Entry 38: Dead Light

My first visit back in a while, I will go over Dead Light, the first scenario released for Seventh Edition Call of Cthulhu. This scenario is a survival horror scenario set ro run over the course of an evening, and should be good for one session’s play. It is a sandbox adventure, leaving the Keeper to choose a lot of how the scenario plays out.
Set in a stretch of road outside of Arkham during a horrible storm, the players are hemmed in by the weather to a small area, where they stumble across human evil confronting a monster, with themselves and a few innocents caught up in the horror.
I won’t give away too much, but there is a plot for a robbery that gets out of hand, and of the two victims of the robbery, one of them had a secret that gets loosed, putting all present at risk. The horror is the Dead Light, an entity that is unique to the scenario, and its nature has an alien feel to it that I find wonderfully creepy in the middle of the setting. The workers and occupants of a diner, the surviving people of the robbery, perpetrator and victim, and the investigators find themselves prey of the Dead Light with chances to figure out what is going on, and to try to survive, and if possible, to thrive.
We are given a cast of npcs that have a good feel to them, flawed but with their own traits, they don’t feel like cardboard cutouts. There are virtues and flaws in them, some of which will clearly lead to their own demise if the player characters don’t take the upper hand. The Keeper is free to use some of the npcs as monster fodder, or allies to help the party fend off the creature.
The creature is presented in a way that makes it feel and present as something truly alien, though ultimately its behavior in this scenario boils down to ‘hungry monster on a rampage’, it is able to use bizarre tactics and inconstant behavior.
If I were to cite any flaw in this scenario as presented, it is that the important details of the Dead Light is printed in two separate areas of the scenario, and without copying to a spare monster sheet or the like, there could well need to be some page flipping in the middle of combat, when it occurs in this scenario.
When I ran this scenario, the players did not find an easy way to beat the creature, and the body count was pretty high. But by dawn, the creature was defeated, and the survivors, while battered, were essentially intact and it was viewed as a success.
I highly recommend this scenario, but a Keeper who is not comfortable with a sandbox structure may have some trouble with it.

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