How long to search a room or loot a body?


Rules Questions

Dark Archive

I can't find any specific written rule about this. Is there something I'm missing or what do people do in their own games?

The Exchange

In theory a Perception check to search a 5' square takes 1 round. So does examination of a body, but picking up objects to search inside them is somewhat more time-consuming. It's probably best, unless you're in combat and the order that containers/pockets are being searched is important, to hand-wave it as "about a minute".


If this is about how long a characters buffs should last I have a set of general guidelines that I tell my players:

Quote:

Any buff or debuff will last a number of battles as follow as a general rule:

a.rounds/level - at most 1 battle
b.min/level - no more than 2
c.10 min/level - no more than 4 battles
d.hour/level - practically all of the adventuring day, but will still depend

Otherwise, just handwave it.

Dark Archive

The problem is when you're at lower levels and have to worry about low duration spells.


If it's a time factor you're worried about, then go with available rules. Picking something up is a move action. You can take two in a round. There are rules for the time needed for removing armor as well. If they take the time to count all the coins before they take them, give them 1 second per coin counted. A round for every item appraised for value. Detecting magic takes 3 rounds per item with a Spellcraft thrown in to identify it.

Otherwise, hand-wave it and say "five minutes" or whatever seems appropriate at the time.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Core Rulebook, Skills chapter, Perception, Action wrote:
Intentionally searching for stimulus is a move action.
Core Rulebook, Skills chapter, Taking 10 and Taking 20, Taking 20 wrote:
Taking 20 takes 20 times as long as making a single check would take (usually 2 minutes for a skill that takes 1 round or less to perform).


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CrackedOzy wrote:
The problem is when you're at lower levels and have to worry about low duration spells.

At low levels (1-5?) then most of your spells would last up to 5 rounds or up to 5 minutes. I would say those spells are gone after 1 combat. Any down time between fights means the buffs will run out (in my game world).

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

According to the Perception skill, intentionally searching for a stimulus is a move action. So you can spend a move action attempting to find one thing hidden in a room or one thing hidden on a body.

According to the Appraise skill, picking out the most valuable thing in a treasure hoard (in plain view) is a full-round action.

According to the combat chapter, picking up an unattended item is a "manipulate an item" (move) action that provokes. Dumping out an unattended backpack would also be a "manipulate an item" (move) action that provokes.

Putting all of that together, searching a room would take one move action per hidden thing in the room, plus one additional move action per failed Perception check. If a party wants to be thorough, they'll probably want to take 20 by spending twenty move actions (one minute) searching the room at least once, probably several times, especially if the room is large enough to impose distance penalties on Perception checks.

(Note, however, that dwarves can notice unusual stonework and rogues with trap sense can notice traps just by passing within 10 feet of them. This does not take an action, so having dwarves and rogues with trap sense simply walk around a room can cut down on the time it takes to search that room by the amount of time it would take to notice all unusual stonework and traps within that room.)

Searching a body for one specific item would take one move action if the item is stored separately, or one move action plus one full-round action if it is stored with other items in a backpack or similar container. Picking up the item is then another move action.

Looting a body in its entirety would take one round per item item stored separately on the body, plus one round for dumping out a backpack, plus one round per two items in the backpack, plus the time it takes to remove the body's armor (per the rules for donning and removing armor in the Equipment chapter). Subtract the time needed to dump out a backpack and loot its contents if the looter just grabs the backpack and its contents without bothering to look inside. Presumably, a handful of coins and similar small items would be counted as a single item for the purpose of looting unless the looter wanted to stop and count each coin separately.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Epic Meepo wrote:
According to the Perception skill, intentionally searching for a stimulus is a move action. So you can spend a move action attempting to find one thing hidden in a room or one thing hidden on a body.

(Bolding mine.)

Where are you getting the "one"?

Also, what's this thread doing in General Discussion?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

when a captured party member is in the back of one cart and his items are in another cart with 16 boxes that are closed but not locked how long will it take him/her to find them if freed


Guy Ladouceur wrote:

when a captured party member is in the back of one cart and his items are in another cart with 16 boxes that are closed but not locked how long will it take him/her to find them if freed

Simulationist approach: GM assigns loot to one of the 16 chests. "You sneak into the wagon to look for your gear, and spot 16 unlocked crates in the back. Name a number from 1 to 16 to represent which box you're looking through, and we'll see what you find in the first round"

Fate-die approach: GM doesn't assign the loot to any particular chest. "You sneak into the wagon to look for your gear, and spot 16 unlocked crates in the back. Roll 1d6. If you roll a 6, it's in the crate you're checking. If you roll a 1, you fail to get at your gear before a guard finds you. 2-5 you find your gear, but it is not as expedient as you'd have wanted"

Narrativistic approach: "You sneak into the wagon to look for your gear, and see a bunch of unlocked crates in the back. It takes a bit of searching, but you find your gear. What do you do?"

-Nearyn


Guy Ladouceur wrote:

when a captured party member is in the back of one cart and his items are in another cart with 16 boxes that are closed but not locked how long will it take him/her to find them if freed

This is a good way to use the concept of "Fail Forward" in a perception check.

Assign a DC (probably 20 imo), if they succeed they find it in a reasonable amount of time. If they fail, they still find the object, but it took longer than they wanted.

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