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"The Shadow Over Providence" - a new scenario to celebrate NecronomiCon 2019

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The Shadow Over Providence is a new Call of Cthulhu scenario set in a venue that may seem strangely familiar to anyone who has visited Providence’s iconic Biltmore Hotel. The adventure was written by Jon Hook of the Miskatonic University Podcast, with with artwork and maps by Matt Ryan. It has been developed and published by Chaosium, to celebrate NecronomiCon 2019.

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August 25th, 1928: Providence, Rhode Island.

The Milton Hotel cordially invites you to view the fantastical travelling exhibition “The Kingdom of Fire—Egypt’s 18th Dynasty.” All the way from the British Museum, London, England, come see these wonders of ancient Egypt, rare and priceless items from a time long ago. Learn about their history from Dr. Caitlin Bronson, the exhibition’s curator, who will be on hand to answer all of your questions. Marvel at the treasures of Tutankhamun and Hatshepsut, along with the star of the exhibition, the mysterious canopic jar of Ibnhotep the Mad! Tickets are limited and going fast—and you don’t want to miss out on what promises to be the most talked about exhibition of the year!

With an invitation like that, how could your investigators possibly refuse? Be they historians and scholars, or even those who ply the blackmarket trade in illicit antiquities, this is a rare opportunity to learn the secrets of the distant past outside of a museum. And what possible danger could there be in going to see the mortal remains of someone called “Ibnhotep the Mad”?

 

We'll have a limited quantity of special print copies for purchase at NecronomiCon, where Chaosium's Mike MasonLynne HardyJames Lowder, and Nick Nacario will be in attendance, and the Call of Cthulhu RPG is playing a key role in the convention's extensive gaming program. Afterwards, The Shadow Over Providence PDF will be available from Chaosium.com and DriveThruRPG.

https://www.chaosium.com/blogthe-shadow-over-providence-a-new-scenario-to-celebrate-necronomicon-2019

 

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You have some great cons on the upper eastern seaboard.

Great stuff and I can't wait till tSoP is available to the rest of us. 

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This was a fun scenario to write, and my play testers said they had a fantastic time playing it. 

So, the adventure comes with six pre-generated characters. I happened to have only three play testers. During the course of the play test, five of the pre-gens got to be used! Two of the players had their initial characters die about midway through, so they picked up a replacement character, and the third player's character died in the finale. 

To be fair, there were some outstandingly bad dice rolls in that game, and the players took an investigative approach of, "Let's poke the bear to see what'll happen." Spoiler... the "bear" pokes right back at 'cha.  ;)

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Available now: THE SHADOW OVER PROVIDENCE, the new Call of Cthulhu scenario created by Chaosium to celebrate NecronomiCon 2019.

Available in PDF—if you purchase from Chaosium.com now you'll get the full price of the PDF off the physical product when it is released. 
https://www.chaosium.com/the-shadow-over-providence-pdf

map-of-providence.png.2d3920f9424b24d87137d03196bcf6a3.png

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@JonHook always does a great job of fleshing out the Pre-gens with connections to the story. I'm running What's In The Cellar? for an FLGS right now and it really encourages the role-playing for strangers.

 

Will the final print/pdf be in color, or black and white? 

Edited by klecser

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Thanks Rick. One last question: In my brief skim I didn't see any suggestions for approximate length. What time frame is this intended to be run within?

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25 minutes ago, klecser said:

Thanks Rick. One last question: In my brief skim I didn't see any suggestions for approximate length. What time frame is this intended to be run within?

How long is a piece of string?  Play time of scenarios varies by Keeper and group - I see scenarios that I would run in one or two sessions being talked about on forums as taking some groups 8 or more sessions.

In my view, I could run this over 2 two sessions, but equally could condense timing to a convention single slot. I'm sure some groups could take 3-4 sessions.

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19 minutes ago, Mike M said:

How long is a piece of string?  Play time of scenarios varies by Keeper and group - I see scenarios that I would run in one or two sessions being talked about on forums as taking some groups 8 or more sessions.

In my view, I could run this over 2 two sessions, but equally could condense timing to a convention single slot. I'm sure some groups could take 3-4 sessions.

Thanks Mike. I agree with you. What I'm trying to gauge is how successful someone might be in running it as a one-shot. I'm curious as to what advice I could get from Keepers who have successfully run it that way. I could have been more explicit in my post asking for that.

Edited by klecser

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17 hours ago, MOB said:

Available now: THE SHADOW OVER PROVIDENCE, the new Call of Cthulhu scenario created by Chaosium to celebrate NecronomiCon 2019.

Available in PDF—if you purchase from Chaosium.com now you'll get the full price of the PDF off the physical product when it is released. 
https://www.chaosium.com/the-shadow-over-providence-pdf

The Shadow Over Providence now available at DriveThruRPG too.

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On 8/27/2019 at 9:01 AM, klecser said:

Thanks Mike. I agree with you. What I'm trying to gauge is how successful someone might be in running it as a one-shot. I'm curious as to what advice I could get from Keepers who have successfully run it that way. I could have been more explicit in my post asking for that.

Hey klecser, 

Having just returned from NecronomiCon Providence, where I ran this exact adventure three times successfully within the four hour time slot, I have some advice on how to run this as a one-shot. Please note, I wrote this adventure with the intent that the first half of the adventure is a slow and careful collection of clues, which then leads to a second half of (hopefully) breakneck terror as you race to defeat the monster. 

SPOILER -- SPOILER -- SPOILER 

... 

...

...

...

...

Okay, here are the changes I made to run Shadow Over Providence as a one-shot within a four hour time slot. 

1. Remove Most of the NPCs -- The adventure was written with the assumption that the investigators will interact with NPCs as they are drawn into the mystery. That entire premise will eat up most of your time, if you keep it in the adventure. So, I got rid of most of the NPCs. I still have the criminals trying to steal the Ibnhotep Canopic Jar, but instead of it being knocked over and broken by Celia Shepherd when the lights were out during the robbery, I just had Dr. Bronson accidentally knock it over. The net effect is the same without involving the other NPCs. 

2. Flash Photography During the Robbery -- Be sure to have the unnamed reporter from The Providence Journal take a flash picture just as the resurrected Ibnhotep is draining the life-sustaining fluids from Dr. Bronson's body. Everybody still in the ballroom may possibly witness this sanity blasting event, (to include the criminals). The reporter's camera becomes potential evidence that the cops will seize. 

3. Add One New NPC -- Without the other NPCs to help draw the investigators into the mystery, there is a good chance that the players may feel directionless, and not recognize a path into the mystery. So, to fix that I added in rookie police officer, Officer O'Malley. After the attempted robbery, and Dr. Bronson's death, I have all of the criminals escape due to their fear from seeing Dr. Bronson's death. Inspector Drummond is obviously frustrated with the absolute chaos of the situation. So, in each game I had Drummond turn over control of the police action at the hotel to the closest uniformed officer, which happens to be the rookie, O'Malley. Once Drummond leaves for the morgue, (of which, to date, none of my players have ever wanted to follow Drummond to the morgue), the investigators will now see how confused and scared O'Malley is with so much authority. Any investigator that offers to help O'Malley is greeted with open arms, (and in all of my games, the players immediately swooped in to save O'Malley). It is through O'Malley's request for help that the investigators can either develop the film in the reporter's camera, or go check out Dr. Bronson's hotel room. 

4. Non-Spell Monster Attacks -- The monsters do not always need to use the Shrivelling spell. Sometimes, they can just slap or conduct some other non-spell attack. Then, once the investigator has had a chance to either "fly or fight," and they choose "fight," then I felt comfortable in unleashing the spell. And in most cases, the proto-shoggoth wins that duel. 

5. The Final Confrontation is Mobile -- Remember that there is not iron-clad set location for the final confrontation with Ibnhotep, the shoggoth lord. In my play tests, he was hiding at the top of the elevator shaft, so most of the final confrontations occurred in the grand ballroom. But, during most of the Necronomicon games, the final confrontation was in the industrial basement of the hotel. The key is, wherever the investigators 'think' Ibnhotep is hiding, they are correct. 

I hope you find this information helpful, and I hope both you and your players have a great time playing Shadow Over Providence. 

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2 hours ago, bloatedman said:

Excuse me,

Page 5 , Shabti Figurine (Red Jasper)

" by any extra-terrine creature" extra-terrine is what does that word mean?

 

I think Jon probably meant extra-terran, a play on extra-terrestrial. Terra being the classic science fiction name for Earth, coming from the Latin terra firma. "terrine" exists in French/Italian cuisine and I think maybe it was phonetically close to what he was going for, even if it isn't the right word.

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2 hours ago, JonHook said:

I meant to type "extraterrene". It may have been unrecognized by Word and autocorrected. 

Stuff happens. I wasn't trying to Grammar Police you or anything. ;)

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‘Extra-terrine creature”

And in an innocent typo lies the seed for a truly horrific scenario. What is the celebrity chef encouraging people to layer into their terrines that drives them to madness? What Eldritch creature has fallen into the machinery at the factory and been inadvertently added to the terrine? Whatever it is, it’s determined to reassemble itself, with dire consequences for those who’ve innocently eaten it with their dinner. What’s causing the spate of gory deaths in the city? Forensics are baffled and are insisting that the deaths were caused by an exit wound from the stomach, but they can find no  evidence of an entry wound. What was it that slithered past the butler as he rushed towards the screams coming from the dining room? Whatever it is, terrestrial or extra, you can bet your life, if you dare, that it’s now sorely riled and most certainly very, very anti-terrine. Someone is going to have to pay for this meal from the stars. 

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