Investigate( Eberron Campaign Setting, p. 55)
You can use the Search skill to find and analyze clues at the scene of a crime or a mystery.
This feat expands the way you can use the Search skill by allowing you to notice and analyze available clues in a specific area. This use of the Search skill is a full round action. Clues are pieces of evidence that lead to the solution of a mystery. Clues are physical and can be seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted. A clue stands out because it's not a normal feature of the area being searched. Examples of clues include a trampled flowerbed, a broken urn, a pin snapped off in a lock, a torn strip of cloak, a burnt scrap of scroll, or a brooch clutched in a dead man's fist.
Add the following task to the list provided in the Player's Handbook description of the Search skill.
|Find a clue||10.|
So, in addition to using Search to find a certain item, notice a secret door, or find a footprint, you have the additional training and experience necessary to find clues of all sorts. Modify the Search DC according to the nature of the scene being examined, as indicated below. (This function of the Search skill doesn't reveal clues when there are no clues to find.)
|Scene Condition||Search DC Modifier|
|(The scene has not been touched or contaminated in any way.)|
|(Someone or something has slightly and perhaps unintentionally contaminated the scene; for example, a book was picked up and put back or a guard walked cautiously across the area.)|
|(Someone or something has massively and intentionally contaminated the scene; for example, the area has been cleaned and scrubbed, or the area was intentionally disturbed after the primary event occurred.)|
When a successful Search check turns up a clue, you can make a second check to discern patterns, analyze evidence, and draw conclusions about what occurred in a specific area. In other words, the first Search check lets you find something, and the second check allows you to figure out what you've found.
You can make a DC 15 Search check to analyze a clue. By examining a body, you might determine whether the victim fought back or provided no struggle at all, or if claws, a weapon, or a spell killed the victim. By looking at a scorch mark on a wall, you might approximate the location of the spellcaster when the spell was cast.
The DC for the check is modified by the time that has elapsed since the event occurred and how significant the clue is, as indicated below. All other rules concerning the Search skill otherwise apply.
|Circumstance (example)||DC Modifier|
|Each day past since event||+2|
|(Maximum modifier +10)|
|(Provides only a piece of the solution to a puzzle and requires additional data for the investigator to reach a conclusion.)|
|(Provides significant data toward the solution of a puzzle and could lead to a conclusion without additional data.)|
|(Provides everything an investigator needs to solve a puzzle, even if the solution isn't immediately obvious.)|
The DM should secretly make the second Search check to analyze a clue. If the check succeeds, the DM provides a truthful, objective analysis of the clue that can help the investigator reach a reasonable and logical conclusion. For example, analyzing a brooch clutched in the hand of a murdered dwarf (a major clue) reveals that it was torn from a blue cloak or tunic (it bears strands of a blue material). It bears the symbol of House Cannith, but the brooch isn't of the quality that a house noble would normally wear. These true and objective facts are now left for the investigator to consider and follow up on.
If the check fails, the DM provides analysis of the clue that sounds plausible but is actually flawed in some manner. For example, a flawed analysis of the major clue discussed above would reveal only that the brooch bears the symbol of House Cannith.
Even a successful analysis won't reveal the actual authenticity of a clue. False clues planted at a scene could provide truthful and objective data that leads an investigator in the wrong direction.
Generally, investigating a scene a second time doesn't add new insight unless another clue is discovered. You can take 10 when making a Search check to find a clue, but you can't take 20.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in an appropriate Knowledge skill, you get a +2 bonus on Search checks to find or analyze clues.