Why Explorer?

Why not Ranger? It’s obviously supposed to fill the same niche, so why the name change? Conan and Aragorn were rangers. Cortez was an explorer. Just seems weird to me. I almost guarantee that most players will refer to them as rangers anyway.

Three thoughts:

  1. In the late game, Cortez suggests some similarity: They’re folks who, for a variety of reasons, cannot establish a domain except on the far frontiers of known civilization.
  2. For what it’s worth, I think of Explorers as obviously B/X Halflings! But taller.
  3. In AD&D, Rangers also connote some things that aren’t in the Explorer- spell casting, racial enemies, what have you. Some of that you can build into your Explorer with proficiencies, some not.
    Given that, I see some advantages to using a new class name, but I hardly see anything wrong with referring to them as rangers in your campaign.

I figured it was because the term “ranger” has a lot of Tolkien baggage, and ACKS is pretty un-Tolkien in feel, at least in the default setting. “Ranger” is probably a little bit more evocative, but I think “explorer” works better for ACKS’ class outlook, which lets players tweak their class to a considerable extent by way of proficiency selection.

You have mostly answered this yourselves, but:

  1. Explorer should indeed encompass a Columbus, Magellan, Cortez
  2. Ranger, as a term, has a lot of baggage. Everyone thinks they know what a Ranger “should” be, but no one can agree on it. When D&D 4E declared that Legolas was the model for the Ranger, while the actual Ranger Aragorn was a Fighter, it became obvious the term was no longer useful in describing an archetype.
  3. In terms of their class powers, Explorers are, in fact, really good at exploring
  4. Yes, Explorers were explicitly modeled on Halflings. In their earliest incarnations they were just Human Halflings. I hate Halflings but I thought that their special powers served a useful niche.

FWIW I love the fact that there’s an Explorer class in ACKS. I think it’s one of those lovely unique bits of the game, and it’s inspirational sources are, as far as I’m aware, untouched by other rpgs.

Ranger is kinda the opposite of an explorer really. Rangers police a range of some sort. They serve a cause and only travel outside thier range if they are on a mission. So rangers as Player Characters always seemed to be a handwaved problem. Now, whether it’s a good idea to separate the character class from fighter (either one) kinda depends on the direction you want the game to go.

There’s no reason why Ranger can’t appear in the Companion :slight_smile:
I have to confess, the more I think about it the more I’m surprised that Aragorn wasn’t the model for a Ranger in 4E. It’s just so non-sensical. He is the classic Ranger archetype from fantasy writing.

I just realized the other day that “explorer” is a direct homage to Wesely’s Source of the Nile. Heh, that’s brilliant!