Pirates, rum, costumes, and…murder?
On a breezy Friday evening in January, after getting into pretty spot-on pirate outfits and having Jen help apply the perfect amount of eyeliner, we cruised over to Black Sails Adventure Company on Oak Island. Filled with excitement and not sure of what to expect, Jen, her husband Rob, and I opened the front door.
We were greeted by our host, who welcomed us in full costume all the way down to his missing fingers, with a bit of pirate speak, a nip of rum, and an offer to join him and the other guests in the back room. The room, which had been a simple pirate themed storefront when we had first met the proprietors, had been transformed into a pirate’s lair.
I had been a bit nervous that other attendees would be part of a large group and that we would be at a disadvantage in getting to know everyone. I was relieved to see that there were couples, individuals, and a family, none of whom knew each other prior to walking into that room.
The Set Up
The information we had received prior to arriving, which had included character information as well as suggested accessories, impressed upon us that we were not to share anything about our character with anyone, including people with whom we were attending. We soon found this to be an important part of the evening’s landscape as we were given the opportunity to meet the other guests as their character and to build the suspense of the whodunnit.
It was clear that everyone was a bit unsure of how the night would unfold but most were eager to dive in. Once all of the characters arrived, we were given additional information regarding our character, a little backstory, and tasks to complete. Once the tasks were assigned, everyone got busy following their personal narrative and meeting the other players. Deals were made, secrets were revealed and bribes were paid.
Our host was incredible as he facilitated the forward momentum of the storyline while never breaking character. His quick wit and ability to make every guest feel comfortable playing a role, adding whatever attributes they wished to the story, and truly lose themselves in the evening, is admirable. It was fascinating to see each person’s character and how each one was integral to the night being a success. Rob as a possibly corrupt public official, Jen as a rich girl in love with the wrong man, me (the wrong man) as an ex-pirate trying to go legit, a ship captain, a lady of the evening who turned out to be a skilled pickpocket, a maid who was obsessed with peanut butter sandwiches, and so many others.
Roughly halfway through the evening, we took a short break and were handed additional information and tasks. At this point everyone was quite comfortable in the character they had built and excited to see where the story would go. As one might expect at a murder mystery party, one of the “guests’ was inevitably killed.
While continuing with the assigned tasks and storybuilding, each pirate, maiden, madam, or governor began to build a case as to whom each thought might be the murderer. Some used logic and facts that had been established throughout the evening. Some used their gut feeling. A few used misinformation that was clearly just from a joke I had told.
As the night drew to a close and after all accusations had been made, the murdered and motive were made clear. I was saddened to learn that the person whom I was certain committed the murder was proven innocent.
While the mystery changes each time and since each person adds their own pizazz to their character, I will not be telling you who the murderer was, you will have to get tickets and find out for yourself.
I must say there is something liberating about immersing yourself into a character. At the end of the night, I felt that we had a bond with everyone else in attendance and started friendships that otherwise may not have happened.
A big thank you to our hosts Anthony and Nikki for making it a night we won’t soon forget.
We can’t wait to do it again with new people and, if it’s anything like the murder mystery, to check out the Pirates by Campfire in March!