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  • Writer's pictureLiam Stevens

Line of Enquiry - A look at the Player tools

Last week I wrote an update regarding the GM tools included in Line of Enquiry. This week, I follow that up with a look at what players are set to gain from the zine.

If you haven't already, check out the KS here

Line of Enquiry encourages a player lead style of play. For me personally, I enjoy trying to solve the mystery in games myself, figuring out what's afoot and going on. I have never been particularly satisfied with just rolling dice to follow the prompt to the next scene, or situations where I am asked to explain the mystery myself as a player in a cooperative fiction building way. For me, I want there to be at least the illusion of a mystery to find and for me to correctly interpret the clues. Its a challenge I enjoy. As such, that is the style of play LOE seeks to empower.

The most common barrier with this style of play for players is knowing just what to look for. Most mystery RPGs sort of lead you by the nose through pre prepared scenes, but when you have to take the lead, seek out clues and chase suspects yourself it gets a bit more intimidating. This is where we, once again, turn to the P.O.I. Profile and Case File. For the players, these tools start empty. Upon arrival at the first scene, often the crime scene itself, the players will start filling in the blanks on the Case File. The empty spaces on the file, such as who was the victim, what was the cause of death, where and when did it happen etc starts to establish a foundation to work from. Working to fill these blanks in give you guidance. Every blank is a question that you need to answer.

As your Case File starts to get filled out, Persons of Interest should start coming into view. Perhaps they found the victim, or were the last to see them alive. Whatever the reason, for each Person of Interest who requires more than the most cursory of looks you have the P.O.I. Profile. The P.O.I. Profile is where you examine your suspects and see if a case proving their guilt is possible. The Profile asks you to fill in the Categorical Trinity, the means, motive and opportunity which the suspect must've used to commit to the crime. It asks you for their alibi, and there always is one, and then asks you if it checks out. It asks what evidence you have to support a case pointing to this persons guilt. The Case File demands that everyone is a suspect, but the P.O.I. Profile reminds you that everyone everyone is innocent until proven guilty. As your Case File starts to look complete, and your P.O.I. Profiles develop you start to get a picture of who is who in this mystery, what happened and when. The Case File prompts you to complete a timeline of events for the murder and write up your final case, who did it, when and how. Only with a complete Case File and P.O.I. Profile do you truly have a case. Beyond these two tools the zine will have a bunch of advice on conducting investigations, with tips on interviewing suspects, who to look at as Persons of Interest as matter of course and so on. But I suspect most people will get the most use out of the these two tools. Next week I will go into a bit of detail over the simple system I have included in the zine for people who don't already have a game in mind they wish to run a mystery in. Its very rules light and key word based, but should provide ample detail for you to have fun!

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