Category Archives: Gumshoe

GUMSHOE general category

Refreshing Exhortation

I’ve been binge-watching last year’s seasons of “Arrow” and “The Flash.” One moment both shows frequently resort to, in keeping with their balance of superhero action and emotive interactions, is the inspirational exhortation. One character, the figure everyone else needs to save the day, succumbs to doubt. Another cast member then breaks the self-doubter from […]

If the Cap Fits – a GUMSHOE Option to Restrict Spends

GUMSHOE is a hybrid system. On the one side are the fundamentally GUMSHOE investigation abilities. These allow you to get information without a random test to see if you find the book in the library, or decode the encrypted document. They also allow special benefits, which can interact with the other side of GUMSHOE – […]

The Plain People of Gaming: Diving Into Escape Pools

Fear Itself 2nd Edition introduces the concept of an Escape Pool (p. 70), a set of rules for fleeing a horrific situation instead of following the trail of clues into the darkness. It’s a simple idea – the player characters build up a pool of points by discovering clues, spending investigative ability points, and passing […]

Investigative Face-Punching

We might get Gar to write about the GUMSHOE and Fear Itself implications of the great Netflix series "Stranger Things" soon. Before that happens I’d like to sneak in to highlight one particular moment.  Without delving too far into spoilers for those who have yet to binge, a point comes where rumpled police chief Jim […]

Evil Pelgrane’s Bad GUMSHOE Advice

GUMSHOE is the rules engine used in many of Evil Pelgrane’s products, from The Esoterrorists to Trail of Cthulhu to our newest (evil) release, Timewatch. (GUMSHOE is capitalised because it’s an acronym  – Generic Universal Mechanic Serving Henchmen Of Evil Why else would it be all-caps?). It’s 10 years old this year, so let’s take […]

The Plain People of Gaming: No Screw-Ups

The streets here are a concrete labyrinth. I try to go one block east, towards the ocean, and find myself crossing another bridge over the grey waters of the Miskatonic, and I’m back on the north side of the city, climbing up towards the civic monstrosity that squats atop Sentinel Hill. Transport Police, their faces […]

Call of Chicago: The Eyes Have It

“The Air Force seems inescapable, like the Eye of God, and soon, you imagine … all will be razed, charred, defoliated by that searching gaze.” — Mary McCarthy, 1967 “The General is another matter. … In his fifties, he is mild, pleasant, soft-spoken, and not bad-looking … but he has hollow eyes. I don’t know quite what […]

See P. XX: Organizing Your GUMSHOE Whiteboard

See P. XX A column about roleplaying by Robin D. Laws On a recent episode of Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff, Ken and I talked about ways players can organize the information they gather over the course of a GUMSHOE investigation. And now I’m going to organize some of those thoughts into this column […]

The Plain People of Gaming: Refreshes as Thematic Reinforcement

Most roleplaying games have some sort of diminishing resource that limits the player character’s ability to keep going. The commonest example are hit points and similar measures of health – if you’re running low on hit points, you need to stop and heal up. F20 games like 13th Age also treat some of your characters’ […]

Fear Itself Designer’s Notes

Many years ago – the fabled year of 2003, or so – I wrote a largely forgotten book called OGL Horror for Mongoose Publishing. It was designed to be a toolkit for running modern-day horror games, using (somewhat awkwardly) the d20 system. As it was based on the Open Gaming Licence, Pelgrane was able to […]

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