Explorer

To Medieval Classes

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Jacques Cartier. Portrait by Théophile Hamel (1817-1870). Oil on canvas, painted approximately 1844 based on an 1839 painting, since destroyed, by François Riss. There are no known paintings of Cartier that were created during his lifetime.

Jacques Cartier. Portrait by Théophile Hamel (1817-1870). Oil on canvas, painted approximately 1844 based on an 1839 painting, since destroyed, by François Riss. There are no known paintings of Cartier that were created during his lifetime.

Heroes of Fantasy
Author August Hahn, Tim Hitchcock, Joseph Miller, Ian Sturrock, John Thompson, Paul Tucker & Patrick Younts
Series Power Classes
Publisher Mongoose Publishing
Publish date 2005
Pages 128
ISBN 1-1-905176-59-7
OGL Section 15 hof
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The material below is designated as Open Game Content.

The world is a large and wondrous place, and even the greatest of civilisations are limited in the extent of their knowledge about the world in which they live. Far-off lands, unknown cultures and mysterious gods abound, all of them existing just beyond the horizon and just out of the reach of even the hoariest of sages. Unsurprisingly, the demand for knowledge about the unknown is potentially limitless, as are the opportunities to profit by its acquisition.

The explorer is a rare individual, who willingly leaves his home and all that he knows to seek out the unknown. Whether for their own sake, or for the fame and fortune they may bring, explorers travel the hidden places of the world on a quest for the new and unusual. Explorers live for the challenge of venturing into hitherto unseen places, overcoming myriad dangers and encountering strange men and beasts. Possessed of Great Fortitude and resourcefulness, as well as uncommon bravery, the explorer excels not only in the wilds but also among the beings he comes upon in his travels. Rare is the circumstance that catches him off guard.

The explorer works best alone or with a small group of trusted comrades who share his love of adventure. Yet, explorers also make excellent leaders of men who have the wherewithal to see them through the wilderness to the riches that await them in unknown lands. Consequently, they often find themselves as the vanguard of trade, conquest and colonisation efforts. Good explorers promote learning and peace, while their evil counterparts pave the way for exploitation and rapine. Such differences in outlook may seem extreme, but they are to be expected in a class as individualistic and independent as the explorer.
The Explorer

Adventures: For explorers, life itself is an adventure. Travelling from place to place, meeting new people, immersing oneself in an alien culture: these are the things that make life worth living. Explorers are filled with wanderlust and cannot remain in one place for very long – ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’ explorers are apt to say. They take pleasure in seeing what is over every mountain and across every river. They seek to challenge themselves, both intellectually and physically, by expanding their horizons and opening up previously unknown avenues for investigation. The less that is known about a place or a culture, the more likely an explorer will find it worth his attention and pursue it vigorously. Few things can attract the interest of an explorer more strongly than evidence of something he – or anyone else – does not know.

Explorers are often commissioned by powerful and influential people – kings, high priests, merchant lords – to travel beyond the known world and follow up clues to lost or mythical realms. In such cases, they might have access to impressive resources to achieve their end and the rewards for success can be considerable. Of course, the rootless nature of explorers makes it just as likely (if not more so) that they will undertake their expeditions on their own, with only a handful of sturdy companions as their allies. The thrill of going where no one has ever gone is usually sufficient reward for their efforts, although few explorers (especially evil-aligned ones) would ever turn down the chance to acquire wealth and fame. Indeed, the promise of riches and renown often encourages even the most ethical of explorers to undertake expeditions into the unknown. Knowledge may be its own reward, but it rarely pays one’s tab at the tavern.

Characteristics: Explorers are the ultimate travellers, trained to find their way through unknown territories and interact with the societies they find there. Because of the dangers they face, they possess remarkable physical toughness and good combat abilities. Unlike true warriors, though, explorers rely equally on keen wits and Intelligence to find innovative solutions to obstacles. After all, brute force cannot solve every problem and explorers are open-minded enough to consider many options, even those previously untried. Also unlike true warriors, explorers are well versed in Diplomacy and social skills, since they must often deal with strange and unknown races and cultures in their travels.

Alignment: Explorers come from all philosophical perspectives and so can be of any alignment. Their natural wanderlust and aloofness from the social strictures of their native societies reveal a slight tendency toward chaos over law, but this is far from universal. Indeed, many explorers are driven to find out more about the world because of their lawful alignments. They see exploration as a way of adding to their knowledge and systematising their worldview. Many other explorers apply to their aloofness to their own societies to others as well, adopting a more neutral mindset.

Similar diversity of opinion can be found with regard to good versus evil. Many explorers are good aligned, seeing their travels as a way not only to expand their knowledge but also to bridge the gaps between different cultures. They use their abilities to promote peace and understanding. Evil explorers, on the other hand, seek out new lands and peoples to exploit. They often work with conquerors as advance scouts or agents provocateurs, or even undertake such conquests themselves.

Religion: Explorers worship a wide variety of deities, depending on the societies from which they come, as well as their own reasons for taking up exploration. Many revere gods of knowledge, nature or travel, since these are the most obviously connected to their missions in life. Others, especially evil explorers, may prefer more martial deities, whose spheres of influence include conquest. Some may have similarly venal though less violent aspirations, turning to gods of trade and commerce for inspiration. The deity an explorer worships reveals a great deal about him and how he views his vocation.

Background: Explorers generally come from civilised nations that hold knowledge about the wider world in high regard. Whatever their other motivations, all explorers are mildly scholarly, at least in the sense that they value new information, if only for its ability to help them in achieving their goals. Many explorers also come from military backgrounds, where they learned to survive in the wilderness without access to amenities. Primitive and barbarian cultures produce fewer explorers in general, but there are always exceptions. These uncivilised explorers may be regarded by their people as either madmen (for wishing to leave their ancestral lands) or divinely brave (for daring to venture into the unknown). More often than not, explorers come from the noble and merchant castes, since these individuals are more likely to value knowledge and the power it can bring than the common folk. Of course, many peasants have greater experience dealing with hardship, as well as an understanding of the natural world. This makes them good candidates for the explorer class, even if it is more rare than among their social betters.

Races: With their natural wanderlust and thirst for knowledge, humans make up the bulk of explorers. Human versatility and adaptability seems ready-made for a life of exploration. Half-human races, such as half-elves and half-orcs, also commonly become explorers if raised among their human kin. Caught between two cultures, such half-breed explorers often possess a wider perspective than even their human counterparts, a trait that can be vital in many circumstances. Halflings and Gnomes are uncommon explorers, because of their stay-at-home natures and love of comfort. Of course, both races also have an insatiable curiosity and love of novelty that, if properly engaged, makes them excellent explorers. Elves and dwarves are rarely explorers. Their cultures, though very different, are similarly staid and conservative, finding little pleasure in new or original ideas. This makes it difficult for members of either race to consider taking up a life of exploration. The few that do are often ridiculed by their brethren, which, ironically, gives them a uniquely detached perspective that can serve them well as they venture into the unknown. Most other non-human races are even more narrow-minded than dwarves and elves, which makes it even less likely that they produce explorers in any great numbers. The most significant exceptions are the merfolk and locathah, both of whom produce noteworthy explorers of both the undersea and surface worlds (the latter being especially fraught with peril).

Other Classes: Explorers get along well with rangers and barbarians, both of whom share their love of the untamed wilderness. The same is true of druid to some extent as well, although many explorers (especially non-good ones) do not share their religious reverence for nature, instead viewing it as something to be mastered and understood rather than worshipped. Of course, explorers are a diverse group and a wide variety of perspectives and goals. Depending on their world-view, they may choose clerics, fighters, rogues or wizards as companions and allies. In general, explorers are very open-minded and accepting of differences, since a large part of their mission involves dealing with those who come from backgrounds different from themselves. Evil explorers do not share this characteristic, being more intolerant than their good, or even neutral, counterparts.

Game Rule Information

Explorers have the following game statistics.

Abilities: Strength is very important to an explorer, because so many of his skills are based on it. In the often-dangerous wild places of the world, the ability to defend oneself in combat is essential. Wisdom is another important ability for explorers, since common sense and a keen awareness of one’s surroundings serve an explorer well while travelling in unfamiliar locales. Charisma is another valuable ability when dealing with the new people and creatures explorers frequently encounter. Intelligence can also be an asset, given the large number of skills an explorer needs to acquire to do his job well.

Alignment: Any, predominantly chaotic

Hit Die: d8

Class Skills
The explorer’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Charisma), Climb (Strength), Craft (Intelligence), Diplomacy (Charisma), Hide (Dexterity), Heal (Wisdom), Jump (Strength), Knowledge (Geography) (Intelligence), Knowledge (nature) (Intelligence), Listen (Wisdom), Ride (Dexterity), Move Silently (Dexterity), Survival (Wisdom) Profession (Wisdom), Search (Intelligence), Spot (Wisdom) and Swim (Strength).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Intelligence modifier) x 4

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Intelligence modifier

The Explorer
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +2 +0 +0 Fast movement, hale and hardy
2nd +1 +3 +0 +0 Internal compass
3rd +2 +3 +1 +1 Pathfinder
4th +3 +4 +1 +1 Bonus language
5th +3 +4 +1 +1 Honeyed words (+1)
6th +4 +5 +2 +2
7th +5 +5 +2 +2 Woodland stride
8th +6/+1 +6 +2 +2 Iron constitution
9th +6/+1 +6 +3 +3 Bonus language
10th +7/+2 +7 +3 +3 Honeyed words (+2)
11th +8/+3 +7 +3 +3 Adaptability
12th +9/+4 +8 +4 +4
13th +9/+4 +8 +4 +4
14th +10/+5 +9 +4 +4 Bonus language
15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +5 +5 Honeyed words (+3)
16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +5 Adaptability
17th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +5 Skill mastery
18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +6
19th +14/+9/+5 +11 +6 +6 Bonus language
20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +6 Honeyed words (+4)

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the explorer.

Weapon and Armour Proficiency: An explorer is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and light and medium armour. Note that armour check penalties for armour heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Sleight of Hand and Tumble. Also, Swim checks suffer a –1 penalty for every 5 pounds of armour and equipment carried.

Fast Movement: The explorer has a speed faster than the norm for his race by +10 feet when wearing no armour, light armour or medium armour (and not carrying a heavy load).

Hale and Hardy: The explorer is used to physical deprivation. Consequently, he is better able to resist the effects of thirst and starvation (as described in the SRD). He may add a number of hours equal to his class level to determine how long he can resist the effects of extreme thirst before having to make a Constitution check. He may likewise add his class level in days to determine how long he can resist the effects of starvation before having to make a Constitution check.

Internal Compass: With this ability, the explorer may freely take 10 on any Survival check without penalty. He may also choose to take 20 on any such check as a fullround action.

Pathfinder: Travelling through unfamiliar terrain is the stock and trade of the explorer and his path-finding abilities are second to none. When journeying through any wilderness area (including oceans and seas), regardless of whether or not he is familiar with it, the explorer may make an Survival check to decrease the time it takes to cross it. The DC of the check determines the percentage of this decrease. If the explorer succeeds against DC 20, he may decrease the travel time by 25%. If he succeeds against DC 30, he may decrease it by 50%. All such decreases are rounded down, so a trek through a jungle that would normally take one week would, if the explorer made a successful Survival check against DC 20, take only six days or, if the check were successful against DC 30, take only four days. The explorer cannot take 10 or 20 when making this check and every five individuals travelling with him exacts a –1 penalty to his check. Thus, an explorer leading 10 people through the jungle would suffer a –2 penalty of his Survival check.

This ability also allows the explorer to find the shortest, most direct physical route to a specified destination. This function of the Pathfinder ability works only with respect to locales, not objects or creatures within a locale. Similarly, the location must be on the same plane as the character to use this ability. If the explorer makes a successful Survival check against the DCs listed below, he senses the correct direction that will eventually lead him to his destination, although he will still be unaware of the exact details of the path ahead, such as environmental hazards or monster lairs.

Knowledge of Destination DC
Knows Intimately and visits often 15
Knows well and visits regularly 20
Knows slightly and has visited once 25
Knows by reputation only 30

Bonus Language: The explorer is very adept at making himself understood in a wide variety of languages. Beginning at 4th level, he may learn one additional language, provided it is one that he has previously encountered. For example, an explorer may only take elven as a bonus language if he has previously encountered elves or has travelled in elven lands. The explorer need not choose a language immediately upon acquiring this ability, but may instead decide to hold it in reserve until he needs it. Thus, an explorer with an unused bonus language may, upon entering an elven kingdom for the first time, decide that he wishes to use the ability to acquire elven. However, full facility with the new language is not instantaneous, and does not occur until 10 days minus his Intelligence modifier have elapsed. Before this period has passed, he is not fully fluent in the language and may err if he engages a native speaker in conversation. An explorer gains an additional bonus language for every fifth level gained after 4th (9th, 14th, 19th).

Honeyed Words: Beginning at 5th level, an explorer becomes so adept at dealing with individuals from a wide variety of cultures that he gains a +1 circumstance bonus on all Bluff, Diplomacy and Intimidate checks. This bonus increases by +1 every five levels the explorer gains (10th, 15th, 20th).

Woodland Stride: Starting at 7th level, an explorer may move through natural thorns, briars, overgrown areas and similar terrain at his or her normal speed and without suffering damage or other impairment. However, thorns, briars and overgrown areas that are enchanted or magically manipulated to impede motion still affect the explorer.

Iron Constitution: At 8th level, an explorer becomes immune to all diseases, including magical diseases such as mummy rot and lycanthropy, due to his extensive travel and exposure to a wide variety of illnesses.

Adaptability: The explorer may designate two of his cross-class skills and treat them as class skills, representing special knowledge he has acquired in his travels. The explorer gains new class skills in this way at 11th level and again at 16th. Exclusive skills may only be chosen if the explorer uses both of the slots that he has gained as a benefit of Adaptability. For example, Hernan is an 11th level explorer who wishes to learn the exclusive skill Decipher Script. He may choose the skill as a benefit of Adaptability if he designates no other skill as a class skill at this level. When Hernan again gains Adaptability at 16th level, he may once again choose either two normal cross-class skills to make class skills or a single exclusive skill to make a class skill.

Skill Mastery: At 17th level, an explorer selects a number of skills equal to 2+ his Intelligence modifier. When making a skill check with one of these skills, the explorer may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent him from doing so. He becomes so certain in his skill that he can use his skill reliably even under adverse conditions.

New Uses for Old Skills

Although the explorer is an entirely new core class, it is designed to work easily with the rules as they are presented in the SRD. Consequently, this supplement contains no new skills. However, it does expand on those presented in the core rules slightly, in order to provide new opportunities for players of explorer characters.

Profession (herbalist) (Wisdom; Trained Only)
Like Craft (alchemy), herbalism requires numerous materials in order to be efficacious which, for the most part, are simple plants and other natural ingredients that can be found in the wilderness. Finding these plants requires a successful Search check at DC 20 and 12 hours. The character gains a +2 synergy bonus to this check if he has 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (nature). A successful check will locate enough herbs to create a single infusion, plus an additional infusion for each point that the character beat the DC.

Once the necessary plants have been acquired, the character must make a successful Profession (herbalist) check against the following DC’s, depending on what he wishes to concoct from these herbs.

Task

DC
Make healing balm 20
Make antitoxin* 30

*The effects of antitoxin are described in the SRD

Healing Balm: Healing balm is less effective than a potion of cure minor wounds but it is still very useful under certain circumstances, especially in the wilderness. Every dose of balm applied to a wounded character converts 1d8 hit points of damage into a like amount of nonlethal damage. Unlike healing potions, a character can only benefit from a number of doses of this balm per day equal to his Constitution modifier. Attempting to apply any further doses has no further effect.

Healing balm may be sold on the open market at a value of 30 gp per dose, although that value is highly relative and subject to the needs of the local community.

Decipher Script (Intelligence; Trained Only; bard, Rogue Only)
Use this skill to represent breaking ciphers and codes as well as piecing together the meaning of languages you do not know. Explorers sometimes use codes when working as scouts or advance agents for armies.
Special: If you have the Honeyed Words class ability, you get a competence bonus on all Decipher Script checks equal to your current level with that ability. For example, a 10th level explorer gets a +2 insight bonus to all Decipher Script checks.

Knowledge (Intelligence; Trained Only)

A number of new Knowledge skills are available to explorers and to those with whom they regularly associate.

Archaeology (the study of the artefacts of previous civilisations).

Non-human Races (customs, societies and attributes of races other than your own).

Politics (Knowledge of governments and their policies).

The following are new feats whose acquisition might assist an explorer while adventuring. While not limited to the explorer, many will find the greatest usefulness by members of that class. Others allow non-explorers to function as viable companions in the wild places of the world where explorers thrive.

Born in the Saddle [General]

Cold Weather Survival [General]

Concealment [General]

Contact Language [General]

Detect Poison [General]

Disease Resistance [General]

Fleet of Foot [General]

Greater Disease Resistance [General]

Greater Poison Resistance [General]

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