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Solving Mysteries (a question of philosophy)

I’m not entirely certain how to ask this, so please bear with me.

I have almost all of the Tales from the Loop rulebooks and stuff, but have only read parts because I don’t want to ruin any surprise when I finally get to play. My thought was to play a few games first, then read the GM information second. I finally got to play TftL this evening, and I’m a little puzzled about the use of the term “mystery” to represent an adventure.

So, when my sister reads mystery books she says part of the experience is to try to figure out the solution before the detective does. When I read old “pulp detective” novels I feel like the reader isn’t supposed to figure it out, but instead is along for the ride as the detective goes through a path to get to the end. Two different philosophies of how a “mystery” is supposed to be solved.

In the TftL game I played tonight the Game Master described things at the onset as a “mystery” instead of an adventure and I had the impression that we were supposed to figure our who dunnit (or why or whatever), but when we played I felt like we were being led along for the ride until we got to the end. This may have been due to the fact that we were running late and the game store was closing, so perhaps the GM shortened things up so we could wrap up and go home. I never quite found out all of the details or how some of the leads tied into the final scene.

I guess my question is: what philosophy of mystery solution is usual for folks’ TftL games?

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I ran my first game of this last night and thought I’d check the TFTL section of this site - so I’m only just seeing your post.

Interesting questions!

I note you posted this in June. It’s now November. Have you played more since you posted? Any more thoughts on this?

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One key contrast between books (whether Chandleresque pulp detective novels or the ‘cosy’ mysteries of Miss Marple) and RPGs is that in RPGs the players are (usually) the protagonists, rather than third-party observers along for the ride, so in ‘mystery’ RPG plots, it’s usually the players that are the detectives (or equivalents), and who are therefore aiming to solve the mystery in that kind of context.

Additionally, to me the use of the word ‘mystery’ suggests that there is something to be ‘solved’, investigated, or uncovered, while ‘adventure’ suggests a possible thrill-ride where the aim is to survive, and you may or may not find out what the heck was actually going on by the end. Given the concept and setting of TftL, I’d be tempted to go more for mysteries for the games. Curiosity being one of the core traits of kids.

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