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

Threads

  • 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.