Everybody has got a favorite sleuth. Benedict Cumberbatch, I am sure, has brought over a whole nother generation to loving the insightful and misanthropic Sherlock Holmes. Jessica Fletcher would likely give Miss Jane Marple a run for her money if it came to a contest of popularity. I feel sure, somehow, that Nancy Drew would beat the Hardy Boys, cold. But that may be due to a gender bias on my part. I'm not sure how many people know Goldy Jackson, from A Rage in Harlem, but after reading Chester Himes' novel, he is now very high on my list. And the fearless Miss Phryne Fisher is a heroine that none should miss.
So, what makes them tick? What gives them that je ne sais quoi? How can we say what makes them just exactly who they are? Each of them, of the best, has a personality that makes us love (or possibly hate) them. It at least makes us feel passionately about them: John Luther's rage, Jane Tennison's dispassion, "Dangerous" Davies' discomfiture, Frank Pempleton's philosophy, Jim Rockford's suaveness, Columbo's absentmindedeness and Christopher Foyle's laser-sharp brevity. Marlowe's humor and Sam Spade's turn-on-a-dime callousness. Fish's grumpiness.
Games can tell us. A character sheet is a personality profile. Potentially, a lens through which we view the inner workings of these characters, and the shape and structure of their investigation which make up the texture of the mysteries. The things that keep us coming back for more.
So, I offer you the Joesky Coin* of the Last Chance Noir blog. Every couple of weeks, I'll write up a detective in game terms. Translated into the paradigm of the Last Chance Noir game and one other role playing game (or board game, on occasion).
The opportunity here is three-fold:
- We get to do a bit of psychological forensics on these iconic characters
- We see how different games carry and represent the same kinds of information, and what they create by way of tools and pointers for the players to craft a story with
- And we see how players and designers of role playing games engage in narrative analysis as a matter of course, and what the implications of that may be
But mostly, it's because it will be fun.
These are for review and research purposes, under fair use. No characters so mocked up will be sold. Licensed characters in current RPG use will not be adapted except with permssion of the copyright or license holders as appropriate.