Dennis over at Spirits of Eden wrote up a nice article on the Cartographer. As I was reading, it struck me it should be a Character Theme for 4E similar to those seen recently in Dragon. Here is my version of such a Theme. I have not included the "fluff" and descriptive pieces of the Theme as I feel the Spirits of Eden article did a nice job of doing that.
If you are unfamiliar with the Character Themes as written for the Dragon (I can't deign to call it Magazine anymore), basically it is similar to the Dark Sun Character Themes with some slight variations. Its something extra a character can choose at character creation (with a slight power creep included). The character gains the Starting Feature, as well as the Level 5 and 10 Feature. In addition, there are 3 utility powers a character can choose to replace the ones they would normally get at levels 2, 6, and 10.
You’ve seen it all before. Others may have seen the type of scale molting or curvature of a beast’s claw before, but you’ve seen the archway, corridor stonework and forest path before. You know the best way to utilize it to your advantage and to your enemy’s disadvantage. While everyone else runs in or ducks behind the occasional wall, you know how to use that which you map to its fullest potential.
Benefit: You gain the Lay of the Land power.
Level 5 Feature
Where others overlook them, it’s the details you notice. Some would call you obsessive over the minor things, but you are able to see things others can not. This comes from taking painstaking measurements and keeping accurate notes. You are so good at what you do you can measure a room with your eyes alone. You also can see things that should be there, such as a hidden doorway, even when it is not readily apparent.
Benefit: You gain a +2 power bonus to Perception checks. You also gain an additional +2 power bonus when there is a hidden terrain feature, such as a secret door or trap that can be found.
Level 10 Feature
Making maps keeps the world organized and structured. Within that structure lays knowledge as there is much which can be learned from a map. What was the intent of the designer? What was he thinking? These lessons can be applied everywhere. Also, having a map is just plain handy.
Benefit: You gain a +2 power bonus to Insight checks. In addition, until your next extended rest, you are able to ask the GM one time for the direction to anything you have previously mapped. He will give you the general direction to the location (North, East, Southwest, etc) as well as an approximation of how far away it is.
Level 2 Utility Power
One thing you have learned from map making is that there is always another way.. Where others see the impassable you can see a way through, and can then use that knowledge to your advantage.
Level 6 Utility Power
While knowledge of structural design can allow you to seek cover where the normal person can not, it also allows you see ways around the cover your opponents may be using. It may be because you are able to bounce an attack off a wall or angle a shot just right, you can make an opponent seem as if he is standing in the open.
Level 10 Utility Power
There are patterns in everything and you are able to see them. Every dungeon has its own style, feel and architecture. Soon enough you can tell what the designer has built before you even reach it, simply from what he has previously built.