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I'm looking to make a character based on Rapunzel from the movie, Tangled. I'm not sure which direction to do to represent all her abilities: skills? Supernatural abilities? Spells? Some are pretty straightforward - cooking, housecleaning, tumbling, climbing, painting... but what about her animal companion, or her hair?

How to best represent Rapunzel's abilities from Tangled in D&D in the simplest and non-raise-my-DM's-reject-reflex method? Ideally in 6 levels or less, if possible.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. What aspects of the character do you find most important to be represented in the D&D character? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jul 17 '20 at 22:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hello, and welcome to RPG.SE! This question could easily become mired in opinionated answers, so can you clarify what you mean by "best," perhaps with explicit goals of things you want your character to be able to do? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17 '20 at 23:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome! I'd recommend you add a list of powers, abilities, ... you want/need Rapunzel to have. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rayllum
    Jul 20 '20 at 16:28
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As with all “make this character in D&D” questions, we cannot—and should not—create Rapunzel perfectly. Rapunzel didn’t live in any D&D campaign setting, and doesn’t have the same context. Her world doesn’t have nearly as much or as powerful magic as D&D does—the magic healing that her story revolves around is rare and unique, but is trivially accessible by mid-level clerics.

Skills

Rapunzel has many talents and skills that she has built up over many years, to keep herself occupied.

Realistically, though, almost none of them have any bearing on adventuring, and so aren’t things that D&D concerns itself with. They are part of your backstory, not part of your character sheet. There isn’t really a skill for painting, or dressing up, or baking—you could use Craft, Perform, or Profession, but you will almost-certainly never use those skills.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use this background information to inform your skill choices. Some of it absolutely can matter—Jump and Tumble seem appropriate for Rapunzel’s gymnastics. Dressing up and so on might inform some ranks in Disguise. And so on.

Also, it generally speaks to the idea that Rapunzel should be a high-skill character. A 6th-level adventurer hasn’t been living in a tower by herself all her life, and a 6th-level D&D character has been dealing with the kinds of things that D&D characters deal with and has the kinds of skills that a 6th-level character should have.

Classes

There are many high-skill classes, but some are better than others. Here are some thoughts.

Rogue

Rogue gets the most skill points in the game, and (as we’ll touch on in the next section) seems to fit Rapunzel’s “right place at the right time” approach to combat. On the other hand, rogue is kind of a weak class in general, and much of it suggests a kind of underhanded approach that doesn’t seem to work for a literal Disney princess who literally glows.

Bard

Bard is also high-skill, and also intrinsically artistic, which is very nice. It’s also just a really strong class, particularly if you have a lot of source books available, and obviously it hits that “jack of all trades” note pretty strong. I have already written up a Q&A on how to make the most of bard.

Factotum

This class from Dungeonscape is awesome, and seems a great fit for Rapunzel—it is very much the “dabble in everything” class. Skill points are high, and absolutely-everything is in-class. There’s some sneak attack, there’s some arcane spells, there’s some turn undead, and so on. Remember when we were saying that this Rapunzel grew up in the world of D&D where these are things? Kinda sounds like the kind of thing she’d get into.

It’s also the class I’d pick for Indiana Jones, who seems oddly appropriate to me. It’s a very “make it up as I go along,” “better lucky than good,” and “make my own luck” kind of class. Very fitting with Rapunzel being at the right place at the right time.

Chameleon

This prestige class from Races of Destiny deserves a mention just for the name, because hah, but it’s also worth considering because, like the factotum, it is very much a “little of everything” class. Where the factotum has a little bit of everything, though, the chameleon gets one or two things at a time, which can change every day. They end up a bit better at that thing, but don’t have the other things unless they can wait a day.

A lot of people like to do factotum into chameleon, but personally I think it’s a little disappointing. I’d rather just finish factotum, myself. If you’re interested in chameleon, I’d probably instead consider a bard entry, or a multiclass mish-mash.

Fighting style

Touched upon above, Rapunzel is kind of innocuous, surprising opponents with sudden ferocity. There are some pretty good ways to consider doing that.

Weapon—a frying pan

Rapunzel fights with a frying pan... that’s hard. There is a drunken master prestige class, which works with improvised weapons, but it’s terrible, and there’s almost nothing you can do to salvage improvised weapons. Better to just get someone to make a masterwork frying pan, and then have it magically enhanced as a real weapon. It probably has the stats of a heavy mace, or maybe if your DM is generous, a warhammer.

Classes

There are many classes that seem to match Rapunzel’s fighting style, to me, including all of the above high-skill classes. There are others you might consider.

Swordsage

The swordsage from *Tome of Battle is an excellent martial artist, whose skills really lend themselves to the perfect application of force. Also, a pretty high-skill class, with 6+Int skill points.

Warblade

Also from Tome of Battle, the warblade is the ultimate weapons-master. More Intelligence-based, which is nice, though they don’t have native access to the Setting Sun discipline (which the swordsage does), which would be pretty appropriate (though you can use the Martial Study feat to pick up some if you really wanted).

Animal Companion or Familiar

Pascal is probably closer to a familiar in 3.5e parlance than an animal companion, but we could go either way on that one.

Classes

Obviously, there are classes that get animal companions and familiars—druid, ranger, sorcerer, wizard, most obviously. None of them seem like great fits for Rapunzel though?

Feats

As an alternative to classes, we could always take a feat.

Obtain Familiar

Complete Arcane offers Obtain Familiar, to allow any arcane class the opportunity to get a familiar. Could work with bard. Technically it probably doesn’t quite work, but you might also ask your DM to allow it with factotum.

Wild Cohort

This feat, from this Wild Life web enhancement, allows anyone to get an animal companion. It’s a fair bit weaker than a druid’s, but that’s fine—we’re looking for a chameleon, not a bear.

Magic Hair

Rapunzel’s most notable, unique feature is her magic hair.

Non-magic hair-as-weapon

Dungeon vol. 120 has an exotic weapon, the “braid blade,” which can be tied into a braid so that you can attack by whipping your hair at someone. Utterly preposterous, but shockingly effective: the braid blade is a free extra attack on top of all your other attacks. That’s easily worth a feat.

Still, not very like Rapunzel’s magic hair. She never directly attacks with it that I recall (instead preferring the frying pan), and instead uses it for grappling, tripping, and so on. And for that, we have... not much.

Matching flavor as written

D&D 3.5e doesn’t have any magic hair options, so it’s very difficult to make any kind of Rapunzel character using things as they’re written in the books. If you really need something in a book that says “you have magic hair,” then you might want to look further afield, namely,

White-Haired Witch (Pathfinder content easily adapted for 3.5e)

To get magic hair “out of the box,” so to speak, you could ask the DM to back-port the Pathfinder white-haired witch, which is all about magic hair. As an Intelligence-based class, you should have solid skill points with which to expand upon Rapunzel’s many skills (despite the witch’s 2+Int skills), and appropriately, the white-haired witch gives rogue talents at higher levels. Back-porting Pathfinder content is rarely difficult, and that’s true of the white-haired witch—you’d drop Fly from the skill list, and that’s about it.

Of course, that’s not 3.5e content, and also, honestly, the white-haired witch isn’t very good—despite the hair being a pretty good weapon, nothing else about the witch changes to make her a decent combatant, so you struggle to actually maintain grapples, and are far too squishy to be that close to enemies. Grappling means you aren’t spellcasting, and the witch is far better at spellcasting than grappling, which means a lot of the time you’re better off ignoring your hair—at which point you should probably have just kept your hexes, as those are pretty good. Any kind of multiclassing you do to improve on your combat capacity means you aren’t improving your hair, which hurts a lot.

Reflavoring actual 3.5e content

D&D 3.5e doesn’t have any option for magic hair, but we have plenty of things that do the kinds of things we expect magic hair to do, so with the DM’s permission, we can ignore how the books describe them, and apply our own descriptions of the same mechanics. This is known as reflavoring, and it’s a common way of handling unusual character concepts that the books don’t directly support. Make sure your DM is on board—many are, but not all, and it’s not something the books come out and endorse.

Tentacle Whip

Eberron Campaign Setting has the tentacle whip symbiont, which Magic of Eberron values at 8,000 gp, which is probably a bit too expensive for a 6th-level character but only barely; it’s a reasonable enough thing to have fairly-shortly thereafter. A 10th-level daelkyr half-blood (also Magic of Eberron) character can also have one as a racial feature.

Anyway, the tentacle whip has 15-foot reach, and can attack on its own once per round. It can trip and grapple and anything else you would want from it. It comes with a built-in poison, which you can probably ignore if you want—and maybe your DM would allow you to have one at 6th level if it didn’t have the poison.

Inhuman Reach and Deformity (Tall)

The white-haired witch’s white hair is special, primarily, because of its reach. Well, you can get tons of reach in 3.5e, too. Aberrant Blood and Inhuman Reach from Lords of Madness gives you an additional 5 feet of reach, and Willing Deformity and Deformity (Tall) from Book of Vile Darkness gives another 5 feet. As the source on the latter suggests, they are “Evil” feats, though you might ask your DM to ignore that since you’re reflavoring things anyway.

Anyway, four feats is a ton to spend, but getting 15-foot reach on all your attacks is pretty good.

Insectile Template

I made a character who did the magic hair thing, and what I landed on, oddly enough, was the Insectile Creature template from Savage Species. For LA +2—which, admittedly, is near-crippling, but you are at least getting a fair amount out of it—you get six arms. Call four of them just your hair, and that’s a great way to mimic Rapunzel’s ability to tie up everything around her. Combine with Inhuman Reach and Deformity (Tall) to add a ton of reach to them.

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Favoured Soul/Bard, Improved Trip, Custom Feat/Some Obscure Feat to use Hair as improvised Whip, Complete Adventurer Skill Tricks to Rope Swing/etc, Use Rope Skill

Purely 3.5e, these options provide the ability to use hair to do stuff in a way that should not be confronting to your GM (trip attempts, attack checks, Use Rope skill checks to lasso etc). Favoured Soul and Bard are both classes that use Charisma as a casting stat and have access to healing spells. Hair glowing is fairly simple to just ask for as a random magical boon, magic swords can glow for free so it's not very crazy to ask for, and both classes have access to Light as a cantrip i'm fairly sure, so in any case you're covered.

Bard can't bring people back to life, that I know of (perhaps there's an ACF somewhere). Bard gives more skillpoints and also more incentive to burst into song. But Favoured Soul gives access to revivification of the dead which is the ultimate power of Rapunzel in the movie.

Bards can take the Obtain Familiar feat at 3rd level to gain a small animal friend, although it can't talk to others unless the GM gives the go-ahead for it to be an Awakened animal (the cost of such a spell can be paid for out of your WBL if need be but it is not a big upgrade to its abilities in general). Both Favoured Souls and Bards can take Wild Cohort to gain a more skilled animal although again it will need to be fiat-awakened to speak.

Animal Ally is pathfinder content but gives an animal companion to any character - its prerequisite feat, Nature Soul, is also very in-character for a Rapunzel.

White Haired Witch

This is pathfinder content, an archetype for the witch (an arcane caster that gets healing spells). It allows use of hair to grab objects, grapple people, trip them, attack them and so on. Regular witches can take the Prehensile Hair hex for more limited hair use, but honestly you don't lose anything Rapunzel wants by being a White-Haired Witch.

The animal companion is well represented by the Witch's familiar class feature.

One Thing To Note

The majority of what Rapunzel achieves in the movie she achieves by effectively convincing people to do things. Ergo I would suggest that in addition to her more obvious talents, Bluff and Diplomacy should be things she is fairly-to-very good at. Perhaps less so at Sense Motive, but specifically convincing people to do things that are outside their interest (Diplomacy) she should have a quite considerable modifier.

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