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Friday 21 August 2020

Miskatonic Monday #43: Little Torches

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 with others. The programme was notable for having launched the writing careers of several authors, but for every Cthulhu Invictus, The Pastores, Primal State, Ripples from Carcosa, and Halloween Horror, there was a Five Go Mad in Egypt, Return of the Ripper, Rise of the Dead, Rise of the 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 depths of the Miskatonic Repository.


Name: Little Torches 

Publisher: Chaosium, Inc.
Author: Heinrich D. Moore
Setting: 1990s

Product: Scenario
What You Get: 8.29 MB sixty-page, full-colour PDF
Elevator Pitch: “Fly too close to the sun, and you’ll burn your wings.”
Plot Hook: What causes a college student to immolate herself in front of you? Her depression? Her mother’s cult? Or something else…? 
Plot Development: An explosively fiery beginning, a constantly burning box, dreams of a lighthouse, and the warmth of the sun.
Plot Support: Fourteen full-colour Investigator handouts, twenty NPCs and Mythos creatures and entities, and five pregenenrated Investigators.


Opens strongly, with a fiery bang!!
Cast of interesting NPCs
Well explained artefact
Straightforward plot literally becomes labyrinthine
# Parallel plots in and out of dream
# Adaptable to other time periods with a little effort
# Potential to be developed into a Mythos versus the Mythos campaign
# Innovative use of handouts to pull investigators into the plot
# Handouts used to help develop each investigator
# Interesting in-game interpretation of the Great Old One, Cthugha 

# Themes of isolation and alienation not suitable for all
# Pregenerated investigators tied to the plot, but not the set-up
# Innovative use of handouts to pull investigators into plot may feel too much like solo play.
# Needs careful preparation by the Keeper
# Overeggs the Mythos in places
# Handout and scenario structure gives Keeper a lot to keep track off.

# Intriguing encounter with the Mythos which starts with a bang!
# Innovative use of handouts to encourage roleplaying
Needs careful preparation by the Keeper

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