Previews02/01/2006


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DISCOVERING A PERSONAL TRUENAME

You can find out someone's personal truename using a combination of mundane and magical research techniques. But the search can be an expensive, time-consuming process. Even access to the Merciless Catalog or Splendors beyond the Veil isn't sufficient, because those encyclopedias are neither complete nor completely accurate. (Shortly after the Merciless Catalog of Fiends was disseminated, for example, many clever devils intentionally spread fake copies with their own names badly garbled but the personal truenames of their rivals intact.) Shorter-lived characters, such as humans, probably don't have their personal truenames recorded in any important text, so discovering such an individual's truename becomes an exercise in detective work using genealogies, magical divinations, and other esoteric techniques.

It takes a successful Knowledge check in the relevant subskill to discover a personal truename (although 5 ranks of Truespeak grant a synergy bonus to any such checks, and the Truename Research feat grants additional benefits). The DC uses a familiar formula: 15 + (2 x creature's CR), or 15 + (2 x HD) for creatures such as PCs that don't have Challenge Ratings. If you have the bardic knowledge class feature, you can substitute bardic knowledge checks for the Knowledge check.

Just one success is rarely enough to discover a truename. You need a number of successes equal to 1/2 the creature's Hit Dice (minimum 1).

Each Knowledge check to discover a personal truename takes one week and costs 1,000 gp (for meditative incense, access to private libraries, and so on). Cut the weekly cost in half if you have unfettered access to a major library, such as one owned by a wizards college, a scribes guild, or the archives in a major temple to a knowledge god. Someone with the Truename Research feat also cuts these costs in half (see the feat description on page 229), or by three quarters if he also has access to a library or other source of truename lore.

The research process is interruptible at any time. If you need to go on an adventure, just keep track of how many successful checks you've made thus far, then resume your research when your schedule allows.

Obscure Creatures: Ironically, it can be somewhat easier to research the personal truename of a powerful dragon than a lowly gnoll hunter. Historical annals will periodically mention a great wyrm's deeds, and previous truename researchers might have made progress on the truename (and recorded that progress). But it's likely that no one has ever cared about the gnoll hunter's personal truename, so mundane texts won't be much help. Creatures with less than 10 HD are considered obscure unless they have historical or political importance. Unless you're using magical divinations to aid your research, you can't even attempt the Knowledge checks.

The Knowledge check to learn a personal truename is modified by the factors in the table below.

Table 3-1: Personal Truename Research Modifiers
Condition Modifier
Staff of research assistants +2
Commune spell* +2
You know who the subject's ancestors are**
Parents +1
Grandparents +2
Great-grandparents or beyond +4
Divination spell* +4
Contact other plane spell* +2
Legend lore spell* +6
You have met the subject +1
You have spent more than a month in proximity to the subject +2
You are related to the subject (or you are the subject) +4
You know the subject's creature type +1
You have 5 ranks in Truespeak (synergy bonus) +2
You have the Truename Research feat +2
Subject is considered obscure (see above) -4
Subject has Obscure Personal Truename feat -4
Subject has hidden truename effect -8

*Must be cast during the week you make the check. Multiple castings of the same spell don't stack, but different spells cast during the same week do stack.

**These bonuses are cumulative with one another.

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