There are many reasons a character may wish to undertake long-term research. Research can be used to learn new powers and trappings without the New Power Edge; to devise new modifiers (such as the “Crippling Injuries” modifier for the Healing power) or rituals; or even to create new rituals.
Regardless of the nature of the research, it is a long-term project that is handled with the progress clock system. Most projects will be represented by a single clock with 8 segments. Only the most complicated endeavours - like powerful magic items or high-Rank rituals - will require two or three clocks to be filled.
Filling the Research Clock
To fill the research clock, you will first need research materials. These aren’t necessarily physical items, though they could be. They might just as easily be insights into the nature of magic or a long-buried secret. Possible examples of research materials include:
- Books, scrolls and other repositories of divine lore.
- The counsel of learned sages, conjured extraplanar entities or mysterious oracles.
- Time spent meditating or seeking knowledge in a place of power - a crystal cave where ley-lines cross, a sacred pilgrimage site, or the Plane of Elemental Fire.
- Rare materials for experimentation, strange specimens of magical creatures, and similar.
- Unusual equipment or apparatus required to perform exacting magical experiments of some kind.
Exactly what materials you need to get your hands on depends on what you’re researching. Small things, like a new Novice power or a trapping, are unlikely to require anything you can’t find in a halfway decent library of the arcane. For the strange and powerful, however, you may need to seek out obscure tomes, find knowledge thought lost to the ages, or blaze the trail entirely with experimentation. This can be and should be a quest - or even a campaign - by itself.
When you have suitable materials, you can fill the clock by actually performing research, contemplation and experimentation. This generally requires a certain period of time spent in study and an Occult or Research roll. You may get a +2 bonus on this roll if the materials are particularly rare or potent, or a penalty if you’re working with incomplete or unsatisfactory materials. A success fills one segment, while a raise fills two. If the research is simple, the GM may allow additional raises to fill more segments.
Research is by no means linear and fixed by the GM. For example, say that you fill two segments of the research clock and learn about a rare tome of arcane lore. This book contains the specific information you need to continue your research, but it’s in a dangerous and deadly tomb that you don’t feel is within your abilities. Instead of seeking it out, you always have the option to pursue other avenues and obtain suitable research materials from another source. Maybe you know of an ancient oracle that could give you the information with less danger, if you can convince them to break their vow of silence?