OGC:Urban Tracking (3.5e Gather Information Skill Use)

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Gather Information [Cha]

Gather Information can be used both for revealing specific information and in urban tracking.

Urban Tracking

Urban tracking is another way in which you can use Gather Information. If you’re trying to track a target’s movement within a city, knowledge of the area is far more important than Survival. In this case, you are not tracking a physical trail as much as you are talking to your contacts within the city.

Check: The base DC of the check is determined by the amount of time that has passed since your target was in the area:

Time DC
5 minutes 5
1 hour 10
6 hours 15
24 hours 20
1 week 30

Other conditions can also affect the base Difficulty Class:

Condition DC
Every three creatures in the tracked group -1
Target is distinctive (unusual race, dress) -2
Excellent description available (portrait) -2
Target involved in minor incident (street brawl, public argument) -2
Minor bribe or Intimidation (DC 10) -2/+2
Disliked in the area +3/-3
Major bribe or Intimidation (DC 20) -4/+4
Well-liked in the area -5/+5
Target involved in major incident (inciting crowds to riot) -5
Vague description available +5
No description available +10

Some of these modifiers can apply either to you or to your target; the first value is for you, the second for your target. If you have a good reputation in the area you are canvassing, the DC is modified in your favor (–5); if your target is well-liked, the DC is modified in her favor (+5). If you are disliked (+3) and she is well-liked (+5), you’re going to have a difficult time finding her. Bribes are based on the general wealth of the area; in a slum, a gold piece might be enough to buy you a lot of friends, while in the merchant district it may be negligible. Intimidation can be used to bully people into helping you or to frighten them into covering your tracks — but if you use Intimidation on a regular basis, you will quickly become disliked in the area.

Pass without trace does not protect against this sort of tracking, but Disguise and Hide are both useful; if people didn’t see your quarry, they can’t help you. The GM should make a Spot check opposed by the target’s Hide or Disguise skill, using the average skill bonus of the inhabitants of the area; if it fails, the target cannot be tracked using Gather Information.

Retry: The check takes a certain amount of time based on the population of the area you are searching, as shown on the following table. If you fail the check, you can try again, but as time passes the trail will become harder to find.

Population Time Required
Thorp (20-80 people) 20 minutes
Hamlet (81-400 people) 40 minutes
Village (401-900 people) 60 minutes
Small Town (901-2000 people) 90 minutes
Large Town (2001-5000 people) 2 hours
Small City (5001-12000 people) 3 hours
Large City (12001-25000 people) 4 hours
Metropolis (25001+ people) 6 hours

It is possible to search a subsection of a community. You may be in a metropolis, but if you are only searching in a single district, only the population of that district should be considered when determining time. Of course, if your target has left that district, you’ll have to start all over again in the adjacent area.

Special: You must possess the Track feat and a Knowledge (local) specialization in the current city in order to make an urban tracking check. If you possess at least five ranks of Knowledge (local) you receive a +2 synergy bonus to Gather Information checks for purposes of urban tracking.

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