Saturday Seed ~ 114 (Godlike)

This week’s small story seed is for Godlike, to celebrate the appearance of the game in PDF and a pending softcover release. For those of you involved in the Kickstarter for this retooling and upgrading of the game, it was a long wait, but hopefully well worthwhile. Saturday Seeds appear every Saturday (go figure…) on Casting Shadows. Seeds from the blog also appear on Ancient Scroll.

The seed
A murder is committed during TOG Basic Training. Talents, trainers, and support staff are all under suspicion. Is it espionage?

Planting the seed
This is a seed for new recruits or for established characters lending aid in the training effort. The location is the Commando program’s Basic Training facility at Achnacarry Castle, Scotland. To be involved, the characters simply need to be present when the body is found, and to have been present during the ostensible time of the murder. To make this a more effective tale, taking the time to flesh out the victim and predispose the characters toward him can be time well spent.

The details
During a pre-dawn run with full kit, the recruits come across the corpse of a recruit from a different squad along the side of the trail. The body is cold, but at first appears to be sleeping. The small wound goes unnoticed until the laughing runners try to rouse him.

Killed by a small puncture through the heart, not unlike a bayonet or knife, but lacking much in the way of blood loss, the murder victim looks peaceful. Well-liked in his own squad, and holding a clean training record it is difficult to assess who might have done him in, and how.

Once alerted, the camp is locked down and a head count begun, while the commander and his aides search the barracks and grounds for evidence with the aid of MPs and military intelligence.

Rumours of an enemy agent spread like wildfire, growing and mutating with each retelling. When running a session with this seed, consider when and how the characters come to hear the details. Having them wade through gossip, speculation, and disinformation will add depth and reality to the scene.

All are suspects. No one is present now who was not present last night, and no one is missing. No signs of an interloper remain… at least not a normal interloper…

What’s going on
Using this seed to expose the players and their characters to the paranoia of operational security, the fear of agents in their midst, and the huge weight of responsibility which is coming to roost on the shoulders of each Talent may help shape and inform a pending campaign. Security posters about security may make a good backdrop, as each resident of the base awaits their turn in interrogation, and each sees their footlocker turned out and stuff searched. A killer is in their midst…and must be found.

Will the authorities find and take a scapegoat if the real killer cannot be found?

While many GMs may wish to define the killer and killed themselves for extended use later on in the campaign, or for successful capture during the session, I am including a ready-made villain and victim concept.

The Victim

Eric Feeney, age 19. Prematurely grey and receding hairline. Confident and athletic, good sense of humour, extremely patriotic, obsessed with Alice Faye, weak reader, speaks of a girl friend back home in the way that signals to soldiers with girls back home that he has no girl back home.

Feeney’s talent is the ability to expand into a Gaseous Alternate Form. That he would be found dead this way, killed by a stab wound, is suggestive to some that he did not know the attack was coming.

As recruits endure the drawn out investigation, no one can put their finger on why such a straight-shooter as Feeney would be targeted for murder. No one can think of a way his death could be an accident though, so these are very circular discussions. The way the rumour mill turns the limited amount of blood into a lack of blood… that takes speculation in too many directions.

The Villain

The villain is another recruit and he did it for the oldest of reasons. No not farming, the other oldest of reasons: He did it for a woman. Even in the midst of everything that training like this commando school embodies, some men are so small-minded and inward focused that their own possessive hunt for pleasure outweighs all other considerations. In war and peace, we fight not just the actions of the enemy, but the weaknesses of our allies.

Alan Slocum, age 19. Sandy hair and freckled. Bulbous nose. Powerfully athletic, with recognition in High School for both wrestling and football. Enjoys the physical challenges of the training, and good working with teams toward goals. Not terribly good at bonding socially. Well-liked, but no one’s friend.

Slocum’s talent is creating ice which he can bring into being for various purposes of attack and defence. He is working hard on learning how to employ this power to contain resisting targets quickly and effectively.

The Motive

Feeney and Slocum and several men from other squads earned a brief period of leave before entering training. They spent the night before training in Fort William and all the men enjoyed the wit and banter of a comely bar maid in the early part of the evening. None of the men saw her again, but Slocum got it into his mind that Feeney had somehow managed to bed her. For reasons known only to him, this thought began to occupy more and more of his attention, and everything Feeney said from ‘Pass the salt,’ to ‘It’s a beautiful day,’ was somehow a form of gloating. While she made quite an impression on the men, his reaction crosses the border into insanity.

Slocum kept it together until he realized the uses to which Feeney could put his power… such as the ability to leave the camp undetected at will and easily make his way to the maid’s boudoir without anyone ever knowing.

He killed Feeney with a blade of ice the very same night and left him by the side of the trail where he fell. The ice blade filled the wound and by the time it had melted away Feeney’s heart had long since stopped pumping.


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