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I understand how Spends work in Gumshoe, allowing Investigators to get additional 'perks'. However, does a standard use of a skill use any points from the pool associated with that skill.

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No.

The standard use of an Investigative skill is to describe the use of that skill in an appropriate manner. Doing so does not use a point. If this is done while in the presence of a clue, the clue should be revealed.

That's all.

From Kulp's Gumshoe 101

If you have 1 or more points in any of these, you're an expert at it. This matters because during the game, all you need to do is tell the GM that you're using an appropriate ability and you'll automatically get the clue if there is one. Yes, automatically, no roll required. The fun here is in what you do with that information, not how you get it.

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For General Abilities, the player decides how many points to take from the relevant pool and add to the roll. A player can always choose not to add any, but I certainly hope that failure will not mean death or significant obstacles!

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