GUMSHOE One-2-One rules summary

GUMSHOE One-2-One retunes, rebuilds and reenvisions the acclaimed GUMSHOE investigative rules set, as seen in such hit roleplaying games as Trail of Cthulhu and Night’s Black Agents, for one player and one GM.  The animating principle behind GUMSHOE states that failing to get key information is never interesting. If you have the right ability and you look in the right place for clues you need to solve the mystery, you will always find the information you seek.

In GUMSHOE One-2-One, you play a protagonist character, who is usually described as part of the setting. Your character attempts actions in the storyline by using abilities, which come in two main types: Investigative and General.

Investigative Abilities allow you to gather information. If you lack the relevant Investigative Ability, your character can talk to a friendly Source – one of your key contacts, who will also provide guidance and assurance as needed.

  • In some situations, you can spend a resource called a Push to gain an additional benefit. This might be information you don’t absolutely need to solve the case; more often it consists of advantages that clear the character’s path through the story, such as favors from witnesses, knowledge that keeps the character safe, or prior relationships to central figures.

General Abilities determine whether you succeed or fail when trying to take actions other than gathering information, usually in an event called a test.

The most important kind of test is the Challenge. At the end of the Challenge, your die roll total may match or exceed that of an Advance (the best result), or a Hold (an okay or middling result). If not, your Outcome is a Setback, which means that something bad happens.

  • On an Advance you will probably gain an Edge: an advantage you can use later in the scenario. As a reminder, you gain an Edge card. The card’s text will tell you how it works. Often, you must discard the card to gain the advantage. If you reached the Advance threshold without rolling all of the dice you were entitled to, you also gain a Push.
  • On a Setback, you often gain a Problem, representing a dilemma that might cause trouble for you later. Again, you receive a card to remember it by — a Problem card. Certain cards might lead to a terrible end for your detective should you fail to get rid of them before the scenario concludes.

Every so often you’ll make a simple roll, called a Quick Test, to see if you succeed or fail, without the possibility of Advances, Edges, Setbacks, or Problems.

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