Crimes People Play

Crimes People Play

Crimes People Play is a free pencil and paper roleplaying game by the co-author of Lost Souls and Legendary Lives. In Crimes People Play, you and your friends play a colorful group of detectives out to solve baffling mysteries.  It features an open ended storytelling system that gives power to the players.

Author's Note

Marquee Press never got around to publishing Crimes People Play, but it was a favorite of the play testers. The rules changed almost weekly, yet the game was always fun. In the late 1990s I posted a version of the rules that used a stripped down version of the ART. I have since re-worked the rules from scratch to make the system more collaborative and to address some of the things I thought were weaknesses in the old system.

Naturally I've retained the semi-diceless philosophy pioneered in Lost Souls and Legendary Lives, but I've now replaced the ART with a die rolling mechanic.  As a personal preference, I thought the core mechanic would be more fun if it went from cross-referencing values on a table to meaty fistfuls of dice. While it's debatable whether its easier to use, its certainly unique and the probability curves it creates are very pleasing.

The other big change to the system is that all difficulty adjustments are added before the roll is made. That way, what you roll is what you get. A Great roll is always Great with no column shifts to make it something else. Everyone at the table can now anticipate an appropriate outcome based just on the roll.

Front-loading the difficulty also allowed me to simplify opposed rolls. Lost Souls and Legendary Lives had narrators counting the columns between the target and the result and doing math in their heads to figure things out. Now all the narrator needs to do is set the difficultly and interpret the outcome exactly as it is rolled.  Good is always good, Poor is always poor.

The new system also allows for simplified NPC management. NPCs don't need a full slate of abilities. They reveal themselves through the difficulty modifiers they present to the players.

Lastly, in an attempt to make the game more collaborative, I've distributed some of the narrator's processes. Players decide when a specialty applies, they get to narrate the best results, and they participate in awarding experience. They can even affect the game environment and what's found in it.

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