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Monday, 8 October 2018

Miskatonic Monday #14: The Gruen Transfer

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.

—oOo—



Name: The Gruen Transfer
Publisher: Chaosium, Inc.
Author: Danial Carroll


Setting: Modern Day
Product: Scenario
What You Get: 15.41 MB, 22-page full colour PDF
Elevator Pitch: Last minute mall massacre.
Plot Hook: Closing time takes on a whole meaning for the new shift at the mall.
Plot Development: It’s a reverse Dawn of the Dead with a ‘Ghoulish’ supper.

Plot Support: Six pre-generated player characters, mall map, random set-up, and season’s greetings.

Production Values: Clean and clear layout; nice map; decent pre-generated player characters

Pros

# Solid set-up
# Simple, straightforward plot
# Ordinary player characters
# Survival horror one-shot
# Inverts the Gruen Effect
# Who are the zombies?


Cons

# Little investigation, little to discover
# Faceless NPCs
# Undeveloped backstory
# No red herrings
# Unsuitable for campaign play

Conclusion

# Weak backstory & plot 
# Potential strong personal horror