#RPGaDay2020 – Day 20: Investigate

Hi everyone!

I believe that every rule set has limitations. No, really – I’ve built Era d10 to have as few as possible, but there are things that it will not do very well without a significant rewrite to the core. I thought I’d talk today about the first time I realised what one of those was, as it happens to be centralised around “Investigate”!

It was while I was investigating the possibility of using an IP that I suddenly realised was available…

That IP is Sherlock Holmes – now a public domain property which can be attractive, on the surface of it. However, the core of Era d10 is focused around making Combat easier for the players. Sherlock Holmes stories are about laying breadcrumbs and having the group figure out what’s going on.

I’ve done some limited things along these lines – there’s an “Insight” Empowered ability in the Enhanced Intelligence Power Tree, for example. That lets me give the players a lot of clues. That said, there are a lot of Skills in the game, each of which is focused around a specific area, and Investigation is just one of those. I feel that I would have to redefine many, many Skills into different categories of Investigation.

The other problem is that I’m, personally, not good at running those sessions (yep, people have limitations as well!). The balance is extremely difficult between not giving enough and giving too much so that it’s easy. I’ve always found it relies on a certain group of players… and that makes playtesting such a radical change to what works well much more difficult.

The Skills in Era d10 can be changed to fit the genre (I have done that many times, for various games), but they all have a core intention that they are for something else.

It’s not impossible, but I feel that it would be stretching the Era d10 Rule Set into a specific shape, one that the core paradigm is not suited for, so I decided to pass on the idea for the time being.

Is that because it’s out of my comfort zone (see Day 17!)? Am I right that it’s too big a paradigm shift? I am truly not certain. As a creative, I often go with what feels right to me, and this doesn’t feel like a good place to be headed… for now, at least!

Whether you’re making a rule set or using an existing one (I’ve worked with FATE and Savage Worlds a few times myself), I always recommend thinking about the limitations of the rule set you are choosing!

– Ed

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