Nemesis Strikes!

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Details

Cover of Blood Brothers

Pages: 24-35

Author(s): Kevin A. Ross

Artist(s): Earl Geier, Carol Triplett-Smith

Editor(s): John B. Monroe, Lynn Willis

Setting: 1920s

Appears in: Blood Brothers

Summary

The players are witnesses to a mysterious death, and soon discover it's part of a sinister chain of murders. Can they find the killer, uncover a buried past, and put an end to the deaths?

Links

Link to outside reviews or helpful pages.

Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only

Players should not read any further.

Synopsis

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)
No. No they can't.

The murders are revenge for a tragedy that struck seven years ago. An affair led to blackmail, a young actress's suicide and finally a fire which claimed several lives. Her lover was believed to one of them, but has returned mad and mutilated to the rebuilt theatre, plotting a Muse-themed series of reprisal murders. Each of those who played a part in the blackmail are marked for death.

Eight murders are planned in total; three have occurred by the time the Investigators intervene. The scenario offers up a rough outline of the situation, NPCs and the theatre itself, together with descriptions of each of the planned murders. It's up to the Keeper to run a sandbox investigation around the players' decisions.

The scenario assumes, and states outright, that the Investigators cannot and should not be allowed to prevent the murders, but their efforts should be focused on unravelling the mystery, searching uselessly for the "Nemesis" killer, and eventually taking part in the final chase at the theatre. This climax involves the last victim, after a hypnotised confession, attempting to hunt down and slay Nemesis through a maze of passages, scenery and environmental hazards.


References

Locations: New York

Comments

  1. Image of masked figure cutting down a sandbag
  2. Theatre map

Keeper Comments

This scenario is a set of scripted cutscene murders, which the Investigators are helpless to prevent despite this being their apparent objective (and the players' likely goal as well). As written, there is little or no ability for the players to influence the scenario in any meaningful way. They cannot prevent the deaths, catch the killer before the climax, or alter the outcome of the scenario. The only thing they can achieve is to learn what has happened and why - information which will be revealed at the climax regardless of their actions. It's worth noting that the Nemesis killer is specifically listed as "the Protagonist", and this is completely accurate.

Although entertaining in a film, this framework will prove unsatisfying to many players, who expect to be active participants in a scenario rather than passive witnesses to the writer's and Keeper's plot. Keepers should choose their audience carefully. Reframing the scenario in a more interactive way will be difficult, as it's designed to emulate a specific subgenre structured around the chain of murders; allowing them to be stopped will tend to turn it into something else entirely.

Although the author lays out the theatre plan and some notes on Nemesis' actions, it's still up to the Keeper to decide how to turn these into an interesting chase sequence. It's not at all clear how or why the Investigators would even be aware that a chase was unfolding; there's no particular reason for them to be anywhere near Glover when he decides to explore the theatre, especially as it happens several days after his confession. While dramatically it's appropriate for them to participate, Investigators may also feel no particular obligation to join in the hunt (especially if the players have worked out they can't actually achieve anything).

The scenario deliberately provides no statistics for the NPCs other than Nemesis. This is mostly fine, but means any mechanical interactions will be down to the Keeper's judgement. In particular, the climactic chase poses problems without any stats for Glover, especially as he can end up fighting the Investigators.