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MM1 - The Ransom 6-9p

Page history last edited by Anna Lazzari 13 years, 1 month ago Saved with comment



Murder Party 1 - The Ransom

(Lessons learnt - Keep It Simple and Stage IT -  )

What is a Murder Party ?**

You are about to participate to a MURDER PARTY. If you have never played in one, here are some guidelines to help you get started.

 You are going to be involved directly or indirectly in a crime with several other characters; inheritance, jealousy and passion, conspiracies, etc... can lead to a crime. Now it is your turn to solve the mystery or defend your character 

I hope you will enjoy solving the problem with and against the others by playing the character you have been given by the organiser.


Lesson learnt about the scenario: K.I.S.S. : (not too much room for improvisation) 

  1. Too many characters and intricacies can hinder the investigation especially when the game is played by non-native speakers. 
  2. The relationship between the Suspects needs to be well defined and detailed in all characters' notecards. 
  3. Timeframe needs to be well set and alibis need to included in the notecard. As part of a pre-game activity, suspects might want to include what they were doing at the time of the crime. 
  4. Remove the role of the journalist or Make him/her a non-player who gets information from the police to write a follow-up report on the murder to share with all players after the police disclose their findings.
  5. Vocabulary list + sample question list to players/Police to help with proper language register and add to the game 
  6. Instructions about interrogation questions to ask / question NOT to ask e.g.: did you kill him?
  7. [more comments on Scenario? - type here] 



What role ?

Your role will be described in the notecard given to you by the bailiff (organiser). It will be named after your character and will present your features and personality. Each character has an essential role to play in the plot so it is important to keep as closely as possible to the traits on your notecard, you might also have a secret agenda that will help fit in the main story.. However if the story is flexible and has many gray areas that can lead to different interpretations,  never lose track of the general aim of the story.  In any case remain in your character's profile and don't do anything he/she wouldn't do. If all players respect this unique rule, everyone will have fun. The ideal of course is to immerse yourself with the story and the environment. 

Lesson learnt about character development:

  1. Do not give names to the characters, keep SL names so players can recognise who they are dealing with during the game. 
  2. They might also choose to include what they are going to wear during the game to be easily identified by other players. More information can be added to the characters by players themselves
    • Should the suspects share their information? if yes what information? How much do they disclose to the Police during the game?
  3. Players might have to develop their own character as group work around a basic plot  so they can be totally immersed with their profile.
    • As above would this mean that they are united to play against the police as accomplices or they would need to keep any information they know about other suspects to themselves when interrogated by the police?
  4. Lying to the police/journalists made it too difficult for investigators to get proper clues. Suspects should keep to the truth if questions are properly formulated
    • what makes a good question? Refer to the Question list prepared by the organiser for the police?
    • Annette: What about the Five Ws? 
  5. [More comments on character development ? type here] 



Plot development ...

The plot I have chosen is a mini-murder especially written for beginners. It doesn't require any accessory and allows beginners to express their theatrical skills and roman noirs amateurs to solve a crime investigation in a limited time. You will start your character from when you arrive at the scene. Read all the documents given to you very carefully so you can understand all the events that will occur during the plot. The more you know the more fun it will be. You will soon realise that the nature of the relationships your character has with the others is extremely important as they are providing the structure of the story and allow the intrigues to develop. However remain prudent with people you will talk to as not all of them like you.

At the start of the game you will find out that a crime has happened. One of you will probably be the murderer. Don't hesitate to build intrigues and alliances to give life to the game. 


Lesson learnt about plot development and process: STAGE the process - one interview at a time

Prior to the game:

  1. Bailiff /organiser ensure all characters know who they are and have all documents in hand (homework required) by communicating privately 1/2  days beforehand
  2. Games guidelines and instructions are clearly defined to players
  3. arrriving at the scene, the bailiff explains the crime again and gives timeframe + what to look for 
  4. Setting for the police and suspects to sit 

During the game:

  1. Interviews are made public to all suspects and journalists
    • Text or voice? 
  2.  Interviews are not made public to other suspects and journalists
    • With voice on a location with small parcels (on Avalon? - Pete, Dev any info on this?) 
      • Annette: On Avalon the sandbox can be divided into 4 parcels (if you are in one you can't hear what is happening in the others). But there is also another place with the same characteristics (near the offices?). Also on Edunation, anyway, the square where I set up the Carnival exhibition, can be divided into different parcels. The problem might be that only the owner can do that.  
    • With text conference between players can be set up. CTRL + select friends --> IM/CALL - there is always a bit of delay to get the response up
  3. The Police interview one suspect at a time in one setting 
  4. If the journalist has a role he/she interviews suspects as they come out of the police office or while other suspects are being interviewed.
    • Karelia, Pawlus any feelings on the process for a journalist? 
  5. Annette: The police could also interview suspects privately and then hold a press conference. While the suspects are being interviewed, the journalists could be given the permit to explore the crime scene.

At the end of the game 





The 4 suspects: I am putting names here but this remains flexible..

  • 2 males  (you can change appearance)
    • Michael DeadMoon = Pete McConachie
    • David Goodlooks = DevLink Garside
  • 2 females (you can change appearance)
    • Marilyn FlowerPower= YT Upsilon
    • Violet Greenstain =  Annette Lionheart
  • 1 - 3 police officer(s)not gender specific - but human!
    • Chief Inspector Salambo = Osna Dennis
    • Inspector LolGun = Misy Ferraris 
    • Constable Magret =Su Nacht 
  • 1 - 2 journalist(s) not gender specific - but human!
    • Lisa WhitePaper = Karelia Kondor
    • Anton BlackPen = Pawlus Twine 
  • 1 plaintiff (organiser/coordinator of the game), might have an assistant if anyone volunteers to help. 
    • Bailiff Pandora = Cyb√®re


Now for the serious part: Discussion after the game ... If you have any questions/thoughts/ideas prior to the game, please add them here so we can reflect while playing then brainstorm after the game:


The following questions might help us reflect on our experience both as teachers and as language learners. The main points of reflection revolve around maximising natural language production through experiential and situated learning.

  1. Prior knowledge requirements - what material / scaffolding activities would you provide (if at all) to maximise flow in language production druing the game (and probably reduce anxiety)
  2. Social and/or performance anxiety - any anxiety before, during, after the game? What feelings did you get when you received your role notecard? what about playing another gender/non human forms?
  3. Environment - assuming that all participants have a good command of the viewer's functionalities (navigation/ camera controls and communication skills) how did the envirornment help and hinder your performance?
  4. Communication: Would you recommend text chat or Voice chat or both (to minimise technological disruption but enhance both written and spoken speech + text chat allows saving) 
  5. Role for the teacher?
  6. Any follow-up activities necessary? Assessment?
  7. Any other comments, please add... 



Just a quick brainstorm on my thoughts so far - pre game:-


1 - A meet up in-world to discuss the roles and rules of playing a game like this prior to the actual game might be a good idea.  (I've only every played a murder mystery game once, at a dinner party, and it was a bit bewildering, but that might have been the wine.)

2 - Feelings when I got my notecard - "OMG what have I done?" - "Why am I not a hippy, I have a hippy name?"  "What on earth do I wear?"  ;)

3 - Let you know.

4 - Both and video it (if it's a record you want).

5 - Let you know.

6 - Definitely a trial by jury.

7 - I am looking forward to it. 



Comments (5)

Anna Lazzari said

at 10:28 am on May 22, 2011

Edith. Yes, the whole thing needs some refining, but I loved every moment. Even the messiest.

Anna Lazzari said

at 11:21 am on May 22, 2011

Had problems in adding links. I will try to do that here.
Five Ws (everybody knows them but anyway...): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Ws.
The newspaper clipping generator: http://www.fodey.com/generators/newspaper/snippet.asp. At the beginning of the game (still RL), could be useful to create an article about what everybody is supposed to know.
Clue online: http://www.hasbro.com/games/en_US/clue/. Might give us ideas.

Cybère said

at 6:14 pm on May 22, 2011

Ciao Anna, Grazie mille for the information which I will add to a new page for visibility. If people are keen on adding and paying more murder scenarii, I will add a folder containing all the links, ideas and docs... Let me know :) I would also be keen on trying to stage the ransom again with people who haven't played so see viability. Any volunteers? Those who played can knowledgeably help with staging of course!! I will put all the docs soon. I need to make a few changes to character profiles. (a plaintiff is not a bailiff for e.g., and maybe add a few elements we discussed.
Thanks again for your contribution, anyone welcome to add to this page with comments (of course)! Toodle-oo

Cybère said

at 9:57 pm on May 22, 2011

Please read *Playing more murder scenarii of course... not paying

Anna Lazzari said

at 1:16 pm on May 23, 2011

You're welcome, Edith. I would like to be one of the volunteers for the repeat...

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