Skip to main content

You Don't Have Enough Information

Trust me: until the end of the adventure, you just don't know enough. You can't know enough. In Trail of Cthulhu, you probably won't know enough even after the adventure's over. (And your characters will thank you for not knowing more.)

There's a point in an investigative scenario when the players start putting pieces together and discussing theories. This is natural. The human brain loves to draw lines between dots. You should do your best to make sure this point comes as late in the scenario as possible.

The following tip appears in a sidebar in Night's Black Agents, but it is echoed in most GUMSHOE rules:
Investigative scenarios often bog down into speculative debate between players about what could be happening. Many things can be happening, but only one thing is. If more than one possible explanation ties together the clues you have so far, you need more clues.
If you find yourself saying any of the following, stop the discussion and go find more information, even a single clue:
  • Perhaps
  • Maybe
  • Probably
  • It's likely
  • What if
  • That means
  • I think
In a properly designed GUMSHOE scenario, every core clue should point you in a direction for further investigation. That means you should always have at least one other place to look to clear up any of your unanswered questions. Inevitably, you'll tie off those ends and make your way to the conclusion, where you can sit everyone down in the library, stalk the vampire through the shipping containers at the port, dodge the car thrown by that mutant thug, and get your brain removed by the mi-go.

Popular posts from this blog

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.

Discworld RPG Review

The Discworld Roleplaying Game is a standalone fantasy RPG written by Phil Masters with rules based on GURPS Fourth Edition by Steve Jackson Games. It is the second edition of Discworld RPG, following the original GURPS Discworld published in 1998 and reprinted under the Discworld RPG name in 2002.

For those who may not be familiar, Discworld is the setting of an extremely popular series of fantasy novels written by Sir Terry Pratchett. The Disc consists of a flat, circular plane resting on the backs of four elephants who in turn stand on the shell of an enormous turtle which swims through space. It began as a fairly traditional — if satirical — fantasy world, but through over 40 novels, Pratchett advanced the setting into a rich canvas on which to poke fun at the peculiarities of modern life.

The first edition of the Discworld RPG was based on GURPS Third Edition, and it included GURPS Lite, a pared down version of the core system. Still, it relied perhaps too much on knowledge of th…

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?