The Thing in the Cellar
The guests will be playing the roles of monsters sharing a haunted house. Every year, the monsters open their home on 213 Elm Street to the public on Halloween for a fright-filled haunted house tour. They use the proceeds from the haunted house to buy household supplies for the rest of year, during which time the house stays boarded up and we stay inside. If the townspeople ever discovered the monsters in the haunted house were real, they would certainly drive them away – or worse.
The success of the haunted house hinges on a climactic scene in the cellar, when The Thing is revealed. Advertised for hundreds of miles on every billboard in every direction – “See The Thing!” “What is The Thing? See for Yourself!” – thrill-seekers and the merely curious come from distant cities to see The Thing, and it never disappoints. Those who have seen The Thing eagerly attest that it is the scariest sight they have witnessed in their entire lives. No one seems able to describe The Thing, and they all agree: you have to see it for yourself.
Solving the Mystery:
It is the night before Halloween, and the monsters have just discovered that the key to the cellar where The Thing is kept is missing – someone has stolen it! Without The Thing, the haunted house will be a failure, the monsters’ reputations will be ruined, and they won’t have enough money to buy supplies for the rest of the year. How will they live and keep their identities secret? They have to find the key!
Murder-free and family friendly!
The Thing in the Cellar is suitable for 8 guests (or 8 teams), including the host or hostess. The available characters include:
- Rex Tuttle: A mummy. Pretentious and a bit prim, Rex likes to remind everyone that he was once The Thing, and not just on Halloween - his gas station shrine was open all year!
- Lee Walker: A former mall employee, Lee was bitten by a zombie shopper last Christmas, eventually ending up at 213 Elm Street with a strange craving for brains.
- Frank Stein: A reanimated corpse, the result of a science experiment gone awry. A kindhearted simpleton, he doesn’t know his own strength. Married to Elaine Stein.
- Elaine Stein: Also a corpse reanimated in the name of science, she is the unhappy wife of Frank Stein.
- Earl King: A goblin who stands only three feet tall, he is the smallest member of the household – and also the loudest and most annoying. He is always playing tricks on his housemates and bragging about his greatness.
- Cameron Vaduva: A bewitchingly attractive vampire who wants little to do with the other residents of the house.
- Waylon Lupescu: Burly, boastful, and swaggering, Waylon is a giant of a man with bulging muscles and rough-hewn features. Every full moon, he turns into a fearsome wolf-like beast.
- Terry White: A ghost. Kind, gentle, and non-corporeal, Terry chose to move to 213 Elm Street after trying unsuccessfully to live peacefully with several living families.
Our line of 30 Minute Mysteries is specially designed for fast setup and easy play. All you need to do to get started is:
- Print out the party guide
- Gather together a group of players
- Hand out character sheets and name tags
- Follow along with the instructions
Best of all, the party facilitator can choose whether they join in the game and solve the mystery along with the other guests!
Playing the Game
30 Minute Mysteries are intended to be played around a table by eight people (or up to eight couples). Each of the players will be assigned a character and given a character sheet that explains who or what their character is, what information their character knows, and how their character should respond to events that occur during the game.
The game will progress in rounds. Round One will start with the party's host or hostess reading a script that explains the nature of the mystery that is afoot. After the introduction is read, each player at the table will share a piece of information from their character sheet, and all the other players will have an opportunity to respond to that piece of information.
Next Round Two begins with the facilitator sharing a clue that should shed further light on the mystery. After the clue is revealed, the players will once again go around the table, providing another piece of information and then responding.
After the second time around the table, the game will proceed to the Final Round. The Final Round begins with the facilitator sharing the last clue. The players then go around the table a final time, sharing their last piece of information and responding to each other.
By this point, the players should have learned enough information to be able to piece together a theory about who was responsible for the murder. Each player (or couple) will say the name of the person who they think is responsible. The facilitator will then read the final page of the mystery aloud, revealing the culprit. Any player or couple who correctly guessed the identity of the killer is declared a winner.
From start to finish, the entire game should generally only require half an hour to complete.
Note: As the host or hostess, there are certain times when you will be called upon to read aloud passages from this booklet. Passages that are meant to be read aloud will be clearly labeled and contained in a gray box.
What Do I Need in Order to Play?
Our 30-Minute Mysteries are specifically designed to not require very much in the way of supplies. All you really need is:
- a table to sit around (or a large playing area where the guests can sit in a circle)
- a group of players (the minimum is eight; if you have more than eight, multiple guests can work together to play the same character)
- a printed copy of this booklet
- a pair of scissors (to cut out nametag placards for each character)
- pencils or pens for each player
- Scratch paper (for players to take notes on)
- Folders (to help players conceal their character sheets)
The Thing in the Cellar is a 26-page downloadable PDF file that you print at home. It includes the following features:
- An introduction that explains the basic principles of running a 30-Minute Mystery
- A detailed party guidebook that will walk you through the event in a simple, easy-to-understand format
- Nametags and character sheets for each player - the character sheets include special goals and information unique to each character
- Step-by-step printing instructions
- And much more!