Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Their enthusiasm and willing to peek into dark corners, and interest in the world around them, make them fantastic players, so can their urge to wander off the track, leap unthinkingly into dark chasms, and chase unseen terrors through the night can cause many an ST to gnash their teeth into teeny tiny stubs.

So, before we go any further, just what is an Explorer

The Explorer is a player of risk-taking characters who are willing to gamble with their lives just to know what is around the next corner or to get another piece of the puzzle. They hate when elements of the game world are barred to them 'just because' and relish in pushing buttons and exploring lesser seen paths. They come to the game looking for new experiences that they will never get in real life. They will happily venture into the dark and mysterious places only to grab that unseen terror by the tail, drag it out into the light, poke at it for a few minutes, and then go rushing back to explore caves and waterfalls in the search for the next big surprise.

There's no point trying to rail road them because you can never really guess at what tangent will catch their attention but if you're nice to them and give them the time they need to fully explore (with all the obstacles that a full exploration brings with it) then they will probably mosey on back to poke at your central plot again. Probably. If they remember it was there.

You may prefer the Explorer Role if your favorite characters were...

Driven to understand the story universe itself.

Likely to leap through strange portals into other dimensions with little provocation.

Happy to question their original assumptions.

Like taking risks with their lives so that you could find out more or see a different place rather than because you thought the act itself was conceptually cool.

Like to briefly obsess over plot tangents.

Hated having areas blocked off so much they learned skills that could bypass the usual barriers (lock picking, hacking).

Were happy to read up on or listen to strange tales about interesting locations and people (though are bored if it's generic, overly long, or has no impact on the current situation).

Leap before they look (and are eager to do so).

They prefer STs who are...

Liberal with their descriptions (and describe things well).

Good at running games on the fly.

Willing to be completely flexible with the central plot.

Are happy to have plots solved in a very rambling, round-about fashion.

Inject interesting and eccentric NPCs, preferably of unusual species.

Allow cross-genre interactions (such as a vampire stumbling into a changeling court in the World of Darkness).

Include Strange Locations or turning the familiar strange by pointing out odd, telling details.

Have Plots involving weird science with consequences that can then be explored - rifts in dimensions, etc.

Include a touch of the surreal or unusual in their world histories.

Emphasise a sense of the occult (rituals, superstitions, etc.) rather than the cold, hard rules of RPG magic systems.

Throw in Bizarre artifacts that can be examined and played with.

Allow travel to exotic locations that the players will never visit and then vividly bring these locations to life.

Don't include time limits or other barriers that would prevent them from adequate exploration (obstacles and temporary time limits / barriers are fine, though).

Include a lot of depth and wonder in their games. The immersion appeal is incredibly important to them.

Fictional Characters that fit the type:
Indiana Jones.

Videogames that support the type:
Fall Out.
Planescape Torment.
Elder Scroll Series (Oblivion, Morrowind, Skyrim).

So, what do you guys think? Bearing in mind that we all have a little of each of the player types in us, does this make sense to you? Know anyone who fits the profile? If you can think up any additional fictional characters or Explorer-style videogames, let me know and I'll add them here.

I originally considered putting up Pen-and-Paper RPGs that support the type but I think that there's a place in every system for every profile.

You can find the links to all of the five playing styles over here.


  1. Yup, as a PC I certainly fit the Bill as an Explorer. I wan't to learn as much about the game world as possible -and I'm not afraid to lose a character (or two, or ten) in the process.

    Other Explorer type PC games? I would say Robinson's Requiem, the Baldur's Gate series and the Fable series. Prety much anything with a free-form sandbox to explore.

  2. hehe, yeah, Explorers are great because they always keep things interesting though character attrition can go up a bit if the game's not flexible enough to let them check things out gracefully.

    Ooh, I've never heard of Robinson's Requiem.