Hi folks! We’re still plugging away at The Paranet Papers, a “catch up” on a few of the more recent books, plus tour of the world, for the Dresden Files RPG. We don’t have a publication date yet! Most of the writing is done, a lot of the editing is underway, and statblocks are currently nipping at the heels of our statblocking crew. Experience tells us that this sort of work can be a bit amorphous in terms of timeline, so it’s going to take as long as it takes.
Today we’re going to share the opener for one of the world-tour entries in this book, thanks to hitting the magical 1100 “likes” mark over on facebook.
Novgorod, Russia, October 1918
It’s 1918, and Russia is burning.
Civil war rages as the Bolsheviks struggle with anti-revolutionary armies across the country. As the autumn’s first snowflakes appear, the Winter Court of Faerie pushes hard against the Summer Court’s presence. Chaos reigns; as the mortal world bleeds itself dry, the madness also infects the supernatural world, as predators stalk their prey with increasingly brazen openness.
If someone doesn’t impose stability soon, there won’t be anyone left for the victors to rule. But whose stability?
Meanwhile, mortals living in the city of Novgorod simply try to survive day to day. The munitions plants and rail hub make the city a major focus for both sides in the Civil War—and when there’s a civil war, you don’t want anyone to focus on you. Food is scarce. Suspicious comrades and secret police and Red Army press gangs lurk around every corner. The only thing the city’s residents can count on is the ever-present fear that saturates everyday life.
The city’s supernatural community teeters on the brink of a bloodbath. The Winter Knight wears the uniform of the new regime. Twisted warlocks, predators straight out of legend, and malicious creatures of every description hunt in the shadows.
And above it all, the vicious cruelty of ordinary people pushed beyond their limits demonstrates yet again that you don’t need claws or fangs to be a monster.
Does this ring any bells, Paranetters?
From the Desk of Will Borden
A few years ago—I think right after the time the zombies tried to crash his place—Harry dropped off this big crate of old papers at my apartment. Told me it was some important records, and would I mind babysitting it greatthankyouverymuchbye. I put it in the back of my closet and forgot about it.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago, right after Harry… Yeah. I was digging through some of my old stuff and re-discovered the box of records. It’s a bunch of old letters, mostly in written in Cyrillic script. I don’t read Russian, but Georgia is friends with this post-doc at U of C named Natalya; she’s from Omsk and a member of Paranet, and she does freelance translation. She agreed to translate the stuff pro bono in exchange for being allowed to put some of it out there for other Paranetters.
Turns out, the letters were a treasure trove: the personal correspondence of Simon Pietrovich, vampire hunter of the White Council. Until a bunch of Red Court smoked him early in the war, anyway. The guy was such an obsessive pack rat that he even kept copies of letters he sent to other people. There’s so much material, we’re only just scratching the surface with what Natalya put out for the Paranet.
It’s a dangerous time out there for Paranetters and, according to Simon’s papers, the Russian Revolution bears at least a passing resemblance to what we’re facing today. You’ll see direct translations from sources like Simon and his apprentice Larisa Yevtushenko explicitly called out, along with writings from some of Simon’s other informants. My own commentary and stats and such are scattered between.
Butters: What’d you do with the papers, Will?
Will: Let’s just say they’re not at my apartment.
Murphy: Smart. We’ll talk about what to do with them next meeting.
From the Journal of Simon Pietrovich, 1923
There have been two major events in European history that clearly illustrate the folly of wizards intervening in mortal political affairs. I was witness to, and some argue involved in, the second. Rooted in the latter half of the 19th century, the situation matured and ripened; producing a fruit as terrible as any the world has seen…
Murphy: Second? What was the first one?
Will: Harry hinted it was something the Merlin—the original Merlin—did.