Murder at the Three Swords Inn
Murder Most Foul
Do you love playing Clue? Do you enjoy murder mystery games? "Murder at the Three Swords Inn" is a short mystery game written by our friend Ennio that can be played solo with a DM or with a group of players during the levels of 1 -4. This 5th edition D&D adventure your characters play as investigators trying to figure out the classic "Who done it?"
I got the adventure off of DM Guild, and you get two pdfs, one with colors and then a printer friendly version. As a DM I appreciated that this inn is not set in a specific place, just “A large city” which allows for the flexibility of where you can play this adventure. I found that it worked well as a stand alone one shot, but it could be easily added into any fantasy realm setting. In this adventure booklet the DM gets two pages of good Background and Overview information. The background gives the DM access to a criminal group and an illegal drug that can bring more potential for a continued adventure or hooks to explore more in your existing campaign/adventure as well. The Murder at the Three Swords Inn could be the start or intro into the cities underworld and bring down an illegal drug trade. This means you can can run this as a stand alone game or easily add it into your campaign .
The Play Through
As a DM I personally like to make sure I run through games properly before giving them a yay or nah. This game was run by some close friends and some new to my table players. It went super well and I couldn't be more pleased with this game. The way that this game was written, every person was able to use skills and roleplay in a way that made each player important. I will say that my players didn't get all the clues or talk to all the people so there was more than enough information provided to play the game successfully whether you are new or experienced with D&D.
Below is more details specifically about the Play through that I ran on Twitch along with the video.
*** Spoilers Warning *** If you are planning on playing this game for yourself and do not want the game spoiled for you do not read the section below or watch the video of the play through. It will be spoiler free again at the Map section.
Cheesecake Johnson- Arcane Dice Podcast
Nim- Dm Bork
Martin- Mari Faun Art
Samson LightHeart- Major A Monkey
*** Spoilers Warning *** If you are planning on playing this game for yourself and do not want the game spoiled for you do not read this section or watch the video of the play through.
This game was run for a group of 4 but I can see how easily this could be run one- on -one as well. It took us 2 and a half hours to complete and the players were successful on their mission of finding the culprit. Amazing Role Play took place and it went very smoothly. We were also blessed to have Ennio in the audience with us sharing the experience of his work.
The Tricky Bits
The trickiest bit that I found on the DM side of this adventure was making sure that Morgan is not instantly caught by the party. When I ran the game, I had the game set up in a way where Khurra heard the noises earlier and went down to Walter when they realized that Alexander didn't' come down for lunch. Other scenarios, closer to what is written in the adventure, is to change the amount of rooms written in the adventure to 3 and give Morgan his own room that he can hid in, clean his leg and then join the rest of the members once the body was discovered. Walter needing to get the key from Avesta does give Morgan time to escape from Alexander's locked room but narration and description by the DM will need to be well thought out to make sure that Morgan is not an instant target of investigation if he comes from downstairs. By having all the NPC's downstairs when the players walk in mean the party members will see them all as equal potential candidates that need to be talked to.
Another surprising, yet not fully unexpected, conundrum is that sometimes your players will do things that are unexpected. In the case of this module and my first play through group, an individual decided to LICK the illegal drug sample in the lock box from under the bed. Now as much as one may think logically to not put the mandrake looking root into one's mouth, there was no details in the adventure as to what the Blood Root does in 5e rules. If you run this module it will be up to you to decide how dangerous this particular drug is.
Map of The Three Swords Inn
When you get this adventure, there is no map for the Inn. For many players this adventure can be completely done using theater of the mind. I used the Cozy Cabin Map Pack 2019 from Roll 20 for the creation of my Three Swords Inn. I used tokens from that pack and Greytales Tavern Pack to furnish the inn as well. Some other pieces were: Stygian Manor- Barrel Uprite & Wine bottle & Wine Glass and Barrel 1 Tipped- Transportation Sensations: Cards
Please note that this was my version of The Three Swords Inn, and that you can make a different two story inn to suit your world or story. It would also be very easy to do this entire adventure using just theatre of the mind. The main reason why I created a visual map is for the purpose of streaming the game. A physical map is not necessary and does not change the adventure game.
Thoughts from the Fox
I love how versatile the game was. It doesn't matter if you had a large group or one player, the game is written in a way that players talk to individuals to figure out who murdered the individual upstairs (and perhaps figure out why). I love roleplay heavy adventures, though combat can still be a possibly. There is also a variety of adventure hooks to get your players involved; from knowing the victim to being part of the town guard. My favorite hook is having players stay at the inn to add them into the possible list of murder suspects (especially if you wait for Alexander's death to happen after the players arrival). I personally enjoyed one player's panic after they just came from upstairs and instantly after the body was found. I personally enjoyed the game and would happily run it again for other players. The NPC dossier provided was well created and an amazing tool for DM's to use while running the game, and was one of my favorite elements. Having quick access to the information needed about each individual my party was interviewing was a great boon and the fact that it looked like files an investigator might have made it even better. I highly recommend this game, two big paws up from the Fox.
Want Your Own Copy?
Ennio has a few works for sale on Dm's Guild! I purchased my copy of Murder at the Three Swords Inn, and for $1.50 you get lots of entertainment that you can play with different groups of your friends. There are, at the time of this posting, eight of Ennio's works including two pay what you want: "A Garden in the North" and "The Lighthouse of Graybill."
You can also follow Ennio on Twitter.