Cold Harvest (Scenario)
Author(s): Chad Bowser
Appears in: Cold Harvest (Supplement)
"Cold Harvest" is a Call of Cthulhu scenario set at the height of Stalin's Russia in the late 1930s, in which players take on the role of NKVD agents from the People's Commissariat For Internal Affairs, tasked with investigating strange happenings at Sovkhoz Krasivyi Oktabyr-3.
All is not well at Krasivyi Oktabyr-3, a collective farm hidden away in the wilds of central Soviet Russia in the late 1930s. It is the the height of the Great Purges which decimated the country, communications at the camp are down, and a fall-off in production has come to the attention of the Soviet authorities. No one has a clue as to what is happening out there. Despite the ravages of the Russian winter, someone must be sent to uncover the reasons for the slackening production and to deal with the situation by deporting anti-Soviet elements to a corrective labor camp, or determining why output has fallen off drastically. Vigilance is key, as there may be anti-soviet agitators at work. Trust no one!
- Playthrough by Twin Cities by Night
Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only
Players should not read any further.
Describe the adventure in detail; no bias allowed.
Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)
The settlement has been built near a "vortex", an ancient ruin now covered by a river, through which a Lloigor can enter this world and feed upon the living; the Lloigor has been traveling up the river and into the settlement's well, feeding on the families closest to the river, causing madness and mutation in those it overfeeds upon. There is no perfect solution to the scenario - the investigators may solve it any number of ways, from doing nothing and letting things take their course, to arresting or killing some or all of the settlers themselves, to calling in the military (who will kill all the villagers anyway), to taking illegal actions to protect the settlers by helping them to escape their fate in the settlement, to actually confronting and perhaps destroying/banishing the Lloigor; each decision as its benefits and its unintended consequences.
- character sketches of settlers (suggested as hand-outs for the benefit of the players in individualizing the settlers)
- sidebar: equipment list (might be suitable for printing and distribution to investigators)
- bullet-point lists of results of interviews with characters (might be used as handouts for investigator benefits after inerviews)
- Gapon, Anti-Soviet Activities
- Gapon, The Abramovs
- Gapon, The Murder
- Gapon, The Sovkhov
- Abramovs, Pyotr
- Abramovs, Ekaterina
- Abramovs, Dmitri
- Smolskayas, Vasili
- Condition of the Sovkhoz (Keepers may need to edit several entries for spoilers)
- Work Level at the Sovkhoz
- Yezarovs, Andrei
- Yezarovs, Maria
- Yezarovs, Raisa
- illustrations (might be suitable for handouts to help set the atmosphere inside the settlement)
- Arrival at Krasivyi Oktabyr-3
- A Nightmare in the Barn
- The Lloigor flips the GAZ-AA
- The Standing Stones
- The Kravchuks and The Vitrukins
- The Dilapidated Sovkhoz
- The Lloigor Attacks the Investigators
- a regional map
- a map of the settlement
- facts in the case against the Abramov family (Order No. 00447) (hook 1)
- letter from Galena requesting intervention (hooks 1 & 2)
- record of settlement population
- region map
- Raisa's drawings
- 8 pre-gen investigators
- Vortex standing stones
- Townsfolk, Party Officials, etc.
- NKVD; People's Commissariat For Internal Affairs (Stalin's internal police force)
List dedication, trivia, images, anything else of note.
- Includes special rules for exposure to Siberian weather.
- Includes special rules for opium use/addiction.
- Appendix A: Handouts
- Appendix B: Glossary
- Appendix C: Integrating Cold Harvest With Other Soviet Scenarios
- Appendix D: Selected Works of Reference
- Appendix E: Using this (7th Edition) Scenario with Earlier Editions
Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.
Setting: Probably not very well-suited to adaptation to other settings without a major overhaul of its unique flavor, though with a little work it might be adaptable to other paranoid, totalitarian settings from the early 20th Century or similar settings (perhaps early 21st century North Korea?)
Special Notes: Cold Harvest has been designed to be playable by one Keeper and one player, as well as for groups of between two to six players. Eight pre-generated investigators are included, allowing players to choose from a range of characters. Directions are also provided as to the role and duties of an NKVD officer, allowing players to quickly understand the motivations and responsibilities of their characters. Keepers must be aware that Cold Harvest is not winnable in the classic sense. Players are thrust into a situation that they must cope with and try to make the best of. While it's possible the investigators learn that something odd is behind the strange events at Krasivyi Oktabyr-3, and they might also learn what the creature is, the investigators are unlikely to come face-to-face with it. Instead, the investigators will be tasked with a difficult decision; given the nature of Soviet society and politics in 1937, it's unlikely that a happy resolution will be found; it's important to note that the agency for almost everything evil in this scenario comes from human elements. Scenario could easily be combat-light or even combat-free, depending on how the investigators play their characters.
Sequel Plot Hooks: None, but guidance notes are provided in an Appendix for keepers who consider incorporating Cold Harvest into a larger campaign set in Soviet Russia. Also suitable for a one-shot scenario.