Cold City: Escalation Boulevard
What is Cold City about?
On the surface, it’s a game about hunting monsters and eldritch creatures in Berlin during the early part of the Cold War, a time when the city is slowly rebuilding itself. Players take the role of characters who are drawn from the former allies now occupying Germany. The typical ‘Cold City’ group would be made up of 4 characters: 1 American, 1 British, 1 French and 1 Soviet, although this isn’t an absolute necessity. This helps to bring a certain level of conflict into the party at the outset, as Cold War tensions and paranoia assert themselves. However, it is entirely possible to run the game with more or less players and a variety of other nationalities.
The characters are secret agents who have to hunt down scarcely believable creatures and entities, whilst preventing information about their activities from leaking out. Think ‘Hellboy’ meets ‘The Third Man’ meets ‘The Manchurian Candidate’.
The situations that the characters will find themselves in are life threatening and horrific, so they might not last that long if they choose to go about things the wrong way. But what exactly is wrong and what is right in the Cold City? Conflicting morals, ideologies, agendas and nationalities all give rise to a hazy grey area where the characters must make their own minds up as to the consequences of their actions.
Tension is important in ‘Cold City’. Tension between the forces that now occupy Germany. Tension between various factions struggling to survive in the slowly reviving city. Tension between the characters. By necessity, the game will make some very broad generalisations about various aspects of the setting. This is entirely deliberate. If you want to go into the details of how a French artillery officer would deal with a former Red Army commissar, then feel free to do so.
The conflict between the characters is a vital part of the game. They are men and women forced together under very unusual circumstances, having to overcome inherent distrust, national stereotyping and years of propaganda. How do they do this? Do they even manage to achieve this? If they fail to trust each other, what are the consequences of this? Through Trust and Hidden Agendas, characters can help or hinder each other, either striving for a common goal or all pulling in different directions.
In the end, all of the characters are forced together by the job that they have to do: hunt monsters.