Nicest Detectives is a low rules ttrpg for playing detectives who are clumsy, have families, and still find a way to succeed (whether that changes the world or not, is open to interpretation). For reference, this game is about detectives like those in The Nice Guys (2016).
You can play detectives from any timeframe, as long as everyone agrees to be in the same timeframe.
To Make Your Detective
Each detective has three stats: Person, Family, and Luck. To create a character, distribute 7 points across these three stats. The max any single stat can be is 6. Having a high Person means you are skilled and have a good vibe to what you do. Having a high Family means that you have good relatives, dependable friends, and resourceful colleagues.
Whenever either Person or Family hit 0 after a roll, raise Luck by 1. Having a 0 in Person or Family means your burnt out or you have stressed your relationships as far as you can until you put some time into them. Gain 1 in the stat you work to improve/repair.
There are a few times when players roll dice, here they are:
- When your detective needs weapons, gear, resources, then they roll d6+Luck+FAM (family).
- When your detective needs to meet contacts, figure out what a clue means, or shmooze it at a party, then they roll d6+Luck+PER (person).
These are examples of two types of actions where stats are added to the dice roll as modifiers. Even without modifiers, all actions are rolled using this rule…
When a P.I. acts, roll LUCK (d6+luck). P.I.’s always succeed (unless the player doesn’t want to). P.I.’s take the changes to their stats based on their roll result, & pick which tags are used to flavor their actions. The other players will ask questions about how it goes down. The GM will play as anyone met, and describe what happens when things go wrong.
- On a 7+. +1 to BOTH FAM & PER. Choose flawless or stumble.
- On a 6. +1 PER. Choose tricky or some say skilled.
- On a 5. +1 FAM. Choose stealing helped or family’s supportive.
- On a 4. +1 to ANY STAT. Choose Vices can be virtues, or tactics can be distracting.
- On a 3. -1 PER. Choose underestimated or ignored.
- On a 2. -1 FAM. Choose bad at cover ops or got a cousin.
- On a 1. -1 BOTH. Choose sacrifice or failure.
Max out a Stat
Whenever you max out a stat, something big happens. Something BIG. For luck this means that you skip ahead in the adventure, luck is reduced to 0 when this happens for the detective who triggers the skip in the adventure.
For Person, it means that your image cannot be tarnished, it is perfect in how it is. If anything goes against your character, or something comes up that is out of character, you risk your whole persona falling apart. If it falls apart, then person goes down to 1. Circle it, you can’t roll person until you make a big show about who you really are.
For Family, it means that your family relies on you and you rely completely on them. If something threatens them because of your work and you can’t get there fast enough or comfort them, then they need a break. If this happens, then family goes down to 1. Circle it, you can’t roll family until you do something for them.
Whenever a new session is started, rearrange and redistribute your stats scores using what you currently have on your character sheet. If you do this, the session starts with the player describing an event that occurred between sessions to explain why one of the stats increased or decreased.
The core rules of Nicest Detectives is that players succeed. Detectives succeed until the players decide they aren’t succeeding. The drama comes from the mysteries that are being investigated and the people they are up against. Adventures are supposed to be planned as most mysteries would for role-playing games. A mix of antagonists and clues and hints.
When making up a clue, give it some hints to where it leads. These hints can only be gotten when the players find and talk to the person it is linked to. The clues are items and documents. The clues always lead to the answer for the mystery, about who did what and why they did it.
Getting enough clues and making sure that no one is able to pry them from your hands is how you solve the mystery and win the game.