Tag Archives: gm advice

The Vroomfondel Technique

Player input into a game is a wonderful and multifaceted thing. It’s not just that it takes some of the burden of creativity off the GM (“I don’t know, you tell me who your character knows that’s an expert on Etruscan demonology”), it also gives the players a sense of investment and ownership, and gives […]

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 […]

Learn how to run Trail of Cthulhu by February!

Have you, or someone in your game group, always wanted to give GMing a shot, but haven’t yet taken the plunge? What if we told you that by the first week in February, you could be an honest-to-goodness GM—and it’ll be easy! January is New Gamemaster Month, and we’re joining our friends at Monte Cook […]

A Taxonomy of Investigations

GUMSHOE, as we always say, is the game system where you always find a clue. If you’ve got the right Investigative Ability, you get the information. When designing scenarios, however, it’s useful to divide those pieces of information into different categories. My usual mental breakdown (building on the Clue vs Lead division) Leads: A piece […]

Thirteen Foulnesses By Which Ye Shall Know Them

It’s not that he doesn’t blink; it’s that when he does, a shudder runs through him, as if he sees something wonderful or terrible when he closes his eyes, even for an instant. It’s hard to describe, but it’s like he’s fractionally too fast. He looks over at the telephone, and then it rings. He […]

I Know A Guy – Integrating Player-Generated Characters Into Adventures

Several GUMSHOE games offer the players the power to retroactively add contacts and allies into the story. Night’s Black Agents has the Network ability, there’s Correspondents in Trail of Cthulhu, and the GM might offer a contact for an Investigative spend or push. Some tips on using such characters: Start with the scenario If you’re […]

Time, Dracula and Investigations

Dracula Daily emails you once a day with the text of whatever elements of (the redacted) Dracula happened on that date. So, a day’s email might be a single entry from Jonathan Harker’s diary, or some pieces of correspondence between Lucy’s suitors. Or nothing at all, if no letters or diary entries are dated that […]

Murder by Checklist in the Yellow King RPG

Following on from this article – the advice to use Investigative Abilities as a checklist for an adventure applies doubly to Yellow King games. Unlike, say, Night’s Black Agents or Esoterrorists, where the player characters are highly competent and well-rounded investigators, Yellow King characters tend to be unusually narrow in their range of backgrounds, especially […]

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