Tag Archives: pelgrane

GUMSHOE Is Coming… To Pathfinder

I came across a very interesting post on the Pelgrane Press site today, where they are soliciting playtesters for “Pathshoe,” a Pathfinder supplement that incorporates the GUMSHOE rules for investigation into the Pathfinder RPG.Apparently I missed this tidbit buried down at the very bottom of the Pelgrane state of the union I reported on just a couple days ago! I need to learn to read better or something.

This is a very interesting concept. If you’re not familiar with GUMSHOE, it’s Robin Laws’ newest game system and was designed to fix the chronic problems with investigative scenarios in RPGs. Most trad game skill systems make it so there’s a lot to go wrong with them – you plant a clue and give some DC skill check to find it.  But what if the character with the right skill isn’t around?  What if he fails? Well, you have to either say bye bye to your investigation or build layers and layers of clues in so that they end up being pulled back on track. It especially haunts investigation-centric games like Call of Cthulhu (which is why the GUMSHOE-based Trails of Cthulhu is their biggest line). What GUMSHOE does is make it so that the “core clues,” the ones PCs must have to proceed along the plot, are always found, but skill checks indicate how much useful additional info you get from them.

Pathfinder has this problem too, as it focuses on exploration and investigation in equal share with combat in its normal mode of employ. I was contemplating this problem just this week reading the new Paizo adventure Cult of the Ebon Destroyers, where the PCs are tracking down an assassin cult in Jalmeray. The whole first part of the adventure is a careful dance to provide clues but if the clues fail basically have someone run up and blurt out the next step. If only bad guy organizations would stop sending understrength incompetent hit squads with notes in their pockets indicating where they’re from against every PC party in their area of operations, they’d get away with a lot more shenanigans! I’m not knocking Ebon Destroyers, it’s good, but this is a problem that is very tricky to solve in most scenarios.

I’m really interested to see how they plan to add the GUMSHOE concept seamlessly to Pathfinder!

Steve Jackson, Posthuman, Pelgrane, Green Ronin States of the Union

Steve Jackson Games’ annual report says they’re doing well, and it’s all Munchkin all the time. No new RPGs and GURPS gets a small part of the overall update. Ah well, we still have one GURPS diehard in our gaming group that still gets the stuff.

Posthuman Studios’ annual report says they’re doing real well!  Releasing Eclipse Phase as a Creative Commons product (free on BitTorrent!) has, as usual, proved the “Piracy Kills!” crowd wrong as their sales are brisk. The only fly in the ointment has been fallout from leaving Catalyst Games, whose embezzlement scandal is well documented (I’ve been ignoring it lately, I assume there’s no big news there). Several people in our group are interested in Eclipse Phase but we have a bit of a “where do we start?” problem.

Pelgrane Press was worried about 2010 and is fretting about print but it seems to have worked out well for them, a lot of GUMSHOE out and more on the way including the slick-looking Ashen Stars.  Hint – keep publishing those adventures!  Whenever I buy some weird  high concept game, the thing I want right after it is adventures – that’s why Hard Helix sold 50% of the Mutant City Blues run.  I got it, and I got Little Girl Lost for Esoterrorists. And I see you have adventures coming hard on the heels of Ashen Stars, which is absolutely the right thing to do.

Green Ronin’s Message from the President indicates that they’re doing well, but the subtext is disturbing – they’re not doing much with their own games (True20, Freeport) and are focusing on the licensed properties – DC Adventures, Dragon Age, and Song of Ice and Fire.  But they note that those properties are tough because the licenseholders often dick them around (my translation).  I’m worried about such a large part of their product strategy being tied up with stuff like that; it seems like it would only take one of those deals going real bad to send them into a death spiral. Hopefully they’re sufficiently spread out. M&M Third Edition hopefully will bloom a lot – right now most of what’s for it is DC but that line seems somewhat unsatisfying in that it’ll be “four books then done…” I liked the original Marvel Super Heroes because of the adventure support…