Location, Location, Location
Author Keith Baker
Series Campaign Style
Publisher Atlas Games
Publish date 2003
The material below is designated as Open Game Content
You can’t do anything unless you find your opponent.
So, you’re trying to track down your mark? Well, tracking is the logical place to start. If you’re serious about bounty hunting, you’re going to want a skilled tracker in your group – whether it’s a ranger, bounty hunter, or someone who has picked up the Track feat independent of class.
Along with Track, this is the other no-brainer. If your target is in an urban area, you’ll want to break out Gather Information right away. Even if it doesn’t help you find your prey, it may at least give you the name of someone you can talk to for specific information.
If you’ve got an investigator in your group, she may be able to use her Networking ability to help obtain information about your prey. Even if you don’t have an honest-to-goodness investigator, you should think about the NPCs who you associate with on a regular basis. Perhaps the Innkeeper has information about your quarry. If your prey is a thief, do you know any other rogues who could dredge the grapevine in the local guild? A good GM will make sure that there are a few leads out there to be found. Further, if you come up with a logical source for information, she may reward your creativity even if it isn’t what she had planned.
Getting information from a contact may require bribery, an exchange of favors, or a show of force (if you don’t care about maintaining a good long-term relationship with the NPC). If you’re a smooth talker, you can use Gather Information to get your contact to talk.
There are many spells that can help you to locate your prey. Discern location is as good as it gets, but as an 8th level spell it’s out of reach of most characters. locate creature is an obvious choice, but it has a short range and requires a personal familiarity with the target. If you have an inquisitor on hand, follow the bloody trail has a longer range and requires no personal contact with your victim, provided that you have a bloodtrace to follow. If your target is out of range of these spells, scrying and Greater Scrying may give you enough clues to determine your target’s general location; if you ask the right questions, Augury or divination can also lend a hand.
There are two types of bloodhounds – the living, breathing kind and those made of magic. Either one can fill gaps in your party. If you have an animal handler in your group, a living bloodhound can assist or replace a human tracker. A magical bloodhound can use follow the bloody trail for you – this is a handy tool if you don’t have an inquisitor at your beck and call.
This is rarely the best idea and it may be something that your employer forbids, but in some circumstances you may want to take your quest to the public at large. Offer a reward for information about your target, and spread nasty rumors about what he’s been up to, so people will be more inclined to help. You’ll want to have a decent level of Sense Motive so you can tell if someone’s lying to try to claim your reward. Again, going public is rarely a good idea, since it will tip off your target; anonymity is a powerful defense. But when you’re completely out of ideas, this just might produce results.