The Secret of Castronegro
Artist(s): Chris Marrinan
Weird disappearances, bestial cattle mutilations, and depraved demoniacal rites are baffling New Mexican Authorities. Will the Investigators solve the puzzle?
Investigators are drawn in by three unexplained disappearances in Silver City, New Mexico, and reports of cattle mutilation. They find the disappearances all link back to a quiet little town where nothing much ever happens.
Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only
Players should not read any further.
The mysterious disappearances are, eventually, all linked to the town of Castronegro, though quite some investigation is needed to determine that. Two of the missing men are occultists who'd recently been there, or at least been showing a lot of interest in the place. The third is a young resident of the place who'd apparently run away from home.
The scenario is complicated by the quietly sinister atmosphere of the old town, a number of red herrings and minor Mythos artefacts lurking in the town shops, and the odd behaviour of the local police.
As it eventually turns out, the town is dominated by two sinister, inbred cult families who are barely human, ruled by a powerful and ancient sorcerer. The missing men have been sacrificed. There is a monster under the clan's barn, and hundreds of cannibal degenerates lurking beneath the town, while the sorcerer himself lives in a black stone castle, kept alive by a magical ring. Investigators may try to infiltrate the castle and destroy the monster, or may prefer to hightail it at the earliest opportunity.
Player Handouts: Three newspaper clippings
Locations: Castronegro near Silver City, New Mexico
Tomes and Artifacts: Nameless Cults, Liber Ivonis, Thaumaturgical Prodigies in the New England Canaan, The Dark Angel's Kiss, Latin tome on cannibalism, Leng statuettes, wax cylinder recording, Rat-Thing statuette, sacrificial chalice, ring of immortality, assorted minor Mythos texts.
Includes several maps and useful images of important locations.
This scenario, as stated in its introduction, is best for experienced investigators. This is not only for the generally higher skill percentages, but also the relatively fragile sanity that mythos-weary investigators suffer. Keeper's should be prepared to use all the tools at their disposal: mythos tomes for references, idea rolls, and insane insights. Earlier editions of Call of Cthulhu did not emphasize player possession of tome and spells quite as much as 7th edition; adapting The Secret of Castronegro to 7th edition smooths the roughness out considerably, and the inclusion of investigator divination spells (such as Dream Vision) is another way to intuitively connect clues.
This can be quite a deadly scenario. Two combats require specific weapons to win, and there is potential for random unexpected injuries through long-distance potshots and bear-traps.
The clues to actually draw investigators to Castronegro, or highlight the Diaz family's involvement, are quite hard to get, most requiring several successful rolls each. Keepers may prefer to waive some of these.
It's not clear what the relevance of the cattle mutilations is. There is only a very tenuous link to Castronegro, which shows up in the finale if you're paying close attention. Investigators may feel the urge to take off after Mr. Dexter to Europe, or start chasing after his cowboys.
This could perhaps be worked up into a mini-campaign, if the early investigative stages were expanded on. The various oddities around town offer potential to link it to other scenarios, either before or after the confrontation with Bernardo de Diaz.