Mysteries in Monsterhearts?

I played in a Monsterhearts one-shot focused on investigating some disappearances/deaths, and the mechanics encouraged interesting gameplay.

Monsterhearts has only one basic move for directly learning things (Gaze Into the Abyss). Also, the only mechanical way to get someone to reveal information is Pulling Strings, which you primarily gain through Turning Someone On or Shutting Someone Down.

This lead to the PCs relying on magic senses or on somehow provoking NPCs into giving them a String. I think the mechanics gave the story an interesting flavor that suited teenagers who are probably in way over their head.

I liked seeing how Monsterheart’s interpersonal-drama focused mechanics dealt with investigation stories.

Have other people played out mysteries/investigations in Monsterhearts? What were your takes on the experience? Any tips, tricks, or takeaways?


I think mysteries (or at least mysterious events) make for a great backdrop for a Monsterhearts campaign, but playing it as an investigation game (GM has the answers and players’ goal is to find them) would constrain some of the unpredictable to player-driven drama that makes Monsterhearts really special.


Yeah, that’s very much my read on it as well. I don’t think it works as a straight up investigative game, but having a mystery and what it means for the cast can be great. This includes any socially acquired elements as those are likely to have emotional impacts. Then Gaze into the Abyss can tie together the last things that they genuinely could not get otherwise.

1 Like

I haven’t tried it but this seems to exactly suited to stories like Riverdale.


Codex Moonlight has “Apocalypse by Moonlight” by Oli Jeffery which is rules for just this:“a modular sub-system that can be used to add emergent mysteries to Powered by the Apocalypse games.” It even has a Monsterhearts example.


Cool, I’ll check it out. Thanks!

1 Like

I don’t know Monsterhearts but you could check Mysteries and Clues for Apocalypse World.
Although I tend to go heavy on mysteries on my AW games I admit I rarely use those rules. Usually I just steal from players’ answers and integrate and secretly distort and build upon some of that and then make them discover stuff organically through moves.
Anyway I leave the link to the pdf. Note these rules (pag. 14-15) are for The Marmot (pag. 12-13), a limited ed. playbook so maybe you want to take a look at it to see how Clues are handled.