Gentleman Explorer (3.5e Class)
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Being a journeyer through savage wildernesses, a student of natural philosophy, and furthermore a well and truly dapper huntsman. 1 Other Other
Author's Note: This class is designed according to Grimoire sensibilities and calculations. While this does place it in a special category of High power that affects its numeric abilities, it should still be suitable for High power games in general.
Making a Gentleman Explorer
|Tome of Prowess|
|This class is designed to be compatible with the Tome of Prowess rules. Any class abilities that have different rules under Tome of Prowess will be marked by a ToP: label.|
A gentleman explorer is primarily a ranged combatant, using Elephant Gun and Big Game Hunter to take down foes from a distance. If forced into melee combat, however, he is still a rather formidable force with Fisticuffs. In either situation, he is best against solitary opponents, but toward higher levels his Fowling Piece and Mano-a-Mano abilities make this limitation easier to tolerate.
Abilities: A gentleman explorer relies chiefly on his wits — Intelligence drives most of his class abilities. However, his ranged attacks depend on Dexterity, and many of his most important skills are Wisdom-based.
Races: With their drive to adapt and expand, humans are the most likely to become gentleman explorers.
Starting Gold: 3d6×10 gp (105 gp).
Starting Age: Moderate.
All of the following are class features of the gentleman explorer.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A gentleman explorer is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light armor, medium armor, and shields (except tower shields). At the DM's discretion, he may also be proficient with any exotic firearms used in the camapaign.
Elephant Gun (Ex): A gentleman explorer cannot be bothered with lilliputian firearms that spew wayward bullets this way and that. A hand-pistol is for a woman, and furthermore any man who misses a shot with a proper rifle might just as well shave off his muttonchops! When wielding any projectile weapon with which he is proficient in two hands, a gentleman explorer may make a single attack with a static +8 competence bonus to attack and an extra 1d8 precision damage per class level. Since it is precision damage, any resistance or immunity that applies to critical hits applies to it as well. This attack bonus and extra damage (which is never multiplied) come at the cost of spending 1 round to execute the attack (i.e., a full-round action is spent, and it takes effect the following round, as with 1-round spells). The target must be declared upon initiating this ability, though the actual attack is only made at the start of the gentleman explorer's next turn. Although it requires intense focus, Elephant Gun never needs a Concentration check.
Anthropology: Any gentleman explorer worth a grain of spice or a drop of laudanum must be intimately familiar with the practices of all societies, even the backward and savage ones. He may make a special Anthropology check of 1d20 + character level + 1/2 class level + Intelligence modifier to see if he knows some relevant information about the culture or society of any intelligent creature. This roll functions as the appropriate Knowledge check, and may be made in addition to a real Knowledge check.
- ToP: Instead of the above, this ability functions as follows: whenever the Gentleman Explorer makes a Cultures check for Culture and Creature Insight, he may roll it again at a +3 competence bonus. He must declare this reroll before the results are resolved, and he is then committed to accepting the second roll instead of the first.
Big Game Hunter: Subduing the great behemoths of the wild is not a crude feat of the body — it is a noble feat of the mind! A gentleman explorer should fight his quarry with the strength of a superior intellect, applying advanced gunning techniques that will prove particularly troubling for the dreadful beast. During a round in which he activates Elephant Gun (the round before firing), he may use a swift action to reduce the bonus damage from Elephant Gun in order to apply one (and only one) effect from the list below. He gains access to these effects as shown on Table: The Gentleman Explorer. All save DCs are equal to 10 + 1/2 character level + Intelligence modifier.
Bang! (Ex): If struck, the target must make a Will save or be shaken for 1 round. The attack has only 4/5 as many Elephant Gun damage dice as normal, rounded down.
Whoosh! (Ex): If struck, the target rolls a Strength check against the gentleman explorer's Intelligence check. Resolve this opposed roll as a bull rush against the target, except that the gentleman explorer does not move and the target may only be moved in a line directly away from the gentleman explorer. The attack has only 3/4 as many Elephant Gun damage dice as normal, rounded down.
Woah! (Ex): If struck, the target must make a Reflex save or be considered flat-footed for 1 round. The attack has only 3/5 as many Elephant Gun damage dice as normal, rounded down.
Poof! (Su): If struck, the target is subject to a targeted greater dispel magic at a caster level equal to the gentleman explorer's character level. The attack has only 1/4 as many Elephant Gun damage dice as normal, rounded down.
Fisticuffs (Ex): A bare-knuckle brawl is a sad, uncivil necessity sometimes, and a gentleman explorer is nothing if not a pragmatist. When the need arises, he can lay flat any strapping ruffian that comes his way, throwing devastating jabs as he circles his foe. Starting at 3rd level, he may designate any adjacent opponent as his Detested Malcontent by spending a swift action. This designation ends when the gentleman explorer is no longer adjacent to his Detested Malcontent, when he designates another Detested Malcontent, when he attacks any creature other than his Detested Malcontent, when he attacks with anything other than an unarmed strike, or when he uses a free action to end the designation. A gentleman explorer gains the following benefits while he has a Detested Malcontent:
- He gains the Unarmed Strike class feature of a first-level monk. This can only be used to attack his Detested Malcontent. This does not stack with similar (or identical) class features.
- When the gentleman explorer moves into a square adjacent to his Detested Malcontent, his Detested Malcontent is not entitled to an attack of opportunity. When denying his Detested Malcontent attacks of opportunity in this fashion, the gentleman explorer cannot simultaneously tumble, and he must move at half speed.
- If he moves at least ten feet during his turn, the gentleman explorer deals an additional 2d6 damage per class level with his next unarmed strike againt his Detested Malcontent. This extra damage only applies if used before the gentleman explorer's next turn, and it can only occur once per round.
- Once per round, when the gentleman explorer's Detested Malcontent attempts to move further away by any means — even with a five-foot step or a teleportation effect, or even with an effect initiated by another creature — the gentleman explorer may make an attack of opportunity against it. If this attack hits, the Detested Malcontent must make a Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 class level + Int modifier) or be unable to move away for 1 round. Actions used to initiate the retreat are not necessarily wasted, however; if such options are available, the movement might be redirected to a space adjacent to the gentleman explorer.
- Against attacks made by his Detested Malcontent, the gentleman explorer gains a dodge bonus to AC equal to his Intelligence bonus (if any, maximum +8). This does not stack with any other abilities that give him an ability modifier to AC, but it does stack with the normal Dexterity modifier to AC.
Trap Sense (Ex): Starting at 3rd level, a gentleman explorer gains a +1 bonus on Reflex saves made to avoid traps and a +1 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by traps. These bonuses rise by +1 every three gentleman explorer levels thereafter (6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 18th level). Trap sense bonuses gained from multiple classes stack.
What Ho! (Ex): Keen instinct and quick wits — those are the key to getting along in terra incognita. If you don't have the brains to follow your gut or the guts to follow your brain, you'll end up ass-over-tip in a punji pit. Starting at 5th level, when a gentleman explorer (or any creature within 30 ft. to which he has line of sight) triggers a trap, the gentleman explorer may take an immediate action to roll a Survival check. This check functions as if it were a Search check made to find the trap with the trapfinding class feature. If the gentleman explorer succeeds on this check, he becomes aware of the trap before it is triggered; he stops just short of completing whatever action would have triggered it, or he warns the creature about to trigger it so that they can similarly stop short. When warning a creature, he must be able to successfully communicate the warning to them — he must be audible if he verbally warns them, he must be visible if he warns them with a gesture, etc. If he fails on the Survival check, the trap is triggered as normal.
Additionally, a gentleman explorer may always participate in a surprise round.
- ToP: The Survival check is rolled against the Perception DC to find the trap as if the full required time were taken.
Confound Electromechanical Bamboozlements (Ex): Savage cultures do not quite understand hospitality. Their dwellings are full of spring-loaded darts and razor-sharp whirligigs which, far from providing comfort for an unwary guest, may leave him uncomfortable on a quite permanent basis! An experienced voyager must learn to cleverly find his way past such contraptions, since it would be rude to vandalize them. When a gentleman explorer of 5th level or higher has successfully located a trap — whether with a Search check, by using What Ho!, or by having it pointed out to him — he may, with 1 minute of close examination, attempt a Survival check against the Disable Device DC that would be required to disarm the trap. If successful, he devises a way to introduce a delay so that he and his allies might move past safely; the next time the trap is triggered, its effects are delayed by 1 round for every point of Intelligence bonus that the gentleman explorer has (minimum 1 round). This causes no permanent damage or physical change to the trap, and therefore leaves no evidence of tampering. As with a Disable Device check, the roll is made in secret, and failure by 5 or more causes the trap to trigger immediately. The gentleman explorer may take 10 on this check as normal.
- ToP: The Survival check is rolled against the Devices DC to disable the trap. The trap is immediately triggered if the gentleman explorer fails the check by 6 or more. As with all ToP skill checks, the roll is made by the player.
The Game's Afoot (Ex): Beasts have no notion of sport, and often refuse to stand and fight when challenged. The gentleman explorer, then, must learn to act with haste if he wants to mount that tarrasque head on his wall. Starting at 7th level, he may use Elephant Gun as a full-round action. This means that the attack occurs on the same turn on which it is initiated, and that the gentleman explorer is no longer prevented from taking a five-foot step or making an attack of opportunity. Additionally, once per minute, he may use Elephant Gun as a standard action.
Bar Bar Bar (Ex): Any cultured outdoorsman must be capable of adapting to every pidgin and creole he might encounter, no matter how crude. How else could he teach the savages to civilize themselves? By spending five minutes conferring with a creature who is speaking a language he does not know, a gentleman explorer of at least 8th level can learn the spoken form of the language. Similarly, by spending five minutes examining at least 100 words written in a language (but not a cipher) he does not know, he can learn the written form of the language.
- ToP: Instead of the above, this ability functions as follows: when a gentleman explorer is using the Acquire Tongues ability of the Cultures skill, he may make another check (with the cumulative +2 bonus) every minute instead of every hour. Additionally, when using the Decipher Script ability of the Ciphers skill, a gentleman explorer may retry a failed check by attempting it again as normal. In this way, if he has the Rosetta Stone ability, with sufficient time he can usually learn the written form of a language by examining any five samples of it.
Mere Superstition (Su): Exposure to the sorceries and blasphemies of savage medicine men can teach the wily trekker how to deal with these tricks they insist on calling "magic." With a swift action, a 9th level gentleman explorer can attempt to remove from himself a single active spell effect of his choice, as per the targeted version of dispel magic (caster level equals character level). If successful, he may then place this spell effect in any single unarmed strike or weapon attack that he makes before his next turn; this decision is made before rolling the attack. Any one target struck by this attack must make a Will save at DC 10 + 1/2 character level + Int modifer or suffer the spell effect for the remainder of its duration. The originator of the effect retains any control over it that they might have had, such as the ability to dismiss it.
Fight Me Like a Man! (Ex): Some uncouth sorts will refuse to lay down their arms when challenged to a rumble, so the gentleman explorer must do it for them. Starting at 10th level, he gains the benefits of Improved Disarm against his Detested Malcontent. Additionally, he may make an unarmed disarm attempt on his Detested Malcontent as a swift action, but if he does so he may not opt to keep the weapon; regardless of whether the gentleman explorer's hands are full, it falls to the ground.
Gentlemen Don't Ask for Directions (Sp): A gentleman explorer has no need of flimsy paper maps to guide him! With his wits alone, he can get anywhere he needs to be, and what's more he'll get there faster than any nancy with a compass. Starting at 11th level, he may use find the path at will as a spell-like ability. However, this only allows him to learn the spatial route — it does not alert him to hazards he must avoid or actions he must undertake to progress.
Extinctionist (Ex): What man could ever call his menagerie complete until he has killed the last of every species in the world? A 12th level gentleman explorer gains Track as a bonus feat, may move at full speed without penalty while tracking, and may track creatures protected by pass without trace or similar effects by taking a -10 penalty to the Survival check. Additionally, after spending 1 hour tracking any one creature, he gains the benefits of Minor favored enemy against its creature type, as a Tome ranger. Briefly, this means he gains a +2 bonus to attack that type, +1d6 damage for basic and iterative attacks against that type, a bonus of 1/2 his character level to Survival checks to continue tracking that type, and a corresponding unique ability. In campaigns utilizing the Edge, he gains the Edge against creatures of that type. The favored enemy benefits last for 24 hours or until the gentleman explorer spends 1 hour tracking a creature of another type, whichever comes first.
- ToP: The gentleman explorer gains Tracker instead of Track. The bonus to Survival tracks made to continue tracking is changed to a static +3.
Espy Voodoo Shenanigans (Su): Anyone claiming to be a magic man must surely be perpetrating some vile hoax, but that does not make these mountebanks any less dangerous! To survive in those backward cultures that would shelter a shaman, a gentleman explorer must learn to find the flim-flam before he succumbs to it. Starting at 13th level, he is always under the effects of arcane sight (minus the glowing eyes), and he may use his Survival skill in place of Spellcraft to identify an aura's school of magic.
Fowling Piece (Ex): A carefully aimed rifle shot is all well and good for a solitary target, but large groups require a rather more indelicate solution. When using Elephant Gun, a 14th level gentleman explorer may opt to reduce the bonus damage by 10d8 (applying this reduction before any reductions from Big Game Hunter) and choose multiple targets. He may choose as many targets as he wishes, but they must all lie within a 20-foot radius sphere, and the gentleman explorer must not lie within this sphere. He rolls an attack against each target individually, and any effects which are specified as only applying to a single attack (e.g., true strike) will only function on one of these attacks (chosen individually before rolling any attacks); however, any single Big Game Hunter effect may be applied, and this functions on all of the attacks. This consumes one piece of ammunition per target, but all ammunition beyond the first piece is drawn and loaded simultaneously as part of the action taken to use this ability (regardless of the weapon's ammunition capacity, or whether it is already loaded with multiple shots). After using this ability, the gentleman explorer must wait 1d4 rounds before using it again.
Of Course I Know Where We Are! (Su): What an embarrassing thing it is when an explorer finds himself completely unaware of his surroundings! At any cost, he must at least be able to maintain the illusion of knowing the locale — and the best way to do that is to take a wild stab at what might be ahead and, by some supernatural instinct, be absolutely correct! A gentleman explorer of 15th level or higher is constantly aware of all geographic features, landmarks, and permanent settlements (though not the names of these things) within 5 miles. The gentleman explorer only learns of surface features — caves and indoor locations are excluded (although cave entrances and building facades can be seen) — but he is henceforth able to recall this information with perfect accuracy, even after an area has left his radius of awareness.
Additionally, he and any allies travelling with him (up to 1 per character level) may hustle indefinitely without taking nonlethal damage or becoming fatigued.
Trailblazer (Ex): With enough experience, a gentleman explorer learns to effortlessly flatten a new path as he walks along — if he dirties his hands, he is not properly experiencing the wild! From 16th level on, his movement cannot be slowed (e.g., by entanglement or difficult terrain), but it can still be halted (e.g., by paralysis or Stand Still). Furthermore, as long as the gentleman explorer is not helpless, allies gain the same benefits when entering a space adjacent to him. This does not negate the cost of special forms of movement such as tumbling or circling one's Detested Malcontent.
Pith and Vinegar (Su): A khaki headdress and a flask of acetic spirits are all a gentleman explorer needs to survive the tropical climes. So long as he wears some variety of hat and keeps himself hydrated, a 17th level gentleman explorer benefits from endure elements and avoid planar effectsPlanar.
Whack the Bush (Ex): Overgrown greenery and fiddly-whatsits of stone cannot impede a gentleman explorer lining up for a shot! Starting at 18th level, he may ignore cover less than total cover and concealment less than total concealment whenever he makes an attack. For the purpose of any effect which impedes projectile attacks but not magic rays, such as solid fog or Deflect Arrows, the gentleman explorer may consider his projectile attacks to be rays. If he has the Improved Precise Shot feat, then, once per encounter, a single attack that he makes completely ignores either total concealment or total cover; he must decide whether to use this benefit before rolling the attack or miss chance, but if the attack does not land, this benefit is not consumed and may be used again.
Mano-a-Mano (Ex): There is a sacred honor to solitary showdown with one's nemesis, and that honor is soiled when the surrounding ruffians get themselves entangled what should be a one-on-one boxing match. Any man with a shred of decency must ward off these interlopers until the dispute is settled. While a 19th level gentleman explorer has a Detested Malcontent, he may make an unarmed attack of opportunity against any creature (other than his Detested Malcontent) that attempts to move into a space within reach from any more distant space — even if this movement is accomplished with teleportation or a five-foot step. This attack of opportunity does not end the Detested Malcontent designation, and it gains all the benefits of an attack against a Detested Malcontent. If this attack lands (even if it fails to deal damage), the target is prevented from completing the movement as intended; the target may, at its option, redirect the movement such that it moves to another legal space, provided that it does not at any point move closer than it was when it triggered this ability.
The Game's Still Afoot (Ex): Those unruly creatures simply will not stay put! A 20th level gentleman explorer may use Elephant Gun as a standard action at will; he is no longer limited to doing so once per minute.
Trophy Room (Sp): Lugging about the husk of a devastation beetle is difficult for the experienced gentleman explorer who might fell such a monstrosity. He certainly lacks the time to bring it to his stately manor, so the natural solution is bringing the manor to it! At will, a 20th level gentleman explorer may use mage's magnificent mansion as a spell-like ability at a caster level equal to his character level. The mansion continues to exist even when the spell effect would normally end, and each use creates a portal to the same mansion instead of producing an entirely new mansion. It can be redesigned with each use according to the spell's specifications, but any objects and creatures in it are preserved. The food produced by the spell restocks every 24 hours.
Epic Gentleman Explorer
4 + Int modifier skill points per level.
Bonus Feats: The epic gentleman explorer gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic gentleman explorer bonus feats) every three levels after 20th.
Epic Gentleman Explorer Bonus Feat List: Additional Magic Item Space, Dire Charge, Fast Healing, Improved Combat Reflexes, Instant Reload, Legendary Climber, Legendary Climber, Legendary Leaper, Legendary Rider, Improved Darkvision, Improved Low-Light Vision, Multiweapon Rend, Perfect Multiweapon Fighting, Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting, Polyglot, Spellcasting Harrier, Superior Initiative, Two-Weapon Rend, Uncanny Accuracy.
Human Gentleman Explorer Starting Package
Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 5 + Int modifier.
Feat: Point Blank Shot.
Bonus Feat: Precise Shot.
Gear: Hide armor, backpack with waterskin, one day's trail rations, bedroll, sack, flint and steel, quiver with twenty arrows.
Gold: 2d8 gp.
Playing a Gentleman Scholar
Religion: It is only proper for a gentleman to hold to the virtues of some respectable religion, and so piety is quite common among gentleman explorers. Most often, they will adopt whatever religion is most popular in their home culture, but one who wishes his faith to be more closely related to his profession will often worship a god of travel or knowledge.
Other Classes: Rogues are insufferable for their quite literally backstabbing ways. Barbarians are worse still — horrendous boors. Wizards? They have their place, but the armchair philosophy of such scholars is inferior to proper anthropological investigation.
Combat: Gentleman explorers are not terribly capable of keeping control of the enemy. And why should they be? A hunter need only concern himself with felling solitary prizes, and that is where a gentleman explorer excels.
Advancement: What? Take levels in some other class? Such is the talk of an amateur! Still, advancement in the tradition of some other sort of fighting man could be a respectable and desirable route — a sharpshooter, for instance.
Gentleman Explorers in the World
|“||Doctor Thrivingrock, I presume?||”|
|—Harry N. Stingley, human gentleman explorer|
Originating almost exclusively from the few most advanced civilizations in the world, gentleman explorers make it their mission in life to study foreign locales, then completely destroy the cultures and ecosystems they so carefully documented.
Daily Life: A day as a gentleman explorer is a day of adventure! Whether procuring hides and horns for trophies or teaching table manners to a savage, every day of a gentleman explorer's life is spent in some noble pursuit.
Notables: Goliath Thrivingrock is a dwarven gentleman explorer well-known for establishing positive relations with the native people of Ricaaf.
Organizations: The Brotherhood of Un-cloistered Learning and Lofty Yearnings is a global fraternity for explorers and anthropologists. Its members are quite jovial about their membership, and in a moment of good fun or fortune they will often shout the acronym of their patron society's name: "BULLY!"
NPC Reactions: In their home cultures, gentleman explorers are generally met with the immense respect that they surely deserve. Backward natives across the sea do not often give them so warm a welcome.
Gentleman Explorers in the Game
In an adventuring party, the gentleman explorer will usually be responsible for survivalism and diplomacy during peaceful pursuits, whilst in combat he uses his trusty rifle to quash priority targets. NPC gentleman explorers are professional hunters, wilderness guides, and objects of (entirely justified, to be sure) hero worship.
Adaptation: If you want a gentleman explorer whose focus is primarily on unarmed combat, you can swap the attack and damage bonus of Elephant gun with the damage bonus of Fisticuffs, and alter Big Game Hunter so that it applies to unarmed attacks against his Detested Malcontent instead of attacks with Elephant Gun.
Sample Encounter: While exploring a seemingly abandoned dungeon, the party finds a stone door with a woman's body crushed beneath it, no more than a month dead. Upon pressing the switch that raises the door, the party finds themselves immediately attacked by a bedraggled and half-starved man in khaki apparel. Behind him are the remains of two other men, which appear to have been picked clean of any edible meat.
EL 6: Alwyn Halfmain is a gentleman explorer who, after a lengthy adventure, found himself trapped in a dungeon. He's rather desperate for food, so much so that he'd rather kill the party and take all of theirs instead of asking for only some of it.
|Male human gentleman explorer 6|
|N medium humanoid (human)|
|Init/Senses||+2/Listen +0, Spot +9|
|Languages||Common, Orcish, Goblin|
|AC|| 18, touch 16, flat-footed 12|
(+6 armor, +2 Dexterity)
|hp||27 (6 HD)|
|Fort/Ref/Will||+6/+3/+2; Trap Sense +2|
|Melee||mwk gauntlet +9/+3 melee (1d6+2 20/×2, versus Detested Malcontent only, +12d6 1/round if moved 10 ft.)|
|Ranged||+1 composite (+2) longbow +17 ranged with Elephant Gun (1d8+3 20/×3, 6d8 bonus damage, requires 1 entire round) or|
|Ranged||+1 composite (+2) longbow +9/+3 ranged (1d8+3 20/×3)|
|Atk Options||Big Game Hunter DC 15 (Bang! 4d8, Whoosh! 4d8, Pow! 3d8)|
|Abilities||Str 14, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 10, Cha 8|
|SQ||Confound Electromechanical Bamboozlements, What Ho!|
|Feats||Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot|
|Skills||Climb +8, Diplomacy +10, Jump +8, Knowledge (Geography) +11, Sense Motive +9, Spot +9, Survival +9 (+11 to keep from getting lost or for avoiding hazards), Anthropology +11|
|Possessions||+1 breastplate, +1 composite (+2) longbow, mwk gauntlet, 20 arrows, 1,000 gp|
|Article Balance||High +|
|Base Attack Bonus Progression||Good +|
|Class Ability||Other +|
|Class Ability Progression||Other +|
|Fortitude Save Progression||Good +|
|Identifier||3.5e Class +|
|Minimum Level||1 +|
|Rated By||Tarkisflux +, Aarnott +, Jay Freedman +, Ghostwheel +, Eiji-kun +, Foxwarrior + and Circlehead +|
|Rating||Rated 3.9 / 4 +|
|Reflex Save Progression||Poor +|
|Skill||Appraise +, Bluff +, Climb +, Craft +, Decipher Script +, Diplomacy +, Gather Information +, Handle Animal +, Heal +, Intimidate +, Jump +, Knowledge +, Listen +, Profession +, Ride +, Sense Motive +, Speak Language +, Spot +, Survival +, Swim + and Use Rope +|
|Skill Points||4 +|
|Summary||Being a journeyer through savage wildernesses, a student of natural philosophy, and furthermore a well and truly dapper huntsman. +|
|Title||Gentleman Explorer +|
|ToP Skill||Affability +, Appraisal +, Athletics +, Bluff +, Ciphers +, Creature Handling +, Cultures +, Endurance +, Healing +, Intimidation +, Jump +, Perception +, Psychology + and Survival +|
|Will Save Progression||Poor +|