In This Murder

“Let’s pick a light topic, like Holidays. Or maybe… MURRRRDEERRR????”

The Thursday night hobbits have a knack for In This World that is by now well-documented: sparrow bodhisattvas, mech wars, reimagining the Aliens movies… oh right, I never posted about the Aliens game. Someone remind me to do that.

So when we sat down to play our last game of the year, and folks said “hey, let’s imagine what the world would be like if MURDER followed totally different rules”, I had zero doubts it would be juicy.

We had a “vibe is 1970s Soylent Green” take, where the world is so overpopulated that murder is encouraged, except the government would really, kind-of, much rather you killed less wealthy or successful people. And we had the mandatory social media world, with influencers broadcasting elaborate murder plots for those sweet, sweet likes, even though it’s totally illegal. Killing for clout.

But our most fascinating world, to me anyway, was the very first one we made. Haskell started with the statement “murder leaves evidence” being not true: not only is there no evidence of the crime, but there’s no memory of the victim… at all. When someone is murdered (but not when they die by accident or of natural causes), all recollection and physical evidence of them vanishes. Life goes on as if they never existed. So you murder your husband in a fit of passion, and then promptly forget you did it, or that you ever had a husband. Pictures, momentos, and all signs of their presence in your life promptly fade away.

The result is that a murderer doesn’t even know what they did. Maybe they feel something is missing in their life… but can never know that what is missing is the person they themselves killed.

Police don’t investigate murders, because… what murders? But some investigators have a sense that “something is just not right”, even if they are largely ignored because they can’t prove a thing. They’re the Fox Mulders, fringe-believers on an impossible quest to find the truth.

And even though there’s no memory of them, people who were close to the victim are strangely drawn to each other, even if they had never met before. Fate seems to conspire to bring them together. So the person who killed the lover they were having an affair with starts spending time with the victim’s wife, maybe becoming friends, maybe even becoming lovers themselves, without either of them knowing their forgotten connection.

Why does all this happen? We didn’t know and didn’t care. We were interested in the impact it had on people, not the made-up magical causes.

It had a wonderfully Dark City vibe. All of our worlds were good, but I would play games or read whole books set in this one.

    Ben Robbins | January 18th, 2024 | , | leave a comment