Horror in the Highlands – A Call of Cthulhu Scenario

Horror in the Highlands. An adventure for the 7th Edition of Call of Cthulhu by David J Wright. Image shows a woodland path in darkness. Call of Cthulhu Miskatonic Repository logo is also shown.

On Friday 23rd February 1722, something horrible happened in Moy.

It is almost Friday 23rd February 1923, and Moy will once again experience something horrible.

The Bodach Glas has come.

There will be Horror in the Highlands.

After writing The Oxford Articles (now a Silver seller on DriveThruRPG!), I decided to go back to my original idea for an adventure set in the Highlands of Scotland.

There are a lot of horror / mythos style stories that could be written and set in Scotland purely because of the rich history of the country. As with The Oxford Articles, I wanted a hook that tied to a historical event and then build a fictional horror story from that.

I settled on using events in and around the village of Moy and started to look at key events in the local history.

Moy is known for a few things:

  • Moy Station and the Aultnaslanash Viaduct were constructed in ~1895 ahead of the railway line opening in 1897.
  • Moy Hall is the home of the Clan Mackintosh. The building itself has gone through multiple iterations what with fires and the like.
  • Loch Moy is there and in the loch sits both the Isle of Moy and the crannog Eilean Nan Clach. Both of these have interesting histories.
Map of the railway in North Scotland showing the line from Inverness to Moy.

But Moy itself has no obvious ties to Horror, at least no more obvious than any other rural location in the Highlands. So in many respects placing the adventure in Moy is more down to leveraging what it does have and then applying a ‘what if?’ type of horror story to it.

One of my goals with this adventure was for it to be playable in one session. Whilst The Oxford Articles can theoretically be played in one session, it wasn’t written with that in mind. Ultimately my goal wasn’t quite met as whilst the adventure could be done in a single session with some truncating of events, in reality it likely needs 6 hours of play to get under the covers of what’s going on with enough content for perhaps 10 hours depending on how deep the players explore the narrative.

Researching various sources of Scottish folklore, I stumbled across a reference to the Bodach Glas. A sort of malevolent spirit that gives warning that death is coming. Traditionally linked to the clans, and knowing the Clan Mackintosh has their home in Moy, the story started to come to life.

It’s now published on DriveThruRPG and I’d love to hear your thoughts!