Monday night I ran a World of Darkness
game using the rules revisions from the upcoming God-Machine Chronicle
. So here's what we've got.
The characters are all law enforcement...but from different cities:
- Ashton King, behavior psychology and profiler from Detroit.
- Khandi Cochrane, medical examiner and forensic expert from Tulsa.
- Ryan Mallory, fresh recruit and crack shot from Columbus.
- Walt Lundy, FBI agent and the team's handler from Washington DC.
Here's what happened: Three nights ago, three murders took place (Tulsa, Columbus, Detroit). Each murder happened at the same time, in exactly the same way...in locked or closed rooms, with no witnesses. The prevailing belief is that this has to be a group pulling some kind of trick, but the powers that be, after a lot of media exposure and talk about the "Phantom Killer" or the "Tri-State Ghost", put together a task force, one officer from each city, and put a plane at their disposal. This is mostly show for the media, and the departments have their own investigations ongoing as well.
So the characters meet up, introduce themselves (in Tulsa, which is where Cochrane's lab is, of course) and start going over data. The three victims were Rosa Kerby (Tulsa; female, 43 years old, husband was home at the time); Craig Lowder (Detroit, male, 26 years old, lives alone, multiple locks on door which weren't disturbed); and Gloria Ault (Columbus, female, 35 years old, husband was out of town, house alarm wasn't tripped but was armed).
The victims had nothing in common. They hadn't moved recently, they'd had no common cable or repair companies, and they never met each other. They were different races (Kerby was mixed Hispanic/white, Lowder was black, Ault was white), different ages, and different socio-economic status (Kerby was lower-middle, Lowder was blue collar, Ault was upper-middle). Each had been killed by a single puncture wound to the throat, piercing the carotid artery; they bled to death in seconds.
In all three crime scenes, a strange doodle was found on the wall in black marker. The actual marker was found in Columbus. Put together, the doodles resembled a key. CS teams also found a set of fingerprints at each scene, one that didn't match any of the inhabitants and (thus far) hadn't turned up in any databases).
Cochrane and Lundy went to the lab to go over data and assist with the autopsy of Kerby, while King and Mallory went to the local hospital's psych ward to interview her widower (he was still in severe PTSD and shock).
Cochrane discovered that the wound on Kerby's neck was thin and narrow; her best guess was an ice pick. There was one wound, forceful and decisive, but very precise, probably delivered while she was standing or sitting up by an assailant in front of her using his left hand or behind her using his right. There was some kind of residue in the wound, probably from the blade; analysis revealed it was rust. Blood toxicology came back negative, and her stomach contents revealed she'd eaten dinner and nothing after that.
Cochrane made some calls and found that Detroit was dragging their feet on the Lowder autopsy, so she called the airport and had them make the plane ready; she'd just go do it herself.
Meanwhile, King and Mallory were at the psych ward. They questioned Bill Kerby, Rosa's husband, and learned that he'd had trouble sleeping so he'd left the bedroom and gone to the living room to read. About midnight he heard a thud from the bedroom, rushed in (thinking she'd fallen) and discovered her on the floor, bleeding to death. He hadn't seen or heard anyone, and the door the bedroom was still closed. He had, obviously, been the first suspect, but King felt his grief was genuine. The forensics didn't match anyway.
The characters regrouped at the crime scene and studied the initial photos and the room. The doodle (the top of the key) was scribbled on the mirror next to where Rosa had fallen. Based on the blood splatter, the group concluded that she had been sitting up in bed, had thrown the covers off (maybe to get up), and had been stabbed from behind by a right-handed assailant who was slightly taller than she was. The arterial spray hit the wall, she fell right out of the bed and onto the floor...but that's where it got weird.
There was no way someone could have gotten out from behind her and out of the room without leaving footprints, and there were none, not on the bed or through the blood. The killer had, apparently, simply vanished.
At this point, the characters decided they'd head to Detroit and look into Lowder's murder. So that's where we pick up next time.System notes:
Honestly nothing to report. We used the new system for extended actions, but since the new stuff only comes into play when you fail or exceptionally succeed (neither of which happened), that didn't really change much. The group wasn't crazy about Aspirations, but that was mostly because it was the first session and they're hard to set until you've played the character once or twice (which I've amended the text to reflect).