How do you handle open-ended research in town? A common desire at our table is “I want to find out more about a lead, like this crown I hear is in a tomb in some mountains way over there. Like… anything more. As in go to the local Governmental Book Repository ™ and look for any books about the crown, tomb, or mountains, and skim them all. Google:‘dwarf crown diamondhelm in tomb in east mountains’.”
It sounds like Scholar, right?
But how many tests at what Ob(s)? If they have a specific question, that’s 1 turn at an Ob that’s easy enough to check or interpolate. But they don’t. If lots of info is available, that could be one test at a super-high Ob, or lots of tests at variable Obs with corresponding lifestyle increases. One test at super-high Ob just seems wrong. Here are some possibilities:
- Per question. Push until they ask a specific enough question, gather the factors and give them a test to make. This is a problem if they truly don’t have a specific enough question and instead want to Google-search.
- Per available answer. Figure out what info they could find out, pick among available answers as you wish, gather the factors and give them a test to make for that piece of info. If they’re not satisfied, let them do another day of research. This is a problem because of path-dependence; as GM I don’t want to essentially decide how much or little research they do based on my presentation order.
- Per available resource. If there are only a few books/scrolls with information they want, make a quick table and either keep pushing on their actions until you know which they’ll find first or have them roll a d6. Gather the factors based on all the info in the book they’ll actually find. This sounds pretty fun.
- Not a Scholar test. If there’s lots of info in all sorts of books, the relevant problem might be something other than Scholar? Or maybe it doesn’t take a test, just +1 lifestyle cost?
How do you play it?