3e SRD:Gather Information Skill
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Gather Information (Cha)
By succeeding at a skill check (DC 10), given an evening with a few gold pieces to use for making friends by buying drinks and such, the character can get a general idea of what the major news items are in a city, assuming no obvious reasons exist why the information would be withheld. The higher the check result, the better the information.
If the character wants to find out about a specific rumor, specific item, obtain a map, or do something else along those lines, the DC is 15 to 25 or higher.
Yes, but it takes an evening or so for each check, and characters may draw attention to themselves if they repeatedly pursue a certain type of information.