Steve Jackson Games Forums

Steve Jackson Games Forums (http://forums.sjgames.com/index.php)
-   Transhuman Space (http://forums.sjgames.com/forumdisplay.php?f=14)
-   -   Help with a THS Mystery (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=129375)

DAT 10-01-2014 07:10 PM

Help with a THS Mystery
 
Hi Folks,
I’m pulling together a THS Mystery for a 4-hour Convention Game, and would appreciate some help/advice.

The idea I have is for a Cozy Murder Mystery set in the penthouse suites of an “A-Class” Luxury Hotel on the Martian Deimos to New Shanghai Elevator, during it’s decent to Mars. Using an idea from Murder on the Orient Express, the “Victim” will be a much reviled criminal (I’m thinking a snakehead and bioroid trafficker who branched into xoxing and illegal genetic manipulations), and most of the passengers (including some or most of the PCs) will all have motive and means to kill the Victim.

The PC will all be Pre-Gens. Two PC who will not be potential murderers will be a human (upgrade) private investigator (a passenger) and a Chinese SAI police investigator (sent to help the human investigator solve the crime). Their will be a pool of 12-14 other Pre-Gen Characters/suspect-passengers for players to choose from.

The Chinese authorities want to “solve” the crime and punish someone for it rapidly, to maintain the meme of their authority and control. The Chinese authorities are sending the SAI police investigator (PC) with orders to solve the crime by the time the group arrives at New Shanghai, or accuse/convict the whole group and send them all to a labor prison – a likely long slow painful dead. The PCs have ~36 hours (the time till the elevator arrives at New Shanghai) to solve the murder and hand the murderer over to the police, or they all are going to be arrested, tortured to confess, tried, and convicted.

Anyone have thoughts, suggestions, or alternatives for improving the idea?
-Dan

DAT 10-01-2014 07:13 PM

Re: Help with a THS Mystery
 
Here is my first cut at Pre-Gen character concepts for the game:
1. Mr James Taggart; Metanoia Series Upgrade; age 36; US Citizen; Business Traveler, Occupation: Consultant Investigator, Ex-FBI Agent/Investigator. [He has no reason to kill the victim, and will have an alibi (he was on a Video conference with the Chinese authorities when the crime was committed.) He is to take the lead in the investigation.]
2. Inspector CHAN; SAI-8 running in the Hotel hardware; age 4; Chinese Citizen; An On Duty Chinese Investigator: assigned to this case. [He is loyal to the Chinese Government, so should have some secret Chinese government agendas.]
3. Ms Jane Marple; Tianyi Bioroid; age 12; Chinese/Martian Citizenship;Vacationer, Occupation: hired companion (Victim’s). [She appears to be a “pleasure” Bioroid, but is actually a Bodyguard/Minder (the Chinese Government assigned her to watch the victim (secret orders?). Inspector CHAN will know about her.]
4. Mr Sou Touma; Tennin Elf from Cornerstone Station Citizen; age 32; Islandian Citizenship; Business Traveler; Occupation: Electronics specialist (i.e., Wirerat/Hacker).
5. Mr Prodosh Chandra Mitra; Ghost uploaded into a Techspider shell; age 65/3; Indian Citizen; Business Traveler; Occupation: Computer Security Specialist (i.e., Hacker).
6. Effie Perine; Felicia Series, Linx model, Bioroid (a “Cat” Girl); age 16; Islandian Citizenship; Vacationer. Occupation: Farhauler Space Craft Pilot, Solar Express.
7. Magnum; K-10A Postcanine; age 4; EU (German) Citizen/”Owned by” EU Security Company Maniford Security; Business Traveler; Occupation: Security/Body Guard Trainer.
8. Mr James Rockford; Spartan Bioroid; age 16; Canadian Citizen/”Owned by” EU Security Company Maniford Security;, Business traveler; Occupation: Security/Body Guard Trainer.
9. Ms Cordelia Gray; Siduri Upgrade; age 29; Luna Citizen (Rabbit); vacationer, Occupation: Menemic Engineer.
10. SPENSER; SAI-7, hosted in a humanoid cybershell; age 5; Islandian Citizenship/Owned by Eco-Systems Corp.; Business Traveler; Occupation: Hazmat engineer.
11. Mr Mick Belker; Human*; age 132; Islandia Citizen; vacationer; Occupation: retired/Eloi (former businessman - exporter).
12. Ms Phryne Fisher, Eros Bioroid, age 18; Duncanite (Ceres) Citizen, Vacationer; Occupation: Courtesan.
13. Dr John Rebus; Ziusudra Parahuman; PRA (Australian), age 26; Business Traveler; Occupation: Nanotechnologist
14. Dr Endeavour Morse, Alpha Series Upgrade; age 46; EU (UK) Citizen; Business traveler; Occupation: Ghost Writer.

Anyone have suggestions, corrections, additions, etc?
-Dan

Fred Brackin 10-01-2014 08:28 PM

Re: Help with a THS Mystery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DAT (Post 1820510)
Anyone have suggestions, corrections, additions, etc?
-Dan

I'm not sure if you're doing a "locked room" mystery as well as a cozy but I noticed something about the best locked room ones.

A locked room mystery can be defined as situation where it is believed no one could have committed the crime at the time and place it is believed to have occurred.

Everyone focusses on a way to "unlock" the "room" but in the good ones there is no secret way into the "room". Instead the mystery is never solved until the detectives realize the crime did not occur either when or where it was believed to.

There is the vulnerability that the twist can be spotted early and the whole thing short-circuits but when done right the result is very slick.


A way to do this in TS would be to "kill" (probably xox) the victim before he got on the elevator and then walk his shell onto the elevator with a puppet implant.

If not the solution this could be the major red herring. You would need to destroy the victim's brain (or the place where the implant was instead) before the body was discovered either way.

jeff_wilson 10-02-2014 09:42 AM

Re: Help with a THS Mystery
 
Another plot complication is fire, to destroy DNA and other trace evidence. This will probably have to be arson given TS tech and the motivation to prevent hotel fires and spacecraft fires, but it need not look like obvious arson. It can also be used to kill/attempt to kill/discourage investigators, especially amateur ones, and it's possible it can damage life support, threatening everyone. "We have half the oxygen reserve still available, slightly less than necessary." And don't forget to include the plaque by the internal lifts: "IN CASE OF FIRE, DO NOT USE ELEVATOR"

jeff_wilson 10-02-2014 09:57 AM

Re: Help with a THS Mystery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fred Brackin (Post 1820529)
A locked room mystery can be defined as situation where it is believed no one could have committed the crime at the time and place it is believed to have occurred.
[...]There is the vulnerability that the twist can be spotted early and the whole thing short-circuits but when done right the result is very slick.
[...]
If not the solution this could be the major red herring.

When I do this, I try to have at least two ways worked out so that an early discover can become foreshadowing for the "real" one.

Phil Masters 10-03-2014 11:13 AM

Re: Help with a THS Mystery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DAT (Post 1820510)
Here is my first cut at Pre-Gen character concepts for the game:

These look like a good collection of characters, but I'll note that they are highly unlikely to all come in at the same point value. Which may not matter much for a one-off demo game, of course.

I'd also note that some of them are rather more cerebral than others - in a detective story in a fairly well-monitored space. Do make sure that they've all got something to do (or at least plenty of roleplaying hooks).

Keiko 10-03-2014 01:53 PM

Re: Help with a THS Mystery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DAT (Post 1820510)
Here is my first cut at Pre-Gen character concepts for the game:
1. Mr James Taggart; Metanoia Series Upgrade; age 36; US Citizen; Business Traveler, Occupation: Consultant Investigator, Ex-FBI Agent/Investigator. [He has no reason to kill the victim, and will have an alibi (he was on a Video conference with the Chinese authorities when the crime was committed.) He is to take the lead in the investigation.]
2. Inspector CHAN; SAI-8 running in the Hotel hardware; age 4; Chinese Citizen; An On Duty Chinese Investigator: assigned to this case. [He is loyal to the Chinese Government, so should have some secret Chinese government agendas.]
3. Ms Jane Marple; Tianyi Bioroid; age 12; Chinese/Martian Citizenship;Vacationer, Occupation: hired companion (Victim’s). [She appears to be a “pleasure” Bioroid, but is actually a Bodyguard/Minder (the Chinese Government assigned her to watch the victim (secret orders?). Inspector CHAN will know about her.]
4. Mr Sou Touma; Tennin Elf from Cornerstone Station Citizen; age 32; Islandian Citizenship; Business Traveler; Occupation: Electronics specialist (i.e., Wirerat/Hacker).
5. Mr Prodosh Chandra Mitra; Ghost uploaded into a Techspider shell; age 65/3; Indian Citizen; Business Traveler; Occupation: Computer Security Specialist (i.e., Hacker).
6. Effie Perine; Felicia Series, Linx model, Bioroid (a “Cat” Girl); age 16; Islandian Citizenship; Vacationer. Occupation: Farhauler Space Craft Pilot, Solar Express.
7. Magnum; Canine K-10 Upgrade; age 4; EU (German) Citizen/”Owned by” EU Security Company Maniford Security; Business Traveler; Occupation: Security/Body Guard Trainer.
8. Mr James Rockford; Spartan Bioroid; age 16; Canadian Citizen/”Owned by” EU Security Company Maniford Security;, Business traveler; Occupation: Security/Body Guard Trainer.
9. Ms Cordelia Gray; Siduri Upgrade; age 29; Luna Citizen (Rabbit); vacationer, Occupation: Menemic Engineer.
10. SPENSER; SAI-7, hosted in a humanoid cybershell; age 5; Islandian Citizenship/Owned by Eco-Systems Corp.; Business Traveler; Occupation: Hazmat engineer.
11. Mr Mick Belker; Human*; age 132; Islandia Citizen; vacationer; Occupation: retired/Eloi (former businessman - exporter).
12. Ms Phryne Fisher, Eros Bioroid, age 18; Duncanite (Ceres) Citizen, Vacationer; Occupation: Courtesan.
13. Dr John Rebus; Ziusudra Parahuman; PRA (Australian), age 26; Business Traveler; Occupation: Nanotechnologist
14. Dr Endeavour Morse, Alpha Series Upgrade; age 76; EU (UK) Citizen; Business traveler; Occupation: Ghost Writer.

Anyone have suggestions, corrections, additions, etc?
-Dan

I like your character collection. Very colorful group.

DAT 10-03-2014 05:26 PM

Re: Help with a THS Mystery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fred Brackin (Post 1820529)
I'm not sure if you're doing a "locked room" mystery as well as a cozy but I noticed something about the best locked room ones.

A locked room mystery can be defined as situation where it is believed no one could have committed the crime at the time and place it is believed to have occurred.

Everyone focusses on a way to "unlock" the "room" but in the good ones there is no secret way into the "room". Instead the mystery is never solved until the detectives realize the crime did not occur either when or where it was believed to.

There is the vulnerability that the twist can be spotted early and the whole thing short-circuits but when done right the result is very slick..

I hadn't planned to. I assumed that the SAI (or should it be a LAI) was going to be monitoring everything, so part of the plot will be to disable/corrupt/kill it first. Since the doors are also computer controlled, I wasn't thinking it would be much of a mystery. But maybe I should, since the planned kill will support it.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Fred Brackin (Post 1820529)
A way to do this in TS would be to "kill" (probably xox) the victim before he got on the elevator and then walk his shell onto the elevator with a puppet implant.

If not the solution this could be the major red herring. You would need to destroy the victim's brain (or the place where the implant was instead) before the body was discovered either way.

This part I got. I think I may even have a better twist on it.

But I'm not sure I should share yet ...

DAT 10-03-2014 05:34 PM

Re: Help with a THS Mystery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jeff_wilson (Post 1820699)
Another plot complication is fire, to destroy DNA and other trace evidence. This will probably have to be arson given TS tech and the motivation to prevent hotel fires and spacecraft fires, but it need not look like obvious arson. It can also be used to kill/attempt to kill/discourage investigators, especially amateur ones, and it's possible it can damage life support, threatening everyone. "We have half the oxygen reserve still available, slightly less than necessary." And don't forget to include the plaque by the internal lifts: "IN CASE OF FIRE, DO NOT USE ELEVATOR"

I was going to go with chemical and or cleaner swarm over fire. One part of the "kill" plot was using a small devourer swarm. One that could be put in a shotgun slug.

The detectives will likely have fire, gas, guns, knifes, clubs, and or fists to deal with. Maybe all of them. With the exception of two, all the other PCs will have a lethal means to take out the victum. And I won't be suprized if they try it on one another to protect their identities.

DAT 10-03-2014 05:35 PM

Re: Help with a THS Mystery
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jeff_wilson (Post 1820707)
When I do this, I try to have at least two ways worked out so that an early discover can become foreshadowing for the "real" one.

Good point.

Lots of possible plans.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:40 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.