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20

Back in the day, evidence was not as important as now. A lot of law was based on the person with the higher title being more honourable, so a landowner would win his case against a serf, for instance. Maybe your characters could try to get the support of a higher-ranking person if they want to convict, say, a knight? Consider the amount of corruption in the ...


15

Thanks for the clarification. basically, as much as i appreciate all the answers so far, it would really help me to get to the source of them, why is it how it is, what is the cause, what led that people to develop their system how they did? and how will that natural development be different in my world, when fantasy is involved. What it boils down to ...


15

Evidence was definitely not so important as today, but witnesses were. As Dakeyras noted, their status was important. Word of one noble was about as important as two or three townsmen and more important than any number of peasants (if someone of higher status didn't back them). Question is, whether you want to emphasize "medieval", "fantasy" or "crime ...


13

If there is key information the PCs simply must find in order to advance the story, then you have to ensure that they find it one way or another. Following on from this idea, a fail on a skill roll doesn't necessarily have to indicate that you do not find anything. Instead it could mean a complication such as: It takes longer than you thought it would You ...


12

I personally allow use of Perception to find obvious things - like "Oh look he has a bunch of big slash wounds." But I require Heal, as the general doctoring skill in Pathfinder, to make any definitive medical sense out of them, like "those slash wounds are/are not what killed him" (DC 15) or "those slash wounds were postmortem" (DC 20). Generally I'd just ...


12

At the end of the day, D&D is a very poor fit for these sorts of games, as it's model for everything except combat is either "roll that skill check" or "a wizard did it." In summary, witnesses are worthless, gather information, survival, and search are useful skills that either attack flat DCs or the opponent's bluff, Ebberon's Urban Tracking is ...


11

A few thoughts: unless your player characters are supposed to be on par with Sherlock Holmes, solving crimes based on nothing more than clues available at the scene, there should be quite a bit of legwork and talking involved in an investigation. It sounds like you're looking for a closed room murder ("all the windows and doors were locked from the ...


10

If what you’re looking to do is create mysteries for the players to solve, Chris Lehrich on the Forge had a good idea he called “abduction”. It’s deduction taken back end up, so to speak. In abduction, the players come up with their theory about what happened. Then they theorize clues that must exist if the theory is true; then they look for those clues. ...


10

I'm no expert on this field, yet I have to recommend you to read Bernard Knight's Crowner John historical mystery novels whose protagonist is a medieval coroner. Though opinions about the books vary (some find them lacking in excitement, others love it), the author is a highly respected forensic pathologist and is "a founder member of The Medieval Murderers, ...


9

Few techniques I regularly use in my game. GM/spymaster techniques first: Recursion 2+ - thats what you already did. The wealthy rarely sent some of their men to make the crime, but they hired a spy or assassin. Even wealthier hired their spymaster, who hired spies or assassins for certain tasks. Since link between a lord and his spymaster is secret itself, ...


7

I suggest you read or watch some of Brother Cadfael's adventures, the character is a former crusader turned monk with a innate sense of justice and always has a eye out for a unlawful death trying to slip by in his parish/city. His main tools and what I think is most helpfull for your own character is: A keen sense of his surroundings. A logical mind, ...


5

Don't forget the forensic abilities of an alchemist. I think it is a given that an alchemist has some means to determine if a strand of hair comes from a high or a wood elf, or if a vial of blood is from a black or red dragon - before ruining a 50,000 gold piece potion and taking away a chunk of landscape along with it. This is as CSI as it gets. Also, many ...


5

The key seems to be to hide way more clues than you think are necessary, but to not have any one clue be too revealing. Think lots of small clues that are relatively easy to find but don't reveal anything individually. The players should have to combine them to get any useful info from them. Another good technique is to have lots of clues in various places ...


4

The various games based on the GUMSHOE system (Esoterrorists, Trail of Cthulhu, Mutant City Blues) approach the investigation genre with a fairly cool approach - you automatically find the basic clues if you look for them at a scene. Then you worry more about interpreting the clues. You can get more details and whatnot if you do better or bring specific ...


4

Always keep in mind: You are probably being too subtle most the time Players will often see clues where there aren't any, twist your existing clues into theirs Don't forget you know all the answers and your players don't, see it from their view If the investigation has come to a halt and no one is enjoying scrabbling for more clues or trying to work out ...


4

Simple answer: No, there are no official rules for this. But, I would recommend the following: Perception to notice clues, Healing to determine the nature of the wounds. Knowledge Arcana if a spell was used. Religion if he died from negative energy? (Thinking outloud). Even Survival or Arcana to know the difference between a natural lightning or a spell ...


4

Remember, that medieval/renaissance Europe was not a completely lawless hellhole how a lot of people imagine it. It might also be worth considering, that the "generic" medieval-ish fantasy worlds usually depict a society more like the 17th century (with walled city-states, very influential guilds and merchants) instead of the middle ages (maybe except the ...


4

While the answer Brian gave is amazing, it does not include any of the already present solutions. Here some classes that you should take a look at: Vigilante The vigilante combines magical and mundane investigative techniques to assess a crime scene. Points of Interest: Quick Search (Ex): Starting at 3rd level, a vigilante can search a ...


3

Have a look at the (Chinese) movie Detective Dee and The Mistery of the Phantom Flame... it gives a nice idea of how investigation may proceed with low tech and the chance of magic to be involved. Here is a subtitled version from youtube if you are in a hurry. Basically think of Sherlock Holmes: an exceptional individual which is considered trusted by the ...


3

For each mystery you want to tell, there has to be some sort of constraint the players could work with. As Problematic points out, a lot of the details of murder mysteries will work even in a high magic setting. But here are some examples that tie the prevalence of magic in to the mystery itself: The Winter King was killed in an area with powerful ...


3

I've run a few murder-mystery style games and to me the following work fairly well: Do not be afraid to shamelessly rip off a movie or TV show. One of the best instances of a good murder mystery I had was when I stole the plot to the Ben Affleck movie "Gone Baby Gone" and adapted it to medieval fantasy. If it's a movie nobody else has seen, that's great, ...


3

This has been a problem since time immemorial - avoiding railroading and making skills useful while not letting investigative scenarios go off the rails. Robin Laws designed the GUMSHOE system specifically to empower investigation-based games - you get clues you must have automatically, but using skills gives you additional or enhanced information that can ...


3

they usually require Streetwise or Investigation to gather clues and such, however, I wonder what to do if they fail the roll... If they fail they're not supposed to find anything, so chances they never finish the adventure are well, high [..] Failure doesn't have to mean they don't find anything. No adventure should hinge on a single roll to ...


3

I'm not sure if there's an official ruling on the matter, but I'd say that it's both Perception and Heal. Since Heal is described as being able to be used for Treating wounds, diseases, and the like, it also follows that being trained in heal means you know enough about conditions and medicine that you can make a proper diagnosis. So, Heal would be used to ...


3

I know the question already has an accepted answer (out of several great ones) and that you found the Call of Cthulhu too Lovecraft-oriented for "Sherlockian" adventuring, yet I think Cthulhu by Gaslight (or Call of Cthulhu: Gaslight) deserves at least passing mention. This old sourcebook contains a wealth of relatively brief, to the point, concise ...


2

They way I do it is to keep back many of the clues and then when the player team starts to get stuck, I feed them a little bit more to keep the game going. Alternatively, I always offer the players lots of different options of things they can do. If they get stuck on one problem, then the can do something else and come back to it when they have accumulated ...


2

I don't know Gumshoe so I can't comment. But I suggest Forgotten Futures for a lot of background and nice ideas, especially if you want to stray a bit from pure Sherlockian canon and want to add some steampunk and paranormal elements (e.g. Karnacki). Forgotten Futures is the labor of love of a very talented UK author and has been "in print" (i.e. available ...


2

Failing a skill roll shouldn't always mean that they totally and completely fail at whatever they're attempting. Skills in most RPGs are rarely Binary systems, and they work best if you have a sliding scale of potential success options. Think about a few real-world examples such as Driving (If you fail, it's not that you can't drive at all, just that you ...


2

Don't forget that the use of magic leaves traces that can be seen with Detect Magic. That can eliminate (or add) possibilities, and give a time limit, as they have to investigate before the auras fade. I really like starwed's answers, but remember you can also limit things by geography. For example, if you are on an island in the middle of nowhere, it is ...



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