The flow of information from the GM to the players about the fictional world is very important in a roleplaying game. By default, the GM tells the players what their characters perceive, suspect, and intuit. But there’s just too much going on to say everything—it would take forever and be boring, too. The players have a tool at their disposal to more fully investigate the fictional world.
When you want to know something specific about the fictional world, your character can gather information. The GM will ask you how your character gathers the info (or how they learned it in the past).
If it’s common knowledge, the GM will simply answer your questions. If there’s an obstacle to the discovery of the answer, an action roll is called for. If it’s not common knowledge but there’s no obstacle, a simple fortune roll determines the quality of the information you gather.
Each attempt to gather information takes time. If the situation allows, you can try again if you don’t initially get all the info that you want. But often, the opportunity is fleeting, and you’ll only get one chance to roll for that particular question.
Some example questions are on the bottom of the character sheet. The GM always answers honestly, but with a level of detail according to the level of effect.
The most common gather information actions are Surveying the situation to reveal or anticipate what’s going on and Studying a person to understand what they intend to do or what they’re really thinking.
Sometimes, you’ll have to maneuver yourself into position before you can gather information. For example, you might have to Prowl to a good hiding place first and then Study the cultists when they perform their dark ritual.
Some questions are too complex to answer immediately with a single gather information roll. For instance, you might want to discover the network of contraband smuggling routes in the city. In these cases, the GM will tell you to start a long-term project that you work on during downtime.
You track the investigation project using a progress clock. Once the clock is filled, you have the evidence you need to ask several questions about the subject of your investigation as if you had great effect.
Examples & Questions
- You might Attune to see echoes of recent spirit activity. Have any new ghosts been here? How can I find the spirit well that’s calling to them? What should I be worried about?
- You might Command a local barkeep to tell you what he knows about the secret meetings held in his back room. What’s really going on here? What’s he really feeling about this? Is he part of this secret group?
- You might Consort with a well-connected friend to learn secrets about an enemy, rival, or potential ally. What do they intend to do? What might I suspect about their motives? How can I discover leverage to manipulate them?
- You might Hunt a courier across the city, to discover who’s receiving satchels of coin from a master duelsit. Where does the package end up? How can I find out who signed for the package at City Hall?
- You might Study ancient and obscure books to discover an arcane secret. How can I disable the runes of warding? __Will anyone sense if they’re disabled?
- Or you might Study a person to read their intentions and feelings. What are they really feeling? How could I get them to trust me?
- You might Survey a manor house to case it for a heist. What’s a good point of infiltration? What’s the danger here?
- Or you might Survey a charged situation when you meet another gang. What’s really going on here? Are they about to attack us?
- You might Sway a powerful lord at a party so he divulges his future plans. What does he intend to do? How can I get him to think I might be a good partner in this venture?
- Or you might Sway his bodyguard to confide in you about recent events. Where has he been lately? Who’s he been meeting with?
Ask a question and make an action roll or a fortune roll. The GM answers you honestly, with a level of detail depending on the effect level.
Great: You get exceptional details. The information is complete and follow-up questions may expand into related areas or reveal more than you hoped for.
Standard: You get good details. Clarifying and follow-up questions are possible.
Limited: You get incomplete or partial information. More information gathering will be needed to get all the answers.