Actual Play – Everyone’s a Suspect (10/17/2015)

Everyones-a-SuspectGM: Kristin Firth
Players: Matt Gaston, Sean Nittner, Jackson Tegu, Lali Cheshire, and Laurel Halbany
System: Everyone’s A Suspect

Kristin’s storytelling game of “who done it” is so much fun.

The game starts with all of the players collectively answering questions surrounding a murder. The year, the location, other events in the area, the victim, the PCs relationship to the victim, and how the victim died.

We created a small town near the mountains in 1971. Freedom Chase owned a small movie theater and was found dead in her employee’s car at 5AM one morning. We played her employee, her landlord, her son, her guru, and her on again, off again boyfriend.

In play the goal is to frame scenes that make your character looks suspicions. At the end of a full round of scenes each player has a pool of dice ranging from d4 to d20 and they assign them in order of who they thought looked the most suspicious that round. There aren’t enough dice for everyone, and you can give someone more than one, so an even distribution of dice is highly unlikely, as is desired!

Once the dice are assigned they are rolled and a running tally is kept. At the end of the game the player with the highest suspicion get the first choice to pick if their character was in fact the murdered. All the way down the line until someone does, and the rest of the players reveal how their characters were innocent (at least of the murder in question).

In our game we had a lot of things going on. The guru with her own secret files on everyone, the theater employee who had been making armature adult films with Freedom, the rebellions son who wanted someone punished, the boyfriend who turned out to be an absentee father, and the landlord whose own husband died of cancer (or perhaps just of the cold) during the course of the investigation.

In terms of procedure the format is very much like fiasco (4 acts with an epilogue at the end) but the mood and tenor of the game was at least in our case, much more serous.

What Rocked

Emotionally this game was a bit of a roller coaster for me. I started playing a character who was free loving and all about experiencing life and realized later he was a dead beat dad who showed up years later trying to reclaim his past without any thought of his son. That was rough terrain for me and I was really glad I was playing with such a compassionate group of people I love. I used the x-card in the form of “okay, that was really intense and awesome, but let’s not push that one any farther.” and everyone respected that and was awesome about it!

On a mechanical level, the game did genre emulation very well. My character looked extremely suspicious in the first act but by the third scene it was clear to everyone I was the red herring. Matt’s character, however, looked dubious throughout, but had one open thread he was able to use in the end, so it made total sense why and how he did it. Good stuff there!

What could have improved

We had a hard time fitting everything into two hours and since there was another game scheduled right after ours we had to wrap it up. Kristin said that other games had finished in under two hours, which I believe, as we were really chewing up the scenery!

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