So, this one went through an interesting development process.
It started out as a bard college, and as I was building it, I slowly realized that I was building a (thematic) rogue that could cast spells like a full caster. That didn't seem like a terribly great idea.
So, as I sometimes do in moments of doubt, I went over to d20pfsrd to see how Pathfinder handled it. Pathfinder, for its flaws, does a great job of engaging and creating more obscure class options that have a lot of thematic weight. While not everything they do works for 5e, seeing how Pathfinder handles thematic content usually works very well.
It didn't. Pathfinder ended up doing exactly what I already did: Take a bard, and slowly make them into a rogue (plus spells, minus Sneak Attack).
I deconstructed everything, then, and rebuilt the class option from the ground up as a rogue. I figured if it was going to be trying with its every class feature to be a rogue, it might as well actually be a rogue in the first place.
What does it do? Why is the archaeologist worth playing? Let's take a look-see:
- Proficiencies to help your rogue feel like a world-class explorer, complete with whips (of course)!
- Reduce your Sneak Attack damage to deal added effects with attacks, with Intelligent Combat!
- A small assortment of low-magic spells, picked up from a lifetime studying ancient, eldritch secrets.
- I'm not sure how balanced the effects of Intelligent Combat are against one another, or against the trade-off of 2d6 damage.
- Overall, I feel like this option trends weak, but rogues have a wide power spread for archetypes. This option feels closer to what is offered by the Thief and Assassin, rather than the (higher) power level of the Arcane Trickster or the Swashbuckler.
WHAT I LEARNED:
- Don't be afraid to scrap it and try again. That, and Pathfinder doesn't have all the answers.