Death on the Rocks


Death on the Rocks is a 1930s murder mystery game for 12-16 guests and one host. A peaceful (if rather peculiar) English village community has been disrupted by a savage murder. Written by Jessica Andrews. Recommended for ages 18+.


Death on the Rocks is a murder mystery game for 12 to 16 guests and a host. It is set in an English island village, in the 1930s. Download the free introductory pdf file.

Death on the Rocks is a thrilling evening of romantic scandal, poisonous gossip, political tension and murder! Your guests will be in the middle of the action, and it will be up to them to wheel and deal to get what they want. Will they achieve their goals, keep their secrets hidden, and survive Death on the Rocks?

See stories and pictures
from Death on the Rocks
Read the
Gull Island Gazette

Death on the Rocks is set in 1936, on the notoriously cold and windy Gull Island, just off the north-east coast of England, whose perilous rocks have claimed many a victim. It is 6:30pm on the eve of the winter’s Solstice, a traditional day of celebration for the villagers of Little Bleakly – much to the horror of the local Reverend. The wind is howling and the rain is coming down in sheets, but inside the village hall has been cheerfully decorated with brightly coloured flags and bunting.

The needle of the gramophone is poised over ‘Music Maestro Please’, and many of the villagers have already arrived in the village hall, when Little Bleakly is suddenly plunged into darkness by a power cut. Stumbling along the shadowy and winding paths with candles in their hands, the remaining villagers are on their way when light returns.

The festivities are ready to begin! Except someone is missing: Hugo Malady, the dashing heir to the legendary Malady fortune, who traditionally kickstarts the Winter Solstice Celebrations, is nowhere to be seen! The villagers spread out over the island in search. Soon, a shrill scream is heard from Lighthouse Bay: Freda, the local pub landlady, has discovered the body of Hugo Malady on the beach, lifeless, with a dagger protruding from the back of his neck!

Get ready for suspicion, intrigue, gossip, and a jolly good pub meal – and join us at Death on the Rocks!

Death on the Rocks lasts for about four hours and is suited to an evening. It is often played over a meal – a finger buffet if possible, to allow guests to circulate and talk in private.

No combat, no poison.
No combat, no poison.

The free introductory pdf file contains an introduction to the game, a cast list of all the characters, and a copy of the Gull Island Gazette.

Cast of characters

  • Lady Emily Malady: Hugo’s mother, Lady Emily is a notorious recluse, still in mourning for the death of her late husband, Sir George Arthur Malady
  • Charm Malady: Hugo’s glamorous sister, Charm Malady dreams of becoming a Hollywood star
  • Fräulein Louisa Winter: Charm’s super-strict German governess
  • Percival Reeves: The Malady family’s perfectly proper butler
  • Rosie White: The Malady family’s innocent young maid
  • Hillary Grey: Little Bleakly’s highly respectable, tweed-bedecked post person
  • Nova Grey: Hillary’s daughter and Hugo’s fiancée, the belle of the village
  • Dr Seth Jerome: Little Bleakly’s new doctor, Seth Jerome is an American and very popular with the ladies
  • Robin Hardcastle: Dr Seth Jerome’s meek and mild assistant
  • Reverend Meredith Brown: Little Bleakly’s fire-and-brimstone vicar
  • Freda Karamazova: The fiery gypsy landlady of The Cold Blast Inn
  • Vivian Oddy: A visitor to Gull Island and an avid twitcher, Vivian is researching an article for Bird Watching Weekly
  • Fräulein Braun: A visitor to Gull Island, Fräulein Braun was one of Charm Malady’s teachers at the etiquette school in Berlin
  • Jens Svederborg: Little Bleakly’s eccentric Swedish librarian
  • Luke Cleary: A young bohemian artist who lives in the lighthouse and was Hugo’s best friend
  • Louis le Roux: A visitor to Gull Island, Louis is a French cartographer, come to map the island

Death on the Rocks is for 12 to 16 guests:

  • 12 guests (5 male, 6 female, 1 any)
  • 13 guests (5 male, 6 female, 2 any)
  • 14 guests (6 male, 6 female, 2 any)
  • 15 guests (6 male, 6 female, 3 any)
  • 16 guests (6 male, 6 female, 4 any)

You also need a host – someone to organize the party and ensure everything runs smoothly.

How Freeform Games murder mystery games work

Death on the Rocks is unlike other murder mystery games. Although the game starts with a murder, each character has several goals they must try to accomplish. While they may want to solve the murder, Death on the Rocks contains plenty of other plots and secrets to keep everyone busy. Death on the Rocks isn’t scripted, and lets the players decide how to achieve their goals and thwart their enemies.

On the evening of the game the guests are met by the organizer, the Malady family’s Lawyer, and welcomed to Little Bleakly.

They then receive their detailed backgrounds – including dark secrets, objectives and money. The fun then begins as they form alliances, blackmail each other, steal items and maybe even try to murder one another! Along the way they may uncover some of the mysteries of Death on the Rocks. What is the secret of the wig? Is there really a gypsy curse? What is kept in small blue glass bottles? Who wants to live forever? Who might be a foreign spy? And, of course, who killed Hugo Malady?

Finally, the game concludes and everyone finds out how they did, and what secrets everyone else was concealing.

Recommended for ages 18+

We recommend Death on the Rocks for those aged 18+, as it includes adult references and the option of homosexuality.

Extra characters

Sometimes you have too many guests and need more characters. So most games have free extra characters (written by us or previous hosts) included in the download when you purchase the game.

  • ‘Ginger’ Roberts – aspiring film-maker (Any)
    (by Freeform Games)
  • Catherine Konrad-Malady – Hugo and Charm’s cousin (F)
    (by Marc Christenhusz)
  • Charlotte Chambers – well-known author (F)
    (by Kristen Hanneman)
  • Horace Finleigh – gentleman hunter (M)
    (by Marc Christenhusz)

Please note that we haven’t always tested these – and they may not tie in exactly with our games.

“Thank you for a great site, fantastic games, good service and very quick reply. Keep up the good work.” Ole Martin Brodwall, Norway

Cast Iron Guarantee

We offer a Cast Iron Guarantee on all our murder mystery games. If you’re not completely satisfied with Death on the Rocks then please let us know within 30 days and we will refund you. See our full terms and conditions, and our refund policy.

Trouble downloading? If you have trouble downloading the game files, please first check your spam folder. If you still can’t find the download email, drop us a line at with the name of the game and the email address you used to purchase it, and we’ll resend it.

1 review for Death on the Rocks

  1. Meaghan Rhoades (store manager)

    Hello, I just held my first murder mystery party, with Death on the Rocks, over this past weekend and it was a great success. I was so nervous that people might not really be into it, but thankfully I was wrong. At first a lot of people were overwhelmed with how much info they had to go through upon arrival, but once the game actually started and everyone started to talking to other people, it seemed to click and they got REALLY into it. Everyone seemed to have a blast. There were lots of lying, backstabbing, and people not trusting others even when their character sheet said they should. It was hilarious. My favorite thing from the evening was that the character of [censored] convinced [censored] she didn’t [censored], so even he was shocked at the end of the night when it was revealed she did. Only 1 person guessed the murderer. The characters who received the most votes was split between [censored] and surprisingly [censored], the person playing them was acting very shady all night. Overall the game was a fantastic success and we’re already planning to host one again next year!

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Q & A

How soon will I get my game? asked on 1 June 2021

You can download your game immediately after making your purchase. We will also send you an email message containing a download link and password so you can download your game later.

answered on 31 May 2021 store manager
(0) (0)
Where's my password? asked on 30 May 2021

Please check your email (including your junk folder). If you're sure you haven't received it, then please get in touch. It helps us if you tell us when you purchased the game and what email address you used.

answered on 29 May 2021 store manager
(0) (0)
How do freeform murder mystery games work? asked on 28 May 2021

Most of our games have an impartial host who organizes the party. Hosts don't solve the murder with everyone else – they have already read the game and instead watch the game unfolding.

Guests use their wits and negotiate, scheme, and plot with other guests to get what they want. Nobody needs to learn complicated backgrounds or memorize lines – character backgrounds are little more than a side or two of paper – which can be kept to hand for reference during the game.

answered on 27 May 2021 store manager
(0) (0)
Have you got any games for beginners? asked on 26 May 2021

Yes! If this is your first time hosting a Freeform Games murder mystery, we suggest choosing one of our more straightforward games. Click here for our 'games for beginners' page.

answered on 25 May 2021 store manager
(0) (0)
Do you have any games suitable for all-male or all-female groups? asked on 24 May 2021

Yes! We have several games where all the characters are ungendered and can be played by anyone. Click here to see our ungendered games.

answered on 23 May 2021 store manager
(0) (0)

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