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"Imaginary robbers should play a part" [ABBE]

Whether it be television, movies, board games, or computer games, there's no denying the abundance of Sherlock Holmes themed entertainment available. Now a new Kickstarter project adds role-playing games to the list.


As the description of Baker Street: Role Playing in the World of Sherlock Holmes says, “In this Victorian-era RPG, you become an investigator working out of 221B Baker Street solving cases for Dr. Watson.” Sherlock Holmes is missing and presumed dead, but crime doesn't stop and the police are as out of their depth as ever. This is where you, oh fortunately placed and conveniently trustworthy investigator, come in.

If you are completely unfamiliar with role-playing games (RPGs), the basic idea is that each player creates a character that they then 'role-play,' typically by amassing a set of statistics (scores) that they then use to perform actions in the game. For example, if I want to play a character who is particularly charming, I could give that character a high Charisma score. When the character tries to charm his/her way past the palace guards, that Charisma score would determine if I succeed or not. A roll of a die or dice adds an extra element of chance; occasionally, characters pull off actions that would otherwise be impossible. Other times, they fail when it should have been easy.

"Baker Street" seems to work on the same basic level as any other RPG. In order to create a dynamic gameplay that reflects the investigative process, they've added a few unique features; a special Sherlock die, investigation scenes, threat meters and social status. The Sherlock die adds an extra layer of randomness to completing tasks. Roll a Moriarty, and you’re in big trouble. Roll a Sherlock, and you’re bound to succeed. Keep up your social status, or you may lose your connections. The longer you take to solve a case, the higher the threat.
The Sherlock Die
A sample character
The heart of the game is in the investigation scenes, which the Kickstarter page describes this way:
"Investigating a scene is the driving engine of this game. The trick is to get enough clues fast enough so that the criminals don't have enough time to get away or further their plans. Played in a series of rounds, Investigation Scenes have investigators making Observation, Reason, and Deduction Skill Rolls to uncover clues, weed out false clues, and uncover possible leads to help them in their investigation."
The reason I find RPGs entertaining is the role-playing part. It's like a strange sort of improvisational theater within the guidelines of your character's scores. With the right group of people playing, these Investigation Scenes could be great opportunities to get into character and delve into the case. Of course, it’s impossible to tell how well “Baker Street” is going to work without actually playing the game, but it's at least intriguing enough to be worth trying out. If this is the sort of project you'd be interested in supporting, you have until March 16th to back the project.