Many abilities and feats allow you to take plot-mediated looks at items, locations, or situations. The most prominent among these are feats of Learning and Perception. Some skills such as craft also grant abilities (Master’s Eye) that have similar effects. In order to use any of these abilities in such a way, the involved character or characters must declare that they are formally Investigating the subject in question. Only then will there be a Director/Plot Member/Marshal response.
Investigations are limited in the following ways:
- Only 3 individuals may participate in a particular Investigation
- A character may only participate in an Investigation once per game day (See Healing and Scholarship for exceptions to this).
- A character may only investigate the same target once per event, without exception.
- All Investigations have a minimum threshold of abilities and feats that need to be called before they are successful: failure is possible in an Investigation.
- Investigations are handled much like Encounter Tags: if time/availability constraints are a problem, characters will be asked to wait. Plot will attend to investigations as time allows, but requesting one does not guarantee immediate attention.
Once an investigation is called, the three participants then use whichever abilities they think will be helpful in the investigation. Applicable abilities are as follows:
- Feats (these are expended if bid for the investigation)
- Abilities which mimic feats
- Skill Specialties (these are not expended, and as such, may be bid even if the user does not expect results)
- Artifice (highest value only)
- On rare occasions, other derived values may influence the investigation. This is at the discretion of the Marshal and is non-negotiable.
Even though the above are what are allowed generally, not all abilities used will help the investigation. Feats of Learning are always useful, but other feats may or may not be so, depending upon the target of the investigation itself. Any feat or expendable ability called during an investigation is lost even if it does not apply. Artifice is only of use, obviously, if the item/subject is magical. In some special cases, derived skills may be factor in Investigations.
All abilities are cumulative among the participants and add to an investigation, but only the highest Artifice value among the 3 participants adds in. After all abilities are called, the staff member will give out information to all involved based on the number, power, and type of the abilities used. They will also answer a set number of questions from each participant, the number of which is based on how successful the Investigation is.
Once the Marshal has started their description, no other abilities may be called for the Investigation. During the investigation, the participants should keep cross-talk to a bare minimum. A participant may pass if they are unable to come up with a question. Further, the Marshal may ask a participant to pass their turn if they are unable to ask a question within a reasonable amount of time or are obviously stalling.
Please remember that investigations are in-play, and are thus subject to the game around them. You may be attacked during an investigation, and doing so will automatically end it, regardless of how many questions have been asked. Leaving the investigation will also end it for all participants.
Some magical items and locations may require staff mediation when they are used in their normal fashion, and this does not count as Investigation. However, any attempt by the character to extract more information out of the subject during such use is, in fact, considered a formal act of Investigation.