Of Sorrow and Clay – A Miskatonic Repository Review [Call of Cthulhu]

Of Sorrow and Clay

Author: Graeme Patrick
Publisher: Miskatonic Repository
Page Count: 40
Available Formats: PDF & Print
PDF (DTRPG) – $4.95
Print – $11.95
Print/PDF Combo – $16.90

Family is everything to those in the hollers of the Appalachian Mountains. You may not like each other, but there is the bond of blood you share amongst your kin. The bond of kinship is strong, but is it strong enough to find one of your own and do what must be done? Venture in the hollers as a member of the Taft family in search of your kin who has gone missing.

Lorelie Taft, the eldest of the Taft children, is contacted by her father’s neighbor, Jack, informing her that her Pa has gone missing. Jack implores Lorelie to round up the other Taft kids and come back home to help look for the old bastard. The bond of kinship is strong… the Taft children return to the holler where they were born and raised to search for the old fool.

Upon their return, they are confronted with signs of a hasty exit from the homestead. Further exacerbating the situation is the remoteness of the holler, but there are clues if the Taft children are willing to see them, perhaps digging a little deeper. What they do with those tidbits of information will guide them to the story’s conclusion. Are they strong and resilient enough? Will kinship or reluctance prevail when faced with decisions that must be made?

Of Sorrow and Clay is written by Graeme Patrick, winner of Chaosium’s 2019 Cult of Chaos writers competition. It is a “Classic Era” Call of Cthulhu scenario for up to five players and is easily playable in one session. Players take on the role of Carson Taft’s children, and pre-generated investigators for each are provided. Keepers and players wishing to create their own investigators can do this easily enough, but they need to be connected to the Taft family; several suggestions are given to make these connections more plausible. Of Sorrow and Clay was originally created for a one-shot mini-series run and recorded by Ain’t Slayed Nobody, featuring Cam Collins from The Old Gods of Appalachia and Becca Scott from The Calyx as guest players.

Presentation

Available in both digital and print, this review is of the digital version only. The art and layout for the book were done by Alex Guillotte and really captured the feel of the story. The table of contents is nicely hyperlinked, making quick work navigating the text. The handouts provided are beautiful. The pre-generated investigators really complement the story. What really stands out is the way the scenes have been presented. Graeme Patrick has deviated from the norm by inserting numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.) into the text where specific rolls are required; these numbers correspond to a number in the “Rewards and Information” section for that scene, which provides the information. This minor deviation in form made for a more enjoyable, flowing reading experience.

Of all the things I like about its presentation, there is one that needs further attention: editing and proofreading. As I will note below, the story is fantastic. However, there are numerous instances where connecting words are missing or a word tense is wrong, which is likely to cause the reader to pause, breaking their flow. This can easily be remedied.

Final Thoughts

Graeme Patrick’s Of Sorrow and Clay is a wonderfully written scenario that is both compelling and entirely plausible. The hollers of the Appalachian Mountains are a mysterious place, after all. Not all scenarios in the Miskatonic Repository are equal in story development and presentation, but Graeme has nailed both! This is one scenario that I highly recommend.

If you’d like to hear it being played, check out Ain’t Slayed Nobody’s two-part mini-series (Part 1, Part 2); it is worth a listen. Also, while Of Sorrow and Clay can be played in a single session of perhaps 4-6 hours, depending on your players, with a few minor tweaks or a judicious Keeper, it could easily fit into a 4-hour convention slot.

~ Modoc

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