Prentiss finds some footprints; Curruthers carouses with the lower ranks.
14th July 2011.
- Lady Antonia deVore – a Heavily-armed Aristocrat.
- Captain Benson Curruthers – a Military Policeman.
- Miss April Sharpe – a Self-taught Inventor. *
- Jack Prentiss – a Dodgy Pedestrian.
- Pinky – a Low Youth.
- Agent Andrews – a Stalwart Agent of the Ministry.
- Miss Elizabeth Montague – a Bereaved Fiancée.
- Sir Archibald Montague – the British Resident.
- Jemadar Khan of the Bengal Lancers.
- Major Horrocks of the Indian Army (retired).
- Captain Kitterick of the Indian Army.
- 3 Noncommissioned Officers of the Indian Army.
- The Inhabitants of Mysore.
- The Guards of the British Residence at Mysore.
Miss Montague invited them straight into the main reception room of the Residence and offered them refreshments. Unfortunately, the Resident himself was busy, but it took little coaxing to persuade her to enlighten them regarding the full mystery. The group members were tired after their long journey and withdrew to the Empire Hotel to rest following their dinner. It shortly became apparent that Miss Sharpe was having a bad reaction to the food and she was forced to retire to her room.
Curruthers decided to make a start on the investigation and headed for the lounge bar, intending to chat to three non-commissioned officers from the Indian Army who he had spotted earlier. Overcoming their traditional reluctance to consort with officers through drink, he learned much about the local situation. The Indian Army was present in an advisory capacity only, the local presence consisting of officers and staff operating in police and diplomatic roles. The Maharajah was new to the throne and well-educated, but seemed to pay too much attention to the traditionalist aristocracy, rejecting overtures from the Resident. The local police did not seem motivated to investigate the death of Major Carew, who was well-respected by his men. Carew had been mostly involved in chasing down bandits from the hills to the north, who appearing to be death cultists, raided villages and caravans. Under Carew’s replacement, Captain Kitterick, the police were now more involved with thwarting smugglers.
The next day, Curruthers was late to breakfast as he was feeling a little the worse for wear.
Following their repast, the team headed back to the Residence to meet Miss Montague’s father and investigate the scene of the crime. Jemadar Khan, the leader of the Residence’s contingent of Bengal Lancers, led them to Carew’s room, which was on the second floor of the Residence. The room had been locked and preserved since the murder (Miss Montague was familiar with some of the most recent ideas in police work). Their investigation showed that there was little struggle: Carew had been stabbed in the chest from the front, but had had no time to react. The door had been found locked with the key inside. It appeared to be possible, but difficult, to leap from the top of the outer wall of the Residence into the window, about six feet higher. Curruthers began a detailed study of the bloodstains on the carpet, but stumbled and ruined almost all the evidence.
Prentiss, meanwhile, had found some bloody footprints near the window, which appeared to be those of a very large cat, possibly a tiger. Curruthers rejected this hypothesis as they were too far south of tiger country. There was also the small matter that tigers were not exactly equipped to hold a knife! This prompted some discussion of the existence of tiger demons, known as rakshasa, but Khan dismissed this as superstition.
A meeting with the Resident revealed his approval of their investigation, although he believed the official report of a murder of opportunity arising from an interrupted burglary. He gave them a letter of introduction to the new Captain of Police, and then Miss Montague produced the murder weapon, an elaborately carved ceremonial knife. Lady Antonia felt this had useful information in the form of the carvings on the hilt, which most of the team found very disturbing. Captain Kitterick proved to be of little help; responsible for the official report, he was dismissive of their ideas, being much more concerned with local smugglers and the rebellious nature of the local nobility.
Curruthers managed to locate and talk to a retired Indian Army officer, Major Horrocks, who had made extensive studies of Hindoo mythology. He said that the carvings on the knife were associated with Kalarappa, a local incarnation of Kali. The worship of Kalarappa had been popular in the area several decades ago, but the previous Maharajah had rooted out the cult. When asked about rakshasas, Horrocks was able to confirm the description of a shape-shifting tiger demon, but stated that it was a superstition of the NorthEast.
This was another mystery-solving session and very talky, but the majority of the background is now out there. I’m very pleased with the way the players were able to get all the salient points this time. I still want to get some fighting in, but there’s always next time!
I’m aware that much of the real-world mythology on rakshasas is very different, but this is a setting where vampires and werewolves are common and Sir Christopher Wren used an archangel to keep the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral up… My ideas here are mostly inspired by Indiana Jones and the Kolchak/D&D interpretation of the concept.
Prentiss’s discovery of the foot prints were the first use of the Savage Worlds Adventure Deck, introduced last session.
(* – player not present.)