GUMSHOE typically divides investigative abilities into several categories. One category— interpersonal abilities—is devoted to how you interact with other people. As written, these abilities work perfectly to emulate the kinds of interactions you see in typical investigative fiction, from flirting in a speakeasy to grilling a suspect in an interrogation room.

But in games that include virtual spaces like the global networks or Matrices of cyberpunk, some interpersonal abilities require special attention to make them work when the investigator isn’t “in the flesh.”

The key to adapting these and other abilities to different contexts is description. Both the GM and players should mold their descriptions of actions and effects to the scene. If you are interacting with an NPC in virtual space, you should describe how your using your interpersonal abilities appropriately.

This shouldn’t be a barrier to using the abilities in these contexts, though. GMs should be willing to accept good faith descriptions of how these abilities could work online. Unless a description would short-circuit the mystery, it should be just as effective as using the ability in person.

Hacker in Virtual Space