The theme in roleplaying games can often be black and white. There are games that explore what it is to be a true monster, and this framework would thrive in those games. However, this framework can work in any roleplaying setting.
There are three parts to this framework, and at least two PC’s. The first PC is the victim. The second PC is the murderer. It is a good idea to create the PC’s with a Chinese Wall between the two. Don’t automatically make them sworn enemies. A much better story will result if you, the player, have no idea how the murder happens.
Because, a murder will happen.
The first scene (or act) should be from the victim’s point-of-view. Try and push hard towards some risky behavior or some “Catch 22” scenario. At the end of that scene, the first PC should die at the hands of the second PC. Who knows why? Was it self-defense? An accident? First-degree murder?
In the second scene (or act), now assume the role of second PC, the murderer. What is the fallout? Things happen because of the murder. Anything “unexpected” is almost surely the result of the murder. Can the murderer justify the killing? What about any problems from the law or superiors? Everything should be spinning out of control as the murderer learns just how problematic the death of the victim has become.
The final scene is the culmination of the murderer. Will there be acquittal or retribution? Pick the biggest problem that the murder created and run it in To Endings. It could even be years later. Only you can find out!
The following are a few example setups for the Psycho CRGE framework:
(1) Something Wicked This Way Comes – the victim is a pillar of a sleepy society, perhaps an innkeeper or mayor of a rural town. The murderer is a vagabond. However, in the second scene we learn the victim held a secret that kept the area safe, and now the flood gates have opened. The murderer becomes hunted for the crime, but hunted by what?
Sample cast: Mayor McDermot (victim) who owns a small shop in the county seat, Gypsy Jenkis who hasn’t slept more than two nights in any one spot for a decade, and the gates of the underworld beneath Mayor McDermot’s shop.
(2) Ordinary People – two ordinary people with no real violent bone in their body, at least not publicly collide. The victim’s life is falling down in scene one, and the victim is on a crash course right at the murderer. Whose fault was it? Who really upset the apple cart in this ordinary setting?
Sample cast: the nobody teenager (victim) with nobody schoolwork and activities and the most boring family ever meets the controlled housewife (murderer) who maintains her household with her fantastic husband and perfect kids.
(3) The Hero – the victim is the hero, the knight of justice and virtue, and then death comes. The quest has failed, and at the murderer’s doing. What will befall the realm?
Sample cast: the great knight (victim) who is the hero of the land versus the loser goblin (murderer) who gets that one lucky crit. Will the goblin now rise to glory or be crushed by vengeful knights?