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ToC 2nd Edition Rulebook?

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Anselyn
[...] NBA does introduce tactical fact finding and tag team benefits which are ways of generating general pools from investigative spends.

 

I think that's a good way to develop things. If an investigative spend is a chance to "buy some awesomeness" then converting an investigative point to a healthy general pool is consistent with this - especially if that's a way to spread the awesomeness around

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GBSteve

Benefits are the rule for buying some awesomeness. Players should always think that they are getting something worthwhile for each investigative point that they spend, be it on supplementary information or benefits. In the short demo, the players can get, as a benefit, a Mythos Tome with three spells and some pools of points, all for 1 point.

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Anselyn
Benefits are the rule for buying some awesomeness. Players should always think that they are getting something worthwhile for each investigative point that they spend, be it on supplementary information or benefits. In the short demo, the players can get, as a benefit, a Mythos Tome with three spells and some pools of points, all for 1 point.

 

Yes, p53 (ToC) gives the Example Benefits amd many of them are interesting and good. Your example from the short demo is an interesting one, some very concrete help, and not one I think you'd typically step to from the examples on p53.

 

p53 also gives an example benefit "A point spend might get you some dedicated pool points (see p. 54)" where p54 defines Dedicated Pool Points but doesn't give an idea of what the pool points from an investigative spend might be.

 

So, "generating general pools from investigative spends" has always been there. It would be nice if ToC2.0 could be a bit more explcit about this and pull on good examples that have worked - as in the demo game.

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OlderNick

0-point clues should perhaps be mentioned. They pop up in quite a few scenarios, but aren't mentioned in the ToC core book.

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Arseny

What I think 2nd edition would benefit from (arranged vaguely in order of importance):

 

1) Sanity/Stability rules rewritten for clarity (probably based on last chapter in Keeper Resource Book)

 

2) Extended description of skills, with sample spends and historical overview (also from Keeper Resource Book).

 

3) Extended Keeper Section with more focus how GUMSHOW works, how to avoid common pitfalls, how to design scenarios based on common complaints and misunderstandings (possibilities of failure, non-linear scenarios, etc.)

 

4) A different introductory adventure, more friendly to the first-time GUMSHOE Keeper. The current one has some neat ideas, but requires a lot of improvisation/additional work on the Keeper’s side and some real leaps of logic on the players’ side.

 

5) Some new rules, adapted from later iterations of GUMSHOE, like extended contents rules from NDA.

 

6) Overall rules rewritten for clarity and fitted with more examples.

 

7) New Mythos creatures illustrations (I absolutely adore Jerome’s faux-photo pictures, but I think that most images of Mythos creatures sort of fall flat).

 

8) Perhaps another adventure, specifically in Purist idiom.

 

This is, of course, the maximum mission and I realize that including ALL of these changes is not possible, but I hope to see at least some of them.

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Anselyn
What I think 2nd edition would benefit from (arranged vaguely in order of importance): ....

 

There is a very good, as always, article by Robin Laws about "The Threefold Path of RPG Reading" in the June issue of See Page XX.

 

I think it's fair to say that most of the comments above* about the ToC book are saying that it could be more helpfully written for when it's going to be used used in reference document mode.

 

*Clarification: Above meaning the thread not Arseny's post.

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Justin F

There are some great rules in 'The Apocalypse Machine', which, although written for that particular sub-genre, I would like to see considered as changes or options for 2nd Edition. Specifically:

 

New 'Defense Mechanism' mental illnesses

Pillars of Sanity being 'hit' (3rd strike and you're out)

Rules for Sources of Stability who die

'Reserves' rules for ammo, torch batteries etc

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The_Tatterdemalion_King
There is a very good, as always, article by Robin Laws about "The Threefold Path of RPG Reading" in the June issue of See Page XX.

 

I think it's fair to say that most of the comments above* about the ToC book are saying that it could be more helpfully written for when it's going to be used used in reference document mode.

 

I think the simplest fix for that would simply be a cheat-sheet, like the one-page ToC summary on the site, in the back which acts as a condensed reminder of how things usually work.

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Justin F
There are some great rules in 'The Apocalypse Machine', which, although written for that particular sub-genre, I would like to see considered as changes or options for 2nd Edition. Specifically:

 

New 'Defense Mechanism' mental illnesses

Pillars of Sanity being 'hit' (3rd strike and you're out)

Rules for Sources of Stability who die

'Reserves' rules for ammo, torch batteries etc

 

Oh, one more I'd like to add is : Graham's suggestion to give the players the Stability Loss chart and let them decide their own Stability loss. This seems (so far) to be quite effective at building the atmosphere - because, I hypothesise, it encourages players to imagine what their characters are going through.

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GBSteve

Simon instigated giving the stability loss responsibility to players and we've been using it for a long time. I think it's a good thing too, but more of a sidebar than a rule.

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Justin F
Simon instigated giving the stability loss responsibility to players and we've been using it for a long time. I think it's a good thing too, but more of a sidebar than a rule.

 

Ah OK. If it's in the rulebook I must have missed it... or forgotten it... or something.

 

Whoever came up with this optional rule, it seems to work.

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GBSteve

It's not in the rulebook. I'm suggesting it should be a sidebar in the next version. I know Beth just loves sidebars.

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Winter Smoke
I think the simplest fix for that would simply be a cheat-sheet, like the one-page ToC summary on the site, in the back which acts as a condensed reminder of how things usually work.

 

I've repeated this elsewhere a few times - I haven't played an RPG in 17 years (and even then it was only a handful of half hearted D&D games over a school summer holiday). I'm wanting to try an RPG and I've specifically chosen ToC for it (I like Lovecraft, there seems to be less rules and the quality/appearance of the products give me a good feel of it's world). The problem is I really, really despise RPG rulebooks. I've looked through loads of books and systems whilst trying to find one & I've come to this conclusion: Nearly all of them have been written by people who play RPGs themselves and, despite their best efforts, forget how to write in a way that is understandable to a newcomer.

 

Unfortunately, I feel, ToC does fall into this trap. So after dropping the book and coming back to it over the course of the last 12 months (I have 2 jobs, so struggle for time) I'm in the process of re-writing the rules - I'm about half way through the task and think I'll be able to condense it down to less than 20 pages all in all minus the details of individual jobs, abilities, monsters, etc. Does it miss out some of the flavor? Yes. Is it way easier to understand to a newcomer? Yes. The problem with the current book is that you have to jump around it so much that it's really confusing to a gaming newbie. But the thing that I'm amazed with is that after condensing it the system is really quite simple. Which is where I feel the current book falls down - it doesn't give this impression to a newcomer. This problem is compounded when you are a newbie who faces the prospect that they will have to act as Keeper as I don't know anyone who plays it and will need to convince people by running it myself.

 

The condensed version I'm writing pulls on the main rulebook, the online 1 page cheat sheet, the keeper's resource book & screen and I'll be going through the ToC threads on here to check them as well.

 

PS: The Robin D Laws 'The Threefold Path of RPG Reading' that was linked too is an excellent summary of the problems of writing a rule system and shows how difficult it is catering to all sorts of readers, so thanks to whoever posted that!

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GrahamW
Ah OK. If it's in the rulebook I must have missed it... or forgotten it... or something.

 

Whoever came up with this optional rule, it seems to work.

 

It's in The Dying of St Margaret's. I am not sure whether it's going in the second edition, although I understand they're doing some consolidation of rules.

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Justin F
It's in The Dying of St Margaret's. I am not sure whether it's going in the second edition, although I understand they're doing some consolidation of rules.

 

That's convenient - we're playing this today! (I can mine it for stuff afterwards)

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ProfessorPhobos

A suggestion I'd have for a 2nd edition is to change the way Occupations work to something closer to the Night's Black Agents model of a premade package of skills. Doubling investigative points for Occupation skills works out to be fairly cumbersome in character creation and I'd prefer if it was kept simply to a "one point is one point" system.

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ProfessorPhobos

The other suggestion i'd have is to take the "Object of Solace, Place of Safety, Source of Stability" delineation from NBA and use it in Trail.

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groakes
A suggestion I'd have for a 2nd edition is to change the way Occupations work to something closer to the Night's Black Agents model of a premade package of skills. Doubling investigative points for Occupation skills works out to be fairly cumbersome in character creation and I'd prefer if it was kept simply to a "one point is one point" system.

 

I do like the NBA character generation I must admit, though if applied to ToC I would have to rejig all my spreadsheets.... I also like the Trust mechanics and am thinking about adding that into my ToC campaign, particularly with larger parties from disparate backgrounds. And of course then replacement characters have a bit of a disadvantage as to who trusts them, and who to trust....

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rylehNC
I also like the Trust mechanics and am thinking about adding that into my ToC campaign, particularly with larger parties from disparate backgrounds.

 

They would rock in Delta Green, especially if an investigator has to divulge a confidential fact about her real life for every point of trust she puts in someone.

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Imarcus

Hey guy I'm thinking about getting into Trail of Cthulhu but I saw they announced a 2nd edition at dundracon and was wondering if I should wait for that or is that not for another few years? Thanks.

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PelgranePress

 

 

Hey guy I'm thinking about getting into Trail of Cthulhu but I saw they announced a 2nd edition at dundracon and was wondering if I should wait for that or is that not for another few years? Thanks.

 

We've just done a reprint, so it won't be for a while.

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OlderNick

I'd like to do some thread necromancy.

 

I wrote the following 2 years ago.

 

3. The rules written from the perspective of either Pulp or Purist with the other mode as an "option", instead of the current sort of middle ground that will rarely see actual use.

 

Since then, I've read Night's Black Agents. NBA is also presented from a "neutral" perspective. Not with two, but four different styles to choose from. And it's still presented very well, and is quite easy to read and understand.

 

So since Mr Hite has obviously improved his writing so much in the years between ToC and NBA, I therefor ask Pelgrane to simply ignore my previous statement ;)

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Tony Williams

Just bought Night's Black Agents and noticed that the advice on pg 44 on the differing styles of how a Keeper actually interacts with the players for giving out a clue would have been invaluable to me when first coming to GUMSHOE/ToC from CoC.

 

i.e. NBA's pg 44's actual worked examples of 3 styles of giving out the same clue in the same scene:

 

i) Players enter scene: Keeper actively asks who has "Architecture" and do they want to spend it ? -> gets clue

ii) Players enter scene: Keeper waits until player says "I'll try Architecture on X" -> gets clue

iii) Players enter scene: Keeper consults their player ability pool point matrix sheet and notices player Y has "Architecture", asks Y if they want to spend a point -> gets clue

 

When first reading the ToC rulebook that was the only bit of the GUMSHOE mechanic I was left unsure of. I myself had to work out those 3 methods and then wonder if I had come to the "correct" conclusions and also which one of the 3 methods was meant to be the "right" one to use.

 

It took forum searching here and in Pelgrane's forums to realise all 3 methods are considered "correct".

 

So, what I'm trying to say is, if there is ever a 2nd edition ToC, put NBA's pg 44 in there.

 

=================

 

Also the call-out box dealing with advice on opposition spends on pg 52 of NBA is a must.

 

=================

 

An example of casting a ritual to give the Keeper advice on spending Inertia points would be useful

 

=================

 

Give "official" Stability test difficulties for learning each spell ( at the moment each spell is advised to be difficulty 4 to learn which seems unlikely that more trivial spells are just as easy to learn as substantial spells ). 

I'd suggest a new spell write-up layout along the lines of:

 

Spell Title: Blah

 

Learning stability test difficulty level: n ( less m if having non-zero rating in AbilityA, B or C )

Learning pool costs ( if applicable ): AbilityA n, AbilityB n, AbilityC n....etc

Learning time: n ( less m if spending n AbilityA pool points )

 

Casting Time: n

Casting stability test difficulty level: n

Casting pool costs ( if applicable ): AbilityA n, AbilityB n, AbilityC n....etc

 

Spell Description: blah, blah, blah

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rylehNC
An example of casting a ritual to give the Keeper advice on spending Inertia points would be useful

 

Some GUMSHOE writers have flirted with the idea of an "attack pattern" for combats which could come into play here - a simple algorithm or statement about how NPCs will spend from a pool. Examples are:

 

-spend enough for auto success until depleted.

-spend one; if a miss, spend two and so on until you hit.

-a series of numbers like 1,2,3,1,2,3

 

and so on. Certainly would work for inertia.

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WatsonSE

 

 

An example of casting a ritual to give the Keeper advice on spending Inertia points would be useful

 

I am using a house rule in combat that states that an NPC with a combat rating of 1-5 does not add anything to attack rolls, an NPC with a combat rating of 6-10 always adds +1 an so forth. This can easily be used for Inertia as well. The threshold of where the NPC is starting to add can of course be changed.

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