D&D 5E How to Build Indiana Jones


First Post
Who doesn't love Indie Indy? No not the music but the character from such beloved movies as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, The Last Crusade and The Crystal Skull. So what are the features of an Indy type character and what would you use to make him? Here's my take.....

Race - Alternate Human.... seems to make the most sense as I think we need a good feat at the start to "flesh out" the characters unique skills

Class - I think Indie is a fighter with the right background. The reason I don't say rogue is because of his action surge type ability and the fact a rogue doesn't get a whip as a weapon option. Also Indie doesn't really backstab people...
Fighter gives him the use of the whip, the hand crossbow, swords and other fun stuff, second wind (very Indie option), action surge (another very Indie option), decent hit points. Take either defence or duelling as a fighting style.


-using the standard array.....

Str: 12 - He's strong but not too strong as he seems to get beat up regularly by really strong guys (see RotLA fight scene at german airport), however he is passably athletic
Con: 13 - man is tough but more from an innate stubbornness of character than an ability to take a beating (second wind). He's always hurting and barely alive.
Dex: 14 - uses a whip and dodges traps.... yah dex is important
Int: 15 - very smart, history professor, knows lots of stuff about ancient ruins, understands political situations and figures out riddles. His investigative skills are very good. The man is alive because of his cleverness
Wis: 10 - I know what I'm going to do... pick a fight with Nazi's... yah not too wise. He gets ambushed relatively easily meaning his passive perception might not be that great. Most of his secret passage and trap discoveries come from his investigative abilities and reason.
Cha: 8 - needed a dump stat and this one is it. As much as we all love Indie he really rubs many people the wrong way, his dad, the government, Nazi's. His friends are few and even the women he gets hate him at some point in the relationship or are just using him for their evil plot. He can be a real jerk.

After the racial mods I end up with

Str: 13
Con: 13
Dex: 15
Int: 15
Wis: 10
Cha: 8

The feat for him is going to be Dungeon Delver... giving him advantage on finding and detecting secret doors, trap evasion awesomeness. Lucky is also an option... as the man has a horseshoe up his butt.

Now for background. I pick Sage as the man is a University Professor. This gives him the researcher ability which meshes well with his character.

Skills are : Religion (change from Arcana with DM permission) and History from Sage, Athletics and Perception from fighter, Investigation from Human.

Give the guy studded leather armour, hand crossbow, a whip and the classic hat and Indiana is ready for the table top!
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I'd give him the following stats, after racial: Str 10 Dex 14 Con 14 Int 16 Wis 12 Cha 8

Remember that your modifiers only go up on even ability scores, so use the two +1s to even out the two odd scores.

As for classes, I'd go with a mixture of Battlemaster Fighter and Thief Rogue. The Thief archetype actually describes itself as being useful to investigation and exploration based characters. Plus, let's face it. Indy is totally stealing artifacts. He just does it in the name of higher education. Just refluff Sneak Attack as Indy getting lucky shots off, instead of being sneaky.


You begin with the question of "who doesn't love Indy?" then give the man a steaming turd of a charisma score. No, no no no. Dr. Jones is charming.

Your problem is that you cannot capture the awesomeness of Indiana Jones with a "standard array" and a level 1 character. Indy has a Sage background, and started out at level 1 with average dexterity and constitution, good wisdom and charisma, and strong intelligence. He's since become tougher and more nimble.


The tingling means it’s working!
Indie is a Thief Rogue. So is Nathan Drake, for that matter.

Expertise perfectly emulates Indy's professorial knowledge of History, as well as his extraordinary Athleticism.

Sneak Attack emulates his boxing sucker-punch ability. (hand-wave that Unarmed Strike is a Finesse weapon). And this.

Cunning Action emulates how he's quick on his feet. Fast Hands allows him to use his whip, journal, or other tool as a bonus action, or to draw his gun. Or grab his hat.

Second Story Work emulates his notable climbing abilities.

Uncanny Dodge emulates his amazing ability to suffer punches, falls, and other calamities (nuclear bomb) that would cripple or kill ordinary men.

Evasion emulates his ability to dodge traps and make improbable leaps to safety.

Slippery Mind emulates his mental fortitude.

Use Magic Device... c'mon.

It all just works. Give him Whip proficiency, the Sage background, and the Dungeon Delver, Tough, and Lucky feats.

Rogue skill 1: Athletics (Expertise)
Background skill 1: History (Expertise)
Background skill 2: Arcana
Rogue skill 2: Perception
Rogue skill 3: Deception
Rogue skill 4: Persuasion
Human skill: Investigation


First Post
Thanks for starting this thread! A lot of good ideas here. I’m relatively new to 5e and I’m creating an Indy character right now, and I was looking for something like this.

Right now I'm looking at a multiclassed Fighter Battlemaster with a dip in Rogue (both for the reasons listed above).

Just looking for some more advice from you more knowledgeable folks here, so a couple questions:

1. Unarmored Defense: What about a dip in Monk or Barbarian to pick that up? (I don’t see Indy wearing armor…unless that jacket counts as leather armor!).

2. Brawling: What about multiclassing in Monk (or Barbarian) for more effectiveness? (Indy does most fighting with bare fists.).

3. Skills: Would Acrobatics be helpful?

4. Feats: What about Observant, Tavern Brawler, Athlete, or Mobile?

5. ASI vs. Feat: Would it be better to take a +2 to bring an ability (like Dex) up from 14, or would it be better to take a Feat?

Thanks in advance for any responses!


I just won a contest on the famed Italian forum dragonslair.it with a new base class for D&D 5 - the Explorer.
That is SO Indy.


First Post
I think a low CHA is warranted. His antics are fun to watch, but his life is a string of failed relationships and diplomatic blunders that's left him unwelcome just about everywhere in the world. Wasn't it the Sultan of Madagascar who threatened to cut off his head if he ever returned to his country?


First Post
Do you mean the new Scout Fighter Archetype from Unearthed Arcana: Kits of Old?


If so, it looks interesting as an "Indy" option, in the way it brings in more skills as well as the Ranger's Natural Explorer, which may then not necessitate a Rogue or Ranger multiclass/dip. However, one concern is that it then doesn't give a character access to the Disarm and Trip Fighter Battlemaster maneuvers, which would seem almost essential for those great Indy whip moves. (Unless you would take the Martial Adept feat?)....


Lord of the Hidden Layer
Do NOT give Indiana Jones levels in Monk.

The way Martial Arts works (bonus action) will get in the way of the more-useful Cunning Action. Ditto when spending ki.
I found out the hard way that Sneak Attack and Martial Arts do not play well together - they overlap for Shortswords, but not much else. Monk weapon proficiencies are more restrictive; they do not include Hand Crossbow (read: Indy's pistol).
A Monk must max(DEX) and max(WIS) to get fair-to-middlin' AC via Unarmored Defense, and Indy needs his stats spread out more. In contrast, a Ranger/Rogue can wear a Breastplate for decent AC and fluff it as Indy's jacket.

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