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Monday, 23 May 2022

Miskatonic Monday #121: Death is the Final Escape

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 InvictusThe PastoresPrimal StateRipples from Carcosa, and Halloween Horror, there was Five Go Mad in EgyptReturn of the RipperRise of the DeadRise 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.

Publisher: Chaosium, Inc.
Author: Bryan Rudolf

Setting: Jazz Age Boston
Product: Scenario
What You Get: Fifty Nine page, 8.58 MB Full Colour PDF

Elevator Pitch: Can an escape artist escape his end?
Plot Hook: Murder-suicide lifts lid on vaudevillian villainy.
Plot Support: Staging advice, five pre-generated Investigators, eight 
handouts, one map and three sets of  floorplans, thirteen NPCs, three spells, two Mythos tomes, and Mythos creatures.
Production Values: Professional.

# Great cover and artwork
# Could be adapted to other time periods
# Detailed meaty investigative scenario
# Potential addition to a Lovecraft Country campaign
# Delightfully vile cult ceremony description
# Nuanced depiction of a cult that is more than just evil
# Clearly staged chase resolution
# Interesting, but serviceable way of getting (too) close to the villain

# Needs a slight edit
# Vaudevillian villain

# Classic investigative Call of Cthulhu scenario set in New England
# Well developed professional scenario in which the Investigators encounter a cult that is much more than just evil for the sake of it.

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