Skip to main content

Our Clue is in Another Castle

Sometimes in an investigative scenario, the best clue you can acquire in a scene is the certainty that there is no information to be had. 

For players, the “no-info” clue can help close off avenues of speculation, narrowing the focus of the investigation onto more fruitful paths. In the middle of an investigation, you may just have too many leads. A properly constructed GUMSHOE adventure will give you clear connections leading to new scenes, but you can still bog down play choosing between them.

Paradoxically, non-clues reinforce character competence. What seems at first to be a failure to gain information is actually an example of the investigators discerning that there is no information to be had. The distinction is subtle but important, and GMs should play up that, yes, the characters are good enough to know the difference.

For GMs, the non-clue can also help pacing. When telling the players that there is no information to be had, you can insert a silent (or not-so-silent) “yet.” If they uncover another clue somewhere else and come back, they may be able to learn more. This is called a “leveraged clue” in some GUMSHOE games.


For some clever ways to give out non-clues when using Interpersonal abilities, see the article 11 Things Functionaries Of The Gaean Reach Tell You While Impeding Your Hunt For Quandos Vorn on the Pelgrane site.

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 http://www.ennie-awards.com/vote/2016/ 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?