APAGear II Archives Volume 2, Number 10 November, 2000


The Joy of Cooking

An Adventure for Southern PCs

Alistair Gillies

The PCs are invited to a party at the country residence (most likely on the shores of Lake Esperance) of a wealthy Republican socialite. The reasons for the invitation can be as varied as the PCs themselves. Southern Republican soldiers may be invited as part of their social duties, with their commanding officer also in attendance (or even the host), reporters will be invited to write a puff piece about the party and the host, rough and tumble Badlanders invited to add some 'colour' to the party and so on. Alternatively the PCs could be hired as serving staff, security or entertainers.

The theme of the party is literature. In addition to the standard party activities there will be a short lecture on famous Republican writers, book readings and several local writers will be in attendance. The highlight of the party will be the auctioning of a six hundred year old reproduction of the four thousand year old Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer. The book is rare and in excellent condition for its age and bidding is expected to be fierce. Several guests will be at the party specifically to attend the auction.

The party lasts for two days (72 hours), the schedule is:

The party begins well, with the guests spreading out throughout the house and its grounds to converse, gamble, dance, play tennis, intrigue, swim, drink and so on. Many of the writers in attendance are looking for patronage from amongst the wealthy and vice versa. This is a good opportunity for the PCs to mingle with the rich and famous and hopefully make some contacts and not embarrass themselves too much.

After the morning's activities most of the guests retire to their rooms at noon for a siesta. The PCs are free carry on if they wish with the other determined party-goers but they will suffer the effects of fatigue later on. Early in the afternoon the guests emerge to continue the festivities, but a member of the serving staff makes a shocking discovery, the case in the library containing the Joy of Cooking has been broken open and the book is missing. This creates quite a stir amongst the assembled guests. Some are convinced that this part of the entertainment and immediately begin a search for 'clues'. The host is shocked, but, wishing to avoid a scandal, refuses to call the police. Security staff confirm that no one has entered or left the grounds since before noon when the book was last seen. At this point the PCs are asked to investigate. If they have any sort of investigative background the host will beg them to retrieve the book, as failing to hold the auction would be a major social setback but at the same time he or she does not want the guests to be bothered by being questioned by the uniformed security staff. If the PCs are soldiers they will be told to find the culprit by their commanding officer as a favour to the host. If all else fails the PCs will be accused of the crime by one of the 'sleuths', forcing them to prove their innocence. The PCs have until the following afternoon, when the book is due to be auctioned and guests begin to leave, to find the book.

Possible avenues of investigation open to the PCs include examining the broken case for fingerprints and clothing fibres, questioning guests about their whereabouts, searching guests' rooms while they are distracted, viewing footage from the security cameras in the hallways and taking any other meathods they can think of that will not disrupt the party. It is unlikely to be easy, any necessary equipment will have to be improvised and most of the guests will claim to be asleep in their rooms without witnesses at the time of the crime. Most guests will be annoyed at being questioned and will be insulted and refuse if asked to have their fingerprints taken. Amateur sleuths may get in their way or accidentally destroy evidence. If things are too hard for the PCs clues like serving staff reporting seeing guests behaving suspiciously can be added, or if they are too easy details like fakes copies of the book and guests lying to conceal other secrets like adultery, gambling debts and ignoble pasts can be added instead.

If the PCs manage to discover the guilty party (or think they have) they are encouraged to hold a 'parlour scene' , where all the suspects are gathered and eliminated from the crime one by one. If the PCs have the right person and can prove it, then, depending on who the person is and their motive, they will be arrested (the host will arrange with the local chief of police, a good friend of theirs, to have the culprit discretely taken into custody), shunned by Republican society or even quietly forgiven. The host will be pleased to have had an exciting party that is likely to be talked about long afterwards. The PCs will be feted as heroes for the rest of the party and will have made some valuable contacts.

If the PCs fail to find the guilty party, accuse the wrong person or accuse the right person without evidence they may be ejected from the party, blackballed by Republican society, lose their chances of promotion or gain an influential Republican figure as an enemy. If they used any illegal measures in their investigation, such searching someone's room or taking their fingers prints without permission they are likely to be arrested.

Possible guests and their motives


This wealthy Republican is a social rival of the host. During the party she will be most often be found within the host's circle of conversation and will make many cutting remarks at the host's expense. She has stolen the book to embarrass the host and plans to return it anonymously once it is too late for the auction to take place.

Retired Officer

This dashing individual is a retired Southern Republican Army officer. He started his career in the infantry and later transferred to a Gear regiment and seems to have been everywhere and done everything during the War of the Alliance. If a PC is telling a war story the retired officer has one that is funnier, scarier or more courageous. He or she has a passionate hatred of Earth and has stolen the book so he or she can destroy its corrupting influence.


An up and coming Gear pilot in the local sport duelling league. During the party she will badger several of the upper class guests for patronage and sponsorship. She has stolen the book as part of an ill-conceived publicity stunt thought up by her agent. She has hidden the book and intends to 'find' it again later in order to draw attention to herself.

Con men

This pair of small time con men have been hired as musicians for the party. When not playing (they are actually reasonably competent musicians) they are frantically bilking guests in card games, seeking commissions from several guests for the same piece of music and pocketing the silverware. They have stolen the book out of simple greed and are now panicking as they have no idea how to fence such a valuable item. Alternatively they have been hired by another guest to steal the book.


The dilettante is auctioning the book to fund her new obsession, rare wines, which she will discuss at great length with anyone who stops to listen. She has discovered that her book is a fake and has stolen it herself to prevent the embarrassment of anyone else discovering this and to collect the insurance.

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APAGear II Archives Volume 2, Number 10 November, 2000