9 thoughts on “Has anyone ever run a ‘who-dunnit’ in DW?”

  1. I haven’t, but I figure since the game is very much lead by what the players contribute to the game then I would just run it by throwing out a lot of clues, letting the players make decisions, and running with whoever they think did it.  Make lots of NPCs with means, motive, and a few with opportunity and let the game build itself.

  2. An excellent example of what you’re looking for is the” Friends at the Table” podcast. Their Christmas special is a murder mystery, and its the most artfully done I’ve ever seen.

    Granted, it is not ‘pure’ DW, as the DM homebrewed rules from Sherlock into the mechanics

  3. A very basic structure.  Just ask yourself the basic questions to get the crime done and let the players fill in the gaps mid session.  Why would someone want to commit this crime?  Who would benefit from it the most/Second most?  What is the history that makes this crime significant (What the players know and what the players could logically assume in game)?  What proof is available but doesn’t directly point to anyone specifically, and what evidence does point to particular people?

    If you need some good setup I would recommend looking in the Deadlands Noir book.  They have a great mystery creation section.

  4. I think you could do a mystery game but you would have to do it in the sense of breaking the DW rules of never finding out during plsy. With a murder mystery you have to have the murderer and the clues and why the murderer is doing things. Also makes fronts a little weird.

  5. I think you can do a murder mystery with DW just fine, and it doesn’t require breaking the rules. Figure out who did it, why, where, and how. Sketch out the ither NPCs, their motives, their alibis, and whatever it is that they’re hiding (if anything) that makes them act suspiciously.

    Next, plot out an adventure front, with at least one danger (the murderer, probably) and a series of grim portents. What would happen if the PCs weren’t there or if they do nothing? If you’re feeling ambitious, make a custom move or two, probably something about interrogating certain suspects.

    Leave blanks as fits your comfort level, but otherwise: that’s your prep. Exploit it! Remember that “play to see what happens” doesn’t mean “make everything up on the fly.” It means “don’t have a pretedermined story in mind.”

    Play using the rules as provided. If they investigate, use Discern Realities. If they think they know something, have them Spout Lore. If they use leverage to get a suspect to talk, Parlay. Be generous with information and clues, based on what they look at and what questions they ask and your prep! If they immediately jump to the right conclusion, great! Don’t throw up arbitrary roadblocks. Just ask them what they do and follow the fiction, the rules, and your prep.

  6. I once “accidently” ran a murder mystery with DW that worked out well. The heroes were inquiring about something in a town and I mentioned several recent events that had happened (which were made up on the spot). One of those events was the apparent suicide of a town elder a few days past.

    The players instantly got interested in that and began an investigation (totally not what I had in mind for the session!). So I let Dungeon World do the work. I threw out interesting tidbits and let players Discern Realities and Spout Lore. The players began putting together “clues” and making speculations. I listened to them and added bits and pieces of info that made sense based on their various dice rolls and my effort to keep things interesting.

    Bear in mind I had no idea who committed the murder, how they committed it, or why it was committed! But as we played the five of them crafted an incredibly intricate and exciting murder mystery, or course to my players they simply thought that they had unraveled MY intricate and exciting murder mystery! 

    Ultimately their speculations and table-talk put me in the position of figuring out their mystery, not the other way around. I would just make slight adjustments to their lines of reasoning to keep them thinking, “The wounds could be from a small blade sure, but several animals have similar claw patterns.”

    As the session progressed I would simply jot down a note for anything they determined was  “fact”. I just made sure that each fact could potentially work with the other facts and let the players figure out how.

    By the end of the night they had solved (created) the mystery and crafted an amazing plot-arc that became the focus of the next several gaming sessions. It worked out amazingly by simply relying on DW’s innate mechanism and the players’ limitless creativity. 

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