The Tunnels Under Temple Meads
Author: Peter Willington
Publisher: Miskatonic Repository
Page Count: 18
Available Formats: PDF
PDF (DTRPG) – $6.79
Noa Jones finds themself on the Bristol Temple Meads station platform at 1 in the morning, unable to remember much of anything. Memories seem to be fleeting at best, but things in the environment trigger them to slowly return. As it is the middle of the night, the station is all but eerily quiet, and not a soul is to be found until they take a wrong turn within the station, then suddenly find themself surrounded by many. Noa Jones finds they are in a sort of never-ending frightful situation. One which requires them to piece together their memories in time to save their life. All while outwitting a cult known as The Society.
Note: Peter Willington provided Rolling Boxcars with a review copy for this article. Please visit our Product Review Request page if you have an item you’d like Rolling Boxcars to review.
Noa Jones, a middle-aged assistant to the archivist of the Bristol Museum. They awaken on a train carriage at the Bristol Temple Meads station only to find they have no clue as to where they are. Worse yet, they have no recollections of anything past or present. Noa, investigating their current situation, will begin to piece together and fill in the gaps in their memories. Connecting the present with the past is essential to survive the ordeal they find themself in. As things begin to come together for Noa, the situation changes once more, and they find themself once again awakening in a different location. This time with others, seemingly facing the same nightmarish situation. Trapped in the station with no way out, there is a lot at stake; unfortunately, they are unaware of the stakes, the odds, and the rewards.
The Tunnels Under Temple Meads is a classic era (the 1920s) one-to-one scenario for Call of Cthulhu 7th edition. It takes its place alongside very few other one-to-one oriented scenarios for Call of Cthulhu. For readers unfamiliar with the one-to-one scenarios, they are explicitly written for one player and a Keeper. The Tunnels Under Temple Meads is written with one evening of play in mind; most games are completed within 2 to 4 hours. A pre-generated character for Noa Jones is provided for the player.
The Tunnels Under Temple Meads has a simple and clean layout with just a few pieces of art within the body of the scenario to accentuate its tone. At the end of the scenario are several period sketches of the station’s platforms, period photographs of the station, and a simple map of the station’s lower area.
The scenario is broken into six parts, each with its own theme, some of which slightly miss the mark. For example, Part 2, “Pursuit,” has nothing to do with a pursuit. While Part 4, “Initiation,” references people and a specific object in the scene set-up, these are no mentioned in the opening “read aloud” text that clearly should have been included.
While the layout is clean and easy to read, the copy needs some polishing to improve the reading experience and make locating in-game material easier. For example, when text is bolded, skill rolls are easier to find. There is overuse of capitalization, and in at least one instance, a sentence abruptly ends, leaving the reader hanging. A polishing by a proofreader would also correct some minor grammatical issues I observed.
The Tunnels Under Temple Meads is a scenario with lots of promise, and there is much to like about it. I like how Noa recovers their memories as the scenario plays out. Although this is not an original idea, Alas Vegas does something very similar; it is something not often done and still has an air of novelty. Noa as the assistant to the archivist is intimately familiar with the Museum’s Catcott Collection. Thus this is Noa’s tie-in to Titan Moth’s previous scenario, The Catcott Collection, and the recurring cult going by the respectable name—The Society. One of the conceits of the author’s one-to-one scenarios is that they feature The Society, and all tie into other Titan Moth products in some way. Fantastic!
My assessment is that The Tunnels Under Temple Meads is in need of a little more development, much of which can be remedied with the assistance of an editor. Nevertheless, the scenario’s plot is entirely plausible, works from beginning to end, and is absolutely playable. I feel the Keeper must do some additional work to fill in the blanks, such as those in Part 4’s read-aloud text, ensuring a better, more immersive play experience for the player.
Ultimately, with a little more developmental work and some editorial polishing, The Tunnels Under Temple Meads will shine bright.
Footnote: I provided Peter with an advance copy of this review for situational awareness. He, in turn, took the constructive feedback and has since incorporated it into a revised version of the scenario (version 1.1).
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