Mythological Figures: Sherlock Holmes (5E)

Mythological Figures is doing something a little bit different today with one of the most famous characters in all of literature. By jove, you may even have already deduced that I’m referring to the one and only Sherlock Holmes!


Sherlock Holmes banner.jpg


It’s a general rule in this column that I keep things strictly RAW in the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition ruleset. That means only content from the core books. There are however plenty of builds like that already for Sherlock Holmes so it felt a bit redundant to do one. Instead I’ve used the savant class from EN5ider because it was built exactly for characters just like him! The build below uses the Coordinator aptitude but for a more Robert Downey Jr.-type you could make him an Adversary, and Watson is a perfect fit for a Chirurgeon of maybe 10th level. Also today should have been an Epic Monsters post and though those use the monster creation rules, they are not strictly RAW (which means today's dish was going to get some cooking either way :p).

If you’re like “that sounds neat!” I implore you to download the savant class for free and consider signing up for the A Touch More Class mailing list (so you get notified about the Kickstarter launch as soon as it goes live and can get this class in print along with 8 other new classes).

Design Notes: As mentioned above the savant is tailor-made for Sherlock here. Using the Blog of Holding's rubric and averaging actually gives him a CR of 10, but even with all of his attack negations and other defensive measures I'm skeptical that without support he'd match up that highly so I erred on the lower end. I noted above that the adversary aptitude would be good for an action movie interpretation of the character, but the same could be achieved with 3 fighter levels (probably landing around CR 11-12 and rightly so at that point).


Sherlock Holmes
Medium humanoid (human), neutral good savant (coordinator) 13
Armor Class 18 (Intelligence)
Hit Points 84 (13d8+26)
Speed 30 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
10 (+0)16 (+3)14 (+2)20 (+5)12 (+1)10 (+0)

Saving Throws Dex +8, Int +10
Skills History +15, Insight +6, Investigation +15, Nature +15, Perception +11, Persuasion +6; alchemist’s supplies +10, thieves’ tools +8
Senses passive Perception 21
Languages English, 4 other languages
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)

Analyzed Need: Survival. When Sherlock finishes a short or long rest, he can choose a skill. When making an ability check using that skill, he uses Intelligence instead of the ability score it normally uses.

Combat Deductions. Sherlock can use a bonus action to quickly observe a creature and make an Intelligence (Investigation) check against a DC equal to CR + 5. On a success, learns up to three of the following pieces of information. If Sherlock succeeds the check by 5 or more, he chooses the categories instead.

  • Armor Class
  • Vulnerabilities
  • Damage resistances
  • Damage immunities
  • Condition immunities
  • Whether the target has lair or legendary actions
  • Weakest saving throw
  • Highest ability score
Feat: Brilliant. Sherlock always knows how long it will be before the next sunset or sunrise, the northerly direction, and can perfectly remember anything he’s experienced within the last 31 days.

Focused Defense. When Sherlock is facing more than one enemy he’s able to use them against each other. As long as there’s more than one enemy within 30 feet, Sherlock can use a bonus action to choose a creature within range. Until the end of his next turn, it has disadvantage on attack rolls against him.


Informed Coordinator (5/Short Rest). Sherlock can use a bonus action to give an ally a +5 bonus to their next d20 roll.

Languages. Sherlock has advantage on ability checks made to decipher codes and hidden messages. By spending 10 minutes studying he can make a DC 15 Intelligence check to translate any script, even if he cannot recognize the language it is written in.

Savant Tricks. Sherlock can use a bonus action to prepare a trick. A trick is prepared until he uses it. Sherlock can only have two tricks prepared at time. Once he uses the trick, Sherlock can prepare another trick in the same manner. Some of his tricks require the target to make a saving throw to resist its effects.

  • Disarming Flourish. When Sherlock hits a creature with a melee weapon attack, he can activate this trick to force the target to drop an item in their hand, such as a weapon. The target makes a DC 18 Strength saving throw with advantage and on a failure, it drops one held item of Sherlock’s choice.
  • Draw Out. When Sherlock hits a creature with a melee weapon attack, he can use a bonus action to activate this trick. The target makes a DC 18 Intelligence saving throw or reacts to a strike from him that never comes. As long as Sherlock remains within the target’s reach, until the start of his next turn it cannot take the Attack action against anyone but him. After Sherlock has used this trick against a target, until the end of combat it has advantage on saving throws to resist Draw Out.
  • Grounded Reason. Sherlock can use his reaction to reroll a Dexterity saving throw that he fails. If he does so, he must use the new roll.
  • Off‐Balance. When Sherlock hits a creature with a melee weapon attack, instead of dealing damage he uses pulls, shoves, and strikes to put his target off-balance. Until the end of Sherlock’s next turn, the target moves at half speed and has disadvantage on ability checks.
  • Redirect. When Sherlock is hit with a melee weapon attack, he can use his reaction to force the attacker to make a DC 18 Intelligence saving throw. On a failure, he takes no damage and the attack strikes another creature within 5 feet. A Huge‐sized or larger target has advantage on the saving throw. Once Sherlock has used this trick against a target, until the end of combat that target has advantage on its saving throw to resist Redirect.
  • Sidestep. When Sherlock is targeted by a spell or weapon attack, he can use his reaction to make a Dexterity check against the opponent’s attack roll. On a success, he takes no damage from the spell or attack. Once Sherlock has used this trick against a target, until the end of combat he has disadvantage on checks to Sidestep that target.
  • Sweeping Stride. Sherlock cannot activate this trick without moving at least 10 feet and traveling through a square adjacent to a creature of Large size or smaller. The target must succeed on a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw with advantage or be knocked prone. On a success, Sherlock’s movement ends in a square adjacent to the target.
Superior Deduction. Sherlock can spend 1 minute observing a creature to make a Wisdom (Perception) check against a DC equal to the target’s CR + 5. On a success, he learns three of the following pieces of information (or other relevant details). If Sherlock succeeds the check by 5 or more, he chooses the categories instead.

  • One part of the target’s alignment (if it is chaotic, neutral, lawful, good, or evil)
  • If the target is disguised
  • If the target is armed
  • If the target is under the effects of a spell
  • What language(s) the target speaks
  • If the target has a native terrain and the type of that terrain

ACTIONS
Extra Attack. Sherlock can attack three times whenever he takes the Attack action on his turn.

Rapier. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d8+5) piercing damage.

Improvised Weapon. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 2 (1d4) bludgeoning , piercing, or slashing damage (determined by object).

Hand Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6+5) piercing damage.


REACTIONS

Intelligent Caution (5/Long Rest). When Sherlock makes a saving throw against a spell or effect that deals damage, he can use his reaction to make an Intelligence saving throw instead. On a success, he takes no damage.
 
Last edited:
Mike Myler

Comments

KenNYC

Explorer
Good job. I am surprised considering the times we are in you never did a Game of Thrones edition. There are quite a few interesting characters there.
 

Mike Myler

Explorer
Good job. I am surprised considering the times we are in you never did a Game of Thrones edition. There are quite a few interesting characters there.
Alas they aren't and won't be in the public domain for our lifetimes, I reckon (all the characters in this column are public domain entities.)
 

Mike Myler

Explorer
Alternate (lower CR but possibly more literary-accurate?) version of Sherlock is below!

Sherlock Holmes (v2)
Medium humanoid (human), neutral good savant (coordinator) 13
Armor Class 16 (Intelligence)
Hit Points 71 (13d8+13)
Speed 30 ft.
STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
14 (+2)16 (+3)12 (+1)17 (+3)11 (+0)12 (+1)
Saving Throws Dex +8, Int +8
Skills History +13, Insight +5, Investigation +13, Nature +13, Perception +10, Persuasion +7; alchemist’s supplies +8, thieves’ tools +8
Senses passive Investigation 28, passive Perception 25
Languages English, 4 other languages
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)

Analyzed Need: Survival. When Sherlock finishes a short or long rest, he can choose a skill. When making an ability check using that skill, he uses Intelligence instead of the ability score it normally uses.

Combat Deductions. Sherlock can use a bonus action to quickly observe a creature and make an Intelligence (Investigation) check against a DC equal to CR + 5. On a success, learns up to three of the following pieces of information. If Sherlock succeeds the check by 5 or more, he chooses the categories instead.

  • Armor Class
  • Vulnerabilities
  • Damage resistances
  • Damage immunities
  • Condition immunities
  • Whether the target has lair or legendary actions
  • Weakest saving throw
  • Highest ability score

Feat: Alchemy.
Sherlock can use an action to identify a potion within 5 feet (as if he tasted it) so long as he can see the liquid. In addition, over the course of a short rest he can use alchemists’ supplies to improve a healing potion. If drunk before 1 hour has passed, the improved healing potion restores the maximum amount of hit points it can heal.

Feat: Brilliant. Sherlock always knows how long it will be before the next sunset or sunrise, the northerly direction, and can perfectly remember anything he’s experienced within the last 31 days.

Feat: Perceptive. Sherlock is able to read lips.

Focused Defense. When Sherlock is facing more than one enemy he’s able to use them against each other. As long as there’s more than one enemy within 30 feet, Sherlock can use a bonus action to choose a creature within range. Until the end of his next turn, it has disadvantage on attack rolls against him.

Informed Coordinator (3/Short Rest). Sherlock can use a bonus action to give an ally a +5 bonus to their next d20 roll.

Languages. Sherlock has advantage on ability checks made to decipher codes and hidden messages. By spending 10 minutes studying he can make a DC 15 Intelligence check to translate any script, even if he cannot recognize the language it is written in.

Savant Tricks. Sherlock can use a bonus action to prepare a trick. A trick is prepared until he uses it. Sherlock can only have two tricks prepared at time. Once he uses the trick, Sherlock can prepare another trick in the same manner. Some of his tricks require the target to make a saving throw to resist its effects.

  • Disarming Flourish. When Sherlock hits a creature with a melee weapon attack, he can activate this trick to force the target to drop an item in their hand, such as a weapon. The target makes a DC 16 Strength saving throw with advantage and on a failure, it drops one held item of Sherlock’s choice.
  • Draw Out. When Sherlock hits a creature with a melee weapon attack, he can use a bonus action to activate this trick. The target makes a DC 16 Intelligence saving throw or reacts to a strike from him that never comes. As long as Sherlock remains within the target’s reach, until the start of his next turn it cannot take the Attack action against anyone but him. After Sherlock has used this trick against a target, until the end of combat it has advantage on saving throws to resist Draw Out.
  • Grounded Reason. Sherlock can use his reaction to reroll a Dexterity saving throw that he fails. If he does so, he must use the new roll.
  • Off‐Balance. When Sherlock hits a creature with a melee weapon attack, instead of dealing damage he uses pulls, shoves, and strikes to put his target off-balance. Until the end of Sherlock’s next turn, the target moves at half speed and has disadvantage on ability checks.
  • Redirect. When Sherlock is hit with a melee weapon attack, he can use his reaction to force the attacker to make a DC 16 Intelligence saving throw. On a failure, he takes no damage and the attack strikes another creature within 5 feet. A Huge‐sized or larger target has advantage on the saving throw. Once Sherlock has used this trick against a target, until the end of combat that target has advantage on its saving throw to resist Redirect.
  • Sidestep. When Sherlock is targeted by a spell or weapon attack, he can use his reaction to make a Dexterity check against the opponent’s attack roll. On a success, he takes no damage from the spell or attack. Once Sherlock has used this trick against a target, until the end of combat he has disadvantage on checks to Sidestep that target.
  • Sweeping Stride. Sherlock cannot activate this trick without moving at least 10 feet and traveling through a square adjacent to a creature of Large size or smaller. The target must succeed on a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw with advantage or be knocked prone. On a success, Sherlock’s movement ends in a square adjacent to the target.

Superior Deduction.
Sherlock can spend 1 minute observing a creature to make a Wisdom (Perception) check against a DC equal to the target’s CR + 5. On a success, he learns three of the following pieces of information (or other relevant details). If Sherlock succeeds the check by 5 or more, he chooses the categories instead.

  • One part of the target’s alignment (if it is chaotic, neutral, lawful, good, or evil)
  • If the target is disguised
  • If the target is armed
  • If the target is under the effects of a spell
  • What language(s) the target speaks
  • If the target has a native terrain and the type of that terrain


ACTIONS
Extra Attack. Sherlock can attack three times whenever he takes the Attack action on his turn.

Unarmed. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 bludgeoning damage.

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

Hand Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6+5) piercing damage.


REACTIONS
Intelligent Caution (5/Long Rest). When Sherlock makes a saving throw against a spell or effect that deals damage, he can use his reaction to make an Intelligence saving throw instead. On a success, he takes no damage.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
How about characters from the Black Company? Croaker, Goblin, or One-Eye?
For something to currently be in the public domain it needs to have been created somewhere round the 1920s or before. The Black Company won’t be public domain for about 60 years yet.
 

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