Skip to main content

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.

Popular posts from this blog

Voting Is Live For The 2016 Ennie Awards

The 2016 Ennie Awards are now open for voting. Go to to vote for the great gaming products in two dozen categories.

While you’re there, I hope you’ll consider voting for It’s Element-ary! for Best Family Game. I’m up against some very worthy competition, and I’m honored just to be nominated. But who knows what could happen, right?

Dungeon Crate, May 2016

For my birthday last month, my friends got me a subscription to DungeonCrate.  This service is the RPG-focused entry in the current "crate" craze, where you pay a subscription fee and a box of themed stuff is sent to your home monthly, quarterly, or whatever. Well, my first crate arrived today, and I thought I'd go through it here on the blog.

Let's Make a Character: Atomic Robo

I forgot to post this last Friday, but I had my third episode of Let's Make a Character. I made an Action Scientist (light on the Action) for the Atomic Robo RPG (powered by Fate Core). Check it out!