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13

If there is key information the PCs simply must find in order to advance the story, then you have to ensure that they find it one way or another. Following on from this idea, a fail on a skill roll doesn't necessarily have to indicate that you do not find anything. Instead it could mean a complication such as: It takes longer than you thought it would You ...


12

At the end of the day, D&D is a very poor fit for these sorts of games, as it's model for everything except combat is either "roll that skill check" or "a wizard did it." In summary, witnesses are worthless, gather information, survival, and search are useful skills that either attack flat DCs or the opponent's bluff, Ebberon's Urban Tracking is ...


11

A few thoughts: unless your player characters are supposed to be on par with Sherlock Holmes, solving crimes based on nothing more than clues available at the scene, there should be quite a bit of legwork and talking involved in an investigation. It sounds like you're looking for a closed room murder ("all the windows and doors were locked from the ...


4

While the answer Brian gave is amazing, it does not include any of the already present solutions. Here some classes that you should take a look at: Vigilante The vigilante combines magical and mundane investigative techniques to assess a crime scene. Points of Interest: Quick Search (Ex): Starting at 3rd level, a vigilante can search a ...


3

For each mystery you want to tell, there has to be some sort of constraint the players could work with. As Problematic points out, a lot of the details of murder mysteries will work even in a high magic setting. But here are some examples that tie the prevalence of magic in to the mystery itself: The Winter King was killed in an area with powerful ...


3

I've run a few murder-mystery style games and to me the following work fairly well: Do not be afraid to shamelessly rip off a movie or TV show. One of the best instances of a good murder mystery I had was when I stole the plot to the Ben Affleck movie "Gone Baby Gone" and adapted it to medieval fantasy. If it's a movie nobody else has seen, that's great, ...


3

This has been a problem since time immemorial - avoiding railroading and making skills useful while not letting investigative scenarios go off the rails. Robin Laws designed the GUMSHOE system specifically to empower investigation-based games - you get clues you must have automatically, but using skills gives you additional or enhanced information that can ...


3

they usually require Streetwise or Investigation to gather clues and such, however, I wonder what to do if they fail the roll... If they fail they're not supposed to find anything, so chances they never finish the adventure are well, high [..] Failure doesn't have to mean they don't find anything. No adventure should hinge on a single roll to ...


2

Failing a skill roll shouldn't always mean that they totally and completely fail at whatever they're attempting. Skills in most RPGs are rarely Binary systems, and they work best if you have a sliding scale of potential success options. Think about a few real-world examples such as Driving (If you fail, it's not that you can't drive at all, just that you ...


2

Don't forget that the use of magic leaves traces that can be seen with Detect Magic. That can eliminate (or add) possibilities, and give a time limit, as they have to investigate before the auras fade. I really like starwed's answers, but remember you can also limit things by geography. For example, if you are on an island in the middle of nowhere, it is ...


1

Unless you have a very high-magic setting, most people should have very little knowledge of specific spells and spell-like effects. Average intelligence/wisdom/charisma score is 10, so most people are not able to cast any spells (0-level are not really spells) even if they'd like to become wizards, sorcerer or clerics. There may be some general understanding ...


1

In addition to Brian's fairly thorough answer, the right combination of tracking and Knowledge skills are quite useful. That is to say, knowing how to follow anything from its scene and having, say, Knowledge: Arcane to see where residual spell components are left or Knowledge: Nature for knowing if the marks let behind follow any natural creature ...



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