[Call of Cthulhu] The One That Got Away in The Big-Game Hunt

The Big-Game Hunt

Author: Danial Carroll
Publisher: Call of Cthulhu: Miskatonic Repository
Page Count: 37
Available Formats: PDF
PDF (DTRPG) – $3.99

Recently, Danial approached us about reviewing his latest module, The Big-Game Hunt, a scenario for Call of Cthulhu 7th edition and published through the Miskatonic Repository. If you’ve been reading our reviews for any length of time, especially my reviews, you know that I am always keen to find interesting Call of Cthulhu scenarios that are different and innovative. Danial’s pitch for The Big-Game Hunt suggests it’s both, but is it? Let’s take look.

The Big-Game Hunter is a Pulp-themed Gaslight era scenario that will take the players across the Sahara Desert, through several countries, and up into the Tibesti Mountains. The scenario is designed for 3-5 players and can be completed in one or two game sessions. Given the “high” pulp nature of the game, it focuses more on combat than on investigation. Keepers will need familiarity with the Pulp Cthulhu rules, particularly pulp talents.

Big game hunter, Terence Ashworth, has had to retire from the thrill of the hunt due to his failing health. Going into retirement knowing the big one got away has not sat well with him. Using his vast resources to hire others to hunt that which has eluded him, the fabled “Six-legged Rhinoceros”, has only resulted in his continued frustration. Exhausting convention strategies, Ashworth now turns to a strategy slightly less conventional in hopes of finally achieving success—hiring villains (assassins, bounty hunters, and the like) who will get the job done by whatever means necessary.*

* Information is provided on how to adjust if players want to play heroes rather than villains.

The story begins with a meeting at the manor house of one Terance Ashworth, London, in March 1882. The villain investigators get a chance to meet their benefactor who has arranged the meeting and assembled the team, a team with a complementary skillset if using the provided pre-generated pulp characters. It’s at the meeting the team learns that another of Ashworth’s expeditions whom he believes obtained his “white whale” was ambushed and stolen. He offers the team a princely sum of money to find his prize and re-acquire it by any means necessary and bring it to England. It is under this premise the team heads to Cairo to begin their work.

The story will take the villain investigators to the city streets of Cairo, where they must navigate the intricacies of international relations and trade as they travel across the immense Sahara Desert and points beyond. At each location along the journey provides its own set of unique challenges, they will need to assess, navigate, and overcome. Not only are there physical challenges that oppose them, be it unsavory types in Cairo, desert denizens looking for a meal, or abandoned villages that might provide them shelter, this is a hostile place. They are but a grain of sand in the vast desert. Depending on the deviousness of the Keeper the weather in the desert could also present some challenges as well, though, at this time of year, temperatures are moderate. Time, lots of time, and many miles will be spent traveling the vastness of the Sahara Desert.

After leaving the immenseness of the Sahara Desert, the villain investigators enter into the “end phase” of the scenario. Travel does continue through several other countries and there are additional opportunities to learn new bits of information. As they near their final destination, the Tibesti Mountains in Chad, the scenario enters the “end game”. It’s here, during the climax of the The-Big-Game Hunt that they will come face-to-face with Ashworth’s “white whale”, the fabled “Six-legged Rhinoceros”. This is a challenge they’ll going to have to overcome by hook or crook. Do they have what takes to bring down the “Six-legged Rhinoceros”? Ashworth did say it was already dead, right? What about the thieves who stole it from his previous expedition? I guess you’ll have to read and play it for yourself to find out.

There are obviously a lot of spoiler details I am purposely leaving out, but interested Keepers should know that the scenario is well thought out and has enough detail to keep everyone engaged and the story moving forward.

The quality of Miskatonic Repository scenarios varies from author to author depending on their writing skill and their financial means to sources quality art and a skilled layout artist. The Big-Game Hunt hits high marks in all three areas. Danial is a solid creative writer with the skill to weave compelling scenarios together. He’s also a self-admitted amateur artist and does most of his own artwork, including his own layout, only outsourcing when he reaches his limits. Putting it all together, he has created a well written and visually appealing scenario. My only gripe is that I noticed a small number of grammatical issues that should have been caught during editing or proofreading.

The Big-Game Hunt and its mix of concepts and genres is an interesting menagerie that does work together. I would never have thought Victorian Pulp themes with villain characters traveling in a desert under interesting pretenses would have worked, but I was wrong. Danial has pulled together themes that are normally disconnected and woven them into a solid scenario that is fun to read and play. This may not be a scenario for everyone, but I think many groups will find it refreshing to play as villains for a change of pace.

For Keepers curious, would The Big-Game Hunt work well as a convention scenario? I feel it would depend on what type of Keeper you are. If you’re fine with trimming when and where you need too, you can most definitely make this work in a 4-hour convention time slot.

~ Modoc

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