Almost all actions in The Bee Game fall under the rules of investigation. Investigation is done by asking questions (Qs). They may be literal questions asked of a person, or figurative questions asked of a place or thing, but in the end, detective work comes down to asking the right questions.
The number of questions that can be asked in an investigation are determined by how many detectives are present for it:
1 Detective*** = 3Qs,
2 Detectives = 5Qs,
3 Detectives = 7Qs,
4+ Detectives = 8Qs.
*** Remember, this is a dangerous, high-priority case! Because of this, the chief has ordered that all investigations taking place outside of the station must have at least two detectives present. The 1 Detective category can only be used for investigation performed at the station.
For example, with a team of three detectives, two detectives can go inspect the crime scene at the cabin, while one detective stays at the station to examine the pocket watch they discovered yesterday on the victim's body. In this case, the first pair of detectives would get to ask 5Qs at the crime scene, while the other detective will be able to ask 3Qs about the watch. Alternatively, the detectives could all go to the crime scene, where they will be able to ask a total of 7Qs, but would not learn anything new about the watch (for this action).
When Qs are asked by the detective team, the Qs must be divided as evenly as possible amongst the detective team. In the first example above, for the pair of detectives inspecting the location, one of them would ask three questions and the other would ask two. The detective examining the watch would ask three Qs.
Types of InvestigationEdit
There are six general types of investigation:
- Inspecting a location
- Interviewing a person (outside of the station)
- Questioning a person (inside the station)
- Examining a piece of evidence (inside station)
- Researching a topic/Making a phone call (can be inside or outside)
- Stakeout [special rules, see Stakeout section]
- Along with any other form of investigation that both the GM and player deem as reasonable.
Investigation in GeneralEdit
- Name Type of investigation and Object of investigation,
- Name detectives involved,
- GM familiarizes detectives with object,
- Ask a specific Q or specific thing to investigate,
- Receive detailed answer,
- Repeat until out of Qs,
- End of action for detectives involved.
After choosing a location and determining which detectives will be investigating it, the detectives show up at the location. [NOTE: If there are any other characters present at the location who might interfere with the inspection, use the rules below for Interviewing.] If it is a non-public location, they must gain permission from the owner or have a warrant to enter the location.
The GM starts by giving a brief description of everything at the location that is immediately obvious. The GM should not try to obscure anything with this description, but at the same time it should only be a basic description: anything that could be easily observed in a few minutes of walking around the location and looking around.
After this initial description, the detectives are allowed to ask Qs about the location. Each Q should be either a specific question about some aspect of the location or a request to examine a specific part of the location [i.e., You may examine the footprints in the grass, but you may not examine the entire yard in a single Q.]. After asking a Q, the GM replies with an answer, giving all the information that the detective would reasonably be able to observe (Which is a lot: these people are trained professionals.) Detectives cannot ask questions about another location. For example, if you find footprints leading into the woods, you cannot spend a question exploring the woods. Detectives would have to spend another action (not a Q) to inspect the the woods.
Once out of questions, the action is completed for the detectives involved.
Interviewing (People at a location)Edit
After determining who is being interviewed, where the interview will take place, and which detectives will be interviewing, the detectives show up at the location.
The GM starts by giving a very brief description of the location (not as detailed as when inspecting a location) along with a physical description of the interviewee. The detectives are then allowed to engage in a minute or two of small talk with the interviewee. This allows the detectives to feel them out, get a sense for their character, and learn innocuous pieces of information [like the description that is given for a location it is a basic glance at the person, i.e. not much depth, but reasonable breadth.]
Once the small talk has started to wind down (a few minutes at most) OR a detective broaches a question directly related to the case, the detectives begin to ask Qs [if a question is broached, the GM points out that it will count as a Q]. They may ask Qs of the interviewee or of the location they are in. Remember, since this is a person, the interviewee may lie or refuse to answer. Depending on their skill at lying and the question, a detective may or may not get a sense that they are not telling the truth.
It is important to remember that the detectives are in another person's space. If the Qs they ask are too intrusive (either of the interviewee or of the location), the detectives may be warned or immediately asked to leave. A Q used in such a way is lost, although occasionally information might be gained even though they have been rebuffed.
When interviewing, detectives may use a Q to ask the interviewee to come down to the station for further questioning. If the interviewee is friendly, they will usually agree to voluntarily come down to the station. If the interviewee is hostile, they will usually be unwilling to come down voluntarily. In either case, players may continue to ask the remainder of their Qs.
It is also possible to use a Q to arrest an interviewee, thus requiring them to come with you to the station for further questioning (or simply to hold them at the station). This immediately ends your ability to ask further Qs of the person or location for this action.
[If you arrest an interviewee when you have no evidence to indicate they have been involved in any crime, this will cause each detective involved to lose 3GC.]
Instead of an in-person interview, detectives may opt to conduct an interview via Phone Call. Phone calls are special in that only one detective may be involved in making them. The detective names who is being called. Generally, that person will be available to answer the phone call, but in certain cases they may be unavailable or avoiding taking calls from the detectives. If the detective is unable to contact the person, the detective loses their Qs for that action.
Assuming the detective gets ahold of the person, they are able to make small talk as in Interviewing and Questioning and then allowed to ask Qs. One of the Qs may be a request to come in to the station for Questioning. Note that this can only be voluntary; it is impossible to arrest someone over the phone.
Questioning (People in station)Edit
There are two ways for questioning to occur: with a voluntary subject or with an arrested subject.
Voluntary: The subject must be questioned on the action immediately following the action they were interviewed in.
Arrested: The subject may be detained for up to four actions after the action they were interviewed (and arrested) in. At the end of those four actions (if not before), they must be released unless formal charges have been pressed. If a detective formally charges them, they are then transferred to the county jail (or setting equivalent). They may be questioned in any of those four actions.
In either case, the questioning begins much like an interview. Name who is being questioned and the detectives involved. You are given a physical description (if needed), and are once again allowed to engage in small talk as the rules in Interviewing. The advantage of interviewing in the station is that the detectives may employ tactics.
Tactics represent the strategies detectives employ during a questioning to rattle the subject or otherwise cause them to surrender valuable information. Every interview subject will have precisely one tactic that is effective against them, chosen by the GM (who should base the decision on the personality of the NPC)There are four tactics detectives may employ. They are four distinct directions, and therefore each tactic has an opposed tactic.
The four tactics are as follows:
- Intimidate: The detective roughs up the subject verbally, maybe flips a table or throws the phone against the wall. Maybe he just calmly places his pistol on the table. Opposite of Comfort.
- Schmooze: The detective gets a little slick. He mentions favors that can be done, charges that can be dropped, or maybe he just drops stack of benny's on the table. Opposite of Appeal.
- Appeal: The detective goes after the subject's sense of honor and justice. He reminds him that lives hang in the balance, that the guilty party still roams free. Opposite of Schmooze.
- Comfort: The detective wants to be the subject's friend. He brings him food or coffee, reminds him that everything will turn out ok, and generally tries to butter him up. Opposite of Intimidate.
Each detective in the room may use one tactic for one Q they ask. If they choose the correct tactic, the subject is forced to answer the question truthfully, and admit to any one lie they have told the detectives during the present questioning. If they haven't lied yet, they'll tell the detectives so. If they choose an incorrect tactic (but not the diametrically opposed tactic), the subject answers as they normally would have. Notice that you do not directly find out if your tactic was the correct choice (although you may figure it out based on their reaction or the answer they give to the question).
If they choose the diametrically opposed tactic and the subject is hostile, the subject Lawyers Up. They refuse to answer any more questions until their lawyer is present, thus ending the action prematurely, and causing any leftover Qs to be lost. Detectives may choose to spend a later action questioning a subject who has Lawyered Up, however they will be unable to use tactics, and the number of questions they may ask is reduced by 1. The present lawyer will also not allow the subject to self-incriminate and may interject or otherwise disturb the questioning in any manner deemed situationally appropriate by the GM.
If the subject is voluntary and the detectives employ their diametrically opposed tactic, they immediately ask to leave. At this point you have the option to arrest them, and thus continue to hold them at the station, although they immediately become Lawyered Up. Otherwise you must release them. [Once again, if you have no evidence to arrest them on, each detective involved loses 3GC for arresting an innocent.]
Examining (Evidence in station)Edit
If a piece of evidence was taken to the evidence lock-up previously (such as from inspecting a location or an interview), it is available for examination during future actions.
After determining what evidence is being examined and which detectives are involved, the GM gives a description of the object. The detectives are then allowed to ask Qs of the object as normal.
Researching (In or Out of station)Edit
Research is only done on issues that cannot be answered with a simple web search. If a question can be answered easily by looking on the internet or leafing through an encyclopedia, it does not count as a Q. [This goes for all forms of investigation and should probably be noted somewhere else… The GM simply answers such questions: general layout of city/town, weight of water, calories in a Coke, whatever.]
Instead, Research is for more complicated questions that might require real research effort: reading old newspapers in a library archive, inspecting tombstones in the graveyard, etc. Depending on the subject being researched, the GM gives a general description that will be given in the first minutes of cursory research. The detectives are then allowed to ask Qs as usual. Detectives may leave the station alone for purposes of conducting research. They may not investigate. If they choose to, they may request back-up from the station, forfeiting their right to conduct research, but affording them their due number of questions.
To enter non-public locations, a detective must be either given permission or have a warrant.
Obtaining a warrant is not a very difficult task, but a detective must have reasonable evidence to investigate the location or the person who owns/occupies that location. If it seems they have such evidence, they may apply for a warrant.
Warrant applications are allowed at the beginning of every action. Given that the detective has enough evidence, the warrant is issued at the beginning of the following action. A warrant may be used on the action it is issued or any subsequent action. A warrant may not be re-used. It is a one use object. However, it is possible to apply for another warrant if more evidence turns up later.
There is no limit to the number of warrants that may be applied for or issued on any action. That said, if you flood the court with needless requests, don't expect to be looked upon fondly.
In addition to direct investigation done by the detectives, they also have access (if working at a modern police station) to third-party investigation.
At the end of every day phase, the team may assign one third-party investigation from the list below. The results of this investigation come in at the beginning of the day phase after the following. (Thus, if the detectives tell the morgue to do an autopsy on a body at the end of Day 2, the report will be on your desk at the start to Day 4.)
- Autopsy: Does a full autopsy on a body, listing cause of death, general information on the deceased, and anything peculiar about the body.
- Ballistics: Gives ballistics information on a gun, bullet, or the use thereof at a crime scene. Results will depend on which specific pieces of information from the above are available.
- Crime Scene Sweep: If a location has been marked as a crime scene, the lab can do a sweep of it, looking for anything undetectable by general human senses: chemical traces, radiation, blood traces, etc.
- DNA Test: Given two samples of DNA, the lab will check to see if they came from the same person.
Notes and Open Questions/Issues/ThoughtsEdit
Alternative Rules for Non-Modern Third-Party InvestiagtionEdit
- Pre-1700, able to ask two Morgue Qs by having one D sacrifice both actions for a day to take the body to a doctor.
- 1700-1859, can ask two Morgue Qs by having one D sacrifice one action to bring a doctor in to examine the body. Also, a D can sacrifice one action to find out basic ballistics information.
- 1860-1925, Morgues from this time on are now in house and follow normal third-party rules. A D is still able to sacrifice one action to find out basic ballistics.
- 1925-1985, Forensics Labs are now in house as well. NO DNA tests, though.
- 1986-2020, Standard rules.
- Post-2020, AndroidHackTeam. Fuck me, who knows what that does. But dude, my CyberPunkDetective totally needs an AndroidHackTeam backing him up.
- I'm leaning more towards Derek's Countdown method. Having real difficulty trying to figure out a way to finagle "Hot Streak" mechanics into questioning without causing problems. At the same time, without "Hot Streak", it's stupid to have to use a question to see footsteps, then another to follow them to the yard,then another to follow them to the woods, and yet another to then look in the woods. I like the simplicity of the Qs, but I don't want to shut down the ability to follow your nose because of limited Qs. Is there some way to meld these things?
- I think the best thing to do here is throw some different methods at the wall and see what sticks and doesn't taste like poop. It's all well and good to theorize a set of mechanics (and any of us could), but it's probably more efficient to try some stuff out and see what feels right (or at least right-er) from the GM and/or player seats. This seems like good possible set of rules, and I think we should test it out and see when it feels good and when it feels not-so-good. -D
- Specificity of question determines specificity of answer? You're allowed to ask vague, general questions, but you get vague, general answers. Similary, hyper-specific implies great detail in answer, if it's following a clue. Or just require specific questions from beginning? Probably just require specific questions. But this will be an 'Andrew' kind of problem, as those kinds of players push the boundary of vague questions to get max info for least risk.
- I am definitely worried about blanket questions like "Does anything look out of place?" "Does anything feel off?" It'll probably be good advice to the GM to turn questions like these back on the player, as in "Was there something you wanted to investigate more closely? / Are you suspicious of something?" -D
- If going with Qs, Q #s, definitely something that we should consider adjusting up or down, depending on play-testing. Possibly even an explicit sidebar to allow for adjusting by GM.
- Can you leave on non-dangerous Research investigations without a partner? Or is it that setting foot outside the station means you need a partner? Is the library really that dangerous?
- Good question. I can see arguments either way. Don't detectives usually work in pairs anyway? I know there's the stereotype of "Good evening ma'am, I'm detective *blank* and this is detective *blank*. It might be worth seeing how it's done in the real world. -D
- If subject is sent to County Jail: should make it harder to question them, but still possible… Not sure what rules should be.
- They should be assumed to be lawyered up, and the lawyers should be bitches. We'll probably need a bit in the GM section on various bitchy tactics lawyers can employ (fucking fifth amendment, etc.) -D
- Certain cases of people coming pre-Lawyered to questioning?
- Definitely. Big deal folks who are used to dealing with legal matters (executives, mobsters, lawyers, celebrities) -D
- Should taking evidence at a location count as a Q? My gut says no. Need to figure rules on it, though.
- I think it'll probably come as part of a question, e.g. "I want to investigate the mirror" "You notice it's covered in fingerprints" "Send that shit to forensics" (1 Q spent total) -D
- Separate Phone Calls from Research? Yes, but I'm currently under the gun. Have fun, Bryan.
- He did. He did have fun. -D
- Inspecting tombstones counts as Location work or Research? Hurm.
- Probably location. Looking up the family history, etc. would be research. -D
- Crime Scene Sweep needs to be more specific and touch on a bit more stuff. It should hit things that cannot be detected by human senses, but not simply fix a shitty Inspecting of the location by the detectives.
- This should probably be limited by the detectives' direction, though. "Check the place for traces of hair, blood, etc." "Check the room for traces of bromium... I think there was a frat party here." -D
- What else causes GC to go down? [I just realized Bryan might have already said all these thing in his section on GC... oh well.]
- Taking evidence improperly (pickpocketing someone's wallet, stealing a laptop, etc.)
- Roughing someone up while interviewing/questioning them. (I think that should be above and beyond a simple tactic choice.) Not sure how to implement from current standpoint.
- Entering a location of interest without permission.
- Taking evidence from such a location.
- Archetypes? Tactics? Fuck me. I have no real idea what those are going to be, but I know what I want the rules to be: Four archetypes, four tactics. Each archetype has a good tactic, a bad tactic, and two neutral tactics, as detailed in the Questioning rules. No idea what the four tactics will be. Or how they should fit to the archetypes.
- My current best stab at four archetypes are
- Megalomaniac SOB
- Greedy Bastard
- Little Rat
- Tough Mother
- I'd advocate for simplifying it to 3 tactics/archetypes, because neutral results are boring. My proposed tactics/archetypes they would be effective on would be:
- Intimidate / The Weasel
- Butter Up / The Tough Guy
- Reason / The Brains
- I'd advocate for simplifying it to 3 tactics/archetypes, because neutral results are boring. My proposed tactics/archetypes they would be effective on would be: