The Great Healer – A Miskatonic Repository Review [Call of Cthulhu]

The Great Healer

Author: G. A. Patrick
Publisher: Chaosium [Miskatonic Repository]
Page Count: 44
Available Formats: PDF
PDF (DTRPG) – $5

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.

– Doctor Who, Blink

A tourist is lost overboard during a cruise on “The Horrid History of Boston’s Harbour Tour,” run by a former fisherman using his old fishing boat. The tour company is desperate to avoid the liability and enlists the investigators to prove a ghost did it. Under normal circumstances, this would be a dubious strategy, but, as it turns out, another tourist captured video evidence of the tourist being pulled overboard by the ghostly image of a boy in the water. A boy whose clothing looks awfully out of place for the year 2018.

As I live in the suburbs of Boston and, pre-Covid, used to find myself on trains to Boston daily for work, it’s a treat to see scenarios where Boston has an opportunity to take the spotlight.

Note: RPG Nook provided Rolling Boxcars with a review copy for this article. If you have an item you’d like Rolling Boxcars to review, please visit our Product Review Request page.

Officially this Call of Cthulhu scenario takes place in March of 2018. The date could easily be adjusted, so long as the time period remains one when tourists could easily capture video evidence.

The characters become involved in the aftermath of a time-related spell cast by a dying woman, murdered by the cult she was fleeing. Her corpse was shipped overseas in a sealed crate, with the partially cast spell projecting her into different points in the future. As a result, it forms ghosts of those who die near the crate. The investigation will take the investigators to various points in time—1819, 1820, and 2018.

Overall, I enjoyed this scenario, though it did take me many read-throughs to grasp its time travel elements (and my grasp is a little on the flimsy side). Some aspects of Boston seemed a little curious to me. While the scenario takes kicks off in March, the tourist was lost in January—I can’t imagine going on a Harbor tour in January—certainly not being on deck! I suppose it’s possible, but brr. The idea of a grizzled fisherman repurposing his fishing boat for tours is actually kind of neat, though I can’t seem to recall seeing anything of the sort in Boston. It doesn’t strain my own credulity to add one, though.

I liked the inclusion of Boston Harbor and the Harbor Islands as components to this adventure—they’re often neglected when considering Boston, and they provide some great environments within half an hour of the city. Check out Shutter Island (in either novel or film form) for a great example of a suspenseful story set on one of the islands.

The scenario has several memorable characters like modern-day reporters and fishermen to cultists and sailors from the 19th century that are definitely suitable for further use outside this scenario,

One strange observation: with this adventure, I can say if I had a nickel for every Miskatonic Repository scenario I’ve read with fractal slakes, I’d have two nickels, which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird that it happened. One random thought occurred to me for a very trippy experience; one could have investigators from an earlier time period get pulled into the scenario.

The Great Healer is available as a PDF from Chaosium’s Miskatonic Repository. It is 44-pages long, mainly black and white with beads of watermark on the pages, and there is an overall nautical feel to the artwork. There is at least one instance of the art darkening the background enough that my middle-aged eyes have difficulty making out the text over it.

Do you want this scenario? Overall, I’d give it my recommendation, with the caveat that I believe it will require a fair amount of prep work and probably is less than suitable for a beginning Keeper. However, my own personal love of Boston as a setting and its nautical aspects weighs in its favor.

~ Daniel Stack

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