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How to catch a thief

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  • How to catch a thief

    I'm currently working on a scenario where a thief steals a powerful magic artifact and the characters are asked to recover it. The problem I'm having is how to get a group of neonate vampires (the characters) onto the thief's trail. What kinds of clues and information can I leave for the characters to find that will help them track down the thief?

  • #2
    1. Blood:
    Maybe the thief cut himself during the robbery. Maybe the thief got into a fight along the way. Maybe the thief was already wounded beforehand and left blood at the crime scene.

    2. Auspex:
    If the party has at least 3 dots in Auspex, you're golden. They will use it, and you can provide fragments of the robbery itself in the form of a flashy flashback-type of vision. This allows you to give them clues about the identity of the thief.

    3. Witnesses:
    Maybe nobody directly saw the robbery, but circumstantial evidence might exist that could lead the players in the right direction. Perhaps the vampire who was supposed to guard the artifact heard something. Maybe the thief killed someone during the heist and someone saw it happen (perhaps the body is still around and might provide clues as well). Maybe the neighbors heard somethign strange at a very specific time during the day/night. Maybe the vampire who was supposed to guard the artifact placed a Lord of the Land curse (Animalism 5) on the area that contained the artifact, if so, this vampire could undoubtedly be able to tell the players more about what happened and when.

    4. Have the artifact pop up again somewhere else:
    Maybe the thief is trying to sell the artifact on the black market for a ridiculous price. The thief is probably smart enough to have a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who can sell the artifact, so this wouldn't lead them directly to the thief, but it would be the start of a trail for sure. Maybe the thief used the artifact and the players or other NPCs noticed the effects, which leads the players to a specific location which contains more evidence and more clues. Maybe the artifacts shows up in the news somehow, which gives the players a lead.

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    • #3
      (This trick works for any game, but is relevant here)

      Use the thief's Modus Operandi and prior crimes as a set of clues/Clues.

      Have there be stories in newspapers and archives about the style of theft. If the thief is mortal-aged, maybe they stole something else in another city or area of the city, which led to suspects but couldn't be proven. This gives the PCs a few NPCs to interrogate, stake out, or otherwise look into. If you use the Clue System (and you likely should, this is a great place for it) they could get clues when digging into the crime, following up with the officers who originally investigated it, look into the archives, break into the evidence lock-up (hey, if all you have is max stealth, max larceny, and some rope, every problem starts to look like a Mission Impossible bungie scene). And they could work the other angle - if they know the MO, maybe their Friends in Low Places can, for a price, shed light on the situation.

      If the thief is too old to be human, use that too. Maybe the theft was performed in the past, when an eerily similar object was stolen in similar circumstances by an unknown phantom thief.

      And again, use the clue system. Don't worry about the specific clues as much- let the skills they use to get them determine the flavor of the clues themselves.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Shadowdragon View Post
        I'm currently working on a scenario where a thief steals a powerful magic artifact and the characters are asked to recover it. The problem I'm having is how to get a group of neonate vampires (the characters) onto the thief's trail. What kinds of clues and information can I leave for the characters to find that will help them track down the thief?
        Are you interested in using the Investigation mechanic from CoD, or just general ideas for how to leave clues?

        If you are interested in the Investigation mechanic a good description can be found here.

        http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...ystem-question

        For general rules on running investigations (especially the 3 clue rule and how to run nodal plots rather than linear plots:

        Originally posted by Necrophear View Post
        The Alexandrian has some excellent concepts about clue design/placement, as well as modular scenes so you can keep a sandbox feel to a world isolated mostly to scenes and locations relevant to your ideal investigation path.
        The Three Clue Rule
        Don't Prep Plots
        Node-Based Scenario Design pt1, pt2, pt3
        Each set of concepts continues, as well.

        They have a great number of excellent articles and points about narrative and scenario design, both from a Game perspective and a Story perspective.
        I think that the quote of a quote above will work!

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