Hi everyone! I've owned ToC for a long time, but I'm just now setting to play my first game as a DM. I've read all: the manual, GUMSHOE 101, the condensed rules, the Enchiridion, and STILL I'm not 100% sure about how to manage the most critical of the mechanics: investigative point spends to get clues.
The problem is, the sources are all subtly different. Many seem to imply that you can get all clues for free, even non-core ones, if you just have 1+ points in your ability (not pool!). For example, Gumshoe 101 (and the cheat sheet) states "Spend these points to get cool in-game advantages". No mention of spending to get non-core clues. The condensed rules distinguish between Core, Zero-spend, Point-spend. But how can I distinguish the latter two in the published scenarios? It's just up to me? (Not to mention, the manual does not even mention this distinction.)
What if a player just roleplays the relevant investigation/interaction with a clear purpose and the right intent, without stating a spend? Do I give her the clue "for free" or I just make her auto-spend the corresponding point? I thought that all the clues not explicitly marked as core were "supplementary" (a term used in the Enchiridion, but again, not present at all in the ToC manual!), and all the supplementary clues required a point spend in the relative ability. Then again, the Enchiridion seem to imply that a suppl. clue is in practice another form of benefit (you spend not to get the clue, but "something more" out of it, whatever that is).
Take a module like The Dance in the Blood. In Manesty (pag. 16) I see 7 possibile clues plus a core one. The first seven clues require a 1-point spend or not? Are some of them zero-spend? Do I just decide based on what the players say and how they role-play?
I love the system and I'm grateful for all the supplementary material, but really, if the "player aids" introduce new terms that are not even present in the manual (supplementary clues, zero-spend etc), without a mention about their use, they risk to make the system harder to comprehend, not easier!
Ok, I'll auto-reply to myself: I've read this
and everything is clearer now. I understand that the (very useful) terminology from the condensed rules is taken from a newer, more developed version of the GUMSHOE system. Still, I think this should be clearly stated, since I lost Stability trying to trace back the (very useful and sensible) information there back to the manual!
That said, I'll just use my judgement and consider the level of role-playing involved when deciding if a particular clue "consumes" 0, 1 or 2 points. That's more or less the official position on the subject now, right?
Edited by stepanxol, 03 July 2016 - 12:29 PM.