View Full Version : Murder Mystery in a D&D Environment- AKA: I'm Putting Salami in Your Milkshake.

2010-10-16, 10:07 PM
When I say D&D, I am referring to either 3.5e or 4e, I feel like I could go any way with this.

So I have this idea floating around in my head that I just can't get down. The idea is, among some other adventures that PCs would run through, they end up winding up as detectives/jurists for sort of a one-off module type adventure. Nothing fancy, the king's been killed, here's eight people that our investigation has determined could have been the murderer, you will have to determine which one killed the guy. Oh and for added conflict purposes, if your decision is not unanimous, you'll be killed, too.

The catch being that I don't want there to be a determined murderer NPC. I want there to be enough evidence that each suspect could logically be the murderer, and whoever the PCs pick as the murderer "actually" is that criminal. In theory, there will be some lasting effect on who becomes the guilty party and the way the adventures continue to roll, but that's getting the horse in front of the carriage.

The catch getting me stuck on this is that, setting aside the nine thousand and five magical ways one could deduce who killed the king in five seconds and the five hundred mundane ways one could figure it out in ten seconds, I don't really see how I can tie anything on the character sheet into this. I mean, don't get me wrong, you can have a fun game of D&D just ignoring everything in the books, but if I want this to have lasting effects on the campaign as a whole, the challenges should have something that relates to the characters on a mechanical basis.

So I guess the problem is kinda twofold. What are the Win-The-Game buttons for this scenario that need to be dealt with (Sense Motive, Diplomacy, Speak With Dead, Zone of Truth, etc)? And what are some good nontraditional mechanical tricks that I could use in what's going to be primarily a social encounter (Given that D&D's not exactly the best system for social encounters)?

What I'm feeling as a "skeleton" plan is that the PCs will be locked up in a closed off portion of the castle with the subjects for interrogation for X days. Each day consists of three meal segments and two extracurricular segments. During a meal, PCs can choose who to sit by and can interview whoever they are sitting adjacent to. During an extracurricular segments, PCs can search through a room to loot the valuables find out any information that nobody would willingly speak of directly. Interactions between a PC and multiple NPCs could happen during such segments, as well. If, at any time before the X days are nearly over, the PCs are pretty solidly sat on who's guilty, that NPC might mysteriously get murdered and we'll have a double-murder on their hands.