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D&D 5E Mythological Figures: Sheriff of Nottingham

The Mythological Figures column has seen many wicked and cruel entries, but few if any have any been as mercilessly villainous as the Sheriff of Nottingham!

Sheriff of Nottingham DnD 5E BANNER.jpg


In most Robin Hood tales the villain is the Sheriff of Nottingham, a ruthless noble that overtaxes the common people and enforces the crown’s laws without mercy or any shred of kindness. Depending on the story he is sometimes a physical nemesis worthy of the highwayman, but more often than not he’s a shrewd and conniving politician with eyes on the throne. There’s some contention on who inspired the character—Sir Robert Ingram, Henry de Faucemberg, Philip Mark, Eustace of Lowdham, Ralph Murdac—but no matter the work, he is always referred to as the Sheriff of Nottingham and not by any other name because it’s about the abuse of authority more than anything else.

Design Notes: A corrupt and sly medieval villain? Yes please! Given all the politicking and cunning he’s often depicted being about it’s natural for the sheriff to have some rogue levels, but to keep him an interesting and really capable saboteur he’s also got some ranger action with the gloom stalker archetype (which in the realms he’s walking about in should make him pretty much invisible, although most of the time he ought to be commanding and helping his minions). Let’s do the numbers! The DMG came in at 4.916 and the Blog of Holding at 6, so we’re settling on CR 5.

Sheriff of Nottingham

Medium humanoid (human), lawful evil rogue (mastermind) 6/ranger (gloom stalker) 6
Armor Class 17 (chain shirt, shield)
Hit Points 72 (6d8+6d10+12)
Speed 30 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
11 (+0)​
14 (+2)​
12 (+1)​
14 (+2)​
14 (+2)​
17 (+3)​
Saving Throws Dex +6, Int +6
Skills Deception +11, History +10, Insight +6, Investigation +10, Persuasion +11, Stealth +10; thieves’ tools
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages English, Thieves’ Cant
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Background: Noble. Due to his appointed position, the sheriff is treated with a measure of respect wherever he goes. He is treated as royalty (or as closely as possible) by most peasants and traders, and as an equal when meeting other authority figures (who make time in their schedule to see him if requested to do so).

Ambush Master. The sheriff gains a +2 bonus to initiative rolls. On his first turn in combat, the sheriff’s speed increases by 10 feet until the end of his turn and if he takes the Attack action, he can make an additional weapon attack. On a hit, the additional attack deals 1d8 extra damage.

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

Darkstalker. The sheriff is invisible to creatures that rely on darkvision to see in darkness while he is in darkness.

Fast Learner. After the sheriff has heard a creature speak for 1 minute or longer, he can mimic its manner of speaking as long as he knows the same language as the creature (allowing him to seem like he is local to a given region).

Favored Enemy. The sheriff has advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track humans and beasts, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them.

Feat: Diplomatic. The sheriff can make a Charisma (Persuasion) check contested by the Wisdom (Insight) check of a creature that can understand what he says during 1 minute of talking. On a success, as long as the sheriff remains within 60 feet of it (and for 1 minute afterward) the target is charmed by him. The sheriff automatically fails on the check if he or his companions are fighting the target.

Feat: Master of Intrigue. When the sheriff takes the Attack action, instead of making one of his attacks he can try to fool one humanoid he can see within 30 feet of him. The target must be able to hear him make a Charisma (Deception) check contested by its Wisdom (Insight) check. On a success, the target is fooled until the end of the sheriff’s next turn or until he attempts to fool a different target. The sheriff doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks from movement around a fooled target and he has advantage when attacking a fooled target. On a failure, the sheriff can’t fool the target for 1 hour.

Natural Explorer. When the sheriff makes an Intelligence or Wisdom check related to forests or grasslands, 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, the sheriff gains the following benefits:
  • Difficult terrain doesn’t slow his group’s travel.
  • The sheriff’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), the sheriff remains alert to danger.
  • If he is traveling alone, the sheriff can move stealthily at a normal pace.
  • When he forages, the sheriff finds twice as much food as he normally would.
  • While tracking other creatures, the sheriff also learns their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.
Poisoned Bolts. The sheriff carries 12 poisoned hand crossbow bolts.

Sneak Attack (3d6, 1/Turn). The sheriff deals an extra 10 (3d6) 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 the sheriff that isn’t incapacitated and the sheriff doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.

Spellcasting. The sheriff is a 6th level spellcaster that uses Wisdom as his spellcasting ability (spell save DC 14; +6 to hit with spell attacks). He has the following spells prepared from the ranger’s spell list:
1st-level (4 slots): disguise self, hunter’s mark, longstrider
2nd-level (2 slots): find traps, pass without trace, rope trick

Tactician. The sheriff is able to use the Help action to aid an ally attacking a creature as long as the target of the attack is able to see and hear the sheriff and is within 30 feet of him.


ACTIONS
Extra Attack. The sheriff attacks twice.

Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d4+4) piercing damage.

Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6+4) slashing damage.

Dagger. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4+2) piercing damage.

Hand Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+2) piercing damage. A creature must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or take 10 (3d6) poison damage.

Primeval Awareness. The sheriff expends one ranger spell slot to focus his awareness on the region around him. For 1 minute per level of the spell slot he expends, the sheriff can sense whether the following types of creatures are present within 1 mile of him (or within up to 6 miles if he is in a forest or grassland): aberrations, celestials, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead. This feature doesn’t reveal the creatures’ location or number.


REACTIONS
Uncanny Dodge. When an attacker the sheriff can see hits him with an attack, the sheriff can use his reaction to halve the attack’s damage against him.
 
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Mike Myler

Mike Myler








I'mma gonna be quite honest: I have a NPC villain that my two player DND session is going to be dealing with at some point in the early portion half of the campaign, And I think I'm totally gonna jack/use the Sherriff of Nothingham here as his stat block. Give him a Knight Statblock guard and perhaps a few Veteran stat blocks to back up the "Sheriff/Marshal" and his Knight bodyguard.

The Champion and Warlord stat block might be too high to go against a level 3 Ranger pc and a level 3 Warlock pc.
 

Mike Myler

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I'mma gonna be quite honest: I have a NPC villain that my two player DND session is going to be dealing with at some point in the early portion half of the campaign, And I think I'm totally gonna jack/use the Sherriff of Nothingham here as his stat block. Give him a Knight Statblock guard and perhaps a few Veteran stat blocks to back up the "Sheriff/Marshal" and his Knight bodyguard.

The Champion and Warlord stat block might be too high to go against a level 3 Ranger pc and a level 3 Warlock pc.
For just two 3rd level characters I'd get them started with two or three thugs, maaaaaybe a veteran bodyguard a little later (possibly a spy instead!), and then have their first encounter with Sheriff Nottingham (which of course he flees from to strike again another day) a two-on-one thing. Let them get a few levels before he's really in their crosshairs but introduce him earlier on with much lower-level (and ostensibly cheaper) low-life types to order around before busting out the big guns.
 

For just two 3rd level characters I'd get them started with two or three thugs, maaaaaybe a veteran bodyguard a little later (possibly a spy instead!), and then have their first encounter with Sheriff Nottingham (which of course he flees from to strike again another day) a two-on-one thing. Let them get a few levels before he's really in their crosshairs but introduce him earlier on with much lower-level (and ostensibly cheaper) low-life types to order around before busting out the big guns.
Funny you actually say that as the pc duo already met him at the start of the campaign and he was accompanied by three "Armored Knights" as his entourage in the tavern. No fight happened as the entire first session took place in the tavern and it was all roleplaying.


The idea is that there will only be three Knight stat block "monsters" that will be encountered at "three" different parts of the whole situation dealing with said Sherriff Nottingham. The last one will be alongside him during the final encounter. The other two won't be near him at all as they will have been dealt with before then.

And of course, yes there will be lackies aside from the three Knights as well.
 
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