Continuing our exploration of various types of players and their role at your game table, today we will discuss, appropriately enough, The Explorer.
You can typically recognize an explorer as one who likes to actively ask questions about their surroundings and the lore of the setting. Explorers are players who like to immerse themselves in the scenery, lore, and atmosphere of your setting. This means that they benefit most from details that you have prepared ahead of time. Pre-written blurbs that describe an environment and set the scene are very useful to keeping explorers engaged, and are good to include if you have the time to do so. Remember to describe how a scene interacts with all five senses. It's not just about how the dungeon looks and sounds, but also how it smells, how cold the air inside is, what the surface of the floor beneath your feet feels like. Think of how the PCs would actually experience being in the scene, rather than just viewing it from a detached perspective.
Maps are also good for explorers. Have some pre-made for them, and let the explorer help you manage and move around miniatures and props on the battlefield. Include both tactical maps and big picture world maps with borders and geographic features. If the game world feels like something tangible, something that really exists around their character and can be interacted with, they will be happy.
You can also improvise quite a bit to satisfy explorers. Adding history and 'window dressing' on the fly will make them feel more immersed in the game and give them more to discover. What's the name of the specialty drink served in this tavern? How do the elves celebrate birthdays? Minor details like this might be innocuous but they add to the appeal of the universe in which your game is set. You can deliver a lot of this information as knowledge that the player character already possesses, or even allow the player to fill out gaps in the lore with their own contributions.
Additionally, secret rooms and bonus loot scattered about like Easter eggs are another way to keep explorers occupied. Don't make them meticulously search a room by five feet at a time, or require a roll to see if they find things that are necessary to continue the game. Reward them for things like remembering to search under the bed or behind a wardrobe by providing the occasional secret passage or extra bundle of arrows. Make it worth their while to interact with the environment when they have the time.
Explorers will still need motivation to go on their missions, exploration is rarely the only reason their PC seeks adventure. But adding these elements is crucial to their enjoyment of the game and will keep them well satisfied with your campaign.
My number one piece of advice for implementing these details is to really enjoy the setting of your campaign. If you are really interested in fleshing out the details, your enthusiasm will spread easily to your players. You will have a solid grasp on the nature of the game and a sense of what you want it to be which will make it much more natural to share with players. Keep this in mind and you will all have an expansive and wonderful world to explore!