Against the Unknown – the low-prep GUMSHOE game

By on 22 January 2015

Hardboiled detectives. Wartime spies. Investigators of the uncanny.
Such are the intrepid heroes of AGAINST THE UNKNOWN!

Against the Unknown is a standalone RPG using a streamlined take on the GUMSHOE system.

Features include:

  • Quick character generation: background cards provide skill packages so that you can create the character you want and ensure a range of key abilities across the group.
  • Unified abilities: all used diceless for investigative purposes, and added to die rolls for general tests.
  • Intuitive tracking of physical and mental harm (Damage and Shock): players can voluntarily have their characters suffer harm to boost die rolls – will you put your body or sanity on the line to succeed?
  • Compatibility with existing GUMSHOE materials: Got a scenario you want to play? Against the Unknown helps you get up and running without delay.

Against the Unknown is available as a pay-what-you-want PDF, or as a black & white softcover book.

About Dave McAlister

Dave has been roleplaying for over 30 years, having played and/or run most mainstream systems with the espionage genre being an early favourite. So much so that, in 1999, he started Modus Operandi. That same year he joined the Sarbreenar “Living” campaign team as their plotline controller before moving across to the Living Spycraft campaign team (as UK Regional Branch Director) in 2003. 2003 also saw the birth of UK Role Players as well as Dave’s first freelance writing appointment (co-writing World Militaries and consulting on both US Militaries and Battlegrounds, all for Spycraft).

Since then, Dave has concentrated on supporting the UK gaming scene. He has organised and run several small, one-day, events and was the RPG Area Manager for Gen Con UK in 2004. His current favourite systems are Dungeons & Dragons (specifically 5th Edition), Savage Worlds and Cinematic Unisystem. He has a (currently neglected) blog at and runs a D&D 5e SRD website at

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