Wednesday, July 1, 2015

GUMSHOE Terms

This is a list of terms used in GUMSHOE games by Pelgrane Press. Find the SRD here.




  • Abilities - Skills and Capabilities
    • General Abilities - The sort of abilities needed to get around obstacles in the action scenes.
    • Investigative Abilities - The sort of abilities that grant access to clues, provide benefits or otherwise drive the plot.
    • Occupational Abilities - Abilities Associated with your occupation, purchased at half-cost.
  • Build Points - Points used to purchase Ability Ratings 
  • Clues - Pieces of information which move the plot forward or deepen your knowledge of it.
    • Core Clues - These are the clues necessary to move the plot forward. They are obtained simply by getting to a scene where there is one and narrate your character using an appropriate Investigative Ability. No points need to be spent.
    • Simple Search Clues - These are clues which aren't necessary to move the plot forward and don't add much useful information to it, but they are interesting and don't require spending points to gain. Just like Core Clues, all you need to do is be in the right place and describe yourself looking for clues.
    • Point Spend Clues - Clues that add extra information to the case and are somewhat difficult to obtain. They cost either 1 or 2 investigative pool points in order to gain them.
    • Inconspicuous Clues - Clues that are revealed to characters with a 1 or higher in a relevant Ability regardless of whether they ask for it or not. Often used to alert the investigators to the potential existence of other clues or to warn of things to come.
    • Special Benefits - Not clues directly but can provide advantages.
  •  Contests - A contest between two characters when the aim is not to directly harm. Chases are common examples. Each character tests an appropriate Ability. The first character to fail a test loses the contest.
  • Drive - A motivation that pushes the character to ignore his self-preservation instinct. Following a Drive recovers Stability. Resisting a Drive causes a loss of Stability.
  • Pool - The number of points you currently have in an Ability. It starts equal to your Rating. Spend to make rolls easier or gain other benefits.
  • Rating - The maximum level of your pool in an Ability. Remains the same regardless of points spent.
  • Simple Tests - The basic die roll test for General Abilities. Roll 1d6 and try to beat an unknown difficulty. Characters may spend Pool Points before the roll to increase the result.
    • Investigative Abilities are never tested. They just work when the proper amount of points (0, 1 or 2) are spent.
Back to the Loss of Life prep page.

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