How To Build Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane in The Pathfinder RPG
A Character Conversion Guide
Gregor Clegane is a man of many names. Called The Mountain That Rides, as well as Tywin Lannister's Mad Dog, he is one of the most dangerous warriors in Westeros. Freakishly big and inhumanly strong, Ser Gregor has murdered countless men in combat, as well as untold numbers of women, children, and civilians simply because he felt like it. The mailed fist of the Lannisters, the elder Clegane is a force to be reckoned with. For those who want to recreate the brutal might of this monstrous villain, this guide should help you build this hard-hitting black knight in all his infamy.
If you prefer something on the other end of the spectrum from The Mountain, here's my Tyrion Lannister conversion guide. If you're interested in more character builds from Game of Thrones to The Avengers, check out the Character Conversions page on my blog Improved Initiative. And, of course, while you're here you should feel free to check out my full Vocal archive for more articles in geek trivia, gaming, and more!
The Foothills (Attributes, Race, and Traits)
If you want to stay absolutely true to Gregor in the books, you should make him a human (an obscenely big human, but a human nonetheless). If your DM would allow you, though a half-orc or full orc would also be appropriate for the tone and theme of the character. It means that your Mountain will be able to see in the dark, and possess other non-canon powers, but accuracy is the trade off when you use a high fantasy race. If you go this route the feat Pass For Human might be a good investment to make.
Regarding his attributes, Gregor is a warrior, plain and simple. His Strength and Constitution are legendary, and while he's quicker than you'd expect a man of his size to be, Gregor's armor and shield protect him far more than his fast footwork. While he isn't particularly smart or wise, The Mountain does possess a fearsome demeanor, and force of personality that he wields like a hammer (even though talking is an option he rarely exercises).
As far as his background traits go, Gregor is not a man given to magic or faith. That said traits like Killer (+1 to confirm critical hits), Bully (+1 to Intimidate, and Intimidate is always a class skill), or Bloodthirsty (whenever you knock a creature down to 0 hit points or confirm a critical you deal 1 additional point of damage, in the latter case multiplied by your weapon's critical multiplier) are the best fit for a character who is most comfortable covered in someone else's blood and brains. And if you're going to be using any combat maneuvers, Bred For War (+1 trait bonus on Intimidate checks, and a +1 bonus to CMB because of your size, must be at least 6 feet tall) will come in handy.
Training The Monster (Classes)
Gregor possesses certain trademarks that make him recognizable as a character. His sheer size and raw physical might are the most noticeable, but he can also wield his titanic greatsword in one hand. In Pathfinder that means he should take at least two levels of the Titan Mauler barbarian variant (Ultimate Combat 30), which gives you the ability jotungrip, allowing you to wield a two-handed weapon sized for you in a single hand at a -2 penalty. The first level ability of the archetype, Big Game Hunter, will also be useful if Gregor is going to go killing horses in a single blow, and he'll have access to quite a few rounds of rage to fuel his frenzies.
The second class that goes into the make up of the Mountain is the Two-Handed Fighter archetype (Advanced Player's Guide 108). The archetype is focused on using a two-handed weapon to its fullest effect, allowing you to double your Strength modifier's damage on a single attack at third level, and then to double the damage from your power attack at 15th level. Not much can stand in the Mountain's path when he decides to cut his way through.
Feats of Strength (and Skill)
Gregor's fighting style is pure brute force refined to a razor's edge. Whether on horseback or on foot he's a human thresher. The feats listed for him are in order of effectiveness, and not listed by class, level progression, bonus feats, etc. If players want to take certain feats earlier or later (or replace them entirely) that's just fine. This list should be used as a guideline, not a final blueprint.
- Power Attack (Core Rulebook 131): Do more damage at the cost of accuracy (basically The Mountain's fighting style summed up in a single feat).
- Furious Focus (Advanced Player's Guide 161): Ignore the penalty from power attack on the first melee attack you make each turn.
- Weapon Focus (Greatsword) (Core Rulebook 136): Add +1 to hit with selected weapon.
- Toughness (Core Rulebook 135): Gain additional hit points (Gregor is hard to kill).
- Great Fortitude (Core Rulebook 124): Gain +2 to Fortitude saves (again, he's hard to kill. Especially with poison.).
- Improved Great Fortitude (Core Rulebook 127): Once per day re-roll a single Fortitude save.
- Improved Sunder (Core Rulebook 128): +2 to sunder attempts and defense, and you don't provoke attacks of opportunity (and your build will give you more bonuses to sunder too).
- Vital Strike (Core Rulebook 136): Use the attack action to make a single attack at your highest base attack bonus, and roll your weapon damage twice. All other bonuses are counted normally.
- Improved Vital Strike (Core Rulebook 128): Same as Vital Strike, but roll damage 3 times.
- Greater Vital Strike (Core Rulebook 126): Same as Vital Strike, but roll damage 4 times.
- Devastating Strike (Ultimate Combat 95): Add +2 to each damage die when using Vital Strike, Improved Vital Strike, or Greater Vital Strike (maximum +6).
- Furious Finish (Ultimate Combat 102): When raging and using Vital Strike you may choose not to roll your damage dice, and instead simply maximize them. Your rage immediately ends and you are fatigued, even if you normally wouldn't be.
- Death or Glory (Ultimate Combat 94): As a full round action you may make a single melee attack a single creature size Large or larger with a lot of bonuses, but once the attack is resolved the target may spent an immediate action to attack you with the same bonuses. This can be combined with Vital Strike.
When it comes to skills, the Mountain is a simple man, and all of his pursuits tend to be on the battlefield or in fighting pits. He won't get many skills even with the human bonus point (your favored class bonus should probably be going into hit points, given the purpose he's built for), but of those skills, Intimidate, Ride, Survival, and Perception should definitely be on the list.
The Finishing Touches (Equipment and Story)
When it comes to equipment, Ser Gregor prefers deadly tools for deadly work. He bears no magical equipment, but all of his gear is the finest money can buy, since his paymaster is one of the wealthiest of Westeros's noble families. Which is just as well, since outfitting a man of Clegane's size would take a small fortune. Beyond his sword, shield, and plate armor, though, there is very little we tend to see him with.
Lastly you need to ask yourself an important question; how closely are you going to adhere to the story of Tywin Lannister's Mad Dog? Gregor Clegane is a violent sociopath, a murderer, a defiler, and worse. He is chaotic evil, and valued for his ability to wield a sword and to cause terror in all those who would oppose his master. So ask yourself whether or not your version of The Mountain is the same kind of villain, or if there's more to him before you decide to draw your steel and step into the ring.
And if you're looking for inspiration, you might find some of the following to be of use:
- 5 Tips For Playing Better Evil Characters: Perhaps the most popular guide in my 5 Tips series so far, this guide shows you how to be evil while still participating in the game, and remaining part of the party. Another entry in the series, 5 Tips For Playing Better Noble Characters, might also be right up your alley for this particular concept.
- 100 Nobles to Encounter: Gregor works best when he has someone to hold his leash, and if you're looking for a stand-in for Tywin Lannister there are all kinds of NPCs in this collection to choose from. Alternatively, if you're looking for a specific noble family to use, then the Blackbriars in A Baker's Dozen of Noble Families may be an ideal choice.
- 100 Knightly Orders: While it might seem like a farce, Gregor is a knight of the Seven Kingdoms. But in your game, what order would field someone as brutish and awful as the Mountain? Groups like the Howl, which are renowned for their brutal savagery, perhaps? Or the Hellhorn Host, who leave destruction and misery in their wake?