Everyone loves a great murder mystery party. There are dozens of outlets that sell premade stories for these events. Even better? A completely original story penned by artificial intelligence and tweaked by you, saving you hours of work. By prompting ChatGPT properly, we can create an entire murder mystery plot and ideas for tangibles to hand the guests at your next shindig.
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
Planning Your Murder Mystery Party
If you’ve never ran one of these parties before, make sure you check out our other resources on the subject. We have a couple of articles you may find helpful:
For these articles, I used a premade party kit from Night of Mystery. I’m not affiliated with them, I just really liked their product. In today’s article, we’ll be using AI to come up with our own story. Let’s get started.
Prompting ChatGPT for Content
ChatGPT is a free to use service (as of this writing). While there is a paid version available, it is not necessary for today’s project. Signing up is as simple as going to the website and either creating an account or using one of your Google emails as a login.
It’s really important to note that ChatGPT is strictly forbidden to help or suggest any sort of content that promotes violence. So much so that when I asked it to help me write a fictional contract for my character to present to an NPC in Dungeons and Dragons, it wouldn’t include “on pain of death” or any similar sentiment.
Because of this, it’s important to include in your prompting information that what you’re wanting is for a game. ChatGPT is a lot more flexible with its suggestions when you include that the content is for a game, a party, or D&D. (It seems to really have an affinity for D&D, actually.)
Prompt: Request Party Plot
Here’s the first prompt I used with ChatGPT:
Hello Chatbot. I am going to host a murder mystery party (no actual violence, it’s a clue party). Can you write a mystery for me that includes at least 10 characters? Each should have a persona and a motive for the crime, but only one person can be guilty.
This number could be adjusted to whatever you need for your party. You could even ask it to include a few extra, unnecessary characters in case you’re not sure about how many people will be attending. This would also be a good time to set the theme or make special character requests.
Unlike AI image generators, ChatGPT can handle very long prompts with ease. Feel free to include as much detail as you’d like; it should work out well in your response.
Certainly! Here’s a murder mystery scenario for your party, involving 10 characters with unique personas and motives. Remember to assign each character to a participant and distribute their respective personas and motives discreetly. Let the suspense unfold as the participants interact and discover the truth!
Title: “The Mysterious Masquerade Murder”
Setting: A lavish mansion in the English countryside, circa 1920s.
- Lord Archibald Hastings – The affluent host of the party, known for his extravagant lifestyle. Motive: Financial gain through inheritance.
- Lady Penelope Montgomery – Lord Hastings’ elegant and witty sister. Motive: Jealousy and rivalry with her brother.
- Dr. Victor Blackwood – A renowned scientist with a secret past. Motive: Revenge for a ruined professional reputation.
- Miss Evelyn Hartley – A talented pianist who harbors a hidden resentment. Motive: Love triangle involving Lord Hastings.
- Colonel Reginald Fairfax – A retired military officer, disciplined and strict. Motive: Unsettled grudge from wartime.
- Mrs. Margaret Thornton – The devoted housekeeper with a penchant for eavesdropping. Motive: Protecting a hidden secret.
- Mr. Percival Whitehall – The enigmatic and elusive art collector. Motive: Theft of a valuable artifact.
- Lady Beatrice Harcourt – A flamboyant and eccentric socialite. Motive: Attention-seeking and personal gain.
- Inspector Malcolm Holmes – The seasoned detective investigating the crime. Motive: Uncovering the truth at any cost.
- Miss Lily Harper – A young and innocent maid. Motive: Fear of losing her job due to an incident.
Lord Archibald Hastings has invited his closest friends and family to a grand masquerade ball at his mansion. As the evening unfolds, tension builds and secrets simmer beneath the surface.
During a moment of darkness and confusion, a gunshot rings out, and the lights come back on to reveal Lord Hastings lying lifeless on the floor, dressed in his elaborate costume.
Inspector Malcolm Holmes arrives promptly to investigate the murder and interrogates each character to uncover their motives, alibis, and any hidden connections among them. The participants must interact and exchange information while trying to decipher the truth and unveil the real killer.
Throughout the evening, the participants discover clues, such as a misplaced diary entry, a hidden letter, or a forgotten conversation, which slowly unravels the mystery. Suspicion shifts from one character to another, intensifying the atmosphere and making the final reveal more thrilling.
In the dramatic climax, Inspector Holmes gathers everyone together and reveals the identity of the murderer, along with the evidence that led to their discovery. The guilty party confesses their crime, explaining their motive and the series of events that led to Lord Hastings’ untimely demise.
Remember to customize the specifics of the clues, evidence, and resolution based on the preferences and dynamics of your party. Have fun hosting your murder mystery party and enjoy the thrill of unraveling the truth!
Party Plot Response Reaction
This is a perfectly serviceable plot. It’s not going to win any awards for originality, but that’s okay. I liked that every character had an initial motive, but that doesn’t really make sense for the victim. You could tweak that, or just leave it depending on how you wanted the night to run.
For example, the victim’s motive is useless, but if they don’t know they’re the victim from the beginning, then it helps keep that bit a secret and increases that guest’s enjoyment.
We need to know more about this story, so let’s move on.
Prompt: Request Guilty Player
Next, I asked ChatGPT to elaborate:
Who would the murderer be in this story?
In this murder mystery scenario, the identity of the murderer is Miss Evelyn Hartley, the talented pianist. Her motive for the crime is her involvement in a love triangle with Lord Archibald Hastings. She believed that by eliminating Lord Hastings, she would secure her desired relationship with him and remove any potential competition.
Throughout the investigation, the participants will discover various clues and evidence that point toward Miss Evelyn Hartley as the culprit. It could include a torn love letter from Lord Hastings found hidden in her possession, a witness who saw her sneaking out of the room where the murder took place, and her inconsistent alibi during the time of the crime.
As the story progresses and the participants gather more information, they will gradually piece together the puzzle, leading them to the realization that Miss Evelyn Hartley committed the murder. The final reveal by Inspector Malcolm Holmes will confirm their suspicions, exposing her motive and the means by which she carried out the crime.
Remember to adapt and adjust the details of the clues and evidence based on the preferences and dynamics of your murder mystery party.
Guilty Player Response Reaction
This made me concerned that ChatGPT was getting confused. Why would Hartley murder Hastings if she was in love with him? And who else was in the love triangle?
Clarifying Prompt Request
I wanted to make sure ChatGPT was making sense with this plot. Next, I asked this:
So, she murders him but she’s in love with him?
Yes, that’s correct. Miss Evelyn Hartley murders Lord Archibald Hastings, despite being in love with him. Her actions are driven by a twisted belief that by removing Lord Hastings from the picture, she can ensure that their relationship becomes exclusive and that she eliminates any potential romantic rivals.
This motive adds an intriguing layer to Miss Evelyn Hartley’s character, showcasing the complexity of human emotions and the lengths to which people can go when driven by love, obsession, and jealousy. Her actions are ultimately driven by a distorted perception of what she believes will secure her desired relationship with Lord Hastings.
Clarifying Prompt Response Reaction
Alright. That makes sense I suppose. You could easily ask it to change the dynamics between characters or make a more “wacky” or unique set of parameters. ChatGPT loves being wacky.
I wanted to know who the third person was in the love triangle, though.
Love Triangle Clarification
ChatGPT was a bit confused about the love triangle, and then made it get pretty weird, pretty fast. You’d have to have the right people for this party. The typed transcript is below the screenshot.
You mentioned that Miss Evelyn Hartley is in a love triangle with Lord Archibald Hastings. Who is the third person in this triangle?
Apologies for the confusion in my previous responses. In the murder mystery scenario, the love triangle involving Miss Evelyn Hartley and Lord Archibald Hastings does not involve a specific third person. The tension and conflict arise from Miss Hartley’s unrequited love for Lord Hastings, leading her to resort to extreme measures.
While love triangles can add complexity to a story, in this particular scenario, the focus is on Miss Hartley’s unrequited love for Lord Hastings, rather than a specific romantic rivalry involving a third person.
So it understands it made a mistake, but I’m curious about this concept and how it would play out in the story that ChatGPT has created.
If you were to adjust the story to add a third person, who would make the most sense of these characters?
If we were to adjust the story to add a third person to the love triangle, the character who would make the most sense among the existing characters is Lady Penelope Montgomery, Lord Archibald Hastings’ sister. Introducing Lady Penelope as the third person in the love triangle would add an intriguing dynamic to the narrative.
With Lady Penelope involved, the love triangle could be portrayed as a complex web of relationships and conflicting emotions. Miss Evelyn Hartley, who is in love with Lord Hastings, may harbor feelings of jealousy and rivalry towards Lady Penelope. Lady Penelope, on the other hand, might have mixed feelings about her brother’s affections, potentially experiencing conflicting emotions for both Lord Hastings and Miss Hartley.
This adjustment would create a layered dynamic among the characters, with Miss Hartley vying for Lord Hastings’ attention, Lord Hastings torn between the two women, and Lady Penelope caught in the middle, navigating her own complex feelings.
By introducing Lady Penelope as the third person in the love triangle, the murder mystery becomes more intriguing as participants uncover the complexities of these relationships and consider the motives and actions of each character involved.
Umm, yes, I think adding incest is a bit of a twist that may create a “layered dynamic.” This story piece could easily be left out, depending on what suits you and your guests.
Prompt: Create Tangible Clues
Next, I needed to see what ChatGPT would come up with in terms of providing clues and red herrings, to keep the content interesting. Obviously I’d have to make most of this stuff myself. Cricut is great for things like this. If you’re in the market for one, I love mine and recommend it. It is a bit pricey to get started with, though.
Can you please elaborate on what clues the players should find?
Certainly! Here are some possible clues that the players can discover throughout the murder mystery party:
- Torn Love Letter: A torn love letter addressed to Lord Archibald Hastings is found hidden in Miss Evelyn Hartley’s belongings. The letter reveals her deep affection for Lord Hastings and her desire to have him all to herself.
- Witness Testimony: A party guest claims to have seen Miss Evelyn Hartley sneaking out of the room where the murder took place around the time of the crime. This witness’s testimony raises suspicion regarding her involvement.
- Mysterious Key: A small key is found in Miss Evelyn Hartley’s possession. It doesn’t match any known locks in the mansion, raising questions about its purpose and potential connection to the murder.
- Disguised Weapon: A hidden compartment in Miss Evelyn Hartley’s costume reveals a small, concealed weapon—a dainty dagger coated with Lord Hastings’ blood. The weapon suggests her direct involvement in the murder.
- Cryptic Diary Entry: The participants stumble upon a diary entry written by Miss Evelyn Hartley. It contains cryptic references to a plan and mentions her conflicted feelings towards Lord Hastings and her intentions to secure him for herself.
- Alibi Inconsistencies: As the investigation progresses, the participants discover inconsistencies in Miss Evelyn Hartley’s alibi for the time of the murder. Her inability to provide a solid alibi raises suspicion about her whereabouts during the crucial moments.
- Footprints and Fabric Fibers: Footprints and fabric fibers matching Miss Evelyn Hartley’s costume are found near the crime scene. The physical evidence suggests her presence in the vicinity when the murder occurred.
- Overheard Conversation: A character, perhaps Mrs. Margaret Thornton, the housekeeper, overheard a conversation between Miss Evelyn Hartley and Lord Hastings earlier in the evening. The overheard dialogue hints at a heated argument and reveals their complex relationship dynamics.
- Hidden Message: A hidden message is discovered, written by Miss Evelyn Hartley to Lord Hastings, in which she expresses desperation and a willingness to go to extreme measures to be with him.
- Conflicting Statements: As the participants interview the various characters, they uncover conflicting statements made by Miss Evelyn Hartley regarding her feelings towards Lord Hastings and her involvement in the events leading up to the murder. These inconsistencies further arouse suspicion.
These clues should help the participants piece together the puzzle and eventually lead them to the realization that Miss Evelyn Hartley is the murderer. Adapt and modify these clues as needed to suit the dynamics and preferences of your murder mystery party.
How should these clues be shared?
To create an immersive and engaging murder mystery party, here are some suggestions on how to share the clues with the participants:
- Physical Clue Cards: Prepare individual clue cards for each clue and place them strategically throughout the party venue. Hide them in drawers, under objects, or in unexpected places. Participants can discover the clue cards as they explore the location, adding an element of discovery to the game.
- Interactive Conversations: Encourage participants to interact with each other in character and engage in conversations. During these interactions, some characters can drop hints or accidentally reveal certain clues, providing an opportunity for the players to gather information.
- Witness Testimony: Designate a character as the witness who saw Miss Evelyn Hartley sneaking out of the room where the murder occurred. This character can discreetly approach individual participants and share their testimony privately, allowing them to question and gather information.
- Diary Entries: Create handwritten diary entries for Miss Evelyn Hartley that can be found in her room or hidden elsewhere. Place them in envelopes labeled with her name, and participants can discover them by searching the room or stumbling upon them during the investigation.
- Investigative Interviews: Organize specific times for participants to be interviewed by the detective character, Inspector Malcolm Holmes. During these interviews, the inspector can share relevant clues or ask leading questions to guide participants towards uncovering important information.
- Overheard Conversations: Stage a scene or encourage participants to eavesdrop on conversations between characters. Mrs. Margaret Thornton, for example, could be positioned near a door or window, and participants can discreetly approach and listen to her conversation with Miss Evelyn Hartley, providing insight into their relationship.
- Physical Evidence: Prepare physical evidence, such as the torn love letter, hidden keys, or the disguised weapon. Place them in envelopes or small boxes, which can be discovered during the party as participants search for clues.
- Riddles or Puzzles: Incorporate riddles or puzzles into the game that, when solved, reveal vital clues. These can be written on scrolls or hidden in secret compartments, requiring participants to work together to decipher the messages.
By employing these methods, you can create an immersive and interactive experience, allowing participants to engage with the clues and work together to unravel the mystery. Remember to provide opportunities for participants to share their findings and collaborate, encouraging lively discussions and hypotheses.
I wouldn’t use all of these unless I was doing it as a paid event or creating content for sale. It’s a good starting point, though.
Prompt: Spice it Up With Red Herrings
A “red herring” is a distraction in an story to make readers, viewers, etc. believe that an innocent party is actually guilty. It’s a sort of literary smoke and mirrors concept. I didn’t want this murder mystery story to be too easy and obvious, so a few red herrings were in order.
Okay, great. Thanks. Now, can you give me some red herring ideas to plant, so it’s not too easy for the guests to figure out?
Certainly! Red herrings can add an extra layer of mystery and challenge to the murder mystery party. Here are some red herring ideas that you can incorporate into the scenario:
- Suspicious Past: Dr. Victor Blackwood, the renowned scientist, has a mysterious past involving an experiment gone wrong. Plant subtle hints and rumors suggesting that his past actions might have motivated him to seek revenge on Lord Hastings.
- Hidden Grudge: Colonel Reginald Fairfax, the retired military officer, has a history of conflicts with Lord Hastings during their service together. Participants may find correspondence or witness statements that hint at an ongoing grudge, making the colonel a plausible suspect.
- Valuable Artifact: Mr. Percival Whitehall, the enigmatic art collector, expresses a strong interest in a valuable artifact displayed in Lord Hastings’ mansion. Participants may find evidence suggesting he had plans to steal the artifact, raising suspicion about his true intentions.
- Eccentric Behavior: Lady Beatrice Harcourt, the flamboyant socialite, exhibits odd and attention-seeking behavior throughout the party. Participants may find her behavior suspicious and link it to the murder, even though it’s unrelated.
- Hidden Agendas: Mrs. Margaret Thornton, the housekeeper, is known for eavesdropping and being privy to the mansion’s secrets. Participants might suspect her of involvement in the murder, assuming she was protecting a hidden secret or had a personal agenda.
- Secret Romance: Lady Penelope Montgomery, Lord Hastings’ sister, harbors a secret romantic relationship with a mysterious individual. Participants may mistakenly believe that her involvement in the murder is connected to protecting her love interest.
- Inconsistent Testimony: During the investigation, Inspector Malcolm Holmes may encounter witnesses who provide conflicting statements, leading participants to doubt their reliability and consider them as potential culprits.
- Unusual Footprints: Strange footprints similar to those of the maid, Miss Lily Harper, are discovered near the crime scene. Participants may suspect her based on the footprints alone, not realizing it could be a misdirection.
- Financial Troubles: Lord Archibald Hastings’ extravagant lifestyle and financial dealings might lead participants to consider a character with financial difficulties, like Lady Beatrice Harcourt or Dr. Victor Blackwood, as potential suspects.
- Mysterious Disappearance: As the investigation unfolds, one of the characters mysteriously disappears from the party, creating suspicion and diverting attention away from the true culprit.
By incorporating these red herrings into the narrative, participants will be led astray and find it more challenging to pinpoint the actual murderer. This will enhance the suspense and excitement of the game, keeping everyone engaged and guessing until the final reveal.
If we keep the love triangle content from above, it seems that Lady Penelope is a very interesting character. Involved with her brother and another, mystery lover? Intriguing.
I would not use number 10 for a party. The idea is to keep everyone involved.
Prompt: Sample Clues for Red Herrings
Can you please give me one sample clue I could physically give my guests for each of these ideas?
Certainly! Here’s a sample clue for each of the red herring ideas:
- Suspicious Past (Dr. Victor Blackwood): A newspaper clipping with a headline that reads, “Scientific Experiment Disaster Strikes Again!” Participants find this article that hints at a troubled past involving Dr. Blackwood and a failed experiment, leading them to suspect his involvement in the murder.
- Hidden Grudge (Colonel Reginald Fairfax): A handwritten letter discovered in Lord Hastings’ study, revealing a heated exchange between Lord Hastings and Colonel Fairfax regarding an unresolved disagreement from their military days. The letter suggests a lingering grudge between the two, casting suspicion on the colonel.
- Valuable Artifact (Mr. Percival Whitehall): A cryptic note found in Mr. Whitehall’s jacket pocket, mentioning a hidden room in the mansion and the importance of securing the valuable artifact within it. This clue directs suspicion toward Mr. Whitehall’s intentions to steal the artifact.
- Eccentric Behavior (Lady Beatrice Harcourt): A handwritten note found on Lady Harcourt’s vanity table, detailing her plans for an extravagant and attention-grabbing performance during the party. The note hints at her eccentric behavior and diverts attention to her as a potential suspect.
- Hidden Agendas (Mrs. Margaret Thornton): A locked diary discovered in Mrs. Thornton’s quarters, filled with entries referencing secretive conversations and interactions she has observed between various party guests. The diary implies that she might be involved in a hidden agenda, misleading participants into suspecting her.
- Secret Romance (Lady Penelope Montgomery): A discreetly passed note found in Lady Montgomery’s handbag, signed with an unknown initial, expressing affection and arranging a secret rendezvous. The note raises suspicions about her involvement in the murder to protect her secret romance.
- Inconsistent Testimony: A series of witness statements collected by Inspector Holmes, each providing a slightly different account of the events leading up to the murder. These statements create confusion and cause participants to question the reliability of the witnesses, casting doubt on their innocence.
- Unusual Footprints (Miss Lily Harper): A footprint cast in plaster, resembling Miss Harper’s shoe size and pattern, discovered near the crime scene. This clue misleads participants into suspecting the innocent maid based solely on the presence of the footprints.
- Financial Troubles: A stack of unpaid bills found tucked away in Lady Harcourt’s desk drawer, indicating her financial difficulties. The bills divert suspicion toward her as a potential suspect due to her desire for financial stability.
- Mysterious Disappearance: A handwritten note left behind by the missing character, stating, “I have urgent business to attend to. Apologies for my sudden departure.” The disappearance creates a sense of mystery and misleads participants into considering this character as potentially involved in the murder.
Remember to adapt and personalize these clues to fit your murder mystery scenario and the dynamics of your party. Use them strategically to mislead and challenge the participants, ensuring an engaging and thrilling experience for everyone involved.
Red Herring Prompt Response Reaction
I don’t think I’d use all of these, but I could pick and choose the most interesting pieces, or include them optionally as the night wears on if needed.
I liked the thorough nature of ChatGPT to include an idea for each red herring, but some of them were a little intense; I’m not going to cast the wrong size footprint in plaster and expect my guests to know what to do with that. Illustrations would work just fine, with a note sketched to the side.
ChatGPT can be an awesome tool to use to get you started on your murder mystery party plot and handout ideas. While the service and suggestions are a bit too thorough or wonky in my opinion to use all of them, it certainly provides a starting point where we can pick and choose the content we think would be best for our game.
Have you used ChatGPT to help out with something like this before? I’d love to read about your experiences in the comments below.
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