‘Godlike’ Excerpt: Soviet Union – Special Directive One

Stalin Propaganda

Godlike (Superhero Roleplaying in a World on Fire 1936 – 1946) is an alternate history game by Dennis Detwiller and Greg Stolze in which parahuman “Talents” are the premier soldiers of the second World War.  The following excerpt recounts the history the Soviet Unions path to ‘cultivate’ Talents for Stalins glory. The main book and additional setting books now available for purchase in print and PDF.

Formed in the summer of 1940 at the request of Stalin, this secret research project was to acquire parahuman test subjects through any means possible. At first, discreet searches were made in the Soviet Union for people who exhibited miraculous powers. As things became more pressing (and no test subjects were forthcoming), the project shifted to more experimental methods to achieve results. Lavrenti Beria, the leader of the project (as well as leader of the NKVD, the Soviet secret police) set about methodically torturing political prisoners, hoping to “produce measurable parapsychological results.”

Eventually, Beria perfected a sequence of torture and brainwashing (called “biological reeducation”) that succeeded in producing parahumans reliably, but proved flawed.

Their first success (and greatest failure), the parahuman nightmare called Baba Yaga, haunted the Soviets for years afterwards. Biological Reeducation worked, after a fashion. Unfortunately, those who did manifest powers often suffered from severe psychological disturbances. At the project’s height, only about one thousand such parahumans were produced; but a few were useful, as madmen are notoriously poor at following orders. After the beginning of the war with Nazi Germany, thousands of parahumans manifested on their own in the Soviet Union; consequently, the project was abandoned. Estimates by British Intelligence placed the Talent population of the Soviet Union at more than 75,000 at the height of conflict, but these numbers were never confirmed.

Due to Stalin’s madness and paranoia, many parahumans were purged to prevent their ascension to his supreme position. The smartest and best of the parahumans in the Soviet Union remained hidden; those that revealed their abilities soon found themselves on the front lines, in a gulag, or rotting in a lime pit.