By Jason Morgan

So you’ve played GUMSHOE One-2-One’s Cthulhu Confidential or Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops, and now every time you look at your gaming shelf those campaigns and scenarios you’ve always wanted to run but couldn’t pull a group together regularly enough to do it catch your eye. One-2-One makes gaming easy. It’s just you and a friend–one GM and one player. But how do you convert a scenario from the Stunning Eldritch Tales or tackle the globe-spanning +Eternal Lies?

GM Jason here, along with my player Nick (a.k.a. Langston Montgomery Wright from our year-and-a-half Cthulhu Confidential campaign that included a scenario from Pelgrane’s Mythos Expeditions and Chaosium’s legendary Masks of Nyarlathotep, and currently playing Jans Whorlman, an ex-MI-6 vampire hunter in our Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops campaign) with tips for how to convert adventures to the GUMSHOE One-2-One system.

The Investigation

Luckily, GUMSHOE investigation ports over nicely to One-2-One. The biggest difference is substituting a Push for a point spend. Note that it’s not a one-to-one conversion (pun intended). GMs should use their judgement asking for Pushes when the standard GUMSHOE scenario asks for a point spend. Remember the core tenant of GUMSHOE: The player always gets the Core Clues. As a One-2-One GM, it’s your job to help get your Player to the next clue.

Which brings us to our first tip:

Sources/Contacts

Both Cthulhu Confidential Sources and Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops Contacts provide friendly NPCs for the Player to lean on. And lean on them they will. While there are nuances between Cthulhu’s Sources and Night’s Contacts, it’s imperative that you make them helpful. Use them to talk like another player without giving more away than necessary.

In a GUMSHOE One-2-One game, the player will internalize most of the information. To expand on the core books’ advice: Sources allow the player to open up, discuss possibilities, and collaborate on next steps. It also provides you, as the GM, a window into your player’s headspace. Is she frustrated? Confused? Unsure of the next step? Sources can help alleviate the stress of being the only player.

Make the Sources relevant to the Scenario’s setting. For example, in a globe trotting campaign like Eternal Lies, have local Sources available to the player when she reaches a new city. My player started in New York with four Sources. He traveled with two of them to Africa where he met a local tour guide and newspaper editor Sources who could give him the lay of the land and provide setting context.

Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops Contacts are shiftier than Sources, but remember: how contacts respond can either ratchet up the tension or provide a much needed pressure release valve. The same judgment you used in how the Contacts responded to the player in the core book scenarios will be how you handle them in your converted campaign as well.

Prepping and improvising challenges

You’ll want to try to stay one session ahead of your player when prepping challenges. At the end of a session, ask you player what direction she’ll take the investigation in the next session. This will give you some direction.

Of course, players love to spoil even the best laid plans. You don’t want to railroad your player into your prepped Challenges, so be flexible.

For me, prepping Challenges for upcoming scenes helped me understand how the scene related to the current investigation, the motives of the NPCs, and the opportunities or challenges that would arise if the die fell one way or another. Sometimes I’d get lucky and be able to use the Challenges I prepped as I prepped them, but more often than not, I’d modify them to fit my player’s actions, repurposing Edge and Problem cards as needed.

One thing that didn’t usually change, regardless of the General Skill called for, were the Setback, Hold and Advanced numbers. It’s important to continue to be transparent with these numbers even when you’re making them up on the fly. The Tables in Cthulhu Confidential (p. 291) Night’s Black Agents: Solo Ops (p. 96) do a great job of giving you an idea of where to set these numbers. If you’ve ran through the adventures within the core books, you should also have a good idea of Challenge difficulties.

The Golden Rule when improvising Challenges: Your player will not know what was prepped and what wasn’t. Take comfort in that, and by all means never tell your player what was prepped and what was improvised. The game always according to plan even when you’re making up that plan as you go.

In addition to the designing Edges and Problem advice in Cthulhu Confidential (p. 46) and NBA: Solo Ops (p. 99), here’s a great resource for coming up with Edge and Problem cards on fly:

https://site.pelgranepress.com/index.php/cards-on-the-fly-in-one-2-one/

Most importantly–be creative! Have fun coming up with unique cards. You can even get your player involved. Ask her to come up with the Edge or Problem if you’re stumped.

List of improvised Edges
List of improvised Problems

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Which leads me to…

Work with your player.

GUMSHOE One-2-One requires more openness with the PC than other systems because it’s just the two of you. It’s important to maintain the narrative mystery but be open to working together to create the story. To echo both core books: It’s okay to have meta-game discussions. If you sense your player feels lost or frustrated, you should be asking your player meta questions like:

  • “What’s holding you back?”
  • “What are you confused about?”
  • “What’s frustrating?”

As a GM that might be a good time to get a Source or Contact involved to help the player along. Or maybe the player needs to stop the session to take some time to mull over the information.

Here’s what my player, Nick, had to say about investigation obstacles:

“It’s implicit in the genre that there will be times when you don’t have much to go on, particularly in the beginning of new investigation or setting. I think this is okay and fun because it means that you aren’t just riding the rails. As a player, you trust that the GM isn’t going to leave you swinging in the wind forever, that you will find something if you keep looking. If you have a clue or two… follow them.”

GMs, take Nick’s advice–don’t leave your player floundering for long. Give them the time to work through the information, but provide resources like helpful Sources/Contacts to get them to the next scene and clue.

Working together is imperative to running a successful session and a telling a collaborative story.
 


Jason Morgan is a writer and default gamemaster for his groups. You can follow him on Twitter @jmarshallmorgan where he shares his game prep and hopes his players aren’t reading.

The scenario (S)Entries from the Night’s Black Agents core rulebook is a quick and open-ended intro to the shadowy world of the undead. The players are hired to steal a laptop containing a dossier on the vampiric conspiracy; they steal the laptop, then get doublecrossed, forcing them to track down their former employer and steal the laptop a second time.

Adapting (S)Entries for GUMSHOE One-2-One is relatively simple. All the investigative elements map directly over – clues are clues. The trick is boiling the action sequences down into Challenges. You’ll need a copy of (S)Entries to follow these conversion notes.

 

The Lift

In the first action scene of the adventure, the player needs to sneak into the NATO base at Camp Butmir.

Challenge #1: Getting into the base

The simplest approach is to start with an Infiltration challenge to get in. An Advance means the player gets in easily and gets a bonus Filch die for the next challenge; a Hold means the player just gets in; a Setback means the player still gets in, but the alarm’s been raised and they’ll have to use Evasion to escape the base after grabbing the laptop. Note that the player still gets in even on a Setback – if the plot hinges on the player succeeding, then the player succeeds, but it might be a success with complications.

Challenge #2: Grabbing the Laptop

This is a binary challenge, with only Advance and Hold – steal the laptop undetected, or don’t steal it undetected. If the player’s spotted, run the third challenge. (S)Entries suggests lots of clever things the player might do to hide the theft (spying on the office with Electronic Surveillance, getting Lennart drunk with an Interpersonal Push) – reward clever tactics with bonuses to the roll.

Challenge #3: Escaping the Base

This is an Evasion challenge, with plenty of scope for Stunts. As it’s a challenge that the player only blunders into if they screwed up earlier, you don’t need to be generous with the rewards. An Advance might just mean getting away cleanly, a Hold means you get away with a Heat Problem, and a Setback means you escape but get both Heat and an Injury.

 

The Meet

In this scene, the bad guys ambush the player when she shows up to make the exchange. As written, it takes place out in the countryside, and they’ve got a sniper hidden in the hills. For a Solo Ops, consider switching to a more confined urban location. With only one player, you don’t need plenty of space for a firefight, and a lone player is going to be more cautious and paranoid about going out into the middle of nowhere than a group of players.

Assuming you go with the scene as written…

Challenge #1: Spotting the Sniper

This is a binary Sense Trouble challenge, at a high Difficulty. An Advance means the player spots the sniper and gets the option to flee; a Setback means the player goes right into the Fighting challenge.

Challenge #2: Car Chase

As we want to give the bad guys every chance of getting the laptop, a Hold or a Setback here means the player’s escape attempt is thwarted and the player’s car is knocked off the road or has a tire taken out by the sniper. A Setback means the player picks up an Injury. An Advance means the player gets away with no other benefit. It’s a Driving challenge, but with scope for a Shooting stunt.

Challenge #3: Anton’s Goons

This is a straight-up Fighting challenge; the main complication is that there might be a sniper with a bead on the player. In a multi-player game, that sniper shot might take out one of the player characters, but the rest could keep going. In a single-player game, instant-kills like that must be avoided. Model this by forcing the player to expend a valuable Stunt on countering the threat of the sniper – Evasion to dodge, Shooting to counter-snipe, Athletics to leap into cover.

An Advance means the player keeps the laptop; a Hold means the player loses the laptop, but keeps a goon to interrogate; a Setback has the player left for dead with a Serious Injury.

 

The Trail

This scene’s mostly investigative, and doesn’t require significant conversion. It’s a good scene to introduce the Network rules, letting the player bring in Contacts to help the search for Anton. Optionally, the final Surveillance might give the player an Edge for the final fight – or a Shadow problem on a Setback, penalising her when fighting the paymaster.

 

The Payoff

This is a two-stage or three-stage fight – taking out Anton and his remaining goons, then a battle against the paymaster. The paymaster challenge might use Cool instead of Fighting or Shooting if it’s a supernatural threat instead of a physical one.
The Laptop, when the player finally gets to hold onto it, is obviously a Continuity card.

In the Limited Edition of Cthulhu Confidential You Face Madness and Corruption… Alone!

Limited edition with bookplate

Only 100 copies of this faux-leatherbound limited edition Cthulhu Confidential exist in this reality. 50 are available to customers in the U.S. and Canada, and 50 are available to customers outside the U.S. and Canada. The books are faux leather with foil, and each one includes a sticky-backed bookplate signed by the three authors for you to add to the book.

Langston Wright is an African-American war veteran and scholar in WW2-era Washington, D.C. Vivian Sinclair is The New York Herald’s most determined scoop-hound in 1930s NYC. And Dex Raymond is a hard-boiled private detective with a nose for trouble in 1930s Los Angeles.

Each is a lone investigator, equipped with smarts, fists, and just maybe a code of honor, uncovering their town’s secret truths. But what happens when you scratch the veneer of human malfeasance to reveal an eternal evil—the malign, cosmic indifference of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos?

You get the GUMSHOE One-2-One game, Cthulhu Confidential™.

 

 

One Game Master, One Player

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.
Together you create a story that evokes the classic solo protagonist mystery format.

  • Can’t find an entire game group who can play when you can?
  • Want an intense head-to-head gaming experience?
  • Looking for a game to play online which fits superbly with virtual tabletops?

Cthulhu Confidential includes all the rules you need to play GUMSHOE One-2-One, plus a detailed approach to building your own mysteries.

Horror Goes Hardboiled

Cthulhu ConfidentialTM drops your hero into the noir nightscape of hardboiled-era Los Angeles, New York, or Washington, D.C. Meet powerbrokers and politicians, rub shoulders with Hollywood studio bosses and fiery evangelists. Face narrow-eyed G-Men, bent cops and dangerous crime lords. But beneath it all, under the scrim of all this human endeavour, lives corruption so old and inhuman you’ll need all your courage and resourcefulness to face it.

Cthulhu Confidential features three protagonists each in their own setting, with three fully-featured adventure, which serve as a complete model for further mysteries of your creation.
dex-raymond_300

The Fathomless Sleep

How did fast-living society girl Helen Deakin come down with a case of catatonia? Her sultry sister pays you to find out. As Dex Raymond, you’ll explore a web of blackmail, dirty money, and weird mysticism in the city of fallen angels.

vivian_sinclair_300

Fatal Frequencies

In the offices of the New York Herald, Sadie Cane seeks reporter Vivian Sinclair‘s help. Sadie’s fiancé, George Preston, disappeared three days after a murder in his apartment block. Can Viv uncover the truth about George, and will Sadie like what she finds?

langston-wright_300

Capitol Colour

Lynette Miller was a riveter. A few weeks ago, she got a new job: hush-hush, and highly paid. She’s a clever and resourceful young woman, and now she’s missing, and her father is heartbroken. Can Langston Wright unweave a web of deceit, face down racist cops, and uncover the deeper conspiracy which endangers the war effort?

 

 

 

Buy the limited edition

 

Stock #: PELGOC01L Authors: Robin D. Laws, Chris Spivey, Ruth Tillman
Artists: Stephanie Brown, Jérôme Huguenin, Christian Knutsson, Anthony Moravian, Leonard O’Grady Pages: 328 pages, casebound book

 

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.

cthulhu-confidential-front-cover_350

Face Madness and Corruption… Alone!

Langston Wright is an African-American war veteran and scholar in WW2-era Washington, D.C. Vivian Sinclair is The New York Herald’s most determined scoop-hound in 1930s NYC. And Dex Raymond is a hard-boiled private detective with a nose for trouble in 1930s Los Angeles.

Each is a lone investigator, equipped with smarts, fists, and just maybe a code of honor, uncovering their town’s secret truths. But what happens when you scratch the veneer of human malfeasance to reveal an eternal evil—the malign, cosmic indifference of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos?

You get the GUMSHOE One-2-One game, Cthulhu Confidential™.

 

One Game Master, One Player

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.
Together you create a story that evokes the classic solo protagonist mystery format.

  • Can’t find an entire game group who can play when you can?
  • Want an intense head-to-head gaming experience?
  • Looking for a game to play online which fits superbly with virtual tabletops?

promo-image_400Cthulhu Confidential includes all the rules you need to play GUMSHOE One-2-One, plus a detailed approach to building your own mysteries.

Horror Goes Hardboiled

Cthulhu ConfidentialTM drops your hero into the noir nightscape of hardboiled-era Los Angeles, New York, or Washington, D.C. Meet powerbrokers and politicians, rub shoulders with Hollywood studio bosses and fiery evangelists. Face narrow-eyed G-Men, bent cops and dangerous crime lords. But beneath it all, under the scrim of all this human endeavour, lives corruption so old and inhuman you’ll need all your courage and resourcefulness to face it.

Cthulhu Confidential features three protagonists each in their own setting, with three fully-featured adventures, which serve as a complete model for further mysteries of your creation.
dex-raymond_300

The Fathomless Sleep

How did fast-living society girl Helen Deakin come down with a case of catatonia? Her sultry sister pays you to find out. As Dex Raymond, you’ll explore a web of blackmail, dirty money, and weird mysticism in the city of fallen angels.

vivian_sinclair_300

Fatal Frequencies

In the offices of the New York Herald, Sadie Cane seeks reporter Vivian Sinclair‘s help. Sadie’s fiancé, George Preston, disappeared three days after a murder in his apartment block. Can Viv uncover the truth about George, and will Sadie like what she finds?

langston-wright_300

Capitol Colour

Lynette Miller was a riveter. A few weeks ago, she got a new job: hush-hush, and highly paid. She’s a clever and resourceful young woman, and now she’s missing, and her father is heartbroken. Can Langston Wright unweave a web of deceit, face down racist cops, and uncover the deeper conspiracy which endangers the war effort?

 

 

Download the Cthulhu Confidential Sampler

 

Buy the standard print edition

Buy the limited edition

Stock #: PELGOC01 Authors: Robin D. Laws, Chris Spivey, Ruth Tillman
Artists: Stephanie Brown, Jérôme Huguenin, Christian Knutsson, Anthony Moravian, Leonard O’Grady Pages: 328 pages, casebound book

 

 

 

 

 

Already got your book, and have a question about page 8? Check out this post.

Fill your hardboiled detective’s hand with luck and doom!

As Cthulhu Confidential investigators navigate the intertwined worlds of crime and cosmic horror, they accumulate Problem cards marking the hits they take along the way.

Fortunately they also pick up Edge cards, which they can parlay into useful advantages against gangsters, gamblers and ghouls.

This accessory for in-person GUMSHOE One-2-One play contains 68 Edges and Problem cards you’re most likely to hand to your player.

You screamed for their physical manifestation, and now they’re here. Wear a wicked grin as you slide them toward your player’s trembling digits!

 

 

Buy the printable PDF (if you have bought the print version of Cthulhu Confidential, this is now available to download from your bookshelf).

Buy the print on demand cards on DriveThruRPG

Spine-Tingling Washington, D.C. Mythos Noir from the Casefiles of Langston Wright

You are Langston Wright: a scholarly WW2 veteran, fighting for room to breathe in wartime Washington under the shadow of the Jim Crow laws. Equipped with your smarts, your test tubes, and your determination to help people, your job is to scour the streets of the District and fix its toughest problems.

Langston knows an ancient enemy is rising, but he is trapped a million years away. An extraterrestrial intelligence inhabits Langston’s body, dodging bullets as well as a monster controlled by a madman. All the while, Langston’s sanity and the nation’s capital city are on the line.

“The Shadow Over Washington” is the sixth adventure for Cthulhu Confidential™. This one-GM, one-player RPG drops your hero into a noir nightscape where, beneath the merely human corruption, an eternal evil lurks: the malign, cosmic indifference of HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos!

 

 

 

Stock #: PELGOC07D Author: Chris Spivey
Artist: Christian Knutsson Type: 40-page PDF

Buy now

Spine-Tingling New York Mythos Noir from the Newsfiles of Vivian Sinclair

You are Vivian Sinclair: a sharp-dressing, straight-talking, New York investigative journalist. Equipped with your smarts, your notebook, and your unerring nose for a good story, your job is to scour the streets of the City of Dreams and dig up its darkest secrets.

A brawl between picketers from the miner’s union and scab laborers working on the Winn Water Tunnel has turned into a riot, and Vivian Sinclair is on the scene reporting. But it seems the scab workers are the least of the miners’ concerns.  Can Viv prevent further injuries and an environmental disaster?

“Ex Astoria” is the fifth adventure for Cthulhu Confidential™. This one-GM, one-player RPG drops your hero into a noir nightscape where, beneath the merely human corruption, an eternal evil lurks: the malign, cosmic indifference of HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos!

 

 

 

Stock #: PELGOC06D Author: Ruth Tillman
Artist: Christian Knutsson Type: 42-page PDF

Buy now

Face Madness and Corruption… Alone!

This beautiful faux-leatherbound version of the first GUMSHOE One-2-One game comes in rich black, embossed with gleaming silver. It includes a limited edition bookplate signed by all three authors.

Langston Wright is an African-American war veteran and scholar in WW2-era Washington, DC. Vivian Sinclair is The New York Herald’s most determined scoop-hound in 1930s NYC. And Dex Raymond is a hard-boiled private detective with a nose for trouble in 1930s Los Angeles.

Each is a lone investigator, equipped with smarts, fists, and just maybe a code of honor, uncovering their town’s secret truths. But what happens when you scratch the veneer of human malfeasance to reveal an eternal evil—the malign, cosmic indifference of HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos?

You get Cthulhu Confidential™.

You get GUMSHOE One-2-One™.

Buy now

Cthulhu Confidential Limited Edition features three protagonists each in their own setting, with three fully-featured adventure, which serve as a complete model for further mysteries of your creation.
dex-raymond_300

The Fathomless Sleep

How did fast-living society girl Helen Deakin come down with a case of catatonia? Her sultry sister pays you to find out. As Dex Raymond, you’ll explore a web of blackmail, dirty money, and weird mysticism in the city of fallen angels.

vivian_sinclair_300

Fatal Frequencies

In the offices of the New York Herald, Sadie Cane seeks reporter Vivian Sinclair‘s help. Sadie’s fiancé, George Preston, disappeared three days after a murder in his apartment block. Can Viv uncover the truth about George, and will Sadie like what she finds?

langston-wright_300

Capitol Colour

Lynette Miller was a riveter. A few weeks ago, she got a new job: hush-hush, and highly paid. She’s a clever and resourceful young woman, and now she’s missing, and her father is heartbroken. Can Langston Wright unweave a web of deceit, face down racist cops, and uncover the deeper conspiracy which endangers the war effort?

 

 

Buy now

Stock #: PELGOC01L Authors: Robin D. Laws, Chris Spivey, Ruth Tillman
Artists: Stephanie Brown, Jérôme Huguenin, Christian Knutsson, Anthony Moravian, Leonard O’Grady Pages: 328 pages, casebound book

 

 

 

 

 

Already got your book, and have a question about page 8? Check out this post.

Spine-Tingling L.A. Mythos Noir from the Casefiles of Dex Raymond

You are Dex Raymond: a hard-boiled L.A. private eye with a nose for trouble. Equipped with your smarts, fists, and just maybe a code of honor, your job is to walk the streets of this dirty town and uncover its darkest secrets. But when your production designer Source Max Weyl puts you on the case of missing and dangerous movie props, the laboratory set pieces from 1931’s Frankenstein, you encounter a man so determined to get revenge he’s willing to kill anyone who gets in his way, be it bystander, cop, or hardboiled private eye. Can you solve the case with your hide—and sanity—intact?

“High Voltage Kill” is the fourth PDF adventure for Cthulhu Confidential™. This one-GM, one-player RPG drops your hero into a noir nightscape where, beneath the merely human corruption, an eternal evil lurks: the malign, cosmic indifference of HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos!

 

 

 

Stock #: PELGOC05D Author: Robin D. Laws
Artist: Christian Knutsson, Laura Martin Type: 38-page PDF

Buy now

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