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Monday, 1 January 2018

Miskatonic Monday #1: Shortcut of Supernaturalism: Jasper St. Jones Got The Prettiest Bones

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 ofthe Dead, Rise 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.


Name: Shortcut of Supernaturalism: Jasper St. Jones Got The Prettiest Bones

Publisher: Tomb of Nyarlathotep Games
Author: Tristan Jusola-Sanders
Artists: Marco Monte, Simon Bray, David Lewis Johnson

Series Concept: The ‘Shortcut of Supernaturalism’ series provides a scenario outline in just ten pages that the Keeper of Arcane Lore can prepare for a single four-hour session with a minimum of fuss.
Setting: Jazz Age (Contemporary), Lovecraft Country
Product: Scenario Outline
What You Get: 4.2 MB, ten-page full colour PDF
Elevator Pitch: The Haunting meets 'The Case of Charles Dexter Ward' meets Cronos

Plot Hook: The discovery of a vagrant, drastically dehydrated and near death, repeating over and over, “Jasper St. Jones got the prettiest bones.”
Plot Development: The vagrant was found near steam tunnels leading under a reservoir dam that the St. Joneses, a local well-to-do family is building and Jasper St. Jones is a notorious ancestor of the current St. Jones patriarch.
Plot Support: Bullet point by bullet point guide to scenario background, the six NPCs, scenes and events, and major clues; full stats for the NPCs and one new spell and one new tome; and one handout.
Production Values: Needs another edit and the artwork consists of placeholders rather than serving the scenario.


Straightforward plot
Easy for the Keeper to develop or adapt
Multiple Mythos explanations
Suitable for smaller groups of investigators


Investigator involvement underwritten
Some clues undetailed
Sanity losses too high
Villain reactions undeveloped


# Feels rushed
Solid, though not original, plot
Would benefit from a map of the steam tunnels
Would benefit from suggestions by investigator type to ease their involvement
Easy to run for the experienced Keeper
Excellent concept which needs some development to fulfil its promise