Yo, fa/tg/uys, I am planning to run a Sherlock Holmes type steam and rain detective game...what would be the best system for that?
Also the ones that actually have adventure books and lots of splats would be nice.
General detective game discussion thread I guess.
Well, I don't have much experience with detective-style games as a genre, but I ran a pretty effective Halloween game with Call of Cthulhu-intentionally avoided using anything supernatural, though after it ended, they still asked me if the killer was actually a monster.
trust me OP you would be better off playing a call
of Cthulu game its all the same stuff except it has
actually interesting lore and suspence.
There is a German game that is meticulously researched, brilliantly fluffed out, and made for just this kind of story. I keep seeing it at conventions but the name eludes me right now. There's an authentic poster map of 1860s London streets and early photographs, actual train schedules, as well elaborate descriptions of crime and law enforcement at the time.
If you don't read German use Call of Cthulhu. The system is a simple sim and works fine. The era fluff is the best you can find. Check out the Gaslight setting. Don't worry, you don't have to use any tentacles.
I don't think shoegum will work well unless your players are complete and utter DnD victims. As an investigative game that removes the investigation through mechanics it gets very boring very quickly for anyone familiar with the genre.
The best detective game is A Dirty World, but it's Noir so 50 years later than your era. Look at the mechanics, it's all about morality. As an ORE mod it is very easy to bend to your will, make it more gritty or larger than life, introduce sanity, powers, or arbitrary stats, and adjust the pace to your players. There is no fluff.
Call of Cthulhu is perfect. It hits the tone, has a lot of era resources, and features a setting inspired by Jack the Ripper and such. Only people who have never played it believe that it's a monster hunt. It is a horror game, but mechanically that just means it has a sanity stat next to HP, and you can ignore it easily. The horror in the fluff is very low key and always hidden, so there is no canon of creatures or anything like that, it's all just hooks to take it there when you want. The era resources are quite authentic.
Using World of Darkness's human character creation rules should work very well, and it doesn't include any of the supernatural characteristics in it. If you can'[t find the specific book for that, any core book will work fine, just remove their special abilities. The fact that you can easily build a character not combat focused is great, and low hit point games work great for detective stories. D20 modern will work ok, but it has a heavy focus on combat.
Just to chip in, did you consider Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective board game?
In that case I'm going to agree with >>44690396 and back gumshoe srd.
Just so you know, SHCD is a board game where the players (everyone) take the role of the irregulars of baker street and try to crack the case before sherlock does. After the briefing for the case in question, everyone start gathering clues from the newspaper (that you actually have), visiting places, etc. When the group decides they have enough clues to tell what happened, they go to the end of the casefile and solve a number of questions, these questions give you points that you then compare to Sherlock's.
The game mechanic is basically a glorified Choose Your Own Adventure with a test at the end for points.
It's also the best detective game I've played.
There's also "The Tuesday Club Murders" game, but I liked the gathering clues from the SHCD a bit more.