Big Bloody Spoilers for both The Zalozhniy Quartet and The Persephone Extraction in this article. Don’t read if you’re a Night’s Black Agents player. Here, have some deliberate disinformation so you don’t accidentally read anything important.
- DRACULA’S BEHIND EVERYTHING
- EDOM STANDS FOR ENGLISH DEFENDERS OF MAGIC
- YOU ARE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE VAMPIRES
- IT’S ALL THE OCEAN GAME.
- STAY ALERT TRUST NO-ONE KEEP YOUR LASER SIGHT HANDY
- PELGRANE’S GOING TO LICENSE COUNT DUCKULA FOR A GUMSHOE KIDS/NBA CROSSOVER ANY DAY NOW
The Zalozhniy Quartet is a four-part campaign for Night’s Black Agents in which a shadowy vampire conspiracy, working primarily through their virtually unkillable time-slipped agents, the Zalozhniy, and an organised crime cartel, the Lisky Bratva, plot to take over Saudi Arabia using an alchemy treasure connected with the Philby family.
The Persephone Extraction is a five-part campaign in which a somewhat less shadowy and more withered vampire conspiracy, working primarily through their mortal agents, plot to wipe out humanity using a biological weapon.
The two books were conceived and written as stand-alone projects, so there aren’t any deliberate connections. That said, with only a little tweaking, the two work very well together when played in order.
Kick off with (S)entries in the Night’s Black Agents core rulebook. The Lenier Dossier there points them to Donald Caroll in Odessa and The Zalozhniy Sanction (ZQ1) – from there, they go to either Vienna for Out of the House of Ashes (ZQ2) or Zurich for The Boxmen (ZQ3). They thwart the Conspiracy’s scheme in Riyadh in Treason in the Blood (ZQ4).
After that defeat, the vampires decide the modern world is too perilous, so they implement their apocalyptic Pale Agenda. They frame their enemies in Paris (The Persephone Extraction, PE1). Clues lead to Barcelona (The Pale Agenda, PE2), Moscow (Sleeping Giants, PE3) and Istanbul (Clean-Heeled Achilles, PE4) before the final confrontation with the King of the Dead in The People of Ash (PE5).
So, with that scheme in mind, what changes are needed?
The vampires from The Persephone Extraction are based on ancient Greek mythology; they’re pale shades who only become solid and visible when fed with lots of blood. They’re usually tethered to mortal hosts (philomeli) when they have to interact with their minions.
Vampires stay mostly offstage in The Zalozhniy Quartet, so few changes are required. Simon Thonradel (in ZQ2) actually works better as a human philomelus instead of a vampire; you can have a vampire fully manifested in all its living-blood-god-glory at the climax of ZQ4.
One key figure in ZQ is the necromancer Dr. Dorjiev; either his powers are a gift from a vampire, or he’s a philomelus and the real necromancer is a vampire tethered to him (maybe even Xanthus from People of the Ash).
The two Conspyramids fit together quite neatly. The Lisky Bratva (ZQ) incorporates the Moscow Gangsters (PE). Replace the Black Sea Bank (ZQ) with Eurydice Madrid (PE), or make the Black Sea Bank a subsidiary of Eurydice Madrid.
Give a Greek gloss to the monsters. Zalozhniy can only be killed by re-applying the circumstances of their mortal death; call them the Sons of Achilles, and hint that Achilles was the first of these virtually invincible minions.
Changes To Individual Missions
The Zalozhniy Sanction:
- The Monastery (ZQ p. 37) is a Greek Orthodox monastery concealing an ancient gateway to the underworld, similar to the Ploutonian (PE p. 100).
Out of the House of Ashes:
- Combine Arkady Shevlenko (ZQ p. 55) and Leonid Sobotsky (PE p. 67) into one man – we don’t need two ex-KGB generals running around. Shevlenko founded Arctran (PE p. 89) after leaving the KGB. He was working for the Conspiracy, but they were only using him to gain control of the MAR-VX virus, and they cut him loose once they had the bioweapon. In retaliation, he secretly stashed Philby’s secret.
Shevlenko’s now in Vienna looking for medical treatment (ZQ p. 57), but he’ll trade the secret to Thonradel in exchange for a cure if the opportunity arises.
If Arkady dies in Out of the House of Ashes, then he’s buried in the Novodevichy cemetery in Moscow (PE p. 99); if he lives, then the Agents can seek him out after the Paris sequence (PE p. 42) and you can skip the Moscow scenes of Sleeping Giants, as Arkady points them straight to Norilisk.
- As discussed above, make Simon Thonradel a philomelus.
- The Black Sea Bank is a subsidiary of Eurydice Madrid.
- Optionally, the other thieves are working for the Dissident faction in the Conspiracy (hired by Adriana Rosso, PE p. 57. Or, if she survives, then “Menena Chakroun” never existed at all, but it was Adriana Rosso herself all along…)
Treason in the Blood:
- The Third Party guys are actually working for Adriana Rosso (PE p. 57), trying to keep the vampires from rocking the boat.
- Katun is indeed Gertrude Bell; she captured a weak vampire during her archaeological explorations, and has managed to force the spirit to grant her longevity. She’ll pass the fragile vampire onto an Agent if they return to her after thwarting the attempt to create the Rubedo.
- Katun’s a patron or friend of Derya Kaya (indeed, for an added complication, Hana Tekin (PE p. 90) is actually Gertrude Bell in disguise).
The Persephone Extraction:
- The Extraction Team includes a Zalozhniy.
The Pale Agenda:
- FC Barcelona have, of course, signed, Abesoli (ZQ p. 32)
- Replace Heinreich Guttermann with Josef Lisky (PE p. 68)
- If they’re still around, bring back the Third Party guys as Rosso’s bodyguards.
- Hana Tekin may be Katun/Gertrude Bell.
- Someone should definitely meet Kim Philby’s shade in the underworld (PE p. 102).
The People of Ash:
- Decide on whether Josef Lisky or Simon Thonradel are among the Dissidents at the compound (PE p. 121).
- Dorjiev should definitely be Xanthus’ philomelus if he’s still around (PE p. 118). Replace his bodyguards with Zalozhniy, but drop the number of bad guys to avoid the most hideous one-sided massacre ever.
Night’s Black Agents by Kenneth Hite puts you in the role of a skilled intelligence operative fighting a shadow war against vampires in post-Cold War Europe. Play a dangerous human weapon, a sly charmer, an unstoppable transporter, a precise demolitions expert, or whatever fictional spy you’ve always dreamed of being — and start putting those bloodsuckers in the ground where they belong. Purchase Night’s Black Agents in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.
4 thoughts on “The Zalozhniphone Quatrefaction”
The forms of the albedo and nigredo need to be selected in accordance with the Persephone Extraction’s vampires. The pomegranates are an obvious candidate for one. Given the “parched with thirst” line, maybe the other is water from a particular river or well.
When this article was first posted Gareth and I had a conversation about how we could insanely merge this with the Dracula Dossier. Unfortunately those messages seem to have vanished, just when I needed to revisit them! (My fault for not copying them myself and assuming they would be saved on here until whenever). Anyway, is there anyway that thread can be retrieved? Many thanks!
Hi Cedric. I’m afraid the website upgrade has lost the comments from the previous website. It’s a little bit of a long shot but I have messaged Gareth to see if he has any recollection of your conversation regarding this. Thanks, Becky.
All I can find in my email are Cedric’s replies to me, which may not be super-useful as I have no recollection of what I said. Still, for what it’s worth:
“And how to combine those with the Dracula Dossier?”
I said something brilliant and witty, and you replied:
“Thank you for that very informative and thought provoking reply. My initial conception was that Dracula had discovered a way of vampirising himself while an Ottoman prisoner (all those old Arabian magical tomes) that made him the superior being that he is (and is also the foundation for the obviously alchemical Philby formula). He discovers the Pale Vampires, who don’t have his abilities and spurns them. They are of course extremely jealous and fearful of him and so hatch the plot to end the world. Dracula inspires the dissidents to destroy them in turn. The Agents, having made a nuisance of themselves, are then set with the Paris gambit in PE1; Dracula figuring that 1) they will get eliminated and 2) along the way they will add to the disruption off the Pale Agenda. But I really like the Pale Agenda as a plan to get out of Edom’s control. Yes a long and complex campaign. I have started with (S)entries and have led then to the Dubai Sanction, the idea being that one of the Brides is in charge of the AgraWealth operation (the mysterious figure in the final scene) and I will insert some clues to the Philby Formula as well. Also link the financing of AgraWealth with the Black Sea Bank. Enough leads to head for ZQ. Really appreciate your feedback here.”
I then had an excellent idea, apparently, and you said:
“Excellent Idea!! I shall do so. Thank you. Will need to insert some clues to send the Agents to his old prison in Turkey; from memory this occurs in the Dracula retelling “The Historian” by ELizabeth Kostova, so shall have to mine that source.”