How To Be: Cassandra and Rapunzel from Tangled (In 4e D&D)

In How To Be we’re going to look at a variety of characters from Not D&D and conceptualise how you might go about making a version of that character in the form of D&D that matters on this blog, D&D 4th Edition. Our guidelines are as follows:

  • This is going to be a brief rundown of ways to make a character that ‘feels’ like the source character
  • This isn’t meant to be comprehensive or authoritative but as a creative exercise
  • While not every character can work immediately out of the box, the aim is to make sure they have a character ‘feel’ as soon as possible
  • The character has to have the ‘feeling’ of the character by at least midway through Heroic

When building characters in 4th Edition it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different ways to do the same basic thing. This isn’t going to be comprehensive, or even particularly fleshed out, and instead give you some places to start when you want to make something.

Another thing to remember is that 4e characters tend to be more about collected interactions of groups of things – it’s not that you get a build with specific rules about what you have to take, and when, and why, like you’re lockpicking your way through a design in the hopes of getting an overlap eventually. Character building is about packages, not programs, and we’ll talk about some packages and reference them going forwards.

You know the story of Rapunzel? The kid’s story about a girl with long hair in a tower which you can tell as a bedtime story and it takes maybe ten minutes, fifteen if you’re doing a lot with the voices and details and want to make the witch’s end really grisly? Well, yeah, turns out that got a movie back in the day and then that movie got a TV series and that TV series kicks ass, and so for this Smooch Month, I decided to try and make an article about base-level optimising choices for a pair of characters, a battle couple. In this case, one of those Battle Couple members is Rapunzel, the hero of the story Rapunzel, and the other is, uh

Her name’s Cass.

a book cover meant to look like a 4th edition expansion book, showing art of Cassandra and Rapunzel from Tangled, the Series, with the text on it "Tangled synergy" and "Crossing the line twice." The art is by Nonadraws
Original art by Nonadraws

And hey, I’m going to talk about some spoilers for a kid’s cartoon you probably didn’t watch but I do like it and I think if you care about spoilers, well you should watch it without me being the way you find out about the third story arc of the TV series and what it means okay byeee.

Alright, what do you know about Rapunzel and Cassandra? They’re Disney Princess style characters so it’s not like you see a lot of comic book measurement stuff going on in their stories. They’re adventure stories, and the characters are as tough and strong and smart and witty as they need to be to get you to an ad break, or, because this was late 2018, probably to the next streaming check-in. Though maybe they have ads on Disney+ now, it wouldn’t surprise me.

The characters are pretty basic, though so it means it’s not that hard to give a rudimentary breakdown of how they present in the story and then how that informs choices about how to build them in the rest of the game.


  • Is a charismatic leader with a huge variety of skills. In the story of Tangled she’s shown developing a huge variety of skills, including engineering, crafting, knot-tying and juggling, which implies mathematical skill.
  • Extremely sociable and prosocial and operates in a good faith with almost everyone.
  • Access in some form or another to influential music; she can sing songs that change people’s minds or maybe make a compelling case.

Cass, on the other hand:

  • Routinely is shown handling weapons and wearing armour
  • Is represented as being physically fit and uses her physical strength to achieve things
  • Doesn’t, at first demonstrate any magical powers or prowess

For this exercise, the challenge is not in trying to find a way to represent everything the characters can do but instead to present an example of how two players can construct their characters so they fundamentally work together, while sticking to the framework presented above. It’s also going to try and build a pair of characters that work together expressing the different versions of these characters that you can perceive throughout the story, in a way that fills two complementary roles in a party.

Basically, how do you make team synergy that also leaves other people ways to connect, and can it be done such it looks like the different possible iterations of Cassandra and Rapunzel?

a screencap from the show Tangled Ever After. It shows a book.

Before the Beginning

First principles, established introduction for Cass and Rapunzel. You have Rapunzel, as she was at the end of the movie Tangled, and her handmaiden Cass. These are characters who are very new to one another and new to their relationship to the world. Rapunzel has not been a princess before, and Cass has been a handmaiden in waiting looking for a princess to take up the mantle.

Cassandra in this time is also sneaking out to fight. She wants to be a warrior, she has aims to be a knight, but her predominant job is to be a handmaiden doing needlecraft and proper courtly management. At this point I would suggest you can represent Cass best with a Rogue, and Rapunzel, without magical powers as a Warlord.

The build I’d pick for Rapunzel is a lazy Warlord – the build that doesn’t actually have to make attacks of its own, and only grants them to other people. The best advantage of this build for Rapunzel is that it avoids her needing a high strength score, and instead focuses on things like her Wisdom and Charisma. While Rapunzel does not commonly wear heavy armour, this kind of build can give up on armour in exchange for better and more free movement.

As a rogue, Cass can emphasise a good basic attack, which is exactly the kind of thing a Warlord wants to have on hand. The Thief build from Heroes of the Fallen Lands starts with a good basic attack, and can do things that emphasise and improve it.

a screencap from the show Tangled Ever After. It shows Cass holding a gormless Rapunzel's shoulders.

During The Day

The next major iteration of the pair, Cassandra is now openly able to act outside of the Handmaiden duties she has in the castle. She gets involved in fights, but her fighting is in defense and protection of Rapunzel. Rapunzel, on the other hand, now has access to her hair again, which changes a lot about how she acts – now she’s a character with a lot of reach and the means to control people at distance.

For this pairing, which represents the bulk of the narrative of the series, I’d represent Cass with a Fighter of some variety, and Rapunzel now as a Bard.

Rapunzel as a Bard can take the Superior Weapon Proficiency (Whip) and have that represent her hair. Melee bards don’t have to care that much about the power of their melee attacks, but they can do things that trigger off those attacks. An example would be the Skald bard, where you set up an aura around you and trigger buff effects off your basic attacks.

The Fighter gets to wear armour of varying degrees, but can mix up a melee weapon and a bare hand, if you want Cass to feel like a fencer, or you can represent a shield with a reinforced arm guard, and play a much more standard fighter build. The bard can grant attacks, or temporary hit points depending on build choices, and the fighter can capitalise on that.

a screencap from the show Tangled Ever After. It shows cass and rapunzel riding a mine cart together

The Lonely Twilight

In the final season, Cass and Rapunzel are apart, broken up by the revelation that Cass is the real child of Mother Gothel and has had to deal with Rapunzel literally being chosen over her by even her own mother. But in this time, Cass embraces magical power, and gets lithomancy magic, a kind of stone based magic. What it looks like is attacking with spikes and having big chunky stone armour. She still draws a great big sword, and she still fights with that.

At this point, the Cass looks a lot more like something like a Paladin. Her powers are driven by her personality and she’s less mobile. If you take this aesthetic, this look, you’re going to see her raging out and swinging a big sword. There’s a lot more magicality to her area control, and if you want the Warden could do the same thing, similar vibes. The heavy armour pulls me towards Paladin here.

Rapunzel is at this point full blown wizarding with glowing eyes and magical incantations and the hair as a whip is less important. For this end, and because a thing like granting basics is less important, I’d instead look to a Cleric as your compatriot pair. Two different sources of divine powers are pretty cool but also they can have overlap on energy damage types. A cleric who goes for blasting lasers and charisma based powers can benefit from the Radiant Mafia build, and that means these two bring the core of what that needs to any given play group.

Junk Drawer Options

It’s pretty cool how many of the leader types can be stuck onto the different versions of Rapunzel. Bards, Clerics, Warlords, they’re all covered, but don’t neglect the value of the Shaman or Artificer, which both can carry a lot of the feelings of the setting even if Rapunzel herself doesn’t do much with it. Cass is very limited but if you don’t want to play the defender type in the group, she can play a dual-wielding Ranger or Scout, too.

a screencap from the show Tangled Ever After. Rapunzel flexing her arm and Cass looking at her happily.

At this point the outline of this document is a thousand words. Presenting specific examples of things that can make builds work together in synergy is pretty challenging. There are things like Agile Opportunist and specific ways to maximise basic attacks. With a really off the wall option you can have Cass doing the leader duty of a Bard while Rapunzel takes up the job of a Wizard or even –

yes, I’m going to mention it

A druid.

Okay, okay, I’ll stop.