Hi I’m Mike, this is my website, check out the rest of it at your leisure (buttons at the top have 20-some freebie PDFs as well as Street Fighter D&D 5e, Hyper Score Marvel, and random 5E builds).

If you dig on my designs check out the Book of Exalted Darkness Kickstarter (now with a do-gooder supplement) for more free stuff (including an evil adventure module). We have FUNDED (1st stretch goal –> Shadow of the Demon Lord conversion) so please check out the Kickstarter and/or help spread the good (evil?) word in these final hours–the project’s funding period on Saturday June 17th!

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If you spot a way this can improve, share the info–I’m on Twitter @MikeMyler2, Facebook, Google+, and you can leave messages below the post. Thanks!

Note: Professor Moriarty is built as a PC using rules from Book of Exalted Darkness: the mad scientist class (playtest available for free here), some feats, and an inherent heresy (via the Evil Primer). Also as usual, a reduced statblock is at the bottom of the post.

professor moriarty DnD 5e transparent.png

Professor James Moriarty

Medium humanoid (human), neutral evil mad scientist (evil engineer) 12
Armor Class 15 (studded leather)
Hit Points 87 (12d8+24)
Speed 30 ft.; Sin Points 18/18

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA Sanctity Sin
10 (+0) 16 (+3) 15 (+2) 20 (+5) 17 (+3) 18 (+4) 16 (+3) 18 (+4)

Saving Throws Dex +7, Int +9
Skills Deception +8, Insight +7, Investigation +9, Nature +9, Perception +7, Persuasion +8, Science +9, Technology +9
Tools alchemist’s supplies, tinker’s tools
Senses passive Perception 17
Languages English and 8 others (and he understands 5 more though cannot speak them)
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)
Background (Deviant): On or Off. Individuals either like or dislike Professor Moriarty. Whenever he meets a new NPC and begins a conversation the GM makes a secret dice roll. On an odd result the NPC dislikes and fears Professor Moriarty, causing him to make Deception and Persuasion checks against them with disadvantage but giving him advantage on Intimidation checks against them. On an even result the NPC senses Professor Moriarty’s loneliness and likes him, granting him advantage on Deception and Persuasion checks against them but causing him to make Intimidation checks against them with disadvantage.

Analyze Weakness & Keen Analysis. By spending a bonus action Professor Moriarty may make an Intelligence check against a DC equal to the CR of a creature he is able to see or hear. On a success, he learns the attacks, immunities, features, and resistances granted by the target’s race or type. In addition to the knowledge it normally grants, Professor Moriarty learns 5 additional pieces of information. At the GM’s discretion these may inform him of class features, feats, legendary actions, or other secretive information directly related to combat. Professor Moriarty can only use this feature against an individual target once every 24 hours.
Divinus Screener (4/long rest). Whenever Professor Moriarty is targeted by a divination spell, he may spend his reaction to gain immunity to the spell. He must be aware of the spell being cast to use this feature. Alternatively he may always have the device active, in which case it automatically negates divination spells cast at him regardless of whether or not he knows of their casting. It is a free action for Professor Moriarty to check his divinus screener to see how many charges it currently has.
Feat: Alchemist. Professor Moriarty gains proficiency with alchemist’s supplies. If he is already proficient with them, he add double his proficiency bonus to checks he makes with them. As an action, he can identify one potion within 5 feet of him that he can see, as if he had tasted it.
Over the course of any short rest, Professor Moriarty can temporarily improve the potency of one potion of healing of any rarity. To use this benefit, he must have alchemist’s supplies with him, and the potion must be within reach. If the potion is drunk no more than 1 hour after the short rest ends, the creature drinking the potion can forgo the potion’s die roll and regains the maximum number of hit points that the potion can restore.
Feat: Keen Mind. Professor Moriarty always know which way is north, the number of hours left before the next sunrise or sunset, and he can accurately recall anything he has seen or heard within the past month.
Feat: Plague Ritual. Professor Moriarty’s fiercely calculating intellect grants him uncanny control over the spread of pathogens. The full details of this feat appear in Book of Exalted Darkness.
Feat: Ritual Caster. Professor Moriarty has acquired a ritual book holding the all the ritual spells from the cleric spell list (using Wisdom as his spellcasting ability) and he is able to cast all of them.
Feat: Warcaster. Professor Moriarty has advantage on Constitution saving throws that he makes to maintain his concentration on a spell when he takes damage and he can perform the somatic components of spells even when he has weapons or a shield in one or both hands. When a hostile creature’s movement provokes an opportunity attack from Professor Moriarty, he can use his reaction to cast a spell at the creature, rather than making an opportunity attack. The spell must have a casting time of 1 action and must target only that creature.
Forbidden Knowledge and Insane Contraptions. Professor Moriarty gains two ritual feats and learns how to cast ritual spells from the wizard spell list. When performing a ritual, if he has access to an anvil and smithery he may spend an additional hour building an insane contraption to incorporate the effects of one of his scientific gadgets into the casting of the ritual spell.
Inherent Heresy: Pride. Professor Moriarty is a step apart from his daft peers, possessing a singularly adroit mind able to unlock secrets well beyond the ken of a normal mortal’s brain. He is completely certain that his keen intellect makes him superior to everyone around him. Whenever the question of class or station comes up (particularly when dealing with authorities) he is at disadvantage on Insight and Persuasion checks. His Sanctity score began at 10 and his Sin began at 4. As a bonus action, he may burn 1 Sin point to gain advantage on an Intelligence ability check or saving throw.
Presence Detector (6/long rest). As an action, Professor Moriarty can activate a small monocular device that allows him to detect the forces of evil and good. Until the end of his next turn, he knows the location of any celestial, fiend, or undead within 60 feet of him that is not behind total cover. He knows the type (celestial, fiend, or undead) of any being whose presence you sense, but not its identity. Within the same radius, you also detect the presence of any place or object that has been consecrated or desecrated (as with the hallow spell) as well as any especially evil or good creatures (otherwise functioning like the detect magic spell with the visibility of auras at the discretion of the GM).
Prototype Drones. Professor Moriarty can cast the find familiar spell as a ritual, summoning (i.e.: activating) 4 drones. The drone familiars he creates are constructs with the appearance and abilities of any of the animals listed under the spell, or drones with an appearance chosen by Professor Moriarty (usually innocuous toys). Drones that are not duplicating the appearance and abilities of an animal use the Homunculus stat block. As a construct, the drones do not need to eat, sleep, or breathe, and are immune to both poison damage and the poisoned condition. Professor Moriarty’s drones may not be dismissed as the spell. He may share senses with the drones or communicate with them while they remain within distance of his radio transmitter (a device that broadcasts 600 feet).

Scientific Gadgets. Professor Moriarty’s scientific gadgets weigh 1 pound per spell level. The AC of a gadget is equal to his AC while it is on his person and each has 24 hit points. While not in Professor Moriarty’s possession, his gadgets have an AC equal to 10 + spell level. Other creatures are unable to understand how his gadgets function and only Professor Moriarty is able to use them.

    • Cortex Disassembler (1/long rest). Professor Moriarty can cast fear or hypnotic pattern once without expending a spell slot.
    • Defribrilator (1/long rest). Professor Moriarty can cast revivify once without using a mad scientist spell slot.
    • Persano-Stimulators. Professor Moriarty gains proficiency in Deception and Persuasion.
    • Influencing Aerosol (1/long rest). Professor Moriarty can cast charm person or command once without expending a spell slot.
    • Mechanized Steed. Professor Moriarty has built a robotic mount (a motorized carriage) and is able to summon it from afar using advanced electronics and radio technology. He adds find steed to his list of spells known. When casting the spell he summons a mount that has the construct type, resistance to acid, cold, fire, thunder, and damage from nonmagical weapon strikes, and vulnerability to lightning. If this mount is destroyed it takes him 20 hours of labor to repair it or build a new one.
    • Spatial Prism (1/long rest). Professor Moriarty can cast mirror image or see invisibility once without using a mad scientist spell slot.

Technological Crafting. Professor Moriarty is able to create technological items that duplicate the effects of magical items without the need for inaequa. He is only able to craft one technological item at a time. Professor Moriarty is able to craft a common technological item over the course of a week of tinkering for 25 gold or an uncommon technological item over the course of a month for 500 gold (or more, at the GM’s discretion).

Weaponized Spellcasting (Recharge on short rest). Professor Moriarty is a 12th-level mad scientist that uses Intelligence as his spellcasting ability (spell save DC 17; +9 to hit with spell attacks). Professor Moriarty can cast the following spells from the mad scientist’s spell list, though only when his technological weapon (his business satchel) is on his person:

  • Cantrips: fire bolt, poison spray, produce flame, ray of frost
  • 6th-level (3 spell slots): blindness/deafness, compulsion, confusion, eyebite, fog cloud, grease, haste, hold monster, knock, sleep, slow

ACTIONS
Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d4+3) piercing damage.
Sword Cane. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6) bludgeoning damage or 8 (1d8+3) piercing damage.
Dagger (2). Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 20/60, one target. Hit: 6 (1d4+3) piercing damage.
Pistol. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 20/60, one target. Hit: 9 (1d10+3) piercing damage.

 

Some notes on Professor Moriarty’s build

When using Professor Moriarty make sure you don’t go about having him in the open–he should always be a step ahead thanks to methodical planning. The party might only glimpse him a few times and after a fair bit of research learn his name as he gathers information on the PCs before exploiting their vulnerabilities in a deadly deathtrap of devilishly devious design! Whatever you do, make sure he has lots of mooks around (thugs and the like) and do not use him like an evoker wizard–think “crazy brilliant enchanter” and you’ll have a much better time. 😀

EDIT: Over on Google+, Sarah Carlton asked about how to use Professor Moriarty without reverting to deus ex machina. I’ve added some tips to the bottom of the post!
In the same post, Ravensbloed Excelsi had this salient point to add (formatting is mine for emphasis): “Moriarty is extremely intelligent but needs an audience that can appreciate his schemes for what they are, a worthy opponent. An intelligent PC might fill this role, especially one that is not connected to or an integral part of the society to which Moriarty belongs.”

—————————— REDUCED STATBLOCK ————————

Professor James Moriarty

Medium humanoid (human), neutral evil mad scientist 12
Armor Class 15 (studded leather)
Hit Points 87 (12d8+24)
Speed 30 ft.; Sin Points 18/18

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA Sanctity Sin
10 (+0) 16 (+3) 15 (+2) 20 (+5) 17 (+3) 18 (+4) 16 (+3) 18 (+4)

Saving Throws Dex +7, Int +9
Skills Deception +8, Insight +7, Investigation +9, Nature +9, Perception +7, Persuasion +8, Science +9, Technology +9
Senses passive Perception 17
Languages English and 8 others
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)
Analyze Weakness & Keen Analysis. By spending a bonus action Professor Moriarty may make an Intelligence check against a DC equal to the CR (or level) of a creature he is able to see or hear. On a success, he learns the attacks, immunities, features, and resistances granted by the target’s race or type. In addition to the knowledge it normally grants, Professor Moriarty learns 5 additional pieces of information. At the GM’s discretion these may inform him of class features, feats, legendary actions, or other secretive information directly related to combat. Professor Moriarty can only use this feature against an individual target once every 24 hours.
Divinus Screener (4/long rest). Whenever Professor Moriarty is targeted by a divination spell, he may spend his reaction to gain immunity to the spell. He must be aware of the spell being cast to use this feature. Alternatively he may always have the device active, in which case it automatically negates divination spells cast at him regardless of whether or not he knows of their casting. It is a free action for Professor Moriarty to check his divinus screener to see how many charges it currently has.
Feat: Warcaster. Professor Moriarty has advantage on Constitution saving throws that he makes to maintain his concentration on a spell when he takes damage and he can perform the somatic components of spells even when he has weapons or a shield in one or both hands. When a hostile creature’s movement provokes an opportunity attack from Professor Moriarty, he can use his reaction to cast a spell at the creature, rather than making an opportunity attack. The spell must have a casting time of 1 action and must target only that creature.
Inherent Heresy: Pride. Professor Moriarty may burn 1 Sin point to gain advantage on an Intelligence ability check or saving throw.
Presence Detector (6/long rest). As an action, Professor Moriarty can activate a small monocular device that allows him to detect the forces of evil and good. Until the end of his next turn, he knows the location of any celestial, fiend, or undead within 60 feet of him that is not behind total cover. He knows the type (celestial, fiend, or undead) of any being whose presence you sense, but not its identity. Within the same radius, you also detect the presence of any place or object that has been consecrated or desecrated (as with the hallow spell) as well as any especially evil or good creatures (otherwise functioning like the detect magic spell with the visibility of auras at the discretion of the GM).

Scientific Gadgets. Professor Moriarty’s scientific gadgets weigh 1 pound per spell level. The AC of a gadget is equal to his AC while it is on his person and each has 24 hit points. While not in Professor Moriarty’s possession, his gadgets have an AC equal to 10 + spell level. Other creatures are unable to understand how his gadgets function and only Professor Moriarty is able to use them.

    • Cortex Disassembler (1/long rest). Professor Moriarty can cast fear or hypnotic pattern once without expending a spell slot.
    • Defribrilator (1/long rest). Professor Moriarty can cast revivify once without using a mad scientist spell slot.
    • Persano-Stimulators. Professor Moriarty gains proficiency in Deception and Persuasion.
    • Influencing Aerosol (1/long rest). Professor Moriarty can cast charm person or command once without expending a spell slot.
    • Mechanized Steed. Professor Moriarty has built a robotic mount (a motorized carriage) and is able to summon it from afar using advanced electronics and radio technology. He adds find steed to his list of spells known. When casting the spell he summons a mount that has the construct type, resistance to acid, cold, fire, thunder, and damage from nonmagical weapon strikes, and vulnerability to lightning. If this mount is destroyed it takes him 20 hours of labor to repair it or build a new one.
    • Spatial Prism (1/long rest). Professor Moriarty can cast mirror image or see invisibility once without using a mad scientist spell slot.

 

 

Weaponized Spellcasting (Recharge on short rest). Professor Moriarty is a 12th-level mad scientist that uses Intelligence as his spellcasting ability (spell save DC 17; +9 to hit with spell attacks). Professor Moriarty can cast the following spells from the mad scientist’s spell list, though only when his technological weapon (his business satchel) is on his person:

  • Cantrips: fire bolt, poison spray, produce flame, ray of frost
  • 6th-level (3 spell slots): blindness/deafness, compulsion, confusion, eyebite, fog cloud, grease, haste, hold monster, knock, sleep, slow

ACTIONS
Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d4+3) piercing damage.
Sword Cane. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6) bludgeoning damage or 8 (1d8+3) piercing damage.
Dagger (2). Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 20/60, one target. Hit: 6 (1d4+3) piercing damage.
Pistol. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 20/60, one target. Hit: 9 (1d10+3) piercing damage.

 

HOW TO USE PROFESSOR MORIARTY

WITHOUT BEING A DOUCHE

1) Foreshadowing: As in the Arthur Conan Doyle stories and subsequent works, there should be lots and lots and lots (and lots) of foreshadowing for who this mysterious figure is. To avoid being annoying with that various minions should know very little concrete information that if anything alludes to a clue (usually they die before revealing anything too good, if I remember correctly).

2) Deceptions: Body doubles, red herrings and false trails, willing patsies to take the fall for this or that bit of evil-doing, and apparent but mysterious deaths. The first and last are going to be cheesiest so use them lightly.

3) Get in their face: If you’re playing a game in a desert of barbaric nomads, that’s probably not right for Professor Moriarty. In an urban setting or something, socially provoke the PCs–he should send them invites to parties, torturing them at social events with the knowledge that he is diabolically evil and that they cannot prove it (yet, anyway).

4) Environment: Professor Moriarty should really (until perhaps his final end) be the one that really chooses where the party meets. Perhaps they THINK they have chosen the location, but even then it will be part of his plans. Include trap doors, chase sequences and death traps (with mooks to slow the PCs down), and secret doors. I’d include many avenues of escape, roll randomly to determine which he takes, and then have the party decide–quickly, perhaps with a bit of deduction first–which to follow. I’m kind of an impartial bastard as a GM but someone friendlier might be kinder about it. 🙂

5) The Long Game: Professor Moriarty is not a one-off villain and should be introduced early in the campaign as someone else (a socialite; banker, professor of __, take your pick), his true identity slowly revealed as the adventurers discover that more of the crimes they encounter lead back to the shadowy figure of Professor Moriarty. To be blunt–take your time with him and don’t let yourself feel rushed for revealing the party’s true nemesis.

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