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One-Shot Spotlight: Volo’s Guide to Getting Murdered

There are some titles that grab you like a tractor beam. So much so that you abandon all financial wisdom and automatically buy it. As you can imagine, this is one of those scenarios. But let me tell you, the premise lives up to the epic title of Volo’s Guide to Getting Murdered.

Also, be wary of clicking too far into the link; screenshots spoil part of the story.

For those new to the Forgotten Realms, Volothamp “Volo” Geddarm (AKA “Solo” when my computer’s autocorrect thinks they know better than me) is a famous writer in the world of Dungeons and Dragons. His body of work is so immense, that even a batch of questionable tweets would have a hard time derailing his fame train.

Is there going to be a one-shot where someone invents social media and his search history becomes sentient?
@TheRealVolo “I’m just saying, pineapple DOES belong on pizza.”

Which brings us to you and your fellow adventurers. Volo had recently penned his latest bestseller– Volo’s Enchiridion to Making Friends. You and yours snag yourselves an invite to his big shindig in Waterdeep (for reasons such as your party’s growing reputation as up-and-coming heroes or acquaintance with Volo through Waterdeep: Dragon Heist). So you arrive in Sparaunt Tower and take in the festivities. There are some rather unsavory guests and the man of the hour himself has an ego inflated enough to make the Goodyear blimp look like a party balloon, but the celebration’s actually going pretty well…

Until Volo commits a huge party foul by selfishly turning up dead.

Oh, and the whole party venue abruptly teleports to the Ethereal Plane. Thus creating your standard “nobody gets in or out until we figure out who the killer is” scenario.

In my headcanon, this guy sounds like Daniel Craig doing a Foghorn Leghorn impression
“Nobody’s leaving until I Insight check all of you!” (Original Artist)

Obviously, this adventure’s a whodunnit. But what makes this interesting is the sheer versatility of it. For example, there’s actually four potential killers to pick from, each coming with their own motives, murder methods, and list of clues. (Such as what Volo knows if you use Speak to the Dead on him.) In addition to the obvious high replay value, each scenario has its own unique chain of events.

But while I’m obviously a huge fan of this one-shot, I do have one grievance. While VGtGM does provide the all-to-necessary red herrings, it does so in a way that’s buried in the text itself. This might just be a personal preference, but I would actually have liked something along the lines of an appendix that lists other party guests/potential suspects that the DM could pepper their run with. This would allow both quick reference during gameplay, as well as be helpful to those of us who are more inclined to listed information.

That being said, I can’t recommend Volo’s Guide to Getting Murdered enough. If you love whodunnits/mystery stories, then pick this bad boy up like a piece an incriminating piece of evidence.

Just- again- be wary of the screen shots, because they spoil the identity of one of the potential killers!

About the Author
Went to film school instead of real college. Writes stuff, animates things, and programs whatchacallits. Currently playing a rogue/cleric (trickery) warforged that's basically a life-sized Victorian porcelain horror doll. You can find more of her stuff at kerahildebrandt.com, including D&D modules/such!

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