[GUMSHOE] Trail of Cthulhu vs. Esoterrorists vs. Night's Black Agents


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The stereotypes have no mechanical effect, and the psychic powers—which are mostly investigative in nature anyway—are limited to one player in the group.
That's good to hear. That makes me more likely to look into it soonish (because I do love Gumshoe).


Retired User
Revigorating this old thing because i've been thinking lately about using GUMSHOE as a system for doing 40K as a setting.
I own not any gumshoe books yet.
Initially i thought to maybe just use NBA and replace vampires with chaos badguys/cultists/chaosspacemarines/demons.
Mostly because i've been listening to ken&robin talk about stuff and looked alittle bit into NBA and the prospect of using a system that is designed for investigation feels like a great idea for being a group of 4 specialists in the 40k. I'm thinking the party will be working for a Rogue Trader as a special ops team, abit along the concept of dark heresy i suppose.
Could you mix n match Trailofcthulhu with NBA ?


Registered User
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Mash-ups of the various Gumshoe games would work pretty well in my opinion. Ashen Stars is Gumshoe's space opera riff, it probably could be used as a model for a 40K game.
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Fear Itself is a good choice if you want a traditional horror game where the PCs are average everyday people. Go with the second edition.


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While the big draw with Night’s Black Agents is the Bourne-esque awesome, it is very flexible. NBA has a lot of dials and options, to the extent that you could easily run a John le Caré style spy drama with vampires instead of Russia as the big bad.

On the other hand, there’s also The Fall of Delta Green, which is also absolutely phenomenal. If you are not familiar with Delta Green as a whole, then welcome to one of the most evocative takes on the Cthulhu Mythos there is.

While this is set during the Vietnam war, there’s nothing to stop you using the rules for more modern stories. It’s got competent agents who can pull off some good tricks, but it is utterly, utterly remorseless in putting them through the meat grinder. If you want capable, but very mortal PC’s who have to live with paranoid horror, whilst slowly succumbing to the psychological damage of their profession - Fall of Delta Green does it all.


Retired User
nos4artu nos4artu could i mash nba with delta...
i suppose being human investigators for a rogue trader could be along the lines of a delta green agents when you're running down into cult headquarters with demons and cultists... Maybe even a genestealer cult investigation...

committed hero

nude lamia mech
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In my mind the nicest addition that Fall of DG brings to the system is Lethality (basically, it flips the d6 damage roll so higher numbers are still effective but lower numbers are deadlier).

GUMSHOE lets me run games like a videogame sandbox, opening up new persons and locations to check out as the PCs interact with the setting. Preparedness makes it almost impossible to railroad the players, FWIW.


in Berkeley, California (he/him)
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In most contexts, it would be very weird for me to steer anyone away from Trail of Cthulhu, but it's one of the oldest instances of the Gumshoe rules and I think there have been enough good ideas since then that you'd be better off with Night's Black Agents. And NBA's Conspyramid is a not-to-be-missed GM tool for conspiracy-ish campaigns. (I haven't yet read several of the recent ones like Fear Itself 2e or Fall of Delta Green, though.)

I always point new-to-Gumshoe folks toward these resources.


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NBA would work very well as a base game for playing an Inquisitor's Retinue, with a dash of Ashen Stars for cyberware and ship stuff.

You could build by the book NBA characters and play the Eisenhorn novels. The Double Tap supplement comes with a bunch of rules for cool tech and fancy gun attachments and special qualities.
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