As part of the Phase Four of the MCU, «The Falcon and the Winter Soldier» is scheduled to premiere on March 19, 2021, running for six episodes. And as we usually do once in a while, let’s turn the two protagonists of this new TV show into D&D characters. They look pretty straight-forward, so we’ll take the chance and do both in one article.
“Yes sir, Cap! I won’t let you down.”
As usual, before we start, we’ll run a quick reminder of the rules we set as our standard in order to transform pop culture icons into D&D characters:
- This will be done following the rules for the 5th Edition. Core rules, official supplements and Unearthed Arcana content are fair game.
- Sometimes we’ll pick a rules element for mechanic purposes. If it’s just for that, we’ll probably suggest flavorful re-doings for such elements.
- The build is not meant to be optimized, but to reflect the character as much as possible.
- Finally, we will follow the step-by-step character creation process as it is shown in the Player’s Handbook, but brace up for the unexpected when it comes to going beyond first level.
Alright! Let’s get this thing started!
The Longest Winter
Our first guest today is Bucky Barnes, as he showed up first in the MCU. James Buchanan «Bucky» Barnes was brought back from his supposed death to be a brainwashed assassin called the Winter Soldier. Reformed by his friends, he now fights alongside the Avengers.
What do we need to represent his powers? Let’s see: Bucky Barnes is a notable marksman with skills cultivated while fighting for the US Army during World War II and expanded upon during his time as the Winter Soldier; he has a super strong cybernetic left arm, replacing the one he lost during World War II (in the MCU, after his first cybernetic arm was destroyed by Iron Man, a new one was created for him in Wakanda); his combat skills amplified by HYDRA, he’s an incredibly quick and fearsome opponent in hand-to-hand combat and has been known to use bladed weapons with deadly speed and precision; and due to his training with the Russians, Barnes has also become a master assassin with super spy capabilities.
The build is not complicated nor difficult: the Winter Soldier has Soldier as background and this is not only fitting but also optimal for the Human Fighter combination we have selected. Choosing the variant Human will give you access to a handy feat (such as Sharpshooter or Crossbow Expert are both great choices replacing the firearms for handy crossbows in the game) and choosing Archery as fighting style and Gunslinger (if your DM allows Critical Role material, Champion if he doesn’t) as archetype will give you a pretty solid idea of the kind of character we’re building. We’ll need to use a particular Eberron magic item that is so fitting it’s impossible not to include: Prosthetic Limb. A few levels of Rogue will give the assassin trope skills you need to round up the character, but more than three are unnecessary unless you want to keep accumulating Sneak Attack bonus dice damage.
A very different Bird of Prey
When Captain America asked Air Force Veteran Sam Wilson for help, Wilson immediately agreed. He donned the flight suit he’d used in combat to become the Falcon, setting him on a path towards becoming an Avenger.
The thing about Sam Wilson is that he actually doesn’t have super powers. He is a highly trained member of the United States Air Force, and as such he mastered the EXO-7 Falcon flight suit. Thanks to first his military training and then the Avengers program, Wilson has become an incredible combatant, using a combination of his suit, firearms, and fighting skills to best his enemies. And of course, Redwing, a weaponized drone that Wilson can use for both surveillance and combat, also comes as part of the package.
Just as with Bucky, The Falcon is not a difficult build, but we have two very different approaches. The technology elements makes us think about the Artificer as a class, but we didn’t pick it because Sam doesn’t actually create his equipment. We were tempted to make him an aarakocra so he could fly, but Sam is not able to fly without his flight suit. Besides, since this is an adaptation, we can manage to have all those elements with a more… natural approach. That’s why we made him a Human Ranger with the Archery fighting style and the Beastmaster archetype. Ironically, Redwing could be an eagle, not a falcon, which is CR 0, but because of the color and a higher CR, we suggest a Blood Hawk. Just as with Bucky, we’ll focus Sam with ranged attacks with the same selection of feats.
For the EXO-7 flight suit, any magic items that grants flying can be reflavored with your DM’s blessing, which shouldn’t be hard to get given it’s just a change of look. The first item that comes to our mind is the Broom of Flying, of course.
- Race: Human (variant) (PH 104)
- Classes: Fighter (PH 70), Ranger (PH 89), Rogue (PH 94)
- Background: Soldier (PH 140)
- Feats: Crossbow Expert (PH 165), Sharpshooter (PH 170)
- Archetypes: Gunslinger (D&D Beyond), Beastmaster (PH 93)
- Magic Items: Prosthetic Limb (ERfLW 278), Broom of Flying (DMG 156)
I know what you’re thinking: my Characters with Class articles use to be quite longer… it must be that martial characters don’t inspire me that much as spellcasters of some sorts, and in this case both characters lack special super powers to convert to D&D. I must admit I have no idea what someone trying to play as any of them is actually thinking, hehe. Do you have any other ideas to make them more special without losing their comic identity? Please share them in the comments! In the meantime, enjoy the first episode of «The Falcon and the Winter Soldier» this Friday on Disney+.