RPPR Actual Play: Call of Cthulhu – Divine Fire playtest 2

A group of prisoners has been shipped to a remote laboratory in Nazi Germany during the final days of World War 2. But when they arrive, their guards disappear and they are left to their own devices. The lab is deep within the wilderness and a raging snowstorm makes escape on foot impossible. What happened to the lab’s personnel and what is still inside? Find out in Tom’s second playtest of Divine Fire, a WW2 Call of Cthulhu scenario.

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  1. I haven’t fully listened to it yet, but I have to give you a thumbs up, Ross: releasing this when all of your house has gone to hell.

    I hope things get better for you, bud.

  2. I tried to run a game using this version of Tom’s Scenario. It lasted for six hours, the players fought each other nearly constantly, and people failed their SAN rolls amazingly!

    Out of ten PCs and NPCs, three managed to survive the scenario. Two freaked out and mutated, two lost their minds, and three where killed in combat. It was amazing.

    My group basically refused to try and solve the “mystery”, focusing completely on escape. They didn’t enter the main building until three hours in, spending their time between the barraks, the mess hall, and the machine shed. One fo the PCs freaked out, so the others locked her out in the snow. Bitter, she drained the gas from every truck she could find, got enough to make a trip, and used one of the work trucks to push all of the other trucks off of the cliff, basically stranding the others while she rode off towards the border. Teach them to back stab somebody just because they mutate a little.

  3. Great job again tom, I think I liked the first one better but only because there was more side plot like the radio, and the assistant. Loved the reactor chamber and the whole ending. Its deffently coming along great, cant wait to see it published.

  4. Yeah, I too liked the first one better. The chase at the end of the first one was scarrier than the reactor and the Col. being dead in the bath.

    The SS Private, that was holed up on the second floor, was better than that lame guy the first session.

    I still really want to run this scenario, make a nice stew out of it and the first one.

  5. Just finished listening to play test 2 of Divine Fire.

    Good fun and very different from the first play test.

    One thing I would be a bit worried about is that most groups would probably go in survival mode. Once they have warm clothes, food and guns they will try and leave asap, as any sane person would do…

    Ross was being the helpful player, by deciding that “this thing must be destroyed” to further the plot, but you cannot expect that a player will do that every time.

    Many groups could miss half the fun if they do not investigate the main building, so think of some motivation for them to do so.

    I was worried they wouldn’t even enter the gate to the camp!

  6. This was a blast! It sounds like an excellent scenario overall and a tremendous amount of fun to play.

    If I could make a suggestion, it might be interesting to play up the moral dilemma of helping the Nazis or not in the first part of the scenario, when you don’t know what you’re up against. If the PCs are concentration camp inmates then they’ll have pretty strong reactions to anyone in an SS uniform, so that could make an interesting early-game moral question if the PCs suddenly have guns and the SS are relatively helpless — do they snuff they guy they’ll need later on?

    Of course once the true nature of the peril is revealed, all of that goes by the wayside because even SS are better than Things Man Was Not Meant To Know — but even then, the SS could be played as being complete bastards who are snide and evil, and who may screw over any PCs who manage to survive.

  7. Loved the AP guys… Although I must admit I was a bigger fan of the first AP.

    This one had a more twilight zone-ish ending. Especially Ross’ demise, disappearing into the ethereal otherworld of the old gods. Wow, just wow!

    I also liked Bill’s ending. It was funny how NOTHING was affecting his sanity. Meeting a strange creature who promised to enlighten him… naw, no big deal!

    Cody, man, you lucky SOB. Wouldn’t a experience like that permanently ruin a guy? Even if he was a hardened French resistance fighter who was used to offing Germans? I kind of wish he would have killed the corporal, it would have been a fitting ending.

    All in all a very nice job Tom. I would love to play and/or run this scenario. Just seems like a lot of fun, I figure if it was that fun to listen to, it had to have been even better to play.

    Can’t wait until the next AP. Keep up the great work guys!!!

  8. Loved the idea of this, I’ve never gotten to play a game like this.
    I think this was better then the first Divine Fire, this felt more personal, whereas the last felt crowded.
    Any chance you’ve read about the Norwegian resistance? There are quite a few things you could do with the destruction of the Norsk Hydro heavy water plant, a small group of British-trained commando’s sent into a plant that would be required for the German’s nuclear weapons program.

  9. Great AP. I liked both the first one and this one. the first one felt a little more flushed out but I think it was a time issue more than anything else.
    I think It would be interesting When published if you presented 2-3 entrances to the camp ( the air drop, prison, ect) and a few little diferences.
    Some of the ideas from the first one I actually utilized in a M&M game I was running at the time.

  10. Last week, I started up a version of this for my group after a long hiatus away from the GM seat.

    Unfortunately, I was trying to do things by memory and on the fly, but the result so far has still been very fun. For the moment, the whole thing seems to be a mixture of the first version with its artifact and the second with its more claustrophobic feel. My group are all prisoners from different backgrounds, and have gotten as far as the main building, speaking with and befriending the Private, though they have managed to avoid the barracks. Most of them have some serious SAN loss already, and a couple are wounded thanks to SAN loss-induced outbursts, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens as we continue tomorrow. All in all, an excellent pair of tests on the same scenario!

  11. Hello Tom,

    A couple of weeks ago, my group asked me to prepare another Cthulhu game for them. After recently hearing this show, I almost immediately decided that I wanted to run them through Divine Fire. I prepared the game using the Chupa Open Roleplay Engine Version 2. The group, however, renigged on the night of the game and decided that they wanted to play D&D4 instead.

    Well, I decided that I wanted to play the game away, so I floated some ads on five forum sites to see if anyone was interested. I got three bites, two of them from the playbyweb site, so I decided to run the game there. The website link above is a link to the actual game’s page. Lurkers are welcome.

    We haven’t started yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I did give you credit, but I changed the name from “Divine Fire” to “die Glocke” in hopes that the players won’t track down this episode and listen to it yet. Yeah, I changed the nuclear reactor in the basement to a Nazi Bell.

    I just wanted to let you know that this game was happening.

  12. I ran a CoC scenario based on details from both playtests a few nights ago using Risus rules. The PC’s were prisoners, as in the 2nd playtest. They got about halfway through, and so far, they’ve managed the following highlights, in chrono order:

    Scientist squeezes out of the truck and searches for stuff for 10 minutes while fellows remain in the truck.

    Scientist and Redneck Lawyer get in a PVP fistfight. Scientist wins by beating Redneck with a spare machine gun belt.

    Lawyer stabs the transport truck’s gas tank with the screwdriver, drains it, and sets the puddle on fire, thus setting the truck’s tires ablaze.

    Split the party.

    Lawyer (who is afraid of the dark) makes a spotlight out of the gun truck’s battery, headlight, and wires from the fuse box.

    Doctor goes to machine shop/hangar, sees white-eyed soldier grafting submachinegun to arm, goes temp insane, and befriends the soldier. The Colonel is expected in 30 minutes.

    Scientist, after a scare in the barracks, seeks out lab on third floor and tries to soothe his nerves by making mustard gas.

    We left off just as the sun had set, the soldier from the mess hall attacked the private on the balcony, and the Colonel shoved their burning truck off the cliff. I’m looking forward to a very interesting conclusion! Thanks Tom for making such a great scenario.

  13. Nice use of the scenario, Hands! Is your version of Divine Fire also set in a Nazi PoW camp? I’m curious because I am wondering how a redneck lawyer ended up there. I hope you get a chance to run the rest of the adventure soon.

    Update — in play php version, the PCs are actually doing very well. They have explored the surface, captured both the mutating sargeant and the crazed German scientist, disabled a pair of reanimated dogs, and discovered the existence of die Glocke. (I am using a Nazi Bell in place of an atomic reactor.) They are currently starting into the underground tunnels. I was intending to use a pair of subterreanean military base maps, but I am worried about losing players as the game drags. I might just cut straight to the research lab after the first guard station.

    Yes, thank you, Tom!

  14. Freaking loved this.. kinda bummed I only discovered your podcast a couple weeks ago. This is great stuff! Keep em coming!

    PS:I’m going to try to run something like this over Halloween.. do you have any beta test notes posted online somewhere?

  15. Hey Scott, sorry for the delayed reply:

    The scenario concluded in grand CoC style, with only one PC remaining alive, and plenty of explosions. Also some really inventive player strategies.

    The mustard gas managed to kill the two soldiers from the machine shop and mess hall. PC’s got ahold of a bazooka.

    PC’s moved over to the stable, from which emanated an eerie white luminescence. They didn’t wait to see what was inside, they just threw a homemade Expanding Vapor bomb in there and ran like hell. So much for the zombie dogs and horses.

    They never got to the basement, but not for lack of trying. Rather than search for the key to the locked door, the Scientist used the lab upstairs to make aqua regia (highly corrosive stuff that turns anything but glass into slag). Never got to use it on the door, because Colonel showed up.

    1st encounter with the Colonel was in a darkened hallway in the main building, visible only by the strobe of their ineffective submachine guns!

    Colonel followed them up the treacherous stairs, only to find he was treading in aqua regia. On the second floor he laid waste to the Redneck Lawyer and the NPC private. On the third floor, the Scientist was ready for him. He’d turned on all the gas spigots, and waited by the window with matches in hand.

    BOOM! Scientist fell three stories down in to the snow. The French Resistance Fighter was waiting there with an assault truck and a dozen grenades strapped to his chest, the pins all tied to one string. When the Colonel made his appearance, all burned to hell, Frenchie nailed him with a bazooka to the face, then rammed him with the truck, then, in one final, epic moment, they looked each other in the eyes through the broken windshield as Frenchie ripped all the grenade pins at once.

    Scientist watched from a distance as Frenchie and the Colonel met their makers. He was trained in outdoorsmanship, so he observed the compound for a day as zombie soldiers cleaned up the mess, then hiked off into the sunset to find safety and to begin writing a journal…


    To answer your question about the Redneck Lawyer, well, he was American, and they did have lawyers and rednecks during WWII, and I thought there was no reason why a redneck layer WOULDN’T be a POW somehow, and besides, this was Risus after all.

    Share and enjoy!

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