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A Kolchak Christmas at North Texas 2023

Jerry Stratton, February 28, 2023

Carl Kolchak: Kolchak, holding a microphone and his signature portable tape recorder in Las Vegas.; Kolchak: The Night Stalker; Darren McGavin

They say the only perfect murder is the random murder. It’s the Christmas season in Chicago, and police are certainly stymied by the seemingly random killings the press has dubbed “The Christmas Murders”. Will Kolchak and his loose band of night stalkers solve the mystery? Choose a pregen from many of the guest stars who appeared on the Kolchak: The Night Stalker television series.

I’ll be cracking open Daredevils again for The North Texas RPG Con in 2023. This year’s adventure is “The Wrong Goodbye” and takes place over Christmas of 1976. It’s currently scheduled for Saturday morning at nine.

Here’s the TV Guide version:

Carl Kolchak and guest stars investigate Chicago’s 1976 Christmas murders.

All the old favorite guest stars and regulars will be available. Kolchak himself, of course, and if you’ve ever felt like letting loose a barrage of abuse at an abusive reporter who can’t understand why nobody believes him, Tony Vincenzo is also available.

A lot of the fun with a game like this is roleplaying the television roles: Vincenzo, or Pepe Torres, or Paula Griffin, or Kolchak himself. The Kolchak television series is often rerun by oldies television stations. In my area it’s currently running on MeTV. It looks like you can also stream it free on NBC. The two movies, The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler are harder to find.

Here are the current pregens:

  • Ryder Bond (Firefall)
  • Jack Burton (Primal Scream)
  • Emily Cowles (Regular cast)
  • Leslie Dwyer (Mr. R.I.N.G.)
  • Janis Eisen (The Energy Eater)
  • Jim Elkhorn (The Energy Eater)
  • Paula Griffin (The Werewolf)
  • Maria Hargrove (Firefall)
  • Carl Kolchak (Series lead)
  • Ali Lakshmi (Horror in the Heights)
  • Monique Marmelstein (Sporadic cast)
  • Lila Morton (Chopper)
  • Charles Rolling Thunder (Bad Medicine)
  • C. Evan Spate (Demon in Lace)
  • Agnes Temple (Bad Medicine)
  • Pepe Torres (Legacy of Terror)
  • Ron Updyke (Regular cast)
  • Tony Vincenzo (Regular cast)
  • Bess Winestock (They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be…)
  • Rosalind Winters (Demon in Lace)

If you’ve been to a previous game, you’ll have the opportunity to continue the same character.

The Daredevils game is relatively simple from the player end of things, especially for an old-school game. You’ll make a lot of d20 rolls, trying to roll under some target number related to your skills. I will also be bringing back the Daredevils Action Cubes. The only really weird thing about it is that actions in combat—what it calls Detailed Action Time—are simultaneous. So it’s possible for two combatants to knock each other out, for example.

Each character has attributes (strength, health, wit, and so on), skills (brawling, research, journalism, and so on), and talents (scientific, mechanical, communicative, combative). Rolls are made on a d20 against saving throws (based on attributes) and chances of success (based on either skills or talents), and the goal is to roll under the target number. The targets (chances of success) will be on your character sheet.

Daredevils is perfect for a Kolchak game, because Kolchak’s world is one of hard-boiled (supernatural) action. He’s a noir journalist out of time.

  1. <- Racist fantasies
  2. Kolchak: Far Out, My Idol ->