My players have made some very reasonable attempts to research Belcorra, the Rose Gaurd, the Gauntlight, and so on. The book treats most of the history as "play to find out" rather than attaching Recall Knowledge DCs to most of it, which is reasonable for events that happened 500 years ago. But given there's both a library and a book shop in town, and these events are tied to said town's formation, they really SHOULD be able to find something.
I'm curious if anyone has used the Research subsystem from the GMG. If so, how did it work? Could you share your stat blocks? I haven't read book 3 yet, so does it get employed down the line?
Here's my take on researching Belcorra. This is kind of pointless with her journal, but if your players (like mine) aren't content to simply wait for the story to unveil itself and want to use Research, you can consider replacing the journal with this.
Otari Research Resources
A three-story stone tower rises from the back half of this one-floor wooden bookstore. A sign above the front door depicts a stack of open books with lines of magical energy rising from the pages. While the shop’s owner is indeed a wizard, Morlibint had the sign commissioned in an attempt to portray the power of imagination within the fanciful fiction works and anthologies that are his specialty. Morlibint sells other texts as well, although he leaves the nonfiction curation to his husband Carlthe, whose expertise makes Odd Stories the primary source of textbooks and teaching tools for Inkleholtz’s educational pursuits (see Inkleholz Manor on page 72). Morlibint has bright red hair that he keeps closely cut to his scalp. Despite his perpetual scowl, he warms quickly to the presence of other scholars and wizards, for he’s always excited to “talk shop.”
Maximum RP 6
Research Checks DC 14 Academia Lore or Library Lore, DC 19 Society, DC 21 Arcana
Otari’s largest temple stands at the town’s westernmost edge, atop an upraised shelf that juts out far below the clifftop. The library is constructed in the Qadiran style of Sarenite temples, with two smaller minarets flanking a golden dome. The building’s position allows it to catch the rays of the rising sun, which transforms the dome into a brilliantly glowing testament to the sun goddess—at least, on days that aren’t fogged in or overcast.
A dozen acolytes of various faiths attend to Dawnflower Library. Shrines to Cayden Cailean, Erastil, and Gozreh can be found in the western portion of the building, while the primary shrine to Sarenrae takes up the eastern portion. The rest of the building contains the stacks. Dawnflower Library has a wide range of books ranging from fiction to history, satire to textbook, and even includes a sizable collection of (mostly) tasteful erotica. The current head priestess of the library is a chatty halfling woman named Vandy Banderdash, a devotee of Sarenrae. Always eager to greet newcomers regardless of their faith or vocation—with the exception of thieves, whom she cannot abide—Vandy has a strange knack for recommending literature tailored to the tastes of people she’s only just met.
Maximum RP 6
Research Checks DC 14 Academia Lore or Library Lore, DC 19 Society, DC 21 Religion
3 RP 4244 ar One of Absalom’s “hunting lodges” (a sanctioned group of adventurers) called the Roseguard hear of Belcorra Haruvex’s presence and come to investigate her lighthouse. They kill her but there's no indication they ever learned of the existence of the levels beneath the vaults aor the creatures therein. Belcorra kills the rogue Otari Ilvashti in this battle. The victorious Roseguard construct a small port community and retire there, naming it Otari after their fallen friend.
6RP The Roseguard was tipped off by rumors that aquitances of the Haruvex family were gathering info on the defenses of Absalom and hiring mercenaries from withinin it, and some of those mercenaries were traveling to what would later be the the location of Otari.
9 RP 4219 (502 years ago) The wealthy Haruvex family is ejected from Absalom in a great scandal. They flee to Andoran, where they live in poverty. Belcorra is six years old at the time. The fate of the rest of her family tree is unknown.
12 RP 4213 ar Belcorra Haruvex is born to the wealthy Haruvex family in Absalom. Unknown to anyone outside the family at the time, the Haruvexes have a strong aberrant bloodline and a familial devotion to the Outer God Nhimbaloth. The Haruvexes enacted abhorrent rites in their worship, including bloody sacrifices and cannibalism, and the authorities eventually caught wind of their crimes. These revelations led to their exile.
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They also want to research Volluk. There wouldn't be info about him on the surface, but they know he was interested inWhat The Worm Knows, Grave Feasts, and Secrets of the Skull and I'm thinking researching those titles might yield a common subject matter: the process of creating a Worm that Walks. Obviously conducting that research will be much easier once the PCs have the books themselves, but I could see sufficient cross referencing of other books yielding similar info eventually.
I'm thinking I'll use Volluk's level to set a base DC 23 Occultism, a DC 25 Religion, and then... some kind of lore that seems appropriate with DC 18. (You could also bump those DCs up by 2 based on Worms that Walk being Uncommon.) Leaning towards the books granting a bunch of free Research Points instead of changing the DCs, and you could use different thresholds to reveal different abilities the creature possesses, and/or eventually just give the players the AoN page on the dang things.
I'm a big fan of sign posting prominent encounters and giving players the chance to prepare. Especially because otherwise a DC 33 unique creature will be awfully hard to figure out on the fly, which is rough for an opponent that you need very specific countermeasures to keep from coming back.