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Sunday, 7 January 2018

Miskatonic Monday #2: Isle of Madness

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 a Five Go Mad in EgyptReturn of the RipperRise ofthe 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—

NameIsle of Madness

Publisher: Chaosium, Inc.
Author: Ed Possing
Cartography: Ed Possing

SettingDesperate Decade, 1930s (1950s), Pulp Cthulhu
Product: Scenario
What You Get0.996 MB, 16-page full colour PDF
Elevator Pitch
The Tempest meets The Island of Doctor Moreau in the Bermuda Triangle with not-Deep Ones

Plot HookThe heroes are shipwrecked off a secret island in the North Atlantic and get caught up in a Mad Scientist’s plans for revenge on his batrachian brothers.
Plot DevelopmentFriendly not-Deep Ones, a big tank of water in the Mad Scientist’s lair, evil plans, and sharks. Plus a giant robot! In a volcano!!
Plot SupportFully plotted out with eight NPCs, scenes and events, and a map of the island.
Production ValuesNeeds another edit and no artwork. The map is scrappy.

Pros

Straightforward plot
Very little investigation
Easily shifted to the 1950s
Easy to drop into a Pulp Cthulhu campaign, especially The Two-Headed Serpent
# Works as a short scenario or a sidetrek

Cons

Highly action orientated
Straightforward plot
Sanity losses too high in places
Very little investigation
Where’s the Mad Scientist’s monologue?

Conclusion

# A ‘B’ Movie writ large
Solid, though not original, plot
A big fat punch up from start to finish
Easy to run
Playable in a session
Still want that Mad Scientist’s monologue, dammit!