The Homicide Detective

December 1st, 2014

Joshua Zaback

Best in Class Archive

                It’s Crime Week here at Necromancers of the Northwest, which means all of this week’s articles are going to be devoted breaking, or in today’s case, upholding the law. If you’re anything like me, or indeed most Americans, you probably watch a lot of TV about crime. While some of these shows celebrate the good-hearted gentleman (or lady) crook, the vast majority revolve around the hard-working men and women who keep us safe from criminals. Because catching wrongdoers is as much a part of the drama of crime as committing them, today’s archetype specializes in exactly that. The homicide detective is a new investigator archetype which is more focused on investigating things and places less emphasis on resisting poisons, escaping traps, or performing astonishing feats of combat and alchemy.


New Investigator Archetype
Homicide Detective

                Homicide detectives are devoted to fighting crime and catching criminals. They rely on their wits and observations, rather than their muscles, to see justice done. Consequently, homicide detectives are somewhat less battle-ready than their counterparts and prefer to solve mysteries, rather than track down their foes.

                Trap Knowledge (Ex): A homicide detective is able to easily spot traps and determine their workings. He adds 1/2 his level to all Perception checks made to find traps, and if he discovers a trap he immediately identifies its functions, learning what the trap does when triggered, how the trap is triggered, and understands how difficult it would be to avoid and disable, effectively communicating the DC of any saving throw and the Disable Device check made to remove the trap. Additionally, if he uses inspiration to attempt to disable a trap, he may choose to bypass the trap instead of disabling it, even if the result of his Disable Device check is not high enough to bypass the trap. A homicide detective can use Disable Device to disarm magical traps, but does not gain any particular bonus on Disable Device checks made to disarm traps.

                This ability replaces the trapfinding ability gained at 1st level.

                Determine Cause of Death (Ex): A homicide detective is skilled in figuring out how a subject died, and can use his investigative skills to determine a number of things about the target’s death. In order to use this ability, the homicide detective must study a corpse for 10 minutes in order to learn its secrets. At 2nd level, he learns how the target died, such as by a heart attack, by weapon damage, by magic, or by poison, as well as the method used to accomplish the deed, such as what type of weapon (dagger, crossbow bolt, etc.) was used to kill a character who died by weapon damage. At 5th level, the homicide detective also learns when the target died, and gains insight into where the target died. This allows the homicide detective to learn if the target died where he was found, or if the body was moved, how far the body was moved and if it was moved from one type of environment to another, including moving from one terrain type to another, or one temperature to another, or from inside to outside. At 8th level, the homicide detective gains forensic knowledge relating to the target’s death and can determine certain details from the body, including whether the death was accidental, likely accidental, or intentional. He additionally is able to garner clues which grant him a +4 bonus on all Diplomacy checks made to gather information and all Perception and Sense Motive checks made to discover the killer of the target.

                This ability replaces the poison resistance class feature.

                Active Investigation (Ex): A homicide detective can open an investigation in order to gather clues and question suspects. At 3rd level, as a standard action, the homicide detective can declare an investigation open. When he uses this ability, he must designate an area with a  radius no greater than 100 feet per point of Intelligence modifier he possesses, and this area becomes the active crime scene. Crime scenes remain active for 24 hours. He may not use this ability while he already has an active crime scene. Within the active crime scene, the homicide detective’s inspiration is far more effective, granting an additional bonus on all inspiration rolls made within the crime scene. This bonus is +1 at 3rd level and increases by an additional +1 every 3 levels thereafter. Additionally, while within an active crime scene, he can use inspiration to make Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate checks without spending an additional use of inspiration.

                This ability replaces the trap sense class feature.

                Dramatic Conclusion (Ex): A homicide detective can make a dramatic declaration announcing a conclusion he has reached about a character he has studied. At 4th level, as a standard action, a homicide detective can use this ability in order to find out something the target of his studied insight is hiding. When he uses this ability in this way he makes a Sense Motive check (with the insight bonus from his studied insight), opposed by a Bluff check or Wisdom check (the target’s choice) in order to conceal the truth. If the homicide detective’s check is successful he learns something that the target is trying to hide. If the homicide detective was looking for a specific piece of information, he may attempt to learn that in this fashion, though if the target does not know this information, then the investigator instead gains some other piece of information the target was hiding from him.

                For example, a homicide detective questioning a thief might be looking for the duchess’s jewels and demand to know where he is hiding the duchess’s jewels; however, the target may not know that (because he had nothing to do with the jewel theft), but may instead be hiding that he stole the homicide detective’s coin purse upon first meeting him, so the homicide detective would learn that information instead. In the same example, a thief who had already sold the duchess’s jewels would reveal the last location of the jewels he had knowledge of.

                This ability represents conclusions drawn from studying, interviewing, and otherwise observing the target’s behavior and does not force the target to confess to their crimes in any way, even though the homicide detective is sure of truth of the knowledge he receives this way. The homicide detective might, for example, gain this insight from a slip of the tongue, a telling glance at a particular object or person, or some similarly innocuous-seeming gesture. As such, it is possible for the homicide detective to receive misinformation in this way: if the homicide detective fails his Sense Motive check, there is a 25% chance that he receives a piece of information that is not true, instead. For this reason, the GM should make the Sense Motive check in secret. The homicide detective must have observed the target for at least 1 full minute in order to use this ability.

                This ability replaces the studied strike class feature.

                Secrets of the Deceased (Sp): A homicide detective can use his alchemical talents in order to learn the secrets of a deceased character. At 11th level, the homicide detective can spend 1 hour in order to create a special alchemical substance which remains active for 24 hours before becoming inert. The substance can be applied to any corpse as a full-round action. Once applied, the substance can function in one of two ways. It can grant a temporary semblance of life to the corpse in a fashion which functions identically to the speak with dead spell, except that the saving throw DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 the homicide detective’s level + the homicide detective’s Intelligence modifier, and the caster level is equal to the homicide detective’s level. Alternatively, the substance can transport the homicide detective’s mind into the subject’s brain, allowing him to relive its last moments. In this fashion, the homicide detective is able to view the target’s perspective of the last few minutes of its life, up to a number of minutes equal to his Intelligence modifier. While using this second version of this ability, the homicide detective’s body is treated as being unconscious.

                This ability replaces poison immunity.