Murder on the Princess Madeline

Karxan's picture
February 5, 2012 - 8:14pm
I am working on a murder mystery adventure along the lines of Murder on the Orient Express.
Basic story is there is a new Cruise Ship called the Princess Madeline. It's owner is a very rich being. He/she goes on the maiden voyage. There will be all sorts of npc's. Rich, travellers, crew, entertainers, new beings.

The pc's are hired for securityby the owner. During the voyage the owner shows up dead. It is the job of the pc's to figure out who did it.

I have been workng on deck plans for a cruise ship. Slow going on that. I am going to roll up a list of primary npc's and a list of secondary ones. The list will have a table so that the gm can roll to see who is the actuall killer before the game starts. This way the game can be reused with a different killer/killers and can be used again with out giving away the who dunnit.

There will be background info for the primary npc's and their motivations on why they would want the rich being dead. This adventure would be more intelligence gathering rathar than fighting.

I was wondering if anyone had any ideas that might help?

jedion357's picture
February 5, 2012 - 8:58pm
check out the deck plans for the Truane's Star Express that I uploaded to the deck plans projects. It was a HS 17 star liner IIRC.

I did the same thing and the murderer was a hull scraper (gelatinous cube reworked for a Sci-fi setting) with a red herring of a glass etching artist who was transporting a 55 gal. drum of acid in the cargo hold so that after a few deaths by acid the PCs discovered this but ruled it out as the acid was chemically different.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Karxan's picture
February 6, 2012 - 3:05am
Thanks Jedion. I will check it out.

Karxan's picture
February 6, 2012 - 3:25am
Jedion, Thank you for the reference. I looked at the deck plans. They a very good. I need to learn how to do that. Also I found your thread and It has given me some good ides. I seem to have followed your path down this adventure.

jedion357's picture
February 6, 2012 - 6:27am
Murder on the Orient Express is a classic and the central theme has broad appeal even if you've never watched it and dont already know the who dunnit.

Of course in my game, nobody dunnit, a creature did it.

I think that it would be worth revisiting this theme.

A couple of things
1. the train actually gets snow bound and this gives the detective the time to discover the truth, otherwise the train would have made the station and the murderer would have gotten away (or that was the fear).

In mine I treated void space like hyper space in Star Wars- time was spent in void space based on the number of light years travelled, this gave time for the death to occur and time for investigation.

Its amazing how an impeding deadline puts pressure to solve. Dont forget to play that up. Have a GM's timeline of when events are going to happen and track time since the players dont have all the time in the world. In a classic dungeon crawl the Players can take all the time they want but not the same in this sort of an adventure. I like to throw in a little crisis here and there to distract and shake things up.

2. in Agatha Cristies story everyone dunnit. All the suspects took a turn at plunging the knife into the victim. Something you can do is upon medical examination of the body its determined that the multiple knife thrusts were of differing depth and angles and some were with sonic, vibro and regular knives. Should be enough clues that the players should figure out that multiple people stabbed the victim. Then the mission is to figure out who had motive. Since the story is a classic you have to expect that some players will have seen it so some NPCs have to be innocent and some guilty. EXP awards are based on nailling the 4-5 who are guilty.

3. Like in the classic story the victim could be a dispicable criminal and the PC's though discovering the truth may decide to let things ride. They still get high exp in this case, whether the expose the murderers or not is not about exp but about in setting consequences.

Finally, dont do this adventure with players who are one trick ponies where the one trick is to shoot first and ask about EXP later. This sort of thing requires a lot of role play. In fact WotC would reject it for consideration as a module because it doesn't have the specified number of combats, a Boss encounter, a skill challenge and etc. from their list of things they look for in a module submission.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
February 19, 2012 - 3:19am

Content of Star Frontiersman project

Hull Scrapers

By [[Larry Moore]]
Scrapers are translucent creatures with no apparent brain or organs. It looks and acts like a single prokaryotic cell. They come in many shapes and sizes; most resembling a 1.5 meter cube, rectangular, cylindrical shape or whatever they squeezed through in the last ten minutes (they retain their shape for a time before plumping out back into their natural shape). 
Hull ScraperThey can dissolve any living organism quite hastily. Small creatures are dissolved in about 100 turns or 10 minutes. Only when a large creature, up to 75% of its mass, is engulfed the scraper stops to digest its meal, taking 200 turns or 20 minutes. After digesting a victim scrapers secrete a residue ball spitting it, (sounds like a pop) in a random direction up to 10 meters. The sticky ball adheres to almost anything.

Scrapers are kept away from ships consumables by resonating sonic fields around the room. Due to the expense of sonic resonation inside a ships hull they are typically not installed in passenger or crew areas. 

Scrapers will attack the nearest creature, attempting to engulf it and is oblivious to ranged attacks not knowing where the source is coming from. For unknown reasons Dralasites have been known to be repulsive. Most are able to walk away with nothing more than minor acid burns.

Since their feeding does not include electronics, plastics, rubbers or metal they are often used to clean the innards of ships, those hard-to-reach spots and hidden nooks. As mentioned above they leave balls of sticky droppings that mark their path. Biometric scanning devices are outrageously expensive, even for the wealthiest captain and it’s been near impossible to attach tracking devices, needles to say scrapers must be removed before flight lest the passengers and crew become food. Fortunately maintenance techs accidentally discovered a way to lure the creatures out. A mixture of Vruskian Bung-Beetle Cake, Dralasite Foglob Pudding, Human Escargot Sauce (with snail) and a sprinkle of Yazirian Ponjo Ale bring the beasties running. Well...if you call 10 meters per turn running.

Hull Scrapers
Type:   Carnivore
STR/STA:   55/75
DEX/RS:   30/30
Move:   Walk 2, Run 10, Hourly .5
Size:   Medium
PER:   60
Intelligence:   Basic
Attacks:   »  Grab +3 65% Acid:1d10 »  Engulf +10 85% Acid:3d10
Special Abilities:  Engulf; when the hulk scrapper makes a successful attack, it makes a secondary attack attempting to engulf its victim. Engulf +10 85% Acid:3d10 and the creature is engulfed in one turn. Engulfed creatures take 3d10 Acid damage every turn. Escape; A character may attempt a STR check with a -20 penalty (-0 if he can reach something to grab). A successful check results in freeing one-half of his body from the scrapper's gelatinous mass thus it takes 2 turns to escape. *
Defense:  1/2 Damage from lasers
1/4 Damage from auto weapons
x2 Damage from Sonic attacks (if set to correct frequency) Full Damage from gyrojets, rockets and frags.

Author’s Note: This creature was designed using the FrontierSpace™ Referee Creature Creation document.

Something to think about; It was said of Frank (Gilbert) Swansey, “So, if it gets you, could it be a labor dispute or job hazard?”
Used with permission from

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
February 19, 2012 - 3:28am
Here is my outline - feel free to pawn. ;-)
  1. The PC's are hired to escort a prominent NPC (lobbyist/scientist/government official/corporate big wig). He/She is travelling with their significant other.
  2. Transport is public transportation - shuttle, cruise ship, etc.
  3. The NPC is rude to the PC's.
  4. The NPC is found dead by maint or maid services. Wife/Husband is distraught. 
  5. The investigation points to the bag boy, perhaps he has a smoking gun placed there by the real murderer.
  6. Mystery, tracks, wrong turns, fun!
  7. Final encounter - the murderer is either capture or killed.
  8. When the PC's arrive in port they see the prominent NPC waiting for his Wife/Husband. Again he is rude to the PC's, "What did you think? I sent my android on the trip, did you know someone is out to kill me?"


Anyway.... that's what I'm working up.