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Monday 13 February 2023

Miskatonic Monday #176: Al-Azif Unearthed: The Unraveling

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: John Crowdis

Setting: Jazz Age Boston
Product: Scenario
What You Get: Seventy-eight page, 33.73 MB Full Colour PDF
Elevator Pitch: A merging of Mythos events unleashes hotel hell!
Plot Hook: A newspaper classified advert announces the existence of an unknown scroll and an auction.
Plot Support: Staging advice, six pre-generated Investigators,
fourteen NPCs, nineteen handouts, one map, one ghost, one Mythos artifact, one Mythos spell, and three Mythos monsters.
Production Values: High.

# First part of ‘Al-Azif Unearthed’ campaign exploring origins of the Necronomicon
# Classic auction goes wrong Call of Cthulhu scenario
# Inspired by Paul Carrick artwork
# High production values and solid support for the Keeper
# Excellent handouts
Solid investigation and set-up
Makes use of the Chase mechanics
# Highly detailed NPCs and interaction
# Includes map of Boston (in a Call of Cthulhu scenario!?)
# Easy to adapt to other modern time periods and settings
# Papyrophobia
# Dikophobia

# Needs a slight edit
# Another hotel hell scenario (in New England)
# Makes use of the Chase mechanics
# Classic auction goes wrong Call of Cthulhu scenario
# Solid investigation and interaction undone by third act chase

# Well presented scenario whose initial emphasis on investigation and interaction is undone in the last act with a big chase scene from an unstoppable monster
# Decent introduction to the ‘Al-Azif Unearthed’ campaign that works better as a campaign starter rather than a one-shot

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