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Handling mystery can be a struggle in a game like PTA. Obviously, you do NOT want to have conflicts where what's at stake is, "Do you find the clue?" Lame.

So, when you're working through session and everybody is going over clues and trying to figure out where to go next, embrace this approach: "Guys, the mystery is really easy. I just gave you the body on the meathooks in the ceiling, right? Wherever you decide to go next, there'll be the next clue! Just like a TV show. What we gotta do is hit Joe's self-hatred again, so let's have a scene where..."

If you look at the show as a character drama first and mystery second, you can use the mystery to just fill in blanks, and everything else is just riding the act structure.

It's all about what's at stake in a conflict. Not "do I find a clue," but "do I find one without creating complications."

The hard stuff is knowing when is the right moment in the scene to call for a conflict. B is the thing that takes me a couple episodes to feel solid about. It's different with every group.

Another thing to try: You can have a conflict like, "I find a clue that implicates the Bishop!" If the player wins, then yep, the Bishop is implicated. If not, then a clue is still found, it just implicates someone else (or has some other value). [JSH]


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Page last modified on August 02, 2005, at 01:25 PM by johnharper

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