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DayDreamer

Murder Mystery game [signup here]

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This is a game I've attempted to devise, and due to its nature and involvement required, it would likely replace the Mafia game, as otherwise it would be akin to having two Mafia games going at once, in terms of participation required.

This has been made up from scratch, and so I can't yet say how well it may work. Additionally, it is still quite open to modification, and indeed I'm hoping the collective eyes of those checking this out will be able to fine tune this into a great game.

Also special thanks to Sean for help with hammering out many of the mechanics and details, and to HH for helping with many of the room items.


Murder Mystery
(please save your applause for my revolutionary game-naming skills until the end of my post)

This is a game that stems from a desire to make the Mafia games more akin to a murder mystery. The most basic comparison is to Cluedo - this is a game with characters, rooms, and objects, and one of each will be involved in every murder that occurs. People often point out that in the Mafia game, there are no definitive clues, only informed guesswork - this will be a game where there will be definitive clues. It will be possible to narrow down suspects to the murder with 100% certainty, if the murderer is not careful.

The game takes place in your typical victorian mansion. There will be a number of rooms (somewhere in the order of 10, maybe more or less as the number of players dictates), and each of these rooms will contain several to a dozen items and features. The room contents will not be known to players initially. Players will be assigned, at random, specific characters who they will play. These characters will have a very basic bio, one-liner descriptions and personalities, so there will be ample room for those who wish to get into character and do a bit of light RPing as they play. The characters will also have three "capabilities" (strength, agility, intelligence), which will be rated either Strong, Average, or Weak. Each character will be Strong in one ability, Average in one, and Weak in one (generally this will conform to the character archetypes - the little old lady isn't going to have Strong strength). Some characters will also have "traits", which will bestow upon them additional abilities (such as the "observant" trait, which will affect certain actions that are realistically tied to observational skills IRL). Additionally, there will be several characters (depending on the amount of players) designated as "targets": the murderer must kill all the targets to win the game. Generally, targets will not have any traits - so the murderer is free to choose to murder non-targets whose traits may threaten them, or to focus on rushing through their actual targets.

Every player has the same basic Night Phase action: investigating a room of their choice. Upon investigating a room, the player will be PMed a list of SOME of the items within the room. Certain traits may define what or how many items are revealed to them (some characters may have eyes only for obviously dangerous things like blades, while others may have an eye for the ingredients of potential combination weapons). Some characters may also have traits that reveal additional features of the room, such as whether others have investigated it already, or whether anything has been taken from it. During the Day Phase, players will elect one room, by popular vote, that they all will investigate together as a group - this room will have its entire contents and history revealed to all players - it will be treated as every player using their traits on it at the same time. During the Day Phase, players will attempt to pool their individual information to hunt for clues (such as missing items), as well as try to weed out anyone lying about room contents or other discoveries.

The Murderer will get to investigate a room during the night as well, however, they will also get to commit a murder in any other room they wish. Murders may be committed with items the Murderer has acquired (the murderer will also start with a special hidden item that they may use only once for a murder), or any items or features discovered in the room the murder is to take place in. Most items will have requirements to their use - to kill someone with a hammer, the murderer will need average or higher strength rating. To strangle someone, the murderer's strength must be higher than their victim's. To drug someone, the murderer will have to have higher agility rating than their target (and additionally, once someone is drugged, they may then also be strangled without the need for the required strength rating advantage, since they can no longer fight back). There will be combination items as well, which will be open only to those with superior intelligence (there is both the possibility for mustard gas, as well as a fertiliser bomb, at the current stage. Some combinations have special effects - a homemade bomb will destroy the entire room it is used in, destroying all items and evidence within. Such items will also be able to be used in an empty room, consuming the murderer's chance to kill someone). Items used in murders may be kept with the murderer afterward, left at the crime scene, or ditched elsewhere. There will be the ability to Search a player, during the Day Phase, by popular vote, and so a murderer must choose whether they can risk being searched, or whether they can risk leaving the item at the scene (obviously once the murder weapon is known, the murderer's strength/agility/intelligence may be guessed at, allowed the suspected to be narrowed down). Additionally, if the Murderer happens to investigate the same room as another player, they may choose to try to plant an item on that player (a good way to dispose of a murder weapon and incriminate someone else). However, there will be a few characters with a trait that makes them immune to having items planted on them, and this trait will remain a secret. So the murderer must decide whether they want to risk the plantee having that trait. If the target does have that trait, they will be informed of the attempt to plant something on them, and the attempt will fail. This will also result in the murderer not being able to investigate the room, and so if they are asked for their findings the next day, they may be in trouble unless they can lie convincingly and nobody can disprove them.

The game ends when the murderer is identified. 50% of living players must agree on a suspect in order to lock a suspect in. If the suspect is correct, the innocents win. If incorrect, the murderer will get a free kill with no evidence left behind (the victim will mysteriously disappear without a trace).

To frame this simpler, if you look at it like a board game, the innocents will get to make 1 move per night phase, to a room of their choice, which they will inhabit and investigate until the day phase. The murderer will get to make 2 moves per night phase, one room to murder in, and one room to investigate and inhabit. Additionally, there may be secret passages. If a person chooses to investigate a room with a secret passage, they may get an extra "move" that night phase, allowing them to investigate a second room.


This is what I have so far (Sean correct me if I've forgotten anything we worked out). I believe its at a playable stage, and so now it is presented to the public for feedback and questions. It may seem rather complicated reading through my wall of text about it, but in practice it should be pretty simple to play, with plenty of room for depth of tactics to keep things interesting.

The victorian mansion theme is just the most basic setting to start with, but if this works out, then in future there's plenty of room for variations like we've been having with the Mafia games (although Sean gets dibs on hosting the second game of this, assuming this first one hosted by me works out).

So yeah, bring on the comments and suggestions. I have pretty much plenty of items and all the rooms worked out so far, although any more implements of murder anyone thinks of will be welcome (I'll be cutting some and rearranging some from my current lists, so that those who have helped so far don't have an unfair advantage, although really guesswork will be possible because rooms will have stuff in them that is mostly logical - billiard balls will always be in the billiards room, but only IF they are an included item in the game). Character traits are perhaps the thing most in need of suggestions, as well as any balancing tweaks to the mechanics.

 

 

Signups:

- Seanzilla

- Trioctium

- Kyo

- Valentine

- DragonGuard

- Ethereal

- Bleck

- Noia

- ack!

- Pain

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I approve of this message.

 

Also I don't think you missed anything  B)

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welp

This game sounds intricate as hell.

i like it

 

I don't think I have any earth shattering insight to offer, but if you're willing to take traits above the standards qualities needed for proper crime solving (observational skills/ deduction skills/ speed to gtfo in face of danger), it could potentially add a bit more depth to both the game and characters involved.

 

Maybe you could use clumsiness as a trait, which causes more clues to pop out after a murder. Or luck, which allows one chance to escape a potentially deadly situation.

Psychopath, kill two people in a turn etc.

Could be a mixture of good and bad quirks, for variety.

 

Yep

My $0.02

 

:unsure:

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Not a bad idea actually.

Also while it seems intricate, the amount of options available to a single player will be pretty simple. The murderer's job will be as intricate or simple as they can think to make it. But a regular innocent will basically only have to be picking a room to investigate each night, and helping working out any clues.

Basically aiming for a little more depth than the mafia game, but not too much. I'd like to keep it simple enough so it's easy to get into. This was just a big idea spurt to try to show how the overall game may work. When/if it actually goes ahead, I'll write up simpler instructions for players with only stuff relevant to their role, which will be much much briefer.

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Sounds good to me. 

With that many powerhouses backing this project, I'm pretty sure everything will all work out fine somehow  :lol:

 

One point I brought up when Sean was explaining the previous Mafia game to me was whether every participant will get the same amount of enjoyment from the game (the jedi/sith one, I think) I kinda felt that the innocents had less stuff to do. The baddies' objectives seemed more challenging as opposed to the innocents'.

 

What I'm getting at is : the Targets category seem to be relatively handicapped in comparison to the sleuth team & murderer. :I

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That's a good point. I think I'll try to give Targets at least one trait as well, something not too threatening but that gives them perhaps some more to do. The thing is I think there's more for all innocents to do this game anyway. Instead of just observing what's going on and weighing in on events, they'll also be choosing rooms to investigate, and reporting their own findings. That's the good thing I think, everyone will be useful even if just for helping find room contents.

Oh also I totally forgot an idea I got from Octy I think. Basically each day players will also be able to "talk" with one other player (or perhaps more depending on balance issues). Doing so will cause both players to learn one trait of each other's character.

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Yea, the addition of the crime solving this time round is a great touch. The 'good' side won't be that helpless this time round.

 

Time's idea sounds pretty great, too  :lol:

I'm all for upping the stakes with each turn, the tension would make for a pretty good ambience. 

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Oh this is something I never asked/you never told, but how many traits would each player have?

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I'm all for upping the stakes with each turn, the tension would make for a pretty good ambience. 

 

Yes that is the sort of feel I envisioned this to have, the classic tale of people being trapped with a murderer among them, and each death narrows the suspects. Especially because this time the murderer will be alone, and the the penalty for a wrong accusation by the majority may well be the death of their most valuable member (the murderer's free kill) both serve to make people have to be a lot more careful.

 

Oh this is something I never asked/you never told, but how many traits would each player have?

 

At the moment I'm thinking perhaps 3 or 2. Each character could have a positive and negative trait, and the non-targets could receive an additional positive trait to make them more threatening. It will ultimately depend on the traits devised.

 

This is doable.

 

 

Count me in.

 

Thanks for the expression of interest, I'm glad my explanation made sense to at least one person who didn't have prior knowledge of the game (I'm assuming Noia had been briefed at least a little by Sean).

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I feel like I contributed much more than what you mentioned, but on thinking back I suppose it was really just that.

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Actually yeah derp I forgot to mention HH kinda of conjured the whole idea by commenting that the Mafia games are just not like proper murder mysteries. And so I thought about why not and the lack of clues and then what if there were clues and then game idea.

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I like this whole thing myself. I suppose if there's enough room I could join myself.

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*applauds for your revolutionary game-naming skills*

 

This seems quite interesting. But giving targets one less trait than innocents, wouldn't they immediately know they are a target?

 

I guess targets are needed because there only is one murderer, but I think it would be more fun to have everyone think anyone could be a target.

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I'll just pop by here and express my interest for this game. That is all.

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This seems quite interesting. But giving targets one less trait than innocents, wouldn't they immediately know they are a target?

 

I guess targets are needed because there only is one murderer, but I think it would be more fun to have everyone think anyone could be a target.

 

I think what I'll do is give everyone 3 traits, and for targets their third trait will be simply an indication of the fact they are a target. Things like "Dark Past - this character has a shady background and no shortage of people who would wish them harm". And so if you "talk" to the same character 3 times, you would thus be able to find out whether they are a target or not.

 

I think ultimately the targets themselves need to know they are targets, because while they are in danger and lack a third useful trait, they could then try to use their status as a target to perhaps try to help incriminate the murderer. Instead of investigating rooms based on finding info, they could hide out in rooms that have much of their info revealed already, so that if they do get killed, there will be more for the survivors to work with to solve it.

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They could sacrifice themselves to be used as bait! Oooh. I'd also like to ask all players involved to do their best to capture the flavour of a murder mystery. Don't be afraid to roleplay loads!

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Oh so the murderer has to choose a room to investigate and possibly take some stuff, but they can't choose WHO to murder only WHERE to murder?

So it's like, I wanna go to the kitchen and I want to murder someone with the cat toy I found in last night, that murder will take place in the Bathroom. Something like that?

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Well they can choose who, but they'd have to know where they are. But yeah basically what you said, as far as what they can choose, they'd be targeting the occupant of a room rather than an individual. I'm not sure yet what mechanic to use to determine how the killer can know where people are, it'd be nice to have some strategy to that as well so the murderer must gather information about where people will be.

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I'd just like to say a few things - First, i'm definitely up for this. But I don't know if its been said or not - is this replacing the Mafia game or running alongside it? Because if it's running alongside, then okay. But also, I called dibs after DD for the next game, so if we're running them one after another, it'd be nice if we kept to that, as we've all followed dibs in order thus far. This looks like a great idea though, so either way, i'm on board. Sign me up.

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We probably shouldn't run the MM and Mafia games at the same time, but I don't think there's a problem with doing them one after the other. It'll probably be up to the person next in line for being Moderator to decide what game is played.

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