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Sunday, 30 September 2018

Miskatonic Monday #13: The Parsonsville Horror

Between October 2003 and October 2013, Chaosium, Inc. published a series of books for Call of Cthulhu under the Miskatonic University Library Association brand. Whether a sourcebook, scenario, anthology, or campaign, each was a showcase for their authors—amateur rather than professional, but fans of Call of Cthulhu nonetheless—to put forward their ideas and share them with others. The programme was notable for having launched the writing careers of several authors, but for every Cthulhu InvictusThe PastoresPrimal StateRipples from Carcosa, and Halloween Horror, there was a Five Go Mad in EgyptReturn of the RipperRise of the DeadRise ofthe Dead II: The Raid, and more...

The Miskatonic University Library Association brand is no more, alas, but what we have in its stead is the Miskatonic Repository, based on the same format as the DM’s Guild for Dungeons & Dragons. It is thus, “...a new way for creators to publish and distribute their own original Call of Cthulhu content including scenarios, settings, spells and more...” To support the endeavours of their creators, Chaosium has provided templates and art packs, both free to use, so that the resulting releases can look and feel as professional as possible. To support the efforts of these contributors, Miskatonic Monday is an occasional series of reviews which will in turn examine an item drawn from the far reaches of the Miskatonic Repository.

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Name: The Parsonsville Horror
Publisher: Chaosium, Inc.
Author: William Adcock

Setting: Jazz Age
Product: Scenario
What You Get: 890.83 KB, 18-page full colour PDF
Elevator Pitch: When the boss gets murdered on the road, have the striking miners all gone ‘Wobblie’?
Plot Hook: Discovery of a strange automobile accident makes the investigators best-placed to investigate amidst labour unrest.
Plot Development: The Red Creek Goatman walks at night, the Pinkertons assist, and a bloodline is tainted.

Plot Support: Ten NPCs; three clear handouts.
Production Values: Needs an edit and maps; light on art; clear layout

Pros

# Solid, on-the-road, side trek mystery
# Simple, strong plot
# Limited number of NPCs
# Does not shy away from period attitudes

Cons

# Needs a map of the area
# Needs a timeline
# Life in a striking mining camp undeveloped
# No red herrings
# Not easy to work into an existing campaign
# No pre-generated investigators, especially for a one-shot

Conclusion

# Strong plot 
# Underdeveloped supporting content