Why does GUMSHOE never get talked about on /tg/? I only ever see it brought up when diehard Call of Cthulhu fans get bitchy about Trail of Cthulhu.
I really dig the design philosophy of GUMSHOE. Even though I don't use the actual games much they've expanded my horizons. I think more broadly about what a mystery can be and now have some additional tools to deploy in games should I so choose.
Part of the problem is unlike D&D or shadowrun, there's not a lot to bitch about. "This game is very solid" "Yep" "I would use it to play many different types of games in different genres" "Yep" "I wish I could get a game of Nights Black Agents together" "Yep". To get huge threads, you need huge bitching.
i use gumshoe to run a dark heresy game. i'm liking it though i wish the investigation ability list i'm using was...different? i don't like some of the names so when i'm looking for what ability to call/asking PCs to spend points i have to spend a bit looking before i figure it out. this isn't the worst thing, as i tend to create a list of 2-3 abilities that could be used which the players end up preferring.
>Why does GUMSHOE never get talked about on /tg/?
The gumshoes are a little busy hunting down the greatest thief in history.
speaking of robin d laws games, has anyone tried skulduggery? i've played the dying earth rpg which was really fun, and i'm curious about laws' more thorough approach to a "social combat" genre rpg.
>I only ever see it brought up when diehard Call of Cthulhu fans get bitchy about Trail of Cthulhu
I do got how the 'failed spot' check brings a game like CoC to a screaming halt, but i've never gotten how the how GUMSHOSE's point spend system is meant to solve it. You can still run out of 'clue point' thought no fault of your own other then choosing to make to the wrong place to spend and pick the wrong skills for the mystery.
Spends are for non-core clues and extra information on core clues. You can access the basic information about core clues with a zero point spend so long as you have the skill at all.
Which doesn't solve the problem that every character might not be present in every scene and forces you to resort to the same tricks as any other system (ie. schrodinger's clue).
The GM advice section on how you write Trail investigations literally says that Core Clues (the clues that get you from scene to scene) should be zero-point spends, or not skill dependent. If you read a Trail scenario you'll see that every scene has at least four ways to reach the same Core Clue to move you on to the next one, sometimes fluffed up to use different skills as a justification, but for the most point spends are extra information that either add to the atmosphere or might help you skip a step, follow a branching path etc.
That's literally whay it is, though. The players choose which larts of Dracula Unredacted sound most interesting to them, and then the GM builds the story out from the clues the players choose to highlight.
It's why I've seen one game where the plot heavily revolved around the Satanic cult that Jack the Ripper was part of and another focused almost entirely on China's attempts to start a vampire weapons program.
Interesting. How well does Gumshoe work for those PCs in the setting who are less 'Investigation'?
Like say, a Sister of Battle? Most of the 'investigation' options they likely have are either Medical Examination or just occasional flashes of divine insight.
As I've heard a lot about Gumshoe in it's mystery aspect, a bit less in horror or combat.
GUMSHOE actually divides your skills between General and Investigstive, so everyone has some skill at finding clues.
Chances are a Sister of Battle would likely have skills revolving around Ecclesiarchal doctrine and Imperial history, with an easy argument to be made for knowing some about heresy, demons, and xenos.
Or in simpler terms; even a combat monster military character in GUMSHOE can find clues relating to the military and fighting, and may well be able to identify weapons or even understand demolitions.
the system i've ended up adopting is a hybrid of a few Gumshoe games and the DH rules.
Trail of Cthulhu has sanity rules.
The occupations by default have a lot of investigation build points because of the sheer volume of skills.
psykers are the mutant powers from mutant city blues. it works a lot better than you think. when the psyker uses a mutant power, i have them roll a number of d10s equal to the number of points they spend; each 9 is a roll on the DH1 perils of the warp book.
i bring out the DH critical tables when ever a player drops below 0 health, but only once a combat.
PC-s have 1 fate point which they can loose permanently to cheat death. that fate point can also be spent once per investigation to re-roll any die.
i've adapted the attached pdf.
Cool. As was pretty easy to guess, I don't know Gumshoe at all beyond what floated about for it.
That's an interesting distinction. Is there a set list of skills or do you do a lot to make up your own?
I ran a Batman Incorporated game, where the players were a team of international Batmen who solved mysteries and got in fights. Pretty combat and social heavy, actually. GUMSHOE did well.
There's a list of skills in each variant of Gumshoe according to what effect it wants to make (Night's Black Agents, for instance, has a different skill set than Trail of Cthulhu), but with a fair number of skills common between variants. There's plenty of room to make up your own, though.
yeah, for example, a cleric has the occupational abilities (1 bp = 2 ranks) of: Acolyte Rank, Bullshit Detector, History (Imperial), Inspiration, Research, Reassurance, Shrink, Theology (Imperial) and one other Interpersonal ability. They also begin with 2 ranks in Acolyte Rank which is their ability to just "have" things happen; it is mostly the preparedness ability but with a few tweaks.
the number of different investigative and general abilities is very large.
GUMSHOE doesn't have a generic core rulebook like GURPS or FATE; it gets used for several different games, and each one has its own skill list. Adding new skills is literally as easy as just writing them down.
Trail of Cthulhu was the first, and is basically Call of Cthulhu set in the 1930s; the game splits between Purist (you're fragile and likely to be driven mad or killed) and Pulp (let's throw some dynamite at some god damn Deep Ones) play, and focuses heavily on Sanity mechanics.
The Esoterrorists is kind of like Delta Green; you play members of a benevolent, globe-spanning conspiracy that fights occult terrorists who hope to cause enough psychological damage to humanity to let the Outer Dark in.
Night's Black Agents is about ex-spies fighting vampires, and can cover everything from Jason Bourne getting in a fistfight with Dracula on top of a speeding car to Julian Assange trying to compile data on alien brain parasites. It's my favorite.
Ashen Stars is a space opera game, where you play alien and human "troubleshooters" who keep the peace for a price in a lawless frontier area of space. Psychic powers, laser guns, all that good stuff.
Mutant City Blues is about cops in a setting where steet-level superpowers entered the population about a decade back, and now you play marginalized people with powers trying to stop superhuman crime. It's gritty as hell; think Law and Order with mind reading, not The Avengers.
Then there's weird little mini-games that span ten pages like MOON DUST MEN (1970s UFO investigators) or stuff like the upcoming Fall of Delta Green (Delta Green set during the 60s, using GUMSHOE).
Here's the skills for an Elizabethan occult espionage game.
Picked up the Trail of Cthulhu rulebook last week and I'm running my first session with my group this weekend.
Playing the with purist rules. I keep trying to telling my buddies that they're gonna be fukken raped if they try being the chosen ones, but they're insisting on being hardasses.
I hope they at least last halfway through the campaign with their characters.
I normally prefer to write my own, but I'm tempted to check that out since writing this session took me all week and I was feeling creatively dead.
Planning mystery plot twists 3 sessions ahead is harder than I expected.
I would say that Final Revelation IS good but the scenarios in there differ WILDLY.
It's 4 scenarios with some connecting frame narrative. Sessions 1 and 3 are solid Cthulhu scenarios. Session 4 is.. eh, kind of lame. Session 2 is WILDLY divisive.
Okay, here's the thing - you need to have the players set the mode, not you.
If the players want to play it in a Pulp fashion, just run Pulp. Otherwise you're just setting yourself up to have no fun and for them to have no fun.
Yeah, the connective tissue between this is weak, but the individual scenarios are awesome; buy it as a collection of one-shots, not as a campaign.
Watchers in the Sky is my favorite.
Good point. They requested the purist rules tho to mix things up from their typical murderhobo-ing.
However depending on how this first scenario goes I may just take what I had planned out make it pulp and plug in a new intro session
Well, it's super-obvious that they had a bunch of individual scenarios and then were like "how can we justify selling these as a single book?" so they cobbled together a 'horror anthology' style frame narrative to link them up, which isn't a bad idea just not particularly well implemented in my opinion.
I.. enjoy Watchers In the Sky as like a commentary/critique of certain ideas and how it like fucks with the meta-knowledge of the players, but at the same time I get why it wouldn't be very fun for players as a game.
Okay, if they're requesting Purist then make sure they know what that means. Don't say "it's hard". Say "it's bleak" because players who hear 'it's difficult' will try and game their way through the hard stuff and they're not getting into the spirit of the genre that way.
Stress character bonds, relationships, Drives, Sources of Stability. Pillars of Sanity. Give them a character and fuck with it in ways that they can't punch. Give them a family and their son grows sullen and eventually commits a perfectly mundane suicide. Give them a great career up until someone invents a machine that renders them invalid. Shit is dreary and you can't shoot your problems. That's Purist Cthulhu.
Alternatively, look at the end of a scenario called The Rending Box, which appears at first to be a Pulp scenario - go into the cavernous maw of Shub-Niggurath, set dyanmite, kaboom hooray! Then the last "shot" in the scenario is the world writhing under the investigator's feet as they come to understand just how huge Shub is and how tiny the damage they did was, how insignficant all their efforts up to that point was. That might work for to help communicate "Pulp doesn't work here" to the players and introduce them to Purist play.
Why on earth Ken Hite is spacing Moon Dust Men out over three mini-supplements instead of making one small book is beyond me.
1970s XCOM would sell well enough at $10; it doesn't need to be three tiny bits at $3 each with no setting info.