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> Investigation, Skill-based structure
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uncle_jimbo, Group: Grid Cop, 5éme Corbin submitted 64 Resources has rated 119 resources, submitted 0 artworks and is involved with 3 projects.

Thinking about it, it should be relatively easy to structure an investigative adventure:

GM: Goodness! Bad thing X has happened to NPC Y at location Z!

Tech player: I investigate X!
Faceman player: I investigate Y!
Combat player: I investigate Z!
Generalist player: I go with the guy investigating Y or Z! (Note to the designer: scale encounters in Y or Z for two characters.)

The adventure must then provide three scenes and three pieces of information.

Y and Z, by default, each require a scene. Y is encounter-skill based, Z offers an option between infiltration and combat. X requires only a skill check.

Two clues should be found out of the three leads on successful skill checks. The reasons I don't suggest three clues are that firstly, it's dull, and secondly, it unfairly favours highly-specialised characters who will almost always succeed at what they choose to attempt.

The third scene and the third clue is what happens if the party fails to obtain both of the available clues. It should be a dangerous and costly scene, but the survivors should obtain the clue without further skill checks.

GM: The boss says "Well done! You have found out A and B!" Suddenly bad thing D happens!

From there, it may be worthwhile to repeat the first steps with some changes, but also the adventure should take on more definite structure as an action plot through bad thing D, really bad thing E and final confrontation F in which the clues enable the party to defeat the bad guy. Insert feel-good or feel-bad conclusion G and ominous foreshadowing H, as feels right to the GM and players.
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uncle_jimbo, Group: Grid Cop, 5éme Corbin submitted 64 Resources has rated 119 resources, submitted 0 artworks and is involved with 3 projects.

Just to expand on this a bit:

Act 2

GM: Well done! You have found out A and B. Suddenly bad thing J happens! Roll initiative!

A challenge, encounter or combat scene follows.

GM: Well done! You have defeated mooks K who carried strange items L! They followed the orders of minor bad guy M!

Tech player: I investigate L!
Faceman player: I investigate M!
Combat player: I investigate K!
Generalist player: I go with the guy investigating K or M!

The adventure must then provide three scenes and three pieces of information.

L requires a scene. Success provides a clue.

Either K or M requires a scene (whichever the GM decides will not provide the clue). The other lead is merely a skill check, success providing a clue.

Two clues should be found out of the three leads on successful skill checks. If the party fails to obtain both clues, a third scene leads to a third clue.

Insert more Acts as desired or proceed to final confrontation.

This post has been edited by uncle_jimbo on Dec 12 2006, 00:50
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beavis456, Group: Heroes, Lord and Master submitted 0 Resources has rated 0 resources, submitted 0 artworks and is involved with 0 projects.

Going to your example... Bad thing X happens to NPC Y at location Z.


Tech player investigates X ??? with or without speaking to Y???

Face player investigates NPC Y ??? about X!!!!

Combat player investigates location Z... where X and Y are ???


We need to flesh this out some more!!!
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uncle_jimbo, Group: Grid Cop, 5éme Corbin submitted 64 Resources has rated 119 resources, submitted 0 artworks and is involved with 3 projects.

I'm glad it seems useful.

I'm just in the process of digesting a lot of design essays by Wolfgang Baur (from the Castle Shadowcrag project and Wizards' website) which could be helpful.

This post has been edited by uncle_jimbo on Feb 11 2007, 02:04
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beavis456, Group: Heroes, Lord and Master submitted 0 Resources has rated 0 resources, submitted 0 artworks and is involved with 0 projects.

It is useful....... I would like to flesh this out a little bit.... if you please......

I am think using a Holiday classic as my example!!!!!

This post has been edited by beavis456 on Feb 10 2007, 15:55
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beavis456, Group: Heroes, Lord and Master submitted 0 Resources has rated 0 resources, submitted 0 artworks and is involved with 0 projects.

and here we go.........

GRANDMA GOT RUN OVER BY A REINDEER

A DARK MATTER CHRISTMAS

The players are agents assigned to discover the truth(???) about the demise of Edith Jane McLausky. Her code name is GRANDMA.

You all know the song, but is it really what happened or a convenient cover up???

ACT I

The adventure begins with Bad thing X happens to NPC Y at location Z!!!

Bad thing "got run over by a reindeer" - Grandma is dead!!! Where is the body???

NPC Y - "grandma" Who is she and why does the Hoffman Institute care???

Location Z- "scene of the attack"

Tech player has to find Grandma and do some investigating!!!

Face player interviews the family, whoever found Grandma, find other witnesses!!!

Combat player tries to find the scene and track the attacker. Possibly runs into someone trying to end the investigation sooner than later.

This post has been edited by beavis456 on Feb 10 2007, 16:14
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uncle_jimbo, Group: Grid Cop, 5éme Corbin submitted 64 Resources has rated 119 resources, submitted 0 artworks and is involved with 3 projects.

I don't know the song, but it seems like a good source. It looks as if this is falling into place nicely.

The above is the setup for Act 1, maybe in the form of a briefing or .. I'm just trying to remember the technical term for what we'd call a voice-over today, "In fair Verona where we lay our scene" sort of style. Now for a few scenes.

The initial leads are structured slightly differently than in my first post, which is fine - better than fine: I'd say a designer should always mix up any standard structure a bit. There's nothing worse than a mystery that's predictable.

1. The tech player's research into Grandma's whereabouts sounds a bit more involved than just a skill check - but maybe the clue in this instance is surprisingly easy to find. This is a challenge scene using Investigate-research, Administration, computer skills or the like.

2. The face player's interviews with the family and witnesses don't sound very interesting for the other players. This can just be an interview skill check. It will turn up routine information that more or less repeats what was in the briefing.

3. The combat player's scene sounds as if it will call for skills other than combat. I'd expect the generalist, maybe the techie player as well, to go along on this one: the encounter should be scaled for two characters. If the players don't get killed, they should easily discover traces of the reindeer hit-and-run that point towards where it came from, or went to.

4. If the party doesn't find out about Grandma's location or the reindeer, an optional scene occurs: a reindeer appears and threatens to run over some of the heroes. This is a challenge scene that calls on combat skills (dodge, most obviously) to escape harm. Unless the heroes all get killed, they get similar directions to those they would have found in scene 3, as well as some eye-witness details and physical traces telling them more about the reindeer.

This post has been edited by uncle_jimbo on Feb 11 2007, 01:57
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uncle_jimbo, Group: Grid Cop, 5éme Corbin submitted 64 Resources has rated 119 resources, submitted 0 artworks and is involved with 3 projects.

Adventure Hook: An adventure begins with a dramatic and unusual event.

A mystery appears when there is something (about the event, or initially in the background) that doesn't fit.

This means that all mysteries are based on knowledge of how the world is supposed to work: if at all possible, the wrongness should be derived from the audience's own knowledge rather than something that the author has to tell them.

Often, there will be a big obvious event and a little trivial-seeming event that occur at the same time. The two may or may not coincide (that is, they may occur separately, or the trivial event may be a detail of the big obvious event) but how they are related is never clear at the outset.

From Wolfgang Baur's Open Design:
Author
The way the players first encounter the mystery often colors their perceptions of the entire adventure, so choose that first scene carefully. The goal of the first clue is really the same as any hook, namely to provide motivation to the players to follow up and take heroic action in the adventure.

The first clue also has to point them in at least two directions, one being a thread that you have carefully laid down to go through a maze or breadcrumb trail to the solution, and one to be a false clue that may be initially much more likely or appealing.


It’s quite amazing how far deception can lead an investigation astray. But
villains have every reason to lie. So they should lie to the party, and you
should try to be convincing.


edit: This is a bit setting- and system-specific, but there are some useful suggestions, particularly from page 3 onwards:

http://www.dyingearth.com/GUMSHOE/Esoterro...iles/design.pdf

This post has been edited by uncle_jimbo on Apr 30 2008, 10:24
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beavis456, Group: Heroes, Lord and Master submitted 0 Resources has rated 0 resources, submitted 0 artworks and is involved with 0 projects.

Author (uncle_jimbo @ Feb 11 2007, 01:43)
I don't know the song, but it seems like a good source. It looks as if this is falling into place nicely.


http://www.the-north-pole.com/carols/grandma.html

1. The Tech player's research into Grandma's whereabouts sounds a bit more involved than just a skill check - but maybe the clue in this instance is surprisingly easy to find. This is a challenge scene using Investigate-research, Administration, computer skills or the like.

It's up to the GM to say if Grandma is dead or wounded to unconsciousness. Plenty of skill checks and interaction for an opening scene.

2. The face player's interviews with the family and witnesses don't sound very interesting for the other players. This can just be an interview skill check. It will turn up routine information that more or less repeats what was in the briefing.

I wouldn't totally dismiss this area. Interview might reveal a clue not needed now, but in upcoming acts.

3. The combat player's scene sounds as if it will call for skills other than combat. I'd expect the generalist, maybe the techie player as well, to go along on this one: the encounter should be scaled for two characters. If the players don't get killed, they should easily discover traces of the reindeer hit-and-run that point towards where it came from, or went to.

Investigate - Track, but the combat should be a surprise. An unknown enemy trying to destroy the tracks, eliminate anyone investigating the scene, recovering something left behind??? The combat should be an easy foe, because whoever is behind this did not expect agent level interference this early.

4. If the party doesn't find out about Grandma's location or the reindeer, an optional scene occurs: a reindeer appears and threatens to run over some of the heroes. This is a challenge scene that calls on combat skills (dodge, most obviously) to escape harm. Unless the heroes all get killed, they get similar directions to those they would have found in scene 3, as well as some eye-witness details and physical traces telling them more about the reindeer.

That's one way to go. Also an optional scene would be a local sheriff or deputy confronts the heroes asking them about this incident. He could point them in the right direction because he would like to see the crime solved, but does not have a lot time to devote to it.

This post has been edited by beavis456 on Feb 12 2007, 21:28
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beavis456, Group: Heroes, Lord and Master submitted 0 Resources has rated 0 resources, submitted 0 artworks and is involved with 0 projects.

From the above example, following along with your setup..... A and B must be discovered.

What are A and B????? Is the song accurate about the fate of Grandma??? Is it somewhat close or just a complete snow job????

I prefer some what accurate. More to follow!!!
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