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Ivan Barkov

“Discover the Scandalous and Unpublished Poems of Ivan Barkov, the Irreverent Poet of the Russian Empire!”

Ivan Barkov
  • Alias – None known
  • Gender – Male
  • Race – Human
  • Occupation – Poet, Translator, Editor
  • Religion – Orthodox Christianity (due to his family background as an Orthodox priest’s son)
  • Allies – Mikhail Lomonosov (his mentor and supporter), fellow scholars and intellectuals who appreciated his work
  • Enemies – Authorities who disapproved of his provocative and obscene poetry, and those who criticized his unorthodox behavior
  • Abode/ Base of operations – Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
  • Nationality – Russian
  • Languages – Russian (proficient), Latin (for translations)
  • AlignmentChaotic Neutral due to his rebellious and eccentric nature
  • Affiliation (s) – Russian Academy of Sciences (as a translator and editor), Academic Gymnasium (as a student)
  • Significant others – No specific information is available about his romantic relationships or family life in historical records.

In the vibrant Russia, a provocative and talented poet emerges, capturing hearts and stirring controversy with his daring verses. Meet Ivan Barkov, a man of both brilliance and eccentricity, whose life is entwined with passion, rebellion, and a relentless pursuit of artistic expression.

Born into the family of an Orthodox priest, Ivan Barkov’s early years are marked by a voracious appetite for knowledge and language. Enrolling at the Academic Gymnasium on the recommendation of the renowned scholar Mikhail Lomonosov, Barkov’s studies in language and poetry become his passion and playground.

However, beneath his undeniable talent lies a tumultuous nature, prone to excess and rebellion. Throughout his academic journey, Barkov finds himself embroiled in controversy and subjected to discipline due to his bouts of drunkenness, insolence, and slanderous remarks. Yet, this tempestuous temperament also fuels his poetic fire, as he yearns to challenge the boundaries of literary convention and create works that will leave an indelible mark on Russian literature.

While serving as Lomonosov’s personal secretary, Barkov takes the daring step of writing “A Brief History of Russia,” a work that showcases his flair for storytelling and historical narration. Simultaneously, he ventures into the realm of translation, bringing Horace’s Odes, Phaedr’s Fables, and Ludovico Lazzaroni’s “Il Mondo degli Eroi” into the Russian language.

As his reputation grows, so does the controversy surrounding Barkov’s unconventional poetry. His verses, often overtly obscene and even pornographic, spark outrage and fascination among those who encounter them. Despite the criticism and censorship, Barkov remains steadfast, finding solace in the underground circulation of his work and the admiration of like-minded individuals.

Beyond the realm of his literary pursuits, Barkov’s personal life becomes shrouded in mystery. Rumors of his death by suicide, with an enigmatic autoepitaph hidden on a piece of paper, circulate widely. Alternatively, whispers of a drowning incident in an outhouse add further intrigue to his enigmatic end.

Ivan Barkov’s legacy reverberates through time, influencing the evolution of Russian language and literature. Despite the long suppression of his poems for their perceived immorality, his daring verses continue to captivate readers and spark debates on the introduction of slang into the language. The hidden copies of his work, passed on among generations, are a testament to his lasting impact on Russian literati and the enduring allure of his scandalous art.

Ivan Barkov, the Mischievous Poet

Ivan Semenocvich Barkov
Ivan Barkov

Medium humanoid (human), chaotic neutral

Armor Class 12

Hit Points 58 (9d8 + 18)

Speed 30 ft.

10 (+0)14 (+2)14 (+2)15 (+2)12 (+1)18 (+4)

Skills Arcana +4, History +4, Insight +3, Persuasion +7

Senses passive Perception 11

Languages Common, Russian

Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Background: Sage

Special Equipment: Quill of Endless Ink, Ring of Witty Comebacks


Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.

Vicious Mockery (3/Day). Ivan unleashes a cutting insult at a creature within 60 feet that can hear him. The target must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or take 3d4 psychic damage and have disadvantage on the next attack roll it makes before the end of its next turn.

Illusory Script. Ivan can write a secret message on parchment that can only be read by a creature with a comprehend languages spell or the ability to read all writing. Otherwise, it appears as a harmless script.


Mischievous Parry. When a creature misses Ivan with a melee attack, he can use his reaction to mockingly dodge the attack, causing the attacker to have disadvantage on their next attack roll.

Lair Actions

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), Ivan can take a lair action to create one of the following effects:

Literary Trickery. Ivan casts minor illusion, creating a harmless, illusory image within 60 feet.

Quill’s Inspiration. Ivan uses his quill of endless ink to write a quick, witty poem, granting advantage on the next ability check, attack roll, or saving throw of a creature within 30 feet.

Legendary Actions

Ivan can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. He can take only one legendary action at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. He regains spent legendary actions at the start of his turn.

Insulting Remark. Ivan makes a snide comment, forcing a creature within 60 feet to make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be affected by the vicious mockery cantrip without expending any uses.

Quip and Dodge. Ivan uses the Disengage action and moves up to half his movement speed without provoking opportunity attacks.

Poetic Flourish (Costs 2 Actions). Ivan casts an illusion spell of 2nd level or lower from his list of known spells.

Currently in the World


Ivan Barkov, a mischievous poet with a love for language and a rebellious spirit, roams the world weaving his clever verses and witty comebacks. With a glint of mischief in his eyes, he sports casual attire, seemingly unburdened by societal norms. His dimly lit room within the Russian Academy of Sciences overflows with clutter, piles of papers, and inkwells.

Armed with his dagger and a quill of endless ink, Ivan can be both a charming companion and a formidable foe. He enchants his enemies with vicious mockery and baffles them with illusory scripts. His Quill of Endless Ink and Ring of Witty Comebacks lend power to his verses, making his insults even more potent.

Ivan’s lair is a lively intellectual hub, filled with buzzing debates and discussions on his controversial works. He challenges societal norms and introduces slang words into language, leaving a lasting impact on Russian literature and later literati. Though his poems are often obscene and pornographic, they circulate Russia, leaving a legacy of humor and satire.

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