Return of the Ripper (Monograph)

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Front Cover

Product Code: CHA0339

Publishing Year: 2007

Pages: 124

Cover Price: $21.00

Author(s): William A. Barton


Setting(s): 1890s

Format: MULA Monograph

Released as PDF: yes


An 1890s Scenario for Call of Cthulhu and Cthulhu by Gaslight

Return of the Ripper takes place in London, beginning in late summer to early autumn of 1893. It involves a new series of killings perpetrated by Jack the Ripper. The Ripper has returned to London to continue his bloody work after a five-year absence. Working in league with the Ripper are other occult horrors with which investigators must deal. At least one of these is far more formidable - and deadly - than the Ripper himself!

The scenario presents a series of clues, encounters, and locations that, explored to their fullest, lead Investigators to the identity - and terrible secrets - of Jack the Ripper. A number of peripheral dangers are encountered along the way that may either be dealt with during the course of the scenario or, in some cases, sidestepped to be handled at a later time - provided Investigators retain life and sanity enough to do so. A number of red herrings are also present, designed to mislead and confuse the investigators. Some of these might lead to entire side adventures of their own; others will simply throw investigators momentarily off the track of their quarry

Scenarios: Return of the Ripper (Scenario)


Front Cover Text

An 1890s Scenario for Call of Cthulhu and Cthulhu by Gaslight

Comments / Trivia

List dedication, color plates, rarity of the book, etc.


There is an article/review on this monograph on the site, but the content is now edited and pasted below under 'Keeper's Eyes Only'

Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only

Players should not read any further.

Comment here to Keepers about this book. Comments on specific Scenarios and Campaigns go on their respective pages. Keep DISCUSSION on the talk page.

This monograph contains a large scenario but also claims, in a sub-sub-title, to be a sourcebook for Victorian London's East End. As part of the investigation the monograph provides background on the original Ripper murders.

The monograph is professionally laid out and written. A few original character portraits are supplemented by a number of period images now in the public domain (like the cover). The Appendices contain detailed maps of London and Whitechapel.

About the Scenario [SPOILERS]

In Appendix D: Designer's Notes, the author reveals that the material in this supplement was written for the original boxed set of Gaslight CoC but it grew too large and has since languished for twenty years despite a number of false starts in other directions. This explains the 'Old School' feel of the piece. The scenario style is exactly the same as Barton's The Yorkshire Horror. We are in good hands a writer who can deal with all eras (Barton's other CoC work includes The Curse of Chaugnar Faugn in The Cthulhu Casebook, The Killer Out of Space in Cthulhu Now).

The scenario, set in 1893, has the original perpetrator return to England and start killing East End prostitutes again. The scenario assumes the investigators to be detectives or journalists of one type or another, keen to investigate or to be hired to do so.

There is lot of investigating to do and Investigators will have their hands full. There is a full sub plot including a Madam in league with Ghouls and now an avatar of Y'golonac. Then we have the (distant) Tcho-Tcho who created the Psychic Vampire responsible in post-colonial revenge, the giant Sumatran Rat (from the title of an untold Holmes Case) and the monster in the wax museum. Then there is a lively cast of supporting characters from Inspector Abberline (very non-Depp) to the 'Whitechapel Vigilance Committee'. The author's obsession with Sherlock Holmes is dealt with in a small aside (a page or so) though Holmes' 'hated rival of the southern shore', Cyrus Barker, is on hand to confound or assist the player characters.

The investigation is allowed to develop by player actions but with a large number of random (or Keeper choice) encounters available to provide clues and atmosphere along the way. Incautious investigators roaming the East End are likely to get mugged, rolled or infected at the very least. Those exploring the sewers (again numerous encounters provided) risk worse fates. It is instructive that the savvy Barker packs a LeMat pistol!

A key point that will sway some for or against is the way the scenario appropriates the real murders, a point which the Designer's Notes suggest, perhaps disingenuously, was a reason Chaosium didn't go with an edited version of the scenario. This takes us in to a debate often had on YSDC forums about the problems of explaining real world horror by means of the mythos in the game. My general preference would be to set up parallels to real life events as I find this works better than appropriating them directly as here. The shockingly brutal original murders, detailed for background investigation herein, don't actually get scarier for having being committed by a mythos being acting under the command of a Psychic Vampire.

Those, like me, troubled by the monograph's approach to the original case can easily find ways around it. For example, there would be a way to make the scenario's culprit not the original Ripper but a man warped by investigative knowledge of the crimes given supernatural means of recreating them. The differences between the first and second waves then become points of focus and it is the original investigators who need investigating!

Summary [spoilers] There is enough material in this monograph for playing a Gaslight campaign without any other supplement than the rulebook [BRP that is; D20 stats are not included]. If your group will enjoy playing Gaslight as a gruesome romp there is considerable mileage here.

Overall, this Gaslight monograph is up to the standards of Chaosium's non-monograph releases and constitutes excellent value. As an introduction to Gaslight settings it is as good, if not better, than the same author's The Yorkshire Horror scenario.