Ice Cream Man
Author: Dr. Michael C. LaBossiere
Publisher: The Miskatonic Repository
Page Count: 9
Available Formats: PDF Only
PDF (DTRPG) – Pay What You Want
Recently, I have been scouring various social media sites and the Miskatonic Repository for interesting looking Call of Cthulhu scenarios and supplements. I recently stumbled on the Ice Cream Man and something about my love/hate relationship with real-life ice cream trucks drew me to this scenario.
I HAVE INTENTIONALLY TRIED TO OMIT SPOILERS
Ice Cream Man is Dr. Michael C. LaBossiere homage to the lazy days of summer and the sweet delicious treats sold by the iconic “ice cream man” in neighborhoods and cities worldwide. No story about an ice cream man or the iconic truck would be complete without ice cream, kids, and horrific underpinnings.
Welcome to smalltown horror! This scenario is set in the modern era and with a little tweaking, it could set anywhere from the 1960s to the present. It can be placed in any town or city the Keeper likes; it’s location neutral. It can also be inserted into an existing campaign and would make for an interesting one-shot interlude.
At the start of the scenario, investigators are approached by a disheveled man named Larry Helmsworth, who makes some pretty audacious claims; the ice cream man kidnapped and killed his son. This man, if allowed by the investigators, gives a pretty compelling, if not wild, story about his situation. He explains to the investigators that after this particular ice cream truck arrived in his town, he did what every good father does on a hot summer day, buy their son ice cream. It wasn’t until late that night that he awoke for some strange reason to check on his son, only to find him walking down the sidewalk toward that very same ice cream truck. Racing outside to retrieve his son, as he got closer and closer to the truck, the ice cream man stepped out of the truck and snatched the boy. This event drives this desperate father into what most would consider a mental breakdown.
He then slides them a briefcase containing all of his research just as the police arrive to arrest him. He is arrested for the murder of Jeffrey Kelly, an entrepreneurial local ice cream truck owner, and operator. Unfortunately for Helmsworth, he killed the wrong person. The last he says to the investigators before quietly surrendering to the police is “I want you to kill the Ice Cream Man…”
The briefcase contains months worth of research he has collected in his attempts to track down the ice cream man. Along the way, Helmsworth has learned quite about this “monster’s” methods, but he doesn’t know it’s darkest secrets. Helmsworth firmly believes that killing the ice cream man will stop the cycle of kidnappings and deaths that are left in his wake. This is not a case of a human serial killer, but rather a monster posing as a human who kills to feed.
This is an action-based scenario with most of the research already done for the players via their initial contact and the hook into the story. While this seems like it could be an easy story to play through, it’s a little more robust than you might think. There’s a couple of small moving parts in the background that could work against the investigators. For example, if the investigators cannot connect the dots, the ice cream man will move onto another town or city. Thereby, putting the investigators into a predicament. Do they follow his trail? Do they let him go and wash their hands of the situation? Or does the ice cream man become a recurring person in an existing campaign?
The Ice Cream Man is most definitely a dark scenario and may not be appropriate for some groups or players. I highly recommend that Keepers at least advise their players that this scenario touches on topics such as the kidnapping of children and child deaths. If everyone in a group is okay with these themes, the Keeper should have a rather easy time running this scenario.
The artwork for this scenario is limited, but then again, not much is needed. It does include one small newspaper handout that is nicely presented. The layout of Ice Cream Man adheres to the standards of Miskatonic Repository, meaning that it is clearly laid out, easy to follow, and easy to read.
This scenario is going on my shortlist of Call of Cthulhu scenarios I want to run. While I like to look at short scenarios for convention or store use, this is not one of those scenarios. The themes are too dark for those sorts of venues without proper approvals beforehand and the right group of players. This is a nicely crafted scenario that has enough twists and turns to be engaging for both the Keeper and Investigators. To answer the question posed in the title of this review, yes, we should fear the ice cream man!
The folks over at Into the Darkness Podcast have recorded and released this scenario twice if you’d like to check it out, use the links below.
The folks over at The Lovecraft Tapes recently interviewed Michael LaBossiere in their latest “Talkin’ Tapes” episode from 10 Dec 2019.
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