Wednesday, July 1, 2015

GUMSHOE Stability Tests and Effects

These are the rules related to Stability Tests in GUMSHOE especially with regard to this scenario. Find the GUMSHOE SRD here.

Anytime something happens that tests the mental fortitude of the investigators, they have to make a Stability test. These will be noted by a point value. This is the number of points they will lose if they fail the roll. The potential point loss is told to the players before they make the test. They can choose to spend Stability points based on this.

Daniel has Stability 10 when he encounters some minor supernatural phenomena. This is disturbing to his sense of reality and he has to make a 1 pt Stability test. Since he is only looking to lose 1 Stability, he decides not to spend any points on the roll. He passes and loses no Stability.

Later Daniel observes the aftermath of a brutally bloody scene. He has to make a 6 pt Stability test. He does not want to suffer that much Stability loss, so he spends 2 points. He passes but his Stability is now down to 8.

The usual Difficulty for a Stability test is 4, but some characters might react better or worse to a particular scene. This is based on their background. The doctor has a more difficult time with supernatural elements but an easier time with diseases. The detective has a more difficult time dealing with the ravages of disease but has an easier time dealing with brutal crime scenes.

When your Stability is reduced to negative you suffer penalties similar to negative Health.

  • When Stability is 1 or higher, your mental condition is Firm and you suffer no penalties.
  • When Stability is 0 to -5, you're Shaken and you suffer the following penalties.
    • Cannot spend Investigative Ability points without first passing a Stability test. 
      • Difficulty = Absolute Value of current Stability. Similar to a Consciousness Health test.
    •  Tests suffer a +1 Difficulty. Including Hit Threshold.
  •  When Stability is -6 to -11, you're Mind-Blasted and suffer the following penalties.
    • Suffer the effects of Shaken
    • Permanently lose 1 Stability Rating
    • Can do nothing but gibber, attack perceived threats in a frenzy or flee.
  • When Stability is -12 or lower you are permanently insane.


Sanity is not lost due to failing a test. When Sanity is lost there is nothing you can really do about it.

Back to Loss of Life prep page

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