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In a Call of Cthulhu adventure, a particular clue is concealed in a room.

In Trail of Cthulhu, you'd spend a point of Evidence Collection. What would you do in Call of Cthulhu?

The rules I have are 2nd edition, but I'm also interested to hear how other editions handle it.

Note: I don't really need advice on what to do if the roll fails, thanks.

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-1 for omitting crucial info about which edition of the game the question was primarily about. (its being crucial is apparent from a comment only.) had that info been included, knowing I do not know 2nd ed CoC I wouldn't have wasted time looking up specific page references for the 5.6 rules (having found Jmstar's answer somewhat unconfident, with the question mark and its lack of detail.) also note please that I have deleted my own 5.6-based, duplicate (but more specific) answer as you requested. –  OpaCitiZen Jan 8 '11 at 22:32
    
Thanks! I've added the edition in. –  Graham Jan 9 '11 at 2:38

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Spot Hidden Object?

And it is definitely problematic if the vital clue's acquisition hinges on a die roll.

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Yes, that looks perfect. I was going from 2nd Edition, in which Spot Hidden is described as spotting secret doors and compartments, but in 5th, it's more widely defined. Thanks! –  Graham Jan 7 '11 at 21:56
3  
I combine the two approaches. Spot Hidden is used for the skill check; however, whether they actually find the clue or not depends on its vitality to the plot and their progress. I don't hold back vital clues from players in CoC scenarios -- what I do is make them pay for them with narrative consequences. So, a successful roll is "find the clue with minimal disruption to plans"; a failed roll is "you may find the clue or find it eventually, but you'll have other consequences to deal with" (guards show up, neutral NPCs get angered, etc, etc) where the direness varies with degree of failure. –  Viktor Haag Jan 25 '11 at 14:40

It depends on the characters involved!

If the clue is in a desk, and someone searches the desk, there should be no roll to 'find' the clue. You may however require a roll of accounting, anthropology, luck, or any other relevant skill to notice the significance of a particular sheaf of paper. The desk isn't empty aside from clues, right?

If the clue is hidden in a secret closet behind a bookshelf, you could use spot hidden, or carpentry, or architecture.

If the clue is the fact that something moved since a character's last visit, you could have them roll spot hidden, luck or know. If the clue is a painting that's been replaced with a fake, you could require an Art roll.

Etcetera.

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One possibility is let them roll for it, only instead of failure meaning: no clue, make it so that failure = (harsh) complication. According to circumstances this could mean anything. Just let them find the clue regardless of succes/failure and think of the roll as: Smooth & Awesome vs. Barely & Problematic.

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All right, but what would I roll? Which skill or stat? Assume I know little about Call of Cthulhu. –  Graham Jan 7 '11 at 21:16

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