Investigation Guide

Investigations are a way for your character to find out story information through some form of IC investigation. This can take many different forms in play: maybe they're researchers scouring the Archives, maybe they're charmers asking the right people the right information, maybe they're bullies messing with thugs in alleys. All of these are possibilities!

First off, you can take a look at the actual list of commands here on the official Arx website. It will likely be helpful to have that open to refer to.

Basic Investigation

So! Maybe you have a secret that your father got murdered by someone (even though, GASP, everyone thinks it was natural causes). You want to try and figure out some clues to help you find out whodunnit. You happened to find some weirdo demonic runes or something at the murder scene, so you want to investigate DEMONS. (That sounds dangerous. Don't get yourself killed.)

So! The first thing you need to do is make sure you have enough Social Resources and AP to start an investigation. By default, the cost for a new investigation is 25 Social Resources and 50 AP. However, if you happen to have points in the Investigation skill, each skill point will reduce this cost by 5. (Which means that if you reach Investigation 5, your investigations are now -- huzzah! -- free! And they only cost 25 AP!) If you don't have enough social resources, you'll need to go get some. (Maybe check out the Resource Guide!)

If you don't have enough AP, see if someone will help you with +iamhelping (which lets AP be transferred at a 3:1 rate).

Please note that while the resources cost is a one-time thing per investigation, you will need to reactivate your investigation every week at AP cost (@investigate/active ###).

Okay, so now you have your resources (and AP). The first thing you're going to type is @investigate/new. This will open a prompt that looks like this:

Creating an investigation:
Topic: 
Story: 
Stat: 
Skill:

So you can kind of see that it's expecting a few different inputs from you. Let's start with Topic. This is basically a short word or phrase of what you're investigating. The topic of your investigation tries to map to clues automatically, so try and use specific words rather than allusions or generic items. (Staff goes through the automatic mappings to make sure people have the right clues lined up if their investigations are successful, so being specific with your topics can be helpful.)

I'm going to go with a topic of Demon Runes. To set this, just type @investigate/topic Demon Runes.

Now we have the story to set. This is an outline of what more specifically your character is looking for and how they're going about doing it. My character Mike is a charming socializer, so I'm going to try and find the right people to ingratiate myself with and get information from. So I type: @investigate/story Mike is trying to hunt down information regarding demonic runes, because there were some found at his father's murder. He's not one for the Archives, so he's trying to charm his way through society to find people who know the right stuff and get them to talk about it.

So you'll see this:

Creating an investigation:
Topic: Demon Runes
Story: Mike is trying to hunt down information regarding demonic runes, because there were some found at his father's murder. He's not one for the Archives, so he's trying to charm his way through society to find people who know the right stuff and get them to talk about it.
Stat: 
Skill:

At this point, you could technically hit @investigate/finish and you'd be all set to go. But there are some additional things you could do that would help!

Investigating Better

Custom Stat and Skill

So by default, investigations roll Perception + Investigation. If your character has high levels in that stat + skill combination, it's generally in your best interest to leave the investigation Stat and Skill field alone. BUT, if you have a stat + skill combo that's a higher level than your Perception + Investigation that makes sense for your character to be utilizing, you can set them to use in your investigation. The system will roll both combos and give the averaged result of them. So only set a custom stat and skill if they are higher than your Perception and Investigation, otherwise it may end up dragging down your result.

So my character happens to have high Charm + Manipulation, which makes sense for my investigation because I'm going out and talking to folks. So I'm going to use those as a custom stat and skill by typing @investigate/stat Charm and @investigate/skill Manipulation. Hopefully that will make up for my sad lack of investigation skills!

If you fill out your custom stat and skill, you'll now have a screen like this:

Topic: Demon Runes
Story: Mike is trying to hunt down information regarding demonic runes, because there were some found at his father's murder. He's not one for the Archives, so he's trying to charm his way through society to find people who know the right stuff and get them to talk about it.
Stat: Charm
Skill: Manipulation

Now you can go ahead and type @investigate/finish to get your investigation set up! If at any point during your setup you decide you want to throw it all away and forget about your murdered dad, just type @investigate/cancel.

Lowering Difficulty

Now when you type @investigate you should see your investigation pop up on your list like so:

+-----+-------------------------+---------+
| ID  | Topic                   | Active? |
+-----+-------------------------+---------+
| 42  | Demonic Runes           | X       |
+-----+-------------------------+---------+

And you can view your investigation details by typing @investigate/view 42 (where 42 is the investigation's ID). You'll see something that looks like this:

Character: Mike
Topic: Demonic Runes
Actions: Mike is trying to hunt down information regarding demonic runes, because there were some found at his father's murder. He's not one for the Archives, so he's trying to charm his way through society to find people who know the right stuff and get them to talk about it. 
Modified Difficulty: 20
Current Progress: No real progress has been made to finding something new.
Stat used: Charm
Skill used: Manipulation

Investigations will start with a default difficulty that staff takes a look at and adjusts as required. If you're going to sink silver or resources into it to lower the difficulty, you might wait a couple days to see if you're going to end up working with a different number than the default.

So there are three ways to lower difficulty: action points, resources, and silver. Action points lowers difficulties at a rate of 1 difficulty point per 5 AP. Resources tend to lower difficulties at a rate of approximately 2 difficulty points per 5 resources. Silver requires a minimum of 5,000 to lower difficulties. (If someone has more detail about sinking silver into an investigation, please enter it here!) I see more people invest with resources than silver, but if you're poor in resources and rich in silver, the opposite might be worth it!

You can, in fact, lower your difficulty to a negative number, which will indicate you basically making actual progress on the investigation.

To invest resources into this investigation, I'm going to type @investigate/resource 42=social,20 to drop in 20 Social Resources. If I wanted to invest some silver, I could try @investigate/silver 42=5000 to drop in 5,000 silver. Or maybe I have a lot of AP this week, so I use @investigate/actionpoints 42=25 to drop in 25 AP.

I tend to use resources and drop them in in multiples of 5 or 10 and continually check how my difficulty has changed. So in the end I might have something like:

Character: Mike
Topic: Demonic Runes
Actions: Mike is trying to hunt down information regarding demonic runes, because there were some found at his father's murder. He's not one for the Archives, so he's trying to charm his way through society to find people who know the right stuff and get them to talk about it. 
Modified Difficulty: 5
Current Progress: No real progress has been made to finding something new.
Stat used: Charm
Skill used: Manipulation

5's a lot easier to hit than 20 as a difficulty!

Investigation Helpers

Do you have a friend? Is your friend not running their own investigation this week or helping someone else's? Maybe they can help!

My character's friend Bob is actually a pretty good investigator, and he's available this week to help, so I'm going to type @investigate/requesthelp 42=Bob. Now it's in Bob's court!

This is where @helpinvestigate comes in. Most of the commands in @helpinvestigate are parallel to the @investigate command. When you have a request for help, it will show up in your @helpinvestigate view with an ID number, like so:

You are permitted to help the following investigations:
  Mike's investigation on Demonic Runes (ID: 42)
Bob is helping the following investigations:
+----+---------------------+-------------------+
| ID | Investigation Owner | Currently Helping |
+----+---------------------+-------------------+
+----+---------------------+-------------------+

Bob types @helpinvestigate/new and then @helpinvestigate/target 42 and then he's on his way to helping! He can fill out his story and, if desired, a custom stat and skill to roll, and then type @helpinvestigate/finish to set it up. Now Bob's investigation results will be added to yours, and he'll receive the same @clue if the investigation is successful. This costs him 10 AP, non-recurring.

Retainers

You can also utilize retainers to help your own investigations (or the investigations of others) if they have the investigation_assistant ability. (For more info about retainers, visit the Retainer Guide!)

Start out with @helpinvestigate/new to start a new helper investigation. It's very similar to helping as your PC, except your next step will be to assign your retainer to the investigation with @helpinvestigate/retainer <ID#>. (You can look up your retainer's ID with the @retainers command.)

So let's say I have an awesome assistant retainer named Holmes. I bet he's great at helping! I check out my retainer list and see that his ID number is 25. So I type @helpinvestigate/new, which will show me this:

Helping an investigation:
Investigation: 
Story: 
Stat: 
Skill: 
Assisting Character: Mike

I assign Holmes to help with @helpinvestigate/retainer 25, and then I target my investigation with @helpinvestigate/target 42. At that point, I can fill in the story and, if I want, custom stat and skill for my retainer to use as he pokes around. When I'm done, I just use @helpinvestigate/finish and off Holmes goes.

Retainers can assist your own investigations or anyone else's who asks you for help.

Adjusting Your Investigations

Maybe you find some things out in RP that change exactly what you're looking for or how you'd be looking for it. Or maybe you need to investigate something else and put your first one on the backburner.

Maybe I know that the runes I'm looking for are Elder Demonic Runes (whatever that is). I can type @investigate/changetopic 42=Elder Demonic Runes so that my topic is more specific. Or maybe I learn that the Faith totally knows some stuff, so I change my story: @investigate/changestory 42=Mike is trying to hunt down information regarding demonic runes, because there were some found at his father's murder. He's not one for the Archives, so he's trying to charm his way through society to find people who know the right stuff and get them to talk about it. He knows that members of the Faith in particular have information, so he's trying to charm them in particular. (This is a bad example, actually, because if you know a specific org has info you should try hitting up PCs in that org!)

You can also put your investigations on pause to pick up others. I could pause this one with @investigate/abandon 42 and then pick it up later with @investigate/resume 42. You can always see what your active investigation is with @investigate.

Good luck!

Other Examples

From 02/20/2018:
[Info] Cecilia: What's an example of what an @investigation story might look like? IE, should it have specific actions someone would take (like going to a library to do research) or is it more general like, "here's what the person is looking into and why"?
[Info] Mae: I tend to include the how + why, and then also the what. So, all of it. "I'm looking for more information about Orazio's magic pants, because I saw them mentioned in a fragment of text here. To do this I am going to ask around at the Queensrest Inn, and search the Shrine of the Sentinel."
[Info] Apostate: https://media.giphy.com/media/xT5LMKwyvUV4Pgj2ik/giphy.gif
[Info] Cecilia grins and wonders just how many @investigates are basically "goes to the library to look things up..."
[Info] Orazio: Most of mine are, for sure.
[Info] Mae: My advice is that you try to keep your topics limited, and include the name of any clues you already have that uspport it.
[Info] Mae: If you wanna look up "Queen Alarice's prized horse" but you also include mention of other topics in there, when staff blows through the write-ups they might miss what the "main purpose" of your investigation is, and you end up with a clue about something you feel isn't exactly related.
[Info] Rook: You could also spice it up with using existing knowledge and sort of piggy back off that. If you're looking for information about X, speaking about other closely related topics, from existing clues you have etc, might give some encouraging sense of direction.
[Info] Rook: Hm, but that's a good point Mae. Maybe streamlining -is- best. I know I just like to type lots. :Z
[Info] Cecilia: Gotcha. And then if the info from the library - for example - indicates you might want to look somewhere else, that's a new investigation?
[Info] Orazio: yeah. Sometimes you might have a chain of clues that eventually lead you to what you actually want to know. :D
[Info] Mae: Well, if you write "Archscholar Jimmy wrote in the Texto Forbiddini that Archduchess Thumbelina was actually the mother of Sir Thomas, and Sir Thomas wielded The Shining Blade of Cutting, which he used to vanquish The Evil Wizard Tim, but he has an enchantment put on the blade by Shaman Shammington, and I want to know what that enchantment was"...  That's a LOT of names, and a lot of things to capture the focus of the investigation.
[Info] Mae: I could be way off, but I'd more likely write, "Sir Thomas had his blade blessed by Shaman Shammington (see clue: Jimmy's Thoughts on Killing Evil Wizards). I'm searching the library for a copy of that blessing."
[Info] Cecilia nods. "Thanks! I'm drafting up my first @investigation and don't seem to have any lingering from the time my character was previously off-roster, so feel like I'm hunting and pecking a little in the dark. :)"
[Info] Mae: If you wanna run the story past me, I'm happy to look it over for you. Only if you feel comfortable sharing! Not asking you to give anything away, just willing to lend a hand (or set of eyes).
[Info] Gwenna: Does anyone mind if I c&p the above to add to the wiki? The examples are pretty great.
[Info] Cecilia grins. "I think I've got it - will see what the results of the investigation look like! :)"
[Info] Derovai: Don't be surprised if it doesn't pop in a week, too.
[Info] Mae: Excellent! Just remember, it will almost surely take at least 2-3  weeks. Maybe 5-6.

[Info] Cecilia: What is the scale of modified difficulty? IE a base, just created investigation difficulty is 35. What does that actually mean? Is it the difficulty of the roll the staff/code will use to determine if the investigation gives you something?
[Info] Aleksei: Difficulty of the roll
[Info] Cecilia nods. "So it definitely pays to dedicate some coin/resources/help to an investigation... got it! Thanks!"

Staff Clarification

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Board: News, Post Number: 100
Poster: Pax
Subject: How To @investigation More Better
Date: 04/06/18 23:27:30
------------------------------------------------------------
I'd like to clarify investigations slightly, just to make everything easier for folks. Because lately, we've seen a lot of people trying to perform actions as investigations; things like "I am trying to experiment with <alchemical substance X> to see what happens" or "I am trying to dig in <ancient ruin Y> to see what I find" or "I am trying to meditate in hopes of getting a vision" that really belong as @actions. 

This one's on us; it could be made more clear how these two work.

Investigations are meant to look into things that already exist, information that staff has probably already created -- whether in clues, or in our lore notes, or something similar. 

Actions are meant to be, well, everything else.

Think of it this way: if a GM has to write up the result of something that has clearly never been written before -- what happens when /you/ specifically try /this/ specifically -- you are probably dealing with an @action. If you're looking for information that might already exist which you could find somewhere in your research, it's likely an investigation.

As an example, if I want to try bonding an animal as a familiar, that's an action since there's no pre-existing clue that says whether or not my attempt specifically succeeds. If I want to just investigate /how/ one would bond a familiar, that's information which could very well already exist out there in the Enormous Pile of 900+ Clues this game contains, and so is an investigation. 

(Disclaimer: do not put in an action attempting to bond a familiar right now.)

Hopefully this helps clarify a little bit!
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