Rul Scararm – S&W Character in 5th Edition

My Swords and Wizardry character in the game I play with +Erik Tenkar is Rul Scararm, a former mercenary fighter. Inspired in no small part by +Peter V. Dell’Orto converting his own character, Mirado, into the new basic rules, I decided to do the same thing.

I made a few different character decisions that are available to me in 5th edition but not in S&W Complete. Namely, my alignment is Lawful Neutral rather than purely neutral, and I chose the Archery pathway. Rul is more of a sword-and-board guy by default in the S&W game, and yet he’s the guy slinging arrows when he can in the game. So I decided to amp that up a bit, making his background a mounted scout. Not a ranger, quite, nor strictly infantry or cavalry.

Rul Scararm
Human Fighter
Level 5
XP: 8,218
Needs 14,000 for next level.

Rul is 23% of the way from 5th to 6th level, so I put his experience total at the same place along that curve here.

STR 16 (+3)
DEX 14 (+2)
CON 14 (+2)
INT 10 (+0)
WIS 12 (+1)
CHA 13 (+1)

Relative to his S&W equivalent, the dice rolls give me more bonuses and I had to make fewer compromises to get his stats decent. Mirado is still better in all ways here – the dice were neither kind nor particularly unkind to Rul.

HP 47 (Max HP 60)
AC 18 (+1 banded mail +6; Shield+2; loses his +2 from DEX)

The banded mail is something that cropped up in S&W as loot. It’s basically +5 AC normally, I think, but the magical bonus makes it +6. The shield Rul carries got extra good in Basic DnD as well. So he’s got a good Armor Class, but I suspect that bonuses from monsters are the rule rather than the exception. Still, AC 18 doesn’t seem bad, but he’d be better off with a suit of half-plate (AC 15), his shield (+2), and his full DX bonus (+2) for AC 19. In fact, depending on what that +1 banded mail would go for on sale, that’s really the way to go. Fact is, losing that DEX bonus means that I have to hit 20lbs more for splint mail to break even. Or plate armor. Magical half-plate would be quite the score.

Move Base 30 feet
Proficiency Bonus: +3
Skills: Animal Handling, Athletics, Intimidation, Perception
Proficiencies: Gaming set (dice); Vehicles (land)
Fighting Style: Archery (+2 to hit with bows)

This was the place where things diverged from how Rul was crafted in S&W. I always liked archer characters in DnD and while Rul was supposed to be an exception, he did pick up a few magic items, one of which is a +2 longbow, which is a bit of a big deal. So a bit of retroactive crafting there, picking him out as a mounted infantry scout. Not a Ranger type – he’s not all “let me live off the land.” He was an outrider, using Perception and horsemanship to bring back information on enemy positions and whanot.

Background: Soldier (Scout)
Personality Trait (2): Can start down hellhound; Slow to make new friends.
Ideals: Do what I must, obey lawful authority (contracts)
Bond: Never leave a friend behind
Flaw: Obey the law, even if misery is the result (mercenary)

I’ve got him pegged as a bit of a reluctant mercenary. It’s all he ever knew, which might have made the Folk Hero background better for him than Soldier. It wouldn’t surprise me if there was one day a Big Book of Backgrounds, and that would be cool. 

Armor and Weapons:
+1 Banded Mail (AC 16). I’m going to guess it’s about 50 lb, and Disadvantage for Stealth.
+1 Longsword, +3 vs. Undead. 3 lbs. Hmm. Versatile, so in one hand it does 1d8+4, or 1d8+6 vs the undead. In two hands, I slam down 1d10+4, which is sweet.
Shield. +2 to AC.
+2 Longbow. This would have replaced the shortbow or light crossbow I started with, and Rul carries 40 arrows. Does 1d8+4 piercing damage on a hit.

Notes:
Fighting Style: Archery (+2)
Second Wind (1d10+5)
Action Surge
Ability Score improvement at 4th level: +1 CON
Extra Attack
Champion Archetype

* Crit on 19-20

Equipment (copied from S&W list)

  • +1 Banded Mail [+6]; Shield [+2] 50 lbs.
  • +2 Longbow, 40 arrows, quiver [1d8+4] 6 lbs.
  • +1 Longsword, +3 vs undead [1d8+4 in one hand, 1d10+4 in two vs. normals]; Spear [versatile; 1d8+2 in 2 hands] 3 lbs.
  • Backpack, 200′ silk rope, Bedroll, waterskin (37lbs)
  • Small steel mirror, flint and steel (tinderbox) 1.5 lbs
  • Gaming dice
  • (1) Extra Healing Potion (0.5 lbs)
  • (2) Healing Potion (0.5 lbs)
  • Riding horse, bit, bridle, saddle (military)
  • 1297 gp (value, not actual coin; we got plenty of gems and stuff on our travels)

About 100 lbs of gear. The rules let me carry 240 lbs, so I’ve got plenty to spare.

Parting Shot


Rul is a better archer and higher damage-dealing fighter at 5th Level in Basic DnD (5e) . . . but that’s offset perhaps by the general higher HP that seems to go ’round.

He may wind up with 50 HP instead of 47, if that boost he got at 4th level to CON hits him with +5 HP instead of just +1 at 4th and 5th level. Rul also speaks Goblin in addition to Common.

What’s more impressive, relative to S&W, is that his hit rolls are something like 1d20+7 with his sword, 1d20+6 with his spear, and 1d20+9 with that longbow. So vs my own AC 20, I will hit with a bow 50% of the time, which doesn’t seem shabby.

His AC is 18 with sword and shield, AC 12 with no armor and relying on DX, and AC 16 with bow or two-handed spear (armor no shield or DEX bonus).

I’d play him.

4 thoughts on “Rul Scararm – S&W Character in 5th Edition

  1. 1d8+4 for longbow damage in 5e; +2 magic +2 dex bonus. In 5e you get dex bonus to ranged attack and damage rolls.

  2. Can you provide a page reference? I thought the rule was the same as it's been: DEX to hit, but not for damage.

    I always thought that you should get your STR bonus for ranged weapons, though, for pulling a stronger bow

  3. Page 9 of Dnd Basic 5e: 2nd Column under Weapons 2nd bullet point.

    yeah it is a little odd to me to use dex instead of str, but I think they did it for simplicity and to cut down on the multiple ability score need of different builds. The do mention that thrown weapons can use Str instead of Dex if you want.

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