t h e

costume murder mystery whodunit
freeform interactive drama live action roleplaying scenario
in an 1890s archaeological setting

written by

Freeform Games

adapted and directed by

Brian David Phillips, Ph.D, C.H.
Saturday, 2 May 2015, Six-Thirty to Ten-ish
Pot-Luck Dinner Costume Roleplaying
1890s Murder Mystery Party
Archaeological Setting

Facebook Event

Facebook Troupe Group

Meetup Group

The Curse of the Pharaoh

Invitation to Mystery . . .

Join us in Egypt, 1894, and determine the fate of the British Empire in a thrilling evening of mystery and murder. You will be in the middle of the action and it will be up to you to wheel and deal with the other guests. Can you achieve your goals, keep your secrets hidden and survive Curse of the Pharaoh? It's up to you.

Join us in an exciting and odd and wonderfully weird performance of the Taiwan Interactive Theatre Society set for 2 May 2015, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Phillips residence (email or call for details if you don't know the location - make sure you have your role cast early so you can prepare your character, costumes, and any props needed). The game includes a Pot-Luck Dinner Party in the evening so please plan on bringing a dish and refreshments and the like . . . PotLuck, please coordinate food and drinks with Lorraine Phillips.


The Taiwan Interactive Theatre Society, the premiere scenario-based theatre-style live action role playing costume game troupe in Taiwan, has been on hiatus for a season . . . this is our premiere reboot session so new members are very very welcome! Actually, they are needed . . . big time! So come on in and join us! It has been awhile so we're ready, willing, and eager to have some fun! Fun with YOU!

If you are unfamiliar with interactive dramas, they are a hybrid between scenario-based improvisational theatre and live action cosplay role playing game. See the archives at for a lot of background and information.

The scenario for our playing pleasure will be The Curse of the Pharaoh, a murder mystery whodunit interactive drama freeform live action roleplaying scenario. If you're not sure what "murder mystery whodunit" means, don't worry about it, that's just a way of showing that this is a multi-genre scenario that doesn't fit into one story type . . . suffice it to say that this is NOT really just a simple scenario similar in nature to the scenarios we're already familiar with.

Curse of the Pharaoh . . .

The Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt. 23 April 1894. The excavation season will soon be over, as the baking sun makes digging unbearable, but the Oxford University archaeologists lead by Sir William Saville have made a startling discovery. Tonight, the team and their guests prepare to enjoy a slap-up dinner to celebrate the uncovering of the tomb of a previously unknown XVIth Dynasty pharaoh. But while the archaeologists make merry, dark clouds gather, internal tensions among the group burst to the surface and one of the local diggers is brutally murdered.

The Curse of the Pharaoh
1890s Murder Mystery Whodunit Party
Theatre-Style Interactive Drama Live Role Action Roleplaying Game
Pot-Luck Dinner Costume Roleplaying
Archaeological Setting

Genre:1890s murder mystery whodunit
Problem Solving:Yes!
Comedy:Of course!
Intrigue:You bet!
Mature or Adult Concepts:Not much, unless you count murder, intrigue, and deceit among Nineteenth Century archaeologists and adventurers.
Fun:Lots and lots and lots
Director:Brian David Phillips
Venue:Phillips residence (not far from Shijr Train Station in Taipei)
Date:2 May 2015, 6:30-10ish
Note:This scenario will include a Pot-Luck Dinner LARP Pre-During-After-Party Roleplaying Interactive Theatre Mystery Event - please coordinate food and drinks with Lorraine Phillips.
Registration:Email Brian David Phillips

Once Brian has definite casting information on who will be playing, he will put the publicly available character lists and scenario descriptions on the web page. As usual, this theatre-style live roleplaying event will be held in the Phillips residence (email or call for details if you're not sure of the venue).

The cast list for the scenario is both robust and flexible but there are certain characters who are absolutely essential and others that must be played by male or female players so those places will tend to be cast first on a first-come-first-served basis. We absolutely MUST have at least six players for the scenario and can accommodate up to thirty players and a slew of others if need-be, although we can continue casting new roles as long as there are folks to take them. Minimum: SIX PLAYERS required (honestly, it's a lot more fun with twelve or more players so be sure to encourage as many of YOUR FRIENDS to join the fun and play as well). This scenario may accommodate up to 22 Players.

If the slots fill and you still want to play, we can accommodate additional last minute characters beyond the core twenty-two (miscellaneous personages and the like) who can play and fill in atmosphere but whose characters will probably not be very well developed or deeply involved in the major plots nor are they likely to be all that well written either -- Brian is happy to whip up additional characters for players as long as he has time to do so). Caveat: We need a minimum of six core characters for the event to proceed (fewer than that just doesn't work as this professionally produced scenario was written to accommodate troupes of six or more and work in terms of keeping things interesting and busy -- Brian's not up to that kind of uber-hassle as the scenario is written specifically for a comfortable range of six to as many as twenty-two players.).

Players will receive general character type and descriptions within a week of reserving a slot in the cast so that they can begin working on costume or props (feel free to be as simple or as complex as you like, but we do ask that participants at least give it a proper go . . . there will be a Best Costume award in addition to the Best Roleplayer award. Keep in mind that this scenario is set during the 1890s and focuses on characters involved with archaeological activities and the like so you plan on costumes appropriate to your assigned character type . . . however, please come prepared to be Your Character rather than as yourself in costume . . . obviously, costume complexity and accuracy is up to you (some folks go very simplistic and others are extremely intricate in their costuming choices). Remember, while effort in costuming is very much appreciated; if personal resources are limited, even something as simple as a hat can help symbolize your character.

For costumes, think of Steampunk meets Jules Verne meets H Rider Haggard meets Victorian Faux Fashion meets pulp. Have a LOT of fun with this!

Complete personal character descriptions will be emailed at least a week and a half prior to play.

If you wish to join us, you need to let Brian know A.S.A.P. to reserve a character (actually, he needs to edit and add original bits to the thing so you'd best let him know earlier rather than later to get a "good" character -- that is well-written rather than thrown together at the last minute albeit a few rare characters will actually be morally upstanding individuals).

If you're going to play and you want a character, please let Brian know ASAP! Regular cast and newcomers, it would be very helpful if you could let the Director know whether you wish to play before April 15 or EARLIER (seriously, an immediate reply now would also be appreciated so HIT THAT MAILTO LINK NOW!). The earlier we have casting set, the earlier you can get a passable costume ready and can track down props (some characters have required props they must have).

How Whodunit Games Work . . .

Curse of the Pharaoh is unlike many murder mystery games. Although the game starts with a murder, most of the characters have more important things to do than to investigate it. And the killing may not be over – it is unlikely that everyone will survive the remainder of the evening!

Curse of the Pharaoh is played just like a murder mystery game. You may be trying to solve the murder, but primarily you are (initially at least) concentrating on your own goals and objectives. Unlike most boxed murder mystery games, Curse of the Pharaoh lets you decide how to achieve your goals and thwart your enemies.

On the evening of the game the guests are met by the organizer, the archaeological team's native servant. They then receive their detailed backgrounds - including dark secrets, objectives and money. When everyone has arrived the servant announces that, with the corpse tidied away into the camel shed for safekeeping, dinner will now be served. The fun then begins as everyone questions, bribes and blackmails each other. As the evening progresses they may even try to murder one another! Depending on what the players choose to do, there are several different possible endings, but finally everyone finds out how they did, and what secrets everyone else was concealing.

Part of the premise of the scenario is a Murder Mystery Whodunit in which players take on the roles of suspects in a murder (this is not all there is to it as there are also several subplots that you'll be involved in as each character will have his or her own personal goals to accomplish during the scenario run). You will be given character briefings that have information about yourself and others. In the course of the game, you will ask questions of others and be asked questions. Unlike other games of this type, while the "Murderer" may lie, all others DO NOT HAVE TO TELL THE TRUTH either. Yes, it's just like real life in that anyone you speak with could be lying (albeit they will be doing it in character).

During an investigation, a detective must answer three questions in order to catch a murderer:

  • MOTIVE - Who had a reason to kill the victim? Does any particular person benefit - for example, financially or romantically - from the victim's death?

  • MEANS - Who had access to the murder weapon? Does any particular person have the unique knowledge, skill, or physical ability necessary to use the murder weapon?

  • OPPORTUNITY - Who had a chance to kill the victim? Is any particular person unaccounted for (has no alibi) during the time the victim was killed?

Your challenge is to use these three elements to form a hypothesis about the murder, which will result in an accusation. Keep these questions in mind as you pursue your investigation. So, sharpen your Critical Thinking tools and . . . Good Luck!

Tentative Cast List

The nature of the scenario is modular so character assignments will be made on a first-come-first-served approach based upon plot priority. There is an absolute minimum number of characters required for the game to go forward with additional character assignments possible after the minimum has been made (basically, new plots and relationships are threaded in with dynamic changes). If we don't have enough for the minimum, then the performance gets shelved. Do note that additional characters will be slotted in so there is no actual maximum for this scenario. So, get out there and recruit some bodies to play!

Sorry, for this scenario, it is not possible for folks to choose their own characters due to this modular nature. However, the following cast list will give you an idea of the range of characters within the scenario. Casting assignments will begin soon. Descriptions here are one-liners of what sort of person the character appears to be to others, many characters have secret attributes and some may even be very different from who they appear to be . . . at least one is a murderer, possibly more. The descriptions may seem mundane to some, but keep in mind that the scenario is actually quite complex with hidden agenda the order of the day . . . with a very sinister twist.

Alvy Spanheim The charming and sinister German cultural attaché. Timothy Fox
Ariadne Price-Evans The respected archaeologist with an intriguing past. Lorraine Phillips
Eva de Chalons The beautiful and mysterious Frenchwoman. Gabriella Pan
Helen Mackinnon The belle of Oxford, fought over by men. Rebecca Miller
Hugh Carlaw The enthusiastic young student. Ramesh Perumal
Lindsay Wilde The downtrodden assistant with hidden depths. Kaye Phillips
Robert Tregarne Detective Sergeant in the Colonial Police, charged with the responsibility of clearing up this dreadful crime. Mario Oliva
Shahfeez Merouf The enigmatic curator of the Luxor Museum. Michael Cheng
Sir William Saville The veteran leader of the archaeological team. John Michael Corrigan
Alexa McQueen Detective Constable in the Colonial Police (Special Women's Force). Elaine Tang
Armanda Lenoir Leader of a French excavation nearby. Luisa de Souza Nascimento
Marie-Claire Guiscard Hard-working assistant to Lenoir. Elizabeth Miller
Tariq al-Mansoor Wealthy collector of Egyptian antiquities. Antoine Zafari
Fatima al-Mansoor Wealthy collector of Egyptian antiquities . Gabriela Moreira
Professor Regina Mathers Respected archaeologist from Cambridge. Michelle Tsai
Lady Jane Fortescue Noble widow and archaeological dilettante. Andrea Valladares
Chris Kovacs Young Hungarian student. Cher Chen
Reverend Godfrey Fox Cambridge-based church minister. Deepak Vidmar
Angela Fox Administrative assistant to Mathers’s team. Lauri Lu
Poopapohpalumpus Incredibly handsome yet more than a little bit rotund Mixed-Heritage Non-Native Quite Konfused Guide, Servant, and All Around Good Guy. Brian David Phillips
T.B.A. Even more characters may be added as new people join us . . . hurry and register NOW!

If you have not contacted the Director by emailing with a request for a character assignment, then please do so now! Minimum age for membership in the troupe is eighteen - like many troupes of this type, actual player age range is very very wide from university students to career professionals and beyond . . . we are all brought together through our common enjoyment of the activity.

Participants who would like to "switch" characters, may do so . . . but only if the role they wish to switch to has already been cast and the person assigned that role confirms the "trade" and full character descriptions have not yet been mailed. We assign roles in order according to a formula so we cannot randomly assign characters for this scenario. There is a method to the madness. Once full character descriptions are sent to players (probably about one month before the session), no trades will be allowed.

If you have not yet joined the troupe's Facebook group at do it now. Also, be sure to mark yourself as Attending on the scenario event page at although that alone is not enough, you still need to contact the Director as soon as possible for a character assignment. Remember to Invite Your Friends!

What's Happening?

The Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt. 23 April 1894. The excavation season will soon be over, as the baking sun makes digging unbearable, but the archaeological team from Oxford University led by Sir William Saville have made a startling discovery.

Tonight, the team and their guests prepare to enjoy a slap-up dinner to celebrate the uncovering of the tomb of a previously unknown XVIth Dynasty pharaoh. But while the archaeologists make merry, dark clouds gather, internal tensions among the group burst to the surface and one of the local diggers is brutally murdered… Welcome to Curse of the Pharaoh!

In Curse of the Pharaoh, the dinner party to celebrate the tomb’s discovery will be played out over the course of a single evening. As well as the five archaeologists, guests at the dig include a diplomat, a museum curator and a dilettante – plus a police officer investigating the killing. However, not everyone is as they seem. Some (well, all) of those attending have mysterious secrets and will do anything to prevent them from being revealed.

All those invited to Curse of the Pharaoh are given a character. As they arrive they are greeted by the Servant, and welcomed to dinner. Each character has goals and objectives that they must complete before the end of the meal. Everyone has their own goals – and not all goals are compatible. If one person achieves their goals, another may fail!

The guests have various items, such as weapons and money to help them. They may also have various abilities to help them uncover secrets and achieve their goals.

The guests can form alliances, blackmail each other, steal items and money and maybe even try to kill one another. Along the way they may solve some of Curse of the Pharaoh's mysteries. Who was responsible for the grisly murder? What is the secret of the Eye of Horus? How did Harry Flinders die? Who is the sinister ‘Mr Big’? And what dread secret lies buried in the Pharaoh’s tomb, ready to stir once more? Join us to find out in Curse of the Pharaoh.

Costume Hints

As noted above, in general, costumes can be fairly simple or complex . . . contemporary clothing can easily be adapted to our needs with a bit of this or that stuck onto it . . . be playful and have fun with your character type and costume . . . adding a playful twist here and there and perhaps some makeup fun.

While you are encouraged to choose a costume that fits the character, you are NOT limited although themselves scenario does have costume suggestions to help you get started. Be original and have fun.

Alvy Spanheim Dress as formally as possible, with a top hat if male. Maybe a monocle, to look more Germanic.
Ariadne Price-Evans A long dress or blouse and long skirt, with a high collar and long sleeves. Hair could be scraped back into a severe bun.
Eva de Chalons Glamorous evening dress with plunging neckline, gloves, cigarette holder… the works!
Helen Mackinnon A delightful frock, preferably with a high neck – the ‘English Rose’ look. Ideally, with a straw hat.
Hugh Carlaw ‘Archaeologist’ clothes, khaki, pith helmet – maybe shorts and knobbly knees! Or evening dress.
Lindsay Wilde A delightful frock, preferably with a high neck – the ‘English Rose’ look. Ideally, with a straw hat.
Robert Tregarne Police uniform if available, if not then everyday clothes with a sturdy jacket.
Shahfeez Merouf Elaborate Middle Eastern robes, with a head-dress.
Sir William Saville ‘Professor’ clothes – tweed jacket, maybe a pipe. Or evening dress.
Alexa McQueen Police uniform if available, if not then everyday clothes with a sturdy jacket and skirt.
Armanda Lenoir ‘Professor’ clothes – tweed jacket. Or evening dress. All with French stylishness.
Marie-Claire Guiscard Practical outdoor clothes, with lots of pockets.
Tariq al-Mansoor Elaborate Middle Eastern robes, with a head-dress.
Fatima al-Mansoor Covered from head to toe, with just eyes showing .
Professor Regina Mathers ‘Professor’ clothes – tweed jacket, maybe a pipe. Or evening dress.
Lady Jane Fortescue A glamorous dress as if for a garden-party.
Chris Kovacs Shabby but hard-wearing outdoor clothes.
Reverend Godfrey Fox Clerical dress, with a dog-collar.
Angela Fox A delightful frock, preferably with a high neck – the ‘English Rose’ look. Ideally, with a straw hat.
Poopapohpalumpus Native costume, exotic look.
T.B.A. Even more characters may be added as new people join us . . . hurry and register NOW!

Obviously, you can feel free to adapt your costume as you see fit in terms of items you can get readily as long as it captures the mood of the character.

Those who might feel weird walking the streets of Taipei in their costumes should feel welcome to bring their outfits in unmarked brown paper bags and change at the venue prior to the start of game play.

Once more, if you're not on this list of players/characters and you would still like to join the game, please email the Director (that's me, Brian David Phillips) at (the sooner, the better so I can write the character into the plots). Feel free to consult the troupe web page at for more information and future updates.

Tips for Playing . . .

Forget who, when and where you are – and join a team of archaeologists in the Valley of the Kings for an evening of double-dealing, intrigue, mysterious powers and even murder!

In Curse of the Pharaoh you and the other guests will take on the roles of nine characters at an archaeological dig in Egypt. You might be an archaeologist yourself, a politico, or a dilettante. Or maybe you will be the investigating police officer! You will be provided with background details for your character explaining who they are and why they are at the dig. You will also be given information on other players and goals for you to achieve.

How do I play?

Playing Curse of the Pharaoh is a little like starring in your own movie – although how your movie ends depends entirely on you and the other guests. There is no predetermined script – how you decide to tackle your goals is entirely up to you.

The most important skill in Curse of the Pharaoh is the ability to hold a conversation. You will need to talk to the other players to find out who they are and whether they will help or oppose you. Some of the characters you may know a little about already, but some will be unknown to you.

Information is the key to achieving your objectives in Curse of the Pharaoh, so you should aim to talk to everyone. You may need to reveal information known only to you in order to get information from another player, of course.

You will also have a number of abilities that give you an advantage against other characters in certain situations. The other players also have abilities that they may use against you!

Rules and the Servant

Curse of the Pharaoh has a few simple rules, but the Servant (the host) usually oversees these. The Servant is neutral, and is there to ensure that Curse of the Pharaoh runs smoothly and that everyone has a good time. If you have any questions about Curse of the Pharaoh, you should first consult the Servant.

More information to come as we have a better idea of who will be playing and as Brian makes it up.

Welcome to a
very special archaeologicalish
Pot-Luck Whodunit Mystery Costume Party!

The Curse of the Pharaoh

Taiwan Interactive Theatre Society

實境RPG (角色扮演遊戲真人版)


Interactive Dramas