On-Scene Investigator Vaguery


Investigator Playtest

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I love the flavor behind this, but the utter lack of mechanical guidelines makes it hard to adjudicate. The ability specifically calls out skipping things which do not require a check.

Fall of Plaguestone Spoiler:

I'm currently running Fall of Plaguestone, and this is coming up immediately as the party enters F6. There's a lot going on here, when does this ability kick in?

  • What if the only thing in the room is a DC 30+ (L) DC?
  • Traps?
  • Hidden doors?
  • Duplicitous NPCs?
  • If you're told there's something fishy about a box, do you still have to make a roll? What if you fail it?


  • The way I'm interpreting it is this: The player knows something is up. They can then take action to perceive what it is, but they only get the instinct that something is out of sorts.

    It's not specific, but it can prompt the player to search further, even if he doesn't know what it is. The ability is really interesting, but is not OP or anything, for example, with Trap Finder you actually get a check to know if there's in fact a trap, while On The Scene can only hint at what's wrong (may be a monster, maybe be faint marks of someone's passage, previous adventures, the trap itself or maybe even a faint smell of a passing monster they couldn't recognize but the instinct alerted, etc).

    Since the situation you proposed is DC 30 (assuming it's very very hard for their level), the player will know something is up, but will not quite be able to put a finger on it.


    "Duplicitous NPCs?"

    It does not work with creatures, only tells if an area or object is suspicious.

    "You don’t determine whether creatures are suspicious with On the Scene."

    The problem I find with this feat is for the GM, who has to tell for every location, room or corridor what is the thing that is suspicious (if there is one). So every room or corridor that don´t have a trap, or hidden door or a hiden clue that they have to search, the GM have to say to the Investigator "nothing out of the ordinary"...

    I don´t know, it looks like my players are going to use it as a detector to know if they have to search a room. If the Investigator beeps when he enters a room, lets all of us search every inch in the room, if the Investigator don´t beep, we can skip searching...


    Aswaarg wrote:

    "Duplicitous NPCs?"

    It does not work with creatures, only tells if an area or object is suspicious.

    "You don’t determine whether creatures are suspicious with On the Scene."

    The problem I find with this feat is for the GM, who has to tell for every location, room or corridor what is the thing that is suspicious (if there is one). So every room or corridor that don´t have a trap, or hidden door or a hiden clue that they have to search, the GM have to say to the Investigator "nothing out of the ordinary"...

    I don´t know, it looks like my players are going to use it as a detector to know if they have to search a room. If the Investigator beeps when he enters a room, lets all of us search every inch in the room, if the Investigator don´t beep, we can skip searching...

    Basically, yes. But you can simply default as a GM that you only mention rooms that have possible issues, but to keep things from falling into obviousness, you can choose some specific places and rooms and give "beep" and with further inspection they find something that doesn't involve the plot or give mechanical benefit.

    Either way, it's an interesting ability and certainly makes having an Investigator change how you approach the game.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Aswaarg wrote:

    The problem I find with this feat is for the GM, who has to tell for every location, room or corridor what is the thing that is suspicious (if there is one). So every room or corridor that don´t have a trap, or hidden door or a hiden clue that they have to search, the GM have to say to the Investigator "nothing out of the ordinary"...

    I don´t know, it looks like my players are going to use it as a detector to know if they have to search a room. If the Investigator beeps when he enters a room, lets all of us search every inch in the room, if the Investigator don´t beep, we can skip searching...

    The first problem is that the scenarios and paradigm of Pathfinder aren't written with this in mind. The second problem is that mechanically, the feat isn't going to provide anything that searching won't produce. There is no category of thing for which this feat will provide information that isn't covered by Perception.

    However, the upside is that this feat is essentially a dousing rod. What it does do is unerringly tell the player (and be extension, the entire party) that you need to search the room. As you suggest, not every room will have something unusual in it, but if there is, then the PC can find it. In truth, this feat is as much a boon for the GM as it is the player. This will save a lot of RL game time and provide some insurance against PCs missing important clues.

    What I like about this feat is that it's a unique approach. I like that we don't have to roll a die and it essentially represents a baseline competence at something that other classes don't have.

    Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / Advanced Player’s Guide Playtest / Investigator Playtest / On-Scene Investigator Vaguery All Messageboards

    Want to post a reply? Sign in.