Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Homicide: Mommy Knows

The next turn in my ongoing Mythic GM solo game begins as Evan and Jeff wrap up their interview with Mike Lewis, property manager at College Place Apartments (yeah I just made that up, who's going to argue in a solo game?) We were left with two likely courses of action:
  • Find out more about the mystery person in the rental office, who popped up as an altered scene element in the last turn.
  • With Lewis's permission, look around Michelle Allen's apartment, since she is the owner of the actual murder scene (her car).
The current context looks like this (after a few tweaks post-session):

Chaos: 6

Evan's Personal Characters
Jeff Long, Evan's partner on the force
Evan's Rabbi on the force
Evan's family
Evan's estranged wife
Evan's professional contact

Jeff's Personal Characters
Jeff's relative in trouble

Story Characters
Scott Marin
- The victim, an adult male
- Found in a very clean garden apartment
- Dead approximately two days
- The apartment was not the crime scene
- One of three roommates involved in a dispute concerning rent.
Rose Marie Orr
- One of three roommates involved in a dispute concerning rent.
Albert Burns
- One of three roommates involved in a dispute concerning rent.
The anonymous tipster
The forensics team
The shooter
Mike Lewis, property manager, College Place Apartments
- Lewis agrees to provide access to Allen's apartment
- Probably has an alibi for the murder (vacation)
Tina Mallory, property administrator, College Place Apartments
Jacob Anderson, maintenance and grounds, College Place Apartments
The stranger in the College Place Apartments rental office
- Friends of the victim (though our detectives don't know that)
- Didn't steal the records
- Not a roommate
Michelle Allen, a person of interest in the murder investigation
- Owner of the damaged SUV found near the crime scene
- Car has blood and a gun in the passenger compartment
- Appears to have been the scene of the actual murder
- Allen's apartment shows signs of a hasty departure

Personal Threads
Jeff has a relative in trouble
Evan is on the road to divorce

Who killed the victim
Rental records for the murder scene are missing
- The records were stolen
- The thief broke in through a crawlspace
- They may have left fingerprints on a soda can nearby
Who owns the murder weapon
Where is Michelle Allen
There is an ongoing dispute about the apartment rent/security deposit

I'm going to ask a couple additional questions that should have been part of the previous scene. They're basic facts that I should have gotten from Lewis, but just didn't think about:
  • Q1: Was Marin found in his own apartment (i.e. did he live in the place his body was found in)? (50/50)
  • Answer: Extreme yes
  • Q2: Can Lewis provide a list of who in the rental office would have had access to the crime scene? (sure thing)
  • Answer: Extreme yes
  • Q3: Had Marin's lease ended? (very likely)
  • Answer: Extreme yes
  • Q4: Does the list of people with access extend beyond known rental staff?
  • Answer: Yes
  • Event: Focus: Move toward a thread. Meaning: Antagonise prison.
Well, apparently Lewis knows all about this, he's very sure of everything. It sounds to me like the trio of renters moved out, but there's some dispute about final rent and / or security deposits. Our event means we have another character to fill out, so let's see what the dice say about which thread they're linked to... The result (2) indicates the stolen records are the thread. The event meaning sounds like someone with a prison record is involved. From that I draw the conclusion that a former staffer is involved in the theft, and they have a criminal past. Given the college cycle, it's not unreasonable to assume a temporary staffer during the school year, so we'll roll a die to see if they're maintenance or office staff. Result is maintenance. Lewis is cooperating so he'll give us a name, Gabe Babbett, and a little background.

Babbett worked through the school year doing grounds and building maintenance. Lewis found out he hadn't reported a felony conviction on his job application, so he fired him. While he was an employee, Babbett had access to keys for various buildings and apartments, and might have copied some. A die roll tells us Babbett's felony conviction was pretty serious 9/10. We'll pursue that further in a bit and finally close out this scene.

Since we're in the office, and our mystery guest is right here, that's our next scene. Let's evaluate the scene and determine some facts about our mystery guest. I'll use a random roll to determine relationship (family), and another random roll to determine closeness (9 very close), I'll go with parent, and Mom is the result. This fits our scene result (altered), changing a simple interview to an interview and death notification.

The woman who'd been waiting around in the visitor's area while the detectives talked to Lewis storms the office. "What's happened to Scott?"

Jeff takes the offensive. "Who are you and what's your interest in Scott Marin?"

"I'm Anna Marin, his mother. What's going on?"

Evan gives Lewis a look "You have a private office we can borrow?" Lewis gets up from his desk, waves at his office and walks out without another word, clearly willing to avoid this particular conversation.

"Mrs. Marin, I'm afraid we have some bad news." Evan begins "Your son Scott was found dead in his former apartment this morning."

"Dead?! How?"

"He was shot and his remains were moved to the apartment by a person or persons unknown."

Time for some randomness. I'll use a die roll of 2d6 to see how Anna reacts, with a roll of 7 being pretty upset, lower less, higher more. Result 6 means she's obviously upset, but holding it together at least marginally. Let's ask some questions:
  • Q5: Did she talk to Scott within the last week or so? (likely)
  • Answer: Extreme yes
  • Q6: Did she know about the roommate dispute? (likely)
  • Answer: Yes
  • Q7: Did she suspect something was wrong concerning Scott? (50/50)
  • Answer: Yes
So it sounds like a parent who's concerned about their son, who's facing a problem with roommates. The extreme yes means she knows definitely when she last talked to Scott, we'll assume cell phone text or call records, which pinpoint a time of last communication. I'm going to arbitrarily set today's date as June 10, and we know it's mid-morning, so Scott was likely killed the night of June 7 or morning of June 8. A random die result shows the last communication between Scott and his Mom was June 7 at midnight, and was a voice conversation. That narrows the time of death for us. More questions.  Given her awareness of the roommate problem, I think it's likely Anna will point a finger here.
  • Q8: Does Anna have an alibi? (likely)
  • Answer: Yes
  • Q9: Does she know anyone that might want to hurt Scott? (very likely)
  • Answer: Extreme yes
  • Q10: Was anyone was with Scott when they last talked? (50/50)
  • Answer: Yes
  • Q11: Can she ID who was with him? (likely)
  • Answer: Yes
  • Q12: Does she know Michelle Allen? (50/50)
  • Answer: Extreme yes
  • Event: Focus: NPC action. Meaning: Refuse the spiritual.
  • Q13: Was the person with Scott one of our known NPCs? (very likely)
  • Answer: Yes
  • Q14: Is the person that wants to hurt Scott a known NPC? (very likely)
  • Yes
  • Event: Focus: PC negative. Meaning: Inform emotions.
Well, well, well. Mom seems to know a lot. First we'll establish Scott's father Richard Marin as Anna's alibi. We don't know anything about him yet, but it's an easy way to tie off that bit. Anna definitely knows our car owner, and has a slightly negative reaction to her based on a die roll. The event associated with that points to a religious conflict involving Allen. Let's tie that to her place of work and declare she works at a local religious center for students. 

Mom can also ID who was with Scott, and knows someone that would want to hurt him. Both are on our list of NPCs and the event tied to the latter suggests something negative for Evan. I'll declare that he's a bit anti-religious, maybe that's part of the reason for his falling out with his wife. 

Let's see who we're dealing with. I'll ignore a few of the entries in our list: the forensics team was probably not with Scott when he died, for example. The die result produces Gabe Babbett, our felonious maintenance worker! That's an interesting twist. Using the same method, let's see who wants to hurt Scott. Our answer: Michelle Allen. Hmm. The owner of the murder scene has reason to hurt Scott and he was last heard from in the company of a known felon with a serious rap sheet. Conspiracy? Given Evan's anti-religious stance, he immediately leans toward Allen as a primary suspect. Let's ask a few more questions:
  • Q15: Does Anna know what Scott's relationship to Gabe was? (50/50)
  • Answer: Yes
  • Q16: Would Anna recognize Gabe or his voice (could he be the anonymous tipster)? (unlikely)
  • Answer: Yes
  • Q17: Did the other roommates have a relationship with Allen? (50/50)
  • Answer: Extreme yes
  • Q18: Did the other roommates have a relationship with Babbett? (50/50)
  • Answer: No
  • Q19: Did Allen and Babbett have a relationship? (likely)
  • Answer: Extreme yes
Mom is exceptionally well informed. A die roll (which I meant to use the same list of options I used before), results in a family relationship for Allen and Babbett. Closeness is 7 on 2d6, so let's declare they're not immediate family, instead they're cousins. Allen also had a relationship with one or more of the other roommates, so let's see who. The dice pick Albert Burns as the other interested party here. Let's determine Albert's relationship to Allen is... family again! What an incestuous place! Their relationship roll comes up 8, so closer than cousins. Hmm. The age difference suggests parent / child, so I'll go with wicked stepmother. Seems to fit.

That's a long scene, and a lot of information. We have a ton of leads here, and a few suspects rising to the top, Allen, Babbett, possibly Burns. We have a pretty good lock on a time of death due to Mom's phone conversation. We have a few alibi's to check out and more work ahead. For now, we'll close this scene off and bid our audience adieu. Thanks for reading along!

As always if you have suggestions for questions or obvious bad choices I've made, feel free to leave feedback.

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