The body of Carlos Gratinera has recently been found in on edge of, what was once, Mesa Verde National Park. This in itself is not such an unusual event, with hundreds, if not thousands, of people ‘disappearing’ each day. Moreover, it is certainly not a death that should warrant local, let alone national, media coverage.

However, after a chance inspection of the body by Hamilton Willard, a well-respected Coloradan Ornithologist, rumours have circulated that Gratinera was actually the victim of a deadly bird attack, a story which, as with many recent strange occurrences now happening across America, has been embraced by the media.

Facts – Upon investigation it does indeed seem that Gratinera was killed as the result of multiple wounds to the body and face.

  • If Willard or any other expert is consulted, they will quickly confirm these suspicions, stating that the wounds look as if they were caused by the beaks and claws of some species of the Corvidae Family of birds (Aves) and more specifically, those of the Corvus cryptoleucus or Chihuahuan Raven (American White-necked Raven) common in this part of Colorado.
  • Looking into Carlos Gratinera’s background, it is soon discovered that he was ‘freelance’ programmer and application developer, who often travelled peddling his applications to various corporations. His car, a beat up saloon which had obviously broken down, was found a few miles away from the site where Carlos’ body was discovered.
  • Further investigation indicates that Gratinera was not the first victim of this type of attack to have been discovered in, or near, Mesa Verde National Park. In fact, in the last 6 months, one other traveller and a myriad of animals have been found with similar injuries.

Options – The Referee has multiple options in further fleshing out A Murder of Crows.

  • An Unlucky Victim: Carlos Gratinera is actually the unfortunate victim of a much bigger threat. Mesa Verde has recently became the home of a malevolent evil, and the ruins of Hisatsinom are in the early stages of become a Demonground. In this scenario, the attacks of the Chihuahuan Raven is the result of the arrival of this entity, and its presence driving the local fauna mad. As the Minion Hunters explorer the park, they will soon discover that the Ravens aren’t the only animals they have to worry about.
  • Black-winged Assassins: The murder of Carlos was just one part of a larger conspiracy. It seems that Carlos was privy to a series highly classified corporate secrets; information that he had no qualms using to advance his own circumstance. As a result, the corporation hired a hitman to rid themselves of their nagging problem. It transpires that this assassin has a highly unusual modus operandi, one which involves robotic creatures modelled after the Raven. In the past, this killer has used the quiet valleys of Mesa Verde to test and refine his killing machines, and knowing that Carlos was a regular traveller of the near by highway, ensured that the blackmailer would meet his death there.
  • The Curse: Carlos was no computer programmer, but rather an artefact thief. Recently, he and a small group of conspirators have been ‘robbing’ the ruins at Hisatsinom of their secret treasures. Discovering that the spiritual remains of their ancient home were being ransacked, the descendants of the Pueblo people called upon their primordial Totem to reap revenge on the ‘graverobbers’. This Totem, a beast resembling a warped vision of the Chihuahuan Raven has done as it was asked, but now free from years of captivity refuses to return to it torpor state.

Further Research – More information about Mesa Verde and the Hisatsinom ruin can be found at http://www.nps.gov/meve/