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Beyond here lie dragons

Kolchak is back, baby! At North Texas 2022

Jerry Stratton, March 27, 2022

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

“Now, here, are the true facts.”

It’s the fall semester at Illinois State Technical College. Carl Kolchak and his loose band of night stalkers investigate strange happenings as the school’s sports team breaks record after record. 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 on Thursday morning of 2022’s convention. This year’s adventure is “The Big Creep” and takes place at Illinois State Technical College in the fall semester of 1976.

Sign up is live starting Friday evening, April 15, at 8PM Texas time! Note that it currently says the game uses the “RPG” rules. That’s because Tabletop Events doesn’t have Daredevils in their system yet.1

Here’s the TV Guide version:

Carl Kolchak and guest stars investigate strange happenings at Illinois State Technical College.

If you’re a Kolchak fan you may remember ISTC from the Demon in Lace episode. Both student journalist Rosalind Winters (“You hear about that kind of thing all the time. There’s probably a hundred of those tablets around.”) and Professor of Archaeology Dr. C. Evan Spate (“It seems to be some sort of religious rite, or maybe even a form of recipe.”) will be available as pregens.

As well, of course, as all the old favorite guest stars and regulars. Kolchak himself is available, 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 MeWe. 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)

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.

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

Most of Tony’s skills are things he doesn’t like to do.

Admittedly the game you are about to play is bizarre, incredible. Those of you who wish to avoid being unsettled or wish to avoid thinking will label it insane. And though you the player would find these facts almost impossible to substantiate, that does not change their nature. Facts they are. I know. I saw them happen…

So think about it, and try to tell yourself, wherever you may be, in the quiet of your home, in the safety of your bed, try to tell yourself… it couldn’t happen here.

  1. It was originally listed as “77 Lost Worlds”. I submitted it with Daredevils as the name of the game system, but I suspect that Tabletop Events erases unknown games and replaces them with the first name, alphabetically, which happens to be 77 Lost Worlds.

    There were a couple of other games with the same problem, such as Advanced Fighting Fantasy and Lex Arcana.

  1. <- Blackhawk: Blitzkrieg
  2. Racist fantasies ->