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

Threads

  • 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.