The Captain (center) and Lieutenant de Montfort (left) question a witness.
Kaspall is a fantasy murder mystery webcomic
written and drawn by Lucy Lyall that started in 2005.
Within this comic, Kaspall is the name of the unusual city in which the story takes place. This city is remarkable for two things:
Around the time this story begins, several events are occurring in tandem
: a new off-worlder by the name of Alex Gray is being processed by the O.W.R. ("Off-Worlder Registration"); a student psychomantic (mind-mage) named Caroline is doing a field project at the Skein Institute for Professor Jaiva; the Captain and Lieutenant de Montfort ("Call me Harry. Please
.") are investigating a curious series of murders; and, in Hazel Karswell's small Greenacre Street apartment building, Sam Goldbourne has fallen behind on paying his rent
. Oh, and something odd is happening at a certain mysterious estate
These facts are, of course, connected.
We recommend starting at the beginning.
(As of Scene 30, the webcomic is nearing its conclusion — the artist has already begun a second project, titled Spare Keys For Strange Doors
Contains examples of:
- Alternate Universe: Kaspall is filled with people from alternate universes, a lot of humans for some reason, though the only one who might be from Earth is Alex.
- Alt Text: Starting in Scene 20, pg. 228.
- Ambiguous Gender: The Captain is an androgynous bipedal rat, and has never found it necessary to specify plumbing or pronouns on-screen. (As the author put it in the comments: "Feel free to assign [the Captain's gender/sex] as you like, as it has no bearing on this story whatsoever.")
- Anti-Magic: And being in a no magic zone makes people ill or at the very least, queasy.
- Art Evolution: Less so than in many webcomics, but quite visible between, say, Scene 1 and Scene 28. (Note: Latter page is essentially non-spoilery but embedded in a sea of major spoilers.)
- Ax-Crazy: Katherine Ulfor, who feels no compunctions about committing murder, kidnapping, or assault on the slightest (or even no) provocation.
- Bad Liar: Professor Jaiva is merely bad at lying — Avril is full-out this trope.
Captain: [writing on a notepad]
Could you tell me your name, please? Avril:
Ahhh ... ummm ... mmMary? Captain: [skeptically]
Mary what? Avril:
Mary ... Watts...? Captain: [incredulously]
What? Avril: Mary Watts!
My name is Mary Watts. Yes. [The Captain looks at Avril, who is grinning nervously.]
- Bonus Material: The Misc. Box.
- Deadpan Snarker:
Jaiva [to Hazel, just coming in]: Don't you ever lock your door?
Hazel: Every day.
Jaiva: It wasn't locked just now.
Hazel: Really? I must be an idiot then.
Sam: Huh. Well, would you look at this. Horribly uncomfortable 'bed' ... bare floorboards ... no curtains ... don't know about you, but I feel at home already.
- Doomed Moral Victor: Beatrice Ulfor sees herself as one.
- Electronic Eyes: One of Sam's eyes is a removable prosthetic, that occasionally bugs him about renewing his subscription. Useful for peering around corners though.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The Captain. The only thing that hints at as much as gender is half a not-telephone conversation between Hazel and Avril — and even that got the Shrug of God before the end of the comic:
The fact that the Captain's gender / sex was undefined kind of became a character point in my head. Which is not to say that Captain doesn't HAVE one. Just that I hadn't been given that information - much like I don't know what Claudia's Mum's name is, or exactly which part of the UK Alex is actually from.
- Fantastic Racism: Apparently many worlds had this problem, judging by Sam's reaction to the idea of a human-only one.
- Fourth Wall Mail Slot: Character Q&A.
- Funny Background Event:
- Gods Need Prayer Badly: Not gods, but stories — in the Skein, those tales which are widely remembered and retold exist strongly, and those which are less recalled more weakly.
- Have You Told Anyone Else?: Unusually, the one person they told was the entirely trustworthy police lieutenant. Who thinks they're all idiots for not telling anyone.
- I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Caroline hates Katherine Ulfor, who turned her parents into werewolves who went crazy from it and infected her in turn.
Caroline: How about it, Grandma? I think you owe me some blood.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Sam Gouldborne, to the astonishment of people who know of him as "the jerk who never pays his rent" — although as a Non-Action Cafe Pot-wash he can't actually accomplish much more than getting himself beat up.
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: Kaspall takes place in a world that's mostly populated by anthropomorphic characters, but humans (and other species) frequently get transported there by accident and have to try to integrate into its society.
- Love Makes You Evil: To be precise, the death of her husband drove Katherine Ulfor over the edge into the aforementioned Ax-Crazy territory.
- Magitek: Mirrors are used like phones, with operators.
- Medium Awareness: Sir Haydon realizes he's fictional.
- Nonverbal Miscommunication: Discussed on page 238, with some Alt Text lampshading.
- Not So Stoic: The Captain is pretty much unfazed by everything that occurs — right up to the point in Scene 26 where the police discover that the Ulfor have started kidnapping people by the dozen right off the streets.
- Oh, Crap: On this page, quite a few of the Ulfor have this reaction to the appearance of Caroline and Claudia.
- Oh My Gods!: "Circle!" and "God's shape!", as explained here.
- Petting Zoo People: A major fraction of the Kaspall population, including most of the main characters.
- Playing Possum: The Captain resorts to this to see how Avril reacts.
- Portal Crossroad World: The city of Kaspall, unfortunately the portals that lead to other worlds are too unstable for the Off-Worlders to find a way home. There is however a Portal Network through the Skein that goes within the city.
- Punch Clock Villain: Excepting Katherine, Beatrice, and Beron, the Ulfor are basically just following orders. Eventually Beatrice convinces them to surrender to the police.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Beatrice delivers one to her insane sister, to distract her long enough for Sam to free Hazel and allow their escape.
- Recursive Reality: The Skein.
- Replacement Goldfish: The original Joseph Haydon was Katherine Ulfor's husband.
- Scare 'Em Straight: The purpose of the story of the Veritarc.
- Shout-Out: A couple in the alt text:
- Spanner in the Works: More than one:
- Splash Panel: Page 353.
: Wait, what's this? A big confusing fight page?! That can only mean one thing ... yes, at last, I am a Proper Comics Artist!
- Story Within a Story: The Skein is composed of the stories thought about by the inhabitants of Kaspall. Jaiva suggests that stories within the Skein might reach a point where they could dream stories themselves.
- Tempting Fate: Sam, reassuring Alex, as noted by the Alt Text.
- Trapped in Another World: Many, many characters — the OWR is specifically tasked to help these people deal with being displaced to the city Kaspall.
- Webcomic Time: Noted in the Alt Text of this page.
- Wham Episode: