Posted by : David Guyll May 27, 2011

This week on Character Themes we get explorer, guttersnipe, mercenary, and outlaw.

EXPLORER
You automatically tell which way is north, gain a hefty bonus to any skill check you make to avoid getting lost, and gain an encounter power that lets you ignore difficult terrain as a move action, in addition to gaining a bonus to AC and Reflex for a turn while in difficult terrain. As another bonus, you gain combat advantage against enemies that are in difficult terrain, too. At 5th-level you gain a power bonus to Endurance, gain a Speed bonus while determining overland movement, and grant all your allies a power bonus to Endurance. Finally at 10th-level, you gain a power bonus to Fortitude and an untyped bonus on saves against ongoing poison damage.

Eeeh, that's not so bad. Granted a power bonus to skills and defenses means that they won't always stack with leader-type powers, but would probably be really useful in wilderness adventures (or Dark Sun). 
  • Stag's bound: Move action encounter that lets you move your Speed with a bonus, and grants you a massive power bonus to Athletics and Acrobatics checks when jumping, balancing, or trying to reduce falling damage. Also, any jump you make is checked as if you were running.
  • Eagle's eye: Minor action encounter that gives you combat advantage against anything you target with a ranged attack and/or area attack power, and you don't take penalties for long-range attacks. As an added bonus you also gain a power bonus to Perception when looking for hidden things.
  • Lynx's reflexes: Immediate interrupt encounter that lets you basically auto-dodge a trap attack by shifting a short distance and gaining a power bonus to AC and Reflex against the trap's attack. I actually like this a lot because even though traps are meant to be combat set-pieces, I find a lot of DMs still use them as hallway nut-punchers.
GUTTERSNIPE
No starting features, here. Instead you gain an attack power that lets you move your Speed and make an attack against a critter's Reflex that deals damage and slows for a turn. The best part of this attack is that the modifier and damage are based on your highest ability score. The 5th-level feature lets you buy and sell anything for 10% less and more respectively. Normally I allow Diplomacy, Bluff, or Intimidate checks to pull this off, so it isn't necessarily as good in my games (not that a slight wealth shift is terribly unbalancing anyway). At 10th-level you gain a power bonus to Streetwise, and can make a Streetwise check of any sort as a free action once per day while in a town or city.
  • Infuriating taunt: An encounter-immediate reaction that causes a creature that misses you with an attack to take an attack roll penalty when making attacks you until it actually hits you with an attack.
  • Fool's dance: An encounter-minor action that gives you a defense bonus against attacks based on the number of enemies adjacent to you--as well as shift whenever an attack misses--for a turn.
  • Unlikely escape: An encounter-move action that lets you end slowed, immobilized, or restrained and shift a short distance (it also works if you are flanked).
MERCENARY
Once per encounter--without using an action--you can add on bonus damage and prone when you hit an enemy with an attack, based on the ability score used to make the attack. At 5th-level you get a power bonus to Intimidate and Streetwise, and at 10th-level you gain a power bonus to all defenses while bloodied. This is a really nice addition to any defender, though it has benefits for any melee character.
  • Sellsword's ploy: A daily-immediate interrupt that grants you a small amount of temporary hit points if an enemy hits you while you are bloodied. Additionally you basically shift the combat advantage from yourself to the enemy for a turn.
  • I'm right here: An encounter-immediate reaction that lets you shift a few squares after an enemy that moves away from you.
  • Brutal survivor: A daily-minor action that grants you temporary hit points every time you kill an enemy, and it lasts for the entire encounter.
OUTLAW 
Another no-action encounter that lets you daze a target if you hit it with a basic attack or at-will and have combat advantage. That's...really fucking good. It is a good thing that the attack has to be a weapon attack, or it would be an optimizer's dream. That aside in terms of theme and power, it is still really good for a lot of classes. At 5th-level you pick a terrain type that you can never be tracked in and also ignore difficult terrain for. Okay, that's not so good, and 10th-level wraps things up with a small power bonus on Intimidate and Streetwise checks.
  • Burst of speed: An encounter-minor action that gives you a Speed bonus for a turn, as well as ignoring combat advantage for running.
  • Out of sight: An encounter-move action that lets you shift a square, them move your Speed. If you stop in cover or concealment you can make a Stealth check to hide.
  • Improvise ambush: A daily-free action that grants everyone an Initiative bonus so long as you aren't surprised.
Overall it is a good selection of concepts that are very applicable to most character concepts. Of course, you could also mine these powers for monsters (like bandits and street urchins).

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