Being a big fan of the Hardy Boys books when I was growing up, I have always wanted to write some 1930’s mystery-themed adventures. I have purchased just about every set of rules possible for creating mystery adventures. Gumshoe, Bubblegumshow, Grit & Vigor, Crimefighters, Call of Cthulhu, Savage Worlds, and Justice INC to name a few. The closest I got to good investigation adventures were three I wrote using the Chill rules and one I wrote using the Lost Souls rules. So all of them were actually supernatural adventures that included a mystery.
I still have not settled on a ruleset to use for adventures that involve solving mysteries. But I think it is settled down to using Cryptworld or the Gangbusters rules. I have already started in re-writing my old (1980’s) Chill adventures over to Cryptworld.
|Haunted House in Blender 2.8 EEVEE Render|
The Cryptworld rules by Goblinoid Games were produced by license from the original Chill Pacesetter rules. My preferred version of the Chill rules is the 2nd edition put out by Mayfair but I also enjoyed the 1st edition.
Cryptworld is a copy of a lot of the Pacesetter 1st edition Chill rules but there are some interesting changes. The Action Table is identical. General checks and Specific checks have been left the same. The same attributes and skills. What has been changed is the way the rules handle the supernatural.
A General Check is a percentile roll. The player must roll lower than or equal to the attribute or skill being checked. The check has only a Yes or No answer.
A Specific Check is also a percentile roll but more answers are possible. If the dice roll succeeds the player subtracts the number rolled on the dice from the score being checked. The difference is found on the Attack Margin on the Action Table. The column, or defense number, being checked depends on the type of check. The results can be a Limited, Moderate, High or Colossal success.
The attributes for characters in Cryptworld are Strength, Dexterity, Agility, Personality, Willpower, Perception, Luck, and Stamina. This is probably more than is needed and is a product of the time when the Chill rules they are based on were developed.
In the Chill rules, the supernatural in player characters was called the ART and with creatures, it was called the Evil way. In the Cryptworld rules, it is now paranormal talents and Unsettling powers. But it is more than just a name change. The Talents are now an optional rule and there are far fewer of them. They are also now almost like feats rather than schools of talents. The Unsettling powers have also been greatly reduced in number and are not tied to creatures. I actually do not mind this change.
I never felt the art was necessary for the original rules. Making them optional makes me want to just remove them. It also brings the rules closer to be useable for a Sleuths style game with no supernatural elements.
The Evil way was more useful to me. I wrote one adventure where the creature was a single ghost with a range of abilities. Characters had to discover what was keeping her tied to the world while she pulled out all of the stops trying to drive them from the haunted house. I could use bend wood, rain of nails, change temperature, hallucinate, etc to terrorize the players. But keeping track of all of this required a spreadsheet to check Willpower’s loss and gain.
Thinking more on this I guess that all of this can just be added in if the GM wants without it being codified in the creature description. So removing Evil way is not a huge loss.
Where I think the rules do have a big loss is in the creatures available. The original Chill rules and the Mayfair 2nd edition had an amazing group of creatures. The creatures were all pulled from folklore and urban myth. Many of them were almost unuseable in an adventure but they were a great read. They suggested adventures all on their own. Cryptworld has opted for a creature list that reads more like a monster manual. While they are highly practical they are not as interesting or mood setting.
I like the Cryptworld rules well enough that I am planning to post some adventures for it. I also think I could use these rules for a 1930’s or 1940’s style amateur sleuths adventure.