Investigations

The detectives will want to question Jimmy Cheese and the staff about the murder of Henry and, as the adventure develops, other events. All the staff expect this and there is a well-prepared and convincing alibi for each staff member. The Game Leader will need to adapt the story depending on which staff member is present.

  • Around midnight, Newgate the Butler and Henry clear the snow around the back door so that Henry can reach his cottage. After Henry leaves, Newgate locks the back door, checks the rest of the house is locked up and then places all the house keys in a box in the study. If Newgate isn't present, in order of preference, Mrs Baxter the Cook, Johnny the Footman or one of the maids will fulfil this role.
  • Either of the Maids or the Cook will hear Newgate wishing Henry a Merry Christmas and shutting the back door, from their room.
  • Mrs Baxter the Cook or Tim will be unable to sleep, either worried about cooking the Christmas dinner for the distinguished guests or excited about Christmas. They will hear Johnny the Footman or Newgate the Butler snoring.
  • Jimmy Cheese went to bed early. Newgate (or whoever locked up) quietly checked on him after locking the doors and built up the fire to keep the room warm. Mr Cheese was asleep and all his outdoor clothes were in one of the wardrobes. When Newgate brought a cup of tea first thing, the room was unchanged.
  • All the servants will state that the walls of the servants' quarters are so thin than that anyone moving around can easily be heard.

The Sleuths are also likely to seek information on any arguments amongst the staff and how long the staff have worked here.

  • The staff will truthfully say that everyone gets on well and that Henry had been very helpful since their arrival six months ago.
  • When asked how they came to be working for Mr Cheese, the staff have to lie. They give names of real agencies or claim they saw adverts in the papers. If Jimmy is asked, he says that he asked an agent to arrange it for him.
  • The Sleuths may ask about previous employers. Some staff will have to lie but others can provide legitimate references.
Questioning the Staff

All the staff and Jimmy will co-operate with the detectives, turning up for questioning as requested. Though the may take their time arriving if it helps provide other staff members with cover for murder attempts. All the staff expect to be questioned and they have prepared and practiced their stories.

The detectives will want to judge whether the servants are lying to them whilst being questioned. The character should use whatever advantages they think appropriate and roll their dice. It is a [Moderate] difficulty action to detect a specific lie but only an [Easy] action to get the sense that the suspect is concealing something.

If a staff member is spotted lying, this will tell the detectives very little. The staff will stick to their original stories even in the face of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. From the staff's point of view, if one of them is suspected it leaves the other five to get on with the plot. However, as part of the questioning, the sleuths may notice one or more of the servants' physical quirks described in their background.

Jimmy Cheese is a harder nut to crack when it comes to interrogation as he has been questioned by police all his life for one reason or another. It is a [Hard] action to get any sense of a lie. However, like the servants, his physical appearance may give things away.

The House

The players should be encouraged to search the house as it will split the group up and make them more vulnerable to murder attempts. Jimmy Cheese will insist the characters search his room first as a sign of trust and, in his own words, "I like to set a good example for the hard-working men and women I employ." More importantly, he has no secrets to hide and it keeps the sleuths busy.

Each room in the house has various clues in it which are revealed by the characters' investigations. Game Leaders should reveal these nuggets of information based on the characters' actions and the players' questions. In play-testing, we noticed players rarely returned to a room to search it a second time so Game Leaders should ensure the players get something out of each room.

The public areas of the house (Dining Room, Drawing Room, Hall, Main Stairs and Study) are lit by gas lights (electricity has not reached this remote part of England yet). All other rooms are lit by candles and oil lamps. The staff (and Game Leader) should make use of low light levels and candles that go out at inconvenient times to hype up the atmosphere and provide opportunities for murder.

The house is not particularly large so characters will hear any screams, shouts or gun shots almost anywhere in the building. If they run, a character can conceivably get to anywhere in the house within 30 seconds.

Murder Attempts

While the staff's plan for Henry's murder is well-prepared and rehearsed the attacks on the guests are ad-hoc. If possible staff members will arrange an alibi with another before making the attempt. Either it will be along the lines of "Sally has been in the Kitchen with me for the last hour" or they will arrange for several staff members not to have alibis to help spread confusion.

Jimmy Cheese will know very little about events taking place around him. Jimmy will stay in the Drawing Room or somewhere similarly public all day, ideally with one or more of the sleuths to ensure he has a cast iron alibi. Alternatively he may retire to his room with the aid of a staff member, providing them with a way to sneak off and make an attack.

When making a murder attempt, a servant has a 3d6+3 attack if it fits with their character but only 2d6+2 if forced into another mode of attack. Until the final Mince Pies & Sherry scene, each servant will make a single attack and then attempt to escape unseen. If they are seen and the detective is not killed, they plan to hide out with the aid of the other servants until the final scene and then reappear.

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open/oneshots/ultralite/mincepiesmurder/questioning.txt · Last modified: 2014/02/06 12:52 by darth_tigger
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