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Trail of Cthulhu: The Big Hoodoo

The Big Hoodoo

Based on the real-world demise of an early rocket experimenter in 1953, this adventure messes with real events and people shamelessly, mixing a twist of Mythos madness into what is known about the demise of one Jack Parsons, who had been experimenting with rockets in his backyard and, according to the police, blown himself up through careless handling of rocket fuel. But the Investigators - his friends - suspect otherwise...

Pre-generated characters are provided for what is supposed to be a one-off adventure. Use them, they are embedded into the plot... even if the players may be a bit surprised at some of the names! Four are provided, but there are copious suggestions for additional ones if you have more players. It is intended to be played in the style of film noir, deep on background, with an array of faintly seedy characters following their own agendas. History has been messed with, however, and a few bits have been changed around. You may prefer to change them back. Here we have a Daedalus Vance Wimpole who runs a cult called Psychohistory. This is based on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, but you may know Psychohstory as the science or art practised in Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels - in THIS alternate history, Asimove wrote the Academy series using a discipline called Scientology. If you or your group find that too confusing (I do!), then change them back.

It all begins at the wake for Jack Parsons, which the Investigators are attending due to links with science-fiction fandom, in which all - including the dear departed - have been active. From then on in, it's a descent into a swirling morass of magick ritual that bodes ill to summon up something that really ought not to walk this earth... or are some such somethings already here, possessing NPCs or even an Investigator? As usual, victory will be achieved by preventing the climactic ritual from being enacted.

There's a lot going on, and hordes of NPCs with their own concerns and requests, an investigative journalist nosing around... and of course a host of clues to pick up. You will need to read through the entire adventure carefully before running it, but everything is quite well laid out down to the best mannerisms for bringing individual NPCs to life. There are several useful handouts and sidebars brimming with information - there's a lot for you (and subsequently the Investigators) to take in.

Although presented as a one-off, this needs more time than the standard 4-hour convention slot, or even an evening's play - there is really too much to pack in although it might be possible if absolutely necessary. It would be far better spread over two or three sessions. It's a low-combat, high interaction adventure, a delightful alternate history involving many names you have probably heard about.

Return to The Big Hoodoo page.

Reviewed: 6 February 2017