WoD Research

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Topics

Topic Milestone Benchmarks
A good scale for these is to rank the Topic (the Rank system here is based on Spirit Ranks):
Rank 1: 5 successes
Rank 2: 7 successes
Rank 3: 10 successes
Rank 4: 14 successes
Rank 5: 20 successes

Each topic governs some piece of information that isn't commonly known off the top of the head. Each Topic is defined by a number of traits

  • Skill: This is the Skill used to know about this topic. This determines what Skill is used in a Personal Knowledge Test (see below), and what Library is used in further Research on the topic.
  • Obscurity: The rarity of the information, and the difficulty finding it. It determines the level of Library in that Skill necessary to research it. Obscurity 0 Topics can be started with Personal Knowledge Tests (see below).
  • Milestones: All Knowledge Topics are by default extended rolls. The Milestones indicates what is known at different success totals.
    • Most Topics should have at least two Milestones, but can have as many as five. A good rule of thumb is to make sure it has a number of Milestones equal to (Obscurity +2).
    • Most Topics should likely "cap out" at 20 successes, and even then only if it's a particularly rare and grueling topic. To add additional depth to a Topic, it is best to unlock new successes, rather than load it up with too many milestones.

System

  • Personal Knowledge Test: Any Knowledge Topic investigation with an Obscurity 0 should always begin with an appropriate Skill roll to determine what the researcher already knows. This is an Intelligence + appropriate Skill roll, with a penalty equal to the Obscurity of the Topic in question.
    • This is an instant action, but does count as the first roll of the research into a Knowledge Topic for the purpose of advancing Milestones, but not for the purpose of how many rolls may be made in Research. Teamwork may not be used in this roll.
  • Delving Deeper: Once personal knowledge has been exhausted, further exploration into a Topic is handled through either interviews with individuals who might possess the knowledge, or through research.

Interviews

Finding individuals who might know something about a given topic is handled through its own system.

  • Finding an Expert: Finding someone who knows something about your preferred topic takes some effort.
    • This is a Wits + [Skill test, with a penalty equal to the maximum Obscurity rating of the expert (no penalty for Obscurity 0, -1 for Obscurity •, -3 for Obscurity ••, and -5 for Obscurity •••). A single test involves a full day of calling around and chasing down leads.
    • If the test is successful, the expert has an Obscurity rating equal to that paid for by the check in the Topic in question. Successes past the first are allocated by the Storyteller to Obscurity ratings (one success per dot) in other Topics, which the interviewer is aware of based on their research.
    • On an exceptional success, gain the Connected Condition for that field of experts. Additionally, the expert agrees to an interview without needing to make a Social test.
  • Agreeing to an Interview: Many experts require convincing to agree to an interview. This is performed at a penalty equal to their maximum Obscurity rating.
    • Modifiers include using Resources (bonus equal to expenditure rating) and sharing lore (up to a +3 bonus, depending on what is shared). Other situations may modify this check further.
    • This interview generally occurs within a number of days based on the maximum Obscurity (one day at Obscurity 0, two days at Obscurity •, four days at Obscurity ••, or a week at Obscurity •••), minus one day per additional success. An exceptional success always guarantees an interview opening in an hour.
  • Interviewing the Expert: Once the expert has agreed to the interview, the interviewer may perform extended tests as though they were checks in a Research roll, using Presence/Manipulation + Investigation or the Skill involved to perform the extended test.
    • These interviews have an interval and maximum number of tests based on the expert's Obscurity rating in that Lore:
      • Obscurity 0: Thirty minutes, 3 tests
      • Obscurity •: One hour, 6 tests
      • Obscurity ••: One hour, 9 tests
      • Obscurity •••: Two hours, 12 tests

Topics Structure

  • Topics should be built along a tree structure, with given milestones in the Topic giving information of some kind and unlocking additional Topics as they go.
  • Basic information (aka "access" to the Topic) is usually rated Obscurity Rating 0 or •, and then the Topics that are unlocked with progress have higher Obscurity Ratings.

Research Rules

Research Roll Results
Exceptional Success: Add successes gained to the total, and choose one of the following options:
  • Increase the limits on how many rolls can be made using that resource by one.
  • Reduce Interval time by 25% for rest of extended test.
  • Choose one of the following Conditions: Inspired, Informed, Steadfast

Success: Add successes gained to the total.
Failure: Choose between ending the Research roll or taking a Condition.

  • If the roll is ended, then the character has reached the limits of their ability to perform the research on that topic using those resources.
  • Alternately, choose from the following Conditions: Frustrated, Misinformed. Research may continue, though this roll does count toward the maximum rolls allowed in an extended test.

Dramatic Failure: Research ends immediately.

  • Additionally, choose one of the following Conditions: Misinformed, Obsession
  • If you undertake research again on the same Topic, you begin the extended test with the Frustrated Condition.
  • Extended Roll: Intelligence + Academics. Teamwork may be used in this test.
  • Skill: This is the Skill that the topic falls under. A character needn't actually have the Skill to research information into it, but must have access to a Library of that Skill to do so.
  • Equipment: Library Merit (+1-+3)
  • Interval: The interval of each roll is based on the size of the Library being used for the research.
  • Obscurity: This determines the rating of Library in the governing Skill necessary.

Topic Searching

  • Sometimes, a researcher does not know the Topic he is searching for information for. An occult investigator that has seen strange phenomena or a medical researcher looking at a series of symptoms both qualify.
  • Topic Searching is a standard Research roll, at a dice penalty of 2 + Obscurity of the Topic they are seeking.
    • If the Obscurity of the Topic in question is two or more points of Obscurity higher than the Library being used, the roll automatically fails.
  • This penalty is reduced by one per tangible clue the researcher possesses.
    • If something is taken as a clue that is not in fact a clue, however, it causes the research to automatically fail the check (though the Storyteller should not announce this to the player making the check, of course.)
  • On a dramatic failure, the researcher makes too many assumptions and guesses, and is given a Topic that is not the correct one.
  • On a failure, the researcher discovers nothing.
  • On a success, the researcher discovers the name of the Topic, and can begin digging appropriately.
  • On an exceptional success, the researcher not only discovers the Topic, but the results of the Topic Searching test are counted as successes towards researching the Topic itself.