Dead Man Stomp

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Details

Pages:

  • (5th Ed.) 9
  • (7th Ed.) 26

Author(s):

Artist(s):

Setting: 1920s, "Large American City" (e.g. Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles; New Orleans is a natural fit thematically)

Appears in: (originally part of 1920s Keeper's Kit but subsequently included in the core rulebook for 5th, 5.5, 5.6 and 6th editions); 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu Starter Set

Campaign: (none; designed as an introductory/early/beginner scenario, and can easily be inserted anywhere in a larger campaign)

Summary

Leroy Turner is a jazz-man; he has a drinking problem, a broken heart, and an astonishing ability granted to him through a trumpet he believes to have belonged the great jazz musician Louis Armstrong. When Archie "The Boss" Bonato and his gang gets wind of this ability, it sets Leroy, the gangsters, and the investigators on a path of tragedy and destruction culminating in a horrific confrontation at the Blue Heaven Ballroom.

Links

  • (YSDC Forums) - "How to Give Players Something to Investigate"
  • (YSDC Forums) - Handouts by MichaelArkAngel (Dupuy Funeral Home business card, Leeroy's trumpet)
  • (YSDC Forums) - "Modernizing 'Dead Man's Stomp'"
  • (YSDC Forums) - "Working Around the Trumpet" (alternative plots/premises)


Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only

Players should not read any further.

Synopsis

Describe the adventure in detail; no bias allowed.

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

Leroy Turner is a jazz-man; he has a drinking problem, a broken heart, and an astonishing ability granted to him through a trumpet he believes to have belonged the great jazz musician Louis Armstrong, but was actually given to him by Nyarlathotep: the trumpet can raise the dead. When some gangsters wind of this ability and decide to use it to raise an assassinated gang member from the grave, it sets Leroy, the gangsters, and the investigators on a path of tragedy and destruction culminating in a horrific confrontation at the Blue Heaven Ballroom.


References

Player Handouts:

  • 5th Ed.:
    • Formatted In-line text: "An Important Clue" (funeral home business card)
    • Formatted In-line text: "Pete Mancuso" (scrawled note from wastebasket)
    • Illustration: Leroy Turner and his Trumpet
    • Music (not included): King Oliver's Jazz Band and Jelly-Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers suggested for background music
  • 7th Ed.:
    • Illustration: "Music of the dead"
    • Sidebar: "Race and Racism in 1920s America"
    • Illustration: "Leroy Turner"
    • Sidebar: "Harlem"
    • Map: Map of Small's Paradise
    • Illustration: "Small's Paradise in full swing"
    • Handout 1: Funeral Home Business Card
    • Map: Map of Harlem, 1925
    • Handout 2: Wastebasket Note
    • Handout 3: Photo of Marnie Smeaton
    • Illustration: "Another dead man stomps"
    • Illustration: "The Trumpet"
    • Map: The Old Garage
    • Illustration: "A surprise for Joey"
    • Map: Trinity Cemetery
    • Illustration: Charlie Johnson
    • Illustration: Roger Daniels


Locations:

Creatures:

Tomes and Artifacts:

  • Unholy Trumpet ("Gabriel's Trumpet", actually belongs to Nyarlathotep)

Campaigns / Scenarios:

Organizations

Comments

List dedication, trivia, images, anything else of note.

  • Louis Armstrong, a famous ("real life") jazz musician of the 1920s, appears as a character in the scenario that investigators might come in contact with, at least by long-distance phone calls.

Keeper Comments

Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.

  • For: 2 to 5 players, plus Keeper; Approximate playtime: one to two sessions.

Setting: Heavily tied to the 1920s in "any large American city", with the city vague enough to be moved around; could perhaps be moved to another country and era with local racial/ethnic tensions after some minor rewriting (Gaslight India might be a possibility, for example; modern underground rap, punk, or metal subcultures have been suggested by some keepers as well as loose modern equivalents to the scenario's jazz culture.)

Special Notes: Note that race is important in the scenario as-written: much of the scenario's original flavor comes from the racial segregation and tensions of the 1920s United States, which some players may find too much of a "trigger" to enjoy as a game setting. This is described as either a starter scenario, or a casual scenario for more experienced investigators who "just want to relax", and is estimated to be able to be completed in a long afternoon. Based on the simplicity and brevity, some reviewers expect the scenario to be a little too straightforward, in danger of relying too much on "railroading" with little to ensure that investigators "stay on the tracks", and no obvious potential for expansion and elaboration beyond the simple concept and short series of scenes, though these same qualities have made the scenario a popular suggestion for new keepers to run as their first scenario.

Sequel Plot Hooks: none by default, though Masks of Nyarlathotep is a popular suggestion for a follow-up campaign for this starter scenario. Though intended as a beginner/early/introductory scenario, it lends itself well to being inserted anywhere in a larger campaign as something that happens incidentally while investigators are looking for other clues.