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Author Topic: The Mugger  (Read 774 times)

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Offline Apocryphal

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The Mugger
« on: April 30, 2015, 11:23:43 PM »
So, here's a bit of inspiration I'd like to explore. It's not high on my priority list at the moment, but I love the idea and don't want to lose it, so I'm placing it here for safekeeping. If it inspires others to dicsussion, then all the better.

THE SOURCE
This came to me when recently re-reading The Jungle Book. In part 2, there's a tale called The Undertakers in which a huge old crocodile reminisces about the good old days when he was master of the ford by which he lives and could waylay travellers.

"It was a twenty-four-foot crocodile, cased in what looked
like treble-riveted boiler-plate, studded and keeled and
crested; the yellow points of his upper teeth just overhanging
his beautifully fluted lower jaw. It was the blunt-nosed Mugger
of Mugger-Ghaut, older than any man in the village, who had
given his name to the village; the demon of the ford before the
railway bridge, came--murderer, man-eater, and local fetish in
one." R. Kipling - The Jungle Book

A mugger is an Indian crocodile - the word comes from the Sanskrit for crocodile. That the word in English rather refers to someone who waylays travellers is pure poetry.

THE CHALLENGE
To  build a one-shot scenario around this character, building on the key words traveller, ford, mugger, demon, older, village, and fetish.
It should involve some named NPCs, an interesting setting (which may or may not be late 19th C. India), and a monster that is in some way more than just a croc (though he might, physically, just be a croc, or not a croc at all).

I'd like to keep this 'system agnostic' if possible, so lets talk about characters, situations, and descriptions rather than mechanics. The setting is TBD - the bones of this scenario could probably be adapted to almost any setting. When I think about it I think of some of the countries in my own fantasy setting which evoke India (Palibantan or Varanata). BUT I also think of the river boat scenes from Dan Simmon's Hyperion and think it would be pretty cool to put this in the far future on an alien planet.

Since this is intended to be a one-shot, I should provide pre-gen PCs, which means we need to figure out exactly who the characters are, too. And since it needs to be played in about 3 hours, it needs to be fairly tightly planned. Most recommendations I've seen for one-shots involve planning 3 scenes, with an optional fourth kept in the back pocket. It doesn't need to be a railroad, but it needs strong clues.

The mugger itself is probably not the antagonist, but rather a hazard of some sort, a part of the local environment. Plus it has a numinous quality, so it must have a spiritual/psychological presence as well as a physical presence. It should be very scary.

Thoughts and reflections are welcome!