Altogether in Cahoots

By Steve Jensen
Archaic Adventures
Level ?

An illegal brothel in Havaroon City has burnt to the ground, conceivably along with the brothel’s greatest patron “Count Edmund Druet” who is missing and soon to be an embarrassment to the King’s Court. There are those that blame the courtesens for starting the fire, while others believe something more sinister is afoot. Investigators wanted…

This forty page adventure is a missing persons investigation in a burnt down brothel. I question why I care that it is basically boring and moderately incoherent.

Count Fancypants is missing. He frequented this fancy brothel (no relation.) It burnt down yesterday. It would be an embarrassment if he died there. Brothels are officially illegal in the city, so the police(!) can’t investigate … because that would be admitting they exist. So the party get involved with a fixer of the king. That part is pretty good. It’s the kind of fucked up nonsense that society actually runs on. From here on, though, it’s all nonsense. And not in the good way that I like.

The DM is to hand the party a witness sheet for each person in the brothel. The cook, the madam, and a few of the girls. FUll background bio’s and their sworn testimony about the arson. (That’s a little too much civilization for my tastes … unless we’re in Evil Elflandia, which we’re not.) Anyway, you get to then go question the witnesses, who will only give their additional information if you ask the exact right question. There’s a thread about one of the girls having a dude in her room … maybe Count Fancypants? No, an abusive ex-husband. A newspaper reporter is running around reporting everything the party does/find/leaks, so, that’s a check on the old Fire & Torture party method of investigation,, I guess. He’s not really supported, at all, in the text though in any meaningful way. Meh.

Anyway, there’s two ways to solve the mystery. Method one involves one of the party members being handsome, so the selkie, pretending to be one of the girls, takes a liking to them and tries to drown them in the lake. Which should lead the party to Count Fancypants’ body. The other method involves some weird convoluted lie detection scheme and finding discrepancies in her story with another girl, in a tertiary manner. And then not falling for her 21 year old “I guess it could have been Frank, I don’t know, I am confused. This is all so confusing.”

Did I mention the three page read-aloud at the start? It’s hard to get excited about anything that follows after a shit–fest like that.

It’s just crap. Everything is crap. Info scattered all over the place. A convoluted story to break apart. A deus ex resolution. Nothing to help the DM run it, in the way of formatting or quirks. It’s just drudgery. That’s what I like in my D&D games. Drudgery.

There’s nothing really here. Things like this sap my will to live. My will to write. My will to game. My will to hang out in the lake with seven naked chicks, drinking. When your creation does that to someone then you really know you’ve failed.

This is Pay What You Want at DriveThru, with a suggested price of $3. The preview is ten pages. You get to see a couple of the NPC Bio sheets that the party will get. Joy.

This entry was posted in Do Not Buy Ever, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Altogether in Cahoots

  1. Chainsaw says:

    Not my style of fun, but I do like the world map. Longer read aloud can sometimes work, depends on the quality and context. Most people can’t make it work though.

    • The Middle Finger Of Vecna says:

      Not my style either. A true strength of role playing games is that you can have many different types of adventures with them but this whole murder mystery / investigative type of adventure just leaves me cold. If I want that, I’ll just watch old Murder She Wrotes or NCIS or some other similar TV show.

  2. Artem of Spades says:

    Very enticing premise (which I have just stolen, thank you) ruined by hamfisted execution? Never seen that one before!

  3. SargonTheOK says:

    The inclusion of 10 pages of NPC handouts makes me wonder if this was originally intended for GM-less/solo play (sort of like the Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective games) but switched up at the last moment. Because it might work for that. But for referee-led play that just seems like it would grind things to a halt and is, frankly, unnecessary.

  4. Reason says:

    Nice set up. They just had no clue how to pull off a murder mystery in an rpg.

    I’m a real dummy with mysteries so I’d probably need;
    a) bullet points of what each NPC will say (easy and obvious questioning)
    b) bullet points of what they really _know_ or think they know, which might come out if X is asked or Y attitude is taken or A is done for them/promised. And what parts of what they say in A) might be a lie.
    c) an overview chart or table of some kind about what clues link to what fact and where/how it can be discovered. Ditto for a timeline although this adventure maybe is more static in that way.

    I’m too dumb to parse it out by reading walls of text and I’ll forget details while I’m trying to rp NPC’s if I don’t have a handy reference.

  5. Stripe says:

    Dang! I thought the title was worth a chuckle. I loved the whole “Count is missing, find the count in an illegal brothel” concept. It could have been such a good, fun urban adventure done right, and we need all of those we can get!

  6. Shuffling Wombat says:

    I’d agree this needs an edit: there should be a concise referee overview; the NPC descriptions should be shorter, reduce witness statements/interview responses to bullet points; put all the world building information in an appendix. (I’m essentially concurring with Reason.)
    However I do think there is a viable RPG adventure here, but perhaps not for D+D. There is an emphasis on non-combat skills such as charming, shadowing, deception/fast-talking, secret entry. (The likes of WFRP or GURPS might be better bets.) However “weird convoluted lie detection schemes” is another way of saying you need to investigate? You look for contradictions, determine who was where when (and there is a helpful map), follow suspects, develop theories, etc.
    The mystery does have a couple of weak links: (i) why has no one come looking for any previous missing clients? (ii) bodies are accumulating in a certain location, and no one has noticed/cares?
    Much wisdom in the previous comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *