It’s sensible to find out as much as you can about the dungeon before you enter it.
- For wise adventurers – Sages, Wizards, and so on – this means poring over ancient scrolls, musty books, and similar.
- For social types like Bards, this means asking around town to see what others know.
- For wilderness types such as Scouts and Barbarians, this means waiting until you arrive in the vicinity of the dungeon, and then creeping around looking for tracks and such.
Other delvers may also invent ways to perform useful research – if they sound fun, the group should probably allow them!
Any character who wants to perform research should choose an appropriate skill, and then roll against it at a penalty equal to the current Peril. Each attempt takes one PC a Unit of Time. Which skills are “appropriate” depends on the situation: not only on the known characteristics of the Dungeon itself, but also on how much access the PCs have to resources such as libraries, helpful ex-adventurers, the site itself, or similar. A short, non-exhaustive list of possibilities, just to get you thinking: Archaeology, Carousing, Hidden Lore (appropriate type), Theology, Naturalist, Prospecting, Research, Tracking…
A success on an appropriate skill roll gives the group new information about the dungeon. Choose one of the following benefits – and choose an additional benefit for every two full points by which you succeeded.
- Determine the Dungeon’s Type.
- Determine the Dungeon’s Theme.
- Determine the Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary Monster Type.
- Gain a single Research Re-roll that can be used later, when actually exploring the Dungeon. This allows you to re-roll you result many of the following tables – e.g. when determining the Dungeon’s contents, its actual Peril rating, and so on. Tables on which Research re-rolls can be used are so marked.
A critical success provides an extra benefit: it’s akin to a Dungeon re-roll, but instead, you can simply declare the results of a roll on any one of the applicable tables.
A failure yields no information.
A critical failure is misleading, and will probably lead to some surprises when you actually arrive at the Dungeon. For each critical failure, you suffer a 4-point penalty when you roll on the “What’s This Dungeon Really Like?” Table on arrival.
PCs can perform research as many times as they like, but each attempt takes a Unit of Time, and each attempt after the first suffers a cumulative -1 penalty, if it’s done by the same PC, using the same skill. (i.e. the second research attempt by the same PC , using the same skill, is performed at an extra -1, the third at an extra -2, and so on).