No Clues Without Consequence, GUMSHOE, and Eternal Lies

Published by



I’ve been reading Will Hindmarch‘s excellent analysis of the GUMSHOE system, No Clues Without Consequence.

GUMSHOE is an interesting thing, because even though my players and I tend to favor d20 based games like B/X DND or Call of Cthulhu, we seem to return again and again to GUMSHOE.

Point of fact: we’re deep into Eternal Lies, the mega campaign for Trail of Cthulhu. We could have probably converted to Call of Cthulhu but who has time for that? I barely have time to prepare for a session each week.

It has been a learning experience, to be sure. We’d played probably 6-10 hours of GUMSHOE before, but to be frank, it became obvious almost immediately that we weren’t doing it right. Too much rolling – in GUMSHOE, you don’t have to make a check in order to get a clue, something which is nearly impossible to swallow if you’re a Call of Cthulhu player. Not because it is objectionable, but because it is so foreign.

Those will come out as a podcast someday. I wish I had read No Clues Without Consequence a lot earlier than now, though.

There is another reason this is of interest to me: GREAT DETECTIVE, the RPG system my friend Andrew and I are writing, is now moving to a GUMSHOE design. We went back and forth and the usefulness of creating our own system. Eventually, we decided “why?” GUMSHOE is OpenGL. They have a system specifically for investigations. Let’s use it.

So the moral? I have to get better at GUMSHOE.

BONUS: The One Shot podcast recorded a rules explanation with Kenneth Hite, creator of Trail of Cthulhu. A nice, brief, easy intro to GUMSHOE and Night’s Black Agents.

Get 20% Off

You’ve just got to give me your email so I can remind you about dice every now and then. I won’t email you more than once every two weeks, and probably less than that. Read more in our privacy policy

Outer Gods for Sale

Cthulhu, Hastur, and Nyarlathotep dice sets, all new to our store

Nyarlathotep dice set, 7 pictured