Ties in Ladies' Mystery Society

In my developing GUMSHOE game, Ladies' Mystery Society, I wanted a mechanic to represent the relationships between the investigators. This serves two purposes: to encourage the players to tie their characters together from the start of the campaign, and to give those relationships a useful impact in play.

To accomplish this, I adapted the trust mechanic from Night's Black Agents Mirror campaign mode. The result is Ties, a measure of the strength of the investigators' relationships and a slight boost when using their abilities together.


As members of the Ladies’ Mystery Society, you know your fellow Investigators by reputation, from online interaction, or even from previous investigations. As you work together, your relationships strengthen and grow, and you learn from your shared experiences.

You start the game with a number of Ties equal to the number of players (including yourself). You divide these Ties however you like among the other Investigators. When everyone has done this, right down how many Ties you received from everyone else. You can also use different tokens for each player to represent the Ties they give to others.

In play, you can spend the Ties another player gave you in any scene where both characters are present. One point of Ties counts as one point from any ability either of you have, including abilities created with Background that your character may not even possess. You or your fellow player should explain how your relationship with the other Investigator helped you out, the tricks they showed you, and so on.

Ties refresh at the end of a case. Between each case, you can shift one point of Ties from one Investigator to another, reflecting the changing dynamics of the group.

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