Mythological Figures: Rasputin (5E)

We’ve got likely the most contemporary entry that Mythological Figures will ever have but someone we’d be behooved not to address. It is of course the Black Monk: Grigori Rasputin!



Grigori Rasputin was in short a peasant turned monk healer fanatically accepted into the family of Russia’s last tsar for his miraculous ability to help heal the hemophiliac heir Nicholas. If this is the first time you’ve heard of this guy, he’s got a Wikipedia page to check out but the thing he’s best known for is refusing to die. He’s stabbed in the stomach in 1914 and survives, but that’s not the noteworthy bit (impressive as it might be). In the best known version of events (from the memoir of Felix Yusupov) a bunch of nobles invite him to dinner where 1) Rasputin eats cyanide-laced cakes, 2) then drinks three glasses of poisoned wine, 3) gets shot in the chest, 4) and gets back up after a short period of time to attack his murderers before getting shot in the head and dumped into an icy river. The man just refused to die.

Design Notes: I struggled quite a bit trying to nail down what fit best for Grigori here but really it became a fight for “what’s going to get him up off the ground again and again and again” and landed on the brute archetype. He’s got to have a ton of hit points so he’s got quite a few class levels, great natural AC and the ability to shrug off lots of damage (barbarian ahoy), and finally the charlatan bit--since he’s known to have grown up a peasant in the countryside I pushed into a level of rogue for Expertise in Deception and Persuasion. We could possibly do with fewer fighter levels or a reduced constitution (picking up the Diplomat feat would be very fitting!) but I really wanted that unwilling-to-die motif reinforced so went after the hit points. For the CR heads: the DMG chart puts him cleanly at CR 5 but the Blog of Holding rubric claims 6.8 which I’m inclined to agree with as he’s got some surprising staying power.


Rasputin
Medium humanoid (human), neutral rogue 1/barbarian 1/fighter (brutal) 10


Armor Class
15 (Constitution)
Hit Points 114 (1d8+1d12+10d10+48)
Speed 30 ft.

STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
10 (+0)​
12 (+1)​
18 (+4)​
12 (+1)​
12 (+1)​
15 (+2)​

Saving Throws Dex +5, Con +8, Int +5
Skills Animal Handling +5, Deception +10, Medicine +5, Performance +6, Persuasion +10, Sleight of Hand +5, Survival +5
Tools artisan’s tools +4, vehicles (land) +4
Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing (while raging)
Senses passive Perception 11
Languages Russian
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

Background: Yeoman. Rasputin 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). Once on his turn, Rasputin can take an additional action on top of his regular action and a possible bonus action.

Brutal Toughness. Rasputin gains a +1d6 bonus to saving throws and death saves (treating final results of 20 or higher on a death saving throw as a natural 20).

Cunning Action (1/Turn). Rasputin can take a bonus action to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.

Feat: Hardy. Rasputin has proficiency with Constitution saving throws.

Feat: Medicinal Knowledge. Rasputin can treat wounds for up to six beasts and humanoids over a short rest by making a DC 15 Wisdom (Medicine) check on each. On a success, a target regains the maximum hit points from the use of a single hit dice during the short rest (forgoing the roll of that hit dice but not any others that are spent during that short rest).

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

Rage (2/Long Rest). On his turn, Rasputin can enter a rage as a bonus action. His rage lasts for 1 minute, ending early if he is knocked unconscious or if his turn ends and he hasn’t either attacked a hostile creature since his last turn or taken damage since then. Rasputin can also end his rage on his turn as a bonus action. While raging, he gains the following benefits.

  • Rasputin has advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.
  • When Rasputin makes a melee weapon attack using Strength, he deals 2 extra damage.
  • Rasputin has resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

Second Wind (1/Short Rest). On his turn, Rasputin can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+8 hit points.

Sneak Attack (1/Turn). Rasputin deals an extra 3 (1d6) damage when he hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of Rasputin that isn’t incapacitated and Rasputin doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.


ACTIONS

Extra Attack.
Rasputin attacks twice.

Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d6+1d4+3) piercing damage.

Revolver (6 bullets). Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 40/120 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d8+1d6+3) piercing damage.
 
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Mike Myler

Comments

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
Ah, Rasputin. He died the way he lived and loved: repeatedly and inventively.

Rasputin's improbable career trajectory makes him a rare candidate for the honest-to-goodness-natural-18-in-Charisma prize. (See also: Joan of Arc.) And if we're going to buy into the mythology of his death -- and why wouldn't we, it's the point of this column, right? -- I'd go all out and make him a divine soul sorcerer or maybe warlock who can cast death ward. I feel like that plays into the theme of the myth: it's not "look at this guy, he's amazingly tough" (see for that: Hugh Glass), it's "look at this guy, he can't die because there's something witchy about him".
 

dave2008

Adventurer
As always Mike, thank you for sharing. I'm not really fond of GR, but from what I know of him, I thunk [MENTION=82555]the[/MENTION] CosmicKid 's approach is more in line with the tale.
 

Mike Myler

Explorer
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I did consider making him a mystic but that would've been an epic amount of mechanics rewording and more importantly I don't like the proper magician angle on him--I much prefer him as a tough-as-nails grifter. That said if you wanted to get death ward on him that badly I wouldn't spend 7 cleric levels to do it, I'd just give him a token or something that granted the effect (again though, I am anti-mystic-Rasputin so take that with two pennies).
 

TrippyHippy

Adventurer
You always tend to see Rasputin listed amongst 'The Most Evil Men To Have Ever Lived', but I've never quite understood why. He certainly had a dark reputation amongst Russians at the time, but how would he be comparible to mass murderers like Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin or historical figures like Caligula, Vlad Tepes or Ivan the Terrible?
 

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
You always tend to see Rasputin listed amongst 'The Most Evil Men To Have Ever Lived', but I've never quite understood why. He certainly had a dark reputation amongst Russians at the time, but how would he be comparible to mass murderers like Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin or historical figures like Caligula, Vlad Tepes or Ivan the Terrible?
To be fair, he did subscribe to a Christian sect which believed that in order to be forgiven, you first had to commit every sin. So in terms of body count, he may not be in the big leagues, but as far as ideals go he's probably as close as we're likely to get to a committed Evil character.
 

Quartz

Explorer
I'm not seeing the need for Indomitable. I think the Lucky feat would be more appropriate, reducing him to Fighter 6.

Give him high Con and Cha straight off, variant human and he gets 3 feats: Lucky, Resilient: Dex, and Medicinal Knowledge. Add in Rogue and Barbarian afterwards if necessary.
 
Rasputin is presented here in 5E D&D, but as a corollary: he also appears in the World of Darkness, as (somehow) a member of almost every vampire clan and bloodline, multiple types of ghosts, multiple types of mages, etc. It's not one Rasputin who possesses all of these qualities, but there are several dozen Raputins (Rasputi?) running around.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Ah, Rasputin. He died the way he lived and loved: repeatedly and inventively.

Rasputin's improbable career trajectory makes him a rare candidate for the honest-to-goodness-natural-18-in-Charisma prize. (See also: Joan of Arc.) And if we're going to buy into the mythology of his death -- and why wouldn't we, it's the point of this column, right? -- I'd go all out and make him a divine soul sorcerer or maybe warlock who can cast death ward. I feel like that plays into the theme of the myth: it's not "look at this guy, he's amazingly tough" (see for that: Hugh Glass), it's "look at this guy, he can't die because there's something witchy about him".
Sounds like an Undying Warlock.
 

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