A Successful Shadow A Detectives Successful Quest

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Give yourself a failsafe. Read about it here. This has the effect of.

This is something I also touch on in Node-Based Scenario Design : In a breadcrumb-style design, a dead-end or a missed clue is a disaster. Something has gone terribly wrong. But once you loosen things up, dead ends are fine; leads can fail to pan out and there will still be other leads to pursue.

GREAT read. This will definitely help me running games. Thanks for taking the time to think it through and write it up!

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Bookmark the permalink. So, how would one go about scaling this principle up, so to speak? Say the whole campaign is based on several layers of secrets and conspiracies that the players are supposed to unravel. Would trying to drop hints about both revelations at once be asking for a train wreck? Would I be better off guiding the group toward solving only one part of the mystery at a time?

Or would I be inviting even more trouble presenting the big mystery in discrete chunks due to players thinking the first part was the whole story, or worse that the second part means the first was simply wrong? You want Node-Based Scenario Design. The second act of my current campaign revolves around two largely unconnected arcs.

Your article has almost certainly been a game-saver!

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Really fantastic stuff. I hope you got paid for it. It was all red herrings. When looked at in a normal real world context when three residents of Garotteton show up in Restenford and the baron is murdered that night and three clues pointing to the three visitors are at the murder site it screams frame-up. I played this module twice and then tried Dming it. If I ever find a party willing to try it again will try your 3 clue method. Starting with interviews of the locals from the three locales the murder suspects visited.

In LRP it is even worse than tabletop. In tabletop the players are usually a coherent party who are working together so they usually share clues when they find them having them sitting around the same table all the time helps but in LRP there can be 15 — several thousand players on the field and there are often factions involved where a person from faction A will not share info with faction B because they do not trust them….

So a single clue can easily be lost — held onto by one player and kept hidden so that it is never matched with other clues and conclusions drawn. One way I have seen investigations done well in LRP was using coloured tags or ribbons with codes on them. A green ribbon which tells the player reading it that it is some form of ash A blue ribbon which says the ash is from a cigar A red ribbon which tells them that the ash is from a specific type of cigar only purchased from a particular shop.

And there may be many such clues prepared like this — the more you can do the better. Players without the required skill get very good at ignoring ribbons but those who have them will spot them and investigate them and therefore get the information they should based on how good a detective they are. Regarding your section on red herring, Sherlock Holmes has another excellent quote regarding the fallacy of jumping to conclusions. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

People are all too willing to satisfy themselves with a bad answer quickly than make a great effort for a correct one. This is a really important corollary. I actually had players once wander entirely out of a plot, get interested in the society of a hastily-build world, and decide, instead of solving the murder mystery, to cause societal upheaval and revamp the society. Just, whatever you do, make sure there are lots of clues and a reason for players to want to stay focused on the mystery instead of the setting itself.

Obvious connections between things are only obvious if you already know what they are. So if you want the players to make a conclusion about something and act on it, always place at least three clues that can be found by the PCs. Worst case scenario, they find all three clues and think them terribly obvious, but they still understand what they have to do next.

Three Clue Rule discussed on Happy Jacks podcast. This was phenomenal. I love your articles man.


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I once had a player litteraly walk on a clue and the party still managed to miss it. They should have got info about the monsters in the area from that, and a nice little magic dagger…. I was bewildered. Seriously, when something crack under my foot my first reaction is to look down…. Often times, the players are too curious and too impatient to stop and investigate every clue, […]. In addition, each of these clues should be available to the party through more than one way each. Possibly so.

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But RPG manuals are utilitarian. And the one page summary of character creation is useful, but not that exciting for me to write. I was referred while reading Beneath the Banshee Tree which a link to this post is featured. I use a different rule, but the principle is the same I call it: Eight is Great.

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I have a feeling this is one of those ideas that seem simple but is actually really deep. To future readers of this comment: I would strongly recommend following The Alexandrian and reading through some of the adventures that use the Three Clue Rule; this gave me a much clearer understanding of how to apply it. As the Alexandrian puts it, your players will miss one clue, ignore the second, and misinterpret the third before making a […]. The best advice for doing so is to follow the Three Clue Rule, as outlined here.

And a lot of the classic mysteries are packed with subplots. Seeing as […]. By slightly twisting each of the many accounts with a point of view, you can give a whole lot of information, and sometimes players end up being really good at pattern recognition.

One disclaimer: I find it helpful to never try to trick the players. Tricking the player characters is fair game, but like the difference between perfidy and a ruse, never give any out of character encouragement for the ruse, if you as a game master want to maintain trust between you and your players.

Though it will differ from group to group. However, in addition to providing three paths to success, I think it is important sometimes to allow for failure. Cool video referencing this article, and others from your blog. The general approach is very good, I think : doing a mystery adventure is NOT like reading a mystery novel or watching a mystery movie.

47 Best Mystery, Detective And Crime Game Apps For iPhone and Android Phones

This is a valid clue because, if followed, it can lead the players right to Wachimasu another major node. However, as stated by The Alexandrian, […]. The idea is that there will be multiple […]. This also allows me to incorporate player input while building the scene, which gives them a no-pressure way of contributing some world-building now and again. Sign in to check out Check out as guest. The item you've selected was not added to your cart. Add to Watchlist Unwatch. Watch list is full.

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