Biblyon the Great

This zine is dedicated to articles about the fantasy role-playing game Gods & Monsters, and other random musings.

Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

Kolchak: The Big Creep (a Daredevils adventure)

Jerry Stratton, May 31, 2023

Pavlita Generator in Space: Illustration of a Pavlita Generator from UFO Update 11, Summer 1980.; Pavlita generator

This weekend is the 2023 North Texas RPG Convention. For last year’s con, I ran the second of my Kolchak adventures. I’d initially planned on running The Powers of Dr. Remoux from Daredevils Adventures 1: Deadly Coins. Daredevils Adventures 1 is the first adventure supplement to Fantasy Game Unlimited’s Daredevils.

I started making so many changes, however, that I ended up writing up my own adventure using it as inspiration. The initial changes were simple enough. I set it at a college that had appeared in the series, Illinois State Technical College. And, of course, I updated it for 1976. College life changed a lot over those fifty years.

But the real changes began when I happened to run across an article on the Pavlita Generator in an old UFO magazine. Not only was it approximately the right time period for my adventure, but it was exactly the right way to update the adventure’s weird science from the twenties to the seventies.

U.S. intelligence officials are studying the development in Czechoslovakia of “psychotronic generators,” small devices “capable of drawing biological energy from humans and storing it for future use.”

This is exactly what Jones’s Dr. Remoux was doing, but for the UFO age and the cold war rather than the dawn of modern physics. I was further able to expand on the Cold War aspect using some real Defense documents:

Official parapsychology research in the United States and the Soviet Union was completely whacked, yet another example of how the seventies were not just another country but another planet.1

I also went back to the book that inspired Stefan Jones’s title: The Island of Dr. Moreau. Moreau specialized in the vivisection of animals to create new men. I played up the “new men” part of what was the “G-Ray Vitality Unculator” and so my adventure explores how a mad scientist at a relatively modern college might take advantage of the ability to create new, improved, humans.

The Pavlita Generator: Incredible Weapon of the Future: Article by Edith K. Roosevelt, from UFO Update 11, Summer, 1980.; Soviet Union; USSR; UFOs; Unidentified Flying Objects; paranormal; Pavlita generator

The first page spread of the original article by “Edith K. Roosevelt”.

Since the time period of the article wasn’t exactly right, I made up a new magazine combining some of the Soviet research I’d been reading about, and cobbled up a slightly altered version of the article that fit the adventure better. Thus was born UFO World and Monica Garcia Alexander. Monica is a pseudonym of the real writer, who the characters can contact—Kolchak is probably aware of him, and if not, has contacts in that circle.

My article is titled The Paulita Generator: Quantum Soldiers of the Future (PDF File, 6.8 MB). The real article was titled “The Paulita Generator: Incredible Weapon of the Future”. If you want to look it up, it’s in UFO Update Summer 1980. I suspect that the actual article’s Edith K. Roosevelt is just as pseudonymous as my fake article’s Monica Alexander, for obvious reasons. And I liked the typo in the subtitle of the original so much that I kept it for my fake version. The magazine’s cover had the same typo, referring to the device as a “Paulita Generator”. The device was correctly identified as a Pavlita Generator throughout the article itself.

The filler text that I used on the second page of the article comes verbatim from Official UFO, October 1976. I chose it mostly because it falls directly into the time period of the adventure, which begins on October 28, 1976, in the midst of the fall semester at the Illinois State Technical Institute.

I won’t go into any more detail here—it’s all in the book (PDF File, 3.7 MB). Besides the rewritten Pavlita Generator article (PDF File, 6.8 MB), you can also download the maps of Illinois State Technical College (Zip file, 427.5 KB); for each area there is a map for the players and another for the GM. If you need to modify them, I’ve also included the Inkscape SVG source files in the archive.

See my post on The Montique Fantom for other era-specific background.

I’m very happy with the Daredevils ruleset for Kolchak, and I’m looking forward to running Kolchak: The Wrong Goodbye at this year’s NTRPGC.

In response to Daredevils Detailed Action Time and Action Options Cube: The Fantasy Games Unlimited game Daredevils, from 1982, has a very interesting combat turn system. Plus, an Action-Option cube you can assemble yourself!

  1. The past is another country, but the Seventies is another planet. — Mark Steyn (Passing Parade)

  1. <- Kolchak: the Montique Fantom