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 Post subject: Clue?
Unread postPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 2:08 pm
  

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Dungeon Crawler

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so i was wondering if i could get a list of hints and tips of how to run a Mystery based game.

*how to set up the stories

*types of things to keep in mind at all times.

*How to keep the players interested and yet mystified.

*etc...

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 2:40 pm
  

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The hardest part is making the clues easy enough to follow but not to obvious that they reveal too much too soon.

I recommend going out and watcing the Clue Movie a few dozen times.

Also, go watch Mindhunters.


Ok, having said all of that, every crime is a very simple thing.

A does B for C.

Everything beyond that is intentional or unintentional misdirection.

There are many ways to screw around with the crime: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

Most criminals try and just disguise the Who. They figure if they can do that they can get away with it. Well, disguising the Who is the hardest part if you don't try and change any of the other factors. You can play with the When and give yourself an alibi. Or hide the crime itself by playing with What. If you change the Where or Why it puts everything else in a totally different context.

So, if we take a pretty standard crime, say John murders Jane outside her store for the money she was carrying at midnight by bludgeoning her.

If he wanted to change the Who he would wear a mask, maybe wear a weight belt and bigger shoes, etc.

If he wanted to change the What he'd have to change the overall scene which means changing all the other variables around.

If he wanted to change the Where he could dump the corpse somewhere else or restage the crime after cleaning up the first scene.

If he wanted to change the When he could use an electric blanket to artifically change her body temperature and change the time her watch stopped.

If he wanted to change the Why he might make it look like an attempted rape and leave some cash on her, or a vengece killing and drop a tube of lipstick or something.

If he wanted to change the How he'd have to disguise the bludgeon he used somehow or alter the injuries she received to make it look like a different bludgeon was used or to make it look like something else was done to her entirely.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 4:38 pm
  

Explorer

Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 5:53 pm
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Major things I try to keep in mind is the skill level of the players and to keep things fun for everyone. If you have a bunch of sherlock holmes dice-throwers sitting around the table, you'll have to step up your game, but if you've got a bunch of newbies that can't make it through a game of Myst you'll have to dumb it down

Also keep in perspective things the players would find and how they would be seeing the scene. Mystery and suspense go hand in hand most of the time...so make sure to describe the scenes from the characters perspective and what they'd see or not see.

Blandly saying "ok, so you spend a few mins and find clue a. Ok, so you made your skill roll, and clue a led to clue b"...BAD! :thwak:

It's impossible to overemphasize that the key ingrediant is the controlled release of information, how and when the PC's learn stuff. Having a clear finalized picture as to what actually happened and not building the mystery as you go along is a good idea too.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 5:27 pm
  

Dungeon Crawler

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One problem is that mystery adventures are railroady by nature. If they don't pick up on the clues, you have to hand them to them.

If you want to go by the Clue movie, have several endings in mind, then veer toward the ones the players favor. That way, they get to feel all smart and empowered and stuff. :)

Brian

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 8:06 pm
  

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make sure you dont have a plot or story elements that are set in stone so you can go with the flow. a lot of the time i end up with a cool mystery without trying because my players are sitting there trying to figure out stuff i didnt even intentionally put into the game. obviously you will want a plot and stuff that you can keep track of, but keep in mind the players have no idea what you are doing behind that gm screen and if you totally change your story back there, they will never know.

my players seem to think im an amazing gm sometimes, but it usually them playing so good lol


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 8:09 pm
  

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I hear that T0m. A lot of the time I steal the ideas my players present because they're either outright better or simply fit better with the currenlt game than what I had planned.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 10:39 pm
  

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BillionSix wrote:
One problem is that mystery adventures are railroady by nature. If they don't pick up on the clues, you have to hand them to them.

If you want to go by the Clue movie, have several endings in mind, then veer toward the ones the players favor. That way, they get to feel all smart and empowered and stuff. :)

Brian


good ideas.

present a mystery but leave it open ended that way after playing for 6+ hours and they make a decision you can "help it" if need be.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 11:27 pm
  

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gadrin wrote:
good ideas.

present a mystery but leave it open ended that way after playing for 6+ hours and they make a decision you can "help it" if need be.


Yeah, I got the idea from another game, but sadly Palladium's "no conversion" policy prevents me from going any further. It uses an odd system that allows the players to affect the plot about as much as the GM. One of those hep, modern Forge-style games. ;)

Brian

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 1:52 am
  

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Yeah, I was using the Agatha Christie (movie version) of Ten Little Indians for another space RPG, but I could probably adapt it to Phase World...

The main part is getting the players to sit still for some of this to happen as in Rifts/Phase World, you're going to have all sorts of technology or magic/psychic powers that could interfere with it running the course.

I figure on this getting down to 5 or 6 would be interesting enough for a gaming session...

Quote:
Ten little Mercenaries went up to the front line;
One choked on poison gas, then there were nine.

Nine little Mercenaries took the low passage gate;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.

Eight little Mercenaries traveling the heavens;
One didn't return and then there were seven

Seven little Mercenaries playing with sticks;
One blew himself in half and then there were six.

Six little Mercenaries playing with a hive;
A nanobee stung one and then there were five.

Five little Mercenaries going to Core;
One jumped the wrong way, and then there were four.

Four little Mercenaries going out to Class C;
A Sheol swallowed one and then there were three.

Three little Mercenaries walking under the blue;
A land mine got one and then there were two.

Two little Mercenaries sitting in the sun;
One got plasma burns and then there was one.

One little Mercenary left all alone;
He went and hanged himself and then there were none.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 9:10 am
  

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go check out the movie "murder by death". Now THAT is a mystery movie. And SOOOO many options. Every spot you see technology in the movie, have it happen by magic (unless you're running a world with tech, either modern day or rifts).

the biggest problem is psychics and magic can ruin a mystery game. They leave too many shortcuts. Players can view major events that happen. they can commune with the spirit of the guy that got killed. And plenty of other ways to work around the 'normal' problems of a mystery.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 11:54 am
  

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Palladin

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yep, Sixth Sense can be a toughie. It's not bad when he's surrounded by others "friends" who might be the target since it will ratchet up the suspense level or mood.

there's other tricks like the killer wearing a ninja hood during his attacks and booby traps which kill via remote.

the hard stuff is teleportation and keeping the players in the "kill zone" so to speak for the adventure. if one of them's a dragon hatchling or something then they can simply "run away". Same with changing into a bird.

I wouldn't mind some of the other powers, like Astral Projection to scout out an area or Carpet of Adhesion to trap a murderer -- especially since you can set up some "false situations" that look nefarious, then turn out to be innocent -- especially when someone else dies while that was happening.

It'd take a knowledge of exact powers and skills and then some planning.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 12:39 pm
  

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Hero

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BillionSix wrote:
One problem is that mystery adventures are railroady by nature. If they don't pick up on the clues, you have to hand them to them.


Not necessarily. If the characters miss the clues, or end up picking up on the wrong clues, they could always end up suspecting someone else of committing the crime. Gathering evidence on an innocent suspect could be a whole new adventure of it's own, and you can always go from there.

"Guys, I just heard over the police scanner that another robbery/homicide just took place at the X mansion"

"But how could Mr. A have done it, we've had him here answering questions all night!"

Mr A: "I told you I didnt do it!"

"Then who did.......?"

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 4:32 pm
  

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Dungeon Crawler

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ya "ten little Indians" was a great story..


thanks alot guys for your help.. :-D

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 12:16 pm
  

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Champion

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As with any game; know what has happened, how it happened and what could have happened

Crime of passion is usually messy
Professional Hit money changes hands, enemies and alibis
Serial killers are well serial

Motive Means Opportunity

villains are not all brilliant master minds who think of everything. Check their personality and their skills. SWhat would they think of what would they miss

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 7:47 am
  

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Well...my best suggestion is watch different movies/tv and take hints from there. Best "crime shows" to watch would be any of the Law and Order series. A great movie to watch is Usual Suspects and also Lucky # Slevin is a good one too.

but magic comes into a big factor withint hese types of games, so try and throw things off. Be it with a Mind Block, negate magic cloud, or others in that realm. Just use your imagination to the best of it.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 12:45 am
  

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keep it normal, when you throw the paranomral into it it gets cheap real fast epescially when no one ever dies of regular dagger to the back

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 3:20 pm
  

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Dungeon Crawler

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in a world like rifts where you have people like the mystics that can sense the supernatural and pin point their location, i would have to pit the characters against more mortal adversaries.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 12:46 am
  

Dungeon Crawler

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My view overlaps those of others that have posted, but has enough of a different view for me to throw it on the pile.

You need to understand your players and their characters if you're going to do this. If they are aggressive about solving problems, you will need to be ready for them to solve the mystery differently than you expect. You also need to be ready for this to happen if they have abilities like telepathy, telemechanics and object reading and are not stupid, inexperienced or passive.

Planning for aggressive investigators and psychics requires that you know a lot of detail about the circumstances of the mysterious incident(s) and the persons involved. You can have a script of incidents with clues that will lead them through the story, but they will likely take a shortcut to the end.

My solution to this problem is to have that planned sequence of events that lead the group to the end. Then decide whether your group will likely solve the problem on their own or whether they might just get bored investigating. If you think they will enjoy investigating, keep the tempo slow so they have time to figure it out on their own. If you think they won't do a good job of investigating or will get bored, speed up the tempo of events and make it more like a thriller, something the party has to survive through.


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