Discovering uncharted lands is your calling. You may be a rugged pioneer, a well to do expedition leader, or a simple wanderer. In any case, you are a seasoned explorer, and you are an expert at finding and traveling to unknown places.

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Survival

Tool Proficiencies: Navigator’s Tools

Languages: One of your choice

Equipment: A few maps relevant to your travels, a set of explorer’s clothes, a travel journal and writing implement, a backpack, and a pouch containing 10 gp.


Feature: Chart the Unknown

As an experienced explorer, you have learned many tricks and secrets for traveling easily in new places. Also, you have developed methods to chart these areas while you explore them. When traveling for an hour or more under your own power or via a vehicle with which you are proficient, you may travel at a normal pace and simultaneously generate a detailed map of the areas you observe. Once you have personally mapped an area, as long as you have access to your relevant maps, you cannot get lost in that area except by magical means. Bear in mind that maps of certain places may be a rare commodity, and may therefore be considered quite valuable to the right people.

Fleshing Things Out

Some questions to consider when determining how this background applies to your character: How long have you been an explorer, and how wide have your travels been?

Have you discovered any noteworthy places? Are there any special places you have heard of, but have not had the chance to explore yet? Do you want to continue exploring? Do you have any plans to stop at some point? Do you prefer to explore alone or with a group?

You should also consider what caused you to take up the role of an adventurer. An explorer’s life is probably fairly adventurous, but did the path of adventure lead you to exploration? Or did you want to explore first, and that desire naturally led you to a life of adventuring? Perhaps your quest to explore a particular place is the focus of your adventure, or maybe you have resolved to have as many adventures as possible while you see what lies in store in strange lands.

d8 Personality Trait
1 The journey is more exciting than the destination.
2 I’m always in search of new jokes.
3 The best part of exploration is discovering new foods.
4 I feel alone even in a crowded room.
5 I don’t believe in half measures.
6 There’s no reason I can’t have it all.
7 I do not fear the unknown.
8 I’m something of a control freak.
d6 Ideal
1 Exploitation. New lands hold fresh people and resources to exploit. (Evil)
2 Second Chances. A new place can mean a fresh start. (Good)
3 Completion. If it exists, it should be mapped and documented. (Lawful)
4 Opportunity. New lands bring new opportunities. (Any)
5 Discovery. Discovery is its own reward. (Neutral)
6 Wanderlust. Just show me where the next horizon is. (Chaotic)
d6 Bond
1 My people need a new home, and I will find it for them.
2 I want to spread my people’s way of life to every corner of the world.
3 I despise my homeland. Other places must surely be better.
4 The mysteries of unknown territories intrigue me.
5 My family is filled with famous explorers.
6 I explore to experience new and exotic cultures.
d6 Flaw
1 I can’t bear to stay in one place for more than a couple days.
2 I consider all new cultures I encounter to be inferior to my own.
3 When the going gets tough, my first instinct is to give up.
4 I don’t know the meaning of patience.
5 I have a hard time paying attention.
6 I am a shameless glutton.

Variant Explorer: Settler

While all explorers are interested in discovering new places, some of them are equally (or more) concerned with the prospect of settling in these uncharted places after discovering them. If you choose the Settler variant of the Explorer background, this background gives you proficiency in either land or sea vehicles instead of a language.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Big Book of Backgrounds Copyright 2019, P.B. Publishing, Phil Beckwith, and Cody Faulk.

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