Murder Mystery Party Kit Details
The Nir Cantina on Federal Station Nine in the Axilon Nebula attracts a diverse crowd of space travelers, including mercenaries, traders, diplomats, scientists, and smugglers. While most of these folks want nothing more than to have a quick drink and a meal on their way from one end of the galaxy to the other, at least one of them has a more sinister purpose in mind. It will take the guests and employees of the Nir Cantina all of their wits and skills to piece together the confounding clues and determine the identity of the killer in their midst!
A Patron Goes Missing
This mystery is divided into two primary segments. During the first portion of the evening, Act One, the guests will arrive at the Nir Cantina and have a chance to eat, drink, and mingle with one another. Each of the guests has certain personal goals (unrelated to the overall mystery) that they are attempting to achieve, and Act One gives them an opportunity to meet these goals. During the course of the evening, there are minor intermittent power failures that plunge the Cantina into darkness. These blackouts are probably the result of minor asteroid impacts; the Cantina owner assures everyone that there is no cause for alarm. During one of these blackouts, patron Millian Pardulo, an alien scientist, goes missing.
Act Two will commence with the discovery of Millian Pardulo, dead in the Cantina's bathroom. Pardulo's throat has been cut and cauterized, probably by a laser sword or knife; there is no blood. Near him is a small bag containing trace amounts of Stress, an illegal, highly addictive stimulant. It looks as though Pardulo was killed for his drugs.
Justice and Profit
Nir Deware responds to this discovery by sealing the Cantinas airlocks and informing the guests that there is a Fed-Terra Peacekeeping Envoy scheduled to dock at Outpost Nine in a few hours and that the best course of action will be to simply wait for them to show up and sort things out. However, when one of the other guests points out that there is a substantial bounty being offered for bringing in confirmed murderers, everyone's mind turns to profit; if the killer can be identified before the arrival of the Envoy, the guests can claim the bounty for themselves!
Solving the Mystery
The rest of the evening is then devoted to locating clues, piecing together evidence, and trying to figure out who killed Pardulo.
There are 15 primary suspects in this mystery, however only 12 are required to play the game. Read the "How To Play" section for more information on how to play an expanded game with more than 15 guests.
- Jaseph Kalovich, Station Mechanic, Nir Cantina: Jaseph is the second mechanic at the Nir Cantina, working side by side with Fedor Mas. Jaseph is a working-class man who dreams of a better life. Race: Human
- Captain Sebastian Malachai, Captain of the Sisyphus: Sebastian Malachai is the captain of the Fed-Terra trading vessel, the Sisyphus. He is an upstanding Fed-Terra citizen and a reputable businessman who makes his living transporting cargo. Race: Human
- Onna, Serving Girl at the Nir Cantina: Onna is the primary server at the Nir Cantina. Once a petty smuggler, Onna has turned over a new leaf here on Federal Outpost Nine. Race: Human from Terra-4
- Erin Schale, First Mate of the Sisyphus: Erin Schale is first mate of the Fed-Terra trading vessel, the Sisyphus, serving under Captain Sebastian Malachai. Professional, precise, and talented, Erin helps the captain operate his small but highly profitable business. Race: Human
Male or Female Roles
- Nir Deware, Owner and Proprietor of the Nir Cantina: (Played by the Host/Hostess) Owner and sole proprietor of the Nir Cantina, Deware is an ex-adventurer with a cheerful disposition and a willingness to do business with anyone. Race: Human
- Fedor Mas, Station Mechanic, Nir Cantina: Fedor is one of two highly skilled mechanics at the Nir Cantina. Fedor is a Divek, a feline humanoid from the jungle planet Divekan Zed. While highly competent, his somewhat arrogant demeanor makes it difficult for him to relate to others. Race: Divek
- Caleb LaVorn, Short Order Cook, Nir Cantina: A highly skilled chef whose talents are undoubtedly being wasted in the Cantina, Caleb rules the kitchen with an iron hand and an eye towards detail. Race: Human
- Galen, Crew Member of the Sisyphus: Galen is a highly advanced android who performs numerous tasks aboard the Sisyphus under Captain Malachai. Galen's mechanical body is capable of prodigious feats of strength, and the android's quadrilium alloy frame is all but indestructible. Race: Android
- Arian Zapho, Diplomatic Envoy: Arian Zapho is a minor diplomatic envoy from Calypsis, en route to the Fed-Terra Galactic Embassy. Arian has arranged for transport aboard the Sisyphus and is at the Cantina to rendezvous with Captain Malachai. Race: Calypsian
- Ryle Kan, Bodyguard: Ryle Kan is a professional bodyguard and occasional mercenary. Ryle makes a living by ensuring the safety of important intergalactic travelers through dangerous territory. Race: Divek
- Mak, Infamous Smuggler: Mak is one of the most successful smugglers in the galaxy, eagerly sought after both by prospective clients and by Fed-Terra agents. Despite Mak's status as a wanted criminal, the smuggler rarely bothers to keep a low profile, instead trusting luck, cunning, and charisma to avoid capture. Race: Human
- Macerak Sh'irr, Bounty Hunter: A short-tempered, greedy brawler, Macerak Sh'irr is a bounty hunter who delivers smugglers, space pirates, and escaped criminals to the Fed-Terra authorities. Race: Daculian
- Millian Pardulo, Research Scientist: Millian Pardulo is an alien scientist dedicated to the discovery and synthesis of sustainable, inexpensive energy drives for starships. Millian's work promises to usher in a glowing age of cheap, efficient interstellar travel. Race: Shivan
- B9XL "Bean," Scientific Assistant Droid: B9XL, nicknamed "Bean," serves as the primary research assistant for the scientist Millian Pardulo. Bean comes preprogrammed with an extremely happy artificial personality. Race: Robot
- Canthalus, Mercenary: Canthalus is a mercenary, bodyguard, and soldier-for-hire, working out of the Axilon Nebula. Canthalus has a reputation for being even-tempered and reasonably pleasant, as long as no one crosses him/her. Race: Calypsian
- Investigator (male or female): Additional players have the option of playing the role of "Investigators". In this role the players are not suspects and do not have character backgrounds but can question the suspects and try to solve the mystery along with the other players.
Follow these steps to host this mystery:
- Each guest will each assume the role of a particular character
Mystery Parties involve a combination of improvisational acting, storytelling, and creative problem solving. Each guest will play the part of that character throughout the course of the game. Each character has specific personality traits, goals, secrets, and information, all of which are included in the character sheet; a big part of the fun is getting into character and taking on a new, exciting role.
- A mysterious Event will occur
At some point during the party, an Event will occur that will force the players to come together in order to solve a problem or unravel a mystery. Traditionally, the Event in question will be the murder of one of the characters (as played by a guest), but the parties crafted by Playing With Murder often use this basic framework to accommodate different types of Events, thereby ensuring that your guests will be surprised and entertained (even if they are veteran murder mystery party players).
- Solve the mystery!
Your guests will need to use the information that their characters know (as well as additional clues that are provided during the game) to solve the mystery or overcome the problem posed by the Event. Typically this culminates in the guests voting on the identity of the murderer, but again, different parties will have different specific goals. All of our parties also come complete with additional subgames (treasure hunts, unique character goals and special puzzles) that are guaranteed to keep the action intense and your guests motivated and focused.
Expanded Game For Large Groups
If you have extra players, there are two ways that you can accommodate everyone:
- Investigator Role - Additional players have the option of playing the role of "Investigators". In this role the players are not suspects and do not have character backgrounds but can question the suspects and try to solve the mystery along with the other players. Expanded Games include a PDF guide that explains how to use the Investigator role, as well as printable character sheets and name tags for anyone that is playing an Investigator.
- Multiple Groups - It is also possible to break your guests up into groups and play multiple instances of the game at the same time. The game will more or less happen the same way; the host makes announcements and each group moves their game forward simultaneously based on the host's instructions. It's good to have one assistant in each group to answer questions and facilitate gameplay within the group. This method provides a more intimate experience for your guests, who get better acquainted with a smaller group and participate in a more digestible story.
Please contact us if you'd like more information about how to run your party using the Multiple Groups method.
You can choose whether you'd like the Standard or Expanded version of a game when you add it to your cart.
First time hosting a murder mystery party?
Visit our How to Host a Mystery Party page to get step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for your murder mystery party.
Murder at the Nir Cantina is a 125-page downloadable PDF file that you print at home. It includes the following features:
- An introduction that explains the basic principles of running a mystery-party and provides specific tips on props, menu items, sound effects and special tips to help make your party exciting, memorable and easy to run
- Step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for your party
- A detailed party guidebook that will walk you through the event in a simple, easy-to-understand format
- Instructions on how to run the party for a large group
- Nametags and character sheets for each player - the character sheets include tips on costuming and role-playing, as well special goals and information unique to each character
- Fully customizable invitations, complete with RSVP cards and guest lists
- 18 pages of full color props and clues, including customizable menus for the Cantina and currency for each of your guests
- Voting sheets
- Customizable awards for your guests
- And much more!
With your purchase of Murder at the Nir Cantina you will also receive the following:
- Step-by-step printing instructions
- Four mp3 audio effects for use with your party
- Instructions on how to use these audio clips to best effect
Playing With Murder offers several audio files for use with each of our Mystery Party Kits. The audio clip below provides a sample montage of the sound effects included with Murder at the Nir Cantina.
Play audio sample:
- This party was amazing! I've played many murder mysteries before from other companies, but this was the best! We did this for my roommates' birthday parties and they all loved it. It had the perfect balance of campy comedy and high stakes danger. The amount of freedom in crafting relationships makes it so fun for a bunch of theatre people. I would totally recommend!
- Space cake (we covered our cake in purple lights)
- We had black tule put up all around our apartment and put glowing balloons under it to make it look like a galaxy.
- Hosted an event where incoming freshmen could meet upper-classmen. 90 People showed up and I split them into 4 groups each playing Murder at the Nir Cantina. Everyone had a great time, laughing the entire way.
- This is the third murder mystery event I've hosted and the best by far! The game mechanics improve on a lot of failings present in other mystery kits and the personal goals do a great job of giving every one something to do and talk about. Every one had fun and felt included -- even those who had never played a murder mystery before.
- Blacklight-reactive drinks are a must
- Everyone seemed to have a great time, and everyone did a great job with their costumes. The killer ended up getting away with it in the end...
We made a few subtle changes to the setup; specifically, we didn't use the cards, but instead made or typed up each clue as a special item. People found all of the clues, and came to the same conclusions, but our killer did a great job framing a few other people. She was really clever.
All in all, it was a great night, and everyone had a really good time. Thanks for the party!
- We decided to turn my friend's living room into a bar and restaurant (he and I co-hosted, and played as Nir and Mur Deware; we simply doubled the host character). We bought a funky looking alarm clock to use as our pulse generator, used some incense inside pill capsules for our stress, typed up the article, and bought a cheap glow-in-the-dark toy knife for our murder weapon.
- We set up a menu with basic burgers and fries (plus some desserts) and made a decently-stocked bar.
- At our church we organized our third murder mystery dinner this year. Our friend agreed to appear as Captain Nat Avery in a series of videos that would be played during the event to give the guests instructions and keep the plot moving forward. [One of the videos included in this review]
There are more photos here http://www.flickr.com/photos/7241414@N05/sets/72157632909089360/
Thank you to everyone who was involved!
- Behind the Captain is an image of the interior of one room from the USS Cod here in Cleveland. I found oscilloscope stock footage on Pond5 to represent our computer voice. I also re-purposed a model Star Trek ship and dangled it on wires in front of a green screen to achieve a low budget effect. We then added some photos and videos of the event taking place in between the videos that the guests saw that day.
- Watch my video
- I absolutely loved putting on this Murder Mystery! I was also fortunate to have friends who, though they do not all share my enjoyment of science fiction, jumped right into their characters.
I wanted to let people mingle and complete their tasks, but not having everyone in one space for the meal posed some problems. I think it made it harder on Onna to keep track of money. I didn't think about having a till for cash deposits either. I also was too busy making sure everyone got their food in a timely manner so I had a hard time getting completely into character of Nir so when players came up to accomplish tasks, I was sort of thrown off. Were I do to this over, I would have more tables or a sit down all at once atmosphere. Then I could execute my goals as well rather than being just hostess. But I love being a hostess so I was happy to be busy doing that.
More people than I thought accomplished their tasks. Our killer did a great job of deflecting suspicion. The murderer even rather successfully framed another character to be the killer as that character was one of the accused in our three-way tie for who the killer was.
In talking to my guests later that evening, the highest praise I received was my character assignment and matching the right person for each role. I think this is something that hosts should think about when planning - particularly when your theme (sci-fi) is not a popular one amongst your guests. My guests couldn't stop talking about the evening for a few weeks after. I was a proud hostess and glad they had a blast. I would not hesitate to have another murder mystery party!
- I served mexican food. I felt like I was running a real cantina.
- I did this in my house using the kitchen, living room, and deck. I made one menu board, sent Onna out to take orders, and then people had to put their own condiments on at the condiments bar.
- The party went really well, and the overall reviews from my guests were good. The previous parties we've done have been slightly different, and the changes in this party were largely good and well received. There were a few things that people had suggestions on as well, which I have included below.
- Everyone really appreciated the goals and having specific tasks that they were set to accomplish - that was one of everyone's favorite parts about this party as opposed to others we've done, but some people felt their goals were a little too silly or unrelated to the party. Things like buying/selling recipes were hard to accomplish (because no one was willing to spend credits on imaginary recipes), and some people got frustrated with the price haggling, as the goals were always conflicting in the 'buy for less than' and 'sell for more than' achievements. People's suggestions in this regard were that the goals be more directly tied to some of the secret information rather than unrelated to the mystery (recipes, selling/serving food, cleaning up, etc) - something like 'make sure you find out something you didn't know about this character' or 'threaten this character that you'll reveal xyz information' etc
- Along similar lines, some people wished for a little more direction of what to do with the secret information. We had a few first-time players, and they in particular were not quite sure what to do with the information they had. Everyone thought it would've been more helpful if some of the info had directives attached like 'make sure to keep this secret from this character' or 'share this with this character in exchange for a favor' or things like that to further push game play
- Some characters also felt there were a few informational gaps in character information - for instance, Canthalus was on the look out for Macerak to attempt to arrest Mak, but Macerak was never given any instruction that he should attempt to do something like take Mak into custody, and so it never happened. Similarly, Nir and Canthalus were trying to keep Macerak unarmed, but weren't really sure why - that information was given in Macerak's character description, but not anyone else's. Mak kept waiting to have interactions from the bounty hunters, but was never actually approached, etc.
- Everyone liked the scavenger hunt, and we all felt this party was a lot more 'fair' in the way evidence and information was passed around (several we've done in the past were frustrating for about half the characters, who didn't have any interaction or information about the murderer, and therefore almost no chance of solving it).
- Set up wise, I found the guide to be helpful and informative, although I did wish for a little more clarity in the actual party walk thru. I kept having to check and re-check what I was supposed to do next to make sure it was all in the right order - something like a very brief schedule outline would've been good.
- We did the party for my daughter's 16th birthday party and it was a big success. The murderer totally got away with it due to quick thinking and acting skills. Someone else got best actor, because no one realized she was lying. On the other hand, there seemed to be more evidence pointing to the staff members than to the murderer. I wish that with careful thinking they could have deduced the murderer. but perhaps it is designed to lead people astray.
The relationships between people were complicated and sometimes the guests had trouble holding all the names and various relationships in their heads for smooth acting. I didn't feel comfortable assigning a guest to the role of kitchen staff. My husband took one of the roles and left the kitchen girl out. I couldn't see asking a guest to help serve the food. We told them that Ona was sick that night
We enjoyed having everything layed out for us, as we have done LARPs in the past that we wrote ourselves and it is time consuming. I was disappointed with the food suggestions because when I host a party I feel like I need to have nice food, and it a case like this, thematic food. We ended up making a menu based on various sci fi movies and themes. What surprised us was that because there was a prize for having the most money, many of the kids avoided eating. So at break time we made everything free so they would eat.
All in all it was a lot of fun, the kids got into their roles and enjoyed getting awards afterwards. I gave first second and third in each category so everyone got something. (I know, they are teenagers and would be fine, but I'm still a mom who wants all the kids to have fun.) Afterwards they all sat around talking and rehashing what they did and why, telling each other how they tricked each other etc.
Party guidebook was okay, but sometimes redundant with other parts. Needs better food ideas and decorating ideas. We did the invitations via email as it seemed more futuristic. We let my daughter assign roles based on the simple sheet of characters. One thing that wasn't clear was the relationship between Ona and Jaceph (?) on the basic character sheet. I think that should move up so that people do not mistakenly cast themselves or others into roles that would be uncomfortable for guests. My husband made pdfs for each character to send to them, and then a second copy for their envelope we handed out when they got here. I thought the money was more complicated than necessary.
Thanks for a fun product!
- We ended up making a menu based on various sci fi movies and themes.
- Because darkness seemed essetial to the murder, we spent a fair amount of time trying to cover all the windows and light sources in our home, which I realized in retrospect was not really necessary, as the murderer doesn't actually have to leave her seat during the murder. Also, our home is not at all modern or space themed so we needed to put away most of our stuff to give the feeling of being in space. More work than I anticipated. The kids we invited were mostly theater kids, so we wanted a nice "set" for them.
- Everyone had an amazing time! I had no idea just how much work I was getting myself into by being the host, until I had 12 people all wanting food and drinks at the same time. :)
Some guests felt that more back story would have been nice. Why are there four kinds of corporate credits when only PsyTran is mentioned, for example.
A 'Characters you should make contact with' section to the character packets would help people know who to talk to. Also, possibly the opposite would be useful as well-- 'Characters you should avoid'
Apart from those few quibbles and suggestions, I absolutely feel that I got my money's worth from your product. Everyone had a wonderful time, and I am already looking into throwing another Playing With Murder party sometime this summer.