Game: Power Classes: Explorer
Publisher: Mongoose Publishing
Review Dated: 27th, February 2003
Reviewer’s Rating: 5/10 [ Perfectly acceptable ]
Total Score: 5
Average Score: 5.00
Mongoose’s Power Classes are, I think, one of last year’s surprise hits. The books are tiny, too small really to be called books and I’m surprised they’re allowed to claim an ISBN. They’re booklets, 16 thin pages between a card stock cover and stapled together. They’re actually rather robust. The idea behind the power class is value for money. US$2.95 gets you a single new core class, a little crunch dressing in the form of new feats or equipment and nothing else. In other words, just what you need to use the class.
There’s no question that the nature of the Explorer makes it a suitable character class. Whether the game centres on exploring dungeons, finding new lands or even intrigue at court the explorer fits in. Sir Walter Raleigh, after all, was an explorer.
The Explorer class here is blessed with plenty of special character abilities; only once does the class go two levels without a new ability being learnt or a current one improved. A pet peeve of mine is trying to work out whether a special character ability is magical or not. I’d say that the Druid’s Woodland Stride is magical. The non-magical Explorer picks up the Woodland Stride ability at level seven. Is that magical? Is the Iron Constitution ability that the class gets at the next level magical? It grants the Explorer immunity to all diseases, mundane or not. An Explorer can shake off mummy rot and has nothing other than blood and teeth to fear from a werewolf’s bite.
It is that pet peeve that holds first place among my whines about the class. I mutter concerns about the way the Fast Movement (+10 feet in speed in the right circumstances) and Pathfinder (reduce travelling time) sort of overlap in a hazy sort of way. The Explorer is a specialist class too; the special character abilities really are geared towards roaming through unexplored (duh) wilderness areas and making contact with new people. The Explorer might well suffer in a game that doesn’t feature much of this. However, I would say that explorering is something that comes naturally to people, that being an explorer could almost be described as “in the blood”. I think an explorer might well complain if she’s stuck sitting in a familiar city and if the mechanics of this class encourages that roleplaying then that’s a plus point, not a fault.
There’s a page and a half of that fair weather friend “New Uses For Old Skills” too. Remarkably one of the new skills introduced isn’t available to Explorers! Decipher Script is only available to Bards and Rogues (I think the Explorer is more likely to know it). As it happens one of the Explorer’s special class abilities is to take non-class skills, even restricted ones, and turn them into a class skill. That’s right, Decipher Script is used as the example of the sort of non-class skill that the Explorer might want. Heh. That’s a little cheeky.
Fortunately most of the extra pages in the back of the booklet are crammed full of new and suitable feats. If you have the Mongoose tome Ultimate Feats then some of these feats might not be too new to you but that doesn’t detract too much from this Power Class booklet’s ability to give you all that you’ll need for a few bucks.