General Prestige Class : Royal Explorer
Keoland monarchs enjoy learning of other lands and cultures, but pressing matters of state often keep them tied to their throne rooms. So for years, they have sponsored crack teams of explorers who travel the length and breadth of the world, then return to deliver reports on faraway wonders. Accordingly, the royal library of Keoland has the best selection of maps in the world, as well as a fascinating series of journals known as the Minutes of the Royal Explorers Society.
Because the Minutes are often used in geography lessons, many a noble's child lies awake at night, dreaming of climbing mountains along with Ahn Balic or hunting albino dire wolves with Istai Sunblessed. However, the entrance examinations for the Royal Explorers Society are rigorous indeed. To be accepted, an applicant must not only demonstrate a thorough knowledge of geography and possess impeccable cartographic skills, but also impress the society's admissions committee with verifiable tales of a particularly noteworthy exploration.
Academic geographers tend not to survive explorations in the wild, so most royal explorers are former bards or rogues. Adventurers in the midst of their own explorations sometimes encounter NPC royal explorers, who may either seek advice or offer it. In addition, many of them hire bands of adventurers to deal with the more dangerous denizens of the areas they're exploring. Royal explorers also pay top coin for copies of any maps adventurers may have made of previously unexplored regions.
To qualify to become a Royal Explorer, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Skills: Decipher Script 5, ranks, Profession (cartographer) 8 ranks, Spot 8 ranks, Survival 5 ranks.
- Feats: Alertness, Endurance.
- Special: The character must be admitted to the Royal Explorers Society. This requires fulfilling all the requirements above and also submitting a verifiable report of a significant exploration to the society's review council. Such a report should include, at minimum, a detailed map of the area explored, descriptions of native flora and fauna, a narrative of encounters with the area's inhabitants, and a significant relic (preferably magical) brought back for the society's museum.
The royal explorer's class skills are Appraise, Climb, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Gather Information, Handle Animal, Jump, Knowledge (geography), Listen, Profession, Ride, Search, Sense Motive, Speak Language, Spot, Survival, Swim, Use Magic Device, and Use Rope.
Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modifier.
All the following are class features of the royal explorer prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The royal explorer gains proficiency with one exotic weapon of choice. He gains no other weapon or armor proficiencies.
Bonus Language: At 1st level and each odd-numbered royal explorer level thereafter, the character gains one bonus language of choice from Table 4-6 in the Player's Handbook.
Explorer lore: A royal explorer has a chance to know almost anything, either from his own experience or from the tales of fellow explorers. This ability functions exactly like bardic knowledge (see the Bard section in Chapter 3 of the Player's Handbook), except that the check modifier equals the character's royal explorer level + his Intelligence modifier. Bard levels stack with royal explorer levels for the purpose of determining this modifier.
Explorer Check: The royal explorer makes a Knowledge (geography) check (DC 15) once per month or whenever he travels to a new culture. Success means he can use his knowledge of the culture he is visiting to his advantage, gaining a +4 circumstance bonus on certain skill checks. At 2nd level, this bonus applies only to Diplomacy checks. For every two royal explorer levels thereafter, the bonus also applies to one additional skill, as shown below. He retains these circumstance bonuses until his next Knowledge (geography) check. For particularly isolated or far-off cultures, the DM can raise the DC of the Knowledge (geography) check to 20 or higher.
Track: At 2nd level, the royal explorer gains Track as a bonus feat.
Brave: A royal explorer of 3rd level or higher gains a +4 morale bonus on Will saves against fear effects.
Search Bonus: At 5th level, a royal explorer gains a +2 competence bonus on Search and Survival checks made to find a path, including checks for secret doors and for following tracks.
Never lost: A royal explorer of 6th level or higher automatically succeeds at Survival checks made to avoid being lost, and maze spells don't affect him.
Skill Mastery: At 7th level and higher, a royal explorer can use his skills reliably even under adverse conditions. When he first qualifies for this ability, select a number of skills equal to 3 his Intelligence modifier for mastery. When making a check with one of these skills, the character may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent him from doing so.
Fearless (Ex): A royal explorer of 9th level or higher is immune to fear effects.
|Royal Explorer||Hit Die: d8|
|1st||+0||+2||+2||+0||Bonus language, explorer lore|
|2nd||+1||+3||+3||+0||Explorer check (Diplomacy), Track|
|3rd||+2||+3||+3||+1||Bonus language, brave|
|4th||+3||+4||+4||+1||Explorer check (Sense Motive)|
|5th||+3||+4||+4||+1||Bonus language, Search bonus|
|6th||+4||+5||+5||+2||Explorer check (Gather Information), never lost|
|7th||+5||+5||+5||+2||Bonus language, skill mastery|
|8th||+6||+6||+6||+2||Explorer check (Disable Device)|
|9th||+6||+6||+6||+3||Bonus language, fearless|
|10th||+7||+7||+7||+3||Explorer check (Use Magic Device)|
The Minutes of the Royal Explorers Society
Because they're map-intensive and hand-scribed, copies of the Minutes of the Royal Explorers Society are rare. Thus, they are terrific finds for characters seeking adventure (and treasure). Each bimonthly issue contains at least one lengthy report on a far-off land, typically written as a series of journal entries. Relevant maps are included, as is other data collected during the exploration. Shorter reports on explorations in progress appear in a separate "Correspondence from Afield" section.
The most interesting parts of the Minutes, however, are near the back of each issue. The "Annotations" section offers lively debate as explorers query, dispute, or praise reports from previous issues. The "Order of the Cautionary Tale" section always offers a firsthand account of some misadventure, comic or tragic, suffered by a royal explorer. The Order of the Cautionary Tale isn't a real knightly order, of course, but many royal explorers take a curious pride in attaining membership. After all, an explorer has to survive to tell a cautionary tale. ..
Source: Song and Silence
Older Prestige class adapted to 3.5