Expanding Preparedness


The GUMSHOE Preparedness ability, which lets you test to see if you happen to already have the crucial bit of equipment you want, lets you skip the aggravation of equipment shopping with an on-the-spot moment of creativity in play.

Although the book definitions of Preparedness refer specifically to gear, GMs may find it plot-forwarding to expand it cover in-the-moment revelations of other prior planning.

Do the investigators need a car to pick you up in a desolate spot in the woods? A player can make this happen by a) supplying a credible retroactive explanation of how she arranged it, and b) scoring a Preparedness success.

Other examples:

  • “Naturally I tampered with the elevator as we stepped out of it.”
  • “Might I have set the sick bay diagnostic bot to sedate anyone with transferant DNA?”
  • “I had time to put flowerpots on the fire escape, right?”

You might combine ordinary Preparedness (having a piece of gear) with the planning to have it in the right place, already doing its job.

“Well, of course I brought along a webcam and set it up by the door to catch video of anyone leaving after we came in.”

If Preparedness as planning seems to give a greater advantage than simply having a particular item on hand, increase the Difficulty above the baseline of 4. If it substitutes an anti-climactic moment for an exciting one, make it exorbitantly expensive. Or better yet, let the players have their moment of coolness and competence and find another, unrelated crisis to throw at them soon afterwards.

If not, don’t make it cost more just for abstract world logic reasons. As always, GUMSHOE cares more about emulation than simulation.

Night’s Black Agents GMs might rule that instances of Preparedness as planning involving the intercession of a GM character also require the expenditure of at least 1 Network point. Or maybe you charge the Network point only if the agents try to squeeze an additional benefit from having the character on the scene.

For example, the driver of the car costs 0 Network if you only have him take you out of the woods, as per the original framing of the Preparedness use. But if you then ask him to accompany you into the motel, to make sure you don’t get jumped by a pack of Renfields on the way in, you have to fork over some Network points to mark his transition from passive background character to source of active, ongoing, risky assistance.

 


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4 Responses to “Expanding Preparedness”

  1. Simon Rogers says:

    When we do this in NBA (which is a lot) there is sometimes a neeed to make a second test. For example, caching a flamethrower might require a Conceal test, Preparedness deals with time-shifting.

  2. Sean Phelan says:

    Perhaps Robin, Simon or Ken could make a comment regarding how this expanded use of the Preparedness Ability coexists, without stepping on, the NBA cherry “In the Nick of Time” (pg 33 in the NBA Core for the home audience).

    Love these articles guys – a great feature of the already terrific monthly Pelgrane Webzine.

  3. Kenneth Hite says:

    If people want to expand Preparedness thusly while keeping “In the Nick of Time,” just rule that it costs 2 points of some other ability (plus the Preparedness test, plus a test of any ability required for the precaution to work such as Infiltration, Conceal, etc.) to use it without ItNoT:

    Do the investigators need a car to pick you up in a desolate spot in the woods? (Driving)
    “Naturally I tampered with the elevator as we stepped out of it.” (Filch spend, plus a Mechanics test)
    “Might I have set the sick bay diagnostic bot to sedate anyone with transferant DNA?” (Bio Signatures or Medic)
    “I had time to put flowerpots on the fire escape, right?” (Filch or Athletics)
    “Well, of course I brought along a webcam and set it up by the door to catch video of anyone leaving after we came in.” (Electronic Surveillance)

    With the cherry, you can save those 2 points, but you still need to make any required tests (Infiltration, Conceal, etc.)

  4. GB Steve says:

    Wouldn’t you just know that one of the few countries that still produces flamethrowers is Brazil. Very useful when you’re in Sao Paulo and facing some hornery critters.

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