Category Archives: Gumshoe

GUMSHOE general category

GUMSHOE

GUMSHOE is a system for designing and playing investigative roleplaying games and adventures, emulating stories where investigators uncover a series of clues, and interpret them to solve a mystery. In a GUMSHOE game, the player characters discover something which triggers their investigation, and then the Game Moderator (GM) narrates them through a number of scenes, […]

Let It Hide!

There’s a gameplay principle articulated in Burning Wheel called Let It Ride. The idea is that in most situations, when a player scores a success on a test, the player doesn’t need to roll again unless circumstances change. For example, the player’s called to make an Athletics test to climb a cliff in the face […]

Eight Random Weird Dockside Encounters

I was about to write up an article about the weird, quasi-Venician city of Tyros Ashem in the upcoming Paragon Blade setting, but we’ve also got the weird quasi-Venician city of Eversink in Swords of the Serpentine, and the less-Venician-but-even-weirder city of Drakkenhall in 13th Age (doge? No, no, Dragon), which triggered two thoughts in […]

See P. XX: Payoff Interludes for GUMSHOE

A column about roleplaying by Robin D. Laws A recent observation I’m adding to my Things I Always Say file is that when players worry about a scenario being railroaded or linear, what they really mean is not that it lacked choices or branch points, but that they didn’t get to Do Their Thing. Many […]

GUMSHOE Whodunnits: Assess Honesty

Of all GUMSHOE abilities, perhaps the most confusing is Forensic Etymology. Wait, no, it’s Bullshit Detector. Or Assess Honesty in the more genteel environs of Trail, or Liar’s Tell in Swords. The tell-when-they’re-lying ability. The customary use of Bullshit Detector is to confirm when a witness is being truthful so the investigators don’t need to […]

GUMSHOE Whodunnits: A Bunch of Suspects

The classic murder mystery: a bunch of eccentrics gather, often at a remote house or other confined location, and then – thump! One of them’s murdered. In most roleplaying scenarios, red herrings aren’t needed. The classic advice is that the players create enough confusion as they maraud and blunder towards a conclusion that adding distractions […]

GUMSHOE Whodunnits: One Little Clue

It’s a staple of the detective genre that the heroic investigator picks up on some tiny clue, some inconsistency that unravels an otherwise perfect crime. They spot that only one dinner guest could have passed through the kitchen in the two-minute window to poison the bride’s champagne glass, or that the mystery turns on whose […]

The Plain People of Gaming: eight questions for adventure design

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these Page XX pieces. In the intervening months, I’ve been working on a whole host of different adventures, ranging from classic Cthulhu mythos to epic fantasy to political drama to different flavours of weirdness. As part of the process of adventure writing, there are ten questions […]

Paddling around with temporary pools

Some GUMSHOE scenarios give players the opportunity to pick up small temporary pools. In Trail, for example, reading the collected letters of a crazed physicist might give a 2-point temporary pool that can be spent on Occult, Physics or Astronomy. The players can use these points as they would regular points from their character sheets. […]

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