Sunday, 2 February 2020

Get Your Ideas (GUMSHOE All, NBA Solo Ops)

In the past I've used travel articles as inspiration for an RPG scene. This time I'm going to point you towards a source just as useful, and easily had: pictures.

Yes, it seems obvious, but hear me out. There are plenty of evocative architectural and slice of life photographers out there. I put a lot of faith in twitter sources like @liamwong, @41Strange, and @archillect, all of whom find or produce quality imagery, but it's not difficult to find other examples. You don't even have to look very hard. It's twitter. Most flotsam washes up on that unholy shore eventually.

Point being, if you're looking for a moment, a scene, something that reaches out and speaks both to you and the player, you really don't have to look very far. I'm going to use Solo Ops in this particular example, but this is something you can do for any GUMSHOE setting. Or any game, really.

Credit: Liam Wong

Hungry Eyes

Your Hong Kong bookstore contact is late. Very late. The question is, was it the mainland PRC that caught up with her, or something else? There are eyes in the dark following your every move, and this location is compromised. You can see shadows flickering across an endless sea of neon promises, and in those shadows something ageless and hungry waits for you to make the smallest mistake ... 

Bonuses: +2 if you have the Edge, Hell Money.
Penalty: -1 if you have the Problem, PRC Pavement Artist
Advance: 9+ You know these streets better than the opposition thinks. It takes some doing, but you blend into the garish glare, vanishing into a sea of humanity. Behind you a thin, angry voice wails outrage and fear at the faceless city. The first chance you get, you buy a handful of sweets and toss them behind you, just in case whatever it was manages to sniff you out again. It's not much, but it's better than nothing at all.
Hold: 6-8 You feel it dogging your every step, and nothing you do drives it off. Its clutching fingers drift across your neck, and an unearthly chill settles in your chest as you realize it will never, ever let you go. If you gave money to the Taoist priest, thus avoiding the sin of stinginess, you get away with a shiver and an unpleasant moment. If not, you gain the Shadow Problem Whispers of Madness. 
Setback: 5 or less. The wretched thing possesses you. While it doesn't control your every move, it does force you to take crazy chances, driving you ever closer to capture, torture, and damnation. Gain Shadow Problem Living In My Skin (apply Shadow score as a penalty to all Challenges, discard when you next score an advance).
Extra Problem: None.
Stunt?  Sense Trouble to dive into a friendly 24-hour shop at just the right moment, one with lit joss sticks in a small shrine at the entrance. Cool to hold yourself together despite the cold, grasping fingers at the back of your neck.


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