D&D 5E Mythological Figures: Little John

Today Mythological Figures has another entry bigger than you might have been expecting: Little John!

Little John DnD 5E BANNER.jpg

The largest and most loyal of Robin Hood’s Merry Men, the story of Little John—ironically named for his impressive size—begins at a bridge crossing a river where he famously beats the famous highwayman in a duel of quarterstaves. Alternatively, Robin Hood wins his favor by paying his mortgage. In either case afterward he joins the bandits and becomes a stalwart companion, once even planning his leader’s rescue and refusing the role of leader himself. Sometimes he’s smarter, but as time goes on Little John is depicted as less and less intelligent.

Design Notes: There’s two things we all know about Little John—the man was big and he was good with a staff. To cover those essentials we’re borrowing the Prodigious feat (which includes a +1 to Strength) from John Henry’s build and the staff feat from Musō Gonnosuke, and otherwise falling back onto the scout fighter archetype (partly for the whole forest bandit stuff, but also because mastery dice can be used to amp up his Athletics checks). Let’s do the numbers! The DMG comes in at 6.5 and the Blog of Holding 7.6, which averages out to a confident CR 7.

Little John

Medium humanoid (human), neutral good fighter (scout) 11
Armor Class 16 (studded leather, defense fighting style)
Hit Points 82 (11d10+22)
Speed 30 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
18 (+4)​
16 (+3)​
14 (+2)​
11 (+0)​
12 (+1)​
10 (+0)​
Saving Throws Str +8, Con +6
Skills Animal Handling +5, Athletics +8, Intimidation +4, Survival +5; artisan’s tools (choose one), vehicle (land)
Senses passive Perception 11
Languages English
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)

Background: Folk Hero. Little John is always able to rely on the hospitality of commoners to help him hide or rest provided he poses no danger in doing so, going so far as to shield him from being discovered (though not at the cost of their lives).

Action Surge (1/Short Rest). On his turn, Little John can take an additional action on top of his regular action and a possible bonus action.

Feat: Prodigious. Little John counts as Large-sized when determining his carrying capacity.

Feat: Stance of the Outstretched Branch. While Little John is wielding a quarterstaff with one hand, it gains the Reach property. While he wields a quarterstaff with two hands, it gains the Finesse property. Finally, it has the Thrown property (range 10/30 ft.), and on a successful hit Little John can use his reaction to catch it out of the air as it bounces back to him.

Indomitable (1/Long Rest). Little John can reroll a saving throw that he fails but must use the new roll.

Mastery Dice 1d10 (5/Short Rest). Little John can spend a mastery die to fuel one of the following effects. Each effect activates after the results of a roll are revealed.
  • Roll a mastery die and add half the result to a Strength (Athletics), Dexterity (Stealth), Intelligence (Nature), Wisdom (Perception or Survival) check.
  • Roll a mastery die and add the result to a weapon attack roll made against a creature.
  • Use his reaction when hit by an attack to roll a mastery die and add the result to his armor class, possibly turning a hit into a miss. An attack that still hits deals half damage.

Natural Explorer: Forests. When Little John makes an Intelligence or Wisdom check related to the forest, his proficiency bonus (+4) is doubled if he is using a skill that he’s proficient in. While traveling for an hour or more in his favored terrain, Little John gains the following benefits:
  • Difficult terrain doesn’t slow his group’s travel.
  • Little John’s group can’t become lost except by magical means.
  • Even when he is engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), Little John remains alert to danger.
  • If Little John is traveling alone, he can move stealthily at a normal pace.
  • When he forages, Little John finds twice as much food as he normally would.
  • While tracking other creatures, Little John also learns their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.

Second Wind (1/Short Rest). On his turn, Little John can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+11 hit points.


ACTIONS
Extra Attack. Little John attacks three times when he takes the Attack action.

Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6+4) piercing damage.

Quarterstaff (one-handed). Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft. or range 10/30 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6+4) bludgeoning damage.

Quarterstaff (two-handed). Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 10/30 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d8+4) bludgeoning damage.

Sling. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4+3) bludgeoning damage.
 
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Mike Myler

Mike Myler

Rafael Martin

Adventurer
Isn't his Intelligence supposed to be 10? I see you put an 11 in there. Also his Strength should be 19, and his Constitution should be 17. Please make those changes asap!:ROFLMAO:
 


Dioltach

Legend
I remember an article from when I was studying Middle English Lit that traced Little John's origins back to stories of one of King Arthur's knights who was called Guiffre Petit and who, despite being a dwarf, was one of the strongest knights.

That same article (or perhaps another I found while researching the Robin Hood stories) mentioned historical records of a grave somewhere in Scotland where Little John was supposedly buried. When they dug the grave up, they found the skeleton of a dwarf.

On the subject of the above build: I don't recall any reference to LJ being particularly dexterous. I'd give him a higher CON and lower DEX.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Natural Explorer: Forests. When Little John makes an Intelligence or Wisdom check related to the coast, his proficiency bonus (+4) is doubled if he is using a skill that he’s proficient in. While traveling for an hour or more in his favored terrain, Little John gains the following benefits:
I'm guessing "coast" should be "forest" here?
 


Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I remember an article from when I was studying Middle English Lit that traced Little John's origins back to stories of one of King Arthur's knights who was called Guiffre Petit and who, despite being a dwarf, was one of the strongest knights.

That same article (or perhaps another I found while researching the Robin Hood stories) mentioned historical records of a grave somewhere in Scotland where Little John was supposedly buried. When they dug the grave up, they found the skeleton of a dwarf.

On the subject of the above build: I don't recall any reference to LJ being particularly dexterous. I'd give him a higher CON and lower DEX.
Little Johns grave is generally believed to be in Derbyshire, in the Peak district.

Though him being a dwarf with a longstaff would be fun
 



Quartz

Hero
The most minor of nit-picks: the longsword is not really period-accurate; it should be a purely one-handed sword. While longswords did exist at the time, they didn't really come in until the adoption of plate armour. Of course, you could say that he is so large that other people can fit two hands on the hilt.
 

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