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  1. #1

    GUMSHOE--The Esoterrorists (Sundays): screen shots, session notes & organization

    The Esoterrorists
    Campaign game organization thread

    About this thread: This forum thread is for discussion, background, & in-character actions by players of Esoterrorists run by Hector Trelane on Fantasy Grounds. (SPOILERS!)

    • Session Time: Sunday mornings, US Eastern
    • Calendar Link:
    • Number of Players: 5 [currently full but post here if you're an interested player!]
    • Short Description: Case files and Station Duty campaign
    • Text/Voice: Voice
    • Voicechat via: Discord
    • GM License/Player License: Ultimate GM License (Players can use free/demo client)
    • Game System: GUMSHOE
    • Genre: Investigation Horror
    • Newbie Friendly: Yes!
    • Pre-requisites: None

    Player Recruitment Status:
    Currently accepting new players![ Post on this thread or PM me if interested.

    Game Overview
    • Info on Esoterrorists background: You are elite investigators combating the plots of the Esoterrorists, a loose affiliation of occult terrorists intent on tearing the fabric of the world and letting the monsters in.
    • About the rules system:Unlike other investigative roleplaying games, The Esoterrorists’ GUMSHOE rules system ensures that the plot never grinds to a halt due to a failed die roll. As top paranormal detectives, you never fail in your areas of expertise. When necessary, you can expend extra effort to glean more from the evidence than any plodding journeyman could hope to find.

    SPOILERS WARNING: visitors to this page, there may be spoilers contained throughout. Read with caution if you wish to be a player in a future run of this game!
    Last edited by Hector Trelane; October 3rd, 2019 at 15:22. Reason: Added "accepting new players" notice.

  2. #2
    Reserved for campaign overview--"Story of Cases"

    So far this cell of agents, in some form or another, cracked the following cases:

    1. A Night On The Town

    2. Operation Prophet Bunco

    3. Six Packed

    4. Operation Low Joker

    On Deck: Session 0 of "Station Duty" mode--creating the Town, creating the Station, and creating/recalibrating the group of characters (a mix of OV agents and Locals). (Players, go to the game calendar here to set the date and time for this session.)
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Hector Trelane; December 18th, 2018 at 18:35.

  3. #3
    Agent Bios:
    [Full versions to come soon.]

    1. Wade Garrett--tough ex-cop

    2. Peter "PJ" Jefferson--talented young lab tech
    3. Thurston Davenport--New York socialite, hedonist and dabbler in the occul

    4. Dr. Joseph Carey--Centers for Disease Control researcher

    5. Astra LaFontaine--New Age shopkeer

    P.S. Additional characters will be added in posts below since forum post images are capped at five.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Hector Trelane; December 19th, 2018 at 18:44.

  4. #4
    What comes next in switching to Station Duty mode?

    Hello players: I'm looking forward to the creative collaboration we're about to get into in our sandbox game mode (aka "Station Duty"). While I've posted the rules differences below (so people are clear, and since it provides some content to lay the groundwork), as you know GUMSHOE is rules-light in gameplay, and we'll continue that. (In fact, the rules are only there to serve in the background and enable sandbox, in-character play and storylines that emerge from player decisions). Our main focus for the creation session (for The Town, the Station, and PC agents/locals) should be our creative brainstorms and riffs on the game premise. I'm looking forward to our collaboration on this sandbox, character-driven, horror campaign.

    About Station Duty mode of game play:
    • It's "a setting for Esoterrorists more suited to sandbox-style gaming, where PCs can develop solid relationships with the locals and face the depths of smalltown horror," as described by the publisher.
    • "The Station Duty series places the agents in one haunted place over an extended period of time as they root out a multi-headed, localized conspiracy."

    Preparatory Steps:
    • First the Town (it's normal aspects--people, locations, backstory, and more) is jointly created by players and GM. (The Station too, or it can be held for creation during game play.)
    • Player characters are created to be a mix of experienced OV agents and Local Residents.
    • ---OV agents are created as normal but have a special role in defining and improving the Station (i.e. the undercover investigative headquarters in the Town).
    • ---Local Residents are created through slightly modified rules: they have a partial limit on Technical Investigation Abilities but also unique access to the Local Knowledge Investigation Ability (a set of abilities defined during Town creation that means the character is expert in that part or sphere of the Town. They also have a bit more narrative license to specify mundane details of the Town (see below).
    • ---Local Residents can be created with Fear Itself rules (a sister game to The Esoterrorists), opening up the possibility of psychic powers, which are supported for characters in that game.

  5. Special Rules for Station Duty mode:
    • the new Investigation Ability, Local Knowledge, is available to any characters who are natives to the town (and it is not available to OV agents assigned to the Station).
    • all characters will list Sources of Stability -- "person[s] that the character confides in and relies on, one person who makes the world worth fighting for. A name and an identifying phrase is enough for each at the start of play; they’ll be fleshed out later on."
Last edited by Hector Trelane; December 19th, 2018 at 20:29.
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  • #5
    Agent bios, cont'd.

    • Steenson--government agent and by-the-book enforcer

    • Henry Collins--a Local Resident (Station Duty mode), Henry is the town photographer and unofficial historian. He loves Sequoia Falls, but high school graduation photos and yellowing books have become monotonous. His youthful taste for adventure stirred, and when "FCC" agents arrived, Henry jumped at the chance to join their investigations. Now, the horrific events they uncovered have him thinking that the routine of the darkroom and library may not be so bad after all...

    • Trent Cole--a Local Resident (Station Duty mode) and Sheriff Deputy, this handsome former football star returned to town a couple years ago after a tour of duty in the Marine Corps. He's got several years with Sequoia Falls' police force and is reconnecting with old friends and neighbors. His family and girlfriend all live in town.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Hector Trelane; June 30th, 2019 at 15:48.

  • #6
    Players, here are our precepts for creating The Town (to be named after creation):

    1. The Town is worth saving.
    2. The Town has secrets.
    3. The Town is strange.
    4. The Town is small ... but not too small.
    5. The Town is isolated.
    6. The Town is familiar.
    7. The Town is near the wilderness.

    Using these precepts as a guide, please come up with some brainstorms. We'll do this in full at our next live session, but posts here are welcome to get the creative ideas flowing. (In fact, it'd be helpful since it'd create a written record.)

    There are more elements of the Town that we'll define, but this is enough to get us started!
    Last edited by Hector Trelane; December 19th, 2018 at 19:23.

  • #7
    I like the idea of the town being situated in Main/Massachusetts (northern New England) and having lots of colonial history (like Salem and its Witch Trials) or other things that we could use. Also really like the idea of a town set in the Pacific Northwest with First Nations lore woven into the town and surrounding area. I think either way provide lots of options for historical secrets and many modern secrets too.

    Seems like we should have some sort of underground complex, a mine or cave system that early settlers could have used.

    The geography is also as much a character as is the history. I love the Pacific Northwest with all the trees and hills/mountains that you have. Logging industry due to all the trees. Lots of pine trees. I'm a little less familiar with New England geography.

    I'll stop there so you can provide feedback if this is what you're looking for or if you were expecting a different set of thoughts.

    Yes, for whatever reason I'm seeing a town out of a Stephen King story or maybe a bigger version of Bright Falls from the Alan Wake video game. I'm sure Storybrook from Once Upon A Time is also influencing my thoughts. (Trivia time: the town used in Once Upon A Time is also used in an early episode of The X Files, and likely in many other movies/tv shows)

    Question for everyone: do we want to define "6. The Town is isolated" as isolated from other towns/cities and/or from people meaning that no one comes here because there's nothing to come for or they don't know it exists? Maybe this leads to why the town is strange because no one comes here?

  • #8
    Quote Originally Posted by NotRussellCrowe View Post
    The geography is also as much a character as is the history.
    Well said.

    Quote Originally Posted by NotRussellCrowe View Post
    I'll stop there so you can provide feedback if this is what you're looking for or if you were expecting a different set of thoughts.
    Yes, very much so. This is helpful creative fodder that others can build on. We'll do so formally in a live session, but it's helpful to get a start here on the forums!

  • #9
    Friendly reminder to players who haven’t to rsvp for our fast-approaching Session 0: Town Creation date at the calendar here:

    On another note, I’ve been reading and rereading the GM materials for Station Duty and am LOVING it. A+ to the designers for providing a flexible toolbox for Players and GMs to craft a unique, creepy, interesting narrative. GOOD STUFF and I am quite looking forward to this one!

  • #10
    We are ON for our next session on Sunday March 24!

    Running: The One Ring and GUMSHOE--Esoterrorists (on hold); intermittently Fiasco and DramaSystem/Hillfolk
    Want to play: Pendragon, City of Mist, Dresden Files RPG, Orpheus, Changeling, Apocalpse World and more PbtA, Bluebeards Bride, Shadows of Esteren; anything by Bully Pulpit Games

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