A game about gumshoes, trying to solve a case in a city where everyone lies. The GM prepares a mystery, writes its solution down and places a deck of cards on top of it. When all the cards are dealt, the truth comes to light. The Players introduce themselves. They have three stats, each of them starting at 0: Pain, Vice and Heat. The GM sets a scene, then deals two card to the player leading the scene. Their sum is the target number the player has to roll over with a d20 +3 for each other participating player. If they fail, the GM can shuffle one of the dealt cards back in the deck. Then a new scene starts. Every move below must be matched narratively. The player may damage their stats to gain +1d6 to their roll per damage. They may also escalate a scene: they take 1 damage and they are dealt an additional card. Face cards are Respites. They are instantly discarded and the player can heal 1 damage. The stats cap at 4 damage. When all the player’s stats are capped, they bust and drop off the case. If all players bust, the story ends.
This was designed with Raymond Chandler work in mind; stories about seeking the truth without caring about the consequences. Its mechanics were influenced by Evil Hat’s Don’t Rest Your Head rpg game.