In the research rules, every library has two primary statistics: a Complexity rating, which reflects the intricacy or confusing nature of the library’s contents, and knowledge points (abbreviated kp), which are an abstract representation of the sum of the library’s collected information.
To research a specific topic or question within a library, a character must succeed at a Research check using one of the skills listed in the library’s stat block. A Research check is akin to a Knowledge check, though each library stat block lists the specific skills that can be used for Research checks based on the nature of that library’s collections. A library’s Complexity rating serves as the DC for Research checks that attempt to unravel that library’s clues. Some libraries grant a bonus on the Research check due to their quality or thoroughness of subject matter.
Attempting a Research check requires an uninterrupted 8-hour period of research, and a character cannot take 10 or 20 on a Research check. Each 8-hour period of research grants a cumulative +1 bonus on Research checks. If a researcher stops researching at the same library for a month or more, she loses any cumulative bonuses gained for that library thus far. Up to two additional characters can use the aid another action
to assist a primary researcher.
Succeeding at a Research check reduces a library’s knowledge points, similar to the way dealing damage reduces a creature’s hit points. As a library’s knowledge points decrease, it reveals its secrets. Characters learn information when a library’s knowledge points reach various thresholds, as detailed in each library’s stat block. The amount of knowledge points reduced on a successful Research check depends on the primary researcher’s training in the skill she used for the Research check and the type of library. A primary researcher reduces a library’s kp by 1d12 + her Intelligence modifier if she has 10 ranks in the skill used for the Research check, Skill Focus in the skill, or both 5 ranks in the skill and the skill as a class skill. She reduces a library’s kp by 1d8 + her Intelligence modifier if she has 5 ranks in the skill or the skill is a class skill for her (she gains no additional benefit if both conditions apply). Otherwise, she reduces a library’s kp by 1d4 + her Intelligence modifier.
In addition to these base amounts, for every 5 by which a Research check exceeds the library’s Complexity rating, the library’s knowledge points are reduced by 1 additional point. Rolling a natural 20 on a Research check acts like a critical threat. If the researcher confirms the critical hit by succeeding at a second Research check with all the same modifiers (this takes no additional time), the resulting knowledge point reduction is doubled. Conversely, rolling a natural 1 on a Research check automatically results in failure, and the library’s knowledge points increase by 1/4 of the library’s maximum knowledge points as the library’s complexity causes a researcher to follow a wrong avenue of investigation.
When a library’s knowledge points are reduced to 0, the characters have learned everything they can from that library and gain experience points according to the library’s CR. To learn additional information, they must visit another library and continue their research there.