Gather Information


Use this skill for making contacts in an area, finding out local gossip and news, rumormongering, and collecting general information, as well as for tracking people through communities.


The Gather Information skill has several uses, all of which involve skill at gleaning information from the people of a community.

Task DC
Learn local gossip 10 (higher results get more)
Learn specific information Varies
Find a contact ???
Learn an individual's reputation ??? depends on fame score
Track someone Varies
Find quests ???
Counter-intelligence Opposed check

Learning local gossip

An evening's time, and a few gold pieces for buying drinks and making friends, gets you a general idea of a community's major news items. The higher your check result, the better the information: you get more rumors and news, rumors and news items that are less widely talked about, and more specific, detailed, and accurate information about the rumors and news items you hear (note that rumors may not be accurate, and in some cases you may get multiple, contradictory pieces of information; it's up to you to decide what, and whom, to trust). In general, the most salient news or rumors, the ones currently being talked about the most, are the ones which require only a DC 10 check.

Gather Information vs. Knowledge (Local)

The Knowledge? skill description for the Worlds of Adventure campaign setting doesn't list Local as a possible topic of interest. That's because, as an adventurer with the Argos Trade Consortium, it's simply impractical in the extreme to spend the time to amass any significant knowledge about the local culture, history, customs, laws, and social milieu of every city, every principality, and every nation of every world beyond the City's gates. A character could spend a lifetime doing only that, and have no time left over for learning about anything else whatsoever, much less for any actual adventuring.

The sort of information that, in the usual sort of D&D campaign, might come from a Knowledge (Local) check is often important, however; and it's expected that player characters will usually have a way to discover such information. In the Worlds of Adventure campaign, that's what the Gather Information skill is for. The rules for this skill, and the guidelines for using it, have been greatly expanded in the Worlds of Adventure rules, and the PCs can use it to find out a lot of things about a lot of things. Gather Information even does some things that couldn't be done with any skill in 3rd edition D&D or in Pathfinder (at least, not without feats or alternate classes), like tracking someone through an urban environment.

The key difference between a Knowledge check and a Gather Information check is that while the former (usually) simply tests what you already know, and takes no time, Gather Information requires that you interact with people (NPCs). This takes time (1d4+1 hours, usually), and it means that your success or failure depend on how people react to you (which in turn means that your appearance, race, etc. all make a difference), and on your reputation. What's more, while you're chatting with the locals, some of the locals, in turn, are observing you; and asking about certain sorts of things can have various natural consequences, like attracting attention from certain sorts of people.

On the plus side, you can use this one skill to get information about anything, in any community you visit, instead of having to spend a plethora of skill points on ranks in a multitude of Knowledge (Local) skills. Gather Information can even make up for deficits in other Knowledge skills (which is indeed a way that the are expected PCs to use it, owing to the difficulty of acquiring ranks in Knowledge? skills in the Worlds of Adventure campaign). Of course, Gather Information won't help you while you're in a dungeon, but a significant proportion of your information-gathering will often be done outside the dungeon, while preparing for the delve; or, between excursions into the same dungeon (few quests will be completed in a single game session, and in the Worlds of Adventure campaign it's expected that the party will almost always return to town between sessions).

Finally, about the time that Gather Information checks take: unlike in many other kinds of campaigns, in the Worlds of Adventure campaign, the PCs are usually not in a rush. The world isn't about to end unless you save it! It's ok to take a few hours or days to take in the sights and have a few drinks in the local tavern. And, well... even if the world does end... there's always another one. That's why it's called "Worlds of Adventure", right?

The scope of an event or going-on affects how hard it is to discover it. In a small town or village, where everyone knows everyone and anything that happens to any resident of the community is a significant event, all rumors and news spread all over town. In a big city, on the other hand, if you sit down in a tavern in the Beggar's Quarter and chat with the patrons, a DC 10 Gather Information check won't get you the scoop on how the daughter of the wealthiest rug-seller of the Central Bazaar just got married, even though that's the hot news in the Merchant's Quarter, way on the other side of town. The most salient news items are ones that very significantly affect a whole nation, or significantly affect the whole city, or are of some local importance throughout a neighborhood, etc. The higher your check result, the more distant, more localized — and simply more — are the rumors and news you're able to get (although unless you are hunting for specific information, exactly which news or rumors from other places you get is essentially random). And conversely, the more local the news or rumor, the easier it is to discover it, the more such items of information you'll get, and the more specific, detailed, and accurate they'll be, given your check result.

As a rule, the quantity, specificity, accuracy, and scope of the news and rumors you may potentially get all increase noticeably for every 5 points by which your Gather Information check result exceeds 10.

In some cases, you may have the option of attempting to learn gossip in a place more conducive to learning certain kinds of information, or news and rumors about certain topics. For example, a certain tavern might be a place where all the local small-time criminals hang out. The kind of information gathered by spending an evening there will be very different than what you'll learn by spending time in a high-class tea-house frequented by wealthy nobles. If you're interested in news and rumors of the criminal world, you'll be far more likely to get information in the former place, and what you do find out will be more specific, accurate, and detailed. (In other words, word that the boss of a certain gang wants some people to do a dangerous job is "local" to the seedy tavern, but "remote" from the upscale tea-house, regardless of the actual distance between them.) Of course, finding out just which places draw which sorts of crowds, or where a particular sort of people hang out, is also something you'd need a Gather Information check to discover (see "Learning specific information", below).

Learning specific information

If you want to find out specific information, the process is the same as getting general news and rumors, but the DC is usually higher than 10, depending on what exactly you're looking for. Some examples of DC to gather certain kinds of information are on the table below. In general, information which is known by most people in a community is DC 10; things known only to some of the general public are DC 15; things known only to a few among the general public are DC 20; and higher DCs represent information which is unknown to the general public, but may be known by particular sorts of people: only mages, only criminals, only farmers, etc. (Information known only to specific individuals cannot be acquired by a Gather Information check, although it may be possible to find out who such individuals might be.)

Type Of Information Sought Gather Information DC Examples
Places. Location of a particular place, or directions to get there, are learned at the listed base DCs, which depend on the sort of place you want to know about.
Place is in the community1, and of public relevance 10 The biggest market in town, the town hall, a popular tavern, the temple of the locally dominant god
Place is in the community, well known but not particularly important 15 A certain shop or business (large and prominent, but not unique or especially important), the home of a public figure or someone well known in the community, a particular landmark (such as a statue)
Place is in the community, but has no public importance, nor is particularly well-known 20 A minor shop or business, the home of a private citizen of no special significance
Place is outside the community (in the surrounding region, or nearby lands) and is well-known 15 Major geographical feature, such as a mountain, a river, a desert, etc.; or a nearby town or city
Place is outside the community (in the surrounding region, or nearby lands) and is not well-known 20 An old castle or ruins, the rumored lair of a dragon, a cave where an ogre dwells
Place is outside the community (in the surrounding region, or nearby lands) and is obscure or insignificant 25 The grove of a reclusive druid, a field where a certain kind of rare flower grows, a certain strange rock formation
More specific or detailed information about a place +5 DC Who lives or works in a place; what's the place like (basics of layout or construction); how long has the place been around; major events that happened there, or involved the place somehow
Very detailed or obscure information about a place +10 DC History of the place; when and how was it built; minor or obscure events that took place there or involved the place somehow
Place is secret or hidden, or one of which people don't speak openly, but speaking about which carries no special penalties other than loss of respect or social status +5 DC A tavern where thieves meet potential employers to find jobs; an illegal brothel, run out of the back rooms of a tavern; an exclusive, un-advertised auction house, with invitation-only auctions
Place is well-hidden, its location or even existence known only to its members; speaking of the place carries penalties (from expulsion from a secret society, to death) +10 DC The guild house of the local assassins' guild; the base of operations of a forbidden cult; the cave where the dwarf druids gather for their secret rituals
Things. Specific items or objects, certain kinds of items or merchandise.

1 In a community of city size or larger, "in the community" becomes "in the district" or "in the neighborhood", etc.

specific categories of info (items, maps)

DC scales based on how far away from source of info you are

Urban tracking

You can track down the location of missing persons or wanted individuals within communities. To find an individual’s trail, or to follow a trail, requires a Gather Information check. You must make another Gather Information check every 1d4+1 hours you search, as well as each time the trail becomes difficult to follow, such as when it takes you to a different part of town.

The DC of the check, and the number of checks required to track down your quarry, depends on on the community size and the prevailing conditions (see tables). If you fail a check, you can retry after 1d4+1 hours of questioning. (The DM rolls the number of checks required secretly, so that the player doesn’t know exactly how much time the task will require.)

Community Size DC Checks Required
Thorp, hamlet, or village 10 1d3
Small town or large town 15 1d4+1
Small city or large city 20 1d6+1
Metropolis 25 1d8+2
Conditions DC Modifier
Every three creatures in group being sought –2
Every 24 hours group has been missing/sought +1
Tracked group “lies low” +5
Tracked group matches community’s primary racial demographic +2
Tracked group does not match community’s primary racial demographic –2

You can cut the time between Gather Information checks in half (from 1d4+1 hours to 1 hour), but you take a –5 penalty on the check. The Gather Information skill will not allow you to locate someone who has gone beyond the boundaries of the community, but it could inform you that they’ve done so. (You, or another character, might then track the individual through the wilderness with the Survival? skill.)


The type of action using the skill requires, or the time required for a check.

Taking 10 & 20

Can the skill be retried? Can 10 be taken, can 20?


Special rules that apply to the skill, including any equipment that's necessary or beneficial, and whether another character can aid you in using the skill.

The Swift Urban Tracker feat reduces the time needed to find or follow an individual's trail in an urban environment from 1d4+1 hours to 1 hour.


Is the skill limited in any way to certain classes?


If the skill can be used untrained, what rules apply to a character using it without training?

Skill Tricks

The following skill tricks allow a character to use the Gather Information skill in additional ways.

Category: Skills

Gather Information