Being one of those smart LSpy operators, Valentina, I can say that working alongside one of my friends who had a character that was a social specialist for the most part (I mean the guy used Martial Arts focused on his Charisma stat and had a +22 Impress check before dropping a die.) We had a great mantra: sneak in until we have to shoot our way out. The line "It's all gone bad." from the Proving Ground mod was something that was said by our group when Pat was running the table.
Between my character and his, we tended to avoid fights when possible. Combat was meant to be kept to the shadows and not overt because such was the way of espionage. In fact, we overwhelmingly succeeded at the mission The Lion Sleeps Tonight without firing a single shot and only one punch was thrown at just the right time. The hard core soldier built to be Bruce Lee actually thought it was a cool way to handle things.
Yeah, see? Efficiency is sexy to everybody.
I remember The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Heh heh.
Shadow pulled overwatch, I went in through a gully and up an embankment...and botched
the Athletics check to finish the climb, fell backwards, and ended up sliiiiiiiiding down to rest, helmet-first, an inch away from the antipersonnel land mines
I hadn't spotted going in. Lesson learned -Murphy's Laws of Combat: The Easy Way is Always Mined
Luck turned at the top though. Got Mr. Lion with his pants down, flashbang, some suppressed 9mm sintered metal rounds, and zip-ties. Cue one jacking one deuce-and-a-half and a mad chase escape. Celebrate over beer and bruises.
Now, on to the Explorer, the focus cannot be based around assaulting a facility like in a military style campaign. There has to be more cunning, guile, and wits. The Explorer's combat abilities are more for a last resort situation in urban areas or dealing with the locals in rural or uninhabited areas.
If the Explorer cannot
then s/he's got a big problem when, say, s/he needs to steal an aircraft to escape from a Luftwaffe airbase.
And really what's the assault basics? Marksman Basics, Surge of Speed, Snap Shot, some AoE for clumped targets/cover, a decent gun (range is important), and a reliable personal radio. Snap Shot's optional, but anything else to avoid getting too badly outnumbered.
Three feats (maybe add Boxing Moves; use (Knockout
for those close encounters) and some mild gear. Not such a huge investment, not if you're looking at buying the entire Whip chain without multiclassing or bonus feats as a given.
Hey, there's an idea. What if Explorers got some bonus access to the Melee feats? Indy's got a whip of course; in movies I've seen swords (finesse and heavier blades), knives, shovels, and clubs at least. Archaic combat forms and Explorers seem to go rather comfortably along.
Watch Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Last Crusade. Outside of having the Whip B/M/S and maybe Revolver Basics, Indy wins his fights through strength of heart (Action Dice), his wits, and the occasional solid punch. So what is Indy in a more boiled down, no class name, description: an adventurous scholar? a fighting academic? an intelligent acquisitions expert? Some, all or none of these? I'd contend that he is certainly the first and third with the second being a strong possibility.
Nicholas Cage's character in National Treasure is a former Navy Diver with a degree (or two) in American history out to solve a riddle that has been passed down through his family since the American Revolution and told to him by his grandfather (Christopher Plummer in an awesome cameo). He lacks money but his strength in his faith that a treasure exists is what convinces Ian Howe (Sean Bean) to foot his expenses (and of course for a chunk of the profit from selling it off a piece at at a time). Very early on in the film, you learn he has no Bluff skill and Ian knows he cannot Bluff because they played poker against one another.
So the crux of the need for action vs playing the Explorer is really about framing as a race to solve the riddle (National Treasure) or to find the artifact (Indiana Jones). It is necessary to have a good villain (Ian Howe) or an iconic organization (Nazis - crunch all you want, there are more around the corner). Then it is just a matter of determining what it is they are racing for and engaging periodic obstacles, chases, and maybe even in a potential deathtrap installed a very long time ago near the end.
The Explorer also gives you a great chance to allow people to demonstrate their skills and commit to doing research. As much as Daniel Jackson is a Scientist, he could also be categorized in some sense to be an Explorer, especially later on in the SG-1 series.
See that I agree, but I also don't also assume that things'll just work out because it's fair that way. I came up in the Gygaxian "you cry, roll to see how hard" era of Darwinian Fantasy. The Stormwind Fallacy makes me laugh
, because all my formative DM's would gladly put some presumptuous little gladfly's nuts in a vice for thinking his 6 Charisma Slaughter Master wasn't going to eat crow because the player had a silver tongue.
How many Living campaigns have I played/volunteered in...?
LSpy, Living Greyhawk, Living City (& a little Procampur, blech), Living Arcanis, Living Death...there was something else, too...eh, no matter. More 3.X. Nothing less than a year in each though, and 5 in a few.
Point to be made: I'm not criticizing LSpy, I'm pointing out that just about every
Living campaign runs like that. And that's entirely sensible. And it's also how I like it, really. I think it's appropriate and fun, and most of all one of the really remarkable things about LSpy was how generally that climatic fight could be circumvented or tricked out of happening. All without Casters.
Living Forgotten Realms was almost the exact opposite: no amount of being smart kept you out of the mandatory 3-per-mod brawls, and much as I liked it 4E greatly favored what a friend of mine coined "the Four-E F*** Box" -the tendency of combat to start with the players all herded together in a prepared kill location with as much disadvantageous terrain between them and the antagonists as possible. Not so fun, but quite consistent.
LSpy was great, I miss it still.
Maybe I phrased it wrong, but my opening post isn't about how the Explorer is flawed. It's about how I'm flawed
in not being comfortable playing one in a campaign where having a deadly climatic fight is regular occurrence.
Truism ahoy: not every class is for every player, right? I'm wondering aloud about why
mechanically beyond my own hangups.
The answer seems to be, "because if events don't have some merciful, but thematically appropriate, allowances built in, you're dead
." And that's not an answer that I cleave to.
You remember Buzz, right? Remember as well his downfall?