Sherlock Holmes is a brilliant London-based “consulting detective” famous for his intellectual prowess he is renowned for his skillful use of astute observation, deductive reasoning, and inference to solve difficult cases.
- Alias – The Great Detective, Mr. Sherlock Holmes
- Gender – Male
- Race – Human
- Occupation – Consulting Detective
- Religion – Not specified in the original stories
- Allies – Dr. John Watson, Inspector Lestrade, Mycroft Holmes
- Enemies – Professor James Moriarty, Irene Adler, Charles Augustus Milverton
- Abode/Base of Operations – 221B Baker Street, London
- Nationality – British
- Languages – English, French, German, Italian, Latin, Greek, and Spanish
- Alignment – Chaotic Good
- Affiliation(s) – None, as he is a freelance consulting detective
- Significant Others – None, as he is often portrayed as a bachelor who is married to his work.
Sherlock Holmes is a brilliant detective who is renowned for his powers of observation and deduction. He lives in 221B Baker Street, London, where he spends most of his time analyzing crime scenes, gathering evidence, and solving complex cases that leave others baffled.
Holmes is a complex character with a keen intellect and a sharp tongue. He is highly observant and analytical, often noticing details that others miss, and drawing conclusions that seem impossible to reach. He is highly focused on his work, and his dedication to solving crimes is unwavering. He has a sharp wit and can be sarcastic and dismissive when dealing with those he considers beneath him.
Holmes’ ultimate goal is to bring justice to those who have been wronged. He takes on cases that challenge him, and his desire to solve them is fueled by his strong sense of justice. He is motivated by the intellectual challenge of solving a mystery, but he is also driven by a desire to make the world a better place. He does not shy away from taking risks, and he will go to great lengths to ensure that justice is served.
Holmes’ closest friend and confidant is Dr. John Watson. Watson is a former army doctor now writes about Holmes’ cases. Despite their differences, the two men have a deep respect for each other, and they work together closely to solve crimes. Other recurring characters in the series include Holmes’ older brother Mycroft, who is even more intelligent than Holmes, and Irene Adler, a skilled and cunning criminal who has a complicated relationship with Holmes.
In each case, Holmes’ methods are rooted in logic and observation, and he relies heavily on his vast knowledge of forensic science and human psychology. He uses deductive reasoning to make connections between seemingly unrelated pieces of information, and he is not afraid to take risks or pursue unorthodox leads. While he can be aloof and unemotional, his love for his work and his passion for justice are always evident.
Other notable details:
- Holmes is known for his exceptional deductive reasoning skills and his attention to detail, often noticing things that others overlook.
- He struggles with drug addiction, particularly to cocaine and morphine, as a way to cope with the boredom that comes with not having a case to solve.
- He is fiercely independent and often keeps information to himself, which can sometimes lead to misunderstandings with his friends and colleagues.
- Holmes is driven by a desire for justice and a need to solve puzzles and riddles. He is passionate about his work and takes pride in his abilities.
- Despite his sometimes prickly personality, he deeply cares for those close to him, particularly his friend and colleague Dr. Watson.
Mythological Figures: Sherlock Holmes (5E)
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.
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).
Medium humanoid (human), neutral good savant (coordinator) 13
Armor Class 18 (Intelligence)
Hit Points 84 (13d8+26)
Speed 30 ft.
|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
- 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
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.
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.
Sherlock Holmes, CR 10
Male Human Investigator 10
AC: 22, touch 14, flat-footed 18 (+7 armor, +3 Dex, +1 natural, +1 deflection)
Hit Points: 80 (10d8+30)
Fortitude: +9, Reflex: +12, Will: +12
Speed: 30 ft.
Base Attack Bonus: +7/+2
Melee: +8 rapier (1d6+1, 18-20/x2)
Ranged: +11 revolver (1d8, 20/x4)
- Studied Combat (Ex): As a move action, Sherlock can study a single target he can see. He gains a +5 insight bonus to damage against the target for the rest of the encounter.
- Sneak Attack (Ex): When flanking, or when the target is denied their Dexterity bonus to AC, Sherlock deals an additional 4d6 damage.
- Inspiration (Ex): Sherlock gains a pool of Inspiration points equal to his Intelligence modifier (4). He can spend these points to add 1d6 to any skill check, ability check, attack roll, damage roll, or saving throw. He can use this ability once per round.
- Trapfinding (Ex): Sherlock adds 1/2 his Investigator level to Perception and Disable Device checks made to locate traps and to Craft (alchemy) checks made to create alchemical items.
- Keen Mind (Ex): Sherlock can attempt an Intelligence check to recall any piece of information he has come across in his adventures. The DC is based on how obscure the information is.
- Poison Resistance +4 (Ex): Sherlock gains a +4 bonus on saves against poison.
Skills: Appraise +17, Bluff +18, Craft (alchemy) +17, Diplomacy +18, Disable Device +19, Intimidate +18, Knowledge (arcana) +17, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +17, Knowledge (engineering) +17, Knowledge (geography) +17, Knowledge (history) +17, Knowledge (local) +17, Knowledge (nature) +17, Knowledge (nobility) +17, Knowledge (planes) +17, Knowledge (religion) +17, Linguistics +17, Perception +22, Sense Motive +22, Sleight of Hand +12, Spellcraft +17, Stealth +12, Use Magic Device +17
Feats: Combat Expertise, Improved Feint, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Leadership, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (revolver), Weapon Specialization (revolver)
Equipment: +2 studded leather armor, +1 rapier, +1 revolver, detective’s magnifying glass, alchemist’s lab, 50 bullets, 10 doses of alchemist’s fire, 10 doses of acid, 10 doses of smokestick, 10 doses of tanglefoot bag, 10 doses of thunderstone, 5 doses of antitoxin, 5 doses of antiplague
Sherlock Holmes is a master of deduction and investigation, able to solve even the most complex of mysteries. He relies on his keen mind and analytical skills to uncover the truth, and his revolver and rapier to defend himself in dangerous situations. With his Inspiration ability, he can add a d6 to any roll, giving him an edge in difficult situations. His trapfinding ability and poison resistance make him a valuable asset in any adventure.