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Old 06-30-2018, 11:57 PM   #1
DAT
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Aiken, South Carolina
Default Help with the Actions of an NPC

I would appreciate some alternative insights into an NPC’s actions in response to a situation. Please read and answer the 4 questions.

BACKGROUND
It is early July 1914, in London England, and war on the continent is expected soon, so espionage cases abound. You are a Chief Inspector for the Metropolitan Police Service at New Scotland Yard (you might have just been an average citizen or a petty criminal, but there was a bad roll). You are standing on a street in the dock district (high crime), near a gas street light, waiting for your assistant to return with a cab, when a man staggers out of a dark side alley, and collapses unconscious into your arms (some other bad rolls, and a poor choice about “heading towards the light” rather than the “dark). At a quick glance, as he fell into your arms, you notice a small metal and waxy(?) object sticking out of his neck and something odd looking in his ear.

No shaking or noise wakes the collapsed man. A quick check of pulse (assuming that is the correct first-aid of the time, and would be known to the inspector) fines a slow steady pulse and his breathing is deep and regular. The man would pass as British/westerner (Caucasian with dark blond hair), but his clothes are of a strange cut and he doesn’t have a hat. A closer look at the small metal and waxy object on the collapsed man’s neck shows it to be a small hypodermic dart. Just as you notice this, a cab with your assistant pull up and your assistant jumps out to help you with the collapse man. You and your assistant pull the collapsed man into the cab.
Question 1: Where do you direct the cab to go?
- A hospital?
- A nearby doctor?
- A doctor that you personally know and trust?
- Back to Scotland Yard?

You are a detective and although natives or Africa and South America are known to use poisoned darts, metal hypodermic darts that can tranquilize a person are not a known technology and a likely assumption is that the collapsed man is a victim of some crime. Searching the collapsed man would me in order, either before, after, or with the doctor.
Question 2: Would your search be …
- A simple “pat down” for a wallet?
- A general emptying of pockets?
- A near strip search (down to his skivvies)?
- Time to pull out the rubber gloves?

The collapsed/unconscious man is wearing a long leather duster over a dark suit, a white shirt with an unusual collar and dark shoes and socks. The clothes appear very well made, but are not of a fashion seen in Europe. A simple pat down for a wallet will not find one. He also doesn’t have pocket watch, but a band on his left wrist appears to hold one. The victim of a robbery is an obvious conclusion for you to come to.
Search with the doctor, and mentioning something in the collapsed man’s ear, with the help of a pair of tweezers, will return two small pieces of a waxy-rubbery material, colored to match the skin color of the unconscious man, each with a slim outer slit, and the inside has a round opening with a small fine metal mesh.

A search of the unconscious man’s pockets will find:
- A small (able to fit in a hand) black metal cylindrical torch (flashlight) with a strange rubbery button on the back away from the bulbs.
- A folding knife like the Swiss Army has, but it has a number of tools like plyers and screwdrivers, and has the name Gerber on it (a German Name)
- A single blade lock back folding knife, with a black coating, that has the name Gerber on it (a German Name)
- A flat (finger width tall) rectangular (5 by 9 finger widths) object with a glass front (makes a poor mirror) and a rubbery back material, with a couple buttons and a small round lens shape.
- A pair of strange looking eye glasses with dark but reflective lens.
- A small pad of note paper 52x74mm (2” by 2.9”)
- An unusual looking ball point pen, also made of strange materials
- A metal lighter
- A small first-aid kit. The kit includes some pills with names the doctor is not familiar with.

A more through search of his coat and shirt will find that he is wearing:
- Some sort of thick vest concealed under his coat.
- At his waste, a concealed holster made of sort of strange smooth material with a semi-automatic pistol and two spare magazines. The pistol has a large bore and an attached torch (flashlight). There is no visible hammer or safety on the boxy looking gun. A closure look at the pistol slide notices on the slide for the pistol a large stylish “G” by the word “LOCK”, the number “20”, the word “AUSTRIA”, and “10mm Auto”. The front site of the gun appears to glow. The attached torch (flashlight) also has the stylish “G” by the word “LOCK” and two switches, one with the word “Laser” by it. The magazines are heavy and appear to each carry 15 rounds. (Your service Webley is 32 caliber and carries 7 rounds).

A full search will also locate:
- A set of lockpicks
- A woven swatch of some thin cord made of an unusual material
- A small knife.
- A couple small squares of a hard smooth material
- The watch has glowing dials and appears to give information on temperature and altitude, as well as time and date. The time appears to be six hours late.

Question 3: Depending on what search you did and what you found, what do you (the Chief Inspector) think is going on?

Question 4: What do you (the Chief Inspector) do with the poor unconscious man?

I know what I what I was going to have the Chief Inspector do, but I want a second/third opinion to make sure I’m not being too harsh.

Thank you for your input.
-Dan
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Old 07-01-2018, 01:51 AM   #2
tanksoldier
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Default Re: Help with the Actions of an NPC

Despite what Sherlock Holmes may think, a Chief Inspector isn't stupid... but he is constrained by his time and place in history, tho not as constrained as you might think.

The dart in the victim's neck, whatever it's origin or appearance, can be assumed to be the cause of his troubles... and by extension some kind of toxin is involved. Getting him to _A_ doctor now would be more important than getting him to the best doctor ten minutes from now, if he dies any attempts at secrecy and so on would be pointless anyway... and he may simply be a victim of common crime. People went to doctors, and doctors came to them, far more often than they went to hospital. hat happened would depend on what was quickest: taking him to a police station and summoning a physician, taking him to the physician's residence or whatever.

The German/ Austrian labels on his gear are interesting for their uniqueness... not for their provenance. No German spy is going to walk around with obviously German equipment... and plenty of knives, firearms, watches and so on of German/Austrian/Swiss/ Whatever make exist in England anyway. The labels would almost certainly be recognized as manufacturer's names and not the owner's... the Chief Inspector not recognizing them, and then an expert not recognizing them, would be remarkable as would the expert's examination of the firearm.

The doctor is likely to strip the man to his skivvies anyway for a thorough examination. Victim of a robbery is unlikely... still has his unusual wristwatch, still has his gun, still has all the others stuff... ONLY the wallet is missing... and someone armed as he is is more likely to create a shooting scene than be a robbery victim.

The vest will be recognized as some type of armor. It may not be recognized as bullet resistant but it's clearly armor of some kind. It's not a piece of clothing, it's not a recognizable medical aid, it almost certainly SAYS "armor" somewhere on it... and may even say "bullet resistant" or something similar. If it has a hard trauma plate the idea of some kind of bullet resistant armor may come to mind, due to the specific coverage areas.

Everything carried would be recognized upon thorough examination as an evolution of then-existent technology... the semi-automatic pistol, the flashlight, the camera, even the hypodermic dart. Multi-tool knives have existed since the Roman Empire. The first dark-glass-lens sunglasses were seen in the 1350s. Everything found is an advanced version of things the Chief Inspector would recognize.

There are names and labels that would be on most of the equipment listed, but which aren't given in your description. Duster? Suit? Lighter? Proof or import marks on the Glock? Laser? Flashlight? Pen? First aid kit? Anything marked "made in China" or "made in Taiwan" would be remarkable in this time period. Many may have a manufacturing date, or a patent date, from the future which may not be recognized as such at first being mistaken for a serial number or something... but even the original Colt SAA I have sitting on my bookcase has an 1873 patent date on several parts. Eventually someone will realize what the numbers really mean.

ETA: One person having things labeled as having been made in different parts of the world would be unusual, as would having the labels themselves. One person with a gun made in Austria, a knife with a German name but made in China or the USA, a "torch" perhaps made in the US, a suit made in Egypt or Taiwan or wherever....

ETA: The soft armor plates are going to explicitly state what they are, their manufacture date and expiration date on a label on the plate.

MI-5 and MI-6 would have just been formed by the splitting of the Secret Service Bureau, and the Metropolitan Police have their own Special Branch which actually provides most of MI-5's investigative manpower. Likely after doing everything he reasonably can to ensure the man's health he would summon someone from Special Branch and/or MI-5. The man is likely either one of theirs or someone they would be interested in. You become a Chief Inspector by sticking your nose into places it belongs and annoying the right people, and keeping it out of places it doesn't and avoiding annoying the wrong people. If it turns out to be a common crime MI-5 can always pass it back to him.

Quote:
The magazines are heavy and appear to each carry 15 rounds. (Your service Webley is 32 caliber and carries 7 rounds).
The Webley is a revolver, so... the first commercially successful staggered-magazine pistol was a Mauser design from 1896, so even that isn't unknown in 1914.

The Chief Inspector is going to know beyond a doubt that he has something unusual on his hands. Anyone who thoroughly examines the equipment will know that, at best, they have a very complete attempt to portray someone from the future. At worst... they have the real thing.

ETA: The "man from the future" conclusion is inevitable for someone who's mind can grasp it. The manufacturer's label on the armor alone would be enough but along with all the other stuff and the labels on them...

This is the label on a soft body armor plate. They vary by manufacturer but all have essentially the same information:

http://www.santsys.com/s2blog/wp-con...n-Armor-02.jpg

ETA: You just aren't going to see labels like that on anything in 1914, dates and so on aside. The labels in his trousers, the label on his underwear... everything. Machine printing, things we take for granted just didn't exist or weren't done that way.

Last edited by tanksoldier; 07-01-2018 at 02:41 AM.
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Old 07-01-2018, 07:59 AM   #3
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: Help with the Actions of an NPC

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAT View Post
You are a detective and although natives or Africa and South America are known to use poisoned darts, metal hypodermic darts that can tranquilize a person are not a known technology and a likely assumption is that the collapsed man is a victim of some crime.
The police are likely to remove the dart once they realise what it is. They'll send it for toxicological analysis when they get a chance.
Quote:
- An unusual looking ball point pen, also made of strange materials
That may puzzle them for a bit. Ball point pens will not be commercialised for another three decades.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
The Webley is a revolver
Webley are best-known for revolvers, but made a large variety of guns and airguns. Their self-loading pistols were not the greatest, but they were good enough to be adopted by the Metropolitan Police.
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Old 07-01-2018, 08:06 AM   #4
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Default Re: Help with the Actions of an NPC

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAT View Post
Question 3: Depending on what search you did and what you found, what do you (the Chief Inspector) think is going on?
Something weird, is obvious.
Quote:
Question 4: What do you (the Chief Inspector) do with the poor unconscious man?
Tanksoldier's suggestion of handing him over to the security services makes perfect sense. He'd be a matter for MI5, and they'd put him in nursing care, wait for him to wake up, and ask him questions. They're definitely capable of subtlety, although they may well jump to conclusions based on his language and accent.
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:44 AM   #5
DAT
 
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Default Re: Help with the Actions of an NPC

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
Despite what Sherlock Holmes may think, a Chief Inspector isn't stupid... but he is constrained by his time and place in history, tho not as constrained as you might think.
Agree, he isn't stupid. The challenge is capturing the right amount of curiosity and out of the box thinking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
The dart in the victim's neck, whatever it's origin or appearance, can be assumed to be the cause of his troubles... and by extension some kind of toxin is involved. Getting him to _A_ doctor now would be more important than getting him to the best doctor ten minutes from now, if he dies any attempts at secrecy and so on would be pointless anyway... and he may simply be a victim of common crime. People went to doctors, and doctors came to them, far more often than they went to hospital. hat happened would depend on what was quickest: taking him to a police station and summoning a physician, taking him to the physician's residence or whatever.
The collapsed man presenting with a strong pulse and regular breath made me question which option the Chief Inspector would consider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
The German/ Austrian labels on his gear are interesting for their uniqueness... not for their provenance. No German spy is going to walk around with obviously German equipment... and plenty of knives, firearms, watches and so on of German/Austrian/Swiss/ Whatever make exist in England anyway. The labels would almost certainly be recognized as manufacturer's names and not the owner's... the Chief Inspector not recognizing them, and then an expert not recognizing them, would be remarkable as would the expert's examination of the firearm.
A spy won't necessarily have the gear, but a "Special Ops" sabotage group might. If the Inspector gets as far as seeing the gun, I'm assuming full curiosity mode and time in a cell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
The doctor is likely to strip the man to his skivvies anyway for a thorough examination. Victim of a robbery is unlikely... still has his unusual wristwatch, still has his gun, still has all the others stuff... ONLY the wallet is missing... and someone armed as he is is more likely to create a shooting scene than be a robbery victim.
At the time, wristwatches were uncommon on men, so a thief missing one won't be too much of a surprise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
The vest will be recognized as some type of armor. It may not be recognized as bullet resistant but it's clearly armor of some kind. It's not a piece of clothing, it's not a recognizable medical aid, it almost certainly SAYS "armor" somewhere on it... and may even say "bullet resistant" or something similar. If it has a hard trauma plate the idea of some kind of bullet resistant armor may come to mind, due to the specific coverage areas.
Sort of depends on how close minded the person taking it off is, and how obvious the labels are. The doctor's focus will be to get the close and vest off his patient. Figuring out the Velcro straps on the armor will be a surprise too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
Everything carried would be recognized upon thorough examination as an evolution of then-existent technology... the semi-automatic pistol, the flashlight, the camera, even the hypodermic dart. Multi-tool knives have existed since the Roman Empire. The first dark-glass-lens sunglasses were seen in the 1350s. Everything found is an advanced version of things the Chief Inspector would recognize.
Most of the things existed, but were not necessarily commonly available. Dark lens glasses were available for special fields/occupations, but not common until the late twenties. The materials would be the big thing. All the plastic items would be unusual. But once the Chief Inspector's curiosity focuses on the gear, things will turn bad for the

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
There are names and labels that would be on most of the equipment listed, but which aren't given in your description. Duster? Suit? Lighter? Proof or import marks on the Glock? Laser? Flashlight? Pen? First aid kit? Anything marked "made in China" or "made in Taiwan" would be remarkable in this time period. Many may have a manufacturing date, or a patent date, from the future which may not be recognized as such at first being mistaken for a serial number or something... but even the original Colt SAA I have sitting on my bookcase has an 1873 patent date on several parts. Eventually someone will realize what the numbers really mean.
The labels on the clothing and body armor I hadn't considered. The made in Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan would add some confusion.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
ETA: One person having things labeled as having been made in different parts of the world would be unusual, as would having the labels themselves. One person with a gun made in Austria, a knife with a German name but made in China or the USA, a "torch" perhaps made in the US, a suit made in Egypt or Taiwan or wherever....
Yes, as soon as any kind of detailed look is made at the equipment, the Chief Inspector's curiosity will be engaged. The question of where the idea of a man from the future will be considered, or if an alternative answer is derived.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
ETA: The soft armor plates are going to explicitly state what they are, their manufacture date and expiration date on a label on the plate.
Dido as above.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
MI-5 and MI-6 would have just been formed by the splitting of the Secret Service Bureau, and the Metropolitan Police have their own Special Branch which actually provides most of MI-5's investigative manpower. Likely after doing everything he reasonably can to ensure the man's health he would summon someone from Special Branch and/or MI-5. The man is likely either one of theirs or someone they would be interested in. You become a Chief Inspector by sticking your nose into places it belongs and annoying the right people, and keeping it out of places it doesn't and avoiding annoying the wrong people. If it turns out to be a common crime MI-5 can always pass it back to him.
Good point about becoming a Chief Inspector. Character is going to be a guest of MI-5 by the time he wakes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
The Webley is a revolver, so... the first commercially successful staggered-magazine pistol was a Mauser design from 1896, so even that isn't unknown in 1914.
Metropolitan Police adopted the Webley Semi-Automatic in 1911, so the Chief Inspector will have one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
The Chief Inspector is going to know beyond a doubt that he has something unusual on his hands. Anyone who thoroughly examines the equipment will know that, at best, they have a very complete attempt to portray someone from the future. At worst... they have the real thing.
Something unusual, Yes. Someone from the future … I'm not sure. I can see people talking themselves out of that kind of answer, because if they told other about "future man", they will be thought insane.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
ETA: The "man from the future" conclusion is inevitable for someone who's mind can grasp it. The manufacturer's label on the armor alone would be enough but along with all the other stuff and the labels on them...
"Someone who's mind can grasp it" is key. As you said, out Chief Inspector is not dum, but he is enough of a political animal to know to not get involved in something too outlandish. But him passing it on to Special Branch/MI-5 definitely would seem in character.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
This is the label on a soft body armor plate. They vary by manufacturer but all have essentially the same information:

http://www.santsys.com/s2blog/wp-con...n-Armor-02.jpg
Thank you for sharing. That is on the inside right? So the doctor taking it off might not notice (he is focused on taking it off, not reading things written on it), but anyone coming back and taking a look would see it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
ETA: You just aren't going to see labels like that on anything in 1914, dates and so on aside. The labels in his trousers, the label on his underwear... everything. Machine printing, things we take for granted just didn't exist or weren't done that way.
Labels on high end clothes were present, but ubiquitous printed labeling would be a clear indication of something unusual.


To summarize:
1) Take to the nearest doctor
2) Thorough search
3) Something unusual, beyond his pay grade
4) Hand him off to Special Branch/MI-5

Last edited by DAT; 07-01-2018 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:50 AM   #6
DAT
 
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Thank you for your thoughts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
The police are likely to remove the dart once they realise what it is. They'll send it for toxicological analysis when they get a chance.
But would they have a lab to do the "toxicological analysis"? Would they just consult with someone at a university or a hospital? It isn't clear when "CSI Scotland Yard" becomes a formal thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
That may puzzle them for a bit. Ball point pens will not be commercialised for another three decades.
It being made of plastic, which is a couple decades from commercial applications, will also be a puzzle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Webley are best-known for revolvers, but made a large variety of guns and airguns. Their self-loading pistols were not the greatest, but they were good enough to be adopted by the Metropolitan Police.
Yes, adopted 3 three years prior to this incident.
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:53 AM   #7
DAT
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Something weird, is obvious.

Tanksoldier's suggestion of handing him over to the security services makes perfect sense. He'd be a matter for MI5, and they'd put him in nursing care, wait for him to wake up, and ask him questions. They're definitely capable of subtlety, although they may well jump to conclusions based on his language and accent.
Yes, another vote for becoming a guest of MI-5.
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Old 07-01-2018, 12:17 PM   #8
Ţorkell
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Default Re: Help with the Actions of an NPC

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAT View Post
At the time, wristwatches were uncommon on men, so a thief missing one won't be too much of a surprise.
What brand is the watch? Is it a digital one or not? The first one I though of when I read the description was a Casio G-Shock, and the caseback of mine says "Made in China"
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Old 07-01-2018, 12:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAT View Post
He also doesn’t have pocket watch, but a band on his left wrist appears to hold one.
A wristwatch itself wouldn't appear to be advanced tech in 1914, but it might strongly imply that the wearer is a military man, probably an officer, possibly in artillery, possibly a veteran of the Second Boer War.


ETA: And interestingly, tinted glasses might imply a syphilis patient.
Yellow/amber and brown-tinted spectacles were also a commonly prescribed item for people with syphilis in the 19th and early 20th centuries because sensitivity to light was one of the symptoms of the disease.
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Old 07-01-2018, 12:35 PM   #10
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Default Re: Help with the Actions of an NPC

H. G. Wells' The Time Machine was published in 1895, so there's a chance that either the inspector or one of his underlings is familiar with it. Absent that knowledge, there would be some question of whether "man from the future" would be among the possibilities they'd examine - as I understand it, time-travel stories hadn't permeated the culture yet to the point they have today. (In Heinlein's Time Enough For Love, when Lazarus broke cover to Maureen in 1917, Maureen made a point of mentioning that she'd read Wells.)

Interestingly, a little Googling tells me that the British police started using fingerprint identification in 1901 - my initial thought was that rubber gloves wouldn't come into play, because I didn't think forensics used fingerprints yet. The things you can learn... The lack of any existing prints wouldn't be considered remarkable, of course, but they might take his prints and send them off to Special Branch or MI-5/MI-6 to see if they have any information.
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