SCENE SIX: AT THE SIGN OF THE DANCING BEAR
A carriage can be quickly hailed on the streets of Petrograd, and it will take the players twenty minutes to arrive at the address on the card that Holst had. It is a tavern, in the poorer area of the city, named the Dancing Bear. If the players have not changed their clothes since the ball, then their entrance may cause a stir. If they are more moderately dressed, then thay will be able to enter without comment. The inside of the tavern is basic, with sawdust on the floor and a bench serving as a bar. Still, the tavern is very busy and the vodka coarse but very cheap. Soon after they have entered, a man will approach them and ask: "Did Holst send you?" If the players say yes then they will be taken to a corner table where they will be introduced to Lenin. Also seated at the table is Leon Trotsky, whom Lenin will introduce to the players. Lenin will then tell the players the following:
"Everything is prepared. Rasputin has arranged to move the Royal family out of Petrograd tonight. Shortly after midnight we will storm the Winter palace. We do not expect any resistance as Rasputin has 'advised' the Tsar to move the Garrison out of town on the pretence that there may be a rebellion in the countryside. Twenty miles outside of Petrograd the Royal train will be stopped, the Tsar will be taken to a nearby building and forced to sign a declaration of his abdication. He will then be taken, with his family, to a secret location where they will be held prisoner. Rasputin along with a number of others who have outlived their usefulness, will be killed there and then. All that is left is to thank you and your friends for all your help with the arms that you have provided for us; nothing can now stand in our way."
Lenin will lean back in his chair and pull out a Thompson sub-machine gun from a darkened corner. Players will immediately realise that this gun should not be invented yet, and that something has gon very badly wrong!!
Before the players can do anything, shots are fired outside and the window of the Dancing Bear is shattered by bullets. Outside in the small courtyard of the tavern, men of the Russian First infantry have shot the few communist look-outs and are moving toward the tavern. Immediatly guns appear from nowhere as the customers on the bar begin a ferocious firefight with the advancing government forces.
GMs can choose to play this battle out as a mini-wargame if they so desire, with twenty patrons of the bar defending against nearly sixty attacking infantry. If the players choose to get involved then play out the melee as you see fit - rolling to see who the players hit, but arbitrarily deciding who amongst the defenders and attackers are struck. Whatever happens, the players will soon realise that the little tavern is doomed. Lenin moves to an area behind the bar, lifts a trapdoor, and vanishes into the cellar. If the players follow, the last one down should glance round just in time to see Trotsky cut down in a hail of bullets.
Once in the cellar, Lenin will open a secret passage concealed behind a stack of crates before turning on the players.
"Only you knew to come here. Other than Rasputin and my closest allies, no-one knew we were here. You have betrayed me." Players will now have to think quick. If someone points out that Rasputin could have betrayed him, Lenin will curse him just before an explosion rocks the building (the First infantry have an artillery piece). Lenin will loose his footing and fall badly, twisting his ankle. What the players do then is up to them. They should be reminded that they have a train to catch and that they must hurry. If Lenin is left behind he will be dispatched by the vicious government troops.
Whatever happens, the secret tunnel leads to a section of the sewers which allows the players to come up a few streets away from the main battle
Role Player Independent February 1993
LUTHER ARKWRIGHT c Bryan Talbot 1990