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Steve (of the Red Fez)

An Eye for an Eye: Building (And Solving) The Mystery

97 posts in this topic

Note: potential spoiler for An Eye for an Eye in this post.

thanks for emailing me a copy of your clue cards steve. they are very well done.

in practice did you not find some of them to be too overt? the hidden places clues in particular.

i'm trying to visualise how you use them... the players enter the library and you hand them a card titled 'hidden places' drawing attention to the carpet - wouldn't this simply result in them flipping the carpet?

or do you hold back the card until they discover the secret beneath it.

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 This is a good question and one that I've gotten a few times. The simple answer is, no, it isn't too overt, but please allow me to elaborate. One of the biggest challenges facing a GM when running an investigative mystery is understanding how much information to give. For the most part, everything will seem like too much because the GM already knows the whole plot thus leading to a tight fist on any information. This is not a fun game to play in because there is very little feedback for the players to tell them they're on the right track.

For those who have not seen the clue cards, here is the text in question:


Clue #1 of 4: What an odd rug
The geometric design on the rug in the library seems to match the design on the frame of the painting. Is there some connection?

The clue in question is given out automatically once the characters have seen both the carpet and the creepy painting (the frame of the painting has similar markings). You are correct in stating that the characters will likely just flip over the carpet and find the trap door... and this is a good thing! You WANT the players to do this. Remember, the secret areas do not solve the mystery at all. They merely lead to additional clues. The flipping of the carpet and locating the hidden areas will make the players feel like they've discovered something. This will make them feel invested and proud of their accomplishment. It will also drive the story forward.

Most GMs feel instinctively that they are here to defend the mystery as though it were an NPC in a fight. This is not the case. Consider the alternative: the players never think to flip the carpet and never discover the hidden areas. The characters might get to the end of the adventure, but they miss out on all sorts of great story material and understand a lot less of the plot. This is a tremendous waste and accomplishes less than nothing. The risks the characters face in the game shouldn't be that they miss the adventure. In fact you want to encourage them to explore everything you've prepped and reward them consistently for doing so. You also want to give them MORE than enough information so that they can form a clear idea of what is going on by the time the end of the adventure draws near. This is the job of the GM in an investigative adventure. If they solve the adventure quickly (which is not likely since placing stacks of undiscovered clue cards in front of them virtually guarantees that they'll feel driven to collect them all), then they almost certainly had fun doing so. The opposite is almost never true.

I hope that helps clarify things a bit.

--Steve--

Oh, In case you're wondering, yes, all of the undiscovered clue cards are left face down in plain view. They are sorted into their little piles (series A, series B, etc.) and left there so that the players can get a sense of how much there is to discover. Some players also take note of how many cards are left in a series, or how many series they haven't yet discovered. This is fine so long as they don't read the front of the cards (no one has yet tried to do this). This helps them feel they can gauge their progress in the investigation.

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 ok i get it now.

what i was wary of was if the discovery of the clue was automatic then why have it there in the first place and not simply state there is as a funky rug underneath which is a trap door.

i hadn't considered that the simple act of the pc's choosing to flip the rug and discover the trapdoor was empowering even though it was telegraphed.

however this leads me to wonder you are disempowering the player who has invested in observation as a skill because now the skill is moot.

i really like what i'm reading and don't mean to come across as unduly critical. i would like to know if you have tried a system where some clues are given freely and additional information is awarded for skill use? if not, why not?

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 Not to worry, you aren't sounding unduly critical. I still haven't sent out the accompanying clue key (still editing it) which tells you how every clue is gotten and how all of this works. To put it simply, there are several methods by which clues are given. Some are given by the mere presence of a character in a location, others by interacting with people or objects, still others are gotten by being trained in a given skill (my preference), and most rarely by resorting to a skill roll. The reason for making skill rolls the last resort is because some clues MUST be given or there will be no investigation. Even if you give them a dozen fortune dice there is a chance of failure and thus a chance your game will grind to a halt. Far better to automatically give it to a character that actually trained in a skill and resort to the dice if no one is trained in it. 

The ease of getting a clue is based upon many factors, but the constant guideline is "can the adventure function properly if this is missed?". Granted, you can find a way to force a clue into the game if they miss it but if you're willing to do that then why make it hard to get in the first place? Always err in favor of fun... that's my view. Give them a try and see what happens. The moment a player suddenly makes a mad search through the clue cards because he feels like he's put together a piece of the puzzle, you'll feel like it all makes sense. 

As for the carpet, in my version of the game the trapdoor is locked. They can pick the lock (1 challenge die) but it does add a slight amount of resistance to instantly searching the hidden areas (as well as giving skulduggerous characters something more to do). The ultimate goal is really to guarantee that the characters will know that there IS a hidden area or else they might never find out. This is what i mean about the clue pushing the story forward.

--Steve--

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 Thank you very much! I used to be a GM for quite a while and always thought that I am always on the players's side. And I think I am right but not when it comes to detective stories. It's strange but I always had this feeling that I have to hide all the clues to provide a better players' experience. But now am realizing that actually finding the clues is the real fun. Thank you for opening my eyes on this. It's like "why didn't I think of this myself?"

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 Thanks so much for the clue cards

I start this on Sunday this week and was wondering if you could email me the guidance notes you have on using them if they are ready

I know you have already stated these are getting reworked 

But would be happy to look over what you have from a independent view point

Think of me as a test case 

King regards

 

Krisstoff

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Thank you very much for the clue cards.

I think they helped me and my players a lot, though my players didn`t find all of them.

For example, they found the books in the library, but didn`t investigate the carpet. Neither did they find the blunderbuss.

They also refused to examine the painting behind the curtain!

Perhaps I was a little bit too shy to hand the cards out.

But anyway, my players succeeded in finding the Hammer and stopped the cultists from poisoning the guards by following the trail of the clues.

In the final confrontation, the PCs fought the cult in the basement while the guards defended the lodge against the beastmen (I handled this quite similar to the extended check in Hero's Call, with every non-poisoned guard granting a green die to the pool).

 

 

 

 

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 That's so awesome! I'm really glad the cards helped out! As for giving out the cards, so long as your players had a fun time then don't sweat it. When you find yourself in a similar situation in the future just tell yourself that your job is simply to make sure they get all the clues they need to have a good time. If you do then everything will click into place!

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 thanks for making the cards and sending them to me.

Personally I dont think this adventure is great for new GM''s. Maybe GM''s new to WFRP but not new to GMing in general. I cant say that from experience in running this adventure, but my GMing experience so far has been limited to "Black fire pass" and 3 sessions of Shadowrun.

I''ve never run a more open ended investigation before and after reading the adventure (i plan on running it next and then tying it into "the edge of night") I felt a bit daunted. These cards have me a bit excited as they seem like they could help make it easier to run.

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I agree that the adventure is a good one (had great fun with it when I did run it, not as first adventure in campaign) but not a good "introductory" one.  It''s a nice open sandboxy situation and the GM needs to be familiar with system and GMing to run it. 

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actually, an eye for an eye was the first adventure we ever played when we got WFRP and the first time ever for me to GM, and even if we all were not too familiar with the system, but veterans of roleplaying, we made it through with a lot of fun!

i think it is also a good start for a GM, you just have to make yourself familiar with the storyline and the NPCs to not having to look it all up each time the PCs meet someone…

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Congrats on that and maybe I was overestimating challenge.  Thinking about it, the first real adventure I ever ran in WFRP was Rough Night at Three Feathers and that has got about 6 plots going on at once and it worked fine.

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Just one further thing about the clue cards:

I'm going to DM "Winds of Change" on Pentecost, and I'm goint to to develop my own Clue Cards for this adventure, but not in English, so I won't be able to share them, sorry. Sadly my own clue cards won' t be that pretty, too, but I wanted to point out that the idea ist really great and I recommend the use of them. Again, thanks alot for the cards, Steve.

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Steve, I have to admit, I'm intrigued. I would be very grateful if you wouldn't mind PMing me a copy of your clue card system for me to look at.

I'd say I'm still on the fence about the 'overtness' of your method, but I may be persuaded to climb down and give it a try. You certainly make a robust argument.

Many thanks,

Khelrauko

 

     

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 Hi Steve, just found this thread.

I've run this adventure (eye for an eye) once, with players not being familiar with the system, and it was a little hard, as they were not putting all the pieces together.

I'm thinking about giving this adventure another go shortly, and it would be awesome if you could share your clue cards please :)

 

Thanks a lot

Telk

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Hi Steve,

Love the clue card idea.  Nearly ready to start running Eye for an Eye and wondered if you could email me over the cards to use, please.  Many thanks!

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Steve seems to be absent as of late and I was wondering if ANYBODY that received a copy of these clue cards could shoot me over the file,.. I would LOVE to try and play with these,…  email:   saginar123@yahoo.com     Thanks.

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flyndad said:

Steve seems to be absent as of late and I was wondering if ANYBODY that received a copy of these clue cards could shoot me over the file,.. I would LOVE to try and play with these,…  email:   saginar123@yahoo.com     Thanks.

sent. he has some great ideas. i haven't implemented them myself (already finished an eye for an eye)

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Actually, if I could get some kind -or- evil soul to shoot the clue cards my way it would make me the happiest damsel at the ball.  I'm fixing to run Eye for an Eye again for a group of newbies next month [mooninite_no1(at)hotmail.com].

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Would it be useful for someone to set up a Yahoo Group (or similar), to create a central repository for useful files like this?

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www.rpggeek.com lets you upload files for games. They get checked by mods there and then made available to everyone.It is probably one of the most obvious place to upload stuff like this so other people than the ones who discovered this thread could see it.

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 I'd love if a copy of the cards could be sent along to me too! My e-mail is: khelrauko(at)hotmail.com

 

Many thanks gang,

 

Gareth

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