Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Arcane Research

Given that the economies and cultures vary too widely between campaign settings, I'm leaving specific costs out this post. Ultimately it should be roughly the same as the costs for hiring a sage or undertaking spell research.

Materials needed by the character:
  • Library: Anyone wishing to undertake arcane research is going to need at least a handful of writings on the subject(or a similar subject if he is pioneering a new field of study)
  • Laboratory: Sometimes research requires experimentation. A fully stocked lab may be required in such cases(up to the DM)

Types of Research
  • Insight: This kind of research gives the character experience, but little else(unless the DM wishes to throw in some adventure hooks)
  • Recipe: This kind of research has the ability to yield fragments of a recipe required to make magic items.
  • Spell Research: This is the standard spell research present in the DMG.
Mechanics of research

Once the player decides WHAT he's researching, the DM may then determine the 2 biggest parts of the research itself: The Cost, and the Time.
Research should not be a cheap undertaking, especially where magic is concerned. There's a reason why so many mages in fantasy literature are often found either serving wealthy and powerful patrons, or have wealth and power themselves!
The second consideration is time. The more time spent researching, the better the results should be.
At the end of each period of research in which you're using, there should be a success check. You may use the Sage tables if you like(from the DMG in the NPC chapter), or make it a function of the Learn Spell sub-ability with modifiers applied to Specificity of information sought and time spent researching/experimenting.
The DM should be the one to make the success checks.

Effects of Research

Insight: By Day: 1 minor clue/1 XP x Character level ; by Week: 1 major clue, or 1d4 minor clues/10 XP x Character level

Recipe: The character gains knowledge of 1 ingredient or process required to create the item desired. Note: the player should not automatically know how many ingredients there are in the item's recipe unless he researches that specific information. Additionally, the DM should be free to withhold certain information if it isn't asked. For example: A wizard learns that the Acid resistance potion he wants to make requires Dragon's blood. What the DM isn't telling him is that the blood must specifically be from a Black Dragon, until the character continues his research. In this way, a character is never certain that he has the entire recipe until he tries it out.

Spell: As standard rules.

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