Review of the Japanese Call of Cthulhu scenario Three Requests, by Uchiyama Yasujirou for the scenario collection Bibliothek 13.

Three Requests Review – Call of Cthulhu (Bibliothek 13)

This is a review of the Japanese Call of Cthulhu scenario Three Requests, by Uchiyama Yasujirou, the 11th entry in the Bibliothek 13 scenario collection. You can find the written review on You can purchase the book from Amazon Japan or the stores listed on the KADOKAWA site. It is currently only available in Japanese.

In-Short: A small-scale, freeform investigation that binds its puzzle and mystery to an easily adjustable rising tension that makes it a great, and one of my new favourite, one shot ‘intermediate’ scenarios.

Spoiler-lite for Players and Keepers:

Three Requests is the last of Uchiyama’s four scenarios in the Bibliothek 13 collection, and the 11th overall. Like his first entry in the collection, A Cup of Horror, Three Requests largely takes place inside a single building, though investigators are free to leave if the really feel like it. The building is much larger this time, encompassing a large mansion and its surrounding grounds. Instead of being a ‘closed’ scenario with the investigators locked inside and looking for a way out, or a classic Call of Cthulhu ‘dungeon-crawl’-esque spooky house scenario like The Haunting or The Crack’d and Crook’d Manse, where the investigators delve into a building to find and root out the spookiness, Three Requests is a ticking-clock freeform puzzle investigation. While ostensibly set in modern day Japan, it could easily adapted to other times and settings, and indeed would fit very snuggly in classic 1920s Lovecraft Country.

It is very firmly a problem-solving scenario before anything else. The investigators are given a mysterious problem (well, three, as the title implies) that they need to figure out and deal with, and in the process reveal weirder and more dangerous problems that must be solved. The scenario gets straight to the chase, giving players immediate objectives, a full lay of the land, and an obvious time limit. Then they are set free. The tight location and time limit make it easy for the Keeper to manage the real-time length of the scenario, helping it fit into a one-shot session as short or as long as necessary, though I’d suggest between three to four hours for most groups.

While the scenario is very player-focused, giving them freedom in how to explore the mansion, pursue their objectives, and come up with their own solutions, the Keeper does have plenty of tools to focus the action or speed the players along. The Keeper’s main job, and the main difficulty in running the scenario, is that pacing. It shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but if there is a tight time limit, Keepers should plan out the beats ahead of time so they can shepherd players forward with regular time skips.

Physically, the scenario covers fifteen tightly-packed pages. There are some small handouts and a few black-and-white illustrations, a full-page map and some Keeper aids like a flow chart and a timetable. The text is mostly split between events and the layout of the house, with most of the rooms outside of the most important being given thread-bare descriptions. Lists and boxes break up the formatting, and while the scenario is leaning towards a more ‘intermediate’ difficulty level, there is still plenty of Keeper direction and guidance.

As with most scenarios in Bibliothek 13, the hook is written so it can accommodate most any investigators, including ones in an ongoing campaign, and no pregens are provided. Keepers can help give players invest their investigators into the scenario more by tying their characters to the central NPC – otherwise the players will need to either come up with a good reason for their investigators to care about the situation, or just go along for the ride, rather than peace out when things get spooky. Not a unique ‘issue’ by any means, but one a Keeper could keep in mind.

It’s difficult to go into best parts of the scenario without spoilers, but I will say it launched itself up into the ranks of my favourite one-shots. I really enjoy time pressure and small location scenarios, and this combines those with a compelling mystery, a sense of impending doom, and a fun moral dilemma. In the end, it does the thing that I always want most out of a Call of Cthulhu scenario – something that stresses players while keeping them engaged and guessing, up until you see the lightbulb flash in their eyes as they figure out what to do at the same time the pressure reaches a boiling point. It might not have as much juicy in-depth character roleplaying, or a boundary-pushing story, or complex combat and mechanical shenanigans as other top-class Call of Cthulhu scenarios, but Three Requests just does a damn fine job at being an investigation. Highly recommended.

Three Requests can be found in Bibliothek 13, currently only in Japanese, available on Amazon, Kadokawa’s store, or any cool Japanese bookstore that stocks Call of Cthulhu books.

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




The eponymous three requests are: 1) catch the dog in the bamboo grove 2) block the cellar door, and 3) lock me in my room at night and let me out in the morning.

The investigators are given these requests by an old dilettante, Mitake Bunji. For material gain, or more personal reasons if the players and Keepers modify the background, the investigators go to Bunji’s mansion for a three day job, where they find the requests stuck to the door, and Bunji himself inside, tied up and catatonic. The players are then left to their devices.

The scenario’s structure is largely determined by the players, as they can pursue leads as they see fit, but by the end of three days events will come to a head whether the players are ready or not. These events come in the form of the undead spilling out of their graves and ghouls swarming the town.

Investigators can piece together the backstory by exploring the mansion, and eventually talking to Bunji himself when he comes around for a short period at dusk each day. Bunji was studying a ritual to prolong his life so he could live longer with his young wife. Unfortunately, the wife didn’t care for Bunji, only his wealth, and as the old dilettante spent more of that wealth researching magic, she grew frustrated and ended up killing Bunji. Unfortunately for her, that triggered the ritual Bunji had been attempting, bringing back form death but as a mindless zombie at first. He killed and ate part of his wife (and her dog), before regaining his senses at dawn. He then wrote to the investigators for help and set about trying to find a way to reverse the ritual and save his wife. Unknown to him, the ritual is growing, and will start reviving corpses in a wider perimeter around his mansion.

As the investigators explore, they can come across the also undead but mangled wife, the zombie dog in the bamboo grove, undead bits of chicken in a fridge, a zombified pet goldfish, and potentially run-ins with ghouls preparing to break out. With only two full days before the ritual grows out of hand, the investigators need to deal with Bunji’s requests and the growing weirdness around the mansion, while figuring out how the ritual works and how to reverse it.

The final solution ends up requiring the final, real and forever, death of Bunji. He loses his nerve at the last minute, either requiring the investigators to convince him reversing the ritual must be done or fighting him off to complete it themselves. And if the ritual is reversed, whether Bunji agreed or not, the investigators are treated to a horrific end to the dilettante as the god of ghouls, Mordiggian, comes for Bunji. If the investigators had any connection to Bunji, it’s a rough ending, even if they know its for the best, they still have to watch as he’s dragged into… wherever a Mythos deity resides. No heartful goodbyes, just screams for help.

The main difficulty with running the scenario is keeping the pacing moving at a good clip to meet whatever time limit you have, which probably should be a single session if possible. Players could split up and try doing everything at once, and Keepers should be ready to jump around and skip time as needed to press onwards. Keepers will likely need to tell players that certain actions will take time, as well as impose penalties on investigators that stay up over night. The scenario comes with a handy time table to help structure the three days. In my run, it took us a little over three hours, which a good bit of pushing and time skipping, especially near the end. If I had more time, I think four hours would be a more comfortable session, though it could easily end much earlier if the players are focused or lucky.

Again, Three Requests is one of my favourite ‘intermediate’ types of scenarios. It’s beefy while still fitting into a single session, and is limited enough to keep things easy enough to manage while also throwing players in at the deep end with near total freedom in their walled-off space. There are more ambitious scenarios out there, but Three Requests is very successful at what it sets out to do.  

Three Requests can be found in Bibliothek 13, currently only in Japanese, available on Amazon, Kadokawa’s store, or any cool Japanese bookstore that stocks Call of Cthulhu books.

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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