Rat Trap

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Hopeless
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Rat Trap

Postby Hopeless » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:00 pm

Okay I have a copy of the Orbital setting and I'm thinking up a murder mystery on an exploration mission intended to establish a base on one of the outer planets moons.
Discovering a case of vodka apparently an impromptu present for one of their unruly npc engineers.
She however tells them to dump the case as she loathes vodka and is visibly angry at the discovery.
Naturally the others break it open and drink it.
Most die from the poisoned vodka leaving the ship dangerously understaffed and months away from the nearest base.

So the PCs are surviving crewmembers who either didn't drink the vodka or are recovering from nearly dying from it.

Too much or too little?

Any advice?
ShawnDriscoll
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Re: Rat Trap

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:20 pm

If the case was discovered during an explore of an abandoned vessel or asteroid base, and brought onboard the player ship, there needs to be just a hint of clues as to what may have killed the crew that had the case. Not in-your-face-clues, of course.
Hopeless
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Re: Rat Trap

Postby Hopeless » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:18 pm

The idea is that it was brought aboard against her wishes and escaped notice because she was assigned aboard at the last moment so neither the crew nor those loading the ship were aware of her dislike of vodka.

Part of the mystery would reveal she had received similar deliveries ever since she starting work for ESA in Europe and personally disposed of them without telling anyone as she thought her dislike of vodka was pretty obvious.

The other part is that she wasn't aware it was poisoned so whilst she was the first to recognise what had happened and because she had medical training is the reason there were any survivors.

Interesting idea about a derelict ship though
Linwood
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Re: Rat Trap

Postby Linwood » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:35 am

So there have been deliveries of poisoned vodka on a continuing basis?

If deliberate, it’s hard to imagine why the murderer would stick to the same approach after it failed. You’ll have to think through that carefully.

Other possibilities - the vodka was meant as harassment or intimidation (the sender knew the NPC’s preferences would prevent her from drinking it). The sender is a particularly twisted serial killer (or a terrorist) and is repeating this stunt with dozens of others, either connected through a shared experience, through an unusual pattern (“all Aslan with Solomani surnames”), or simply picked at random.

Or it’s accidental. A weird glitch in an automated home-shopping system. The vodka isn’t poisoned, but it’s tainted with something that makes it safe for a nonhuman race to ingest. The vodka was part of a large shipment that was contaminated in some manner and now thousands of cases are filtering through the interstellar trade networks - including two dozen cases destined for a high noble’s birthday party. The vodka is a new product and contains a substance that’s not shelf-stable.
phavoc
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Re: Rat Trap

Postby phavoc » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:50 pm

Would really depend on the mystery you are planning and how much obfuscation and sleuthing there is supposed to be.

Poison in the vodka set the stage for someone wanting to kill or disrupt the mission. If that's what you want, fine. However if you want to keep them guessing about the true culprit or purpose, then it might be better for them to have an illegal still on the ship, and some die from a batch. Was it murder? Accidental? Did a naughty third party find out about the secret still and kill people out of jealousy that they weren't invited? Does this third person have a plan to disrupt the mission, or are they a zealot willing to die with the ship??

Once you have set the stage for the why you will be able to develop multiple possible lines of adventuring for the players to explore and send them down rabbit holes with maybe just a sliver of truth and misdirection each time they close one line of investigations.

Plus it never hurts for the referee to lay out the plot and people ahead of time. Players have a tendency to go off script and ruin all your hard work. Don't let that happen!!! :)
Hopeless
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Re: Rat Trap

Postby Hopeless » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:15 pm

The point is that until this specific delivery was broken open and drunk all the others were deliberately emptied then disposed of properly so she had no idea they were poisoned.
The original person responsible didn't know she loathed vodka, but the original intention was to locate her grandfather who was known to drink vodka.
The one delivered aboard the ship was aware she had received such deliveries annually and assumed it was from a family member as that's how the previous deliveries kept reaching her despite security measures.
The intent ultimately is to frame her despite the truth as she's only aboard because of her engineering speciality which certain parties want secured and as not everyone drunk the vodka would allow them the chance to commandeer the mission and transport her to a secure facility before anyone recognised the subterfuge.

That's why that derelict ship idea is so interesting, what better way to ship her away before anyone can react?

But no plan survives contact with PCs!😈
Saladman
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Re: Rat Trap

Postby Saladman » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:17 am

That is a convoluted and highly contingent setup to drop in the middle of an ongoing game, but as the setup to a one-shot I would play along.

"Poisoning" vodka seems a little generic; if it's not already what you mean, look up methanol/methyl alcohol/wood alcohol poisoning. Industrial uses, cheaper than alcohol, causes sickness, permanent blindness and even death. Sometimes a problem in Russia and Ukraine when people try to make a quick buck by selling cheap unlicensed (counterfeit) vodka. But then, someone might get the bright idea to use it on purpose. Highly toxic, but there is a blood test for it, and it can be treated if caught quickly enough.
Hopeless
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Re: Rat Trap

Postby Hopeless » Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:29 pm

I pictured it as initially a reminder she hasn't escaped her past, but someone else latched onto it as a convenient mechanism to pull off their scheme.

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