about natural flora and fauna.

Level 5:

Daily Power: Hail of Thorns (PHbII 157)
Hail of Thorns is a solid area-of-effect power that slows down enemies. It also does half-damage on a miss.

Level 6:

Utility Power: Sea Stride (PhbII 158)
Feat: Weapon Focus: Axes (201)
“Inflate buoyancy bladders! Deploy propulsion apparatus!” Also “SMASH!!!”

Level 7:

Encounter Power: Earth Gift (PHbII 158)
Nowadays you can’t be a robot and not have a self-repair protocol. Earth Gift covers that nicely.

Level 8:

Ability Bumps: +1 STR, +1 WIS
Feat: Crushing Earthstrength (PHbII184)
Once again, we’re planning for the long haul. This will gives us a boost to STR and CON modifiers at 11th level, but will make our Will defense less appalling right now.

Level 9:

Daily Power: Form of the Oak Sentinel (PHbII 158)
Using the various fertilizers, plant samples and other chemicals in his compartments the woodsman uses them to surround himself with LIVING WOODEN ARMOR!

Level 10:

Utility Power: Returning Strength
Feat: Toughness
A straight-up self heal, Returning Strength is very useful since the character’s job is to get hit by enemies. Along those same lines we’ll pick up Toughness just in time to get an additional 5 hp next level.

And Level 11?

By this point you probably have a good idea of where you want the character to go. But here are a handful of suggestions for paragon paths.

Verdant Lord (PHbII 169) is the obvious choice for a plant-themed character, especially with a power like Awaken the Forest.

For me, though it’s a tossup between Gatekeeper Mystagogue (Eb 63) and Warforged Juggernaut (Eb 66). The former provides very cool poison-based effects, and a massive resistance to psychic attacks. The Latter… well, I think the name says it all, I mean in MMO parlance this character is a tank, but that paragon path pretty much turns you into an actual tank.

Next Time: We’ll have a look at the cowardly lion.

Images of the Tin-Man from Edwin Rhemrev