Investigation Rules


Investigations represent the Characters using their varied abilities and skills to solve mysteries, find information, set up traps, sneak up on enemies, and many other uses they can come up with. Investigations rely moreso on narrative rules and narrative time instead of structured rules. They are divided into rounds, but one round might be ten seconds long whilst another is hours long.

Stages of Preparation

Broadly speaking, Investigations are broken up into the following stages.

  • Preparation. The objective is revealed, characters are chosen and equipment is selected.
    • In this stage, each Character declares what equipment they're starting the Investigation with. They are freely permitted any equipment they can reasonably obtain in their circumstances. However, once the Investigation begins the Characters will have to gather extra resources in the field.
    • If an Character has any spare XP to spend, they must spend it now; they will not be permitted to spend it during the Investigation.
    • Once all Characters are ready, they declare where they intend to start and then the Investigation begins.
  • Investigation Proper. The Characters begin Investigating, executing plans and overcoming obstacles. Investigations are divided into rounds, with each Character having one turn each. There are no initiatives used to determine Turns; Characters are encouraged to act in what order they see fit.
    • Investigations are divided up into Rounds. Each Round, an character gains a turn in which they perform a single Action.
    • An Action is usually something that either requires a test or significantly alters another individual or an environment. Crossing the road is not action-worthy, but running across a road and evading oncoming traffic is.
    • The amount of time an Action takes is fluid, and can take a few seconds to an hour depending.
    • Sometimes, Characters will be confronted with obstacles, which are specific challenges that have to be overcome. For example, sneaking past a guard. In this case, if one Character succeeds to overcome the obstacle, it's assumed to be overcome by all of them.
    • Investigations can, to a certain extent, simulate fights; if they become too serious, however, combat rules will be invoked, with or without a map.
  • Aftermath. The Investigation ends, either successfully or as a failure. The outcomes are announced and discussed.
    • In this stage, the Investigation comes to an end, Characters discuss the aftermath, and any rewards, consequences and damages are revealed.

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Structured Investigations

Occasionally, Investigations require a more structured approach, with the use of specific locations represented graphically on a map. These are known as Structured Investigations, and whilst they bear many similarities to regular Investigations, they take advantage of some new rules regarding how the characters interact with the geography. Mechanically, Structured Investigations use the same structure as above, but use the following new features.

  • Challenges. Challenges make up a meat of an Investigation. A Challenge is a situation in which the characters are required to use their skills and resources to overcome in order to progress, make life easier or just survive. Challences can either be Combat or Non-Combat Challenges.
    • Combat Challenges play out using 'structured time' combat rules. There's a map, enemy units, and everyone gains Full Actions and one Reaction, the usual rules. Characters roll initiative before each individual Combat Challenge.
    • Non-Combat Challenges are identical to normal Investigations, as above. Thus they are mostly solved through skill tests or clever thinking. Everyone may take a single action per Round, and each Challenge continues until the problem is solved, becomes unsolveable or the characters give up.
  • Time Scale. Structured Investigations have reason to track time a little tighter than other Investigations. To this end, they track time relatively tightly by grouping them into rounds.
    • Time in structured Investigations are measured in rounds. Realistically this usually represents between 10 seconds to 10 minutes of time (it varies as fitting) but for simplicity, it's represented as 'rounds'.
    • Each Character gets one turn per round, as normal.
    • Each Character tracks their own actions independently, and may go in any order unless they are in a combat challenge, in which case they roll initiative.
  • Maps. In Structured Investigations, the Investigation uses a graphic map. This map is divided into two subsections, known as Areas and Paths. Areas and Paths sort of interact like nodes and edges (ie. Nodes connected by lines). Depending on the situation, the players may have knowledge of the layout before they begin the Investigation.
    • Areas are parts of the Map which represent specific locations of interest: for example, a small town might be represented in Areas of "Town Hall", "Hotel", "Restaurant Neighbourhood". They are graphically represented in the sense that they have an actual detailed map area.
      • Areas can house 'Challenges'. They can have more than one, but if they do, then the Challenges may be aligned so that they have to be approached in a specific order.
    • Paths are parts of the map which represent connections between Areas; for example, in the small town above, the Town Hall and Hotel may be connected by a Path. Paths are not graphically represented on the map, but are instead represented by lines linking one Area to another.
      • Paths do not have Challenges themselves, but sometimes require a Challenge to access.
      • Paths usually require a certain number of turns of movement. For example, if an Character comes to a path with a 1 Turn cost, then they must spend their entire turn moving down it, and move directly to the next Area. If the Path has a 2 Turn cost, then they must spend two full turns on the path, emerging into the next Area at the end of the 2nd Turn.
      • Paths can sometimes be hidden and require special successes or actions to reveal.
      • By and large, all Paths have two generic actions that can be attempted when travelling down them: hurrying, and sneaking. Hurrying will reduce the Turns needed to cross it by 1 to a minimum of 1, but the Character must test Athletics/Toughness or take a rank of Fatigue, and furthermore are more easily ambushed; sneaking increases the Turn cost by 1 (unless the Character is able to run stealthily) and they must pass a Stealth test, but they are able to more easily avoid traps and other hazards, and may more easily ambush any enemies waiting in the next Area.
      • Finally, Characters with an effective movement AB of 7+ gain an extra Turn per Round which may only be spent on moving down Paths; Characters with an effective movement AB of 9+ gain two extra Turns per Round which may only be spent on moving down Paths instead.

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