The Esoterrorists and GUMSHOE: After Three Sessions

I have now played three sessions of The Esoterrorists, with +Tim Shorts (Gothridge Manor) as GM. Tim wrote a blog post about our third session, so I am not going to attempt to recreate the session here.

I am really enjoying the game and the GUMSHOE system. Once the GUMSHOE premise clicked with me, the rules really faded into the background and it has felt like we are investigating paranormal activity. Tim has done a great job of mixing a very real small town, with some actual horrifying events, with a series of paranormal events. The system and style of play are well-matched with Tim's approach to GMing and his ability to weave open-ended narrative.

As I noted above, a key to this is accepting the premise of the GUMSHOE system. Wikipedia has a nice summaryThe premise is that investigative games are not about finding clues, they are about interpreting the clues that are found. So, instead of searching for clues, we are trying to understand the importance of the clues we have and their relationships to each other. Even so, we have investigate and interrogate, in order to have the clues at our disposal. The system comes into play when we can use our skills to help us understand the importance of the clues we have found.

While we are getting close to discovering the most important clues (and thus making sense of the pages of color-coded notes I have taken), our last session ended in a bedroom with twenty or so Ouija boards madly carved into the floor. We look up at the closet door, only to see it slowly open...