I'm currently rolling a character for a new D&D 3.5 campaign; the DM said that he's open to pretty much any class, as long as they are mortal. So, I wanted to try something fun that I haven't really tried before.

TVTropes' Action Survivor page spells out the character archetype I want to emulate:

Action survivors are essentially ordinary, everyday people thrust into extraordinary circumstances.

  • Light of foot rather than big and tough
  • Terrible at fighting
  • Avoids fights, runs if he can
  • Straight up fights are usually won by luck rather than skill
  • Uses improvisation to survive the game's events

So, in keeping with the "normal guy" aspect of it, I thought about making the base class either a Commoner or Expert, then taking the Survivor prestige class after I reach level 2.

Is there a class or class combination that could do this better? I don't have access to many of the books at the moment.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ straight up fights are usually won by luck sounds like a fighter with improved critical \$\endgroup\$
    – Colin D
    Aug 29, 2012 at 19:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ To help refine this question: You've identified Commoner/Expert -> Survivor as a potential path. What makes you question the validity of that path? Is there something about it you're uncertain of? Something you'd like to see improved? Something you don't like? \$\endgroup\$
    – AceCalhoon
    Aug 30, 2012 at 5:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was just wondering if there was a class out there that would have done the job better, I don't have access to many of the books at the moment. \$\endgroup\$
    – Brian
    Aug 30, 2012 at 22:50

2 Answers 2


Is it possible that the Factotum class (in Dungeonscape) could be adapted to your needs? It certainly fits with the improvisation bit, and is a 'jack of all trades' class, even more so than the bard.

There's a prestige class in Complete Scoundrel called Fortune's Friend. It augments the luck feats introduced in that book, and is relatively easy to gain entry to. That book's luck feats might be especially useful to your concept.

Races of Destiny has a couple of feats that are a tad like luck feats; Heroic Destiny (basically an action point 1/day) and Fearless Destiny (avoid death due to HP loss 1/day). Those might be good to represent the normal guy that goes up against the big bad, gets his ass totally kicked, but somehow survives anyway.

The Exemplar in Complete Adventurer focuses heavily on skills. If the skills you choose are things like Survival and Tumbling and mundane things like Cooking, it might produce the feel you want? That one is a bit of a stretch, but could still prove useful in plotting out a 20-level progression.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for exemplar. I'm looking at making something similar and that seems an underplayed class, at least around my tables. \$\endgroup\$
    – LitheOhm
    Sep 12, 2012 at 5:09

There is a five-level prestige class called "Survivor" in Savage Species, which is 3.0 but very 3.5 compatible. It gives no BAB but good saves and evasion, improved evasion, uncanny dodge, and DR.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think OP had already mentioned that class (though not the source.) \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Aug 29, 2012 at 23:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe; it's ambiguous. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Aug 30, 2012 at 0:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, this is the class I was referencing. Seems like a good choice. \$\endgroup\$
    – Brian
    Aug 30, 2012 at 22:51

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