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CorpCommander

Alternate WWII

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I've gotten my group hooked on Hero by running an "Iron Kingdoms" game using it. Now some of them are pressuring me into doing an Alternate WWII game with superheroes (basically "Godfire" but for Hero.)

 

I have a great deal of knowlege of WWII being that my other hobby is Historical Miniatures. Still, the problem is, I am being held back by knowing TOO much of the reality. Even light super powers would disrupt everything. The Super Heroes would have to be extremely limited in number - otherwise I would have to reinvent the entire war. Nope, not on my watch.

 

So where do I begin? My initial thought is to look at all the big turning points during WWII and figure out Nazi plots to ensure they turn for them! Example: Operation Drumbeat signals the end of the U-Boat menace almost over night. What would make the Nazi's invincible in the seas again? A flying superhero(es) to take out the VLR Aircraft with centrimetric radar and Leigh Lights and their bases. Another target is the HF/DF radio finder sites that dotted the Atlantic coasts looking for any U-Boat that used it's radar.

 

However this could get linear fast. I need some interesting plot twist, some subtle reworking of history. I am in need of an idea. Can anyone help?

 

Pete

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Gaming in WWII

 

Been there.. Done this.

 

First, you are now running an alternate history, rather than a pure history, with the insertion of supers into the world. There will be changes to the world because of those supers. The history you know so well can not exist with such changes. Accept it, embrace it, and live it. Otherwise it will drive you totally batty.

(Might I suggest you check out a few alternate history sites to get a feel for historical alterations?

http://www.uchronia.net/

http://move.to/alternate-histories

http://www.ahtg.net/ )

 

Use real history as a guide, but let the events fall as they may. As soon as the players realize they don't have an incredible advantage by knowing detailed WWII history (mostly looked up), the major impact they can have by being in the right place at the right time is nullified.

 

Secondly: If you want to make sure "Heroes" don't get involved in the battles directly, only allow heroes in that can be mushed by the heavier weapons of the time. Your heroes should want to scatter when a machine gun is fired in their direction. If your heroes can all casually shrug off tank shells and 100 pounders, then have natzi mad scientists create more effective weapons to counter this threat. This can be done at any power level. (GearKreig comes to mind).

 

Remember Natzi RnD is in high gear. Everyone might not be able to have super weapons, but they should be around in areas where the high command think they are needed (i.e. where the supers should be).

 

Third: When I played this campaign long ago, I made sure that Heroes and Villians countered each other out. The supers are so busy dealing with each other, that they actually had little impact upon the war itself.

 

Forth: I kept the heroes as independent vigulantes and spies/ counter spies, rather than throwing them in the front lines. Supers are more useful in "special mission" and espionage missions than front line fighting. By not making them all "part of the war department", I grant them a wider variety of missions (including internal corruption, racketeering, and the occasional crime).

 

Fifth: You can always fall back upon the "morale issue". If supers do all the fighting, then normal people don't feel inclined to get involved. The "let the supers handle it" mentallity begins. To win this war, everyone needs to be involved. So the War office will keep a check on Supers.

 

Sixth: Look into The WWII comics. Get a feel for their stories. That will show you hows and whys of superheroes in the war.

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As well most Supers that existed in wartime in the comics were kept on the home front for one reason or another. Whether it was due to a Mindcontrol field in japan or europe or to keep the homegrown criminals at bay or because the Axis supers were popping up in England/US/Canada and those countries tried to keep the allied supers home, or because the heroes that tried to enlist in their civvie ids were assigned to the homefront, or out right rejected. If you can get Golden Age Champions, as it covers the Golden Age of Comics in rping, as well as suggestions for a more realistic use of supers in WWII. As well it has three timelines, one is real history, one is Champions history and one is Germany wins history.

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Of course there is the 4th Edition HERO book "Golden Age of Champions" which covers the WWII and early 50's. Has some real good information on a lot of things.

 

The advice you have alreaedy gotten is very good.

Remember this is an alternate WWII.

If you want to keep the real WWII history remember that the different supers will balance each other out.

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Good responses

 

Thanks, I think I have an idea on what to do. I think what I will do is create a few missions starting in 1942. I'll be vague about the progress of the war other than showing the Germans own most of Europe and her resources, the British have been isolated and America is not yet armed. The Germans have a head start in Super Heroes because of their advantages in science and the governments complete lack of scruples. So Germany gets supers as early as 1939. OSS agents and Betchley park break the secret of German Super Science but without the specialized labs the Germans have they can only mimic some of the powers until a crash program is completed.

 

The strength of the Supers is going to be low I think. +100 base, +100 from disadvantages.

 

Since this is a secret project (like ULTRA) every super will have to maintain the sembelance of being normals. Not even other agents can know. Perhaps 50 people will be aware of the project and of those only a few will know their true potential. The effect on the mass population if word got out would be unpredictable so the secret must be maintained at all costs.

 

Captured supers are of prime importance. No matter what the mission is, it is a failure if any member of the team is captured.

 

Candidates for Superpower augmentation can come from any walk of life. Each character will first be defined as a competent normal - that gives a basis for past history. So you could have a soldier, professor, nurse -- anything from the time period.

 

anyway, thats my big start. I'll post again as i start to come up with some more solid details.

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keep in mind that by setting the capture= failure then _Capturing_ opposing supers could be just as big of a mission and a determinant of mission success as any "realistic" goals.

 

If it can help the Allies build better superpatriots, then that is a success.

 

And that could lead to an escort mission across the atlantic (in the middle of a fleet) countering air attacks close to land and sub attacks just about anywhen..... then dealing with US based saboturs as well as keeping the subject from escaping under his own powers....

 

and all the while the German supers are free to be uncountered in Europe.....

 

other sources of inspiration would be the disney movie The Rocketeer.

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Capturing Supers

 

I agree and had thought of that already. Capturing Supers by both sides will be a prioritiy. Should a player super get captured that would lead to and "Escape from Coldlitz" scenario.

 

History offers a lot of ideas to take and use for gaming purposes. I am begining to see the problem in terms of its advantages. I think the point of the campaign will be to make sure allied victory is assured - that things come to a historical conclusion.

 

Looking forward to the future I can see a lull in super activity after the atom bomb is used and takes the limelight. That is until 1947 when the saucers arrive...

 

Pete

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1) The Atomic Bomb is a good way to rearrange the Heroes powers and abilities at the end of the campaign.

 

2) If you are a reader (especially conmsidering your end line about the saucers), you should grab up copies of Harry Turtledove's WORLDWAR trilogy. An excellent look at an alternate WW2 history written by a holder of a Masters IN History.

 

3) The last time I did this, the Nazi's won. The heroes were VERY surprised when the Allies began to sue for peace after Russia turned on them...amazing what some heat based climate control from Nazi mad scientists can do if unchecked...

 

4) Nazi's will have supersoldiers...in more quantities...think of stuff more advanced and ruthless than the "Castle Wolfenstein" series of of computer games. The Nazi scientists were perfectly willing to experiment on human subjects in all fashions, and were cold about it. More so than our government ever was over chemical weapons or nuclear testing.

 

5) Nazi scientists were into everything from advanced weapons research to raiding occult artifact locations. Hitler had them working on anything that could help, no matter how far out. Primitive power armor for the elite SS squad members to use is not beyond the possible. Rocketry was birthed by Germany. The V-series rockets were meant to become ICBM's. A rail gun that fit on a railroad flatcar had been designed. Push the science. More resources are freed up if Hitler and company are using metahuman resources.

 

6) If you can find it, read the Philadelphia Experiment. There's another paperback I recall related to a destroyer and teleportation, but I cannot remember the title. Heck, rent the FInal Countdown, it might give you some historical insight, or refresh your memory. A lot of OUR research was recently declassified, I imagine much is now available on the net that I originally had to research! :)

 

7) Keep in mind the differences in American social structure. Check out To Kill A Mockingbird (rent or read) to get a brief picture of the rural South and society. The race riots were mostly AFTER the war, even though slavery ended so much before then.

 

8) Before CasaBlanca (heh. re-watch this with an eye towards the propaganda hidden in it) America was staying out of the war, but a coalition of the BIG businessmen got together, built aircraft, and rented the planes to England. For $1 a year. Getting around the non-interference policies from Washington.

 

That's off the top of my head. There's myraids of good story ideas, both foriegn and domestic, depending on the flavor you want.

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