In honor of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves coming to theatres— and with me being a huge nerd who spends his free time as a D&D Dungeon Master, I have come up with various members of the Baltimore Ravens as Player Characters. This is quite possibly the silliest thing I’ve published...ever. Cheers.
Sub-Class: Battle Master
Considering who and what Harbaugh would be as a playable character (PC) in Dungeons & Dragons was the inspiration for this article and how quickly I decided he was a Battle Master Fighter made it all the more enjoyable and worthwhile.
Battle Master Fighters are a dominant class. Just consider the features from DND Beyond.
Learn about your enemy’s abilities through careful observation.
Improve the power of your maneuvers.
Perform maneuvers more frequently.
All three are obvious accolades in Harbaugh’s trophy case. He’s learned from his enemy’s abilities by studying hours upon hours of game film. He’s improved the power of his roster through maneuvers in the roster. He’s been granted the freedom to perform changes as he sees fit to his roster and coaching staff throughout his tenure as head coach of the team.
Also, Manuevers refer to different actions in D&D. The ones Harbaugh spams in game are Commander’s Strike and Tactical Assessment.
Commander’s Strike — When you take the Attack action on your turn, you can forgo one of your attacks and use a bonus action to direct one of your companions to strike. When you do so, choose a friendly creature who can see or hear you and expend one superiority die. That creature can immediately use its reaction to make one weapon attack, adding the superiority die to the attack’s damage roll.
Tactical Assessment — When you make an Intelligence (Investigation), an Intelligence (History), or a Wisdom (Insight) check, you can expend one superiority die and add the superiority die to the ability check.
Both things you can consider as abilities of a coach.
Harbaugh is a peculiar case for being a Battle Master Fighter, though. His highest scores would be in Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma, when you’d prefer your Fighter’s greatest ability scores be in Strength, Dexterity and Constitution. But to place him as something else wouldn’t be correct. As a head coach, Harbaugh is a Battle Master Fighter.
He’s not nicknamed the Wizard of Oz because he’s a Paladin, though I’d argue it makes sense seeing as the former General Manager was a Hall of Fame tight end; literally a tank-style build in full plate armor (pads). I mean, remember those boulder shoulder pads?
But, for the Ravens, Newsome is a Wizard with a divination background. How else do you land Hall of Famers Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis in your first draft in your first two picks if those weren’t double natural 20’s as portent rolls? The draft is labeled a crap shoot, but not if you’re a studious wizard who changed the dice roll from a maybe to a certainty.
This is arguably the best pairing, starting with the description of the avian race of Aarakocra.
“Nowhere are the Aarakocra more comfortable than in the sky. In battle, they prove dynamic and acrobatic fliers, moving with remarkable speed and grace, diving to lash opponents with weapons or talons before turning and flying away. They sometimes forget or ignore vertical distances, and they have nothing but pity for those earthbound people forced to live and toil on the ground.”
The racial bonus for Aarakocra is a +2 to dexterity and +1 for wisdom. Reed, arguably one of the best safeties who commanded aerial supremacy, was a dexterous and wise player. By now everyone’s seen the clip of Peyton Manning sharing his brilliance, or the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady praising clip.
Rogues in 5e, especially Swashbuckler, are a min-max class that when played right, dominate. Sneak Attack has 10d6 damage and Reed has blasted opponents when their heads aren’t on a swivel.
Other features of the Rogue class include:
Cunning Action — Starting at 2nd level, your quick thinking and agility allow you to move and act quickly. You can take a bonus action on each of your turns in combat. This action can be used only to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.
Reed was a cunning player, who knew how to dash across the field, disengage blockers and hide. After all, Brady’s armband specifically said to “Find 20 on every play.”
Fancy Footwork — When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you learn how to land a strike and then slip away without reprisal. During your turn, if you make a melee attack against a creature, that creature can’t make opportunity attacks against you for the rest of your turn.
Reed wasn’t just a safety in the deep middle. He consistently made hits and plays, even in the backfield.
Part of the Swashbuckler subclass that applies to Reed:
Rakish Audacity — Starting at 3rd level, your confidence propels you into battle. You can give yourself a bonus to your initiative rolls equal to your Charisma modifier.
You also gain an additional way to use your Sneak Attack; you don’t need advantage on the attack roll to use your Sneak Attack against a creature if you are within 5 feet of it, no other creatures are within 5 feet of you, and you don’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.
Reed was a player that had the audacity to do what others wouldn’t and gain additional ways to gain Sneak Attack. Such as the audacity to turn his head and sprint the opposite way, goading Manning into throwing right into his arms. That’s audacity.
And, being arguably the greatest safety in NFL history gives him the Level 20 and with it, the capstone feature.
Stroke of Luck — At 20th level, you have an uncanny knack for succeeding when you need to. If your attack misses a target within range, you can turn the miss into a hit. Alternatively, if you fail an ability check, you can treat the d20 roll as a 20.
A little bit of luck goes a long way and Reed was greatness combined with fortune. As the saying goes, though, the harder one works the luckier they tend to be.
I’d argue this is another perfect pairing, starting with Half-Orc’s racial bonus giving a +2 to Strength and a +1 to Constitution. They also have some other impressive additions.
“Menacing — You gain proficiency in the Intimidation skill.”
Early on it was due to the mega shoulder pads and the violence the Ravens defenses played with.
Then, it was the custom facemask that NFL.com, writing, “as if Ray Lewis wasn’t intimidating enough, the future Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker wore this battle-worthy helmet...”
“Relentless Endurance — When you are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, you can drop to 1 hit point instead.”
Lewis never quit and even dealing with injury would continue to carry on.
“Savage Attacks — When you score a critical hit with a melee weapon attack, you can roll one of the weapon’s damage dice one additional time and add it to the extra damage of the critical hit.”
Who crushed players over the middle more than Lewis? He earns the extra damage dice on crits.
Of course, Lewis is a Paladin. A highly-religious individual who preached of God and his Oath of Devotion centers around his belief and faith suffusing him with power and strength.
The key characteristic of Paladins is Divine Smite, something that can make short work of some of the games’ strongest monsters. Ray had the same delivery when rocking running backs in the run-heavy 2000s and a poor wideout over the middle. Lewis was smiting players.
Also, Paladins gain spellcasting and it’s done through their Charisma modifier, unlike other classes that use Wisdom or Intelligence. This helps lend to Lewis being a Paladin instead of a multi-classed spellcaster. But we all know those spell slots are being used on smiting, instead.
Also, Oath of Devotion’s Channel Divinity:
“Sacred Weapon — As an action, you can imbue one weapon that you are holding with positive energy, using your Channel Divinity. For 1 minute, you add your Charisma modifier to attack rolls made with that weapon (with a minimum bonus of +1). If the weapon is not already magical, it becomes magical for the duration.”
Turn the Unholy — As an action, you present your holy symbol and speak a prayer censuring fiends and undead, using your Channel Divinity. Each fiend or undead that can see or hear you within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes damage.
The speech-giving, playmaking paladin of prayer was a weapon and believed that no weapon formed against him shall prosper.
K Justin Tucker
Race: Variant Aasimar
Sub-Class: Colossus Slayer
Justin Tucker is the most accurate kicker in NFL history. He’s the maxed-out Ranger and I will not be taking questions.
As a Variant Aasimar, Tucker has Celestial blood. All Ravens fans would say Tucker is a gift from the heavens above and this reflects it. His sub class is Colossus Slayer, seeing as Tucker’s field goal kicking in Year 1 was a double overtime slaying of the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos, this pairs perfectly.
Features of Ranger from DND Beyond:
Steel Will: You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
Volley: You can use your action to make a ranged attack against any number of creatures within 10 feet of a point you can see within your weapon’s range. You must have ammunition for each target, as normal, and you make a separate attack roll for each target.
Stand Against the Tide: When a hostile creature misses you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to force that creature to repeat the same attack against another creature (other than itself) of your choice.
Who epitomizes Steel Will more than a rookie kicker hitting a double overtime winner in the frigid Rocky Mountains against the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos? A 66-yard game-winning record-breaking field goal? The most accurate kicker in NFL history?
As for Volley, we obviously have to increase the range to 65+ feet, but Tucker can make attacks from greater distances without penalty that denies others.
There have been times when defenders have jumped offside and as a result force a kicker to repeat the same attack. It’s essentially icing the kicker and Tucker gets the same chance to attack.
Rapid Fire Stuff
Kevin Zeitler as a Goliath race for obvious reasons.
- Proficiency in Athletics
- Stone’s Endurance — You can focus yourself to occasionally shrug off injury. When you take damage, you can use your reaction to roll a d12.
- Mountain Born — You have resistance to cold damage. You’re also acclimated to high altitude, including elevations above 20,000 feet.
Kevin Zeitler: Built Different pic.twitter.com/yVgyzpSmPr— Kyle Phoenix Barber (@KylePBarber) December 24, 2022
Ronnie Stanley is a monk. His nicknames traditionally include ‘guru’ and he’s never been the vocally violent one. He approaches the game like a peaceful warrior.
J.K. Dobbins is a druid, seeing as his new nickname has been ‘El Toro.’