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No Clues Without Consequence, GUMSHOE, and Eternal Lies

Einstein-With-His-Tongue-Out

I’ve been reading Will Hindmarch‘s excellent analysis of the GUMSHOE system, No Clues Without Consequence.

GUMSHOE is an interesting thing, because even though my players and I tend to favor d20 based games like B/X DND or Call of Cthulhu, we seem to return again and again to GUMSHOE.

Point of fact: we’re deep into Eternal Lies, the mega campaign for Trail of Cthulhu. We could have probably converted to Call of Cthulhu but who has time for that? I barely have time to prepare for a session each week.

It has been a learning experience, to be sure. We’d played probably 6-10 hours of GUMSHOE before, but to be frank, it became obvious almost immediately that we weren’t doing it right. Too much rolling – in GUMSHOE, you don’t have to make a check in order to get a clue, something which is nearly impossible to swallow if you’re a Call of Cthulhu player. Not because it is objectionable, but because it is so foreign.

Those will come out as a podcast someday. I wish I had read No Clues Without Consequence a lot earlier than now, though.

There is another reason this is of interest to me: GREAT DETECTIVE, the RPG system my friend Andrew and I are writing, is now moving to a GUMSHOE design. We went back and forth and the usefulness of creating our own system. Eventually, we decided “why?” GUMSHOE is OpenGL. They have a system specifically for investigations. Let’s use it.

So the moral? I have to get better at GUMSHOE.

BONUS: The One Shot podcast recorded a rules explanation with Kenneth Hite, creator of Trail of Cthulhu. A nice, brief, easy intro to GUMSHOE and Night’s Black Agents.