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Mystery Adventures

Playing Mysteries

Source Starfinder #25: The Chimera Mystery pg. 41
As a player, when you realize your PC is in a mystery adventure, likely when the first body turns up, you can help yourself and your fellow players by leaning into the role of investigator. The following tips aid in this process.

Track Information

Source Starfinder #25: The Chimera Mystery pg. 41
Your main goal and primary obstacle in a mystery adventure is information. You likely have a roster of suspects, each with their own personality and history with the victim. Take notes about your suspects and what you know about them, keeping in mind the three pillars of a mystery. Is this suspect capable of committing the crime? Are they motivated to commit the crime? Were they actually anywhere near the scene of the crime? In other words, did they have the opportunity?

You might also want to draw a map of the relationships between the suspects and the victim, as well as each other. By consulting this big picture, you might spot a motive that has previously eluded you. See the Establish Relationships section of Running Mysteries below for a way this map might work out. The GM probably has one too.

Keep a separate list of the physical clues you’ve found so you don’t forget an important piece of information. When you find a new clue, you can compare it to this list to see how it relates to other evidence you’ve already discovered. Connections between the clues might make themselves apparent when you analyze the list.

In addition to helping you solve the mystery, your records can help you along in other ways. If the adventure runs multiple sessions, you can refresh your perspective by going over the evidence before each session—that way you won’t forget an important clue because of the time between games.

Search Everywhere

Source Starfinder #25: The Chimera Mystery pg. 42
You need to look everywhere for clues, especially at the scene of the crime. Perhaps a bullet casing fell behind a heavy piece of furniture, or maybe the victim hid some clue to their killer by typing a final message on a datapad. Culprits sometimes attempt to obscure evidence, especially anything that might directly incriminate them, but they aren’t always successful. Perhaps the culprit forgot to clean a spot of blood from their shoe, or maybe the supposedly deleted security footage can be partially restored. If you have the time and access to a place, search it thoroughly!

Trust No One

Source Starfinder #25: The Chimera Mystery pg. 42
Assume each of your suspects is lying about something, even if that person is someone you know and like. In a mystery adventure, everyone has their secrets, though they might not be directly related to the crime. By drawing out these secrets, you might uncover a new alibi that clears a suspect or discover the motive of an unlikely culprit. However, try not to fall into paranoia and baseless accusations. Such behavior can cut off your access to suspects, making your investigation much more difficult. Instead, a kind word, false assurances, or a bit of flattery might net you more information than you think.

Use Abilities

Source Starfinder #25: The Chimera Mystery pg. 42
When you become stuck in a mystery, it can be very frustrating. You might think you have all the clues, but something just doesn’t add up. Hopefully, your GM notices when the session starts grinding to a halt and can give you a nudge in the right direction. But if you think you need some help before that, don’t be shy about asking your GM if your PC can attempt a check or try an ability or spell that might shine some light on the mystery. Your PC is likely to have a much more experienced eye than you do, and a check is a good way to simulate putting the pieces together. Some spells can provide unexpected clues. Try not to overuse this help, however. You might find that solving a mystery on your own is far more satisfying!