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Gather Information (Charisma)

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Gather Information, By Internet Archive Book Images - book page:, No restrictions,
By Internet Archive Book Images – book page:, No restrictions,


An evening’s time, a few gold pieces for buying drinks and making friends, and a DC 10 Gather Information check get you a general idea of a city’s major news items, assuming there are no obvious reasons why the information would be withheld. The higher your check result, the better the information.

If you want to find out about a specific rumor, or a specific item, or obtain a map, or do something else along those lines, the DC for the check is 15 to 25, or even higher.


A typical Gather Information check takes 1d4+1 hours.

Try Again

Yes, but it takes time for each check. Furthermore, you may draw attention to yourself if you repeatedly pursue a certain type of information.

Special: A half-elf has a +2 racial bonus on Gather Information checks.

If you have the Investigator feat, you get a +2 bonus on Gather Information checks.


If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (local), you get a +2 bonus on Gather Information checks.

Crime and Punishment

Author Keith Baker
Series Campaign Style
Publisher Atlas Games
Publish date 2003

Gather Information can be used both for revealing specific information and in urban tracking.


At its core Gather Information represents the ability to guide a conversation – to get people to talk about the things you want to hear, without realizing that they are being led by the nose. In addition to its general use – picking up rumors and local gossip – Gather Information can also be used to trick an individual into revealing specific information.

Check: Make a skill check opposed by the target’s Sense Motive check. The target receives a +10 to her Sense Motive check if she is actively suspicious of you; at the GM’s discretion, she may receive an additional bonus based on racial hostilities, religious differences, or similar issues. Finally, she receives a bonus based on the importance of the information you are trying to obtain:

TrivialWhat’s your name?+0
SignificantWhen’s the guard’s shift-change?+5
SecretWhere is the safe hidden?+10
Top SecretWhat’s the combination?+20

If your Gather Information check is successful, your victim won’t even realize that she let the information slip; you keep the conversation moving seamlessly. If you miss a check by five or more points, your target realizes that you are digging for information and may become hostile or suspicious.

Retry: You can retry a failed roll, but you take a cumulative -5 penalty on each subsequent attempt, as the target begins to get suspicious; this penalty continues to accumulate even if you decide to search for a different piece of information. You cannot take 20 when you attempt to direct a conversation.

Special: This is not intended to take the place of roleplaying conversations with NPCs. In general, a GM will require you to roleplay at least part of the conversation. Depending on how you handle the situation, this may provide you with a bonus or penalty to your skill check. A particularly suave lead-in to your question might get you anywhere up to a +5 bonus, while a ham-handed or blunt query may give you a -5 penalty. Finally, characters with 5 or more ranks of Diplomacy receive a +2 synergy bonus to a Gather Information check to reveal specific information.


Urban tracking is another way in which you can use Gather Information. If you’re trying to track a target’s movement within a city, knowledge of the area is far more important than Survival. In this case, you are not tracking a physical trail as much as you are talking to your contacts within the city.

Check: The base DC of the check is determined by the amount of time that has passed since your target was in the area:

5 minutes5
1 hour10
6 hours15
24 hours20
1 week30

Other conditions can also affect the base Difficulty Class:

Every three creatures in the tracked group–1
Target is distinctive (unusual race, dress)–2
Excellent description available (portrait)–2
Target involved in minor incident (street brawl, public argument)–2
Minor bribe or Intimidation (DC 10)–2/+2
Disliked in the area+3/–3
Major bribe or Intimidation (DC 20)–4/+4
Well-liked in the area–5/+5
Target involved in major incident (inciting crowds to riot)–5
Vague description available+5
No description available+10

Some of these modifiers can apply either to you or to your target; the first value is for you, the second for your target. If you have a good reputation in the area you are canvassing, the DC is modified in your favor (-5); if your target is well-liked, the DC is modified in her favour (+5). If you are disliked (+3) and she is well-liked (+5), you’re going to have a difficult time finding her. Bribes are based on the general wealth of the area; in a slum, a gold piece might be enough to buy you a lot of friends, while in the merchant district it may be negligible.

Intimidation can be used to bully people into helping you or to frighten them into covering your tracks – but if you use Intimidation on a regular basis, you will quickly become disliked in the area. pass without trace does not protect against this sort of tracking, but Disguise and Hide are both useful; if people didn’t see your quarry, they can’t help you. The GM should make a Spot check opposed by the target’s Hide or Disguise skill, using the average skill bonus of the inhabitants of the area; if it fails, the target cannot be tracked using Gather Information.

Retry: The check takes a certain amount of time based on the population of the area you are searching, as shown on the following table. If you fail the check, you can try again, but as time passes the trail will become harder to find.

PopulationTime Required
Thorp (20-80 people)20 minutes
Hamlet (81-400 people)40 minutes
Village (401-900 people)60 minutes
Small Town (901-2000 people)90 minutes
Large Town (2001-5000 people)2 hours
Small City (5001-12,000 people)3 hours
Large City (12,001-25,000 people)4 hours
Metropolis (25,001+ people)6 hours

It is possible to search a subsection of a community. You may be in a metropolis, but if you are only searching in a single district, only the population of that district should be considered when determining time. Of course, if your target has left that district, you’ll have to start all over again in the adjacent area.

Special: You must possess the Track feat and a Knowledge (local) specialization in the current city in order to make an urban tracking check. If you possess at least five ranks of Knowledge (local) you receive a +2 synergy bonus to Gather Information checks for purposes of urban tracking.

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