Cheliax, Empire of Devils

This Does Not Look Like a Tiefling
Just Sayin'


This Does Look Like a Tiefling

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Damn Magical Orcs
[Report for Sir Ivan, From Vess]

So off they go the banquet, leaving Squire Patroklos Alexander and I to watch the Fort. Easy peasy, right? Wrong! WTF happens?! We have some fancy pantsy guy show up and say that he wants to “map out our Fort;” says its “for the curators.” I was naturally suspicious; because, seriously, the boss ain’t gone for more than what… an hour or two before this guy shows up? But Patroklos convinces me that there is no harm that could come of this; that the Boss would even be happy to have it mapped out…

Seriously the last time I am taking his advice for anything

So, I am giving him vague answers because, to be honest, half this stuff around here I don’t know what they are for, nor do I much care. It ain’t the forge, my room, mess hall, or HQ room. I don’t go in it. But this guy gave me the heebee geebees you know? But, it got really weird when those damn dogs started growling and barking at us. At first, I thought it was just me, ’cause they are always picking a fight with me. But this time it was the guy they were growling at. He pulled out raw meat and said he was feeding the dogs his “lunch”…

For real dude?

So then I was kind of creeped out and even more leery then he started asking about how many people we had, and what each of these buildings where designed for.. we had a small verbal altercation. which ended with me telling him to leave. as soon as he made it out the gate he turned on me and pulled out a scroll from his bag. started chant, it sounded creepily familiar… so I did what any good upstanding citizen in my mind would do.. I shot the scroll.

Bwahahah you should have seen his face it was hilarious he was so mad! But then he dropped his face! like it just melted away showing a Orc underneath! I have seen some things in my life but that took the cake there man…. Anyways so he started chanting again, at this point I’m getting mad, you know. So, I pistol whipped him right in the face, but the damn thing was expecting it; just moved a inch in time…

Avoiding the blow.

Then he scrambled to get away from me and he casted protectively watching my every move dancing with me till the asshole went invisible! He, like, just freaking disappeared! Now I was fucking pissed, so I may have thrown a bomb at where he was standing…

Because, why the fuck not?

But the fucker expected it again… I tried to follow him, but I couldn’t see him. But I’d be damned if I didn’t try. I even took the damn bear with me! We found the body of the actual guy sent to map the area. So, I brought him back to the Fort and waited for Boss man to get back.

Ves

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The Whispers of C'thun
Diary of Dr. Grigori Strand

My personal research has brought me to learn of C’thulhu’s herald, a monstrosity named C’thun. C’thun likes to whisper to us when we are vulnerable. In my case, when I am sleeping. The whispers of my madness now has a name. I can’t get his whispers out of my head at night. They never stop probing my subconscious. They never stop pushing me to the brink. I don’t know how much longer I can contain it. Maybe I shouldn’t try.

Death is close.


Death is the one constant in this world. We hardly think of it until it comes near. Then we become obsessed with trying to prevent it. We watch what we eat, we watch where we go. Death is always around the corner.


You are already dead.


In the end of all things, we are all dead men. Everything that has ever lived is dead. Everything that is alive is going to die. Why fight it? Death is natural. The harder we fight nature, the harder it fights back.


Your courage will fail.


Some say courage is a virtue. I say it is a curse. I haven’t known any fear as far as I can remember. It has helped me be who I am. However, fear also guides us away from danger. I walk a dangerous path.


Your friends will abandon you.


I don’t have any friends that I know of. Even if I had them, if they knew who or what I really was, they would without a doubt abandon me. Am I truly alone in this world?


You will die.


Will it be Ivan that enforces the law when he finds out? Will it be Ichabod catching me in the act? Will it be a stray bullet from Ves? Will it be Avery’s bear sniffing me out? Or will a victim get the best of me?


You are weak.


Weakness is subliminal. Could be anything. Am I weak because I choose to prey on women? Am I weak because I am physically vulnerable? Am I weak because I don’t experience emotions like I should?


You’re heart will explode.


Emotionally? Physically? What am I to do?


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Ursine - The Scent of Nature
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Bombshell - The Scent of Sexiness
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Unbreakable - The Essence of Man
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Investigation Day 1: Sir Ivan's Award Banquet
Investigation Notes of Lord Ichabod Crane

Cheliax Services of Investigation

Westcrown Division

Case No.:

MDK-4761-08-1011

Date:

Arodus 24th, 4761

Reporting Officer:

Ichabod Crane

Prepared By:

Ichabod Crane

Incident/Issue:

The Westcrown Ripper Murders

Entry No.:

1

Description of Accident/Issue:

Unknown Assailant caused the death of five known female prostitutes. Method of Operation is death by mutilation. No known witnesses and no known suspects. Time of death is uncertain but the victims were found in the early mornings. That would indicate the victims were murdered in the late hours of the night prior to discovery.

No blood trails and no foreign objects are available that would lead to any suspects or any further locations of interest. Notes have been provided to authorities claiming to be the murderer. That would indicate a high amount of confidence, a lack of fear, and a complete lack of empathy on behalf of the victims. Knowing the notes, written with the victims’ blood, would eventually be passed on to the press, this indicates a need for grandiosity.

The murderer knows exactly what he is doing. These are not random acts of violence. These acts are methodical, planned, and meticulous. The assailant may have knowledge of law enforcement, crime scene investigation, and/or anatomy. A high amount of intelligence would allow the murderer to stay ahead of the investigators at all times. Although the murders are irrational, the murderer contains a high amount of rational thinking. The murderer knows exactly what mistakes to avoid detection.

A banquet was hosted by the Mayor of Westcrown honoring a local citizen. The local citizen is Sir Ivan, with the accompanying moniker, The Unbreakable. He is a member of the Hell Knights and belongs to the Order of the Nail. The murders appeared to have begun around the same time Sir Ivan began his conquest of what is now known as Ft. Wilderness. There are no known links of the murders to Sir Ivan, however, with his position, he would have a vast knowledge of the laws, the inner workings of investigators, and the like. With a home base of operations on the outside of Westcrown, he would have an ample amount of alibi, along with the trust of his followers to provide corroborating testimony.

Also present at the banquet was the recently appoints Sheriff of Ft. Wilderness. A comely woman, yet barbaric, named Avery Orion. Her background is mostly unknown, but she is a woodsman and a tracker. Living outside of society possibly most of her adult life. Interesting that she is suddenly thrust into civil society with an unelected, elected position. Being a lady of the hunt, a knowledge of anatomy would be high, and knowledge of tracking would serve greatly in not only following tracks, but covering them up as well. There are no known links of the murders to Lady Avery, however, with her position, she would have a knowledge of the laws, access to the inner workings of the investigators, and the like. With a home base of operations in the wilderness, and coincidently at Ft. Wilderness, she would have an ample amount of alibi, along with the trust of not only Sir Ivan, but his followers as well, giving corroborating testimony without any reasonable doubt.

Also present at the banquet is a member of the Cheliax Free Press. A common man, yet slightly aristocratic, named Bradford Wilkinson. His background is of common birth, and highly educated in university of language, literature, chemistry, and journalism. Living inside Westcrown almost his whole life, with countess contacts to provide information for investigative journalism, his skills of persuasion, legerdemain, and information gathering would be of benefit. There are no known links of the murders to Bradford Wilkinson, however, with his position, he would have vast knowledge of the laws, vast access to the inner workings of the investigators, and the like. With a home base of operations within Westcrown, and ties to Ft. Wilderness, his alibi would be nearly rock solid as well as the corroborating testimony of endless witnesses. Bradford Wilkinson, as a journalist, could literally have a rhyme or a reason for any situation.

The last members of the professional circle of Sir Ivan, is Dr. Grigori Strand, whom was present at the banquet as well. Although, I will have to note, walked away just as I was walking up to introduce myself to Sir Ivan, and also walked back just as I was walking away.

Dr. Grigori house is an aristocratic man and not a Cheliax native. He spent most of his adult life in Westcrown, however, and is a highly respected member of the Cheliax Medical Association. He specializes in Toxicology and Pharmaceuticals. He has direct involvement with the murders, as a forensics expert, and autopsy provider. He is also best friends (???) with Bradford Wilkinson.

Being a Chemist, a Toxicologist, and a Physician, he is a very learned man. There are no known links of the murders to Dr. Grigori Strand, however, he has had direct access to the victims after they were discovered by authorities. With his position, he would have vast knowledge of the laws, vast access to the inner workings of the investigators, vast access to the press, and the like. With practices within Westcrown and Ft. Wilderness, he would have rock solid alibis, corroborating testimony from any number of people, and the protection of pure prestige from other medical, law enforcement, and aristocratic members of society. Dr. Grigori Strand, as a physician, could literally have a rhyme or a reason for any situation.

I will have to add that Sir Ivan complimented Dr. Grigori Strand as being the best physician and forensic expert he has ever met. Not knowing Sir Ivan as well as the common man, I may not appreciate that candor as well as I should, however, Sir Ivan wouldn’t place his reputation on the line for anything less than what he stated.

I was able to confront Dr. Grigori Strand, albeit very briefly, at the end of the banquets. His demeanor is very cool and collected. His words are very careful and articulated. He definitely thinks before he says anything. He told me, “I look forward to the time in meeting with you.” I responded, “I look forward to that time as well.” There was slight cynicism and arrogance in his tone of voice. I had glanced over to Sir Ivan prior to departure, and he was literally sizing me up with his eyes.

Sir Ivan, as I can perceive, is very protective of his… people.

Actions Taken:

Sir Ivan, along with his companions, were not questioned directly at the banquet. I merely made my presence known, introduced myself, and was as forthcoming to my intents and purposes as necessary. He welcomed me to Ft. Wilderness, of which I will need to take him up on that offer.

I have requested as much background information on Sir Ivan, and his people, as is known. I have also requested the background information on all local law enforcement personnel, brothel owners, and medical personnel. These three industries are connect somehow. Only by knowing everyone involved, can I predict knowing everyone that will become involved.

Report Summary:

The Westcrown Ripper is taunting law enforcement. Law enforcement is ill-prepared for such a string of crimes. There are high profile people of interest, but no known suspects as of yet. The high profile nature of the people of interest could prove difficult in the days ahead of the investigation. After all, it is hard to snoop around awardees of the Queen, when there is no indication at all that they should be.

The Westcrown Ripper, without a doubt know that I am now investigating his crimes. He will without a doubt learn my reputation and background story. We will undoubtedly be switching roles of Cat and Mouse, or Predator and Prey. With his notes he left behind, he needs the challenge. He is without a doubt often bored due to power of his intelligence. How could an investigator out-think a thinker?

The Westcrown Ripper needs me to investigate him. He needs the challenge. I need to stop him.

Follow Up:

It was discovered two individuals within Sir Ivan’s personal circle were not in attendance of his banquet. One person, his squire, is named Patroklos Alexander, is an equestrian, soldier, and small time blacksmith. It wouldn’t be that difficult to assume he stayed behind to care for the warhorses and overall security of Ft. Wilderness. The other person is named Ves. There are no background records on Lady Ves. None at all. I need to find out who she is, and why she wouldn’t want to be seen at a banquet.

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How to Kill and Not Get Caught
Book Review by Dr. Grigori Strand

Introduction

I recently read a fascinating book, written by none other than a favorite celebrity detective, Ichabod Crane. Without a doubt, since he wrote this book, he knows the ins and outs of the material, and knows how to detect the opposite of what he describes. He broke this book down in six chapters. I will examine each of the chapters with a summation of the contents of each chapter.

I also find it fascinating that an investigator would write a book on how to get away with murder – when his job and duty is to make sure people don’t get away with it. Why would a professional such as he do such a thing? It would be considered unethical for a toxicologist like me to write a book on how to poison people without detection.

I have never been one to be hung up what someone does. I have, however, been hung up on why someone does it. That is always the important thing to know. After all, what’s done is done, am I wrong? What motivated that action is what people really learn from. Identifying the causal mechanisms is how we prevent… I will come back to that thought.

Some of this is pure common sense. Some of this is pure nonsense. A person could kill anyone, anywhere. It is all about the tell. Gamblers are able to lie, cheat and steal right in front of the person they are swindling – and get away with it. The most successful are able to even convince their victim they made it out ahead. It’s all about the tells. Gamblers, in particular card players, call it the Poker Face. Poker, being a particular, yet highly popular card game. Actors call it the pantomime. Being able to convince someone else that something else is happening, than what really is. How “fake” would watching a dramatic opera, if none of the actors could act dramatic? They would not be very successful, now would they? Why is any of that relevant? Someone that goes way out of their way to do exactly what he just said you need to do, would be obvious. That is a tell.


Chapter 1: Your Location

OK, before we start all this, let me declare that you must wear gloves before committing murder. A ring you are wearing could fall off, you could cut yourself when striking with a weapon, and etc. Open wounds and fallen jewelry can be incriminating against you. Do not choose a location that can be readily linked to you or your victim. Consider a rarely frequented location, such as an abandoned warehouse. Do not message your victim or send a letter inviting them to meet you there. You are not asking this person for a date, and you certainly do not want to leave any evidence of your being there. Most successful murderers operate in areas far from their home. When traveling to this location, alternate your route and avoid retaining evidence of your travels – such as itinerary and souvenirs. Pay with coins, avoid credit schemes.

Commentary

Location, location, location. That is always the key isn’t it? No. This is strictly a case of do it where you are most comfortable with. A foreign area or an area you are not familiar with, will lead to things being overlooked. Overlooking things will lead to mistakes. Mistakes… That is a tell.


Chapter 2: Your Weapon

There are literally thousands of weapons available to you. Be careful to choose one appropriate to the setting, and one that you are comfortable using. The weapons used to put-down a slave revolt or a zombie attack aren’t necessarily appropriate for a discrete murder at the opera. Consider these advanced techniques relating to specific weapons:
Knife: Apply the knife to the victim’s neck, wrist, chest, or back of the legs. These are the location of major arteries and veins. However, this spills blood, try making the victim stand on a large piece of plastic sheeting that covers your location’s room.
Heavy Object: Whack your victim until their screams end.
Fire: Burn them to death by trapping them in a small room. This is risky, since fire may be difficult to control.

Commentary

Weapon doesn’t mean a thing. Someone could die from choking on a fingernail flung in their food just as easily as being beheaded by an orc with an axe. Who really gives a shit? If you are going to kill, you are going to kill. Weapons are just a means to an end. They are not related to the end. Use what you are most comfortable with. Using what may be the most effective weapon that you are not comfortable with would be obvious. That is a tell.


Chapter 3: The Murder

Try to make the murder look like suicide. This is achieved by rubbing the weapon on your victim when you are finished. Note that this strategy will prove ineffective if you killed the person by stabbing them in the back. You must quickly dispose of your clothing and anything else that could link you to the crime. Far too many murderers have been caught when a random peace officer stopped them for petty infractions and noticed a severed head in their possession. If you intend to make a career of murder, you should consider establishing multiple identities, and you must always have a clear escape plan for each location in which you live.

Commentary

This is pure nonsense. People can tell when a suicide is really a suicide. When rigor mortis starts to set in, the muscles start to lock up in the position that they were in at the time of death. Suicide victims have completely natural muscle positioning. Someone that is killed will not. Simple as that. Crime scene investigators will be able to tell if the body has been molested in any way after death. In order to make the murder look like a suicide, the muscles and limbs would be unnatural. That is a tell.


Chapter 4: Removing the Evidence

If you follow this simple guide you will carefully and systematically remove all evidence. Do not miss out any stages – it will result in an Imperfect Murder. If using a weapon that draws blood, ensure that you clean the murder scene or otherwise destroy it with fire. Note that excessive tidiness is in itself suspicious, so avoid getting blood on anything that will be seen by others. If you intend to murder the person in a property owned by you, prepare beforehand.

Commentary

This is actually pretty accurate. There is a saying, “Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence,” however. One of the best methods is to have the evidence in a position to be intentionally tampered with. Insects, animals, and even foot traffic can ruin clues. Use your environment, don’t try to control it. Trying to control your environment would be obvious. That is a tell.


Chapter 5: Dispose of the Corpse

A simple and easy way to deal with the corpse is to burn it. However, burning rarely destroys all evidence. A remote body of water is an ideal choice. Dumping the body into the sea is also very effective… just don’t be that quick to dump them near the shore. Plan carefully and dump it way out there; international you could say. Tip cut the body up first. Remove the important organs like fingers, teeth, feet and ears. It is better to commit your murder in summer. Remember that the body would decompose easily when there is a high temperature. If you plan to hide your evidences properly, don’t ever do it. This may be unnecessary if you tend to leave the corpse behind to mislead the police.

Commentary

Water can be an amazing way of concealment, but unless you own your own boat, it is very risky. You could borrow a boat, but that would leave a trail. If you work on a boat, there will be someone else on it. Cutting the body apart can lead to mistakes. Plus, the carcass of any animal, including humans, is very tough. Unless you know what you are doing, it could take a very long time and be very tiring. Pigs, however, will eat anything. Find a pig farm. Otherwise, trying to dispose of a body without knowing exactly how to do it is very risky. It could also lead to paranoia of the body forever being found. That is a tell.


Chapter 6: Blame Someone Else

The classic lesson of politicians and business leaders alike will serve you well. As well as keeping yourself free from blame, you may intent to frame someone else for the murder. Perhaps this is to aid your evasion of the authorities, or maybe it’s linked to your motive for the murder. In the unlikely event that the police suspect your involvement, the following approaches may be used in order to make you confess:
Guilt Trap – They will tell you about the family’s anguish, and how the victim suffered. They will make you want to make yourself suffer as a penance. Avoid guilt, kill someone without family, who cannot feel pain. Or, you can do the opposite – kill his whole family. It’ll be harder, but you must do it or else you’re in trouble. You’ve already murdered a person. That proves that you’re cold blooded. It doesn’t hurt to kill more people, right?
The Bad Detective Routine – One detective will be sweet and civil. Then a different detective will ask the nice one to leave the room. He will beat the confession out of you. But this is very unlikely to happen. They don’t want to kill you, just remain silent. Blurt out absurdities if the pain becomes too much.
Lie Detection – these can be beaten by making your responses erratic. When asked questions, lie about everything, even the control questions. When asked what day it is, lie. When asked about what you are wearing, lie. That sort of lying will undoubtedly be considered some type of insanity, and you will be given up on.
The police can do nothing about you if you don’t have enough evidence. So remember – don’t leave any evidence behind. If you manage to get past Chapter 6, then you have completed your murder successfully. Now, be calm and stop murdering people for a while, okay?

Commentary

This section is purely avoidable if you never let the evidence catch up to you. However, this is where your inter-personal skills will be at the utmost test. You need to learn how to not give yourself away. Hang out with actors and gamblers. Learning how to lie without lying is the key. If someone figures out you are dishonest in the slightest you are in trouble. That is a tell.


Conclusion

Don’t kill unless you can. Simple as that. It is a hell of a thing to take a person’s life. This world is filled with predators and prey. What are you? Some people kill because they have to. Some people kill because they want to. Even fewer people kill because they need to. Giving the appearance of absolute normalcy is the key to everything. Business as usual is your credo. Also, why is an investigator teaching people how to kill? Is he trying to lower crime rates by creating undetectable criminals?

Absolutely not. He knows people are going to try to follow the advice in this book. He knows what to look for, step by step. By providing a “checklist” he is setting up his future crime scenes in advance. No wonder this investigator is so successful. He helps create his murderers beforehand. He knows exactly how to catch them prior to them even producing their first victim.

The Westcrown Ripper, or “Jack the Ripper,” Jack being a common dockside nickname of people, doesn’t fit his guidelines on the perfect murder. That is why he has described the murderer as intelligent and persuasive. The Ripper is actually giving him pause. It is making him think. And he loves it. He gets very bored at the same old same old. Catching murderers is just as much a need for him, as a murder is as much a need for the murderer.


Mr. Crane needs to catch me. I need Mr. Crane to try.

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Can I Trust Him
Letter to Bradford Wilkinson

Brad,

I want you to find out what happened with Ivan‘s father. I want to know why and how he died. I remember at his induction ceremony, Ivan’s mother whispered into his ear, “Be stronger than your father was.” That has to have some sort of significant meaning. Was his father weak? Was his weakness physical or mental? Was he assassinated by the Hell Knights? Is his mother responsible? I know digging up that kind of information can take a very long time. Just do it whenever you have free time.

I need to know; can I trust him. He seems to be a very stand up guy. But his willingness to tell the truth unnerves me. Last night at the banquet that idiot detective, Ichabod Crane, was of course snooping around. I didn’t feel like a direct confrontation in front of everyone so I said I was going to inspect the wine selection. As if anyone really ever cares about the fucking wine selection. No matter, it gave me an excuse to walk away. When I came back, Ivan was apparently bragging about me. He told the truth about me. Well, what he knows to be true, anyway.

It is hard to trust people that tell the truth, if you know what I mean. It means they are not corruptible. It makes it that much harder to have an edge on someone. If we can’t have something on Ivan, then how can I trust him to look out for me if everything goes awry? I don’t need someone that would simply, tell the truth. If he actually finds out the truth, he would repeat it. That… can’t happen. Find out about his father. Everything. His rank in the Hell Knights. The Order he belonged to. When he got married. His habits. His vices. His friends. His death. Everything, understand?

Remember to destroy this letter after you are finished reading it. I don’t need to remind you why. And be absolutely discreet with your information gathering. We don’t want the Hell Knights themselves getting an eerie feeling about someone snooping around on one of their own. Good luck. Talk with you later.

Respectfully,

Dr. Grigori Strand

P.S. Do not get caught. Do you understand?

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Don't Worry
Letter to Bradford Wilkinson

Brad,

Don’t worry my friend. Everything has been taken into account. This Ichabod Crane character must be trying to make a name for himself. I should be honored to attract the attention of the best. I also look forward to meeting him. I would love to know what my polar opposite in this world is like. This whole time I though Ivan was going to be my downfall. Low and behold it is some celebrity investigator. He will get no where, I ensure you. Otherwise… he will know what it is like to be a prostitute.

Gratefully,

Dr. Grigori Strand

P.S. Burn this fucking letter after you read it. Last time I was at your shithole of a room there was incriminating evidence all over the damned place. And don’t tell me it is material for a story either. I am not falling for that line of shit anymore.

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