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Murder on the Eberron Express
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Murder on the Eberron Express

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Murder on the Eberron Express is a character driven murder mystery, confined on a moving lightning rail, where the murderer changes each time you run it.


This 3-5 hour one-shot for level 6 characters aims to give you all the fun of a game of Clue with all the variety of Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. It is set in Eberron, an unusual D&D setting, that is darker and with more pulp noir aesthetics.

Egan Bakker is a foundling from House Cannith, one of Khorvaire’s powerful Dragonmarked Houses, trying to make his way into their good graces. Bakker is an artificer on his way from Sharn to Fairhaven with his family and a suspicious collection of others. On the final day of travel, Bakker is shot and killed with newly invented firearm. The characters must solve the murder before they get to Fairhaven or the killer might escape, and they might be blamed by the Fairhaven guard.

Not to mention the fact that the murderer must be one of them...

Included: archetypes, game guide, NPC sheets for all the archetypes and others, magical items and more.

 
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Reviews (14)
Discussions (27)
Customer avatar
Catarina S August 23, 2021 11:01 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hi Orla, I will be running this one-shot with a group of 5, and I was wondering if you have the full map on bigger sizes? I want my players to interact with the map but it will lose quality if I try to print the image on an A2 paper, and I really like the full map layout instead of each individual area.
Customer avatar
Theodore T June 16, 2021 1:13 am UTC
PURCHASER
Planning to run this but wondering: how do you murder a rich person in Eberron? Wouldn't they just get raised from the dead upon arrival in Fairhaven? Does the gun blow his head off and send it flying out the window or something? Does it magically impede resurrection magic (and is this fact about an experimental weapon somehow commonly known)? How have people handled this?
Customer avatar
David B August 09, 2021 10:01 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Raising people from the dead is complicated in Eberron. Firstly, practically nobody has the skills to cast the Raise dead spell. Recall that Eberron's "everyday magic" encompasses spells up to the 3rd level, 4th and 5th level spells are extremely complex and rare. Secondly, house Jorasco casts "Augury" before any resurrection. If the result is "Woe", then they will always refuse to perform the spell. Ignoring the Augury result could potentially bring angry spirits back from Dolurrh, killing everyone involved. Finally, lots of things can happen to the spirit on its travel to Dolurrh, maybe it decides it doesn't want to come back to Eberron, maybe the soul was snatched by the keeper, or maybe the Queen of the Dead took an interest in this soul and kept it in her collection. In any case, resurrection is an extremely unlikely solution to most problems in Eberron.
Customer avatar
Paulina G April 02, 2021 12:56 pm UTC
PURCHASER
How crazy would it be to run this with 8 PCs? Would it still be fun for everyone? I have a group of friends that would probably enjoy this, but I also want to make sure it would still be enjoyable with that many PCs.
Customer avatar
Orla N April 03, 2021 1:08 pm UTC
CREATOR
I've only done it once. It was a lot of fun but you've got to be willing to embrace the chaos. I also DM'd on my feet moving around the room so that helped.
Customer avatar
Jeff S March 26, 2021 6:47 pm UTC
PURCHASER
This is a very good product for what it is. It is NOT, however, what I expected when purchasing. I probably should have read the comments.

This is a murder mystery where the the players play one of the pre-supplied characters.

I purchased this planning on putting my PCs through an adventure on a lightning rail. I don't think it works if you bring your own characters.

Again, good for what it is. Not what I was expecting.
Customer avatar
Dylan F January 11, 2021 11:45 pm UTC
PURCHASER
@Orla N, looking forward to running this soon! Question: How do you handle spells like Zone of Truth or Detect Thoughts? Seems like they could split a murder mystery wide open! Even if none of the players have it, they could assume that the police force in the destination city does, and resolve to submit themselves for questioning, leaving the murderer with little way out.
Customer avatar
Dylan F January 12, 2021 12:39 am UTC
PURCHASER
Oh, and one more thing - under "Searching Characters or Their Cabins," you list 8 cabins, belonging to the Scholar, Business Partner, Lover, Spouse & Egan Bakker, Lost Heir, Train Conductor, Ice Queen, and Loyal Retainer. But I only count 7 cabins on the train total - one in the engine, four in first class, and two in the galley. Any recommendations on how to reconcile this? I ask because many of the descriptions mention hiding objects in their room, and if they're sharing rooms, that seems relevant. (My inclination is to stick the Heir in second class.)
Customer avatar
SArah C March 30, 2021 3:17 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Took me awhile too, but closer reading there are two 1st class cars. One on either side of the dining car. The map is not complete.
Customer avatar
Cornelius D September 11, 2020 6:04 am UTC
PURCHASER
One thing I don't quite understand. Why does the Spouse mix in some sleeping potion with the brandy?
The whole setup is fantastic by the way, can't wait to run this tomorrow.
Customer avatar
Orla N September 11, 2020 11:32 am UTC
CREATOR
The in book reason was to keep him away from 'The Secret Lover' but it could equally be because he was annoying them or for another reason the character decides.
Customer avatar
Sasha U August 26, 2020 9:55 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I'm super excited to run this one-shot this weekend with a group of friends! I'm just hoping you can answer a question about the Motives for Murder table and how it's usually used. Is it once the murderer has been selected that you give them the option of rolling for another motive and letting them pick between that one or the one in their archetype information, or do you let anyone who wants to roll for it? Since there are only 6 motives in the table and players might end up rolling on the same ones it seems like it's something reserved for the one real murderer?
Customer avatar
Orla N September 16, 2020 9:23 pm UTC
CREATOR
The motive for murder is something the DM should discuss with the murderer once they're determined. Those are suggestions and players might have their own ideas.
Customer avatar
Tomas G July 20, 2020 3:01 am UTC
I was thinking about running this as a fun adventure between chapters 4 and 5 from the Oracle of War storyline. Would it be easy to change the trajectory of the train from Salvation (near the Mournland) to Sharn and still have this one-shot make sense?
Customer avatar
Orla N July 20, 2020 9:31 am UTC
CREATOR
Hey Tomas, changing the destination isn't really a problem if you tweak the murder victims backstory a little. The challenge is using this with pre-existing characters is that the motives/methods of murder of the archetypes have to be applied differently. It can be done, but it just takes some imagination to fit a murder victim into your existing party's backstories. The simplest way is probably to still assign an archetype to each PC and just change some of the backstory stuff. Bakker invited them on this lightning rail journey for a reason, some of them might have a history with him, others might have ideological opposition to him as an arms dealer, etc. Keep the NPCs as the archetypes they are and play out from there?
Customer avatar
Tomas G July 22, 2020 11:16 pm UTC
Does this module suggest one of the PCs could be the murderer? Because if I am playing a story that's supposed to go on I can't have the character secretly be an assassin
Customer avatar
Orla N July 23, 2020 12:07 pm UTC
CREATOR
Yes, the idea of the module is to run like a game of Clue where anyone could be the murderer.
Customer avatar
Thomas B July 07, 2020 12:41 pm UTC
Looks like a great adventure, although in my opinion you missed a great pun by not calling it the "Orien Express."
Customer avatar
Orla N July 08, 2020 12:10 am UTC
CREATOR
I strongly considered it, :D but players new to Eberron wouldn't get it so I decided this made more sense.
Customer avatar
mag H May 13, 2020 5:58 pm UTC
How difficult would this be to run with four players? What do you suggest doing with the four other archetypes, minus having my players play two characters apiece (which I don't think they'd go for as newer players).
Customer avatar
Orla N May 13, 2020 11:51 pm UTC
CREATOR
You definitely shouldn't have them play two characters. The usual way to use the other archetypes as NPCs, they have NPC stat blocks you can use which you can also use as pre-gen characters for your players if they'd like help.
Customer avatar
Brian R May 09, 2020 1:35 am UTC
PURCHASER
How important is it that the train is going from Sharn to Fairhaven? My players are currently in Starilaskur and on their way to Sharn, so if the start/end points are unimportant, that would be great.
Customer avatar
Orla N May 09, 2020 1:05 pm UTC
CREATOR
It depends, it matters for the backstories/motives of the archetypes but if you're playing with an existing party you'll have to find a way to rejig / fit in anyway.
Customer avatar
Michael G May 01, 2020 3:16 am UTC
PURCHASER
How difficult would it be to modify this module for lower level characters--ideally level 1?
Customer avatar
Orla N May 01, 2020 2:49 pm UTC
CREATOR
Not that difficult since there is not that much combat unless it's PvP in which case it's automatically scaled. It means that the stat blocks for any unused archetypes aren't useful but that's only a few NPCs for the DM to redo.
Customer avatar
Chris G April 08, 2020 10:30 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hey Orla. I love the book. I have been prepping to run it for the past week and wanted a suggestion. What have you guys done whit the murder weapon?
Customer avatar
Orla N April 08, 2020 12:12 pm UTC
CREATOR
I've run it multiple times and listened to some groups online and honestly it's gone in every possible direction. The gun is on the table and it's up to you and the players to decide what happens next. I'm you know how unpredictable a party can be. I've seen everything from it being ignored entirely to it prompting entire PVP fight sequences.
Customer avatar
MICHAEL H March 30, 2020 10:25 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I'm seeing some inconsistencies - The Lost Heir doesn't have any section for what they were doing at the time of the murder. Additionally, each of the 8 characters has a cabin, but there's only 6 cabins on the map.
Customer avatar
Orla N April 01, 2020 1:25 pm UTC
CREATOR
The staff cabins are on the engine car, the first car on the map.
Customer avatar
Chris G April 08, 2020 10:28 am UTC
PURCHASER
Sorry for the confusion but may I ask Who is in the staff cabins? The veteran conductor and who else would be there?
Customer avatar
Orla N April 08, 2020 12:10 pm UTC
CREATOR
The loyal retainer in my mind, but this is for any given DM to decide. Maybe Bakker has his retainer and the Lost Heir in together depended on how you've worked out those backstories with your players.

To avoid the game being a script people had to memorise I only wrote it absolutes where I felt that was for the best and left room for players and DMs to make up the rest.
Customer avatar
Dan M February 24, 2020 4:03 pm UTC
PURCHASER
My PDF cuts off at 47 pages. Any help would be appreciated.
Customer avatar
Orla N February 24, 2020 5:47 pm UTC
CREATOR
After 47 PDF pages or after page 47? The document is 49 pages but that includes the cover art and front matter. Page 1 begins on the 3rd document page. So long as you've got all of the magical item appendix you've got everything. If not try redownloading.
Customer avatar
Dan M February 25, 2020 2:06 am UTC
PURCHASER
The last thing I see is at the bottom of page 47- the incomplete Survivor's Jerkin. So, there is no page 48 to complete the document. I re-downloaded and it came out the same. Thanks for any help! Dan
Customer avatar
Orla N February 25, 2020 5:13 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi! Yeah, it's a two column format so the rest of that paragraph should be at the top of the next column on the same page.
Customer avatar
Dan M March 02, 2020 12:23 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I'll check and let you know. Thanks!
Customer avatar
Christopher D February 19, 2020 11:04 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hey everyone. I plan on running this on Friday. I just have a question. How do you handle the second murders? Any help on this would be appreciated.
Customer avatar
Orla N February 20, 2020 1:51 am UTC
CREATOR
How I've done it, and how I've seen others do it, is either in collaboration with a player (for example a Spouse that planned to kill the Lover as well from the beginning) or use an NPC to do it to either muddy the water or move the plot on.
Customer avatar
Christopher D February 21, 2020 2:56 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thank you for your response. Maybe I'm just overthinking it but I'm struggling with how it will be carried out. Does the murderer need to make a check? Does the target just die? Sorry if I'm missing something obvious. Thanks for your help.
Customer avatar
Orla N February 21, 2020 7:15 pm UTC
CREATOR
Depends, if it's a player character it has to be played out as combat. If you're killing an NPC with an NPC or conspiring with a PC to kill an NPC, it might be easy to have them just die "off-screen"
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File Last Updated:
May 07, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on November 29, 2019.