I have been running a freeform (no system, basic rules and sheets designed by yours truly), sandbox RPG with a friend of mine for about half a year now. It's my first GM experience and it's been running pretty good so far and I'm liking the one-on-one experience (it allows for permanent spotlight on the one player). All the experience I have is self-taught grit from this very 1on1 RPG.
Now, to add some variation to the missions and things my player can do, I'd like to set up a mission where you have to take a side in a court trial (either defense or prosecution) and investigate the crime scenes for evidence and clues. I'd like to try for the Phoenix Wright style of play, where there are moments you go out and investigate scenes and question people and other moments where you use your evidence and witnesses to prove the defendant guilty/not guilty.
What I'd like to ask now is:
How would I best go about making a trial combined with investigation and detective work? I'm specifically looking for a plan or template with which I can easily plan out a trial combined with evidence and witnesses.
- How do I set up a crime (and how do I make an innocent person end up as the defendant)? How do I best organise scenes, evidence and witnesses?
- How do I slip in lies and contradictions into witnesses' testimonies, like in the Phoenix Wright games (without tripping all the alarm bells of my player)?
- How do I best act out the opposing lawyer (and how do I manage the few pieces of evidence that the player may not have found)?
I have already figured out that some of the skills we have could be used for this, like Intrigue (figuring out conspiracies), Suspicion (seeing through lies) and Tracking (finding traces left by culprits or bystanders). I will likely use Suspicion and Intrigue to drop clues on my player if they succeed the test. Any suggestions on this bit are also welcome.
Finally, for your information, we are playing in a world with futuristic technology and magic. The trials will mostly take place in a region where magic is most prevalent but technophobia is also an issue sometimes (technology is still an option though).
Concerning my question, I've found two other questions which I did not find conclusive to my answer:
Crime Investigation in a fantasy world
This touches on some points in my question, but the issue is not the justice system, but rather how to plan it out.
This question gets really close and so do the answers. What it doesn't cover is how to plan out and organise the key witnesses and pieces of evidence in the trial. While I will allow leeway to have the player 'create' evidence and witnesses I didn't prepare, but I'd still like to have a roadmap to get the average story during the trial.