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  • giorgis 12:14 am on October 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #SHOCtober,   

    SHOCtober [A crime at the river – A weird noir fiction D6 adventure] Summary 


    Inspired by SHOCtober, I decided to delve in a horror themed solo rpg investigation.
    I began with a basic crime scene of a murder (it wouldn’t be horror if I there wasn’t at least one) and built it up from there.
    In order to keep the surprise element I went above and beyond to not ask the Oracle any metagaming questions and did not use any story generators for the set up, even though it’s harder this way.
    Link to the rule set for Solo RPG Investigation Framework

    If you want to read the story first check the following entries on my blog here: S1E00 S1E01 S1E02 S1E03 S1E04 S1E05 S1E06 S1E07
    Spoilers from here on.

    What I liked: Overall I felt that the adventure was not scripted. It was freeform, but still within a framework not totally free. The Recluse Oracle was a very welcome addition that breathed new life. Whenever I had a False Presupposition, I had to stop and reconsider the story path! I liked the fact that the story built itself from the ground up, and when I reached the end, it did not crumble to a totally different direction, but stood.
    Careful readers may have noticed that in the final scene, when the party entered Verner’s office and met with the deep one, I did not ask the Oracle if the figure in front of them was a deep one or a human. The story was set and we were at the end, I didn’t care for another surprise that may have ruined everything. So many Oracle rolls led to this result, I wasn’t going to allow one roll overrule them. So I decided that the creature was a deep one and went on.
    Regarding the D6 system choice, I’m so glad I used it. The skills were so easily used and blended with the Oracle without effort. Most importantly, balancing the final encounter was a piece of cake. I know what the base attributes are, and I upped the stakes just enough to make things challenging and I was rewarded with an enjoyable fight. If I had used his fate point, Malkowski might still be alive, but oh well wrong choices lead to death in pulp horror games.
    Where it succeeded: The crime scene investigation was performed successfully. I set up clues with witness testimonies, evidence, autopsies and managed to combine everything. A long time ago I used to be a huge fan of police shows, CSI, Law and Order, etc. This helped me think in what I needed and frankly, the questions led the investigation on.
    Where it fell short: Building up the Horror aspect. Maybe if I had a dark room with candles and music, everything would feel different, but being player and GM at the same time and fleshing our the creature, kinda killed it for me. Maybe for the readers it was different, and that’s why I didn’t share the results of the SSSS monster generation, to keep things interesting and unknown. Nevertheless, the slimy tentacles with seaweed hair is a gross picture!
    Also I think I didn’t capture the ’20s feeling well. Even though the setting was in that time period, in my head the images better fit the next decade or two. Not much of a problem, just something to consider.
    What I did against my better thinking: Once more I did not flesh out my protagonist’s character. At first I delayed it for a session or two, but then I decided against it. I didn’t want the adventure to be about Malkowski, I wanted it to be about the crime investigation. In all those shows that I watched, the protagonist’s stories were irrelevant. What made things interesting was the crime and how it was solved, so I did this as well. I fleshed our a basic stereotypical male detective figure, who’s a bit of a hardass, doesn’t follow orders well, and smokes like a chimney. Typical noir detective. I could have written the notes in first person, but it’s not my style.

    Brief Adventure Summary

    The theme is weird noir 1920s.
    The protagonist is Police Detective Stanton Malkowski. His partner is Wade Norman.
    Malkowski is the lead homicide investigator in the death of author Latimer Tilton.

    During the investigation, Malkowski found out that Latimer Tilton had financial differences with his editor Joseph Verner and was also experimenting with the occult arts with his girlfriend, Emily Browne.
    In every second step of the way, Malkowski faces the nearby church priest, Pierre Tillman of St. Mark’s. He’s even found him in Tilton’s houseboat, where we tells Malkowski a story about Tilton’s half-brother, Benjamin Kingston. Tillman now has entered Malkowski’s suspects list.
    Autopsy shows that Tilton died from brain implosion, and a weird stinking black goo was found in his nose and in the crime scene.
    The detective finds contradictory statements between Tillman and Browne, but the evidence seem to suggest Browne’s more likely to be telling the truth.
    A forged birth certificate is a dead end, leading to nothing definitive and a fire breakout in the forensics lab delays the processing of evidence.

    After a second, more thorough search, Malkowski recovers an occult tome from the public library, the Enchiridion of Bilamma, which was in possession of both Tilton and Browne. Norman is removed from the investigation and Malkowski is warned by the police captain, Falkner to stay away from Tillman.
    A couple days later, going after a dead end lead provided by Tillman, regarding the supposed half-brother, Benjamin Kingston, Browne is found dead at her home. Signs of occult ritual are the main theme of the scene. Norman is brought back to the investigation.
    Norman and Malkowski head over to St Mark’s church to gather statements regarding Tilton and Tillman. Malkowski sneaks in Tillman’s office, but finds nothing that could incriminate him.
    With the delays on the autopsy report and the damages on the forensics lab, the next day, Malkowski faces Tillman and gives him his hypothesis, based on his evidence so far.
    Tillman died trying to cast a summoning spell that merged consciousness between him and an unknown entity, which attacked Browne later on. Tillman agrees with Malkowski’s hypothesis and the two of them proceed to solve the mystery and hunt down the entity.

    They meet up with an old friend of Tillman, brother Robert Atwood, who translates some of Browne’s notes. They realize that the ritual markings in Browne’s residence were a failed attempt to protect herself from the entity, and deduce that the next possible targets are the people that in life, were closest to Tilton.
    They head to Joseph Verner’s office, where find him dead and they come face to face with an unspeakable creature. Crablike, with tentacles and seaweed. It brings down Malkowski and a neighbor who joined in to help until finally Tillman decapitates it with Verner’s cavalry saber.
    Tillman sets the remains on fire after getting the downed men to safety. Unfortunately they contracted an unknown disease and perished in the next weeks, leaving Tillman the only survivor.


    Light, few page oracle with fast resolution and low bookkeeping.
    Pros: Easy, Fast, Intuitive
    Cons: The ‘buts’ can be difficult to narrate all times, regressing to simple Yes/No

    Oracle with Yes/No, But/And and also False Presupposition. Once I found out about it I switched to this resolution for the MUNE.
    Pros: The False Presupposition helps reduce bias greatly and can give very nice twists to the story. It’s like there is a GM telling you what is there.
    Cons: The resolution uses 2-3 dice and can take a bit getting used to regarding the different combinations. Also the false presupposition just doesn’t fit in certain cases, so a couple times I just had to reroll.

    Universal NPC emulator. Worked great for the cases I turned to it.
    Pros: NPC on the fly, NPC backstory
    Cons: The result may not fit the NPC.

    GMA from beta Alone release bundle
    Had to print it out to use it, but it was worth the effort. It has great potential and is a quick assist at hand without having to search my online bookmarks for tools.
    Pros: No need for dice, no need for online portents, tailor-made for rpgs, solves multiple issues with one card.
    Cons: I don’t have the entire deck 😀

    This site has a ton of resources from fantasy to cyberpunk to scifi. It’s my go to resource when I want something generated. I only head elsewhere if I don’t find what I need.
    Pros: Generators for almost every need
    Cons: Some generators enhance metagaming (System generators)

    A cross platform note taking app that I use as an intermediary from paper to publishing.
    Pros: Cross platform (web, windows, Linux, iOS, Android), Note sharing, Markdown, publishing, export function.
    Cons: There are no folders so browsing can be a hard.

    SSSS Addendum
    This is the addendum for the free Sharp Swords and Sinister Spells OSR sword and sorcery rpg. It has a great pulp feel with tons of tables and it’s great for inspiration.
    Pros: Lots of tables. From adventure downtime to monster generation and adventure titles.
    Cons: Had to reroll a few times to find something that fit my adventure.

  • giorgis 12:05 am on October 30, 2019 Permalink

    Solo RPG Investigation Framework 

    #Solo RPG Crime Scene Investigation Framework

    Edit: This is a work in progress. I will be adding more examples and defining the framework with further rules in this page. I will be making short blog posts about updates referencing this link when this happens.

    Preface: These rules are to facilitate a solo rpg crime scene adventure.
    It’s meant to run without a story framework or threads, since knowing what happened kinda ruins the surprise. I seriously urge the reader to follow the rules on Solo Metagaming and how to avoid it, as the entire concept is based on this.
    I’ve tested these with a homebrew D6 system, but it’s supposed to be system agnostic.

    Order of set up for crime scene

    1. First of all define the Known Information

      The crime scene was called in by someone. Who was it? When was it called in?
      Where is the scene?

    2. Then, define the Obvious Information

      What is visible at a first glance?
      Is there a missing body part? Is there a weapon on the floor?

    3. Ask the Investigation Information

      This requires an investigation skill roll. Depending on the outcome you get one or more questions to the Oracle, regarding non obvious items.
      Since most game systems are not mechanically based on delivering information to solo players, I suggest that you use the relevant skill, and decipher the result in a way that a moderate success will answer 3 Oracle questions.
      Are there bullet holes? Is there a wound that may be the cause of death? Are there signs of struggle?
      Example modifications:

      System Rule
      OpenD6 Every 5 points of success, is one answer
      Savage Worlds Success 1 answer, Each raise 2 answers
      D100 Systems Every 10 points of difference from skill, is one answer
    4. Run a specific Search Information

      This requires a successful search roll. You must define beforehand what you search for. It could be for example shell casings. If it’s probable that the item is hidden, then increase the difficulty.

    5. Finalize Follow up Information

      If any of the above could generate more questions that can be answered at the scene, go ahead and ask them. If there are bullet holes, ask how many. If a knife was found ask if it has blood on it. Don’t ask the about the bullet diameter or whose blood it was on the knife. These need a forensics lab.

    6. Run Field Examination Information

      If the investigator has a kit at hand to examine gunpowder residue or blood stains, then perform the respective skill rolls and ask the Oracle.
      Likewise if there is a witness, run the respective social skill and questions and ask the Oracle for the answers.

    Notes on rules

    Always ask the Oracle after any successful skill rolls. The fact that your investigator has a keen eye and rolled a critical success on the search roll to find shell casings doesn’t mean that there are any to be found. Though they can be certain that they would have found them if they were there. So maybe the gun was planted since it wasn’t a revolver… who knows?

    Run a separate investigation roll for the crime scene and the location. Trying to find clues in the location of
    the crime is quite different than defining if anyone in the neighborhood could have seen anything.

    NPC or item generators are very useful, but one must be careful to use only the relevant information. If the generator states that the priest secretly worships an evil deity, disregard it, since there is no way your character would know. If it says that his hair is black, keep it.

    The Oracle will take your story in its own direction. Embrace it and go with it. The more a story progresses, everything will either get clearer or blurred. Makes sense. Not all crime scenes are to be solved, even by the best investigators. Sometimes the bad guy has confused everyone so much, they get to walk away.
    Also some clues won’t fit. Maybe they were irrelevant or their link is lost. Don’t fret over them, try an approach from a different angle.

    These are system agnostic and Oracle agnostic rules. If your system has a separate skill for interrogation, intimidation, persuasion, charm or only a charisma attribute use the appropriate one when talking to a witness. If the Oracle has interventions or unexpected events, use them normally.

    Cement Hypothesis

    During the course of the investigation, many hypotheses will arise. Once you have a hypothesis of what happened that you feel is most likely, run a 6M Why/Why Not analysis on it. Each M, that supports the hypothesis (a Why) adds one point to the hypothesis score. Each M that contradicts the hypothesis (a Why Not) removes one point from the hypothesis score. Each M that neither adds nor contradicts the hypothesis doesn’t affect the hypothesis score.

    The suspect. His character, does it fit the hypothesis?
    Evidence (not the murder weapon, see Machine) that supports the hypothesis.
    Means (Environment):
    The crime scene. Are there signs that support the hypothesis? Struggle? Forced entry?
    The reports, autopsy report, police reports, financial trail reports, do they support the hypothesis?
    Machine (Murder Weapon):
    The murder weapon, does it belong to the suspect? was it found on their possession? Is it their favorite tool? Is it a tool of their job?
    The method of killing, does it support the hypothesis further? Could the suspect have committed the crime using this method? A slim young woman is unlikely to have strangled a heavyset wrestler.

    Once the hypothesis score is set, any questions to the Oracle regarding the hypothesis from then on will have the following modifier:

    Hypothesis Score Modifier
    1 Very Unlikely
    2 Unlikely
    3 No Modifier
    4 No Modifier
    5 Likely
    6 Very Likely

    If a further Oracle answer modifies one of the 6M, adjust the hypothesis score respectively.

    The adventure is considered complete with the Closure of the case. This can be a different thing regarding the objectives set at the start.
    It could be a trial and you send it to the DA. It could be an occult ritual and you hunt down the demon. It could be a plea from the suspect.

    Scene Example

    1. Story thread
      Let’s say I want to run a ’30s Murder investigation. I decide that my character is a police detective on homicide investigations. I will start my opening scene with the crime scene.

    2. Known information
      All the following question can be asked either with procedural Oracle questions, or generators, digital or tables. For the sake of the example I won’t be using any tools, just providing answers, to make it easier to showcase it.
      The following can be asked on the way to the crime scene, or before, during the assignment.
      Roll: What time of day is it?
      A: 10.00 am
      Table: Where is the crime scene?
      A: A mansion
      Table: Who called it in?
      A: Service maid
      Roll: When did she notify the police?
      A: 8.00 am
      since a service maid called in about a murder in a mansion, it’s likely they know the victim’s identity
      Q: Is the victim’s identity known?
      A: Yes
      Table: Who is it?
      A: The rich lord

    3. Obvious information
      The detective reaches the mansion.
      Q: Are they first responders?
      A: Yes
      which begs the question
      Table: Who opens the door?
      A: The butler
      Table: Where is the body?
      A: Living room, in an armchair next to the fireplace
      Q: Is there a weapon visible?
      A: Yes, and it’s next to the body
      Q: Is it a firearm?
      A: Yes
      Q: Is it a revolver?
      A: No, but, its a pistol, a semi-automatic
      Q: Is it near the hand?
      A: Yes
      Q: Is it the right hand?
      A: Yes
      this could look like a suicide
      Q: Is there a headshot wound?
      A: Yes

    4. Investigation information
      Detective succeeds on Moderate investigation roll, gaining 3 answers on the Oracle.
      Q: Is there an exit wound?
      A: No
      Q: Is there a flash burn on the head?
      A: False presupposition, there is too much blood to make it out
      Q: Is there any other wound?
      A: No, but it can’t be clearly seen

    5. Search information
      Detective succeeds on an Easy search roll, gaining answers on an out-of-sight but not hidden items
      Q: Are there shell casings?
      A: Yes, and, its two of them!
      so one shot missed, maybe during suicide there was a trembling hand, this means there’s a bullet somewhere
      Q: Is there a bullet hole?
      A: No, and there is no bullet strike either (no ricochet)

    6. Follow up information
      So maybe there is a window, and the bullet went out that way?
      Q: Is there a window?
      A: Yes, but, it’s not in the logical trajectory of the bullet
      something doesn’t fit here

    7. Field examination information
      Since it’s the ’30s I doubt there’s much of field examination kits going.
      Witness statements are taken here. Extra care must be taken when using a generator to define the NPCs. If I get a result that says that an NPC is a sleazy weasel, then that must be the feeling that the protagonist gets when talking to them, which could be far from the truth. A perception check is in order for any information given, to see if you can ask the Oracle if the NPC sounds truthful.
      I won’t go much into dialogues, maybe in a future update.

    Now, the investigator has a series of things to look upon. For now, I will jump to the end, and skip the main part of the adventure, but we’ll suppose that the following has been gathered.

    • The victim left a suicide note
    • The victim had suicide tendencies according to separated-wife
    • The victim was rich and had properties according to lawyer
    • The victim’s doctor said he was getting better
    • The cook heard one gunshot, but maybe it was two together
    • The cook says he was preparing a chicken for the day’s meal at the time of murder
    • The butler heard one gunshot
    • The butler says he was in the library at the time of murder
    • The service maid was out in the stables with the stable boy
    • The victim was left handed according to the doctor
    • The forgery expert derived that the suicide note is genuine
    • The autopsy report revealed two bullets in the brain and no gunshot residue on the head
    • The lawyer said that the divorce hadn’t been finalized yet
    • According to victim’s best friend the wife was a schemer who spent too much, that’s why the victim wanted to divorce her
    • According to the butler the cook was stealing cash from the victim whenever he could find the opportunity

    With the above and the clues from the initial crime scene, the detective is certain that this wasn’t a suicide.
    Hypothesis: The wife used a suicide note she had kept from when the victim was in a bad shape and staged his murder. Due to the fact that she’s not a resident in the mansion anymore she must have had help. Considering that the butler knew the victim very well, he couldn’t have made such an obvious mistake such as planting the firearm in the wrong hand, so that leaves only the cook as a possibility.

    6M Why/Why Not
    The wife spent a lot of money and would be left out with a minimum allowance after the divorce.
    Man supports the hypothesis.

    Means (Environment)
    2 shell casings were found away from the body, someone shot the victim from away.
    Means supports the hypothesis.

    A genuine suicide note was found which contradicts the hypothesis.
    Material contradicts the hypothesis.

    2 bullets were found in the head of the victim. The lack of GSR means that the shot was from afar. Measure supports the hypothesis.

    Machine (Murder Weapon)
    The murder weapon was an easy to use semi-auto pistol, in the ownership of the victim. It neither supports nor contradicts the hypothesis.

    The wife was a schemer. Having an accomplice fits means she had access. The cook was a common thief.
    Method supports the hypothesis.

    So we have 4 points that support, 1 point that contradicts, and one that doesn’t support or contradict, for a final score of 3. The detective will try to intimidate the cook into confessing the crime saying that the wife gave him up, and will do the same to the wife. If anyone fails to the intimidation attempt, then we get to ask the Oracle with no modifier according to the score of 3, if the hypothesis stands, and possibly get a confession.

  • giorgis 1:24 am on October 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply

    A crime at the river – A weird noir fiction D6 adventure S1E07 

    Tuesday noon, April 12th, 1921, Emily Browne’s residence

    Tillman: Scholar (Occult) (5D/M): 4/3: Success
    Q: Are the ritual drawings for protection?
    A: False presupposition

    The drawings aren’t there anymore. They have been swiped clear.
    “Seems we’re out of luck father. The scene was released and it’s been cleaned up. If we’re lucky forensics may have a photo shot.” Stan says disappointed.
    “Would it be alright if we looked for any notes regarding the occult detective? Maybe we could find something else that will help us” the priest proposes.
    “You really aren’t the law abiding type, eh father? Sure, let’s do a search.” Stan agrees.

    Stan: Search (for occult notes): 4+
    Q: Are there any notes on the occult?
    A: Yes, and they may include spells and rituals
    Intervention: 5: Regress Plot
    I decide that the notes aren’t in English but in Greek/Latin/Aramaic/Egyptian/Sanskrit. I roll and get Sanskrit.
    If it was Latin, I’d have the priest be able to read them, but now they have to find someone else.

    Note to self: seriously? first a false presupposition and now a regress plot intervention? This GM Oracle really makes the protagonist’s life hard.

    I’ll try to do what I can with the stuff at hand.
    Q: Is there any drawing in the notes similar to the one that was drawn on the floor? (Likely)
    A: No, and there are no drawings at all.
    Q: Does father Tillman recognize the language?
    Knowledge (4D/M): 4/3: Success
    A: Yes it’s Sanskrit
    (Small metagaming mistake here. When I deemed that it was another language, I should have rolled Tillman’s knowledge check before asking what language it is.)
    Q: Does father Tillman know anyone who could translate it?
    A: Yes

    “Found these, tucked behind a book in the bookcase. They’re handwritten but I don’t recognize the language.” Stan brings a document bound with strings to father Tillman.
    “That’s Sanskrit. I don’t speak the language but I have a friend who does. We can take this to him.” The priest replies.
    “Let’s go then, father” the detective says and they set off.

    Now, since up to now I was giving 2-3 scenes per day and it’s getting late already, I will ask.
    Q: Is there enough time to go to the contact before the end of the day?
    A: Yes, but, no time for anything else

    I roll for UNE for the contact and I get: righteous missionary.
    Sometimes the dice fill in perfectly. This one is a devout priest.

    The duo parks the car outside a small chapel and get off.
    Sitting on a plain bench next to the entrance is a man with trimmed silver hair and grey eyes, wearing a dark suit and a priest’s collar.
    “Brother Pierre” he says to father Tillman as he approaches.
    “Brother Robert” he replies.
    “What brings you here?” Brother Robert asks.
    “This is detective Malkowski. I’m assisting him in a murder investigation and we could use your expertise in a piece of evidence in Sanskrit.” Father Tillman says.
    “Please, come in then. I’m always happy to help the police” Brother Robert says.

    Brother Robert Atwood: Languages (Sanskrit) (6D/M): 4+/3: Success
    He translates it and has an easy chance of understanding what it it about.
    Knowledge (4D/E): 3/2: Success
    He realizes what this is about, must do a sanity check.
    Sanity check: Willpower (6D/E): 8+/2: Success, and he won’t be needing another sanity check for this subject matter.

    “What have you gotten yourself into? This is heresy!” He says furiously.
    “Calm down brother.” Father Tillman tries to defuse the situation. “The woman who presumably wrote these was found dead. We need to find if she was the victim of an entity and tried to protect herself from it.”

    Tillman: Persuasion: 3+/2: Success

    Brother Robert sighs and nods in agreement, after taking a deep breath.

    “Are there any protection spells? Using the pentalpha magic symbol?” Father Tillman asks.

    Q: Is there a spell of protection with a pentalpha ritual?
    A: False presupposition

    “There are no spells in the notes. Only wards against detection from entities of the abyss. This one requires a full coal circle around the warded area.” Brother Robert says.

    “Does it refer to the Enchiridion of Bilamma?” Stan asks.

    Q: Is there any reference to the Enchiridion of Bilamma?
    A: Yes
    I decide to get a portent from UNE using the NPC motivation nouns and verbs. Learn, Peace.
    And another one: Opress Slavery.

    Brother Robert looks at the detective with worry. “It says that to cast the spells described in the Enchiridion, one must achieve a trancelike state of peace of mind, otherwise the summoned entity will set itself free.”

    “Is there anything else that might help us, brother?” Tillman asks.

    Q: Anything else of note?
    A: No

    “Nothing that I can tell. You should burn these once you’re done with it!” Brother Robert persists.
    “We will brother, thank you.” Father Tillman replies and they leave.

    The detective drops the priest back to his church and he leaves. Hopefully tomorrow he can find a photo of the scene to complement their knowledge.

    Q: Does anything happen in the downtime?
    A: No, and it’s unlikely anything will happen tomorrow

    Wednesday morning, April 13th, 1921

    Q: Is there a photo of the crime scene depicting Browne’s ritual drawing?
    A: Yes, but it’s not perfectly clear. The focus was on the corpse. Increase difficult by 1.

    With the photo at hand, Stan drives to St. Mark’s and shows it to father Tillman.

    Tillman: Scholar (Occult) (5D/M): 3-/3: Success, Complication, photo is ruined after the examination.
    Q: Is a ward depicted? (Likely)
    A: No
    Q: Is it a summoning spell?
    A: No
    Q: Is it to keep something from escaping?
    A: False presupposition
    Another series of questions overridden by the Oracle. I decide that no spell was depicted at all.

    “I can see the occult drawing, even though it’s hard to tell, being out of focus, but everything is plain wrong. I have seen plenty of such drawings, and always the lines seemed to connect, and the candles would be at the star edges, which isn’t the case here. Also this can’t be coal. Some kind of dark chalk maybe? Brother Robert had mentioned coal in the Sanskrit notes. I presume that Ms Browne May have wanted to do something, but either she did it in a hurry and messed it up, or she had no idea what she was doing.” Tillman puts the photo down on his desk clumsily and spills the ink holder next to it, ruining the picture. “Oh no! I am sorry detective” he exclaims.
    “No worries father, I trust the boys still have the negatives. We’ll print another if needed.” Stan says not losing his cool. “So father you’d say that Ms Browne was trying to protect herself, and considering her knowledge of the occult, she did so in panick and failed miserably? The thing that killed her, what do you think it wants? If she didn’t summon it, why did she end up dead?” Stan monologues.

    This could be a rhetorical question but for the sake of storytelling I will ask
    Q: Does father Tillman answer Stan’s monologue?
    A: Yes

    “The notes described the blend of two minds. Could the entity have Mr Tilton’s memories? Desires? Passions? More?” Tillman replies.
    “Could he become the creature? A transfer of minds? We should read the Enchiridion, father!” Stan proposes.

    With that realization, a Sanity check is in order.
    Stan: (4D/E): 5+/2: Success
    Pierre: (6D/E): 5/2: Success

    Q: Is father Tillman willing to give the Enchiridion of Bilamma back? (Unlikely)
    A: No
    Intervention: 3: Entity Negative
    Q: Is the intervention about someone else?
    A: Yes
    So something negative has happened to someone else that we already know of in the list of NPCs, but it will be revealed in the next scene.
    Father Tillman opposes the persuasion roll of Stan, and I will give him a bonus of 1 since he has the item in his possession and it’s up to him essentially.
    Stan Persuasion opposed: 4/4: Draw

    Tillman disagrees. “No! This item is evil. It must be destroyed!”
    “It could tell us what to do!” Stan counters.

    Stan Persuasion opposed: 0-/4: Failure

    “The road to hell is paved with good intentions detective. I’m sorry but no!” Tillman crosses his arms in a definite denial. “Solve it like you solve any of your other cases. Think!”.

    Stan sighs in defeat. “Given that Ms Browne was attacked, I would suppose that the next possible targets are the late Mr Tilton’s close acquaintances. According to my sources these would be 3 people. Mr Verner, his editor that they had differences. Ms Marian Taylor, an antagonist author, and, well you, father Tillman. Given that, father, are you willing to stay with me until this is resolved?”.

    Q: Is Father Tillman willing to stay with the detective?
    A: Yes, and he proposes that the detective sleeps at the church

    “Certainly. I can even prepare a bed for you at St. Mark’s if you are willing to sleep out of home, detective.” The priest responds.

    I did a mistake and doubled back to this point. In general my rule is that until it’s posted, the session is in draft. If mistakes are made they can be corrected, and maybe I can change the order of a question or two to the Oracle, to make more sense.
    So the mistake would be that I presupposed that they would go to the precinct to ask for a security detail for Verner. A few lines down, I realized that it wouldn’t make sense for Stan to do it. No one would believe him and even if he lied and made up a story, the suspect would have to fit. Since that would be a lot of trouble, I went ahead and asked the Oracle to switch gears.

    Q: Is it in Stanton’s power to request a security detail?
    A: No, Verner must be warned in person.

    “Alright father, let’s go. We must warn Mr Verner.” Stan says.

    Wednesday noon, April 13th, 1921,
    Mr Verner’s office

    Since the story fits possible next victims, I want to see if the intervention was about Mr Verner being attacked. 5 points in the score board, means the answer is Likely.
    Q: Was Mr Verner attacked? (Likely)
    A: Yes, and he’s dead.
    Q: Is there police on the spot?
    A: False presupposition
    So I was about to go into a spiral of metagaming. The false presupposition saved me. The police isn’t aware of Verner’s death, so I need to start the scene from there.
    I also made the mistake of asking if the attack was made recently because I wanted to see if the attacker could be around, but I realized that’s metagaming, so I will ignore the question and if it appears in the future (e.g. in coroners report, I will roll again in the Oracle).

    Stan enters Mr Verner’s office, followed by father Tillman. The first thing that catches the detective’s eye as he enters is Mr Verner, lying motionless in his desk chair, mouth open, eyes staring blank, a horror painted on his still face.

    Perception: 3+: Finds up to concealed items.
    Q: Is there anyone else in the room? Since Mr Verner died at his office, the attack must be recent, so I give this a Likely.
    A: Yes
    With Stan’s success, he can see whatever it is. I will roll though to see if its in plain sight, behind something or concealed: I get behind something.

    The commotion of their entry seems to stir something. A figure moves behind the desk.

    I will use the Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells Addendum on Humanoid creatures to flesh it out.
    After some re-rolls on the random tables, I have the following.

    The creature in front of them defies explanation. A couple of slimy tentacles that drool black goo crawl on the desk as the thing writes about and rises. Red seaweed covers the tentacles that sprout from a hard carapace. The head isn’t visible at all, being a indistinct mass of seaweed drooling black goo.

    They must roll a difficult Sanity check.
    Stan: (4D/D): 2/4: Fail. 1 Corruption Point. I roll and get Phobia. Of course its a phobia of any body of water.
    Tillman: 1-/4: Fail. 1 Corruption Point. I roll and get Depressed.

    Initiative: Deep One: 3
    Team: 1
    Q: Can the Deep One attack in one move?
    A: Yes
    Q: Does it attack the priest?
    A: False Presupposition, it will try to escape
    Q: Is the way in, the only way out? (Likely)
    A: Yes, but, they are standing in the way
    It will try to push them past.
    Q: Does father Tillman have holy water with him?
    A: Yes

    Round 1:

    Deep One: 1/2 Move
    Stan: Draws his revolver
    Tillman: Draws his crucifix and a holy water bottle
    Deep One: Pushes Tillman aside: 0-/0-: Failure
    Stan: Shoots: 3+++/1: Hit: 2/3: No damage
    Tillman: Splashes it with holy water: 3/1: Hit
    Q: Is it affected by holy water?
    A: No
    Deep One: Pushes Stan aside: 3/3: Failure

    Stanton draws his service revolver as the thing moves towards them and tries to push the priest aside. Father Tillman cries “BEGONE VILE CREATURE! BACK TO THE DEPTHS FROM WHENCE YOU CAME” and splashes it with holy water.
    It doesn’t seem to bother at all, but as Stan shoots at it, it lets of an eerie cry and tries to push him aside, with its tentacle, without success.

    Round 2:

    Q: Does it attack? (Likely)
    A: Yes, and it’s angry after being shot at
    Intervention:1: New Entity
    So the shot was heard, and the next door neighbor came to investigate.
    UNE: addicted professor

    The doctor next door appears in the hallway. He sees the creature from the door opening.

    Sanity: 2/4: Fail
    Q: Does he ran away? (Likely)
    A: No, and he will try to fight the creature with the fire axe.

    Deep One: attacks (randomly, it’s Stan): 4+/2: Hit: 3/4 (Stan Spends 2 CPs): No damage
    Stan Shoots: 4/1: Hit: 1/5: No damage

    Father Tillman will look to find a makeshift weapon
    Q: Is there a makeshift weapon?
    A: False presupposition
    There is a regular weapon
    Q: Is it melee?
    A: Yes, it’s a cavalry saber, from Mr Verner’s time in the war.

    The neighbor attacks with the fire axe: 1/2: Miss

    The creature lashes out at the detective, furious that it was shot, and grabs his leg, but Stan manages to let go before it wounds him. He shoots at the thing, failing to do any significant wound.
    Father Tillman runs behind Mr Verner’s desk and grabs the cavalry saber on display, as the neighbor, still not believing his eyes, cries out, and tries to hack at the creature with a fireaxe he grabbed from the hallway, but missing the swift tentacles.

    Round 3:

    Deep One: attacks Stan: 2/2: Hit: 4/2 (Stan Spends 2 CPs): Incapacitated!
    Stan: Resist Disease (4D/M): 2/3: Failure
    Q: Does the blessed crucifix assist the detective?
    A: False presupposition, He doesn’t have it with him
    Neighbor: attacks: 3/2: Hit: 2/2: Stunned
    Tillman: attacks: 3/2: Hit: 2/2: Stunned
    Deep One: attacks neighbor: 2/2: Hit: 4/2: Incapacitated

    The creature grabs Stan and the neighbor at once with its tentacles, and thrashes them about, with such strength, that they lose consciousness from the concussion. Not before it has received slight slashes from the axe and the sword, but none penetrated the strong carapace.

    Round 4:

    Deep One attacks Tillman: 2/2: Hit: 1/2: No damage
    Tillman attacks: 3/2: Hit: 3/3: Stunned

    Round 5:

    Deep One attacks Tillman: 0-/2: Miss
    Tillman attacks: 3/2: Hit: 2/4: No damage

    Round 6:

    Deep One attacks Tillman: 1-/2: Miss
    Tillman attacks: 0-/2: Miss

    Round 7:

    Deep One attacks Tillman: 1-/2: Miss
    Tillman attacks: 2/2: Hit: 4/0: Dead!

    After exchanging a few blows with the thing, father Tillman sees an opening. He swings the saber with all his might and decapitates the creature, it’s head falling down a few feet further, black goo covering the floor. The carapace falls on the floor with a big thud.
    He then proceeds to drag the two incapacitated men out of the building and returns with a canister of petrol. He douses Mr Verner’s office, and lits a fire. As the blaze starts to cover everything, he rings the fire alarm and gets out.

    In the coming weeks the detective and the doctor perished quickly from an unknown disease, unlike anything the doctors had ever seen.
    Father Tillman sunk into depression. Questioning his beliefs and how the holy symbols of faith couldn’t help him in his task to defeat evil, and he had to resort to swords and violence.

    Session Background: I enjoyed this episode so much! Even though I made more than a few mistakes, especially as the mechanics increased in complexity with every step of the way. At some point I expected a TPK, even with the random assistance from the neighbor, but the priest had luck on his side. Unfortunately my protagonist perished by a disease (it was the creature’s power according to SSSS).
    Following up, I intend to clean up and write the ruleset as well as an adventure summary detailing tools used and what worked and what didn’t.

  • giorgis 3:00 pm on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

    A crime at the river – A weird noir fiction D6 adventure S1E06 

    Monday morning, April 11th 1921, Arkham 3rd police precinct

    Wade is looking at Stanton. “How do you want to approach this?” He asks.
    “My gut tells me that the half brother thing is a blatant lie and we’ve spent so much time on it already, but I want to make it certain. I believe father Tillman was on the houseboat for a different reason and he made the story up. Would you fancy another trip down to the registry?” Stan tells his partner.
    “Sure, why not? The lady at the front desk has taken a liking to me.” He replies. “What will you spend your morning at?”
    “I’ll go down to the lab see if we have any progress. We can meet back here and go to the library together, follow up on Browne’s murder.” Stan proposes.
    “Sounds like a plan, don’t forget EBD,
    the captain wants a briefing from us.” Wade says and they split up each to their own action.

    Q: Has the knife been examined?
    A: No, and it’s going to take a while further
    Q: Has the black goo been examined?
    A: No, and it’s going to take a while further
    Q: Are the items undamaged from the fire? (Likely)
    A: Yes
    Q: How many 1D days until the examination is complete?
    A: 4

    Stan goes to the lab only to find repairs are still being performed. The officer on duty notifies him that the items have not been processed and it’s going to be at least 4 more days before they are examined. Dismayed, he leaves to find out if Wade had any luck.

    Wade: Investigation (4D/M): 3/3: Success
    Q: Does he find Benjamin Kingston’s record?
    A: False presupposition. The name doesn’t exist.

    Not only does Wade not find a record for Benjamin Kingston in Arkham, he convinces the lady in the front desk to check the state records, and no record exists.

    Monday noon, April 11th, Arkham Public Library
    The detectives talk to the librarian, Oxford Miller. He recognizes Stanton. “Det. Malkowski, good morning. Curious to find you here today. I was just worried about Ms Browne. She didn’t come in to work today.”
    “She was found dead.” Stan says cutting him off abruptly.

    Stan: Perception opposed (4D/2D): 2-/2+: Success
    Q: Does the librarian seem surprised?
    A: Yes

    The librarian, mouth gaping, stands in silence and Stan continues. “Did anyone meet with her after I left? Did you notice anything?”

    Q: Did she meet with anyone?
    A: Yes
    UNE: fickle vicar
    I translate the result to some weird crazy guy.

    “Not a meet per se, but a man came into the library shouting muttering and rambling. He seemed to have his clock broken if you know what I mean. He was fixated on her. We kicked him out since he was disturbing the silence.” Mr Miller replies.
    “Did he say anything of notice?” Stan asks.

    Q: Did he say to her anything in particular?
    A: False presupposition

    “That wasn’t a speech. More like lunacy making sounds.” He replies.
    Stan remembers the bloody knife from Mr Tilton’s crime scene and decides to follow the lead.
    “Did he appear to be wounded?”

    Q: Did the man appear wounded?
    A: False presupposition

    “I’m sorry detective, I couldn’t have known about the man’s medical condition apart from his raving mind”. The librarian says.
    “Did you notice any particularly odd, putrid smell?” Stan follows further on the crime scene lead.

    Q: Did he smell bad?
    A: No

    “No detective, apart from the odd behavior, the man seemed to be well
    kempt.” He replies.
    “I see. Let me ask you one more thing. Did and Browne have any next of kin?” Stan asks.

    Q: Did she have any next of kin?
    A: No

    “No, detective. She had no one here that I know of.” Mr Miller says.
    “Thank you. Could we take a look at her desk?” Stan asks.

    Persuasion: (4D/2D): 1/1: Success

    “Of course.” He replies and leads the detectives to Ms Browne’s desk.

    Investigate (5D/M): 4+/3: Success
    Q: Are there any occult notes?
    A: Yes
    Q: Are they related to the Enchiridion of Bilamma? (Likely)
    A: Yes
    Q: Do they explain what the Enchiridion is about?
    A: Yes, but it is only a small excerpt on it
    Q: Does it say there is a curse?
    A: No, and no such notion is made
    Q: Does it say anything about a spell?
    A: Yes
    Q: Is it a summoning spell? (Likely)
    A: Yes

    The detective finds a note reading. “When in trance, and the words are uttered properly the two minds become one, and it will rise from the depths to serve its master.”

    Stan: Sanity check (4D/E): 2/2: Success
    Q: Is there also maybe a diary of Ms Browne?
    A: No

    Having collected all they can, the two detectives mark the note as evidence and return to the precinct.

    “So tell me Malkowski, what have you got as of yet?” The captain awaits eagerly for an answer.
    “We’ve ruled out some suspects, but occult rituals are involved captain. I don’t know where this will take us.” Stan says.
    “Sure. Who did you rule out? Me Browne that’s dead or father Tillman who’s a catholic priest. And now you say the tooth fairy did it?” The captain sounds pissed off.
    “For fucks sake Malkowski, you pulled a gun at a priest. I don’t give a rat’s shit if he was in the crime scene.” He continues.

    Q: Does Tillman have connections?
    A: Yes

    “This guy has serious connections. Don’t bother him again, or you bother me. Do you want to bother me Malkowski?” The captain awaits for an answer.
    “No sir.” Stan replies.
    “Good. Norman, do you have anything on and Browne?” He turns to Wade.
    “Just a conflict with a random crazy fella. Nothing concrete.” Wade responds.
    “Concrete my ass. Closure. We need closure. If the press gets a whiff of this and connects the murders, there’s going to be a city wide panic and we’re done for. Closure. Dismissed!” He shouts, and the detectives get out of his office while they still can.

    Q: Does anything happen in the downtime?
    A: No

    Stan spends the evening reading the occult tome and thinking about the case. A hypothesis begins to form.

    Tuesday morning, April 12th, 1921, Arkham 3rd police precinct

    Q: How many 1D days for the completion of the autopsy from the Sunday?
    A: 6

    “Just got off the phone with that friend of yours, Dr Perry. He says autopsy report will be ready in about 3 more days. Along with forensics process, we can’t do much rather than wait.” Wade informs Stanton.
    Stan puts out his cigarette in the ashtray. “Can’t sit on it any longer. Let’s push our luck. I’m going to St. Mark’s”

    Q: Does Wade come with? (Unlikely)
    A: No

    “Sorry Stan. I’ll cover for you, but I’m not going there again while the captain’s got us in his sights. You go after Tillman, you’re on your own.” Wade responds.

    St. Mark’s Church

    I’m going for closure now. I have set up my hypothesis.

    Stan waits for the morning service to finish, and when the priest has retired to his office, he follows there.

    Q: Is the priest alone?
    A: Yes

    Without invitation or a knock, the detective enters the room.
    The priest looks at him. “Detective, this is becoming tiresome. It’s bordering harassment. I’ll have a talk with your police captain.” He’s clearly annoyed and doesn’t bother getting off his chair to greet the intruder.
    Stan doesn’t reply yet, instead he reveals the Enchiridion of Bilamma and puts it on the desk with a thud.
    “I believe you’re looking for this.” He says to him. “See, I know for a fact that Mr Tilton was delving in the dark arts. He didn’t care much about being a devout Christian, and instead he only reached out to you trying to find more connections between religious and occult texts. He and his girlfriend found this book, the Enchiridion of Bilamma, and they followed its instructions to cast a summoning. Mr Tilton would have a great story to write about if he would have first hand experience of the occult. I don’t think you killed him, but all this caused you enough worry to keep tabs on him. When he was found dead, you took the opportunity to search for the unholy book, hence why I found you there.” Stan stops. He lets his revelation sink in to the priest. With this opportunity, he takes out a cigarette, lights it and draws a deep breath.
    “See I don’t know the details of his passing, but I would bet he and his loved one tried to perform the summoning described within the unholy book and his brain couldn’t handle it, turning to jelly.
    As for and Browne, she’s the reason I’m here father. I don’t give a damn about this tome. It’s yours if you want it. Just tell me, is there a chance that the summoning worked? I don’t believe in mumbo jumbo but I’m shaken. Could something not human have killed her? She had drawn a pentalpha on the floor as part of a ritual. I can’t go to anyone with this without passing off as crazy.”

    So now that I have a hypothesis set, I will use a ruleset similar to 6M Root Cause Analysis. This is something I use on my daily job so I have the know how to perform it, but I will need to translate it to the crime investigation rpg rules.
    For those following the story since the beginning, you may have noticed that I had a different system written out as my first choice. I decided against using that, as counting points there would be a drag and maybe imbalanced.

    Hypothesis: Latimer Tilton perished by his own doing, performing an occult ritual.
    Latimer Tilton wasn’t a devout person according to his girlfriend, and he was interested in the occult. The book “We are our end” shows a radical mind.
    Man supports the hypothesis.
    Evidence found in Latimer Tilton’s houseboat proves that he was in possession of an occult item. The Enchiridion of Bilamma.
    Material supports the hypothesis.
    Means (Environment)
    The signs of struggle in the environment could be from Latimer Tilton’s brain overloading and him thrashing about everything.
    Means supports the hypothesis
    The autopsy report suggests that Latimer Tilton was killed in a strange manner. Nothing known physical could have killed him.
    Measure supports the hypothesis.
    Machine (Murder Weapon)
    No murder weapon was found. The knife found doesn’t fit the scene, but it didn’t hurt Latimer Tilton as no wounds were found.
    Machine doesn’t support the hypothesis but it doesn’t invalidate it either.
    A summoning spell described as a blending of two minds could have caused brain damage.
    Method supports the hypothesis.

    So these give 5 points out of a possible 6. In the future whenever I ask a question that could impact or be impacted by the above hypothesis, I will be consulting a modified Recluse Oracle based on the score as follows.
    1: Unlikely, False Presuppositions default to No.
    2: Unlikely
    3: No modifier
    4: No Modifier
    5: Likely
    6: Likely, False Presuppositions default to Yes.

    The score may be adjusted if the hypothesis is impacted by the answers.

    Now, to ask the Oracle, based on the hypothesis of a 5 point score.

    Q: Does the priest agree to Stan’s hypothesis? (Likely)
    A: Yes, but he can’t be certain if Tilton or Browne cast the spell.

    Father Tillman’s expression changes at once from hostile, to sociable.
    “You trek on a perilous journey detective. I apologize. I couldn’t say anything before. Yes, with some minor issues, what you say is true. Documents like this shouldn’t be in the public library. Who knows how it ended up in there. It’s author, Frederick Salter, disappeared mysteriously in Mesopotamia.” He says as he takes the book, puts it in his desk drawer and locks it up.
    “I can’t say for certain if it was Mr Tilton who cast the spell and he died in the process, and if the summoning was indeed performed by him or Ms Browne. I am afraid that there is concern for evil at work here. It would really help if I could see the symbols you described, a pentalpha? But you’ve barred me from going anywhere near police crime scenes.” He continues.
    “Come father. We’ve already disobeyed more than a few orders. What’s a few more?” Stan says and Tillman goes along with him.

    End of Episode
    Since a hypothesis is set for Tilton’s murder, I won’t be counting clues anymore, but from now own, I will be reporting the current hypothesis 6M.
    Ms Browne’s crime is partially connected to Tilton’s case so I will not make a separate report for it yet, unless there is cause to do so in the future.

    Session Background: A breakthrough finally! I don’t know if I did the best with the case I had at hand, but it felt like this was the point to move forward.
    I read again CRGE’s vignette framework recently, and curiously my approach fits, so I must have done something right.
    Now we’re moving to endings!
    Is there a dark creature from the deep at the loose? Will this new collaboration between Stan and Pierre work? Or did the occult end with Tilton’s failed attempt at spellcasting and Browne was the victim of something else? That would totally destroy my hypothesis.

  • giorgis 11:16 am on October 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply

    A crime at the river – A weird noir fiction D6 adventure S1E05 

    I will be using GMA sensory descriptions to use for scene description further. If something doesn’t fit at all, I will disregard it. I draw four cards.
    Shuffling Steps
    Thick Fog
    A burst of frost and ice
    Burning Candles
    Q: Was Ms Browne’s body found at home?
    A: Yes, but -> Yes
    Q: Did a neighbor call it in?
    A: Yes, but not next door, the next building is across the street
    Q: When did it happen? 10 + 1D = 1: last night eleven o’clock

    They get off the car in a quiet district of Arkham. A police officer in uniform is standing outside a house. They greet each other.
    “Welcome boys” the officer says. “Around eleven last night, Marie Whitlaw, the elderly lady across the street saw suspicious movements in Ms Browne’s residence. We came to investigate and found her dead.”
    “Thank you officer” Stan says and they enter the house.

    Investigation: Crime Scene (6D): 4.
    4 Basic Clue Questions can be answered through the Oracle.
    Q: Are there similarities between the murders?
    A: Yes, and there is more of the black goo stuff.
    Q: Are there signs of struggle?
    A: No
    Q: Are there signs of forced entry?
    A: Yes
    Q: Is there any obvious wound?
    A: Yes, but it not certainly the cause of death
    I roll for hit location and get: 3: Torso
    Q: Is it a slash?
    A: No
    Q: Is it a piercing wound?
    A: No, but there is bleeding

    Stan looks around. Ms Browne lies dead, face sideways in her living room. There are no signs of struggle, but the door lock has been violated. There is blood on her blouse near her torso. Again, the detective finds black goo, near the door lock. Wade looks at him curiously.
    “Some stinking stuff, I found at Mr Tilton’s. Still waiting on the lab.” Stan tells him.
    “Did you guys have to break in to enter?” Stan asks the officer.

    Q: Did the police break down the door?
    A: Yes, but it was already damaged and stuck.

    “We did, but it seemed already broken, lock damaged and handle wouldn’t budge.” The officer responds.

    Stan: Search for blade: (4D/M): 1-/3: Failure

    Stan looks around to see if he can find a blade or similar weapon, but he can’t find anything.

    Since I had ‘burning candles’, I ask.
    Q: Is there anything occult? (Likely)
    A: Yes

    Stan notices around the living room, five black candles situated in even distances, on top of dark chalk lines forming a circle and a pentalpha. In the middle of it all is the body of Ms Browne. At one end, the candle has been turned over and the chalk wiped off as if someone dragged himself through it, from the outside in.
    “Did you boys disturb the candles?” Stan asks the officer.

    Q: Did they disturb the candles?
    A: Police officer: Investigate skill: 3D/3: 2/2: Success

    “We’re trained detective, not to disturb the scene of a crime unless he really have to.” The officer answers.
    “I think we’re done here.” Stan finishes examining the crime scene. “Let’s go talk to the neighbor” He says to Wade.

    Marie is an elderly lady with a round face, thin gray hair and green eyes.

    Mood: Sociable
    Knowning, Speech
    Focus: Enemy

    The detectives are sitting comfortably in Mrs Whitlaw’s couch. She has already offered them tea and biscuits.
    “Mrs Whitlaw, what can you recall about last night?” Wade asks politely, happy he had the chance to fill his stomach with something, empty since the dawn.
    “I was readying myself to go to sleep. It was a very quiet evening, when I heard a strange sound. Shuffling steps, really unnerving. I went to the window to see if there was anything there.”

    Q: Did she see anything there?
    A: No

    “But the street lamp was off, and there was darkness. To top it, there was this strange thick fog. Way thicker than what we’re used to here.” She tells the detectives.
    “So, if I may. What made you call the police?” Wade asks.
    “When I went to the window, I saw lights over at Ms Browne’s across. Then for a moment, there was a flicker of darkness, before the lights went on again. Between those flickers, I’m certain that I saw figures moving behind the curtains. I was really scared officers. I’m so glad you came, but so sad that my fears had basis. Poor Ms Browne.” She adds.
    Stan asks if she ever saw a man matching Mr Tilton’s description with Ms Browne.

    Q: Did she see Mr Tilton with Ms Browne?
    A: False presupposition

    “What do you take me for detective? A gossiping old hag? I don’t go about other people’s business. Especially spoiling a dead persons memory! I was really uneasy yesterday. That’s why I called you. And I was right. Make sure you catch whoever did it. We were safe here until now.”
    Stan politely apologizes and they conclude their investigation and excuse themselves.

    Q: Do the detectives know where is father Tillman’s church? (Likely)
    A: Yes, and it’s nearby

    Generating a second crime scene was really taxing in this point of the game. It took me two plays to finish these few paragraphs.
    Thankfully I have many more clues to go on, and it doesn’t seem to derail the story from the main crime.
    Next time though I will think twice before introducing a second crime scene to the same adventure.
    This gave me the opportunity to work a few rules on how to present a crime scene in the adventure in a more standardized manner. I may be putting these to writing soon.

    Sunday morning, April 10th, 1921, St. Mark’s Church

    Q: Are there a lot of people in the congregation?
    A: Yes, and it’s so many, the seats are not enough and some are standing.
    Sneak: 4D/3D: 2/2: Success

    The two police detectives mingle in the crowd to the back of the church, passing unnoticed.

    Let’s see if Stan notices anything odd about the service. He’s not a very religious type so I he will need an Easy Knowledge roll to identify very obvious non Christian items, and a Moderate one to see if there are more subtle hints and differences.
    Knowledge: 3D: 3! He has a moderate success.
    Q: Does the sermon and service sound as expected?
    A: Yes
    Q: Does father Tillman make any reference to Mr Tilton?
    A: Yes, but not by name.

    The service proceeds normally. Stan wasn’t ever religious, but he’s been to a communion or two, and he doesn’t see or hear anything odd.
    At the end, father Tillman makes a short reference to a member of their congregation who passed untimely, and how these are dark times and people should be at alarm.

    “Can you keep him occupied? I’d like to take a look in his office. Doubt we’d ever get a warrant for this.” Stan says to Wade.
    “Are you sure Stan? If the captai gets a whiff of this you’ll be benched.” Wade says worried.
    “Let’s hope he won’t find out.” Stan replies and the two detectives split.

    Wade will use Perception to keep father Tillman occupied.
    Perception (3D): 2: Success, Complication
    I draw GMA for the complication. Enslave Physical Companion.
    I decide that inspite of being kept busy, the priest is certain that Stan is with Wade and will send his 1D=3 subordinates after him. If caught they will attempt to subdue him.

    Wade approaches father Tillman. At the moment they make eye contact, the priest whispers something to a church boy next to him and immediately three men in the service of the church start pushing through the crowd, looking for Stan.

    Stan: Sneak Opposed (4D/3D): 4+/3-, they suffered a Complication.

    Stan, manages to mingle among the crowd and avoid being in the sight of his pursuers, hiding behind pillars whenever possible.
    The three men start shouting and pushing, causing a ruckus and panicking part of the crowd who are furious and start a quarrel with them, giving Stan enough time to avoid them and also to search the back rooms as they are occupied now.

    Q: Is the door to the priest’s office locked?
    A: No
    Stan will search for occult items. Very Easy success for items in plain sight, Easy for items in the room but not hidden, Moderate for hidden items and Difficult for concealed and hidden.
    Stan: Search (4D): 2 successes
    Q: Does Stan find anything occult?
    A: False Presupposition
    Not only does he not find occult items, there are none to be found. Only holy scriptures and relics.

    Stan has made his way to the father Tillman’s office in the back rooms of St. Mark’s church. The door wasn’t locked and he looks around for anything with connections to the occult. The more he searches, the more holy books, crucifixes, relics, rosaries and bibles he finds. Not only does the priest have no connection to the occult, it is apparent that he is a devout member of the church.
    Empty handed, Stan returns to save Wade.

    Stan, Sneak out, opposed.
    Sneak (4D/3D): 3/2: Success

    Stan manages to return to the main church hall undetected.

    The instant that Stan joins with Tillman and the blustering Wade, the three pursuers encircle the detectives.
    “Detective Malkowski.” Father Tillman says. “Your partner Mr Norman here was just swearing that you weren’t here with him.”
    “You must excuse him. Sometimes he’s overzealous.” Stan replies.
    “Find what you were looking for?” The priest asks.
    “No, I was meaning to ask you about Mr Kingston’s residence. We would like to have a talk with him.” Stan responds.

    Here I made a mistake and went on with the conversation. A few lines of dialogue later I realized that the priest wouldn’t be so willing to talk. Least I could do was trace back the point and ask the question. So here goes the correct version.
    Q: Is the priest willing to disclose the information?
    A: No

    “I’m sorry detective I have to tend to my flock. You’ll excuse me.” He says and turns his back. The detective doesn’t have a chance to say anything more and the three men around them, block their path to the priest, quite rudely.
    The detectives leave, to talk to the believers outside, maybe they’ll have something to share.

    Investigation: (5D): 5+: 5 Clues and something extra.
    Q1: Does Tillman have alibi?
    A: Yes, there was an all-nighter service last night.
    Q2: Was Mr Tilton a regular member of the church?
    A: No
    Q3: Is Tillman liked by his flock?
    A: Yes
    Q4: Is Mr Kingston known to the congregation?
    A: False Presupposition
    Not only was Mr Kingston not known to the church members, they never heard that Mr Tilton had a brother.
    Q5: Is father Tillman a long time in St. Mark’s?
    A: No
    Intervention: 2: Entity Positive: Who?: Stanton
    I paused here for the night because I was tired and couldn’t think of anything, and I was so right!
    In the morning I saw to it with a fresh new approach, and decided that a religious lady gave Stanton a blessed crucifix for protection as thanks for looking after Mr Tilton’s death.

    The detectives manage to gather a lot of statements from the flock. Father Tillman has an alibi for last night, as he was in the church doing a night service. Father Tillman is a fresh addition to the St Mark’s, but he is well liked and devout. Mr Tilton wasn’t a regular member, and no one has heard about him having any sort of brother.
    As the detectives present their occupation to a young woman, she removes a small silver crucifix in a chain from her neck and puts it in Stan’s hands. “Thank you for your service detective. To protect you from whoever hurt Mr Tilton.” She smiles and leaves.

    End of the episode.
    I have the following clues so far.

    Latimer Tilton

    • Bloody knife (pending lab results)
    • Signs of struggle
    • Black goo (pending lab results)
    • Rat bites (caused post mortem)
    • Imploded brain (cause of death)
    • Burst ear drums

    Emily Browne

    • Torso wound (pending autopsy)
    • Black goo (pending lab results)
    • Occult ritual drawings

    Victim, Latimer Tilton

    • Author, bestseller
    • ~~Catholic~~, priest Pierre Tillman, attended church rarely
    • Financial differences with editor Joseph Verner
    • Affair, Emily Browne
    • Not baptized, Missing date of baptism, Minister known, Fake certificate
    • Half brother, Benjamin Kingston, no one knows him

    Victim, Emily Browne

    • Librarian, Occultist
    • Affair, Latimer Tilton

    All names have been randomly generated by donjon.

    Session Background: The investigation seems to reach some initial conclusions. I believe that the autopsy of Ms Browne and forensics evidence on the bloody knife and the black goo are what is needed to close up.
    I was really tired these past few days and I had trouble getting inspired to answer questions. Also I realized the importance of switching gears as the investigation progresses. Similar to how CRGE does it. It begins with to knowledge, proceeds with to conflict and ends with to endings. I might have to take a closer look at it. It feels wrong to mix these up in the story as it goes.
    Nevertheless, one way or another this seems to work out so far, and traps have been avoided.
    So it seems that Ms Browne was involved in some occult rituals. Did Latimer summon something with her help? Was the ritual a protection spell? Is it maybe a curse related to the tome?
    The priest seems at the clear, but he could be involved. Is he trying to hunt down the evil? Is he after the tome? Did he murder maybe Tilton or Browne because of their occult involvements? Unfortunately he and the detective aren’t at the best terms and it will be hard to interrogate him.

  • giorgis 11:31 pm on October 21, 2019 Permalink

    A crime at the river – A weird noir fiction D6 adventure S1E04 

    Q: Does anything happen during downtime? (Unlikely)
    A: Yes
    GMA: Exchange Fraudulent Game
    This was a tough one to interpret, but here goes.

    Thursday Afternoon April 7th 1921, Arkham 3rd Precinct
    “Hey Stan!” Wade calls to his partner as he enters. “Captain wants to talk to us.”

    Captain Falkner is a tall, heavyset man with short brown hair and brown eyes. “How’s the investigation going, boys?” He asks from his chair, his fingers tied together, leaning against his desk.
    ‘Why he asks now? So early’ Stan wonders.
    “We’re progressing, Captain. Still gathering clues and statements. Looks like murder.” Stan says.
    “Yes, we have some contradictions, but we’re doing good.” Wade adds.
    “Right then, since the heavy work is done, I’ll have to reassign Wade.” The detectives look at each other.
    “I have the chief breathing down on me for assisting the feds in a gambling operation. I’ve already spared two unis, but he wants a detective.” The captain sighs, but sounds certain.
    “Captain, if you lets us close this one fast together, then I can help too with this gambling operation. We’re more effective as a team.” Stan tries to persuade the captain.

    Persuasion, opposed(4D/5D): 3/5+: Failure, and.

    “Can’t do that Malkowski. You’re on your own. You get to exchange notes today, but as of tomorrow Wade’s out.” The captain says unimpressed. “Oh and I liked your volunteering. You have one week to wrap this up, then you join in the gambling operation. Dismissed.”
    Knowing there’s no point arguing when the captain has made his mind, the detectives head over to their desks to discuss their findings.

    Wade: Investigation. On 2 successes (E) He will find the minister’s name, on 3 successes (M) he will find the date of baptism.
    Investigation (4D): 3: Moderate success.
    Q: When was the minister active?
    Roll Tilton’s age 10D: 43 y/o
    Roll how long ago the minister was active 10D: 48 years ago
    He could have baptized Tilton as a baby.
    Q: Is the minister active today?
    A: Yes, and Wade talked to him in person

    Intervention: 1: New entity
    I roll on UNE: Forthright Expert
    Q: Is it an expert on the occult?
    A: No
    Q: Is it an expert on religion?
    A: No
    Q: Is it an expert on forgeries?
    A: Yes

    Q: Has the minister never signed the certificates? (Likely)
    A: Yes, and he doesn’t know Tilton or father Tillman.

    “What do you have for me Wade?” Stan asks.
    “Remember the minister’s name on the certificate? Walker Jackson. Well, I found him. He claims he never signed the certificate and the name Latimer Tilton doesn’t ring him a bell. Oh, and get this, he doesn’t know of father Tillman either. You’d think the catholic priests of Arkham would know each other.” Wade briefs Stanton and hands him a business card. “This is the contact info of August Parker. He’s a forgery expert. I was thinking of taking the certificate to him and maybe a document with Tilton’s handwriting to check against. It’s a shot in the dark, but I have a hunch.”

    Q: Did Wade also check regarding Tillman on the church registry?
    A: No

    Stanton briefs Wade back, on his rundown with Tillman. Wade expresses curiosity. “Something is fishy. But you’ll have to find it out on your own partner.”

    At home, det. Malkowski reads Tilton’s draft notes.

    Q: Is there anything occult on the notes? (Likely)
    A: No, and the notes are too disorganized and badly written to make sense of anything.

    It’s all a bunch of notes that don’t make any sense. Stanton wonders how this man wrote a bestseller.

    Friday morning, April 8th 1921, Arkham public library
    In the morning, the detective chooses to check the library regarding the returned book receipt.

    Q: Does Emily Browne work there? (Likely)
    A: Yes
    Q: Does she help with the detective?
    A: No, and she’s not at the reception when he arrives

    Stanton arrives at the library and goes to the front desk. “Morning, could you give me this book?” He asks the librarian as he hands over the receipt and shows his badge.
    “Morning.” He nods, takes the receipt and leaves.

    Q: Is the book available? (Likely)
    A: Yes, but they can’t find it

    The librarian returns, 15 minutes later, a bleak look on his face. “I apologize detective, I can’t seem to find it, but it’s logged in as returned in our records.”
    “Could you show me the logbook?” Stan asks.

    Persuasion (4D/VE): 4/1: Success

    “Of course” he says and brings the logbook to the detective.

    Q: Is it Browne’s signature on the receipt? (Likely)
    A: Yes

    “Can I talk to Ms Browne?” the detective asks.
    “Of course. She’s at the cultures section.” The librarian points the detective to the way.

    I’ll roll an opposed perception test to see who notices whom first.
    Perception: 4+/2

    Stan finds Ms Browne organizing some books. “Ms Browne” he says, and she turns around.

    I’ll ask UNE to see her Mood.
    I get: Sociable

    “Detective” She answers. “Have you any news on who murdered my Latimer?”
    “Not yet Ms Browne. I came because I’m looking for a book that the late Mr Tilton returned to the library. You’re supposed to have received it.” Stan replies.

    Q: Does she say that she has the book?
    A: Yes

    “Yes detective. Forgive me. I’ve not put it back in place. I have some weird attachment to it. Reminds me of Latimer. I’ll get it for you. I’ve kept it in a drawer at my desk here.” She leaves and returns quickly with a big tome. “The Enchiridion of Bilamma. I’ll check it out to you.” She adds.
    “Ms Browne” The detective finds the opportunity for some further inquiries. “Did you know of any siblings of Mr Tilton?”

    Q: Does she say she knows Benjamin Kingston?
    A: No, and she is adamant Latimer was an only child.

    “We’ve been together six whole months detective, and we were close. If Latimer had any siblings I would have known. He was an only child.” She informs Stan.
    “How about his relationship with Mr Verner, his editor?” Stan asks.

    Q: Does she say that Tilton’s relationship with Verner was good?
    A: No, and she didn’t like him.
    I get an intervention here.
    Intervention: 1: New entity.
    I roll on UNE: docile professor.
    Q: Does the new entity appear?
    A: No, and she’s referred only.
    Donjon: Marian Taylor, female author.
    I decide to ask if this intervention appears here. Not sure I made the right choice. Looking at it afterwards, I could have avoided UNE altogether and went with someone following the detective or Ms Browne. Now it’s a plain reference with not much of a story value.

    “Verner is a sleazy weasel. Latimer gave him a bestseller. Until then all he had was Marian Taylor, that failure of an author. Despite that, he didn’t give Latimer his fair share . Latimer should be living in a mansion not a stinky houseboat.” Emily is roused up at the sound of Verner’s name.
    “Thank you Ms Browne. I will let you to your job” Stan finishes up the conversation.
    “Just bring justice detective.” She says, and Stanton leaves.

    Now it occurred to me that the tome could be the main objective. Maybe Latimer was killed over the book. So, I have Stanton return, to ask…

    ‘What if…’ the detective thinks and rushes back inside to find Ms Browne.
    “Detective?” she seems surprised to see him again.
    Stan catches his breath. “Ms Browne, has anyone asked about this tome, before or after Mr Tilton’s passing?”

    Q: Does Ms Browne recall anyone asking about the tome? (Likely)
    A: False Presupposition

    “I wouldn’t know detective. Reception handles requests. I only organize and deliver.” She answers.
    “Thank you.” he bids himself goodbye, and heads to the reception.

    “Did you find what you were looking for detective?” The librarian asks.
    “Has anyone else asked for this book in the past months? Primarily while it was rented out to Mr Tilton.” Stan asks.
    “We don’t write these down.” The librarian replies.
    “Could you please try to remember?” Stan persists.

    Q: Does the librarian remember anything? (Unlikely)
    A: No

    “I’m sorry detective. It doesn’t ring a bell.” The librarian displeases Stan.

    Friday noon, April 8th, 1921, August Parker’s office.
    Stanton rings the bell which reads “August Parker, Dr.”, and a man in his 40s with trimmed brown hair, light blue eyes and a round nose opens the door.
    “Good day, Stanton Malkowski, Detective, Arkham PD” Stan says as he shows his badge. “Dr. Parker I presume?”
    “That I am.” Dr. Parker answers. “May I ask what this is about?”
    “Your expertise Dr. I would like you to check some documents. My partner Wade Norman referred you.” Stan says.

    “Come in.” He leads the way to his desk. Stan provides the baptism certificate and a draft of Tilton’s notes to Dr. Parker.
    “This certificate is questionable, and I also brought a handwriting example to check against.”
    Dr. Parker starts checking the document under many different magnifying glasses, and lenses of different colors.

    Forgery (5D/M): 4+/3: Success, and some additional information
    Q: Is the certificate a fake? (Likely)
    A: Yes
    Q: Is the forgery recent? (Likely)
    A: Yes
    Q: Does the handwriting match Tilton’s
    A: Yes, but the expert can’t be certain

    After careful examination, the Dr. finally turns to Stan. “See, this is definitely a fake. The pressure on the signature feels forced, and the ink has puddled in certain places where the forger didn’t feel certain about the next curve. In addition, the background printing has been phased out of use for baptism certificates at least 30 years, but the paper is new, feels like it hasn’t aged more than a few months.”
    “Does the writing match?” Stan asks.
    “They’re both right handed, but that’s about all I can say, since the forger was imitating a different style.” Dr. Parker replies.
    “Thank you doctor.” Stan takes his leave.

    Q: Does anything happen in the downtime?
    A: No, and it’s unlikely anything will happen in tomorrow’s downtime

    Saturday, April 9th, 1921
    Stanton starts spending time reading The Enchiridion of Bilamma
    He also decides to look at the yellow pages for Benjamin Kingston, Mr Tilton’s supposed half-brother.

    Q: Does he find Benjamin Kingston’s address in the yellow pages?
    A: False presupposition

    As he goes to the nearest booth, he finds that the yellow pages are missing. Next one the same, and the one after that as well. He decides not to walk the entire Arkham to find the yellow pages and wait until Monday to check the registry office records.

    Q: Does anything happen during the downtime? (Unlikely)
    A: Yes
    Q: Is he being followed?
    A: No (at least that he knows of)
    Q: Does he meet anyone?
    A: False presupposition
    A: He stays home and noone comes during the night.
    Q: Is there an attack?
    A: Yes
    Q: Is it on Emily? (Likely)
    A: Yes, and she’s hurt
    Q: Is she dead?
    A: Yes
    Intervention: 5: Regress plot.

    Sunday early morning, April 10th, 1921
    Stan wakes up from the heavy knock on his door, almost a thud.
    Armed, and still sleepy, he reaches for the door handle, when he hears a familiar voice.
    “Put your gun away, and get dressed.”
    “Wade?” He says as he opens the door to find his partner waiting for him. “Thought you were on gambling duty.” He mocks.
    “Got pulled back. Ms Browne was found dead.” Wade answers.
    “Shit.” Stan says and starts getting dressed as fast as he can. He throws some water on his face to wake up quickly.

    I will draw a GMA portent here for the intervention. Strengthen diabolical tension.

    “Oh, also had a talk with the captain. He’s not happy about how you pulled a gun on the priest. The priest isn’t off-limits yet, but we should tread carefully.” Wade talks to Stan as he gets ready.
    “Did you snitch on me?” Stan jokes.
    “Nah, I would like to, but the priest didn’t sit quite well on my stomach either. Don’t know how he found out.” Wade replies honestly, and they enter the car to drive to the crime scene.
    “Shit. I wanted to go to Sunday’s service today. Get a read on the priest and his congregation. Maybe the so-called half brother is there too.” Stan tells Wade.
    “It’s still early, maybe we can drop ourselves there after the crime scene. We should keep our distance though.” Wade proposes.
    Stan agrees, and sits quietly on his thoughts during the drive.

    End of the episode.
    I have the following clues so far.

    • Bloody knife (pending lab results)
    • Signs of struggle
    • Black goo (pending lab results)
    • Rat bites (caused post mortem)
    • Imploded brain (cause of death)
    • Burst ear drums

    Victim, Latimer Tilton

    • Author, bestseller
    • ~~Catholic~~, priest Pierre Tillman
    • Financial differences with editor Joseph Verner
    • Affair, Emily Browne
    • Atheist?, not baptized, Missing date of baptism, Minister known, Fake certificate
    • Half brother, Benjamin Kingston

    Victim, Emily Browne

    • Librarian, Occultist
    • Affair, Latimer Tilton


    • Next of kin, Half brother
    • Editor – Financial differences
    • Church – Ask fellow members, baptism forgery
    • Riverside
    • Occult dealings – Browne involved, the Enchiridion of Bilamma

    Session Background: The plot thickens further. Was Latimer killed for the tome? Was he killed for his occult dealings? Or did he mess with forces beyond his control that he didn’t understand?
    Maybe the murder of Ms Browne will shed some light, until the results from the lab come back, if the evidence wasn’t destroyed.
    Is father Tillman legit?
    Stan gets his partner back just in time, since he would be way over his head with a second murder.
    I find that Recluse fits in perfectly to this type of solo game. I can even allow myself to be a bit biased in my questions since a False presupposition result can overrule me!
    It was a big session for me and I was tired in the end and may have done a mistake or two here and there. I know I should have stopped earlier, to keep the mind fresh, but I wanted to find out what happens so I kept on going.

  • giorgis 3:48 pm on October 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply

    A crime at the river – A weird noir fiction D6 adventure S1E03 

    I’ve just stumbled upon a new Oracle engine, Recluse. It’s really simple, like MUNE, but it also has a twist regarding presuppositions, which can be really interesting.
    So from now, I will be using Recluse but keeping the Interventions and TWENE from MUNE. I will increase the intervention count to 5, since more dice are rolled.
    Now, on to the game session:

    Q: Does anything happen during downtime? (Likely)
    A: Yes, but it will be Unlikely tomorrow
    Q: Is it murder?
    A: No, and no one is killed
    Q: Is it an attack?
    A: Yes
    Q: Is it an attack on Stan?
    A: No
    Intervention!: 5: Regress plot
    Let’s see what the intervention is about.
    Q: Is evidence stolen? (Likely)
    A: False Presupposition
    Wow, a tough one. So evidence could not have been stolen because it’s not there in the first place…there was a fire in the lab!
    Q: Is the forensics lab destroyed? (Likely)
    A: No, and the fire was controlled

    Thursday morning, April 7th 1921, Arkham 3rd Precinct
    Stan is greeted by Wade. “Good morning Wade.” He says.
    “Morning.” He replies as he offers him a cup of coffee, black, no sugar. “How do you drink this stuff? It will kill you.”
    Stan smiles. “What’s new?”
    “Can’t sweeten the news. There was a fire down at the forensics lab. No one was hurt, but evidence may be lost.”
    “Crap” Stan mutters as he takes a sip, trying to get a grip on the news.
    “Thing is we won’t know the extent of the damage for a few days. They will need to sort out things down there, find out how it happened and everything.” Wade adds.
    “Anyone hurt?” Stan asks lighting a cigarette.
    “No, no one, thankfully.” Wade replies.
    “So, what did you find on Mr. Tilton? Was he a catholic?” Stan asks on the case.

    Q: Did Wade find a baptism certificate?
    A: Yes, but it’s validity is controversial
    Q: Was he baptized recently?
    A: False Presupposition
    Another twist! I decide that most likely we don’t know if he was baptized and when… the date is unknown

    “See, I found a certificate. Names and everything, but the date was missing from the document.” He pauses. “Only lead I have is the minister’s name. I’ll have to go to church records and see what I can find. How about you? Is the autopsy complete?”
    Stanton fills in Wade on the autopsy results.
    “I’ll finish some paperwork and head back to the houseboat. Maybe something he wrote will give us another angle. Ms Browne made it known that his beliefs were important to him. You follow the church lead and we catch up later.” Stan proposes and Wade agrees.

    Thursday noon, April 7th 1921, Arkham Riverside, Tilton Houseboat

    Stanton will roll a perception to see if he notices anything prior to searching the boat.
    Perception (4D/M): 3/3: Success
    Q: Does Stan find anyone there? (Unlikely)
    A: Yes, and it’s someone he met before.
    Wow didn’t see this coming. So it must be Browne/Verner/Tillman
    I roll Tillman, the priest
    Q: Is the priest already inside?
    A: Yes, but he isn’t aware of Stan

    Stanton arrives at the houseboat, to find the door ajar. Instinctively he draws his .38 and enters with caution.
    Inside he finds the catholic priest, Pierre Tillman, his back turned to the detective.

    I want to know what does the priest seem to be doing, so I’ll draw a random event from GMA, and get exchange relative. So perhaps he is looking to switch something? Something about a relative? I’ll see soon how it fits.

    The priest is holding a book in his hands, and is searching around the desk, picking up things and putting them back.
    “Father Tillman?” The detective asks, his gun pointed at the priest.

    Now I want to know how the priest will react. Flee/Attack/Talk. I give the glee option only a 1 on 1d6, since it’s the least likely. He doesn’t want to look guilty (even if he is, I don’t know) and have the police after him. Attacking (if guilty of course) on a 2-3 since the detective is armed, but the priest would be able to get away without anyone knowing about him (still, if guilty), and Talk on a 4+, since it’s the most likely whether he’s guilty or not.
    I roll, and get a 5, he will talk.

    Startled, Father Tillman, stands for a moment motionless, looking at the detective, gazing at the gun’s barrel.

    I have no idea what the priest will say, so I will use UNE to get the NPC mood, besting and discussion focus.
    Neutral mood, Bearing: Scheming arrangement, Focus: Family

    “Don’t shoot me detective.” The priest finally says.
    Stanton lowers his gun, but doesn’t put it away just yet.
    “What are you doing here father?” He asks. His annoyance clear in the tone of his voice.
    “Please, let me explain. I am here to make arrangements for the funeral. The family would have wanted something personal of Mr Tilton for the service.” He explains.
    “What family? I thought Mr Tilton had no next of kin?” Stan asks quite aggressively.

    Q: Does the priest say there is family?
    A: Yes, and it’s a half sibling. I roll a half brother.

    “Ah Yes, I understand the confusion. Mr Tilton had a half brother, from his mothers side. It was a bastard child, before she married Mr Tilton senior, and they don’t share the same name.” The priest explains, still gazing at the gun, worried.
    Stanton wants to press on and ask about Tilton’s piety and devotion, but he doesn’t want to alert the priest if he’s involved in any way. Instead, he asks “What is this brother’s name?”
    “It’s Benjamin Kingston. Please, will you put the firearm away?” The priest pleads.
    Stanton holsters the revolver. “This is an active crime scene father. Do not return until the case is closed.” He escorts the priest outside. “Oh, and stay around, we may have more questions.”

    As soon as he is left alone, Stanton proceeds to search the houseboat for his original purpose.

    Search for “We are our end” (4D/E): 3+/1: Success, and he finds something more.
    Q: Does he also find an occult tome?
    A: False Presupposition
    So there is no book or tome to be found, but a library receipt about one.
    Now to the initial search result which was successful.
    Q: Is there a copy of Tilton’s bestseller?
    A: Yes
    Search for “Occult notes and new book draft” (4D/M): 3/3: Success
    Q: Are there occult notes and a draft of Tilton’s manuscript?
    A: Yes

    Stanton searches and finds a copy of Tilton’s bestseller, as well as a draft manuscript of some chapters of Tilton’s new book, alongside with some occult notes. In a drawer, he finds a library receipt regarding a book. He will have to visit the library to find out what it was.

    End of the episode.
    I have the following clues so far.

    • Bloody knife
    • Signs of struggle
    • Black goo
    • Rat bites
    • Imploded brain
    • Burst ear drums

    Victim, Latimer Tilton

    • Author, bestseller
    • Catholic, priest Pierre Tillman
    • Financial differences with editor Joseph Verner
    • Affair, Emily Browne
    • Atheist, not baptized? Missing date of baptism, Minister known
    • Half brother, Benjamin Kingston


    • Next of kin – Half brother
    • Editor – Financial differences
    • Church – Ask fellow members
    • Riverside
    • Occult dealings – Browne involved

    Session Background: I’m having so much fun. Using the Recluse Oracle, was the right choice!
    I mean, okay, sometimes I may spend like 5 minutes trying to answer the False Presupposition, but it’s worth it. There is so much surprise and twists to be had, and it can totally cancel what my biased GM story had in mind.
    The story has evolved with further threads, and a regression which will make it harder to get results soon. There is going be a lot of old fashioned police work until the detective reaches a definite conclusion.

  • giorgis 4:21 pm on October 17, 2019 Permalink

    A crime at the river – A weird noir fiction D6 adventure S1E02 

    I just realized (as a player) that I never asked who called in the crime!
    A crucial part of the timeline and a potential witness!

    “Who found the corpse?” Stan asks Wade as they drive back.
    “Huh?” Wade’s daydreaming is cut short.
    “Latimer! Who found him?” Stan repeats, somewhat annoyed at his partner.
    Wade brings out his notepad.

    I turned to donjon here and rolled 1d10 on the list of NPCs.

    “An Emily Browne. She was pretty shaken. Couldn’t get a word of her. She’s to come to the precinct for a statement tomorrow morning.”
    “Who took her initial statement?” Stan asks.
    “Some uni, rookie. She didn’t say anything. That’s why I told her to come tomorrow. She needs to calm down a bit.” Wade explains.

    The detectives return to the precinct to fill in their paperwork for the day, and head home when their shift is over.

    Q: Does anything of importance occur during the downtime?
    A: No but, it will be likely for the next such roll tomorrow.

    April 6th 1921, Arkham 3rd Precinct
    Found out that this datr corresponds to Wednesday.

    Wednesday morning

    Emily Browne is sitting in a chair across the room. She has a narrow face, bobbed blond hair and sharp gray eyes. She wears a basque dress and a red scarf.
    “Need some coffee Miss?” Wade asks. “Tea? To calm your nerves?”
    “My nerves are just fine detective. Coffee and tea can’t erase what I saw from my memory.” She snaps.
    Stan and Wade exchange looks ‘someone still has a mood’ they think.
    “Mind answering a few questions then?” Stan interjects.
    “I’m here Mr Policeman, ain’t I?” She mocks.
    “Alright. Did you know the victim?” Stan continues.

    Q: Does she say she knows him?
    A: Yes, and, they had an affair

    “If I knew him? I loved the poor bastard. My Latimer was one of a kind. Oh that kind of his. What a spirit! I could go hours just talking to him. But now he’s gone and you’re nowhere near his killer, otherwise you wouldn’t be pestering me.” She expresses herself.
    “You have a unique way of expressing your sorrow Ms Browne. If you don’t mind me asking. How did you and Mr Tilton become acquainted?” Stan presses.

    I’m using GMA and get beguile superstition. Also donjon had given an occultist as occupation for Emily, so I can use that.

    She looks Stan in the eye. “Latimer wantef am expert on the occult for his next book. He came to the library were I work and started asking about my favorite topics. I still remember the spark on his face when I showed him to the occult section.”
    “I thought Mr Tilton was a devout catholic.” Wade doubts her statement.

    Perception (Opposed): 1-/3: Fail. Can’t tell if she’s hiding something, and she’s aware of how the detectives are noticing her body language.
    Q: Was Latimer devout according to Emily?
    A: No, and he wasn’t even baptized.

    Emily bursts in laughter. “Latimer? Devout Christian? He wasn’t even baptized! You haven’t even bothered to read his book, have you? If you did, you’d know better.”
    ‘Someone’s lying’ Stan thinks.
    “And what were his beliefs Ms Browne?” Wade asks annoyed by her laughter.
    “Pfft. Read his book. Show him at least this courtesy.” She scoffs.
    “Ms Browne, it is you who called the police. What happened? When did you find him like that? Or was he alive and you witnessed his murder as you say?” Stan changes the subject.

    Persuasion (Opposed): 2/2: Success
    Q: According to Emily was Latimer alive when she found him?
    A: No, but the body was still warm

    Emily takes a deep breath. “Yesterday morning I came to his houseboat. I was calling but no one answered. I entered the mess to find a swarm of rats on top of him.” Her voice breaks. “I screamed and kicked them away. Tried to find a pulse but couldn’t, even though his body was still warm. I ran and called for help.” She cries.
    “We were just together last evening. He sent me to my home as he wanted to work on his book.” She sobs.
    Stan offers her a handkerchief. “Thank you miss Browne. We have enough to go on.”
    “Just find out who did it!” She cried as she is escorted outside.

    As soon as he is outside, the detectives discuss the case. “Who’s lying? The girl or the priest?” Wade wonders out loud.
    “Or the deceased.” Stan adds. “I’d like to talk to the congregation, but it’s a few days until Sunday.”
    “Right. Let’s go check riverside again. Maybe someone saw or heard something.” Wade proposes.
    They drive off back to where the houseboat is.

    Noon, Wednesday, April 6th 1921, Arkham Riverside

    For the weather I will use GMA elements, I get air. It’s windy.

    The wind is blowing down the riverside, ripping at the detectives faces.

    Q: Are there other boats near Tilton’s houseboat?
    A: No
    Stanton will also make a Moderate investigation roll to see if there is possibility for someone to have seen something.
    Investigation: 2/3: Fail
    So nothing there. Last chance, are there any houses nearby?
    Q: Are there houses nearby?
    A: Yes, but they seem abandoned.
    Nada, nothing. Wow even when biased, sometimes there is nothing there.

    They look at the empty pier and the abandoned buildings and don’t even bother to knock.
    Wade turns to Stan. “Hey, the chief doesn’t pay us to fool around. Let’s head back. Drop me off at the registry office. I’ll check if there is a baptism certificate for Tilton.”
    Stan nods. “I’ll go to the morgue. See if there is any progress on the autopsy.”

    Arkham morgue

    Q: Is autopsy complete?
    A: Yes.
    Q: Is the coroner good at his job?
    A: Yes, and he’s the best in Arkham
    I decide that the particular autopsy has a Very Difficult TN, due to the rat bites all over.
    Coroner: 6D (among the best in the city): 6+/5: Success and he found something more.

    The coroner takes a good look at the detective entering the morgue and then returns his attention to the paperwork on top of his desk. The sign on the desk reads ‘Dr. Solomon Perry.’
    He has short gray hair and gray eyes, and is wearing a white robe.
    “Haven’t finished my report yet Malkowski.” He says without lifting his gaze.
    “Come on Dr. I know you are intrigued. You can’t sit on such a case for long. Give me what you’ve got.” Stan presses.

    Persuasion (E): 3+/2: Success and he will be extra informative

    Doctor Solomon Perry smiles. “Mr. Latimer Tilton, right?”.

    To determine the cause of death, I will draw a GMA card and use all the sensual attributes as a portent. Have no idea how limited or randomizing this may be. So I draw:
    Wet, meaty thump
    Blood stains
    Deep throbbing headache
    Damp wretched air

    “Never seen anything like it before. It’s as if his brain imploded. The ear drums are burst, and the brain a big bloody mess.” The coroner says.
    “So, some sort of stroke?” Stan asks.
    “More like the opposite. Weird thing is I couldn’t find any concussion to the head. No blunt force trauma. Maybe whoever killed him made a concurrent palm strike to both his ears. I’ve heard of wrestlers that can do such feats. Never heard of someone dying of it though.” The coroner explains.
    “So it’s homicide then.” Stan concludes.
    “It certainly isn’t natural causes or suicide.” The doctor raises an eyebrow. “Also I found this“.

    Q: In the ear? (Likely)
    A: No, but elsewhere on the head…in the nose!
    Q: Is it black goo? (Likely)
    A: Yes

    He lifts a capped vial with a black oily goo-like substance. Similar to what Stanton had found in the crime scene. “His nose was clogged by this stuff.”
    “What is it?” Stan asks.
    “No idea.” He shrugs. “But it smells like shit. I will send it later to the chemistry lab for identification. See if they can make out what it is.”
    Stanton lights a cigarette. He takes a deep puff. “Thank you doctor.” He says and leaves the morgue.

    End of the episode.
    I have the following clues so far.

    • Bloody knife
    • Signs of struggle
    • Black goo
    • Rat bites
    • Imploded brain
    • Burst ear drums

    Victim, Latimer Tilton

    • Author, bestseller
    • Catholic, priest Pierre Tillman
    • Financial differences with editor Joseph Verner
    • Affair, Emily Browne
    • Atheist, not baptized


    • Next of kin
    • Editor – Financial differences
    • Church – Ask fellow members
    • Riverside

    Session Background: What a plot twist! Just when I thought I had a hypothesis, there are contradicting witnesses.
    I really like how everything is not certain. I expected to have found someone in the riverside to ask what happened (even biased the questions to the Oracle), but it was a definite no.
    I just hope this randomness doesn’t turn to bite me in the back, if the plot won’t add up in the end.
    So many possible threads now. Is Latimer a victim of an occult spell? Did Emily do it? Did the priest? Is he the victim of a brawny wrestler or a creature of the deep? Unfortunately there is a small metagaming aspect here. I know that the occult is possible, while my protagonist yet doesn’t. That doesn’t mean of course that there are unnatural forces at work here, it’s just a possibility that shouldn’t be player knowledge.

  • giorgis 7:57 am on October 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply

    A crime at the river – A weird noir fiction D6 adventure S1E01 

    I’m beginning to formulate some rules on how the closure of the crime case will be resolved (if we get there). I’ll be gathering clues, plot items and events, and connecting them, and use them to count a score. When the case is ready to be closed, depending on the score a roll is made and maybe the true perpetrator has been caught or maybe not.

    On to the session now.

    Noon April 5th, 1921, Arkham, 5th Precinct
    Back at the precinct, Stan heads over to forensics. He hands over the knife to the uniform on duty. “Pull off prints if you can.”
    “It still has blood on it!” The young man exclaims.
    “All the more reason to check it.” Stan replies.
    “Yes, sir. Anyone you want me to check it against?” He asks.
    “A Latimer Tilton. We’re expecting him at the coroner’s in a few.” Stan says and heads back upstairs.

    He goes to his desk. Wade is already across the room at his own desk, in a phone call.
    He hangs up. “Just spoke with the registry office.”
    “And? Next of kin?” Stan asks.

    Q: Are there any next of kin? (Likely)
    A: No. (Wow).

    “Poor fella had no one. Bachelor. Folks had passed away long ago. No siblings.” Wade informs Stan.
    Stan, frustrated breaks a match in his fingers. “You said he was an author right?”
    Wade nods. “Let’s talk to his editor. He may know something.” Wade nods again. “Let me make some calls.” He says agreeing to Stan.

    Q: Does Wade find the editor’s contact info? (Likely)
    A: Yes, and he’s also available for a meeting right now.

    A while later, Stan is interrupted from his coffee and cigarette break, by Wade, coat in hand. “Let’s go. Found him. Joseph Verner. He’s Tilton’s editor. He says we can meet him at his office now.”

    They take the service car and 15 minutes later they are at the address.
    They enter a small office at the 3rd floor of an apartments building. The glass panel on the door has a sign that reads “Verner Editions”.
    They are greeted by a middle aged man with a round face, trimmed silver hair and large amber eyes, wearing a dark suit.
    “Welcome detectives.” He says with a lisp. “How may I be of assistance? Over the phone you didn’t tell me what it was about.”
    “Mr. Verner. I am detective Stanton Malkowski and this is my partner Wade Norman. You are the editor of ‘We are our end’ is that correct?” Stan asks.

    Q: Is it a successful book?
    A: Yes, and it’s Verner’s bestseller.

    “Our bestseller? Of course.” Joseph says and his eyes light up.
    “And what about your relationship with Mr. Tilton?” Stan presses.

    Opposed Perception roll, to read the face of Verner as the detective asks him questions.
    Stan: Perception: 2+/2 Success and he manages to know if he truly is hiding something or not.
    Q: Is Joseph truthful?
    A: Yes, and he has nothing to hide.
    Intervention!: New entity. I will roll on donjon.
    Q: Was Joseph’s relationship with Latimer good?
    A: No

    Joseph’s face darkens. “Look, we have our differences. I invested money from my savings to publish his book exactly as he wanted, and in turn I gave him a smaller share of the profits. When it became such a huge success he accused me of ripping him off. Which of course isn’t true. Why? What about him? Is he in trouble? I won’t forgive myself if…”

    Donjon: NPC: Pierre Tillman , Clergyman

    Mr. Verner is interrupted as the door opens and a catholic priest enters the office. He has a narrow face, with trimmed red hair and narrow eyes. He is wearing dark rimmed glasses and a priests collar.

    “Father Tillman.” Joseph says. “These detectives were asking about Latimer”.
    “Do you know Mr. Tillman, father?” Wade asks.

    Opposed Perception: 3/3: Success
    Q: Does Tillman appear shaken?
    A: No, but Stan can’t be certain.

    “Why, Yes, he’s a member of our congregation. Is he alright?” The priest asks.
    “I’m afraid he’s dead.” Stan drops the bomb.

    Q: Is Joseph shaken?
    A: No, but he’s not completely cool either.

    “God bless his soul. How did he pass?” Pierre asks.
    “It’s an ongoing investigation and we can’t discuss any details. Do you know if anyone might have wanted to harm him?” Stan inquires.

    Q: Does Joseph know/say something?
    A: No
    Q: Does Pierre know/say something?
    A: Yes, but he’s reluctant to share.

    Joseph shakes his head. “No. Latimer was a quiet fella. Kept to himself. His book May be radical, but we had no threats whatsoever.”
    “I wish I could help you detectives, but I have nothing.” The priest adds.
    “Well… in case you remember anything.” Wade gives them each a business card and Joseph sees them out.

    End of the episode.
    I have the following clues so far.

    • Bloody knife
    • Signs of struggle
    • Black goo
    • Rat bites

    Victim, Latimer Tilton

    • Author, bestseller
    • Catholic, priest Pierre Tillman
    • Financial differences with editor Joseph Verner


    • Next of kin – Dead End
    • Editor – Financial differences
    • Church – Ask fellow members
    • Riverside – Ask for witnesses

    Session Background: First time playing an investigation solo, and I really like it so far. I’m quite happy with the mechanics chosen, but it’s really early to say for sure. If you are interested in my draft crime case mechanics here is a temporary link.

  • giorgis 12:37 am on October 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply

    A crime at the river – A weird noir fiction D6 adventure S1E00 

    I have just started a D6 sandbox horror/thriller adventure in weird fiction (not necessarily Cthulhu Mythos) 1920s Arkham.
    It’s my first attempt at an investigation/horror solo play, and I have no idea how it will turn out.

    I will be using my custom homebrew D6 game system. I’m keeping with the success levels of my Star Wars campaign.
    I was about to use the D6 Adventure stats, but I found them imbalanced for my game style, just like the D6 Fantasy and MiniSix ones.
    So instead I will be using the Star Wars D6 system, modified for the 1920s era in terms of skills, and equipment (e.g damage).

    For certain I’m keeping the ‘clues’ (Oracle questions) per number of success on generic investigation, knowledge or search rolls.

    I will be using a homebrew rule for insanity. Whenever there is an event that may toggle insanity, the character has to roll willpower against a TN dependent on the event. If the character fails, they gain an Insanity Point (similar to Dark Side Points) and roll on the respective chart to gain a trait. On six points, the character is lost forever. Regaining sanity is really hard but not impossible. The character would have to undertake a journey in cultures that strengthen the mind and the spirit. A trip that would be an adventure of its own.

    I want to see if I can interweave the dark side traits to the horror concept of the game, playing between reality or not. I have some ideas in mind, but I need to put them in writing before testing them.

    I will be using GMA, MUNE and donjon as well as other tools on demand.

    So, here’s a draft of my protagonist, Stanton Malkowski

    Opening scene

    Morning April 5th 1921, Arkham, Riverside
    Stanton Malkowski was leaning over the dead body in front of him. He was trying to find the cause of death before the crew would bag the corpse and send it to the coroner, but the extensive chewing by the river rats didn’t make his job any easier.
    Dying on a houseboat meant that the Rattus Norwegicus would feast on fresh meat within moments of the owner’s demise.
    “Stan!” His partner, Wade Norman was growing impatient. “Come on, let’s wrap it up. Let the coroner have at it.”
    “2 more minutes Wade. 2 fucking minutes.” Stan replies and lights a cigarette.

    Stan: Investigation: Crime Scene: 3 successes.
    He gets 3 Oracle answers on clues.
    Q: Is there any wound visible apart from the rat bites?
    A: No, but, maybe there will be something the coroner will find out.
    Q: Is there any sign of struggle?
    A: Yes
    Q: Is there any weapon in the scene?
    A: Yes
    The three clues have been answered, but now I need filler on the weapon.
    Q: What weapon? (1-2 Firearm, 3-4 Blade, 5-6 Other)
    A: Blade, a knife
    Q: Is it bloody?
    A: Yes

    Stan notices, the torn curtains and unhinged cabinets in the small boat kitchen, that is the crime scene. “There was a fight.” He says to Wade as he puffs out smoke.
    “Or he had a heart attack, and took them down as he fell.” Wade counters.
    “I doubt these give heart attacks.” Stan says, as he picks a bloody knife from the corner, with his handkerchief.
    “Smart ass.” Wade scoffs. “Could be his though. He may have hurt his attacker.” He adds.

    Stan searches for any blood trails.
    Stan: Search: 3+: Success, and he finds something else as well. (Implementing my +/- mechanic).
    Q: Is there any blood trail?
    A: No, and there are no blood stains either.

    Stan looks around for blood, but he doesn’t find anything. Only some weird black goo, that he could have mistaken for oil, if it didn’t have a putrid smell, which leads towards the water.

    Stan: Sanity (VE): Willpower: 4/1: Success.

    Disgusted, Stan returns back to Wade. “If he hurt his attacker, he didn’t bleed on board. Otherwise this blood’s his.” He pauses. “Alright, tell them to take him. Oh, found out what’s his name?”
    “Houseboat belongs to a Latimer Tilton, author by the looks of it. Wrote a book titled “We are our end.” Wade answers.
    “Didn’t have you for a bookworm Wade.” Stan teases.
    “Piss off. Saw them piled in his bedroom. Doubt they’re worth a read.” Wade says.
    “Okay we’re done here. Let’s get back to the precinct to start digging and notify next of kin.” Stan says heading out.

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