Horror at the Westmore Motel – A Miskatonic Repository Review [Call of Cthulhu]

Horror at the Westmore Motel

Author: Leopoldo Rueda
Publisher: Chaosium [Miskatonic Repository]
Page Count: 28
Available Formats: PDF
PDF (DTRPG) – $2.99

In July 2021, the Storytelling Collective began a Call of Cthulhu-centric writing program for aspiring game designers. For a small fee, the “Write Your First Adventure – Call of Cthulhu Path” offered new writers a month-long training program that took would-be authors from their scenario’s conceptual beginnings through to publishing their very first scenario. As a student of this inaugural Storytelling Collective program, Leopoldo Rueda conceived, wrote, and published Horror at the Westmore Motel, a modern era Call of Cthulhu scenario—published through Chaosium’s Miskatonic Repository for Call of Cthulhu 7th edition.

Note: Leopoldo Rueda 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.

On the evening of November 14, 1983, investigators arrive at the Westmore Motel, a dumpy hole-in-the-wall establishment near the Massachusetts and Connecticut state line. Earlier in the day, Meagan (pre-gen investigator) excitedly showed the others a photograph of a woman employed at the Westmore who uncannily looks identical to Alice’s (pre-gen investigator) missing mother. In addition to the uncanny similarities in appearance, it appears this woman maybe Alice’s mother. If that’s true, she hasn’t aged in the thirty years since she disappeared. The trip to the Westmore was a spur-of-the-moment decision prompted by the idea that Alice might be able to get closure. How could Alice, encouraged by her friends, not look into this lead?

The Westmore Motel is on a remote stretch of road near the Massachusetts and Connecticut state line owned by George Westmore. Westmore bought the secluded property thirteen years ago to conduct research into his passion—eternal life. His research led him to attempt to contact an alien race whose technology far outpaces our own. George ultimately fails but still resides at the Westmore Motel, attended to by his “son” and a maid who looks after the now elderly man. His son and maid oversee the operations of the motel. The investigators arrive and attempt to make contact with the maid. Their arrival, questions, and intentions bring unwanted attention to the Westmore’s activities, forcing them to do something about these interlopers. Lest their secrets are discovered and their long-term plans ruined.

The scenario comes with several handouts and three pre-generated investigators. Each pre-gen has a direct connection with the others, and separate, short “player introductions.” The introductions give players a summary of who the investigator is, how they are connected, and a plausible reason why they each are willing to travel to the Westmore Motel. Appendix A provides Keepers with tips on placing the Westmore Motel in their ongoing game and using the pre-gens as NPCs.

Horror at the Westmore Motel has the potential to be a good scenario, but it’s only partially developed and needs additional work. The scenario’s background and investigator hook are plausible, but paper-thin and players will see right through it. Several factors contribute to this determination:

  1. The author’s writing style and general layout of the information is “choppy” and very much “stream of thought,” which leads to the next point.
  2. The author’s continuous written assumptions of what the investigators are “most likely to be doing” revealing what is playing out in their head. In places, it’s very sloppily presented. As such, it lacks the concise structure readers will expect to find.
  3. The author is a non-native English speaker, and as a product sold in English, it is not localized for an English-speaking consumer.
  4. Although directly related to the developmental issues, the scenario’s layout needs attention. There are a variety of spacing issues, widows and orphans, and style inconsistencies.

I think Leopoldo Rueda is creative and that the Horror at the Westmore Motel has the potential to be a good modern scenario, but it needs additional development. It also needs to be properly edited and proofread for English consumers. I believe with a little “spit and polish,” the Horror at the Westmore can really shine as an example of the creativity within the larger international Call of Cthulhu community.

~ Modoc

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