How to write a murder mystery party : #3 Organising the party

So, from our last blogs you should have some tips on choosing your setting, writing your victim’s profile, writing your cast of characters and giving each of them motives. You should also have a profile for your Detective to lead the investigation as well as some pointers on choosing your Murderer. But how do you turn all these details into a playable scenario? In this blog we’ll be covering how to bring some structure to the scenario and what your guests need to know before, and during the party.

Stationary Supplies

Yep, you’re gonna need a lot – MMs are pretty paper intensive although emails and Facebook can help you save the forests.

You’re going to need supplies for invites, character profiles, envelopes, character objectives and accusations (maybe even name tags if you have a lot of guests). If you’re like me and you like a bit of crafting, you could make authentic tea stained paper (depending on the setting of the party!) or hand write letters to guests in a cursive style.

Before the Party

Confirm attendees before sending any character info out – you may need to re-jig some characters if there are fewer guests than you anticipated.

Once you have your confirmed guests, draw a spider diagram of all the characters and how they might be aware of the others – that way you can then choose who needs to know what about others. You could also make a family tree if a lot of your characters are related.

Guests need AT LEAST 2 weeks to read their character sheets and prepare costumes, give them much more time if the costume needs are more specialist. Your information pack for guests should look a little like this:

  • Character profile including all details you feel are important
  • An introduction to the setting and fictional location of the evening
  • Info on other characters they are related to, married to or in a relationship with – even people who might be best friends or have regularly come in to contact with each other through social circles or work. Perhaps there’s a notorious gambler, drunk or perv (that’s always fun to write in with a group of friends) or maybe a war hero, relation to royalty or eligible bachelor.
  • Give your guests an idea of how the game will be played, you can use the info below to describe how they’ll know what to do & when.
  • You can also include costume suggestions, either historical photos or DIY ideas.

The Order of the Night

A quick example of how you might play out a night – you can swap it around as you see fit. In essence, you need sections to your night where guests receive their objectives to create scenarios or respond to revelations. 

Introduction

Welcome the guests to the room, house, ship, saloon, forum, arena, palace, restaurant – wherever you are! We’ve found that this always works best if delivered by someone in character but that doesn’t necessarily need to be you, or the Detective.

Set the scene, serve food, drinks, play music  – this is the crucial awkward phase that needs to be minimised as much as possible as people settle into their characters.

Objective 1 It is at this point that all guests should be given their first objective(s) which give them actions, topics of conversation or specific people to talk to.

30 – 45 mins depending on how well your characters and/or guests know each other


MURDER

Shock, horror someone got killed – this doesn’t need to be a big played out scene, in fact we’ve never done that and have always had the Detective character announce the murder.

Objective 2 All guests receive their 2nd objective to help them start sleuthing. It is at this point that the Murderer will be told they dunnit in their envelope.

30 mins max


Revelation

Previously we’ve had characters have a big argument to reveal a shocking truth or the cause of death confirmed so as to rule out some characters. You could plant some evidence for guests to find or have characters let slip their potential motives or feelings towards the victim.

Objective 3 Guests should be given their final objectives in preparation for accusations.

45 mins max


Evidence & Accusations

All the guests will gather and present any evidence or suspicions they have – everyone will then vote on who to accuse as well as best dressed, best acting, best accent…anything you like!

The Detective will announce the person with the most votes and formally arrest them – it is at this point that the Murderer can reveal themselves and read out the best dressed etc votes.

20 – 30 mins


Total: 2 – 3 hours

That’s about it for the running and organisation of the night, we’ve slightly glossed over the details of character objectives this blog, despite them being really important. Read our next blog to find out more.

Next >

Remember to subscribe to In Other Worlds to keep up to date on all our posts! If you’re working on your own MM Party and would like to share your stuff we’d love to hear about it.

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