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Rick Meints

Classic Greg Stafford

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Whilst perusing various old documents I stumbled across this awesome RQ2 skill:

GREG: There have been occasions when I have been reffing an expedition and, in explaining events, appearances, etc. have dropped all the clues I thought necessary for the players to have gotten the message. Sometimes they don't, and I am occasionally aware that it is a situation which the characters would recognize, but the players don't. What to do short of telling them? I have them roll their SPOT OBVIOUS skill.

SPOT OBVIOUS: (perception skill)
If a successful role is made the characters which did so receive the information first and act on it. ("Hey you guys, that's not a statue!) To find your ability, use this formula: (20 minus INT)X5 as a percentile die roll. Yes, that's right. The dumber you are the more likely you will spot the obvious. Oh yea, this cannot be trained, but can only go up with experience. I will also agree that you should probably get your natural perception bonus, too.

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I always assumed everyone does something like this in their games. Players (me included 1001%) can get deep into analysis paralysis or just plain stupid behavior at the drop of a hat. You have to throw them a line sometimes.

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I like Gumshoe's basic rule:  if there is a necessary clue, your roll isn't to FIND the clue, it's for everything else... how long did you take, did you learn anything extra, did you tip off the target, or create other complications, etc ...

 

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1 hour ago, g33k said:

I like Gumshoe's basic rule:  if there is a necessary clue, your roll isn't to FIND the clue, it's for everything else... how long did you take, did you learn anything extra, did you tip off the target, or create other complications, etc ...

 

I don't think this is really for spotting a clue, but for putting the pieces together. Sometimes (often) my players "spot" all the clues but then somehow don't manage to connect the dots. This is only partially the players fault, as often things that seem obvious to the Gamemaster aren't obvious to the players. A couple of my players have had to sit back and let other players do thing when thier characters "weren't there" and they've often comment on how they notice things or get ideas watching that they don't get while actually playing. 

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10 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I don't think this is really for spotting a clue, but for putting the pieces together. Sometimes (often) my players "spot" all the clues but then somehow don't manage to connect the dots. This is only partially the players fault, as often things that seem obvious to the Gamemaster aren't obvious to the players. A couple of my players have had to sit back and let other players do thing when thier characters "weren't there" and they've often comment on how they notice things or get ideas watching that they don't get while actually playing. 

The basic point remains -- if there is some observation/deduction/etc that, if missed/failed, will completely stop the plot & blocks all further progress... then it needs to be a "cannot fail" element.

One option, of course -- and it can be a valid one -- is to go down the path of such a failure.  They missed the clue(s), or got all the clues but assembled it wrong.  They failed:  the kidnappers murder the princess, or the Evil Cultists ritually-despoil the Royal Regalia and /NOBODY/ can ascend the Holy Throne, or the Elder Thing devours all the souls in the town, or what-have-you.

But "MGF" suggests that, almost always, such abject failure is not the best choice.

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7 minutes ago, g33k said:

... or the Elder Thing devours all the souls in the town, or what-have-you...

But "MGF" suggests that, almost always, such abject failure is not the best choice.

I dunno, sounds hilarious to me. That actually happened in one game I was playing in, we ignored the scenario link and moved on, and when we came back the town was a smoking ruin. Heigh ho.

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58 minutes ago, g33k said:

The basic point remains -- if there is some observation/deduction/etc that, if missed/failed, will completely stop the plot & blocks all further progress... then it needs to be a "cannot fail" element.

Maybe, but that's not what I think this particular rule was mean't for. Hence Spot Obvious. The typical clues that a detective picks up usually aren't obvious. That's why the readers/audience are so impressed with the detective's ability to solve the mystery.  If it were something obvious, they'd have solved it themselves in the first few minutes and not be all that impressed when the detective finally catches up with them. 

Quote

One option, of course -- and it can be a valid one -- is to go down the path of such a failure.  They missed the clue(s), or got all the clues but assembled it wrong.  They failed:  the kidnappers murder the princess, or the Evil Cultists ritually-despoil the Royal Regalia and /NOBODY/ can ascend the Holy Throne, or the Elder Thing devours all the souls in the town, or what-have-you.

But "MGF" suggests that, almost always, such abject failure is not the best choice.

That's a different sort of situation though. There are pros and cons to the GUMSHOE approach, but it should be discussed as different topic in another thread. 

 

Edited by Atgxtg

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