It’s often sensible to find out as much as you can about a Region 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. Note that, unless you’re in a big, cosmopolitan trade hub, the local folk probably don’t know much about distant Regions. The Regions right next door are another matter…
- For wilderness types such as Scouts and Barbarians, this means waiting until you arrive in the Region itself, 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 Region 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: Area Knowledge, Cartography, Carousing, Hidden Lore (appropriate type), Theology, Naturalist, Prospecting, Research, Tracking…
A success on an appropriate skill roll gives the group new information about the Region. Choose one of the following benefits – and choose an additional benefit for every two full points by which you succeeded.
- Determine any one of the basic characteristics of the Region: it Size, Level of Civilization, Population Type, one of its Monster Types,etc.
- Gain a single Research Re-roll that can be used later, when actually exploring the Region. This allows you to re-roll your result on any of the Region creation tables.
A critical success provides an extra benefit: it’s akin to a 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 Region. For each critical failure, you suffer a +4 point penalty when you roll on the “What’s This Region Really Like?” Table when entering the Region for the first time.
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).