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Visual Novel / The Miskatonic

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Miskatonic: Where Cute Witches Collect Screaming Masses.

"I am here today to tell you a story. A story about a girl who ruined everything"
—Narrator Madame Peanutbutter

The Miskatonic is an English-language Horror Comedy written and illustrated by Jack Cayless through Rapscallion Games. Not related to the Miskatonic University of Demonbane.

Charlotte LeStrange is a witch from Maine who lives in a world where all H. P. Lovecraft’s monsters are not only real but accepted as a fact of life. She’s recently been hired as a security guard for Miskatonic University. Acquainting herself with the faculty, she comes across a conspiracy that’s nefarious even by the standards of her society. With a ragtag crew that includes a cannibal and a few Eldritch abominations, LeStrange is determined to get to the bottom of it. Even though we know she’ll end up ruining everything.

Released on Steam in July 2018.


The Miskatonic provides examples of:

  • Adorable Abomination: Lizzy and Billy of Dunwich. Makes sense as their shadow appearance is actually a construct of the human mind to protect it from processing their madness-inducing true appearance. So if the mind is just making up how they look anyway, why not make them look cute?
  • Affectionate Parody: Jack Cayless clearly has an affinity for Lovecraft’s work, even though you might find parts of the original stories hard to take seriously after reading this.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Averted. The hivemind the students and faculty merge into is in a sense what the coven Charlotte LeStrange came from wanted: A utopia where everyone is blissfully connected, particularly in a sexual sense. Still, even before the hivemind existed Charlotte said that it would violate people’s free will to force them to join any such group, which was a deal breaker for her.
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  • Big Anime Eyes: Charlotte has noticeably larger eyes than most of the University's residents, and it makes her look cute... right up until she reveals just why those eyes are special.
  • Black Comedy Cannibalism: Nutty Annie, which she uses primarily to tease Charlotte LeStrange.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Inverted. Charlotte LeStrange’s Lovecraftian Superpower “magic eyes” makes them go black. It looks evil and creepy, but she only means to use it for benign or benevolent purposes such as freeing a character from a vat of malignant goo.
  • Book Dumb: Charlotte did poorly in elementary school as a child, and was then pulled out of schooling entirely when she was nine to join the Chesuncook Coven once her aptitude for occult studies became clear. This does have a direct effect on her logical thinking and general knowledge of the world.
  • But Thou Must!: Despite being ordered to check up on an outlying University outpost and to not enter it under any circumstances, Charlotte takes it upon herself to investigate when she and Lizzy find the door's open. You have to go inside in order to advance the story.
  • College Radio: Mindy in the Morning is a radio show that provides news for the University from dusk to dawn at random, making it hard for Charlotte to get enough sleep since she doesn’t seem to have a way to mute the broadcast in her room.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Comedically inverted; the world is a horrible, nightmarish place where people die like lemmings or suffer unspeakable fates worse than death every day, and even the lucky ones are regularly mutated or mad. But everyone's just so damn chipper about it, and the cutesy art style makes it even more comical, to the point where it's barely even a real horror story, despite the ceaselessly macabre content.
  • Crapsack World: Parodied. Human life has so little value in this version of the Cthulhu Mythos that the deaths of seven faculty members in a day at a prestigious university is considered pleasantly low. Even Charlotte doesn’t work to solve the world’s ills, just solve a mystery that's bugging her.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The description for a Room of Goo is simply “There’s a lot of it.” If you click on the icon to investigate, Charlotte can’t think of anything beyond “That’s a lot of goo.”
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu??: Done to the Abomination himself to the point where it becomes routine. Since in Lovecraft’s original The Call of Cthulhu the titular character’s temporarily neutralized by being hit in the head by a ship, in this game it’s become regular naval practice to drive a ship through his damaged body to make sure he never fully regenerates. Parts of his skin are even collected and used as a sort of tracking device / compass, since the fact the body is always trying to pull itself back together means the tentacles are always pointing towards where he is at any time.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It’s spoiled from the beginning that Charlotte LeStrange will ruin everything. We also see from her appearance in the framing segments partway through the story that she’ll survive.
  • Framing Device: Turns out Madame Peanutbutter has been telling the story of the game to Lizzy and Billy of Dunwich to try and sell them on the idea of taking over Miskatonic University.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Even though her appearance is too frightening for a human mind to process, Lizzy of Dunwich is speechless with disgust to learn that Charlotte feels a romance between a human and a Deep One could possibly be sweet.
    • Lizzy herself caused it to the Ancient Ones, precursor to all life on Earth and creators of the primordial ooze. They arrived on the planet as a remnant of their former glory, and established themselves in Antarctica as they tried to rebuild. The University sent Lizzy of Dunwich to them as an emissary, the Ancient Ones drowned themselves in their own ooze so that they wouldn't have to behold her.
  • Hot Witch: Charlotte LeStrange and Rummin Fletcher. Since they’re said to be the type of witch that goes “Nekkid in the rain” and don’t know what swimsuits are, the author likely imagined the entire Chesuncook Coven is like that.
  • How Is That Even Possible?: Charlotte asks Nutty Annie how, as a regular human aside from being an insane cannibal, she’s able to effortlessly hang from ceilings and always appear near Charlotte anytime Annie wants to make a wisecrack. Nutty Annie admits she doesn’t know herself, but admits the constant switching from floor to ceiling plays hell on her breasts.
  • Human Notepad: Jessica Morgan tells Charlotte that her experiments have revealed that if a person touches the Necronomicon with their bare skin, all the words in the book are burned onto their flesh.
  • Lighter and Softer: While all the monstrous figures and concepts are taken from the Cthulhu Mythos along with the dark atmosphere, the majority of the characters are too affable for the story to come anywhere near a Lovecraftian tone (or at least when Lovecraft was playing things straight). This is true even after it’s revealed that most of the characters have been performing a Well-Intentioned Extremist (at best) plot all along.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: A few of the staff members possess them. Pretty much the only one who uses any on-screen is Charlotte LeStrange.
  • Magic Misfire: Faculty member Amelia Luceat tells Charlotte how there were grimoire authors who deliberately wrote spell books so that the spells and curses within would befall the people who read the book instead of their intended target. She has extensive facial scars from learning this the hard way.
  • Marshmallow Hell: The first thing Rummin Fletcher does when reuniting with old friend Charlotte LeStrange. If you look closely, Charlotte is grinning.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Common among the University's inhabitants, and Charlotte explicitly says that she's into witchcraft because she finds dark magic and eldritch beings to be cool. Charlotte LeStrange comes across a disembodied human nervous system with worms protruding from it and says “Look at this sick awesome thing!”
  • Noodle Incident: Charlotte LeStrange looks at a map of the world and asks if it’s accurate because land masses are missing or have been added. Presumably this is related to alien gods taking over, but it’s not explained how or why.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: If it seems really dumb of the University to send Charlotte to New Orleans to knock on a door when Lizzy of Dunwich would be accompanying her anyway and thus could do it herself without risking Charlotte uncovering their scheme, it’s because the whole assignment was meant as the beginning of a test of how Charlotte would respond to their primordial ooze scheme.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Lampshaded by Charlotte LeStrange. When she gets praised for how she makes the staff feel safer since there hasn’t been a single accident since she started working, Charlotte irately says it's because everyone seemingly just stands in the hallways chatting instead of their jobs.
  • Power Degeneration: Charlotte LeStrange is able to use her “Magic Eyes” to normalize a vat of primordial goo and free Billy of Dunwich, but the process is so painful her eyes bleed and take a long time to heal.
  • Skewed Priorities: Mindy in the Morning's anger in hearing that there is a Hive Mind in the basement that could cover the world in its fleshy glory is not about Charlotte's involvement in the whole affair or the inherent danger to the world; it's that Mindy just finally got tenure, and now Miskatonic's a university with no staff and her paychecks are suddenly at risk.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After leaving the Living Heaven in the Sanitarium, Charlotte decides to take up Annie's offer of leaving Miskatonic University with her and heading to England, where they can have a life together.
  • The Stinger: Dr. Valentine meets with the Living Heaven to inform it that Charlotte has no intention of telling the world that it exists, and gives the hive mind the means to leave the underground Sanitarium anyway.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Played With. During the climax, Charlotte confronts a hive mind called Living Heaven led by her old friend Rummin Fletcher. Rummin tries to convince Charlotte to merge with the collective because it’s such a euphoric experience and announces that their plan is to break out of the University and absorb every human. Charlotte gives a desperate plea that humans need their free will, even if they choose to be assholes. Rummin initially rejects that argument, but the rest of the collective realizes that inviting toxic personalities in could harsh their buzz, so they should only let nice people in. Ultimately they decide to let Charlotte go if she spreads the word there’s a pleasant hive mind to join beneath Miskatonic University, which surely some like-minded but lonely people will use their free will to join, so potentially win-win.
  • Too Many Mouths: All over the cast. Some have mouths in places of eyes, mouths on top of their heads, in place of arms, etc. It turns out this is Miskatonic’s fault from when they released primordial ooze into New England’s atmosphere. It’s treated as a mild inconvenience at most, though Charlotte gives herself a grime bath in the mornings to keep it from happening to her.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Lizzy of Dunwich really liked grilled cheese sandwiches, to the point her species supposedly thinks the fact humans invented them was their best feature. The story ends on a callback to it.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Miskatonic’s faculty spread a mutagen in the air to collect primordial ooze with the ultimate intention of creating a euphoric hivemind. They also tortured or killed at least a few people to extract primordial ooze, including friends.
  • World of Buxom: Not limited to the humans: Many distinctly reptilian female characters are busty too. Sammy Kappuli even wears a high-neck sweater that is stretched transparent enough to show bra cups. A quick glance at his other work shows this is Author Appeal.

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