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And the real killer is...
The Scholar seeks knowledge and the truth for its own sake. The Confessor ekes secrets out of others to absolve them. Investigators seek out truths and crimes, however, in order to punish them. They are the individuals who cannot sit by when they see a crime committed that offends their sense of justice, relentlessly pursuing an offense until it is solved and the offending parties punished.
The archetype reached its full strength with the growth and evolution of law enforcement and the police, both in history and in popular culture, but the two are not automatically equivalent, and many Investigators are independent. Earlier Investigators might have taken cases which posed an intellectual puzzle to be solved, and any instance in which an individual sought to bring a transgression to justice, whatever their definition of justice might have been, has channeled the Investigator.
Once an Investigator has accepted a case, they must follow it to its conclusion, regardless of loss of life, limb, job, or family. They are welcome to turn down a case when it is first offered to them, and most will if the case does not offend their sense of personal justice and they have the leeway to do so. Private eyes are lucky in this regard, police less so. If a case has gone cold, they must be willing to reopen it at a moment's notice should new information arrive.
Like the Executioner, the Investigator must submit to a higher authority for the judgment of perpetrators - even independent investigators must solve cases according to the wishes of a client or the governing body in which they reside. Unlike Executioners, the Investigator does not submit fully to their judgment, and must find a resolution to the case that satisfies both his own sense of justice and that of the higher authority. If either side finds the resolution unsatisfactory, the Investigator's connection to the Avatar is weakened.
The policeman's badge (but not the uniform), the tan trench coat and fedora, the wrinkled tie, the jitte, the .45 Magnum, the cluttered desk and the half-empty bottle of liquor.
Sherlock Holmes is an obvious example of the intellectual Investigator, as is Poe's Monsieur Dupin. Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe as independents. Most of the cast of Law & Order. In fantasy literature, Sam Vimes.
Suspected Avatars in History:
Eliot Ness and the Untouchables all channeled the Investigator at least through the duration of their work on Al Capone's case. Alejandro Dominguez, the Nuevo Laredo police chief murdered six hours after his inauguration for refusing to submit to drug cartels, is an example of an Investigator's taboo acting against him.
1-50%: One of the most basic abilities of any Investigator is their ability to turn up clues. Normally this is due to non-Avatar related skills, but in the event that there are no clues to be found, a successful Avatar roll will allow the Investigator to find a minor piece of information that helps the case progress. This clue can never be conclusive evidence - it may be the name of the culprit, but the name alone cannot be enough to complete the case. All it can do is move the case along in the event of a cold trail. This can only be used a number of times per case equal to the tens digit in the Avatar skill.
51-70%: Investigators on a case are frequently dedicated to the point of spending every waking hour and beyond in the act of solving it - spending time staking out a suspect, compiling any necessary paperwork, or simply lost in thought in bringing clues and evidence together. However, this dedication rarely impairs them, whether due to lack of food or sleep, or inebriation. With a successful Avatar roll, the Investigator can ignore negative shifts on an skill-roll related to solving a case due to exhaustion or impairment for a number of hours equal to the tens digit of his Avatar skill. At the end of this period, the Avatar may roll his skill again to avoid impairment, but does so at a cumulative -10 shift.
71%-90%: At this level, outside efforts to dissuade the Investigator from following a case begin to fail of their own accord. The Investigator does not consciously use this ability. Whenever a third party attempts an action intended to dissuade the Investigator from following a case (bribing superiors, assassinating key witnesses, etc.), the GM rolls the Avatar: Investigator skill. If successful, the attempt fails. On a matched success, the attempt backfires, and provides the Investigator with more evidence. This channel cannot be used to protect the Investigator in combat - this is considered dying in the line of duty.
91%+: Thus far the Investigator has relied, for the most part, on his own abilities in solving a case, and his channels have aided him in doing so without hindrance. By this point, the dedicated Investigator simply has conclusive evidence fall in his lap with a roll of his Avatar Skill. However, the result of this evidence by itself can only satisfy either the investigator, or the higher governing authority, but never both. It is up to the Investigator to use this evidence in order to bring about a mutually satisfactory resolution to a case. This channel may only be used once per month.
What You've Heard
The godwalker of the Investigator and the godwalker of the Enforcer were engaged in a quiet media war - every person watching an episode of 'Cops' empowers the latter, and every police procedural show empowers the former. Then some smartass Videomancer came up with "The Shield," and threw the whole thing out of whack. Neither godwalker was happy, and the adept was punished accordingly - bits of him are still being fished out of the pacific, and surprisingly, no Investigator will take the case.
GenericGuy | profile | Feb 12, 07 | 4:36 am
Hmm I like it a lot, but would suggest:
vagina = fun! | profile | Feb 12, 07 | 12:19 pm
Hércule Poirrot is surely another mask, as is Miss Marple showing that whilst somewhat male dominated, this path is not gender-specific.
pedant | profile | Feb 12, 07 | 6:17 pm
I really, really like this. I'd thought about doing something like this; your's is far better than what I'd plan. The one bone of contention I have is the third channel - it seems very broad and vague, too much for my tastes. Vagina's suggestion of a Synchronicity effect sounds good, or perhaps bonuses in combat against known lawbreakers?
The Demented One | profile | Feb 12, 07 | 6:18 pm
My problem with stating that a clue results simply from a hunch or synchronicity is pretty well stated by pedant - different investigators arrive at clues via different means. While synchronicity would work for an Investigator emulating the private eye or the renegade cop, it isn't automatically appropriate for the intellectual or scientific breed.
GenericGuy | profile | Feb 12, 07 | 11:24 pm
Self-edit: Change the third channel so that it protects against failed notches, but not hardened ones.
GenericGuy | profile | Feb 12, 07 | 11:26 pm
I dunno, I think the Hunter (see Statosphere) covers this sort of archetype pretty well.
Hotel Detective | profile | Feb 13, 07 | 12:15 pm
I'm thinking of using this for a character who is an assistant coroner. I will probably change a channel (I think the last one) to allow the Investigator to look into a corpse's eyes and see the last thing the victim saw.
vanAdamme | profile | Oct 25, 10 | 5:15 pm