Author(s): Victor M. Aguirre
Artist(s): (none credited for the maps, probably Victor M. Aguirre)
Appears in: Plan 09 From Halloween
The Fouchet Bros. Company is a moving Canadian festival (carnival) that every year tours along the East Coast, from Canada to the United States, and then returns to Canada. The festival includes a small circus and some other attractions, with some kind of odd and old fun, distant from the present day entertainments. In this adventure, the investigators, warned by a brief newspaper mention, have knowledge of the disappearance of a woman occurred near their hometown, not far from the festival’s location. Also, the day before, a drunkard had shot and injured a member of the festival, claiming they killed his daughter. Examining the two references, they will soon conclude that the two events are related.
- skyman's review on Yog-Sothoth.com
- anonymous review on Call of Cthulhu Scenarios Reviews
- Wikipedia Article on Freak Shows
Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only
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Fascinated with the pagan rituals of his Inuit ancestors, the manager of the Fouchet Bros. Company (a moving Canadian "festival" or carnival that every year tours along the East Coast, from Canada to the United States) has acquired a Mythos Tome describing deviant Inuit cult customs, including the rituals to prolong life through the consumption of human flesh in a diabolic ritual and cannibal feast performed on Halloween and dedicated to their foul god Tulzscha. With the festival as cover, the manager and his cult of side-show performers travel long distances to kidnap prostitutes or beggars and eat their flesh. In this adventure, the investigators, warned by a brief newspaper mention, have knowledge of the disappearance of a woman occurred near their hometown, not far from the festival’s location. Also, the day before, a drunkard had shot and injured a member of the festival, claiming they killed his daughter. Examining the two references, they will soon conclude that the two events are related. The investigators should try to prevent the ritual from taking place next Samhain (Halloween), rescue the girl and put the criminals into prison.
- Map of the Festival
- Map of the Abandoned Farm
- Festival (carnival) encampment
- Abandoned Farmhouse Ruin
- Assorted carnies, freaks, and clowns
- Armed Carnival Guards
Tomes and Artifacts:
Campaigns / Scenarios: (none)
List dedication, trivia, images, anything else of note.
Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.
According to the scenario's author: "Flesh Festival is an adventure for CoC which takes place during the Roaring Twenties, in some place of New England. The Gamemaster may have to adjust the scenario to the requirements of his campaign; any town of Massachusetts should fit perfectly. The date of the adventure coincides with the arrival of Samhain, although the exact year is left to the Gamemaster design. We recommend the investigators to have some experience, although it is not essential for the adventure to be played.... The satisfactory development of the adventure depends to a large extent in the oppressive atmosphere of the festival."
Setting: Nominally 1920s Massachusetts, but there's really not much in the scenario that prevents it from being set anywhere near an isolated rural area at any time that a carnival with a freak show might come to town.
- In the U.S., the era of the original, traditional freak shows would generally have been between the Gaslight era and the 1950s, at the latest - really, the traditional Freak Show as a form of entertainment had largely fallen well into the realm of bad taste by the time the Tod Browning horror film Freaks (1932) was filmed with a cast of real freaks.
- In the modern U.S., there was a counter-culture/alternative revival of freak shows starring "made freaks" (tattoos, surgical implants, masochistic stage shows, etc.) in the 1990s after the Jim Rose Circus performed at the Lollapallooza music show, but by then traditional freak shows had largely become illegal in many parts of the U.S., so the scenario may need to be adjusted somewhat for use in a setting from the 1950s to the modern era U.S. by updating NPC descriptions and that sort of thing to modern tastes and sensibilities.
- For groups whose taste in horror runs toward the particularly morbid and tasteless, it might be amusing to run this scenario as a one-shot set in the modern era as a secret carnival in some impoverished post-Cold War European Ruritania, with pre-gen rich, arrogant (and doomed) American tourist PCs being lured in by a cabal of corrupt local officials, gangsters, and depraved aristocrats to see a skeevy, secret, and illegal carnival, with the promises of a chance to enjoy a shockingly lurid and sadistic freak and snuff show of the sort that can't be found anywhere but in the ruins of a country crushed under decades of desperation and shocking disregard for human life and dignity... once the hapless PCs are hooked, cue the "torture porn" horror movie tropes with a large helping of freak, clown, and contortionist cannibalism with the PCs planned to be the main dish....
Special Notes: The scenario's author is apparently a French Canadian for whom English may not be a first language, and the scenario contains numerous charming English grammar and vocabulary idiosyncrasies; these may make parts of the scenario difficult to follow. There's really not a lot of plot to this scenario: the investigators show up after some people disappear and their families attack the carnival, snoop around a bit, and hopefully take it on themselves to interfere with the carnival before Tulzscha is summoned, so this should be a relatively short scenario unless the PCs do a lot of role-playing, or pick fights with the carnies and freaks (there's a lot of them, and the combat might slow things down to a grind). With the similarities to another scenario involving carnie cultists, some keepers may wish to have the freaks be members of the Society of the Great Dark.
Dependence on Halloween: None, really. Halloween really only appears as a significant date to perform a ritual on, and that's it - the date could be changed without changing anything else about the scenario.