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So I have this NPC...


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A little backstory first.

My home game is 1st edition 7th Sea and my players are going through a homage to "The Amazing Race". Basically, a race around the known world doing tasks & obstacles. Right now, they're in Vodacce -- which for those who know the game world is a rather sexist & classist country.

Well, they're in the city of Laurentia (Caligari territory), where I throw a curveball in the form of someone's been going around killing people ala "Don't Look Now". Since they're heroes, they decide to investigate for a day. The evidence strongly implies that the killer is a 10 year old (which she is). There's been 4 deaths in order: a vagrant, a wine merchant, a jenny (low-class prostitute) and a priest.

What the players haven't figured out yet is why these murders have happened, with one player even asking "Why this particular order?" Which there is a valid reason: the vagrant was killed first because she wanted to see if she could kill -- no one would in theory miss a vagrant.

The murders of the wine merchant and the jenny make things murky/lean towards "justifiable homicide". The jenny was the murderer's abusive mother and the wine merchant was one of her equally abusive clients.

The 4th murder wasn't planned. As a good Vaticine, the child gave confession to the priest. The priest did not react well to said confession, so the troubled child then killed him too because she didn't want to be "punished".

4 murders -- 2 where the victims probably had it comin', but 2 where the victims were innocent. I don't want it where all the victims ended up being abusive So-and-Sos who deserved to die, it would make things too neat and unbelievable.

OOC, the players suspect the kid did it, but IC, they haven't put the pieces together. In fact, they want to take her along on the Race with them! One player wants to teach her how to box and turn her into Hit-Girl. Another player, the quietest one who is finally taking some initiative so that's something I'd like to keep encouraging, is saying that there's a supernatural reason/the kid's possessed (there isn't). A third player is a former child psychologist in real life so his mind is already jumping to the worst case scenario with all the victims.

And the 4th player is my husband -- who knows how much of a true crime fan I am, but can't quite convince the others that this might not be a Good Idea.

The kid isn't a good liar. Nor is she very smart. She is, after all, only 10 years old. They are aware that she's being evasive. I tried to give them an out in the form of a nun and her abbey that maybe they could find sanctuary for her, but they don't wanna take it.

I don't want to go all murderhobo here with her -- she's damaged but she's guilty, but now that her abusers are dead, there's a good chance she can be rehabilitated. But two of her victims didn't deserve to die -- and the country she did her crimes in probably doesn't care she's only 10 years old and was abused. She's a girl and she's poor -- that's already two strikes against her in Vodacce.

Thoughts...?

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Depends on what you'd like your players to deal with, and what you have in mind for the story as originally planned, and where (or if) the two intersect.

 

If you _really_ want to have the characters have an "aha!" moment and _not_ drag the kid around the world, then you should let them drag the kid around the world.  (That's kind of how players work; no idea why.)   As soon as they leave her native area, have her kill again.   Yeah; it sucks, but even the densest character should be able to put this together.  If not, the sharpest characters should be pick up on it, and help the densest players come to grips with it.  ;)  If you don't want murder / hobo, then don't make it a thrill kill.  Find someone-- a traveller of some sort-- who may have also been an abuser in the past, but someone who can quickly be linked back to whatever area the girl is from:  "What?  Sir Beatsuponhookers has been killed?!  But, he only just got back from Vodacce two days ago!  What motive could there be?"

 

(yeah, it would probably help if he was known to be a buy-sexual)

 

 

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If you want them to quit dealing with this particular NPC, you could just throw out your original plotline and do anything else with her.

 

She could get killed while going after her next victim. She's a kid so how competent could she be? Have the next victim actually be guilty of something beyond killing the kid and have her death be the final piece in the puzzle to put a noose around his neck. That'd tie up things in a neat bow. It really doesn't matter if the PC's figure out that not all of her victims deserved death. PC's don't figure out a lot of things which you have to just let go.

 

You could have the kid actually be possessed by a spirit of vengeance (no trademark). That's make the one player feel clever and give the group an out through exorcism after the spirit goes berserk after being kept from his "rightful" vengeance. Afterward, the kid would have no reason to want to become Hit-Girl.

 

You could let the PC's train her to be Hit-Girl. Then when she's inevitably caught in the next country, let the PC's have to explain why they're towing this serial killer around with them. The kid goes to jail, the PC's narrowly escape jail, and they leave sadder but wiser.

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   This reminds me of an episode of Law & Order.  I believe the name was Killerz, but I might be wrong. The detectives found that the murder of  a six year old boy was done by a ten year old girl named Jenny. Then the psychiatrist told the D.A. that she was basically a serial killer in embryo and thought that she was beyond hope.

You can’t keep her in jail because juvenile offenders are automatically released at 18.  You can’t try a ten year old as an adult because the law won’t allow it. I remember it so well because of the chilling ending and the performance of the young actress.

  I don’t know if Cygnia ever watched this or probably she and the writers saw the same true crime reports.

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1 minute ago, Trencher said:

I think it would perhaps be the most fun for your players that she is possessed and that they somehow can help her "beat" her possession somehow.


   Yeah, because religious beatings are good for making children LESS psychotic!!!!!

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You have a group that's considering taking the girl with them. Your players and their characters all have different motivations, perceptions and suspicions about the situation. To me that sounds like an opportunity for very cool role playing. Instead of a problem, perhaps you could treat this as an opportunity.

 

If they want her to come with them, I say let them bring her along. Let her interact with them, see what they do and how you think she'd respond. See what opportunities and complications having her along brings up. I don't think you need to decide right away how this will all play out. Sometimes the players create situations more interesting than what you would have thought of, and a perfect opportunity to do more with the NPC. And if a lead a player presents you looks more fruitful to follow than what you originally had in mind, don't be afraid to discard the latter and run with the former.

 

I would add just one suggestion for consideration: If the killings in Vodacce stop when the PCs leave, someone might connect those events and suspect the PCs themselves. Maybe someone close to one of the victims, motivated to follow them seeking revenge. Or even a law-enforcement official from Vodacce who's a Javert analogue, obsessed with seeing justice done.

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2 hours ago, Trencher said:

Maybe overcome would be a better word? 

In any case she would be the one handing out the beating on the demon that possessed her.


   I don’t know....Maybe I’m just an evil GM, but the idea of a sociopath pretending to be possessed and then beating the possession so that the heroes let them go is just too sweet and creepy an ending to resist.

 Also there’s the episode of Angel where a demon possessed a child and when it was removed it was glad because the kid was even more cold and evil than the demon.

   Whichever way the story went I’d make sure that when the heroes left they always had that thought in the back of their heads.  “What if we just got played?”

    In the words of Bugs Bunny “Ain’t I a stinker?” 

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It's possible that one or more PCs could have a backstory that would make them strongly sympathetic to this child. Since she isn't possessed, it sounds like the PCs could work together to reform the kid. That would be the opposite of murder hoboing.

 

Since two of the deaths are not justifiable at all, but the criminal is a child, you could get creative. Imagine she goes up before a judge, but the judge is anti-Vaticine or hates priests for some reason. He also doesn't feel vagrants are human beings or decides that being a vagrant means you must be guilty of something somewhere.

 

Or maybe someone offscreen hands the judge money and buys a verdict. The kid is then "Not Guilty" and maybe goes off with the person who bought her a pardon/not guilty verdict. Maybe this person does this with other children who are in similar circumstances. Why? Have the PCs investigate.

 

The murderous child could be the plot hook to many future escapades.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/8/2020 at 8:14 AM, HeroGM said:

She's a date witch who doesn't understand her powers yet. 

 

Their "italians" so you can do what you want 

Actually a date-witch could be a great idea, either as a spell-caster specializing in love spells of a temporary nature, or as a cookie, that would offer an alternative to Fig Newtons.

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3 hours ago, Cygnia said:

As an update, I have a nosy nun in the vein of Miss Marple/J.B. Fletcher following the heroes.  One of my players is thinking(hoping) she's the murderer instead.

 

There will be no possession.

The will be no magic.

The kid is actually the killer.

 

In that case, it'd be nice if the kid tried to frame the nun.

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  • 1 month later...

I find myself asking: how were the murders committed?  Stabbings?  Poisonings?  I have trouble thinking of any other method a 10-yer-old might be able to pull on even a diminished-capacity adult.

 

I would think about ... suppose the kid decides she has to off one of the PCs.  You would have to decide who and why, of course.  Now there's the issues of the kid working herself up to it, preparing for the act, and being snoopy to figure out when and how an opportunity will arise.  Ideally the PCs realize what she's up to only slightly before the actual attempt, and the details of that encounter could go anywhere.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok, so next game is tomorrow...

 

One player still wants to train her to be Hit-Girl (and is introducing her to wine and telling VERY raunchy "Bird & Bees" stories).  Meanwhile, this PC's Sidhe Lover has said she wants a present -- and is bluntly implying that the child should be it.  Kid is [MEEP]ing scared of the lover

 

The mute & crippled Crescent PC (as played by the former child psychologist) has become very protective of the child (and is NOT happy about Jack's "teachings").  He's actually made some progress with the girl -- albeit, not all of it is positive.  He's been actively showing her kindness...

 

...and she just witnessed a violent attempt on his life, which caused a disassociated episode for her.  So, when she sees another threat to him (like the coven of Fate Witches I've got planned for tomorrow night) she's not gonna take it Well.  Couple that with the fact that one of those in the coven is a bratty six year old who thinks she's untouchable and...

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