This site is games | books | films

John Barleycorn

By François Boucher - The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., Public Domain,, John Barleycorn
By Fran̤ois Boucher РThe Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., Public Domain,

A bountiful spirit of harvest, John Barleycorn often seems to arrive out of nowhere, joining in with the other hands to take in the year’s last grains, and staying to join in the festivities of autumn. He is said to be a dancer and singer with few matches and quick to charm the young women of the village.

Originally Posted by The Vorpal Tribble of the Giant in the Playground Forums.

On this Thread

When John first arrives he appears as a strapping young fellow in the beginnings of manhood, with a wide, ruddy face, and stiff, straight hair the color of sun-bleached corn husks. His eyes are a golden brown and alight with mischief and humor. As the season progresses a beard the color of his hair grows and he looks sturdier and by the approach of winter he has become stooped with age and his beard and hair a silvery white. Upon the last day of autumn he goes into the midst of a field, and as the sun sets he crumbles into dust. From the soil springs a small patch of withered stalks with but a single grain left upon it. As the chill wind blows the seed goes aloft on its errant breezes, and miraculously always lands within another field where he springs up once more on the first day of fall.

John Barleycorn has a hot temper and is wont to seek revenge on those who do him ill, usually in the way of cruel jokes. He may destroy a mill or use his diminish plants ability so that his offender has a poor crop for the next year or turn all his ale and beer thin as water.

John Barleycorn
Medium fey
Hit Dice9d6+54 (85 hp)
Speed40 ft. (8 squares)
Armor Class16 (+2 Dexterity, +4 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple+4/+10
AttackSlam +6 melee (1d4+2)
Full attack2 slams +6 melee (1d4+2) or blade of grass +7 melee (1d6+2/18–20/x2)
Space/Reach5 ft./5 ft.
Special AttacksBlade of grass, spell-like abilities, spitting mad
Special QualitiesBlood o’ the barley, crop hop, damage reduction 5/cold iron, feast of the field, immune to poison and disease, Low-Light Vision, vulnerability to fire
SavesFort +11, Ref +8, Will +9
AbilitiesStrength 14, Dexterity 15, Constitution 23, Intelligence 10, Wisdom 16, Charisma 17
SkillsBalance +14, Jump +13, Knowledge (nature) +12, Perform (dance) +15, Perform (sing) +15, Profession (farmer) +15
FeatsImproved Bullrush, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, Great Fortitude(B), Power Attack
EnvironmentAny plains
AlignmentAlways Chaotic Good
Advancement10-16 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment


John Barleycorn enjoys a good wrestling match or round of fisticuffs and will leap into a brawl with a laugh. Regardless of who wins he’ll cheer on his opponent and attempt to make friends with the fellow at the end. If the attack is in earnest and his life in danger however the mood of John becomes much more grim. He’ll often pull a tall stalk from a field or haybale and apply his switch with surprising skill.

Blade of Grass (Su): A stalk plucked from a sewn field becomes as a +1 rapier in the hands of John Barleycorn, taking a standard action to choose one of appropriate length. He may do lethal or nonlethal damage as wished.

Blood o’ the Barley (Ex): John Barleycorn is immune to effects that affect the blood, including wounding weapons. When he would bleed he instead leaks a heady beer for several moments that he will often let pour into a glass if handy and toast his attacker before leaping upon him.

In fact, if John Barleycorn is reduced to 0 hit points by fire, the brew within his veins ignites, and he explodes violently, dealing 4d6 fire damage to all within 10 feet (DC 20 reflex save half). This kills John immediately. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Crop Hop (Su): As a move action John Barleycorn has the ability to instantly teleport from one part of a sown field to any other part, regardless of distance, though must be part of the same field. He may also move through a field, even one packed with produce, without impediment or rustling a single leaf.

Feast of the Field (Su): Once per day John Barleycorn can produce a veritable feast of grain-based food and drink, usually steaming loaves of bread and frothy beer, that can feed twenty people well. He also has the ability to dip his little finger in any liquid and turn it to beer or liquor. He can also turn hard drink thin as water, or thicken it till one swig causes instant intoxication.

Spell-like Abilities:

Caster level 9th. Save DC’s are Charisma-based.

Spitting Mad (Ex): When one sees John spit it best you begone. John Barleycorn can rage as a barbarian up to three times per day, temporarily gaining a +4 bonus to Strength, a +4 bonus to Constitution, and a +2 morale bonus on Will saves. He takes no penalty to armor class and is not fatigued at the end. This rage lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 plus his newly improved Constitution modifier.

Vulnerability to Fire (Ex): John Barleycorn has vulnerability to fire, which means he takes half again as much (+50%) damage as normal from fire, regardless of whether a saving throw is allowed, or if the save is a success or failure.

Scroll to Top