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Chapter 1: Gamemastery Basics / Running Exploration / Exploration Activities

More on Searching

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 18
The rules for Searching deliberately avoid giving intricate detail on how long a search takes. That’s left in your hands because the circumstances of a search can vary widely. If the group isn’t in any danger and has time for a really thorough search, that’s a good time to allow them to automatically succeed, rather than bothering to roll, or you might have them roll to see how long it takes before they find what they’re looking for, ultimately finding it eventually no matter the result. Conversely, if they stop for a thorough search in the middle of a dungeon, that’s a good time for their efforts to draw unwanted attention!

PCs might get to attempt another check if their initial search is a bust. But when do you allow them to try again? It’s best to tie this to taking a different tactic. Just saying “I search it again” isn’t enough, but if a PC tries a different method or has other tools at their disposal, it could work. Be generous with what you allow, as long as the player puts thought into it! If you know a search isn’t going to turn up anything useful, make that clear early on so the group doesn’t waste too much time on it. If they’re determined to keep going—which they often are—you might have them find something useful but minor in the search.