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Kolchak’s Cold January at North Texas 2024

Jerry Stratton, March 25, 2024

Daredevils Character Sheet: Tony Vincenzo: A Daredevils character sheet for Anthony Vincenzo of Kolchak: The Night Stalker.; Daredevils RPG; Kolchak: The Night Stalker

A sample Daredevils character sheet, this is Carl’s long-suffering editor, Tony Vincenzo.

Yes, I will be running another Kolchak game at North Texas this year! It will be Saturday morning at 9 AM.

“January, 1977. Record cold temperatures have scientists talking about a new ice age. Cold in Chicago is nothing new; neither is cold-blooded murder. But what happened in Chicago that January was so unprecedented, so outrageous, that even now I fear to reveal the chilling truth.”

I’m excited about this game. I ran a test version for my local group at the beginning of the year. One great scene involved former gang member Lila Morton and Romany fortune-teller whose brother is a martial artist Maria Hargrove protecting 74-year-old Ojibwe shaman Charles Rolling Thunder from chupacabra (their word, not mine) in downtown Chicago in January!

There are a lot of pregenerated characters available; you can choose from most of the regulars and many of the guest stars of the Kolchak: The Night Stalker television series:

  • 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.

While the listing has it as “77 Lost Worlds”, we’ll be using the Daredevils rules from Fantasy Games Unlimited. “77 Lost Worlds” is the first in the list, and used to be the default entry, with no option for games not in the list, which Daredevils is not. It used to be that you could see a lot of games under “77 Lost Worlds” that were not using that system.

It looks like this has been solved as of when I submitted my Flashing Blades game several weeks after submitting Kolchak: the generically-named “RPG” game type now allows more than four players, so that’s what I’ll likely be using in the future.

Completely unrelated to the game session, I was researching an old game company (for something that is unlikely to end up on the blog) a few weeks ago and ran across an early Daredevils ad. These ads, especially the Fantasy Games Unlimited ads, always had me fascinated. For one thing, the games they advertised always looked like a lot of fun. It wasn’t just FGU, there were companies like Dragon Tree Press (the company I was looking up), Judges Guild, Game Designers’ Workshop, Archive Miniatures. The Grenadier Models ads on the back cover!

But it was FGU that had the coolest ads for games. Space Opera. Aftermath!—the exclamation was part of the title, at least in the first issue of Dragon I picked up. And later, Daredevils and Flashing Blades. Whoever came up with the ad campaign for Villains & Vigilantes was brilliant: the ad was pretty much a character sheet for a superhero showing how simple and evocative the game was!

And then there were the conventions far away in mythical lands—forty percent of the cons in Dragon 57 were for the West Coast, from Billingham (which may be a typo for Bellingham) in Washington down to Anaheim in California. For a Michigan boy they might as well have been on the moon!

Even Dragon itself was hard to find where I lived. I never saw any of these other games in public.

The other amazing thing about seeing that old ad, however, is that Daredevils is still $15 for the boxed set from Fantasy Games Unlimited. The adventures have gone up a buck, from five dollars to six, and shipping has gone from two dollars to four (at least for me). But the game is still the same price that it was in 1984.

Sherman Duffy of the Chicago Globe once described a reporter as follows: socially, he fits in somewhere between a hooker and a bartender. Spiritually, he stands beside Galileo, because he knows the world is round. Not that it does much good, of course, when his editor knows it’s flat. — Carl Kolchak (The Night Stalker)

  1. <- Kolchak: The Wrong Goodbye