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How I Do Murderous Ghosts Multiplayer

I know that Vincent and Meguey Baker have run Murderous Ghosts for a room of people — I believe in a Parsely style, where one person plays the ghost book and the player turn passes from one person to the next. (One time, Meg tried to talk me into playing in a group game, which I totally would have if I didn’t have a panel to go to. On that one, I think she had an assistant to have and read the player book for the group.)

Last year, I finally got to play Murderous Ghosts. We were at a decent restaurant with a sizable table, and were playing a bunch of games. There were five of us, and at a point, we decided to break it out. On a lark, we split up as two of us being the ghosts, and the other three being the player. It kinda worked, but had some bumps, so when I got to try it again a month later, we had a setup ironed out.

After putting out last week’s Master Plan episode where Vincent & I talked about Murderous Ghosts, and briefly mentioned playing in multiplayer, I figured I would share how I’ve done it.

My Multiplayer Rules

Split up into ghosts and explorers. Be in separate sides of the table or parts of the room; your kind don’t mix well.

Ghosts: Briefly talk about what the building looks like and what your ghosts are. Are you all the same ghost or group of ghosts? Are you different ghosts? If so, how are you connected? (For extra fun, don’t talk about it beforehand, and be all “yes, and” to stuff.)

Explorers: You have to make a promise to the other explorers, that you will never leave them alone down here, that you’ll never run out on them. This promise is something you can’t break. Say it right now. (The game wasn’t designed for shifting focus, hence this social construct.)

The game starts with one ghost player reading from the ghost book. There is always only one active ghost player at a time. Every time the explorers draw a card, immediately pass the ghost book to the next ghost, and they continue from there. Yes, in the middle of a moment, so that you have one ghost feeding into something, and another finishing it out.

Explorers make decisions together, though the ghost can interpret any rash of impulsive reactions as needed. So keep your cool! Or, you know, don’t. You can whisper amongst each other without fear of drawing a ghost’s unwanted attention. But if you ever split up, the ghosts totally murderify you. (There should probably be another global action like “If you ever split up, turn to X” and it ends with “MURDERED!” or something.)

If you try it, let me know what you think!

When I’ve Played It

Both times, I’ve been a ghost player. The first time, the other player and I didn’t talk about it, so when we imagined different ghosts, she was taken aback when I started describing the gross “murder hole” nature of the place. When the dissonance was too much, we took a break and talked it out — deciding that her ghosts and her building descriptions were about a factory during its days of action, and mine about after it had been closed for a decade and used as a snuff film stage.

The second time, we talked it out and decided we were all different aspects of a union riot in a factory that lead to many, many deaths. One of us was (if I recall right) the workers, one was the corrupt foreman and corporate bosses, and one of us was…something else.

I remember at some point that I was also the ghost of a dog, but I think that was in my super creepy snuff film stage ghost.

Oh, and the explorers didn’t survive.

– Ryan

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3 Responses to How I Do Murderous Ghosts Multiplayer

  1. Ryan Macklin says:

    An idea I just had, for two global triggers:

    If you leave the other explorers behind, turn to 100.
    If all the other explorers leave you behind, turn to 101.
    (If you’re playing with two people, turn to 100, not 101.)

    100 talks about how ghosts murder you, and you become a new ghost player. If you did it to martyr yourself and save your friends, you can draw a card for them, with no effect.

    101 talks about how you get murdered by ghosts, and take your place as a ghost player. And maybe the others have to draw a card for some actions? I dunno.

    Like I said, I just now thought of it.

    – Ryan

  2. Marc says:

    Awesome. I love the multiple ghosts sharing the same book and swapping around like that. Can’t wait to try it!

    My buddy Nathan and I played a game of parsely-style MG after a talk about RPGs with a crowd at the local nerd nite, and it came off really well. There’s video somewhere about… ah!

    Also, cannot recommend enough having your game interpreted for the hearing impaired. So great.

  3. Andy says:

    I love the dynamic of multiple ghosts sharing the same space, and how they transition from one to the other like that.