So, I've never made it to 'free comic book day' or 'free rpg day'. But I was sorely tempted this year by the news that Chaosium would be giving away a special one-shot CALL OF CTHULHU adventure, created just for the event and written by Sandy Petersen, the legended creator of the game.* Accordingly, I was very glad when Chaosium announced after the fact a limited time offer whereby those who hadn't been able to get a copy on free rpg day could order one on-line for the cost of printing. I did, and it's now arrived and I've had a chance to read through it.
Knowing that the adventure was called THE DERELICT, I wondered if it might have been inspired by one of two famous templates: the Wm Hope Hodgson story of the same name (one of WHH's very
best, if not the best), or the old Jonny Quest episode (in fact, the last one they made.)
Slight spoiler space here
It turns out they went the latter route, combining inspiration from "The Sea Haunt" (episode #26) with another, more famous, episode: #20 "The Invisible Monster". The result should make a pretty good one-shot Cthulhu night as written. Yet interestingly enough, I can see how this same set-up could easily be adjusted to accommodate the Hodgson option instead, particularly if combined with a theme from "The Voice in the Night", Hodgson's other best story.
So, a thumb's up on this one: short but focused, and I think it'll be pretty creepy (in a good way) in actual play. I do plan to throw out the pregen characters (who take up half the text) and let the players come up with their own Investigators and explanation why he or she is aboard that yacht when the scenario begins.
current reading: Nevil Shute's last novel
current music: The Jayhawks, "Isobel's Daughter"
*the fact I was getting together with Tolkien friends down in Palo Alto that day certainly more than reconciled me to my choice