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Chien Noir (Film Noir with DitV)

Started by Liminaut, January 29, 2006, 06:45:49 PM

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The setting is Film Noir in Los Angeles, 1947.  There are some
rules re-interpretations:

The King of Life? Thought I saw him in a Mission Street soup
kitchen. Looked pretty stung out.

Listen up, bub. Los Angeles may look like paradise but there are
snakes every place you step. This town will eat your soul for a snack
if you let it. You've gotta have your own code, right and wrong.
Keep to your code and you can walk through the muck with your head
held high. Lose your code and the tinsel will pull you down like
seaweed pulls down a drowning man.
[In game terms, the characters don't have a particular religion
but do need to have their own codes and standards that they are
willing to take a bullet for]

We didn't get any special training.  All we got was a trip through hell called World War II.  Frontliner or 4-F, what a guy or gal did during the war tells you a whole lot about who they are.
[In game terms, the initiation is set in WWII.  What do the characters
hope they did in WWII?]

Demons? I thought I saw a couple last week over on Norton street.
The F-Troop rolled 'em for lunch money and set them back to Bridal Falls.

Who needs demons when the corruption is so thick a guy can't breath?
Every cop, judge, and DA is on the take.

This is a town where justice gets bought and sold. There are a lot of
good people that get the shaft, and bad people doing the shafting, and
sometimes you're the only justice people have for $50 a day plus expenses.
[In game terms, use "corruption" dice instead of "demon" dice.]


The town is LA / Hollywood in 1947. The characters will be detectives
in the Black Dog Detective Agency.

L.A. in 1947
We know what California looks like.  Something you might not know is that the LAPD is massively corrupt.  A guilty or innocent report to the DA office goes for $500.
Note that any cop that's been in service more than two years means they weren't in the Army.

The Client
February 15th.  The day after St Valentine's day.  A special holiday just for heartbreak.
Brown hair, brown coat, sadness taking the light out of her light blue eyes, the only color the client has is the green of her money.
"I'm Macie Short.  You've probably heard of by sister, Betty Short - the Black Dahlia.  My sister was murdered and her body left in a vacant lot a month ago.  The police haven't done anything - just a circus of false confessions as slander.  They say my sister was a prostitute and I just can't believe that.
"Betty was always so friendly and charming, open to everyone.  Maybe a little too open, I guess.  All she wanted to do was to star in movies.  "Maybe they'll make a movie about her now.
"My sister dies for a reason.  I just know it.  Please find out who did it and why, so Betty can see justice done.

The case is based on the real Black Dahlia case -- what's here is about
80% accurate.  Many names have been changed.

What Happened
What Is Known
In 1944, Elizabeth Short moved from New England to California to stay with her estranged father, work in war plants, and try to get into the movies.  She had a real talent for making connections with people, and making people feel like instant friends. Elizabeth as briefly engaged to Lieutenant Matt Gordon, but he died in India in 1945. She couldn't make the jump to the screen; she didn't have it", the ability to make her presence felt on the screen.  After the war ended and the plant shut down, she hung out, sharing an apartment with seven other women including Lucile Jones and Barbara Lee.  Most of her meals came from dinner dates.  She 'borrowed' money from friends to get by on, like a thousand other women on the edge of Hollywood.
She lived a life of been seen at the scenes, desperately trying to get noticed.  She wasn't a pushover sexually, and despite rumors did not prostitute herself.
Before her death, her friends noticed that she was tired, out of it, distracted, depressed.
Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, was last seen alive at the Biltmore Hotel, on January 10th, 1947.  She had spent the night with the traveling aluminum siding salesman, Robert "Red" Harrison.  She was found January 15th, 1947.  She was found by Betty Bersinger and her three-year-old daughter early in the morning.
Red Harrison was grilled by the police, but released.  There have been a million leads.  Woody Guthry, Orson Welles, Norman Chandler, and Walt Disney have all been implicated.  There are over a dozen Confessing Sams, guys that just say they did it.  Nothing is really known.
A week after her death, a package containing her effects was mailed to the police.  This yielded no substantial clues.  The package contained
Short's ID, social security card, a key to a bus locker, and the address book of a Mark Erickson, a B-grade Hollywood producer.  The letters L,M,O,P are missing from the phone book.  The bus locker has clothes and a letter home that Elizabeth never mailed.  Elizabeth writes about that she had made a terrible mistake and may be coming home soon.   The package was dosed in gasoline and yielded no fingerprints.

What Happened (this is almost all made up).
Elizabeth Short had a few sexual liaisons, but very few.  When stress and bad diet caused her period to stop, and some bad egg fu young gave her the heaves for a few days, she decided she must be pregnant and decided to get an abortion.
Georgette Pfitzner, a socialite Elizabeth knew through the Hollywood Canteen, agreed to set it up through Dr. George Masterson.  Dr. Masterson ran the L.A. venereal disease clinic, and also ran a hush-hush sex clinic for the stars. Pfitzner agreed to fund the abortion, and Dr. Masterson performed it in the afternoon of the 10th.  Elizabeth wasn't pregnant.  The abortion went horribly wrong, with Dr. Masterson pulling out a chunk of uterus instead of a baby.  Over the next five days  Elizabeth slowly bled to death.  Dr. Masterson didn't take her to the hospital because of fear of exposure.  This same fear limited his access to medicine and blood.  He tied her down to keep her from thrashing in pain.  Dr. Masterson was also afraid that anesthesia might send her over the edge.  Elizabeth finally died early the 15th.  Dr. Masterson then cut her up to remove the evidence of the abortion and dumped her body.  Dr. Masterson sent the package together with an address book he happened to have as a way of giving the police hundreds of false leads.
People have not wanted to talk to the police because of the abortion issue and not wanting to be implicated in felony conspiracies.  Also, a lot of people in Hollywood owe Dr. Masterson a favor.
The real prize in all this is Dr. Masterson's notes.  They can blackmail half of Hollywood.  Not just the starlets but the stars that were indiscreet and the studios that often paid for the abortions.

Autopsy Results
She died of blood loss, with rope burns on her hands, feet, and neck.  Her internal organs (stomach, uterus, etc.) were removed and have not being found.  No semen was found on her body, and she wasn't pregnant at the time of death.  No drugs found in the blood.  She was not dehydrated when she died.

The Cast of Characters
Macie Short (thin, brown hair):  Elizabeth's sister, the person that hires the investigators.  Wants:  to be told something good about her sister.

Cleo Short( short, thin, balding black hair):  Elizabeth's estranged father who left the family when she was 3, doesn't want anything to do with that lazy tramp" of a daughter.. Wants:  for the whole thing to go away.

Robert Red" Harrison (5' 10'' red hair Irish): The last person to have seen Elizabeth alive, the morning of the 10th.  The story he gave was that they spent the night chastely, but he'll tell the investigators that they did sleep together.  Moderately sleazy, a decently well-off aluminum siding salesman.  He'd known Elizabeth for a while, met her at the Hollywood Canteen.  Wants:  to continue skating around the fringes of Hollywood life, picking up wannabe starlets. "Hey, I would have done right by her.  Not married her, but you know.  Something."

Lucille Terrance(brunette), Barbara Lee(blond):  Roommates of Elizabeth, more struggling actresses.  Wants:  a big break.  They'll know that Elizabeth thought she was pregnant, and introduced her to Georgette Pfitzner. "Beth was friends with everybody, but she was no tramp, no hooker.  She could vamp up a whole room without even trying.  She was so damn innocent.  Some days she wouldn't eat at all.  We had to hook her up with guys that would buy her dinner."

Sgt Berkowski (5' 8", chubby muscles, short black hair) and Lt. Roy (6' 4", thin, fedora, blond hair): Police heavies.  Wants:  the players to play ball.  "It wouldn't do if some gumshoes cracked the Black Dahlia case, would it?  Maybe make fools out of the LAPD.  Take the mark's money, string her along, you send anything you et straight to us."

Lt. Merick Anderson (6'1'', athletic, blond, winning smile) :  FBI agent in charge of the case.  Raised on fresh air, corn bread, and freedom. Rabid anti-Communist, thinks there is something at the bottom of the case that will blow Hollywood apart. Wants:  to put Hollywood in J Edgar's back pocket. "Did you know 'Grapes of Wrath' was shown in the Soviet Union to show how bad things are in the US?  This case is hiding something rotten.  We get to the bottom of this, we're going to blow this whole town apart, and we'll make good movies again. Wholesome, all-American movies that get America moving in the right direction -- just like Patton wanted."

Doctor George Masterson (short thin graying black hair, dapper, too slick, white suits): M.D., 5121 Fountain Ave.  Elizabeth's abortionist.  He runs the county VD clinic, and is the unofficial sex doctor and abortionist to the stars.  He lives in a small mansion, with attendants and family all over -- much more that he could afford on his regular salary.  He has five different wives.  He is very callous about Elizabeth's death, but will try to play the PC's for sympathy.  Wants:  to continue his wicked, wicked ways.

Stacie Mingle: Dr. Masterson's secretary.

Georgette Pfitzner(5'4", black hair around her shoulders, very vivacious): The woman who introduced Elizabeth to her killer.  Wants:  to live the rich high life.

Murray Abromowitz:  Mobster that Dr. Masterson contacted to protect him.  The price is Masterson's files.  Wants:  to put Hollywood under his thumb.

Lou Escobar, Joey Raymond: Abromowitz's lieutenants.  Wants:  what Murray wants.

... and a cast of thousands ...

What Happens if the Dogs Do Nothing
Either Abromowitz or Anderson gets the Doctor's files, cuts a deal with the Doctor, and blackmails Hollywood.   Either way, the Doctor gets away.

==Ed Freeman
==If there's no such thing as magic, why do we
  have the word?