Hot answers tagged

24

Make the consequences of failure different and interesting. There currently seems to be this problem where either failed sneak = combat, and you go from suspense to violent action (and then it's not easy to get suspense back). Even if you make the penalty almost being caught by a big scary thing, it frames the consequences of failure in statted, fightable ...


17

The problem is that zombies are pretty strongly typecast into survival horror, so you have to do something which breaks the mold. Something should happen which doesn't fit the typical zombie game... something unusual and mysterious, which prompts investigation. The most basic idea is a cure. For example, make one character turn out to be immune, and have ...


16

Here's how I'd approach the concept of sneaking through a hostile city. Don't use single stealth rolls on their own. Instead, use series of rolls for each instance. Require two successes out of three checks to get across a section of the city, or perhaps use a system of rolling until three successes (good) or three failures (bad) are reached. This lets you ...


15

I agree that you need to show the players (i) that they will all die if they don't investigate, and (ii) if they do investigate, they may live. Here are some ideas. (i) Give a rather insane person a MacGuffin that makes the zombies avoid them like, well, a plague. This shows that there is something useful to discover. Since this person can wander around at ...


14

Being in quarantine means scarcity, but to emphasise desperation it has to be brought home by giving the players hard choices: There's only two doses of drug X and three patients need it or they'll die. Who do they save? There's time and competent people enough to either fix the air filtration system for Ward 6 or to keep the diagnostics lab running for ...


11

It almost seems too on-the-nose, but I'd say that you should keep it very simple and charge money when players want to make investigative spends. Since investigative spends are never (theoretically) required to advance a Gumshoe plot, you're not disadvantaging players who choose not to fork over cash. This idea has the additional advantage that "Spend for ...


11

During Whodunit Sessions In all GUMSHOE games, since there is a strong investigative element, the players will often be engaged in long "what is going on" discussions. (as in 15 minutes if you're lucky, hours if you're not!) Use these either opportunistically as they come up, or at the end of each chapter say "this would be a good time for everyone to ...


10

If you're doing the "reveal" of the zombies in a typical survival-horror way—zombies jump out and start trying to eat the PCs—then the players are going to follow that trope. If you can break the expectations of the survival-horror genre then you'll have a chance to supply story developments to communicate that this is an investigation game. This is ...


10

the GUMSHOE is now available under two open licenses; the Open Gaming License and the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution Unported License. That means you are free to choose which license to use. The OGL license is a bit more complex, but the CC-BY-3.0 Unported has a very simple "human-readable" synopsis: You are free to: Share — copy and ...


9

The answer starts from the thinking man's response to zombies presented by John Ringo here. Zombies, fundamentally are dumb. (or if they're not, we lose.) Attracted by noise, etc. The first trick is to ensure that the characters don't know it's a zombie game. Instead, they're, for example, police, investigating an IED in a cemetery with a remarkable ...


8

Things that I have found that reduce the time in preparing for "Crime" scenes, and preparing scenes that last longer than "go in, find clue, walk out". These are taken from my own experience when running Call of Cthulhu Mind Maps; for any mystery an overview of everything is essential. A simple mind map of how each NPC relates to another with a circle-line ...


7

Tell them to spend Investigative at every opportunity. It's like Monopoly in that respect - if you land, you buy. Being allowed a spend is a reward. The resource that you are managing is really spotlight time. General skills? That's different. If they are avoiding combat to save points for later, that's all good.


7

Make the threat clear. Show the risk. Find other victims, ideally who died in inexplicable ways. A perfectly smooth hole through the chest. A perfectly smooth face devoid of eyes, nose, mouth, hair. Sliced into razor thin pieces. Minor failures. Make the checks hard with the expectation of failure, but have the immediate response be more threatening than ...


7

The key is to lead with the fiction. Don't give out an automatic/optional clue just for standing around in the scene location—reward active investigation with information. So, instead of: GM: "Anyone have Forensic Entomology?" Player A: "I do…" GM: "Okay. So there are maggots in the wounds and you can tell they're from New Jersey." … do ...


7

The number of points you spend on an ability is your rating in it. That's it. It's no more complicated than it seems. There's no spending additional points to "unlock" abilities. Investigative abilities are bought exactly the same way as general abilities, except that you spend from a separate pool of points. (If you did have to waste a point to take an ...


6

Offer difficult, maybe impossible choices. You can reach the hostage quickly, quietly, safely, or unshaken. Choose two. When found, the hostage is mobile, aware, sane or healthy. Choose two. The Mi-Go are observant, powerful, deadly or devious. Choose two. If being seen is tantamount to being ripped apart and spread all over the cyclopean street, ...


6

I would handle this issue within the narrative of the game. First describe the alien construction aesthetics. Make the buildings based on a perfect solids other than cubes. I added an element of horror by saying that the buildings seem to be based on a combination of dodecahedrons (12 sided dice-like) and tetrahedrons (4 sided dice), but somehow 5 ...


5

The first thing is: there isn't an obvious mechanic in Trail of Cthulhu that does this. That is, there isn't an "altered states of consciousness" mechanic. So you get to make up your own. Hooray! It's a sidebar in your adventure. There are different ways to handle it. Pick some or all of the following. When you narrate what's happening, you incorporate ...


5

Yeah, GUMSHOE is all about the little fiddly skills - due to their mechanic, it works out better than a traditional skill-points game. In Mutant City Blues, there are the following medically related skills. "Medic", a general ability to actually patch people up with first aid. If anyone's going to be a nurse or EMT or whatnot you probably do want a ...


5

Netzer has uncovered evidence about a previous incarnation of the OV. It appears that Herod was part of this organisation and he ordered the Massacre of the Innocents to cover up what was seen as a breach in the veil. That there are no sources on this other than the Bible is proof of the power of his veil out. Netzer never talked widely about his work and ...


5

I was able to locate the errata thread on the official forum. The answer is that the example is incorrect. The errata thread does not provide a correct example, but the rule is pretty self explanatory: You need a person first. Then you can select up to 1 of each of the others. If you need more, you'll need another person, and then you can select up to one ...


5

As you noted, when your Health drops below 0 (zero) -- considered Hurt -- you must make a Consciousness Roll although you'll automatically succeed if you've only dropped to -1. If you suffer further harm and see your Health drop to -6 or lower -- considered Seriously Wounded -- you must make another Consciousness Roll. According to the 2nd edition of The ...


4

If they are ill, or they are caring for patients, quarantine means scarcity. The clotting drugs they need to keep the failing splenectomy in Trauma-A alive are not available and he's crashing. The last cylinder of O2 is about to run out for the old lady with ARDS. Scarcity can also come in the form of information - nobody on the outside is telling them ...


4

I've run Trail of Cthulhu quite a bit and this has never been a problem. The application of non-investigative skills is usually infrequent and very clear in application, so players typically want to throw some of their points at them when they come up. Investigative skills are even easier, because players know what they are good at and as GM you can offer ...


4

The first thing to remember with Gumshoe is that the important clues are free to anyone with the appropriate skills. If the players need a clue to move along, then its your job as the GM to ensure that the clue can be obtained with a skill they have. On investigation skills, spends should only ever be for things that will fill in the details, providing a ...


4

Create an additional investigative ability per influenceable entity? The size of a spend then equals the power of the influence (e.g. air force): pull service data of a BLUE BOOK operative that is unavailable through conventional channels black helicopter extraction, no questions asked commandeer a predator drone with a couple of hellfire missiles to ...


4

I'm not an expert on Mutant City Blues, but from skimming through the book: The Quade Diagram is a big influence. (This is the diagram that shows how the mutant powers are linked to each other). For example, you can infer that someone has High Energy Dispersal because you've found evidence of Lightning and Gravity Control, and HED is between those two in ...


4

Extend the threat. Part of the reason that zombie-outbreak results in immediate hiding and barricading on the nearest, self-sufficient island probably lies in the sheer ruthlessness of the mechanics of expansion and infection. Make it very clear from the get-go that the infection rate from this infection is not going to immediately take over the continent: ...



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