Eternity at Sea
A Solo One-Shot Supernatural Mystery
The Familiar Warmth of Blood on Your Hands
You stand blankly, staring at a man who could be your twin. He clasps your left hand with his. In your right hand is a dagger, placed squarely between the ribs, buried deep in the meat beneath. His face is a vision of relief, as if you have lifted a heavy burden from him. “It’s up to you, now,” he says, then slides off your blade and slinks to the floor, dead.
You open your left hand. In it is a pocketwatch, the “12” replaced with the image of an hourglass. In that moment, memory comes flooding back. The ship. The detective. The heavy lurch as it slammed to a stop, sending you flying. The pain and heat and void as all were swallowed by the explosion. And then you are back here, in your room, a dead body at your feet.
You are a doppelgänger, fleeing heat from the continent on a ship bound to the new world. A ship whose fate is now in your hands.
Rel, a murderous sea kelpie has snuck aboard. She has murdered the young socialite, Matilda Ravenswood, and has been masquerading as her she watches the end. Three hours prior to the beginning of the first loop, she murdered the ship’s captain with his own hakapik. She has set the ship on a high-speed collision course with an iceberg, and sealed the entrance to the bridge.
There is also a quickling named Faoch. This situation amuses him, so he has chosen to interfere, leveling the playing field.
Matthijs Marsch is a famous detective, with a reputation for solving the unsolvable. Faoch slipped him a magic pocketwatch, which when the owner dies will continuously reverse the flow of time by up to an hour. The watch was set for the moment of the explosion (11:00p) and each loop begins no more than an hour before that.
Marsch’s journal contains his notes, and he has narrowed down a list of suspicious individuals. These are:
- Matilda Ravenswood - The young heiress, traveling alone
- Garrett Spencer - journalist, hard to pin down. Involved?
- Arthur Rider - An infamous gambler, keeps returning briefly to room
- Tatiana Kamstra - A socialite known for cycling through husbands
- Jan Kamstra - Tatiana’s current husband, a coal baron
- Octavius - Last name unknown, keeps to himself
- Herman Langley - The ship’s bosun, with a violent past
The journal also contains his notes on the watch, and a crude drawing of the captain’s body with markings indicating his wounds; a large, wide gash in his chest and throat, and a heavy fracture at the base of his skull. He does not appear to have identified a weapon, nor a way into the bridge,
The CMS Eternity
The large cruise ship was bound for the new world with roughly a thousand souls aboard; thanks to Rel’s interventions, it will never arrive. At 10:58p, the ship will strike an iceberg at full speed, rupturing the hull and causing fires in the engine room. Two minutes later, the fire reaches the fuel, causing the ship to explode, killing everyone still aboard.
Marsch was the first to discover the captain’s body, and hid it in his own room. Rel wanted to revel in the passengers’ panic; she now resolves to watch them all drown. She is unaware of the coming explosion, and is killed by it at the end of each loop.
Appears, at first, to be a normal pocketwatch. As time moves forward, the minute hand moves with it,as expected. The red hour hand does not move at all. When a loop ends and restarts, the hour hand moves ahead by two hours.
Faoch can be found in the captain’s room from 10pm to 11pm. He will not hide from the doppelgänger. Faoch will confirm details about the watch and the time loop. Faoch will explain that this powerful relic defies the laws of space-time, and cannot be used indefinitely. If the hour hand reaches 12, its power will end.
Faoch makes a proposal. Faoch will rewind the pocketwatch two hours (a single loop) every time the doppelgänger brings him a secret
about someone else on board. He can do this no more than 6 times; any more loops would break the laws of physics and causality entirely.
Faoch will not reveal any details about Rel,
Matilda is the selkie Rel in disguise. A beautiful and richly dressed woman. At 7:00p she killed the captain with his own hakapik, a tool with a thick hammer head for clubbing seals, and a hook on the other end to carry their corpses. She has tossed the murder weapon overboard while cutting loose the life boats. Matilda wants to watch the land dwellers panic as they sense their end at hand.
In normal conversation, Matilda discusses the plight of seals. She’ll find a few sympathetic ears, including Tatiana and Jan. If questioned openly, Matilda acts incensed and storms away. She will spend the remainder of the night in her quarters, coming out only after the iceberg is struck.
Matilda is in the entertainment deck from 10:00 to 10:30. Matilda will dance with the doppelgänger in any form. She has knowledge of doppelgängers but does not immediately suspect the player unless it gives itself away. While cornered on the dance floor, Matilda can be questioned for the length of a song; the best bet is the tango the band performs from 10:12 to 10:16. The doppelgänger must still be cautious; Rel will relish the chance to match wits with a worthy opponent, but any direct accusation will cause her to smack the doppelgänger and storm off to her room, as above.
Matilda is a selkie in disguise
Matilda is responsible for the ship’s destruction
A journalist from the mainland whose skin the doppelgänger was wearing when it boarded the ship
The real Garrett is dead, and the doppelgänger boarded the boat with his visage.
In addition to being a gambler, Rider is a prolific dealer in drugs of all kinds; from opiods to amphetamines. He spends most of the evening attempting to sell to others, leading buyers back to his room each time.
Arthur is cocky, and a solid liar. If he is caught by anyone he considers to be a figure of authority, he will play it off as no big deal. At the next opportunity he will race outside, toss his supply overboard, and try to find a lifeboat. When he finds none he panics, and returns to his room for the night.
Arthur is a drug dealer
Tatiana & Jan Kamstra
Tatiana is a beautiful but aging woman in her young 40’s; Jan a loud, boisterous, coal baron only a few years her senior. They appear happy together, but both are maintaining a facade. Tatiana has hired Octavius to kill her husband, as he has done for her several times in the past. Jan’s persona quickly changes when he believes himself to be alone. He is paranoid, and with good reason; he swindled his former business partner Gerald out of his share of their business; Gerald then died by suicide. The ghost of Gerald has been haunting him ever since, appearing only to him, but he is otherwise harmless.
If questioned together both are friendly, with both of them laughing off the deaths of Tatiana’s former husbands as mere coincidence. Tatiana can be pushed to storming off to her room if pressed, which Jan will not react kindly to. Separated, they will do their best to avoid company altogether, and will rush along any questioner.
Tatiana has hired someone to kill her husband
Jan is haunted by the ghost of his business partner
Called the Skullsmasher in the papers, Octavius is a murderer for hire who is very good at what he does. His signature is a single killing strike to the base of the victim’s head; quick, efficient, painless. His goal tonight is to kill Jan and dump his body overboard without causing any suspicion. He will tail Jan until he is sure they are alone and kill him with a single strike using the bosun’s club.
Octavius will not answer questions, and will walk away from any questioner.
Octavius is the Skullsmasher
Octavius has been hired to kill Jan
Langley is the surly bosun of the Eternity. His job is to patrol the ship and resolve any maintenance or security issues. He normally carries a billy club with him, but it has been stolen by Octavius before the loop.
Langley has a sordid past; he spent the last fifteen years of his life in prison for murder. He has served his debt and is looking to put his past life behind him.
Langley arrives at the bridge at 10:07p, he instructs a fellow crewmember to find the captain but not alert the passengers. The crewmember fails to find the captain and does not return. Langley remains guarding the bridge door until the end of the loop; it will take a lot to convince him to leave his post.
Langley has served prison time for murder in the past.
If the doppelgänger finds the captain’s corpse first (Marsch stowed it in his own room), it can determine the slash to the throat as the killing blow, and the blow to the back of the head was made post-mortem. Langley, if shown the corpse, will posit that the murder weapon was likely a hakapik. He can describe seal clubbing, and has heard stories of seal hunters being found dead with similar wounds.
At 10:45p, Jan’s body will be found with Langley’s billy club next to him. Passengers will track down and accuse Langley, mobbing and killing him and anyone else who tries to stop them. He will likewise be accused of the captain’s murder, if his body is found by Rel (10:35p) before the doppelgänger.
Saving the Ship
Langley knows the way into the bridge: an air vent. He will not reveal this information unless he is given permission by the captain. If the doppelgänger has seen the captain’s body, he can attempt to play the part, but it’s a difficult task to mimic a person you have only seen from a distance or dead, and Langley has a suspicious nature. Langley can be shown the captain’s corpse, to convince him of the captain’s death.
The air vent is too small for a normal human to fit. The doppelgänger will have to revert to its true form to squeeze through. If Langley’s trust has not been earned, Langley will immediately suspect the doppelgänger of being responsible and attack, overpowering the doppelgänger. To earn Langley’s trust, he must be helped in solving the captain’s murder. By gaining Langley’s trust, he will only grow hostile, not violent, upon learning the doppelgänger’s true nature. This is a major risk, as an angry Langley might reveal its nature to others.
Deal with the Devil
A doppelgänger not willing to put its own neck out for the people on the ship might seek another way. There is another: Rel, the selkie, can free them together. She must first be convinced that she is trapped in a time loop, and that if she stays she dies, and that if the doppelgänger stays she will still remain trapped forever (a lie). The doppelgänger must be very careful not to reveal too much information. If Rel learns that the watch is responsible for the time loop, she will attempt to steal the pocketwatch. If she succeeds, the doppelgänger will have one last chance to save the ship before the end.