OGC:Specific Info (3.5e Gather Information Skill Use)
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At its core Gather Information represents the ability to guide a conversation — to get people to talk about the things you want to hear, without realizing that they are being led by the nose. In addition to its general use — picking up rumors and local gossip — Gather Information can also be used to trick an individual into revealing specific information.
Check: Make a skill check opposed by the target’s Sense Motive check. The target receives a +10 to her Sense Motive check if she is actively suspicious of you; at the GM’s discretion, she may receive an additional bonus based on racial hostilities, religious differences, or similar issues. Finally, she receives a bonus based on the importance of the information you are trying to obtain:
|Trivial||What's your name?||+0|
|Significant||When’s the guard’s shift-change?||+5|
|Secret||Where is the safe hidden?||+10|
|Top Secret||What’s the combination?||+20|
If your Gather Information check is successful, your victim won’t even realize that she let the information slip; you keep the conversation moving seamlessly. If you miss a check by five or more points, your target realizes that you are digging for information and may become hostile or suspicious.
Retry: You can retry a failed roll, but you take a cumulative –5 penalty on each subsequent attempt, as the target begins to get suspicious; this penalty continues to accumulate even if you decide to search for a different piece of information. You cannot take 20 when you attempt to direct a conversation.
Special: This is not intended to take the place of roleplaying conversations with NPCs. In general, a GM will require you to roleplay at least part of the conversation. Depending on how you handle the situation, this may provide you with a bonus or penalty to your skill check. A particularly suave lead-in to your question might get you anywhere up to a +5 bonus, while a ham-handed or blunt query may give you a –5 penalty. Finally, characters with 5 or more ranks of Diplomacy receive a +2 synergy bonus to a Gather Information check to reveal specific information.