Saturday Seed ~ 163 (Call of Cthulhu)

This Saturday Seed is being planted for Call of Cthulhu in anticipation of the fresh surge of horrors the new edition may spawn in players everywhere. 

My Saturday Seeds also reappear on Ancient Scroll on random Saturdays~

The seed

The seed is built around the idea of private investigator, and assumes that those it comes to affect engage in such consultations as their primary activity. They may be professors with a strong research focus, consultants, retired police detectives, reporters, and of course actual PIs among other professions. As usual, this seed is being envisioned and described here as being set in the 20s, but there is no reason it cannot be shifted back to the 1890s or forward.

Planting the seed

The seed is to be planted slowly, and relies on the player recognizing that they have become much busier than ever before. It is like they are the only person available to conduct the sort of investigations clients want to keep very private….

The Details

Once the character(s) realize that something may have happened to their competition, they may choose to investigate or at least ask their new influx of clients if they had been referred or tried anyone else before coming to see them. Even a cursory investigation will reveal that as far as detectives for hire go, a very large percentage of available experts in the region have seemingly vanished, moved without notice, or gone on unannounced vacations. 

Deeper investigation will turn up incongruous facts, such as the mail being held at the post office, but food rotting on the shelves and in the icebox. It is almost as if someone tried to cover up a disappearance – maybe even a murder – but lacked the time to do it correctly.

Serious investigation at several such closed offices and private homes will begin to show commonalities in lines of investigation, including a few which pick up where a previous one left off. The trail can be as complicated as will be of interest to the players but these disappearances should go back several years, with several painstakingly recreating the same trail, only to hit a brick wall (followed by a disappearance) around the time they reach the same set of conclusions or facts.

With all of their “competition” dead or in hiding, the influx of new clients is handily explained… but what of the person or persons behind the deadly inquiry?

Depending on what you have in mind, you might open this all up with the arrival of the instigator of the deadly inquiry, or – especially if this is ongoing play – choose to let things happen as they may. The characters may seek out the inquirer, or they may seek to avoid them altogether, or simply await the possibility of being tasked to take the investigation one step further. Heroic characters will already be trying to solve it~

The case itself should seem relatively innocuous and the disappearance of so many people trying to figure it out should be incongruous and troubling. Imagine something like a simple case of theft. The investigators go through the motion of verifying the item’s providence, confirming the client’s tale, and checking out the usual places an item of that type might be fenced. The investigation stalls, and the investigator begins looking for commonalities in the theft and turns up nothing. The investigation stalls again, and the investigator turns to digging more deeply into the history of the item. The investigator’s notes end here, and for all intents and purposes they vanish off the face of the planet. Not all investigators get this far, but several of them do.

Is the item itself important, or is something tangential to it of such a nefarious nature that it warrants the death or disappearance of so many resourceful investigators? Is the risk worth the satisfaction of being the one to crack the case?

Investigation of the client will reveal no connection to the disappearances, and in fact is not involved. They have no idea what could be behind it, no idea why the item might be stolen, and only want it back for purely sentimental reasons. This sentiment has now risen to the height of obsession that only the very wealthy, very isolated, and very coddled can push themselves to reach.

The police opened an investigation but did not (and will not) push past the obvious dead ends in the case. It is still open, but it is not active. They resent implications of shirking their duty, but are unlikely to do much if the characters cannot show a link between the item and foul play.

What’s going on

Strangely, although logic and most signs will point to murders covered up by a clever killer, the past investigators have not been knocked off. They have fallen under the sway of a perverse but persuasive cult and spend their nights cavorting around an ancient stone statue of a slouching god that dreams away eons, but will one day rise…



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