With icy roads curtailing my birthday plans somewhat, an alternative took the form of spending the afternoon running a Call of Cthulhu session for The Wife. I used the scenario Robinson Gruesome from the excellent collection Monophobia: A Fear of Solitude, which consists of three adventures designed for just one Keeper and one PC. With little or no prep time, I found Robinson Gruesome easy to run and play, and The Wife and I had a great time.
The scenario began with The Wife's character, Dabnus Uxbridge (a hardboiled detective and crimebuster) on board a small two-passenger plane over the Pacific on the trail of Alexander Dane, a dashing adventurer who had gone missing in the area some months earlier. When the plane's engines went kaput and a crash was imminent, with only a small deserted island available to land on (or near, in this case), the reason for the pun in the title and similarities to the beginning of Lost became apparent. Although the plane's pilot was killed by a shark shortly after it crash-landed near the island, Dabnus survived the short swim and washed up on the beach. He made do for about a week before spotting a canoe approaching, containing six native warriors, a native priest, and a sacrifice intended for a volcanic chimney in the center of the island. Not exactly politically correct or historically accurate for the vast majority of native cultures, but, in any event, Dabnus waited until the natives were about to throw their poor sacrifice into the volcanic chimney and then jumped out of hiding, setting off flares, firing his pistol in the air, and dancing around like a madman. He scared away some of the warriors, and then shot another warrior and the priest into unconsciousness. When the Son of Dagon (a monstrous Deep One) appeared to claim his sacrifice, a good Luck roll resulted in the wounded and unconscious priest being eaten instead. In the style of pulp adventures of the time period (1920s and 1930s), the remaining natives recognized Dabnus as some sort of spiritual being and followed his directions to take him off the island in their canoe. After a short voyage at sea, the canoe reached the native village; and waiting there was the object of Dabnus' search, Alexander Dane.
As always, the fun thing with gaming is how almost nothing goes according to script. According to the scenario, the PC was supposed to lose all of his equipment in the crash; I enforced this as much as I could, but The Wife emphasized that, as the plane was going down, the one thing Dabnus was making sure he held on to was his pistol (and a successful Luck roll kept the ammo dry and intact). Having a pistol then changed subsequent events, as Dabnus did exactly what the scenario stated no sane PC would ever do: challenge the priest and warriors the first time they came to the island. With some great rolls and rewards for clever strategy, Dabnus emerged more-or-less unscathed by the adventure. Perhaps not what was intended, but we had a lot of fun and helped to flesh out a brand new PC who might appear in a future campaign. So all in all, a good time and we're looking forward to trying the other two scenarios in the collection in the near future.