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    Canonfire :: View topic - L2 The Assassin's Knot
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    L2 The Assassin's Knot
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 22, 2019
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    Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:06 am  
    L2 The Assassin's Knot

    I read through this relatively recently. If it is not the first published murder mystery for RPGs, it is certainly one of the first.

    I have to ask, for anyone who has either run it or played in it, did you manage to solve the mystery? Given that all of the initial 3 leads are false, I can easily see players getting frustrated with it. It has the same problem that most murder mystery adventures have: it is clear to the writer how things are supposed to go, but while the GM has the overview of it, there is not a lot supplied to help them prod the players. I know, it is a 1st edition AD&D module and back then we didn't hold the hands of the players.

    I am currently running The Enemy Within campaign for some friends, and I find the mystery in Shadows Over Bogenhafen to be quite poorly done, so it has me curious about how others manage mysteries in their games. Also, I plan on putting some thoughts down on adapting parts of the Enemy Within to Greyhawk at some point.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: May 12, 2005
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    From: Woonsocket, RI, USA

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    Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:30 pm  

    Iíve never run the L series, though Iím quite familiar with it. I can tell you from a decade of running Call of Cthulhu that when running a mystery, you must be prepared to let the players fail.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:59 pm  

    I am okay with letting the players fail, but I think that setting them up for failure is another thing. I think that is where L2 and Shadows Over Bogenhafen end up failing to be fair.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 26, 2002
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    Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:51 pm  
    Re: L2 The Assassin's Knot

    LarethTheBeautiful wrote:
    I read through this relatively recently. If it is not the first published murder mystery for RPGs, it is certainly one of the first.

    I have to ask, for anyone who has either run it or played in it, did you manage to solve the mystery? Given that all of the initial 3 leads are false, I can easily see players getting frustrated with it. It has the same problem that most murder mystery adventures have: it is clear to the writer how things are supposed to go, but while the GM has the overview of it, there is not a lot supplied to help them prod the players. I know, it is a 1st edition AD&D module and back then we didn't hold the hands of the players.

    I am currently running The Enemy Within campaign for some friends, and I find the mystery in Shadows Over Bogenhafen to be quite poorly done, so it has me curious about how others manage mysteries in their games. Also, I plan on putting some thoughts down on adapting parts of the Enemy Within to Greyhawk at some point.


    Reading through L2, I had the same thoughts in wondering how the players were supposed to find any decent leads to get them started. It's one thing not to hold the players' hands, but it's quite another to leave them with almost nowhere to actually find the evidence.

    It might sound blasphemous to cite a Forgotten Realms source on this site, but I really like the adventure 'Murder Most Magical', which is one of four adventures in John Terra's "Four From Cormyr" 2E module. For one thing, the players are actually on site when the victim is killed, and can actually examine the scene of the crime themselves. They can cast spells like stone tell to get an idea of how the killer did the crime and interrogate the victim's servants for further clues. There are also several inconsistencies that clever players can notice that might not seem significant individually but add up to point out the killer. The murder also involves a kidnapping plot that went off the rails, and the murder itself was derailed by one of the servants discovering the victim's body prematurely.

    This is different from L2's investigation being done by an NPC who then sends the characters out to try and use the (deficient) clues he supplies them with. The players likely don't have any knowledge of the town they're expected to visit in L2, whereas they can get information about the victim and the crime scene from the royal soldiers they're helping investigate in Murder Most Magical. The latter adventure also draw on Realmslore to provide additional clues, such as one of the servants noting that a certain party reflects Zhentarim characteristics-a party the murderer belongs to.

    I can imagine that, as a player, I would definitely want to do a direct investigation myself. Speaking to witnesses and examining clues in person would get the players more invested in the adventure and give them the chance to pick up on clues that Peltar apparently missed, like why the Baron has evidence for three very diverse suspects on him in the first place. One thing might potentially make sense, but three of them? That's a very strange coincidence, and one that perceptive players could pick up on.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 09, 2003
    Posts: 1243
    From: Clarksville, TN

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    Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:26 am  

    LarethTheBeautiful wrote:
    I read through this relatively recently. If it is not the first published murder mystery for RPGs, it is certainly one of the first.

    I have to ask, for anyone who has either run it or played in it, did you manage to solve the mystery?


    -I DMed L1, but never got to L2.

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    ...Reading through L2, I had the same thoughts in wondering how the players were supposed to find any decent leads to get them started. It's one thing not to hold the players' hands, but it's quite another to leave them with almost nowhere to actually find the evidence...
    Ö

    ...Speaking to witnesses and examining clues in person would get the players more invested in the adventure and give them the chance to pick up on clues that Peltar apparently missed, like why the Baron has evidence for three very diverse suspects on him in the first place. One thing might potentially make sense, but three of them? That's a very strange coincidence, and one that perceptive players could pick up on.


    -I always had the impression that the players' first clue was supposed to be the unlikeliness of the suspects. I think the idea was that the three operated together. If so, all three expert assassins were pretty sloppy to leave so much evidence behind!


    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    ...The players likely don't have any knowledge of the town they're expected to visit in L2...


    -Fixable:

    1) Let the PCs take a side trip to Lake Farmin while doing L1;

    2) Let at least one of the PCs (or an NPC) come from Lake Farmin.
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