Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Boris Ivanovich Trotsky

Serzhant Boris Ivanovich Trotsky is Dave's Character in our East Front Campaign. He's done a bit of research into this, which is very cool. Another clever thing he's done is made Boris the son of his character from our Realms of Cthulhu Campaign!?

Boris is another survivor. He's been around for more games than Virgilovsky (Though Virgilovsky has been around since the very first game, Rick missed a few games...).

Serzhant Boris Trotsky - Wild Card - Dave
Ag d6, Sm d6, Sp d8, St d4, Vg d10,
Pace 6, Parry 4, Toughness 8
Skills: Fighting d6, Shooting d8, Notice d6, Stealth d6, Throwing d6, Intimidation d6
Edges: Quick, Rank (NCO), Nerves of Steel, Rock’n’Roll, Fleet Footed
Hindrances: Phobia (minor): NKVD, Enemy (Minor)
Gear: Ppsh SMG (Range: 10/20/40, ROF3, Damage: 2d6, AP: 1, Auto)

Early Family History
The Trotsky family had lived in the Odessa area for generations. Boris’s grandfather Jozef Trotsky was born in 1869 to peasant farmers and was the only one of 11 siblings that didn’t stay on the farm. At the age of twenty-four, his determination to succeed in the city led him to a job as a guard at the Odessa prison. He enjoyed being a guard, he enjoyed the power, and he enjoyed taking bribes. Often, the information he got from the prisoners was worth more than the money or food. All of it helped to pad his moderate income, and fit in well with his motto of “Family first.”

With his wife Paraskevia, Jozef had six children that survived early childhood. Third oldest was Ivan, born August 20, 1890, the first boy-child and Jozef’s pride. As Ivan grew, Jozef would take him to the prison to see the prisoners, and to show how big a man his father was. Ivan would sit with his father and hear the secrets the prisoners would whisper in exchange for a little extra food, or a little easier work detail. Ivan would often be enlisted to help turn those secrets into money and food for the family, learning how to survive and thrive in the underworld of crime and political intrigue.

Jozef’s most notorious prisoner was Lev Davidovich Bronstein who was a political prisoner at the jail in 1898. Eight-year-old Ivan loved to hear Bronstein talk; he stirred the spirit of the other men in the prison, at least until he was sentenced to Siberia in 1900. When Bronstein escaped from Siberia in 1902, he evidently took Jozef’s last name for his own, becoming Leon Trotsky, a leader of the Russian Revolution and second only to Lenin in the Bolshevik army.

Boris’s Childhood
Ivan grew up and married Katerina in the spring of 1912, and after numerous miscarriages, Katerina gave birth to Boris Ivanovich Trotsky on July 15, 1918 during the height of the Russian Civil War. Complications during childbirth prevented Katerina from having further children, so Boris ended up as an only child. Boris’s father Ivan was a “businessman” (international smuggler/black marketeer), and travelled extensively, specializing in antiquities. Starting when Boris was three years old, Ivan was mostly abroad, often in England, returning only occasionally to Katerina and little Boris. His connections to the underworld through Boris’s prison-guard grandfather, and the convenient Black Sea port location, gave him easy access to international markets. Ivan became known as someone who could “get what you needed.”

Boris was raised by his mother, often not recognizing his father when he returned for brief stays. His mother Katerina seemed to be actively involved with the business, and discretely received many visitors, some with coloured skin and exotic accents, when Ivan was away. His parents provided “services and supplies” to both sides in the Civil War but never actively fought. Boris never knew exactly what his parents did, but he was often sent about the city on deliveries and other simple missions, where a child would not be suspected.

As Stalin came to power, the Trotsky name was not an asset, but the family business and their ability to keep their heads down generally saw them through without incident. As the food shortages increased, their connections helped the family survive, though they were careful never to appear too well fed. Boris became sneaky, and his developing stealth helped him avoid undue attention. “You Must Survive, Surviving is Everything” his parents repeated, and little Boris adopted that philosophy with a passion. The Trotsky’s were not above reporting potential troublemakers to the NKVD - anything to help avoid trouble, and survive a little longer. As a result of their systematic self-protection and the many shady dealings of the family business, young Boris acquired numerous Enemies, most of whom were unknown to him.

On August 7, 1932 Stalin passed a law that all food was state property - mere possession of food was evidence of a crime. Fourteen year old Boris was among the most enthusiastic enforcers of the law, and fanned out into the countryside with his youth brigade in order to prevent the "theft" of state property. He built his strength helping to construct watchtowers (over 700 were built in the Odessa region alone) to ensure that no peasants took food home from the fields. The youth brigades lived off the land, eating what they confiscated from the peasants, developing their fighting and throwing skills, often pelting the peasants with rocks. His youthful enthusiasm was dampened on the day his brigade were sent to confiscate the grain and cattle from an uncle’s farm. His comrades humiliated his aunt and uncle, burned their house, and forced the starving cousins to crawl and bark like dogs. But he had learned his parents’ lessons well, joined in the persecution, and kept his views to himself.
In the peak of the famine, most of Boris’s extended family perished in the countryside or were deported and never heard from again – it was not a good time to be a peasant farmer in the Ukraine. Boris’s aging grandparents also died of disease during the famines of 1932-33. Despite the unfortunate Trotsky name and the terrible famine, Boris’s immediate family survived intact, and survival became the driving force for Boris, more important than honour, politics, friends, or even family. Though a Communist Party member, and publicly supportive of Stalin, Trotsky’s only loyalty was to himself, and to survival. He had no use for religion.

Military Service
Boris joined the Soviet Army on his 21st birthday in the summer of 1939 and was soon posted to the Winter War in Finland. Much of the war was spent freezing, starving, with terrible sanitary conditions, and with the guerilla tactics of the Finns decimating the Russian infantry. Still, Boris had tough skin and survived the war, proving himself as a fighter and survivor.
On August 20, 1940, Boris Ivanovich Trotsky was promoted to Serzhant, coincidentally the same day the enemy-of-the-people Leon Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico on Stalin’s orders, and fifty years to the day since Boris’s father Ivan Trotsky was born. Serzhant Trotsky was sent to Eastern Poland and was stationed in Bialystok as part of the Russian occupation army. In the last letter he received before the German invasion of Poland in June 1941, his mother was in good health in Odessa, and expressed pride in his promotion. As usual, his father was abroad. At the time of the German invasion, Trotsky was 22 years old.

After the invasion, Boris was able to elude the encircling Germans and fought with partisan forces as he attempted to rejoin the Russian armies in the East. Though his “disgraceful retreat” resulted in serious questioning by the NKVD, his survival and successes on a few subsequent suicide missions took the political heat off him, for a time. Still, his treatment at the hands of the NKVD left a fear of the NKVD bordering on phobia, affecting his performance when under close NKVD scrutiny. In most situations though, his experience with surviving famine, criminal interactions, political upheaval, and the unwanted attention from the Trotsky name, combined with his fierce determination to survive, can make him quite an Intimidating character. Boris works best when commanding a troop of conscripts, whom he considers useful but disposable in battle. Boris does not hesitate to use his troops for his own protection – after all “Surviving is Everything!” He’s given up on planning for the future, and his vision is limited to surviving the war at all costs.

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