A Path to Steam
Defaults: Perception-5 or Criminology-5.
This is the ability to search people, baggage, and vehicles for items that aren’t in plain sight. The GM rolls once – in secret – per item of interest. For deliberately concealed items, this is a Quick Contest of your Search skill vs. the Holdout or Smuggling skill used to hide the item. If you fail, the GM simply says, “You found nothing.” (It defeats the purpose to say, “You don’t find the gun under his jacket.”)
If more than one person is searching, roll separately for each searcher.
The GM should avoid unnecessary rolls. For instance, no human can get a sawed-off shotgun through a body search. Likewise, a knife or jewel simply cannot be found on a normally dressed person without an X-ray or skin search. In general, if the net bonus to the concealer’s Holdout roll is +3 or more, a skin search is required. If his Holdout is at -2 or worse for size, a skin search will automatically find the hidden item.
Modifiers: +1 for a “pat-down” of an unresisting person (takes one minute), +3 for a thorough “skin search” of a person’s hair and clothing (takes three minutes), or +5 for a complete search, including body cavities (takes five minutes). Bonuses for Acute Touch (p. 35) and Sensitive Touch (p. 83) apply to all hands-on searches. On a successful Electronics Operation (Security) roll, specialized sensors – metal detectors, X-ray
machines, etc. – give from +1 to +5 to find items they can detect (a metal detector won’t help you find plastic explosives!).