Review of the Call of Cthulhu scenario Mr. Corbitt, originally written by Shawn DeWolfe and updated by Lynne Hardy for Chaosium’s Mansions of Madness Volume I.

Mr. Corbitt Review – Call of Cthulhu (Mansions of Madness)

Review of the Call of Cthulhu scenario Mr. Corbitt, originally written by Shawn DeWolfe and updated by Lynne Hardy for Chaosium’s Mansions of Madness Volume I. Read the text version here Thank you to Cryochamber for use of their album, Cthulhu.  


A small scale, though unassumingly complicated, scenario well suited to small groups or a duet session with an individual investigator.

Spoiler-lite for Players and Keepers:

Mr. Corbitt focuses on the eponymous Mr. Corbitt and on its face is a small-scale and unassuming little scenario, though its freeform nature can be more complicated that it seems at first glance. It’s also one of the most ‘Lovecraftian’ of the scenarios in Mansions of Madness with its slow progression of discovered horrors and exploration of single character. I also feel it works best as a duet scenario with a single investigator to emphasise the personal horror, but mechanically a pair of investigators would likely be ideal to avoid untimely or abrupt endings.

The scenario covers 30 pages, with the main text taking up 18 pages, 3 pages for stats, 7 handout pages, 1 page for a map, and 1 full page art piece. As with all 7th edition material put out by Chaosium, the production is top notch. The text is well organised and easy to read, the art is beautiful, and the maps are detailed and easy to use, and most of the handouts are functional and look period appropriate. Unfortunately, one large string of handouts is handwritten and can be difficult to make out, though thankfully not as bad as the journal handout in The Darkness Beneath the Hill from Doors to Darkness. Shudder. Thankfully, plain text versions of the handouts are available for free from Chaosium.

It’s not really possible to give much of detail of the scenario plot itself, as the proceedings start early on. The hook at least is that the investigators need to… investigate their unassuming neighbour, Mr. Corbitt. The scenario follows a familiar formula – freeform investigation and poking around a spooky place. There are enough bumps and twists in the road to make it a memorable familiar formula though. Its simple structure does become a bit complicated from the Keeper’s side, but from the player’s side it isn’t too difficult while still offering a good degree of agency. In the long line of beginner-friendly Call of Cthulhu scenarios, Mr. Corbitt is a bit more demanding than most, but for groups wanting to jump in at the deep end of single or two session scenarios, Mr. Corbitt is a very good option, especially for a single or pair of investigators. Indeed, I ran Mr. Corbitt as a ‘duet’ game with a single investigator, and it was my favourite of those kinds of scenarios so far. Word of warning, bring an NPC companion along.

Mr. Corbitt can be found in Mansions of Madness Volume 1 on Chaosium’s store, DriveThruRPG, Amazon, and your local game store if they’re cool.

Before you go, maybe you would be interested in some of the below reviews or replays?
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Spoilers Call of Cthulhu




Mr. Corbitt follows a tried-and-true format of preliminary investigation followed by on-the-ground infiltration, in the same vein as The Haunting or The Crack’d and Crook’d Manse, with the wrinkle that instead of only investigating a place, the main subject of interest is a living man. This offers a few more options when doing the initial phase of poking through dusty libraries and newspaper records, as investigators can tail or question the man of the hour, Mr. Corbitt, directly, or look into his associates. In the end, the investigators will likely break into his house for a traditional dungeon crawl / spooky house romp.

The scenario opens with the investigators spotting their neighbour, Mr. Corbitt, parking his car and walking into his house. But before getting inside drops a package, giving the investigators a moment to see that it’s a child’s arm before Corbitt whisks it up and bolts inside. And so the race begins.

The investigators have a handful of avenues to go down, and the scenario text gives plenty of advice for different eventualities. The most obvious is if the investigators immediately call the cops on their neighbour. Unfortunately, Mr. Corbitt can be an oddly charming fellow, and any police are soon seen walking out of the Corbitt house in good spirits and carrying a fruit basket.

Or the investigators could go down a more direct route and either confront Corbitt or break into his house. Ideally players with some background in Call of Cthulhu will know to gather some information before diving in headfirst, but players will be players. Again, the text provides suggestion for handling this, ranging from a ‘soft’ reaction with Corbitt acting innocent and bewildered, to a ‘medium’ reaction like Corbitt calling the police on the party, or a ‘hard’ reaction with Corbitt plotting to poison the investigators if he has the time, or if directly and violently confronted, fighting back with magic. Breaking into his house when Corbitt isn’t there likely leads into the end game.

Most investigators will ideally do some investigating, though. They can find out more of Corbitt’s background and his comings-and-goings from newspapers or a library, scope his office, talk with neighbours, or tail him on his errands. They’ll learn of oddities in his history, including the untimely death of his father while the two were travelling in India, as well as the equally untimely death of his wife in childbirth and resulting institutionalising of their midwife. Weird and unfortunate, but not exactly a smoking gun.

Through their investigations they should find that Corbitt makes regular trips to a hospital to give vegetables to an orderly, as well as twice-weekly to a dump. With these leads, the investigators can work out that Corbitt provides the orderly with home grown vegetables in exchange for body parts of cadavers picked up from the dump. This is both weird and most definitely a smoking gun.

To break into the Corbitt house and find out what the man is really up to, the investigators have a few hurdles to get past. One in particular is the main reason I suggest either playing with two players, or having a backup NPC tag along with a solo investigator. Namely, Mr. Corbitt’s greenhouse full of plants not of this world that can play nasty tricks. One can suck the investigator into an alien world populated by horrific spider-like creatures that don’t take kindly to interlopers. While an investigator will come back to their world in a dozen or so minutes, this leaves ample time to be eviscerated by an alien beast. Another flower is even more unforgiving, releasing a near-invisible gas that will melt an investigator unless they succeed a CON roll and get the hell out of there. This greenhouse is by far the most dangerous part of the whole scenario, and a particularly cruel Keeper could wipe out an unsuspecting party with little forewarning.

Inside the house, investigators will likely first run into Corbitt’s charming pet, a woman’s decapitated head with arms spouting from her ears and a single leg where her neck should be rambling around the house. This deformed little thing is not particularly dangerous, but it does make a mess of things. In the basement, though, is Corbitt’s child – a horrific abomination of sewn together human remains and blasphemous unhuman flesh. In a fun twist, the child-thing isn’t outright hostile, and will bumble after the investigators whining for food. If attacked or left without food for too long it may turn aggressive. The child be deadly against one or two unarmed investigators thanks to a large HP pool, but its lackluster fighting abilities mean it doesn’t stand a chance against a larger party or heavily armed opponents.

I find it much more interesting to avoid outright combat with the thing, as having it noisily follow the investigators is much more unnerving, and gives a very uncomfortable decision on what to do with it. But in the house is also the real monster of the scenario – the 7-page journal handout that vomits out the backstory. While in truth not that bad, it does put a sudden break on the pacing to hand the players a short story to read in the middle of the end game. If at all possible, I’d rather have Corbitt come home somewhere around here, and if the investigators threaten the child, Corbitt can explain everything in detail himself to buy time and maybe convince the investigators to leave him be. Of course, if the players learn that the child-thing will grow into a gateway to allow Yog-Sothoth’s entry to Earth, they probably won’t let Corbitt and his kid go on their merry way to Armageddon.

The conclusion is open ended. Players need to decide what to do with Corbitt and the child-thing (not to mention the pet head bouncing around upstairs). While the situation is horrific, I like to play up how pathetic and vulnerable Corbitt and his child are, making it feel less like a ‘slay the monster and evil wizard’ situation, but instead a miserable and broken man with an idiotic and disgusting but fragile creature as his child. This can be a very downer ending, as the investigators put the child-thing out of its misery, utterly breaking Mr. Corbitt and leaving him a gibbering wreck. And of course, there’s the police to deal with afterwards.

Or, like in my ‘duet’ run, the investigator and their NPC companion break into the house armed to the teeth, fumble rolls trying to blast away the child resulting in the NPC gunning down the investigator, and finally ending with the police rolling up and finally putting down the child in a hail of bullets while the NPC-turned-PC cradles their dying companion. Not a pretty picture for Mr. Corbitt to come home to.

Mr. Corbitt is an extremely solid small-scale investigation and spooky house scenario. I also think it might be a better introduction to Call of Cthulhu than The Haunting or the Gateways to Terror scenarios for a small group of experienced roleplayers, as it gets right into the deep end with the investigating and weirdness of Call of Cthulhu without being overly action-centric.

Again, Mr. Corbitt can be found in Mansions of Madness Volume 1 on Chaosium’s store, DriveThruRPG, Amazon, and any Chaosium-product holding local game store.

Before you go, maybe you would be interested in some of the below reviews or replays?
MJRRPG scenarios, Chaosium-released scenarios, Miskatonic Repository scenarios, Japanese scenarios

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