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Monday, 14 May 2018

Miskatonic Monday #10: Hocus Pocus

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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NameHocus Pocus
Publisher: Chaosium, Inc.
Author: Adam Gauntlett

Setting: Jazz Age
Product: Scenario
What You Get1.9 MB, 22-page full colour PDF
Elevator Pitch
That cool cat got some moves in a Hoodoo Hoedown.

Plot Hook: The investigators are hired to find out where a wannabe Hoodoo man got his latest and amazingly greatest act from—it is cutting into a better man's bottom line.
Plot Development: A black cat, your numbers are in, Houdini's ex-dive, and a horse's head all under radium's bright glare.

Plot Support: Eight plus NPCs; two nicely detailed occulted occult tomes; investigation angles neatly organised.
Production ValuesNeeds a slight edit.

Pros

Few NPCs for the Keeper to roleplay
# Straightforward, but involving plot
# Companion scenario to The Man Downstairs
# Companion scenario to Harlem Unbound
# Companion scenario to Tales of the Sleepless City
# Companion scenario to Masks of Nyarlathotep and Day of the Beast
# Opportunity for the investigators to become a band of brothers 

Cons

Keeper will need to provide area map of New York
# Main villain of the piece mostly kept off stage

Conclusion

# Meaty investgative scenario
Solid plot