Monday, August 4, 2014

Mining Firebirds: Grimjack 01 - The Suspects

In Part 02 of this series for Grimjack #01's story (titled "A Shade of Truth"), we tackle the suspects, revelations, and red herrings encountered while investigating the suicide.

In Part 01, we learned the premise of the story: One Ms. Sondra Grant, former wife of Cynosure's Finance Minister, engages the services of John Gaunt, also known as Grimjack, to discover the true circumstances surrounding the suicide of her daughter.

Through this setup, we also learn more about Cynosure -- a pan-dimensional city where various realities meet and intersect, but not always reliably or peacefully.

A favorite line of mine from the series: "Guns work here. Magic works there. Swords work everywhere."

A great rationale for a setting where swords still have some relevance.

The Former Lover turns out to be an athlete so full of himself as to be instantly unlikeable. He tries to blow off Grimjack with a combination of an "I don't know her" and "Take a hike". This encourages Grimjack to use more physical means to persuade him to spill information about poor Marcie.

John "Grimjack" Gaunt, aware that this young buck would easily take him in a fair fight, uses a combination of cheap shots and overwhelming violence to triumph. He discovers that Marcie was on drugs, but knows that there's more -- more that won't be forthcoming yet.

Firebird 1: this encounter would give PCs a challenge, since the person being questioned is physically and socially capable of defending himself in civilized company (contender for the tri-sector boxing championship; backed by the University). Even resorting to violence, he won't reveal everything given that he'll lose everything if his involvement with drugs is revealed. And a murder is certainly going to bring its own kind of heat on the PCs.

The Father of Marcie, and Ex-Husband of Sondra Grant, is Finance Minister Honesworth -- who has a reputation for honesty. Quite important, as any hint of favoritism would result in a trade war (something we'll see in future issues).

Firebird 2: this type of character is useful to establish as a) a squeaky-clean suspect who is quite powerful on many levels, surrounded by less honest or scrupulous, but very loyal retainers; and b) a future ally or antagonist depending on the behavior of the PCs.

The New Wife is exotic -- an Ethayr woman of a race that exists across separate planes simultaneously. She drops sparse but concrete hints, but seems a bit distant to be a direct suspect.

Firebird 3: mostly a nice way to re-inforce the scope of the setting. Another race, different realities, matched with issues of prestige and power. However, it's also a good technique to drop hints to the PCs if they're floundering a bit.

Firebird 4: this would be a good fit for the Ur-Obun or (perhaps more controversially) Ur-Ukar in the Fading Suns setting. A window into another culture, as well as an insight into how they're becoming more and more integrated into the Known Worlds.

The Friend & Advisor is a dangerous one. Not only does Heinrich Krupp stop Grimjack's snooping around (while Sondra commiserates with Honesworth), but he also gives a powerful thrashing.

Firebird 5: a fantastic way to introduce a heavyweight race into the adventure -- intelligent and dangerous in combat, killing this individual will certainly mark the PCs as dangerous people, and perhaps earn them the enmity of the people he represents and has befriended.

Firebird 6: You go the obvious route, by dropping in a Vorox noble into this role. Alternately, however, you can hew closer to the visual representation of Krupp, by choosing a rare sub-race of the Etyri with serious physical power.

The Candyman is dangerous. He represents the another dark side of society: crime. He reveals suggests that Marcie delivered drugs and acted as his call-girl for a time.

He used to be small time, but now has serious muscle behind him -- muscle that's looking to find some kind of leverage on Honesworth. It seems like he probably would've killed Gaunt if he'd come alone, but the presence of Sondra probably stayed his hand. But perhaps he still has need of Grimjack in some way?

A lot of things will crystallize, and the portrayal of Marcie gets darker and darker, driving Sondra to the edge -- she wants to stop the investigation.

John Gaunt, however, doesn't do that. He has an obsession with the Truth, and must find out what really happened.

Firebird 7: Almost at the end of the trail, the PCs should have a clear idea of what's been going on, and perhaps have some idea of how high the stakes are.

They should also know about the powerful backing of the Candyman -- in Fading Suns terms, this would be the equivalent of a particular Guild getting a destabilizingly exclusive patent on certain services.

Firebird 8: This should also let the PCs know how much they should be ready for the inevitable resolution. Careful planning and sufficient firepower and contingencies would be wise.

Next post: The conclusion!

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