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Thinker
2010-09-22, 10:21 AM
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb, better known in the West as Saladin, was a Kurdish leader of the Ayubbids who opposed the crusaders in the holy land. I'm considering a Crusades-like campaign and need to stat up the leader himself or someone who is very like him.

If you had to stat him up, what alignment, class (any 3.5/d20r materials), ability scores (32 point buy), skills, and levels would you give him? If you could pick a race that would fit in a fantasy Crusades setting, what would it be? What feats would best suit him?

My own first thoughts are:

LN Human Warblade 5
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 12
Wis 12
Cha 10
Skills: Probably at least Ride, other than that I don't know.


Also, if you have any knowledge about his tactics, equipment, or background information, that would be very helpful. Thanks in advance.

Greenish
2010-09-22, 10:35 AM
A bard diplomancer. Perhaps a Marshal dip. Maxed Perform: Oratory, lots of knowledges and languages, great social skills, no slouch in combat.

As for what level he should be, that depends on your campaign world. Some (such as Eberron) have levels 9-11 to be just right for even the more important rulers, some have epic and near-epic characters running around like nothing.

The race, too, depends on your setting. What races do you have, and what niches do they occupy? Do you have your fantasy counterpart cultures each their own race, or some other mix?

Thinker
2010-09-22, 10:45 AM
The campaign should be fairly low level, probably no higher than level 10 or 11 to at least help keep the feel of a crusades era setting. I'm open to including any races from various sources that might best reflect Saladin or the Kurds in general. I haven't fluffed races yet so something I could borrow would be nice, as would something that has appropriate modifiers.

Noodles2375
2010-09-22, 10:45 AM
Is this a gritty, low-magic, warrior focused sort of Crusade setting, or more of a swords and sorcery version?

In a swords and sorcery, I'd say something like even a straight bard would work fine.

Greenish
2010-09-22, 10:47 AM
I'm open to including any races from various sources that might best reflect Saladin or the Kurds in general.Uh. :smalleek:

I should think humans.

Psyx
2010-09-22, 10:57 AM
Paladin. (or the ToB version, whatever that's called... Crusader?)

And higher than 5th level, too!

He was a man famous for his chivalry. I can't see anything fitting better than paladin, to be honest.

Needs some ranks in knowledge (religion), ride and maybe perform (oratory) or (poetry) to reflect his education. In fact -compared to Europeans of the time- he was a far, far better educated warrior.

Thinker
2010-09-22, 10:58 AM
Is this a gritty, low-magic, warrior focused sort of Crusade setting, or more of a swords and sorcery version?

In a swords and sorcery, I'd say something like even a straight bard would work fine.

It will be mostly low-magic. Full casters will be off limits to the party, though classes like Ranger and Paladin keep their spell casting. Bards will be around, too.


Uh. :smalleek:

I should think humans.

OK, fictionalized ideas of ancient Kurdish stereotypes. Basically if there is a race that would fit a Saladin-type person, it will probably replace the Kurds in the setting.


Paladin. (or the ToB version, whatever that's called... Crusader?)

And higher than 5th level, too!

He was a man famous for his chivalry. I can't see anything fitting better than paladin, to be honest.

Needs some ranks in knowledge (religion), ride and maybe perform (oratory) or (poetry) to reflect his education. In fact -compared to Europeans of the time- he was a far, far better educated warrior.
Paladin might work, but it is hard for a leader to not do anything DnD evil and I am trying to remain mostly internally consistent. Crusader might work, but won't show his leadership abilities very well.

Dienekes
2010-09-22, 11:01 AM
His military might seems in question. I've read in one source that he was a skilled soldier, in another that he was really poor at personal combat and when attempting to behead a prisoner missed and cut off his arm instead.

Either way, I'd definitely focus more on his intelligence and charisma over other attributes, and diplomacy, languages, and knowledge skills over everything else.

Greenish
2010-09-22, 11:06 AM
OK, fictionalized ideas of ancient Kurdish stereotypes. Basically if there is a race that would fit a Saladin-type person, it will probably replace the Kurds in the setting.Well, I'm not too familiar with them, but hobgoblins are a great proud warrior race style of deal, famed for their tactics and organization. Humans are good for pretty much anything too, of course.

Riffing on Psyx's ideas above, a bard/crusader should be a good fit. A great representation of a cultured holy warrior, with skills and martial competence. There's even a multiclassing feat for the two, Song of White Raven, which allows starting bardic music as a swift action, and stacks bard and crusader levels for Inspire Courage. Able Learner is encouraged, though.

Psyx
2010-09-22, 11:10 AM
Paladin might work, but it is hard for a leader to not do anything DnD evil and I am trying to remain mostly internally consistent. Crusader might work, but won't show his leadership abilities very well.

Saladin did a pretty good job of being less morally questionable than pretty much any other contemporary Western leader. He gave pretty much everything he had to those who needed it more.

Crusader wouldn't show off his leadership? White Raven?

You're the GM, and it's Saladin: You can bend rules.

Or Marshal.
Or not.

Mando Knight
2010-09-22, 11:11 AM
And higher than 5th level, too!
Depends on the power level of the campaign. If it's E6 or similar, 5th level is quite possible. I'd peg him as 6th myself, though, just so he qualifies for Leadership.

He was a man famous for his chivalry. I can't see anything fitting better than paladin, to be honest.
Depends on his alignment. If he needs to be the noble villain, he can't go with Paladin (and Paladin of Tyranny is bad for a Saladin-type anyway). LN and LE can make equally cultured leaders... just look at Tarquin.

In fact -compared to Europeans of the time- he was a far, far better educated warrior.
I'm not sure about that. He was certainly well-educated, but I don't think it was that unusual for nobility of the time to be educated themselves. He may have had access to more, but without proof, I wouldn't say he was necessarily better educated than his European counterparts... Richard I (the Lionhearted) was fairly well-educated (though he could speak very little English at best, since it was a commoner's language rather than the nobility's French) himself.

Was Saladin better educated than the rank-and-file, or even the lesser knights of the European armies? Almost certainly. However, claiming he was far better educated than his counterparts would most likely be a mistake.

Greenish
2010-09-22, 11:13 AM
Crusader wouldn't show off his leadership? White Raven?Yeah, White Raven is focused on leading people in battle, and crusaders benefit some from decent charisma. They also have Intimidate and Diplomacy as class skills, as well as skillpoints to burn on them.

[Edit]: And, unless I'm mistaken, Knowledge: History, which entails military tactics.

awa
2010-09-22, 11:18 AM
Personally i would point out that chivalry and a Paladin code are not the same thing. dnd good alignment is based on our modern interpretation of good and evil
not crusades era chivalry. As far as class levels i follow the rule of max at level 5 so a level 5 war blade would represent one of the greatest warriors the world has ever seen and Saladin was a commander not a master swords men(to the best of my knowledge). so i would give some of his levels as aristocrat. If "normal" people exceed level 5 ignore that advice,

Europe had lost a lot of knowledge after the fall of the roman empire knowledge that the arabs still had so he probably was more educated than his European counterparts.

Thinker
2010-09-22, 11:27 AM
Alright, I think I have a fairly good idea of where to go with Saladin now. He'll be:
Hobgoblin
Level 1 Bard / Level 9 Crusader
Skills: Diplomacy, Intimidate, Knowledge (Religion), Knowledge (History), Ride, Sense Motive
Feats: Able Learner (I typically allow anyone to take it), Song of the White Raven, Leadership

Thanks for the help. I had forgotten about Song of the White Raven. That really is a no brainer.

If anyone has any more details about Saladin (exploits, personality, history, family, etc), I'd love to hear about them.

For more background for this campaign, I'm going to have my Frederick I Barbarossa clone alive and well, arriving in the Holy Land to challenge Saladin. The party itself will be living in the area and can be from one of four faiths that represent Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Paganism, and Islam. There are also going to be several minor factions. Religion will be a big motivator in the game, but the group itself will be able to side with whoever they want and for most of the campaign will be used as puppets by the powers that be. About midway through rumors of a horde of demonic invaders will start to spread throughout the Holy Land and the group will have to try to unite the different groups if they want to survive the onslaught.

Knaight
2010-09-22, 11:31 AM
A bard diplomancer. Perhaps a Marshal dip. Maxed Perform: Oratory, lots of knowledges and languages, great social skills, no slouch in combat.

That said, he wasn't amazing by any means, if actually fighting someone hand to hand. Tactics and strategy need to be extremely high though.

Mando Knight
2010-09-22, 11:31 AM
so a level 5 war blade would represent one of the greatest warriors the world has ever seen and Saladin was a commander not a master swords men

...Warblades are weapon-masters extraordinaire. Crusader, Marshal, or Bard would be better for a character who's primarily a leader.
Europe had lost a lot of knowledge after the fall of the roman empire knowledge that the arabs still had so he probably was more educated than his European counterparts.
A lot of that is Victorian-era perpetuated myths. Yes, a lot of knowledge was lost in the Fall of Rome, and yes, the Muslims managed to develop science and technology a bit beyond medieval Europe, but the latter was by no means in a real dark age, especially around the time of the Third Crusade. These were not the genius Arabs against the foolish Europeans, these were two arch-cultures "solving" their discrepancies with swords. Military knowledge was discovered, stolen, and exchanged between both sides throughout the wars.

Greenish
2010-09-22, 11:36 AM
Some Speak Language on the most prominent languages of the setting could be an idea. It's a class skill for bard too. I would also take another level in something before going crusader, to benefit from the non-initiator IL, and get 2nd level stance at Crusader 2. Another level of bard wouldn't give much, but a cleric or a cloistered cleric for some devotion feats should work, for he was a devoted man. Knowledge Devotion seems to be in-character for him, perhaps also Travel Devotion.

For a fictional account pertaining to Saladdin, I really liked Jan Guillou's Crusades-trilogy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Knight_Templar_(Crusades_trilogy)). It was far better than a series where the main character is an unabashed marty stu has any right to be.

Dienekes
2010-09-22, 11:40 AM
Well as has been hinted at before, Saladin saw himself as a gentleman or how we would think about it anyway.

When he fought Richard the two would actually try to outdo each other in how courteous they could be, constantly sending each other gifts. At one point when Richard fell ill, Saladin sent his own physician to heal him. This culminated in the proposition of a marriage alliance between the two that never went anywhere.

There's also the story of accidentally cutting off a prisoners arm I mentioned above.

He also spent money very loosely giving to friends or those he thought in need. He was possibly bankrupt when he died.

Hmm, another quirk I think I read somewhere was that he loved women and had 10 sons or something. I can't back that up though.

I'm sure the wiki has some interesting stories about him, that you could look through.

Ossian
2010-09-22, 11:54 AM
Well, it is not easy. "real humans" and D&D classes are not really a great match. So, if you are going for a "real life" feeling, 100%, go no further than an Expert, level 6.

If on the other hand you want to keep a "fantasy roleplay albeit low-power low magic crusaderesque roleplay" I would use the "Aristocrat" as a starting class. It represents fairly well a medieval diplomat with military training a good range of social abilities. The natural follow up, is Marshal, to account for his ability to move troops on the battlefield, his strategic thinking, his tactical expertise.

His chivalrous behavior, generosity and the like, does not need stats, but good role-play on your part. To make him a well rounded figure,in his senior years, with a reputation and fame comparable to that of Saladin, I would say that level 9-10 is a fair cap.

You will have a character with +7 Bab (more than acceptable), up to 13 ranks in the skills he should specialize in, and skill focus, probably, in the same ones.
Adding synergies you get a whopping +20 in stuff like "Knowledge - Tactics"

Stats would be (factoring age and two level increments at 4th and 8th, both to CHA)

Str?
Dex 14 - > 11
Con 14 - > 11
Int 12 - > 14
Wis 12 -> 14
Cha 10 -> 12 --> 14

Psyx
2010-09-22, 12:03 PM
I'm not sure about that. He was certainly well-educated, but I don't think it was that unusual for nobility of the time to be educated themselves. He may have had access to more, but without proof, I wouldn't say he was necessarily better educated than his European counterparts...


He was known for being well read as I recall. And that's in a society in which he was born into privileged AND one which placed an emphasis on education and reading. Unlike our own. Arabia was making us look like a bunch of ill-schooled, money-grabbing, murdering savages at the time. Which was pretty much on the money.

Grommen
2010-09-22, 12:32 PM
Watch the Movie "Kingdom of Heaven", Saladin was a prominent figure in it. I have watched a few things on the movie and it's as accurate as anything from Hollywood could be. Might give you a start to the character.

Personaly I would go with A human Palidian / Expert combo or something of that nature. He would be Lawful Good. That might be a problem with your game if it evolves into good vs. evil. If your players are good as well, according to D&D you have a problem. Real world alignments are a lot harder to understand. We think we are right, they think they are right. both might be right. Then again they both might be wrong.

You could go with Lawful Evil. Being chivalrous does not mean that you have to be good (Lord Soth from Ravenloft and Krynn is a good example). And being Evil does not mean that you eat babies. To your players, they are right, ie in D&D terms good, and the other sides is wrong, in D&D terms evil.

I don't wish to get political or religious here but, this is my reasoning for his alignment.
The crusaders were invading Arab lands, were killing men, women, and children. The local tribes elected a leader, Saladin, who vowed to remove the crusaders and take back their sacred city. He gave his word and went about dutiful taking back the lands. He used everything at his disposal to make life hard for the invaders. He was a real bugger to the crusaders, but he had honor, and was not given to barbaric acts.

Mando Knight
2010-09-22, 12:47 PM
He was known for being well read as I recall. And that's in a society in which he was born into privileged AND one which placed an emphasis on education and reading. Unlike our own. Arabia was making us look like a bunch of ill-schooled, money-grabbing, murdering savages at the time. Which was pretty much on the money.

And Richard the Lionheart wrote songs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19akSc7jTJM). And was admired as an equal adversary by Saladin. Saladin was probably a lot better educated than the rank-and-file, but I don't think he was significantly better educated than his counterparts. This was also during the High Middle Ages, which is probably more accurately remembered as the precursor to the Renaissance than as the end of the fallout of the fall of the Roman Empire. The European nobility in that period was full of both warrior poets and cunning masterminds who hired architects and engineers to construct castles and war machines... hardly the domain of unwashed, illiterate savages.

Knaight
2010-09-22, 12:48 PM
The crusaders were invading Arab lands, were killing men, women, and children. The local tribes elected a leader, Saladin, who vowed to remove the crusaders and take back their sacred city. He gave his word and went about dutiful taking back the lands. He used everything at his disposal to make life hard for the invaders. He was a real bugger to the crusaders, but he had honor, and was not given to barbaric acts.

He avoided them more than many of his contemporaries, but Saladin had some blemishes on his past. There was that whole Egypt issue for one, and when he retook Jerusalem before he was forced onto the defensive he slaughtered much of the population.

As for Kingdom of Heaven, that movie has horrible problems with accuracy, its probably better than is normal for Hollywood, but that is a very low mark to meet.

Spiryt
2010-09-22, 12:57 PM
As for Kingdom of Heaven, that movie has horrible problems with accuracy

It doesn't have any problems with accuracy, because it's rather obvious that no one tried to be accurate in the first place.

If they did, it would be visible, but instead there's standard Hollywood "what looks spiffier".

That's at least how I see it from the semantic point of view. :smallwink:

Knaight
2010-09-22, 01:37 PM
It doesn't have any problems with accuracy, because it's rather obvious that no one tried to be accurate in the first place.

If they did, it would be visible, but instead there's standard Hollywood "what looks spiffier".

That's at least how I see it from the semantic point of view. :smallwink:

That is a very valid point.

Mongoose87
2010-09-22, 02:01 PM
I don't think it can be emphasized enough how much better a person Saladin was than his contemporaries. While the Crusaders were slaughtering everything in their path, including some Christians, Saladin treated Jews fairly and POWs well.

Knaight
2010-09-22, 02:11 PM
I don't think it can be emphasized enough how much better a person Saladin was than his contemporaries. While the Crusaders were slaughtering everything in their path, including some Christians, Saladin treated Jews fairly and POWs well.

Not in every case he didn't, and not all the Crusaders were as bad as eachother. The First Crusade was probably the most violent towards civillians, particularly in regards to Jersusalem, Saladin got his start during the Third Crusade, after that had been toned down somewhat. Saladin did horrible things to prisoners on occasion, he just did it less frequently than many.

imp_fireball
2010-09-22, 02:40 PM
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb, better known in the West as Saladin, was a Kurdish leader of the Ayubbids who opposed the crusaders in the holy land. I'm considering a Crusades-like campaign and need to stat up the leader himself or someone who is very like him.

If you had to stat him up, what alignment, class (any 3.5/d20r materials), ability scores (32 point buy), skills, and levels would you give him? If you could pick a race that would fit in a fantasy Crusades setting, what would it be? What feats would best suit him?

My own first thoughts are:

LN Human Warblade 5
Dex 14
Con 14
Int 12
Wis 12
Cha 10
Skills: Probably at least Ride, other than that I don't know.


Also, if you have any knowledge about his tactics, equipment, or background information, that would be very helpful. Thanks in advance.

If you want it as realistic and true to the original as possible - you could make him a warrior 1 or 2 + warblade 1 or 2. ECL 3. He's very hardy by all rights and with high charisma.

Mark Hall
2010-09-22, 03:18 PM
The Mod Wonder: Move away from discussion of the politics surrounding it and back to the man himself, folks.

Reis Tahlen
2010-09-22, 03:57 PM
My advice:

Don't stat him.

D&D is absolutely not the best system to create charismatic, military geniuses warriors.

If you look at Saladin's life and behaviour, he should have good Strenght, Dexterity and Con (military training), good Intelligence (Educated), good Wisdom (Philosopher) and good Charisma (because, well... don't need to explain this one). Oh my, that's all the stats!

He should be reasonnably (a good 5) proficient in, at least: Knowledge (Religion), Knowledge (Local), Knowledge (Nobility), Knowledge (Europeans), Knowledge (History), Diplomacy, Bluff, Survival, Animal Handling, Riding, Appraise, Intimidation, Psychology. That's quite a lot of skills.

He's a good warrior, a good politician, a good strategist, a good philosopher, a good diplomat...

Seriously, it's impossible to stat him up precisely without bending the rules.

You're the DM, you do whatever you want with his character sheet.

Mongoose87
2010-09-22, 04:00 PM
He's obviously an E6 level 6 Crusader with extra feats to get Skill Focus in every skill.

Flickerdart
2010-09-22, 04:04 PM
My advice:

Don't stat him.

D&D is absolutely not the best system to create charismatic, military geniuses warriors.

If you look at Saladin's life and behaviour, he should have good Strenght, Dexterity and Con (military training), good Intelligence (Educated), good Wisdom (Philosopher) and good Charisma (because, well... don't need to explain this one). Oh my, that's all the stats!

He should be reasonnably (a good 5) proficient in, at least: Knowledge (Religion), Knowledge (Local), Knowledge (Nobility), Knowledge (Europeans), Knowledge (History), Diplomacy, Bluff, Survival, Animal Handling, Riding, Appraise, Intimidation, Psychology. That's quite a lot of skills.

He's a good warrior, a good politician, a good strategist, a good philosopher, a good diplomat...

Seriously, it's impossible to stat him up precisely without bending the rules.

You're the DM, you do whatever you want with his character sheet.
Factotum. :smalltongue:

Reis Tahlen
2010-09-22, 04:09 PM
Factotum. :smalltongue:

Having a DM who only authorizes french translated books makes me cry, late at night... :smallbiggrin:

Knaight
2010-09-22, 04:16 PM
If you look at Saladin's life and behaviour, he should have good Strenght, Dexterity and Con (military training), good Intelligence (Educated), good Wisdom (Philosopher) and good Charisma (because, well... don't need to explain this one). Oh my, that's all the stats!

Average Strength, Dexterity, and maybe Constitution should be fine. Sure, he was military, but most of his training was officer type stuff, the rest BAB works just fine at. Constitution may need to be higher than average, he took a sword slash to the head compliments of an assassin, and was saved by a turban, mail coif, and his own toughness, but average people survive all sorts of things.

He does need high intelligence, he was educated, he knew tactics, and he was by all accounts an all around smart guy. Wisdom probably only needs to be a bit above average, he did obey honor against common sense, but he was perceptive, and had plenty of common sense once on the losing side of the war, due to numbers. Scorched Earth tactics were somewhat ahead of his time. Then there is charisma. It needs to be good, though I would say lower than intelligence, he was a charismatic leader in all certianity, but a lot of the reason he was respected as much as he did was the fact that he kept the situations under control to the extent he did, and led intelligently.

He might be difficult to pull off in 25 point buy, but the elite array with a tiny bit of tweaking works decently enough, maybe a few points more needed.

awa
2010-09-22, 04:23 PM
if you are going for a realistic model i don't think tome of battle is the right choice that's more for heroic fantasy where you are bending the line between mundane and magic.

Shyftir
2010-09-22, 04:38 PM
Martial. Did I mention Martial? It fits very well.

He would be: not as good at hand-to-hand as a man who has focused on pure combat skills, much better at social skills and at tactics, and of whatever alignment you prefer.

Give him solid stats. He was obviously a man born with great gifts.

Knaight
2010-09-22, 04:42 PM
He would be: not as good at hand-to-hand as a man who has focused on pure combat skills, much better at social skills and at tactics, and of whatever alignment you prefer.

That said, he would still be more dangerous hand to hand than your standard issue conscript, or even veteran of a few battles. He had training.

As for whatever alignment you prefer, good luck arguing for Chaotic.

awa
2010-09-22, 09:17 PM
but the conscripts are commoners the house cats are more dangerous the fact that he has even one class level make him far beyond the conscripts i just don't think he should real stand out amongst other professional warriors the knights and whatever the Muslim equivalent was. (assuming again the desire for a realistic campaign in a heroic fantasy game the fact that he has a name is probably worth a couple levels)

Dralnu
2010-09-22, 10:13 PM
As others have said, it depends on how realistic you want it. ToB really is in the realm of heroic fantasy. You're doing "blade magic." If you want a realistic approach to a better-than-average soldier, a fighter2 would be pretty significant assuming that the bulk of the army is warrior1.

Honestly though, heroic fantasy probably would make for a more fun game. Gogo bard/crusader!

Asheram
2010-09-23, 02:13 AM
When I think of Saladin I personally think of the "Desert Elf" variant.

WhiteHarness
2010-09-23, 05:42 AM
What's wrong with Human Aristocrat level 1?

Knaight
2010-09-23, 07:00 AM
What's wrong with Human Aristocrat level 1?

Seems fine to me, might be a bit shy on combat cabability (he was well trained). Aristocrat 2 maybe? Relatively high int, skills in the right areas, it could work. That said, D&D strikes me as the wrong system for this. FATE for instance would be much, much easier.

Thinker
2010-09-23, 07:26 AM
As others have said, it depends on how realistic you want it. ToB really is in the realm of heroic fantasy. You're doing "blade magic." If you want a realistic approach to a better-than-average soldier, a fighter2 would be pretty significant assuming that the bulk of the army is warrior1.

Honestly though, heroic fantasy probably would make for a more fun game. Gogo bard/crusader!

I'm not looking for a purely realistic game. I still want some magic and powerful effects. Blade magic is fine and fits in well when describing the exploits of holy warriors.


When I think of Saladin I personally think of the "Desert Elf" variant.
Thanks. I'll take a look at that. I wonder...do Desert Elves actually sleep or is it just another case of editor fail?



They herd horses, cattle, and goats across the sands, sleeping during the day and working or traveling at night.

Asheram
2010-09-23, 10:32 AM
Thanks. I'll take a look at that. I wonder...do Desert Elves actually sleep or is it just another case of editor fail?

I believe it's an editorial Hiccup.

Greenish
2010-09-23, 10:41 AM
I'm not looking for a purely realistic game. I still want some magic and powerful effects. Blade magic is fine and fits in well when describing the exploits of holy warriors.Remember to give your Mameluks levels in Bloodstorm Blade.

Why yes, I've played Age of Empires II a few times. :smallcool:

Reis Tahlen
2010-09-23, 10:43 AM
That's when you regret the 2nd edition: they had a campaign book for The Crusades.

A shame it seems the higher the edition, the lesser the amount of pure background books.

Mark Hall
2010-09-23, 10:48 AM
The Mod Wonder: The thread is locked for political discussions.