Archetype: Archaeologist Profession in Alana | World Anvil

Archetype: Archaeologist

Work in progress!
ORC License
Slightly NSFW!
Archaeologist by Tillerz using MidJourney
Archaeologists are intrepid adventurers and scholars who journey to forgotten ruins, ancient tombs, and buried cities in search of lost knowledge and priceless artifacts. They possess a deep fascination with history and the mysteries of the past, often driven by a burning desire to uncover the secrets hidden beneath the earth. These individuals not only hunt for treasure but also dedicate themselves to preserving and interpreting the remnants of bygone eras. Archaeologists value the preservation of historical sites and artifacts, and they strive to maintain the integrity of their findings.   Because of all the gadgets being used at dig sites, gnomes are an essential part of every expedition due to their affinity with using, building, or repairing those items.   Role in the Party: Archaeologists serve as invaluable sources of historical information and often take on the role of puzzle solvers and trap disablers. They excel at deciphering ancient texts, revealing the history of cursed relics, and offering valuable insights into the civilizations of the past. Their knowledge can guide the party in understanding the significance of their findings and making informed decisions during archaeological expeditions. On top of that they provide an abundance of useful tools.  
  • Affinity: Earth
  • Equipment: Hammer, Chisel, Brush, Shovel, Pickaxe
  • Armour: None, Hide, Clothing (Heavy), Padded, Padded (Heavy), or Leather (Soft)

Building the Backstory

  These questions don't have to get answered and written down in detail, they are just there to make your think about your hero, but the answers can help the gamemaster to set up connections and stories related to your character.  
  • What led you to pursue archaeology as a profession, and what was your most significant early discovery or excavation?
  • Describe a dangerous encounter or artifact you encountered during one of your archaeological expeditions. How did you handle it?
  • Do you have a particular historical era or civilization that fascinates you most? What drives your passion for uncovering the past?
  • Have you ever had to navigate the ethics of artifact collection and preservation? How do you balance the thrill of discovery with the responsibility of preserving history?
  • What is the ultimate mystery or artifact you hope to uncover in your archaeological career, and what drives your relentless pursuit of it?


  • All of: Climb, Lore (Anthropology), Lore (Geography), Lore (History), Navigation, Outdoor Survival, Perception, Track
  • And two of the following: Drive (select), Evaluate, Intuition, Language (select), Melee, Research
  • Earning Skill: Lore (History)


Notes: Companion Gadget Mutation Potion Scroll Spell Trait  


Tier: Novice

Expert Historian
Archaeologists have extensive knowledge of historical events and can recall crucial details about civilizations and their achievements: +2 SL (Success Levels) when trying to recall details of common historic events, places, and people.   Detect Artefact
  During the course of their job, archaeologists make extensive use of various devices that assist them. In the beginning, a Novice will have the backpack plus another one of their choice in their possession. They can acquire more as they progress. If the Archaeologist is also an Engineer, they can try to build the items themselves, which would give them a bonus (+2 SL) in case they need to repair them.  
Archaeologist's Backpack A special waterproof backpack with lots of space and many pockets. Items can be strapped to its sides for quick use in case of emergency (not that this would ever happen, why would an archaeologist have an emergency, they just brush down broken vases, right?)   Cogwheel Timepiece
by Tillerz using MidJourney

An ornate pocket watch with intricate cogwheel designs that helps keep track of time during digs and explorations.   Bonus feature: with the press of a button the gadget rewinds time 10 seconds into the past, for everything in a radius of 3 foot around it. Can only be used once in three days (recharge time).   Clandren's Cogwheel Compass
by Tillerz using MidJourney

A brass compass with intricate cogwheel mechanisms for precise orientation and navigation in complex underground tunnels or mazes.   Special effect: with the press of a button you can lock the compass to it's current location, so you can always find this place again until you lock the compass to a different location or release it to normal mode.
Mystical Light Emitter
by Tillerz using MidJourney

An evergowing lantern that emits a soft, warm light, useful for illuminating dark crypts and deciphering ancient texts. It possesses shutters on all four sides to shut it down.   Side effect: it also colors all objects (even the air), depending on their temperature. The warmer, the brighter red they glow. Radius: 30 ft.   Etheric Resonance Detector
by Tillerz using MidJourney

A device that detects traces of magical energy left behind on ancient relics or sites, aiding in the identification of enchanted artifacts.   Usage: place it in the center of a room and activate it. For 1 minute, it will illuminate all magical items in a blue light, if there were magical items that got removed (lately), there might be a slight trace of its shape visible. Recharge time: 24 hours.

Tier: Adept

Ancient Linguist
Archaeologists gain proficiency in multiple ancient languages, allowing them to read inscriptions and decipher cryptic texts: +2 Success Levels when trying to read ancient inscriptions.  
Alitov's Automated Scribing Quill
A self-writing quill that transcribes notes and sketches while the archaeologist explores, ensuring that no observations are missed.
Etheric Ward Disruptor
A handheld device that temporarily neutralizes some magical wards and barriers, allowing access to sealed areas.
Martok's Mystic Goggles
Goggles with crystal lenses that allow the wearer to see some hidden inscriptions, symbols, or magical wards on artifacts.
Steam-Powered Hand Drill
A compact drill that runs on steam, used for delicate and precise excavation work.

Tier: Master

Relic Hunter
Archaeologists have a keen eye for identifying valuable artifacts, allowing them to discern genuine items from replicas or fakes: +2 Success Levels when trying to identify a replica.  
Mechanical Archaeopteryx
A clockwork bird that can fly over excavation sites, equipped with a seat large enough for a small person, to survey landscapes.
Telepathic Communicator
A small magical crystal that allows communication with fellow archaeologists over long distances, useful for team coordination.
Mechanical Dowsing Rod
A steam-powered dowsing rod used to detect hidden water sources, underground chambers, or buried treasures.
Paranormal Detector
A gadget equipped with sensors to detect paranormal or ghostly activity often associated with ancient burial sites.

Tier: Legend

Holographic Site Mapping Projector
A magically enhanced steampunk projector that creates 3D holographic maps of excavation sites, aiding in planning and analysis.   TODO - add everything  


  • Excavation Tools: Shovels, brushes, trowels, and picks are essential for uncovering buried relics and carefully excavating fragile items.
  • Field Journal: Archaeologists keep meticulous records of their discoveries, including sketches, notes, and maps, to document their findings.
  • Artifact Preservation Kit: This kit contains materials for cleaning, repairing, and protecting ancient artifacts.
  • Travel Gear: Tents, backpacks, and camping supplies are essential for extended expeditions into remote regions.
  • Reference Books: Comprehensive reference books on history, archaeology, and anthropology provide valuable insights during research.

Cover image: Archaeology by Tillerz using MidJourney


Please Login in order to comment!
Dec 2, 2023 13:11

I love your page set up and the use of containers and such. I wish I could figure out how to do those... that's my goal for next year is to get my layout "cleaned up"!

Dec 2, 2023 15:09 by Jaime Buckley

Just FYI -- your header/cover art? That is my favorite style/flavor -- the water color looking, with the rough edges. Makes me think "fantasy adventure" right away!!

Storyteller, Cartoonist,..pretty awesome friend =)
Subscribe to Life of Fiction to see the live results of all this worldbuilding.
Jan 11, 2024 20:42

This is a great article! I like how useful archaeologists are, and how they have a tool that nullifies what amounts to fantasy energy shields (wards) ^_^ The dropcap you have at the beginning of the article is gorgeous! And even though I don't play tabletop RPGs, I like how you included questions that can help players flesh out their characters <3

Jan 14, 2024 07:34 by Tillerz

Thank you! Also see the comment I made to Kydra_Hunter. :)

Jan 12, 2024 18:19 by Kydra

I love the structure of this. It is such a great way to break down the archetype in an easy to read way. The progression tiers are particularly nice in how easy they are to read over. Overall this is a really neat archetype as well. I love how situationally powerful Archaeologists could be when set up like this!

Jan 14, 2024 07:32 by Tillerz

Thank you. I think all classes / archetypes should have some powerful features. Games like D&D are really combat focussed and I want to have it different, where exploration, heists, murder mysteries, or even daily chores can be as exciting.

Jan 18, 2024 14:23 by Lia Felis

I like it when a character has intelligence and poise and isn't a chaotic stupid 'murderhobo'. I think I'd love to play an archaeologist character - and I'd also love to DM an archaeologist character. The setup is beautiful as always.

Aspiring fantasy writer and part-time Dungeon Master. Dragon Goddess of Evera.
Jan 27, 2024 14:32 by Secere Laetes

Wow, wirklich ein super Archetyp. Mir gefällt, wie du die Gegenstände für die Tiers ausgewählt hast und welche Funktionen sie haben, außerdem die wirklich professionelle Ausarbeitung und dass du Archäologen gewählt hast. Eigentlich ja ein Klassiker in Filmen, aber im Rollenspiel etwas unterrepräsentiert. Na und deine Aufmachung ist ohnehin immer sehr gut. Danke dafür. Den Artikel werde ich in meiner Reading Challenge erwähnen.

Powered by World Anvil