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Monday, 26 March 2018

Miskatonic Monday #8: The Man Downstairs

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 them 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 of the 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.

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NameThe Man Downstairs
Publisher: Chaosium, Inc.
Author: Adam Gauntlett

Setting: Jazz Age
Product: Scenario
What You Get2.7 MB, 24-page full colour PDF
Elevator Pitch
What’s the story with the missing storey?

Plot Hook: The investigators are hired to find who the tenant is at 224 Lennox Avenue who has never signed a lease and never paid rent.
Plot Development: A stink, a cold cat, a broken up speakeasy, astraphobia, and four storeys of ordinary Harlem folk.

Plot Support: Sixty plus NPCs; period floorplans; investigation angles neatly organised.
Production ValuesNeeds a slight edit. Lovely period maps and floorplans.

Pros

# Lots of social interaction and roleplay 
Lots of NPCs for the Keeper to roleplay
# Simple, but involving plot
# Adaptible to the Mythos entity of the Keeper’s choice
# NPCs are neatly compartmenatlised
# Companion scenario to Harlem Unbound
# Companion scenario to Tales of the Sleepless City

Cons

Lots of NPCs to keep track of
# Keeper needs to print out floorplans to track who lives where
Potential for investigators to circumvent the investigation
# Only one scenario hook given

Conclusion

# Meaty investgative scenario
Lots of good NPCs
# Strong plot