Do player’s have to declare what they are using their scout/scavenge roll for? I.e. scouting for traps, evidence of monsters, or scavenging for food, materials? Would a player say they are scavenging/scouting for loot? Or do you roll on the table if they are successful with the test regardless of intent?
In a related question, would an instinct “I scout every room,” be too broad? Instead of “I scout every room for traps,” or “I scavenge for materials whenever I can.”
Keep in mind that players don’t get to say what skill they’re using. Under Describe to Live, they have to describe what their characters are doing. They don’t just “scout the room”, they look through all the debris and rubbish scattered about the floor, or tap the walls listening for a hollow sound.
You know whether there are hidden traps or treasure in the room, so you can judge when a description calls for a test or is a Good Idea.
Consider the first room at the bottom of the stairs in Under the House of the Three Squires. It’s described as storage for the inn above. All sorts of debris, extra and broken furniture, a ladder, etc. If someone goes poking through all that junk looking for a shovel or other digging implement, that’s a Scavenger test. Even a lantern or flask of oil or some candles could conceivably be in that area. But if they look for gold? Just say there’s none to be found and move on. You and I know that Ronwald has locked up his valuables in a secret room in the cellar.
I think “I scout every room” is too broad. There’s a player in a game I’m in that has “Always scout the way ahead,” but it’s explicitly understood that this means he’s looking out for enemies and making sure the group doesn’t get ambushed. I wouldn’t let him use it to find traps or hidden caches. I’d prefer: “Always check each new room for traps” or “Always check for secret doors.” In general, if you have to ask additional questions to figure out what a test would accomplish, it’s too broad.
Thank you for the explanation. I had forgot the about the rule Describe to Live. Seems I should reread the basics to make sure there aren’t others (I’m sure there are). Thanks!