I am DM in a campaign and recently my players reached level 3. The Rogue chose to take the Inquisitive archetype.
I am looking at the Eye for Detail feature, which allows the rogue to make a Perception check to look for hidden things or an Investigation check to uncover or decipher clues as a bonus action. At first glance I interpret this as an extension of the Cunning Action feature (similar to the Thief’s Fast Hands or Mastermind’s Master of Tactics), by giving the rogue more things to do with their bonus action.
The Eye for Detail feature definitely has uses in combat. Bonus action Perception checks are an excellent counter against foes which like to hide (which my players face semi-regularly). Investigation is more situational, but not useless.
However, outside combat the action economy is not so important. If you are acting on the timescale of minutes rather than seconds it is not practical to track individual actions. But on the same timescale of minutes (rather than hours) you can, in principle, track things by individual actions.
By this reasoning, an Inquisitive Rogue can make twice as many Perception or Investigation checks in a given time-frame as any other character (assuming that is the only activity they are doing, and that the checks fall under the specifications for the Eye for Detail feature). They are able to search faster so, given a fixed time-frame, can search more thoroughly, or search a wider area.
Of course, I don’t actually want to track actions round by round for a search which would take a few minutes. That would involve a stupid amount of die rolling and completely skews the statistics. But I was wondering whether the Inquisitive’s Eye for Detail should still provide some benefit.
Would it be reasonable, under appropriate circumstances, to grant an Inquisitive Rogue advantage on Perception and Investigation checks outside combat? Or would this be unbalanced?
‘Appropriate circumstances’ being cases where simply searching more would plausibly improve chances of success (e.g. hide and seek), the timescale of the activity is short enough to make an intensive effort practical (but long enough to not be measured in rounds), the check pertains to the activities described in Eye for Detail, and the rogue is not dividing their attention between other actions.
My rationale behind this is that, in combat, a rogue can roll twice as many checks as someone else, so rolling advantage is essentially equivalent to that. I figure that a small circumstantial non-combat buff which emphasises the archetype’s strengths is acceptable.
My concern is that this might be too advantageous. This greatly extends the usefulness of the feature by allowing it to be useful outside combat, and advantage is a large bonus. If this makes the archetype far more powerful than it should be, or has unintended interactions, then I should be wary about granting such regular advantage. I have not had much experience with Inquisitive Rogues; if they are a powerful archetype then such a buff would be unneeded, although if they are a weak archetype then this buff might be beneficial.
Note that I am not planning to explicitly modify the Eye for Detail feature. Rather, I will use my latitude as DM to grant advantage based solely on the implied usefulness of the Eye for Detail feature. But I wish to discern whether such a ruling is wise or unbalanced before setting a precedent.