Muppet Mystery in New Orleans
Nothing can be more inspiring than Memes. Something that starts as a joke gets taken into context of Table Top and then a monster is born. Muppet Mystery in New Orleans was my monster that spawned from a random meme that was posted in a discord I'm a part of and I was surprised by the amount of interest that Muppets in a Call of Cthulhu setting got.
Before I go any farther into this article I must say that I do not own the Muppets or claim to own the Muppets. The game that was played was completely parody and for fun. Though the creatures, NPC's and the characters that were used my portray Muppet creatures we were playing being as respectful to the law as we can. This game will never be published or used to get money.
Now that we got some legality stuff lets talk Cthulhu! This scenario I created is designed for a short game between a Keeper and a small group of investigators. It takes place in a 1920’s setting where humans and Muppets live in the same world. The events that transpire within this text take inspiration with the unsolved Axe Murderer, the serial killer who was never caught during his reign of terror. Though there are some facts within my module that may ring true for the real Axeman of New Orleans story, I used it as inspiration and not everything that I created rang true to the facts of the real case. Why make the Jazz Killer? I love cold case mysteries, and Call of Cthulhu allows you to explore the world knowing that there is the unexplained that humans can't quite comprehend. Why did the Axeman not have a consistent description? I enjoyed creating a scenario that took something from our history and adding in the Mythos that would explain why they were never caught/killed. Giving players a chance to solve the unknown or experience the mythos is one of my favorite things as a keeper.
I will say that I was surprised, pleased and concerned how well Muppets fit into the world that I created. I ended up using only a few human based NPCs to fill in some cracks. It was very important to me that I did some research and tried to portray New Orleans (1920's) and the vast culture of the city the best I could. I found myself referencing Secrets of New Orleans: A 1920s Sourcebook to the Crescent City created by Fred Van Lente and published by Chaosium Inc. The story line however was of my own creation and I added a few more locations (such as The Green Frog Speak Easy and The Dancing Bear Casino) in the already well created setting of New Orleans.
The Play Test
Using discord and Roll 20 we were able to play test this crazy game. We ran the adventure with an investigator party of two: Gonzo the Great Detective and Beaker. The game itself took about 4 and a half hours to complete. I also tend to over write and there were a few locations that my investigators didn't even make it to but the story line was completed and had a very surprising and explosive ending.
"New Orleans has been plagued by a mysterious “Jazz” serial killer. None of the local police have been able to make any progress on the case. With the killer publicly announcing through the papers that they are going to attack their 13th victim tomorrow evening, the whole town is in a panic. Police Chief Sam Eagle has called in Gonzo the detective and Beaker the scientist with the hope that they can crack the case before the Jazz killer attacks again. "
- Clipping from the Daily Hop Newspaper written by Kermit D. Frog.
Players got to explore places such as Antonie's, St. Louis Cemetery #2, The French Quarter with more areas that could have been explored in The Bayou and city at large. The Green Frog Jazz Bar was quite hopping with Pepe the Marti Gras King and the Amazing Dr. Teeth Jazz Band. And The Dancing Bear Casino is a fun location that will remain unexplored till possibly next game.
Without giving away to many spoilers for those who may want to partake in the second game, the investigators were given 48 hours to try and solve the mystery of who is the Jazz Killer and how do they stop them. With the first stop being the Police Station, players get to see who is truly in charge of New Orleans and pick up the case files to start them on the journey. From there players get to take the investigation into their own hands, going from location to location to search for clues, rumors and use their skills to figure out the mystery.
As always with Call of Cthulhu, I warn my players not to get to attached to their characters as death and insanity is always a huge possibility in this table top game setting. I was pleased that both of my players made it to the end, even in some cases pushing and burning massive amount of luck to keep going. The players enjoyed the mystery, some red herrings and the ever beautiful music that is Jazz.
The Next Steps
As I do not own the Muppets I will not be publishing this game, at least not in it's current form. The plan is behind the scenes here at Dungeon Fox Chronicles I will go through the 4.5 hrs of Audacity recordings and my notes to make sure that I polish a few things up. Then what I would like to do is run this game one more time, Muppet themed, for the TTRPG Community.
As this was my first ever Scenario that I have created for Call of Cthulhu I am rather proud of it and do want to share it eventually. It will be re-worked into a non-Muppet environment with full hand outs, maps and pre generated characters before then publishing it to the community to have.