Creating Your Own Mysteries (using a framework)

  • Mystery Framework Google Doc Template: I’ve made a draft google doc template for people to create their own mysteries. New designers (or Facilitators) can it use when writing mysteries and have layout done so one could easily export and sell their work on
  • The following is a list of components that you can use to create your own mysteries for Liminal Horror. Making sure you have entries for each will mean that you have a good framework for sessions. Leave space between details and be ready for players to think creatively and take the story in unexpected directions. Mining your favorite media (film, novels, comics, manga, art) or using the Spark Tables can be a great way to kick off your prep. I have a mystery call Plague of Frogs that can be used as an example.

Mystery Framework

TOUCHSTONES Create a list of films, games, comics, or novels to help anchor the tone and act as visual reference for the mystery.
CONCEPT Write a clear and succinct concept statement. If it is too confusing, that may mean you need to edit some of the other variables in the mystery.
FACTIONS & THEIR GOALS List out the initial factions and their goals. Use the agendas to inform NPC reactions in and out of play.
DOOM Clock Create a baseline sequence of events that will happen if the investigators don’t intervene. Actions taken by the PCs change the progression of the DOOM clock. Changes to the DOOM clock should consider the goals of the factions at play.
Custom Fallout Stress Fallout is one of the ways that the specific themes and aesthetics are reinforced at the table. Creating Fallout that is narratively evocative, and binds the players closer to the weird is key. Use the Core Fallout table as a guide and create some custom entries specific to your mystery.
HOOKS Create multiple entry points that could be used to entangle the table in the mystery.
POTENTIAL CLUES Create a non-comprehensive list of potential clues that players can discover. When thinking about the mystery, think of tangible clues that the investigators can find.
NPCs Create a list of important NPCs with their stat blocks. Use the Paranatural Bestiary for some example monsters or create them using the Creating Monsters Guidance.
LOCATIONS Decide on a few important locations and write some descriptions for them. Draft some rough maps of locations as a way to anchor investigators during play.

Aspects of a Crime/Mystery:

  • The anchors: The victim, the event, the malefactor
  • Crime Framework: Means, Motive, Opportunity, Next Moves
  • Threads binding them together (red string): Clues, traces, witnesses
  • Final piece: connection to the paranatural.

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Liminal Horror was written and designed by Goblin Archives