Everyone likes a good BBEG. And lately, there hasn’t been much better than Thanos.
Of course, when it comes to creating someone like Thanos, you have to be super careful not to screw things up. People are going to scrutinize every aspect of the build. In the past, when doing a Stat Anything, I showed all my notes. It’s probably a good idea that I do this again.
By the way, there’s going to be SPOILERS. Duh. So if you haven’t seen the last two Avengers films, I recommend you skip this.
You’ve been warned.
Show Your Work: Creating Thanos
There’s a whole lot of consideration that has to go into each and every part of building Thanos. After all, he’s not a normal guy at all.
The only thing I know for absolute sure before starting this build is that I want Thanos to be CR 30. This is a dude who can wipe the floor with all of the Avengers combined with or without the Infinity Gauntlet. Anything less than a 30 would be an insult. And just so we’re all on the same page, 30 is as high as CRs go in Fifth Edition.
But what does a CR 30 mean?
- Defensively, Thanos should have an AC of 19 and Hit Points (effective and/or real) of 806-850.
- Offensively, Thanos deals 303 – 320 damage per round and has an attack bonus of +14. Alternatively, save DCs for his special attacks should be in the neighborhood of 23.
- Being a CR 30 creature, Thanos has a proficiency bonus of +9.
Now, these are some hefty numbers to build up to.
So far, in “official” Fifth Edition content, there are only two monsters that get to be CR 30: the Tarrasque and Tiamat.
As someone who’s created literally hundreds of monsters from scratch, I can tell you that CR 30 is a tough challenge rating to build to without looking overwrought. You’ve got to jam it with all sorts of powers and abilities, max nearly everything out, and still make sure it makes sense.
So how big is Thanos? In the comic books, Thanos is supposed to be around 6’7″. But in the films, he’s much larger, standing eye-to-eye with the likes of the Hulk. His 1/6-scale action figure is roughly 41 centimeters tall. That means he’s 7.9 feet tall, or roughly 8 feet tall (Fortress of Solitude, “Marvel Superhero Height”).
In Fifth Edition, there isn’t a great guide for how tall creatures of certain size categories are, at least not like the ones in Third Edition. However, if we turn to the largest creatures from Volo’s Guide to Monsters‘ Goliath entry, we can see that Goliaths are between 7 and 8 feet tall and can weigh between 280 and 340 pounds.
So height-wise he’s Medium. However, Thanos is a bulky dude. According to an interview with Josh Brolin, the actor who plays Thanos, Thanos weighs somewhere around 700 lbs. One might think this pushes him up to Large, however, ogres, which are probably the prototypical example of Large, stand 9 to 10 feet tall and weigh close to a thousand pounds. For real-world comparisons, Horses are 8 feet in length but weigh between 840 lbs and 2,200 lbs (Wikipedia, Horse).
Thanos just barely misses the requirements to reach Large. At 8 feet and 700 pounds, he’s just a very big Medium.
Thanos’ size is Medium.
Fortunately, size made this decision easy. Had Thanos been Large, I would have immediately said that he’s a giant. An outer space giant, sure, but a giant nonetheless. But as I showed above, he’s only Medium. And as far as I’ve seen there aren’t any Medium-sized giants.
Some may argue he’s an aberration because he’s an alien. Yet, aberration assumes that his mind works vastly different than a humanoid, which it doesn’t.
Yes, he’s totally bonkers nutsy coo-coo, but in a way that other humanoids can (mostly) understand.
Thanos’ type is humanoid (titan).
Controversy time. Arguments could go on for days about Thanos’ alignment. At the end of the day, whatever I put will make someone groan, throw up a finger, and snort, “Actuaaaallllyy…” and that’s fine. But I need an alignment, so I’m going to go with my gut on this.
First things first, we can knock out the easy one: Thanos is evil. You might argue that he’s doing what he does for the “greater good”, but at the end of the day, wiping out life is just plain ol’ evil, even if he thinks it’s good. Plus, he’s abusive, petty, and ruthless. This is a dude who made his daughters fight each other to prove who was strongest; then cut away pieces from the loser. He ruined the hands of Eitri, the dwarf who created his gloves. He decimated Xandar. Not even concordance-obsessed true neutral goes to those extremes. That’s evil.
What about his ethical alignment? Thanos has well-organized armies, plenty of resources, and doesn’t mind using the system to get his way. So that says lawful.
On the other hand, he’s a conqueror who’s got no issue with tearing up planets to get his way. Plus, Thanos rules by fear. That says chaotic.
What to do when you’re stuck between lawful and chaotic? You go with neutral.
“What if Thanos was a fiend?”
Think of it this way. What if Thanos was a fiend? Devils are incredibly organized. In the Blood War, they push back the relentless demon hordes that vastly outnumber them because they employ cunning and strategy.
However, Devils live by contracts and insane bureaucracy. That’s not something Thanos would do.
On the other side of The Blood War are the demons. Demons are a hot mess. The only way they stand a chance against the devils is through sheer numbers. Balors whip the backs of the lesser demons to urge them forward like red, horned commissars. They’re incredibly chaotic. But if you saw Thanos’ ranks marching forward at the end of Avengers: Endgame, you’d know that’s not Thanos.
That’s why I believe that if Thanos were a fiend, he’d be a yugoloth. Organized, fearful, and evil as hell, but not afraid to get dirty when he has to.
Thanos’ alignment is neutral evil.
We know from Thanos’ target CR that his AC should be somewhere around 19. But I don’t think that’s a natural number.
What’s interesting about Thanos is that he wears armor while he doesn’t possess the Infinity Gauntlet, but sheds it once he picks up the Space Stone in Avengers: Infinity War. This tells me that the Space Stone probably gives some magical armor class bonuses (odd that the Power Stone doesn’t, but whatever–it may be the Space Stone gives a bonus to Dex?).
His armor looks a bit like plate. But full or half? I’m going to guess half plate and here’s why. He’s pretty mobile in the armor, which says to me that he gets his Dex bonus (this probably gives us a hint to what his Dex is, too). Half plate offers 15 + Dex modifier (max 2). Thanos isn’t the type of guy who’d just own some crappy half-plate either. His flying double sword thingie looks Eitri-made (it can come back to him on command like Mjolnir and Stormbreaker), so there’s a pretty solid chance that he had his armor special made, too. Besides, this is the toughest dude in the whole damn universe, so let’s just give him the best of the best with +3 half plate.
Thanos’ armor class is 20 (+3 half plate).
One last thing, though. Thanos is incredibly tough even without his armor. If he’s not wearing armor, it’s highly likely he’s got natural armor, too. I think a 13 + his Dexterity bonus seems reasonable. So without his magical half plate, Thanos probably has an AC of 15 (natural armor). This, of course, is boosted once he picks up the Space Stone.
Time for math, kiddos.
We know from Thanos’ CR 30, that he’s supposed to have his hit points land somewhere around 806 – 850. His AC is 20, so he’s not going to get any level adjustments from that (at least not right away).
And we haven’t started building on his resistances, yet, but we can assume that he’s probably got a boatload of those (however, CR 17+ creatures don’t get any virtual hit points from resistances).
Using our “hit points budget” I’ll start brainstorming some abilities for Thanos that will either a) give him effective hit points, such as Legendary Resistance or b) shift his defensive CR down due to an effective AC bonus.
Note: this is some pretty advanced stuff. I recommend checking out page 274 of the DMG for details on how to do this stuff.
What are Thanos’ special defensive traits?
Here are the different powers that will affect Thanos’ defensive challenge rating. You can read the whole list on page 280 of the DMG:
- Avoidance. Basically, this is Evasion, but for whatever reason, when monsters have it it’s called Avoidance. Avoidance adjusts effective AC by 1. This is a possibility.
- Constrict. Doesn’t really make sense for Thanos, so we’ll ignore this.
- Fiendish Blessing. Works like Unarmored Defense, but with Charisma. Cool, but not really necessary for Big Purp.
- Frightful Presence. This increases the monster’s effective hit points by 25% if the monster is meant to face characters of 10th level or lower. So that won’t work.
- Legendary Resistance. Per day usage offers up +30 effective hp. Thanos is definitely getting at least three of these.
- Magic Resistance. This increases the monster’s effective AC by 2. I can see Thanos having MR, for sure.
- Nimble Escape. Made famous by goblins, this is one of the best abilities for monsters in the entire game. It offers up a +4 bonus to effective AC and attack. But Thanos is a “come at me, bro” brute, not a hide and shoot type.
- Parry. This increases effective AC by an amount equal to the parry bonus. For sure Thanos would have this, especially with his sword thingie.
- Possession. Nah.
- Psychic Defense. See Fiending Blessing.
- Regeneration. Thanos is tough but doesn’t seem to have the powers of regeneration. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been so messed up after blowing up the stones, which I’m guessing reduced his hit point maximum.
- Relentless. This is the power that half-orcs get. Basically, if the creature takes damage that would reduce it to 0 hit points or less, it is reduced to 1 hit point instead. Seeing as Thanos took an axe to the chest and could still snap his fingers (and live), I’m going to say he’s got this. It’s worth an additional 28 effective hit points.
- Shadow Stealth. Again, Thanos isn’t a stealthy guy, so we’ll skip this.
- Stench. I mean, I doubt he changes his deodorant regularly, but that doesn’t mean he’s super stinky.
- Superior Invisibility. Nah.
- Undead Fortitude. Cool, but Thanos already has Relentless which is kind of the same thing but saving throw based. Perhaps I’ll combine the two effects?
In addition to all of these cool abilities, there are a few other factors that can increase effective hit points and armor class.
- Resistances and Immunities. Thanos definitely has some of these, but I have a hard time believing it’s on the immunity end of the spectrum. Really, the question isn’t so much “what is Thanos resistant to”, but “what isn’t Thanos resistant to?” Since Mantis had some effect on him, he’s probably not so hot against psychic. Virtually nothing is resistant to radiant or force, so we’ll leave those in, too. And necrotic doesn’t make a lot of sense either.
- Flying. Creatures that can fly get a +2 effective AC bonus. Thanos can’t fly. Unless he has his Thanoscopter, of course.
- Saving Throw Bonuses. Yeah, I’m going to give Thanos bonuses in all saves. That gives him an effective AC bonus of 4.
Okay, so now we have an idea of all of Thanos’ special abilities. To organize them a bit more, here they are below:
- Saving Throw Bonuses. Thanos has 6 saving throw proficiencies. AC +4.
- Magic Resistance. Thanos has resistance to magic. AC +2.
- Legendary Resistance (3/Day). Thanos can ignore failed saving throws three times per day. Effective hit points +90.
- Parry. I think Thanos should have the biggest, fattest parry in all of D&D. Death Knights get 6 for their parry,
so I want Thanos to have 8. AC +8.Reddit user
gaylordqueen69, parry is actually proficiency bonus added to AC. Never noticed that! Adjusted!
- Relentless/Undead Fortitude. This gives Thanos another +28 effective hit points.
Some quick math.
Phew! Now that we know all that, we just have to reverse engineer all of it so we can figure out his hit points and hit dice. Here is how I’m going to do it:
- First, I’m going to give Thanos 850 hit points as a placeholder, making him the biggest, baddest guy in all the universe.
- Next, I’m going to subtract the 28 and 90 effective hit points offered by Legendary Resistance and Relentless. That puts him at 732.
- Then, I need to total up all the effective AC bonuses and divide those by 2. That’s 7. That means I need to subtract 7 levels of defensive CR from the starting point of defensive CR 28 where the 732 effective hit points would land him.
- That leaves me with actual hit points of 401 – 445 hit points.
I want to go full swing with this, so I’m giving Thanos the full 445.
To determine his hit dice, I’ll have to divide that number by the average hit points per hit dice. As a Medium creature, Thanos uses d8s as his hit dice, for an average of 4.5.
What is Thanos’ Constitution modifier?
If things couldn’t get any more complicated with Hit Dice, I’ll need to determine his Constitution modifier in advance.
Constitution and Strength usually have strong correlations. And it’s easier to determine a creature’s Strength in movies than its Constitution (unless it drinks poison or something).
Thanos is easily one of the strongest–if not the strongest–beings in the universe. He overpowered Hulk, remember? Hulk is probably Large size and in Fifth Edition Large tops out at 26 (you can see my break down of Strength stats in this article). If the Hulk is Strength 26, then Thanos is probably around there, too, with just a single point more–his mod isn’t better, but on a good day he could best the Hulk in Strength-vs-Strength grappling.
So Thanos’ Strength is 27, making him, by far, the strongest Medium creature ever. Pit Fiends’ have Constitution 24 compared to their Strength 26. And Solars have Consitution 25 compared to their Strength 26. I think it’s safe to put Thanos in the Constitution 25 bucket, offering up a +7 bonus to his hit points per hit die.
Final Hit Point Math
Finally, now that I know Thanos’ special traits, saves, hit points, and Constitution score, I can finally come up with his hit dice by dividing 445 by 11.5. That’s a whopping 38 hit dice.
Thanos’ has 437 hit points (38d8 + 266).
Whoops! I doublechecked my math on this and saw that after the virtual AC hike, it’d push him over 30. So I had to shed off a few hit dice. That’s why it’s good to always double-check your math, kiddos!
Thanos’ has 414 hit points (36d8 + 252).
Jesus, hit points took forever, didn’t it? Thankfully speed is easy. Thanos is fast, but not unnaturally so. His speed is 30 ft.
Thankfully, I figured out his physical stats fairly quickly. So we can knock those out right away.
Thanos’ Strength is on par with the strongest of all Large creatures, so his Strength is 27 (+8).
Thanos is quick as hell, but not supernaturally so. In fact, Spiderman is a little faster than he is. I think we can safely give Thanos a Dexterity score of 15 (+2), which gives him panther-like reflexes.
Thanos’ Constitution score correlates strongly with his Strength, so he’s got a Constitution score of 25 (+7).
“You’re not the only one cursed with knowledge,” Thanos remarked to Tony Stark. While I don’t think Thanos is as smart as Tony, I also don’t think he’s a total dummy. Tony Stark is probably somewhere in the realm of 19-20 Intelligence. I don’t think Thanos would be far behind. I think an 18 (+4) is pretty comfortable here. That would put Thanos on par with the androsphinxes, ancient dragons, aboleths, and other awesome masterminds, but still not the crazy-genius level of Tony Stark and liches.
I think where Thanos’ probably shines is in his Wisdom. Mantis was powerful in her ability to make him sleep in Infinity War, but Thanos was clearly breaking free. Furthermore, Wisdom is all about determination and perception. It’s about willpower. Thanos has a ton of willpower. Nothing can stop him from his goal. I think a near-celestial Wisdom score of 22 (+6) should suffice.
Charisma is a funny thing. A lot of people correlate Charisma with looks and charm. But Charisma is also about a creature’s presence and sheer force of will or self-awareness, which Thanos has plenty of.
I haven’t calculated Charisma like the other stats, but I think it’s fair to give him at least “above normal high” Charisma. If we consider that Dormammu is a demon prince with a Charisma score around 25, then I think it’s safe to give Thanos a Charisma score of 22.
Thanos’ abilities scores are as follows: Str 27 (+8), Dex 15 (+2), Con 25 (+7), Int 18 (+4), Wis 22 (+6), Cha 22 (+6).
Note: normally, I probably wouldn’t award a “humanoid” such high stats, but Thanos has to be larger than life. It almost makes me want to make him a fiend instead of a humanoid. Something to meditate on, I guess.
All of them. Duh.
Thanos is proficient in all saving throws.
So what is Thanos good at?
Thanos is a wrestler and tough as nails. So he’s got Athletics. However, nothing he seems to do in the films screams Dex monkey, so we’ll skip those. Thanos is “cursed with Knowledge”, so I think that he’s probably got plenty of Arcana (basically, knowledge of the Stones, etc) and History. He’s definitely Insightful and Perceptive. Finally, he’s Intimidating as hell.
Thanos is proficient in Arcana, Athletics, History, Insight, Intimidation, and Perception.
Vulnerabilities, Resistances, and Immunities
Thanos has no vulnerabilities (that we know of). However, as I pointed out above, he’s probably got plenty of resistances: acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, thunder; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons. Until he’s got the gauntlet on, it doesn’t seem like he’s particularly immune to anything. Just tough AF.
For conditions, I don’t foresee him being immune to a whole lot, believe it or not. One might think he can’t be charmed or frightened, but Mantis’ powers probably only work on creatures that can be charmed. We never see Thanos’ frightened, but we never see anyone try to frighten him, either.
Plus, the guy has saving throws for days, so whatev.
Thanos is resistant to damage from acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, thunder; as well as bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons.
Thanos doesn’t strike me as someone who can see in the dark since he always fights in the light. His passive Perception is huge, though. Not much gets by him.
Thanos’ passive Perception is 25.
It’s likely that Thanos can speak at least four or five languages. But we only ever see him speaking “English” (aka Common). Chances are he’s got some sort of universal translator that allows him to speak all languages, so we’ll just say “all” to make things easy.
Thanos can speak all languages (with a universal translator).
I identified a handful of special traits already that help Thanos’ defensive abilities. Those were Legendary Resistance, Magic Resistance, and the “Relentless” traits. But what else should Thanos have?
The thing about Thanos is that he’s got insane action economy. That means he gets a ton of attacks each turn, even before he gets the Infinity Gauntlet. I’ve already given him a wicked parry bonus with his two-handed sword thingie fueled by his reaction. But he probably needs something good for his bonus attack, too.
I think we can learn a few things from his hand-to-hand combat with Hulk in Infinity War. Thanos definitely has some fighting chops. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that he’s almost got “monk-level” fighting skills. Therefore, I think a “Flurry of Blows”-like ability makes sense for him to pick up as a bonus action.
Beyond that? I can’t think of too much else. He doesn’t really seem to have any Innate Spellcasting or Spellcasting in general (sans Gauntlet, that is).
Thanos has the Flurry of Blows, Legendary Resistance, Magic Resistance, and Relentless traits.
Note: as I’m writing this, I realize I might have to come back to this section while filling out Thanos’ actions.
Actions, Reactions, and Legendary Actions
Okay. We’re finally out of the defensive region of Thanos’ build. Now on to the damage-per-round side of Thanos’ build. That means I need to account for a +14 bonus to his attack plus 303 – 320 damage-per-round.
I know from his Strength and proficiency bonus that Thanos’ attacks will be at +16. And if he’s using a +3 magic weapon (see below), that’s +19. That means I need to drop down his damage per round to compensate for the higher-than-normal attack bonus. Just like I did with effective AC, I’ll take his actual attack bonus and subtract what it should be and divide by 2 to determine the number of Offensive Challenge Rating levels to reduce his DPR by.
Doing this, we end up with an Offensive CR of 28, for damage of 267 – 284.
In Avengers: Endgame, Thanos has an Asgardian-level power weapon that’s like a massive double-bladed sword that can spin around and return to his hand on command. I’m going to guess that since he didn’t have to torture Eitri into making the Gauntlet in the alternate reality, he probably forced the dwarf to create this thing instead. That means it’s at least a legendary weapon, probably with a +3 bonus. Plus, it’s massive, nearly as tall as a non-Thanos-sized person. I see it as a Large greatsword on each side, therefore, it probably deals 4d6 slashing damage. That means just a single hit of the “Thanos sword” deals an average of 24 damage on a hit (4d6 + 10).
Thanos can toss it, too, letting it spin around the battlefield. That seems like a rechargeable ability or at least requires the use of a Legendary Action. It probably won’t get his Strength bonus when used this way, but I think it’s likely it can hit creatures with both ends of itself (plus it still gets the +3 magical bonus). So it deals 8d6 + 3 magical slashing damage on a hit to two creatures on average for a total of 62 damage. Meanwhile, Thanos’ brawls with his fists.
Speaking of Thanos’ hands, I gave him Flurry of Blows earlier. I think Thanos’ attacks are on par with massive slam attacks from Large creatures. So, 2d6 bludgeoning damage per fist feels right. That gives him an average of 14 hit points of damage per fist, or 28 when he uses his Flurry of Blows.
So where are we so far on attacks?
- Thanos’ sword hits on +19 and deals 24 slashing damage on a hit when he wields it himself.
- Thanos can mentally command his magic sword to fly around the battlefield (maybe as a Legendary Action?) while he brawls with his fists. The sword deals an average of 62 damage when used this way.
- Thanos can use Flurry of Blows as a bonus action, so that’s 28 more bludgeoning damage.
That only puts us at 114 damage. Still another 153 to account for.
We need more damage, damn it!
First, I’ll toss in Multiattack. Each Multiattack with his sword will increase its damage output by 24.
Let’s assume he’s a Fighter that’s taken the Fighting Style of Two-Weapon Fighting, allowing him to add his ability modifier to his second attack. So let’s say he can do an insane 6 attacks with his sword thingie. That’s a total damage output of 144 slashing damage with his sword thingie. Toss back in Legendary Actions which allows him to throw the sword, and his flurry of blows, we’re at 234 damage per round. Almost there.
I think the best thing to do here is to make up the rest of Thanos’ attack with Legendary Actions. All we really need is one more attack with his flying sword. So I think the best thing to do is to make it so that he can toss his sword with a Legendary Action, then use another Legendary Action to attack an adjacent creature. Each hit deals 31 damage if a creature fails its Dexterity saving throw to avoid it.
Let me show you how his “perfect round of damage” for Thanos goes:
- Thanos uses his action and makes six sword attacks, each dealing 24 damage. That’s 144 damage.
- Thanos makes two flurry of blows attacks with his bonus action, each dealing 14 damage. That’s 28 damage.
- Thanos throws his sword thingie and hits a creature, dealing 31 damage. This costs a Legendary Action.
- Thanos uses a second Legendary Action to send his sword hurling into another creature. That’s another 31 damage.
- Thanos uses a third Legendary Action and hits another creature. That’s yet another 31 damage.
Boom. 265 damage. Nailed it.
Oh yeah, don’t forget his parry ability as a reaction.
And, since Thanos is a great leader of massive armies, a nice little ribbon like Leadership would be cool.
Finally, some additional powers that allow Thanos to control the battlefield would be super useful, so I’ll toss those into his Legendary Action menu.
Thanos’ has a Multiattack that allows him to make six attacks with his +3 double-bladed oversized greatsword, or he can make three attacks with his fists. He then has Legendary Actions which allow him to throw his sword and control the direction it goes.
Putting It All Together
Okay. And that’s the end of my notes for Thanos. Phew!
Time to put him together and make sure that the math adds up.
Ladies and gentlemen, here he is in all his purple glory, Thanos the Mad Titan:
Thanos the Mad Titan
Medium humanoid (titan), neutral evil
Armor Class 20 (+3 half plate)
Hit Points 414 (36d8 + 252)
Speed 30 ft.
Abilities Str 27 (+8), Dex 15 (+2), Con 25 (+7), Int 18 (+4), Wis 22 (+6), Cha 22 (+6)
Saving Throws Str +17, Dex +11, Con +16, Int +13, Wis +15, Cha +15
Skills Arcana +13, Athletics +17, History +15, Insight +15, Intimidation +15, Perception +15
Damage Resistances acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, thunder; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Senses passive Perception 25
Languages all (with universal translator)
Challenge 30 (155,000 XP)
Flurry of Blows. Immediately after Thanos uses his Multiattack action or takes the Attack action on his turn, he can make two fist attacks as a bonus action.
Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If Thanos fails a saving throw, he can choose to succeed instead.
Magic Resistance. Thanos has advantage on saving throws against spells and magical effects.
Titan’s Fortitude. If damage reduces Thanos to 0 hit points, he must make a Wisdom saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken. On a success, Thanos drops to 1 hit point instead.
Multiattack. Thanos makes six greatsword attacks or three fist attacks.
+3 Double-Greatsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +19 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 24 (4d6 + 10) slashing damage.
Fist. Melee Weapon Attack: +16 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d6 + 7) bludgeoning damage.
Leadership (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). For 1 minute, Thanos can utter a special command or warning whenever a nonhostile creature that he can see within 30 feet of him makes an attack roll or saving throw. The creature can add a d6 to its roll provided it can hear and understand Thanos. A creature can benefit from only one Leadership die at a time. This effect ends if Thanos is incapacitated.
Grasp. If a creature makes an attack against Thanos and misses, Thanos can use his reaction to make a fist attack against the attacker. If the attack hits, instead of dealing damage, the attacker is grappled (escape DC 27).
Parry. Thanos adds 9 to his AC against one melee attack that would hit him. To do so, Thanos must see the attacker and be wielding his +3 double-greatsword.
Thanos can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. Thanos regains spent legendary actions at the start of his turn.
Attack. Thanos makes a greatsword or fist attack.
Whirlwind Blade. If Thanos is holding his +3 double-greatsword, Thanos can use this legendary action in one of the following ways:
- Thanos throws his +3 double-greatsword at a creature he can see within 30 feet of him. The creature must succeed on a DC 24 Dexterity saving throw or take 31 (6d8 + 3) slashing damage.
- If Thanos has already thrown his +3 double greatsword at a creature, he can then make the sword fly an additional 30 feet and hit another creature, requiring the creature to make a Dexterity saving throw as noted above.
- Thanos can move his greatsword up to 60 feet.
While Thanos’ sword is flying, he can use his bonus action to move his greatsword up to 60 feet and catch it with an empty hand. If Thanos uses this Legendary Action and does not return his greatsword to his hand before the end of his next turn, the greatsword lands in its current space, requiring Thanos to pick it up before he can use this Legendary Action again.
Mean Right Hook (Costs 2 Actions). Thanos makes a fist attack. If the attack hits, the target takes damage as normal, is knocked back 10 feet, falls prone in its space, and must make a DC 24 Constitution saving throw. On a failed saving throw, the target is stunned until the start of Thanos’ next turn.
Overpower (Costs 3 Actions). Thanos breaks free of any nonmagical restraints, such as manacles or a creature that has him grappled. He can then move up to his full movement speed.
Wow. What a workload. When I started writing this, I never imagined that I’d get all the way to 5,000’ish words. But I think that as far as tough melee combatants go, this is about as good as it gets.
Hopefully, you’ll agree that he’s balanced.
As all things should be.
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Images by Disney/Marvel.
10 thoughts on “Thanos the Mad Titan | New NPC for Fifth Edition (Major Spoilers)”
I absolutely love this. His medium size, humanoid type, and his absurdly high stats all make a lot of sense, considering his appearances in the movies, especially fighting in Endgame. And he is also a half-Eternal or something so it makes sense ancestrally that he would be a total beefcake like this. Exceptionally well done. Thank you.
This is awesome, but the attacks feel completely wrong. Thanos is NOT the 6+2 attacks, marilith-ish type combatant, but more the “if you survived a fist it means you’re a superhero” type. I’d lower his multiattack to 3 with the sword or fists, but make the fists 4-5d6 or so and the sword 6d6 (while reducing or increasing legendary action damage as necessary). That’s still total 5+legendary attacks per round.
Sure, the 2/4 dice per attack fit his size more, but no (or barely any) creature of CR 20+ deals that little damage per attack.
Also Thanos’ fists do beat up the Hulk, and so do Thor’s in Ragnarok to a lesser extent. And Thor’s fists destroy SPACESHIPS in that same movie (and he’s no siege monster like Hulk). So Thanos’ fists should be able to destroy rock and metal while not being a siege monster either- that’d mean much more than flimsy 2d6 per fist.
Great stat block! Are you still planning on stating the rest of the Infinity Stone so we can see how OP he’d be fully kitted out?
At that point he just becomes Deus Ex. 😂
+3 full plate puts his AC at 21.
You are correct! Not sure how I missed that. Thanks!
Oh you know what. It was supposed to be half plate. That’s why. Duh
1). Thanos is “LARGE” Size, so why not give him D10 for his Hit Dice? That would improve his Hit point total to a nice, round, 450hp with 36HD.
2). Thanos is a Legendary Character, at least the equivalent of a Minor Deity in other Settings. So why can’t he have Full Plate [for AC18], and gain his full Dexterity modifier, due to a eg. a special bespoke property of the Armour? Call it “Mobile”, or similar. He seems to exhibit “Freedom of Movement” – type properties, which would strongly seem to indicate that despite his Armour type, he receives full Dexterity modifier.
Thanks for the suggestions. However, Thanos is balanced. As all things should be. 😉
I love your take on Thanos and how to approach CR 30 monsters! It taught me a lot about how to design my own.
Math alert: his sword to hit should be +20 (like his str save & athletics) with +11 to damage, and his fist to hit should be +17 with +8 damage. So when I did the CR math I got 532 effective HP with an effective AC of 27, which would put his defensive CR at 27. With +20 to hit and 270 damage/round, his offensive CR is 31 which comes to a final CR of 29.
To bump up his defensive CR you could give him up to 44 HD for 624 effective HP, which gives him a defensive CR of 29 for a final CR of 30.