Link, Hero of Time
I'm pretty sure this has been done DOZENS of times, but I just had to try and make a Link character in D&D for fun. I even picked and renamed all his equipment to match his gadgets from various Zelda games. Even rings were easy to pick thanks to Oracle of Ages and Seasons.
Class: Ranger Beastmaster, Giantslayer, Champion of Prophecy
Theme: Pack Outcast
-Obvious choices here to me. Companion is Horse from DM 392. Obviously her name is Epona. Giantslayer because Link faces giant bosses all the time at the end of just about every dungeon. The Ranger powers that don't require having 2 weapons were surprisingly defender-ish in nature so Little Bait was a good encounter to grab. Champion of Prophecy over Demigod because, well, Link IS the champion of prophecy. He gets Pack Outcast because of the wolf transformation in Twilight Princess. Also because the level 5 feature is beautiful.
Any comments or suggestions to help improve Link would be very welcomed, be they to optimize him or add more gadgets to his arsenal.
The big kicker is that, well, the Link in the Zelda games is not the same Link in every game. In some cases it's the same character (like the Oracle games, and Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask), but it's not always. For the most part he'll almost always be a Fighter and/or Ranger of some sort, but depending on which Links we're talking about, there can be some major differences. (Namely, the wolf transformation from Twilight Princess.)
So yeah, this is a good start on Twilight Princess-era Link. :)
Ah yes, I'm aware that all the Links are different people, and I realize now that the way I typed betrays the opposite, but I built this Link with the goal in mind that he draws something from all of them xD
I always saw Link myself as a Bard...he's skilled in a variety of areas besides combat, almost always wears light or no armour (Twilight Princess had plate armour you could wear eventually), uses a variety of magical items (Use magic device FTW!), collects a lot of ancient relics and knowledge (maps, scrolls, songs, legends, whathaveyou), and most Links use musical instruments (Ocarinas, Whistles, Pipes, Fiddles, Guitars, Drums, wind symphonies...etc). Plus, in Ocarina of Time, Windwaker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword, he's obviously breaking out the Tumble ranks.
It's a 4e build.. Tumble and Use Magic Item aren't really options..
It's a pretty cool build.. I agree with Rudo, there's a lot of different builds you could do.. Dropping beastmaster wouldn't be a bad way to go, even if you were trying to do a buld that encompassed them all (or as many as you could).. You don't have to be a beast master to have a horse or any other animal (Drizzt is a two weapon ranger but still has Guenhwyvar), there are many different ways and I don't think the horse is an essential enough part of Link to have it be part of his primary class.
Though I might be off since my last Zelda game was Windwaker :)
I was definitely thinking if not Ranger, Bard instead would be the second best option. I have a second Link Saved who is a Hunter (the fighting style, not the essentials build) Ranger and has Prime Punisher and Called Shot over the Chainmail feats and Mounted Combat and Swift Rider over Quick Draw and Protective Beast. There aren't many horse mounts in my builder. I think there is a regular horse, a warhorse, and a Nightmare. I wanted to use a warhorse for Epona but I felt that the warhorse was too low level. I couldn't even find any horse magic items like the Coral Dragon or Ebony Hound that turn into companions.
I felt being able to have a mount was essential as Link has Epona in 3 games, a Lizard, Kangaroo, and Bear to pick from in 2 games, and he now can ride a bird in Skyward Sword.
I had way too much time to think on this at work. :D
Overall, I'd say keep in mind that, instead of trying to cover every aspect of every Link, you want to just find the common denominators, the things that are very archetypal to the character. Otherwise you'll have a smattering of abilities that don't really do justice to any one version of the character, let alone an iconic version.
Mount: Like Witch recommended, I'd say make Epona (who's definitely iconic enough to be part of this) a standard mount, as opposed to spending a Theme or a Class getting an animal companion. Only two Links have really had a close enough bond with their mount (Twilight Princess, with Epona, and Skyward Sword, with the loftwing) to really warrant making it an animal companion, IMO. Link doesn't even own Epona until well into Ocarina of Time (and you can skip her entirely), and the three companions in the Oracle games are more like NPCs than Animal Companions, since they're sentient. Personally, I'd go with a magebred destrier from the Eberron Campaign Setting for the mount; it's better than a Warhorse, to represent that Epona is a very good horse, but it's not quite a full-fledged magical creature. (Unless I'm mistaken, there's nothing to suggest that Epona is anything other than a very good horse, so I don't see the point in leveling her up beyond Level 5. But you can always simply level her up more if you wish.)
Personally, I'd just get a standard mount, make sure Link is trained in
Nature, and pick up the various ride-related utility powers.
Instruments: While I wouldn't argue that a 3.5-era Link might work well as a Bard (I personally wouldn't go that route, but I can see how it'd work), I wouldn't do it just for the instruments. To the best of my knowledge, every instrument Link obtains is a powerful magic item; in D&D 4E terms, they'd be Wondrous Items, if not Relics. I'd personally just homebrew, say, the Ocarina of Time, and as part of the description say that anyone who wields it (or simply the Hero of Time) is automatically proficient in playing the instrument. The power of the instruments in these games come from the instrument themselves and/or the songs, not Link's mad musical skills.
Archery: Please don't think I'm just calling you out, since I see this all over the place when people build Link... but I think people in general place way too much emphasis on Link's archery skills. Is he an excellent archer? Yes, but he is first and foremost a swordsman. He never really gets any impressive archery skills (beyond magic arrows), but his sword skills become more and more complex with each game, while the bow is mainly used for sniping and puzzle-solving. For this reason, I'd steer clear of the Ranger class and make Link a One-Handed Fighter, emphasizing the Longsword and Heavy Shield over the Longbow. (Though I could definitely see an argument in multiclassing with Ranger and picking up a few archery feats and powers...)
Basically, my ideal Iconic Link build would start like so...
Race: Human or Elf, depending on how Hylian's would be depicted
Weaponmaster Fighter, multiclassed Ranger via Warrior of the Wild
Skills: Athletics, Endurance, [any other skill from Fighter list based on personal preference], Nature
...and go from there. Thematically I'd rather go with Paladin, but Link tends to work solo, and Paladins are even less well-built for fighting solo than a Fighter.
I see what you're getting at with a Fighter Link, but Link himself just seems much more Rangerish in nature to me. He is an explorer, he communicates and interacts with animals all the time, he is a very skilled and dexterous individual in all his incarnations (Fighters get only 3 trained skills while Rangers get 5) and I'd say there is definitely enough to form an argument for Link's projectile skills.
For example, one of the bosses in Oracle of Ages has to be defeated with the Seed Shooter without looking at them. Puzzles in the same game involve Link shooting switches by bouncing seeds off sometimes several walls. He can hit moving targets while Epona is galloping at full speed. I believe one of the mini games in Twilight Princess involves shooting balloons while white water rafting. The strongest weapon in Link's Awakening is the boomerang. I think shooting multiple targets during the middle of Attacks on the Run are well within Link's skill range.
I decided to ditch Beastmastery though. Epona is a good and fearless horse, but I don't see her running up and trying to attack giant monsters anytime soon, haha.
Must Have: Athletics, Dungeoneering, Nature
Nice to Have: Acrobatics, Endurance, Perception
Open to Interpretation:
It's a small list, but unfortunately, it's one that the Fighter is lacking in. Still, I wouldn't go with Ranger, for reasons I'll go into in a sec. :)
(B) Aaaaand here's the problem with statting Link: I'd argue this is an example of one specific item and/or one specific Link, and not really a good choice for an iconic Link. The Seed Shooter only appears in the Oracle games, and all slingshots in both previous and succesive games don't have this ability. Besides that, it's probably an affect of the special seeds (which would be magic items) than Link's ability, though Dexterity is obviously involved. All-in-all, I'd say this is more the item than the Link.
(C) Yes, but Link can also miss moving targets at full speed. :) Link is extremely capable as a marksman, I'm not doubting that. But being able to hit targets with amazing accuracy, again IMO, doesn't necessarily make him a better archer than a swordsman. Link can also unseat multiple moblins from their mounts while riding Epona, joust with the moblin chieftain and knock him off a bridge, and... really, do we need to go over all the amazing fights Link wins primarily with a sword? He's an amazing archer, but he's also an amazing swordsman. He's just all-around amazing, enough that dedicating his class (and therefore his combat style) to archery seems too narrow, IMO.
(D) The Boomerang is your reward for Link's Awakenings requisite extremely long trade of chains. It's clearly a ridiculously powerful magic item, and I don't think you can claim that as a sign of Link's archery skills. He gets numerous boomerangs later, and they tend to be on the weaker side, more often stunning enemies than killing them. It's like arguing Link should focus on two-handed swords because the Biggoron Sword is the strongest weapon in several games. :)
(E) On horseback? Definitely. On foot? In some games. Interestingly, Skyward Sword revamps the bow a bit. Link is ridiculously accurate (the camera zooms in when he aims), but the tradeoff is that Link can't really move much at all when using the bow. It's the only game where I consistently used the slingshot after getting the bow. :) I'd say Attack on the Run could definitely work for Link, but, I don't think enough so to justify an entire archery-focused class.
Really, the hard thing about statting Link is that he's a Jack of All Trades, Master of All. Link is dexterous and can travel and explore with ease, but he also wears chainmail and a heavy shield. He's a master swordsman, but also a master archer, and extremely skilled with a number of weapons and gadgets. In some games, he's capable of casting magic, with no noticeable effect on his durability. He's not a good example of a PC, especially in D&D 4E, where characters tend to be specialized to encourage teamwork. The reason why Bard is so popular a choice is because they are jacks of all trades, even if they'd have to be a pretty high level to be as accomplished as Link at any one. Heck, you could make a compelling argument that Artificer would be an excellent choice, since it would represent Link's reliance on gadgets in his adventures. (...that could actually be fun to build...)
My point is, since it's pretty much impossible to build Link in a system that actively discourages a character who excels at everything, you need to narrow the focus of the build down. And for every fan of the series, that focus is going to be different, because we all see different things in the games and the characters that we love. If that's his mounted archery for you, then that's excellent. For me, it's a kid with a sword and a shield, heading into dungeons to try and defeat evil. And while I hate the skill list, Fighter is a much better fit for this than Ranger, IMHO.
...sorry, my fangirl is showing. :)
The argument never was he was a better marksman than swordsman, but that he is a gifted archer as well. I don't know where you are getting that my build is based on an archer Link when all his powers are either Melee or Melee and Ranged. He only has one pure range power, and that is Overwhelming Confrontation, which Stuns the enemy the next time you hit it with a Melee attack. (Now that I go back and look, my old Beastmaster Link doesn't even have Overwhelming Confrontation. He has Bloodied Frenzy xD)
And in my opinion, a Link without a bow or at least a Boomerang isn't a Link at all. He had a bow in his very first adventure, and in every game he has had a bow, it is one of the very first weapons he gets. Link isn't just some knight running head first into danger with a sword and shield. He is an intelligent and talented individual who uses every tool at his disposal, which is surprisingly easy on a Hunter Ranger with Master at Arms. He can effectively shuffle through weapon sets and use items as a free action, or a single minor at the most.
The only problem I can see with trying to make a good Link is that he would be unbelievably expensive trying to buy his verity of weapons and magic items. xD
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