Adventurer Archaeologist
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Basic Information

This character trope is the Archaeologist (or Professor, or other Badass Bookworm) who forgoes dusty academia and meticulous fieldwork in favor of grave robbing and punching nazis. Bullwhip and fedora optional.

Typically saves the world and brings home the big trophy, at the small cost of destroying a ruined temple and hundreds of priceless artifacts that got in his way. Makes you wonder how he managed to get tenure.

Challenges and Conquests:

Tropes you'll have to face as an Adventurer Archaeologist…

Real-World Inspirations

Here's a few historical "archaeologists" who chased after glory, got caught up in adventure, destroyed ruins, or otherwise inspired this Trope into existence…


3. book: Gods, Graves and Scholars: The Story of Archaeology by C.W. Ceram — tells stories about the adventures of some of the pioneers of archaeology. Good stuff!

Game and Story Use

  • The character type has a lot in common with the Rogue (or Thief in older editions) class in D&D. Sneaks around, detects traps, figures out how to use magic items, etc.
  • Archaeology has really only be a field of study for the past 200 years, really coming into it's own after the invention of carbon-dating. It's used the scientific method for far less than that. So, there's some truth in this depiction, especially in the 19th Century, where a wealthy man can rob the natives blind and still be a labeled a hero.
  • Archaeologists study fallen civilizations - not dinosaurs! Don't confuse archaeology with paleontology - unless it's intentional. A rules-light pulp genre game could easily overlap the two without anyone complaining.
  • If the Adventurer Archaeologist has a name - it probably starts with a location.
  • As mentioned in the article, expect some friction with his colleagues. "Are you telling me that you found a centuries-old lost temple, protected by still-working traps, which is not only an artistic, cultural, and scientific treasure but also an engineering miracle… and you blew it up?!"
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