The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God, episode 3

Pren­tiss finds some foot­prints; Cur­ruthers carous­es with the low­er ranks.

Played

14th July 2011.

Dramatis Personae

  • Lady Anto­nia deVorea Heav­i­ly-armed Aris­to­crat.
  • Cap­tain Ben­son Cur­ruthersa Mil­i­tary Police­man.
  • Miss April Sharpea Self-taught Inven­tor. *
  • Jack Pren­tiss – a Dodgy Pedes­tri­an.
  • Pinkya 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.

Plot

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.

Notes

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.)