View Full Version : DM Help Looking for inspiration: living under enemy occupation

2017-09-17, 06:57 AM
Hello fellow playgrounders, I am here asking for sources of inspiration.

The party is about to make their way back to their hometown after an absence of several month, when they will find out that during their absence an external political power has taken over the city, military-style.

I don't know what their course of action will be - they have an ongoing quest that actually leads them far away from their hometown, but of course PCs being PCs I kind of expect them to start a hidden resistance movement to re-take the city and say "screw that" to the other storyline.

The party is an accomplished party of heroes with elite skills but not at the power level necessary to just take the occupying army head on. They have important allies and enemies in the higher echelons of the former city government, so it can be assumed that their faces are known to the enemy and they will have to hide and operate from the shadows, making contacts with former allies, possibly turning former enemies into new friends, that kind of things.

I am looking for suggestions - movies, comics, books, adventure modules, whatever - that depict and describe a similar situation, to use as inspiration for mood, scenarios, npc, etc. Any setting can work, but if it's something that would fit right in in Eberron, that's extra points :)

Thanks in advance!

2017-09-17, 11:43 AM
A few that come to mind are

Rick and Morty, Season 3 Episode 1: Here, while Rick is against the Galactic Federation, the main family is living an almost normal life. There are oppressed people, but most people are going along with their regular lives.

The Handmaids tale: This looks at a inner rising, but America is vastly changed. This highlights the struggles of a slave in the new country.this is a very oppressive setting for her character, but you get to see how other people are less oppressed and still very much in danger.

Battlestar Galactica: Later on in the series New Earth is taken over by the Cylons. There are resistances that try to fight, but other people are punished whenever they do. It shows oppression and how to deal with keeping people alive.

Whatever you can find about ISIS taking over cities in Syria. Not sure what accounts there are, but this is a real life scenario you could look into.

I'm sure that there are tons more out there, but I would also like to talk about what all goes in to taking over another country.

Why did the other nation invade? There are differences in economic reasons or expansion reasons.
Who invaded? What type of outside force? Are they an established country or a renegade group?

A vast empire invading may make little changes to who is actually in charge. They may be more worried about feeding their massive army and continue on creating a trail of money and food that follows the army. I'm thinking Alexander the Great here.

Is this a force that wants to take the people? Are people mostly enslaved with only a few important people allowed to be almost free because they can help the country?
Or are people being massacred to free up land for a great expansion of the original country. Think Hitler pushing into Russia for expansion.

After that, what good does it do to change the status quo? Will the adventurers do harm in freeing their city?

I think that this idea you have is pretty good. There are a lot of different ways that you can make it play out.
Hope this helps or brings forth ideas.

Darth Ultron
2017-09-17, 03:07 PM
The TV Show: The Man in the High Castle, ''what if Germany won world war two'' is a good example.

The last two seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine deal with two big occupations(of Cardassa and the Station itself). The show in general also has the occupation backstory that comes up all the time.

On the TV show Sliders, they quite often slide to a ''what if Germany won world war two'' type world or other such occupied world.

V (the old and new ones), Earth:Final Conflict, the Colony, and Alien Nation have a bit of occupation in them.

2017-09-17, 06:28 PM
Hmm. Not sure how appropriate all of these will be for what you have in mind, but if worst comes to worst you can always just ignore them.

V For Vendetta - Alan Moore. Not quite an enemy force in control, but definitely resistance going on.

The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank. An account of a Jewish family living in Nazi-occupied Holland during WWII.

Sharpe's Tiger/Sharpe's Challenge - Bernard Cornwall. About the Indian resistance to British rule in India, the second title is the televised adaptation of the novel. Mostly focuses on the British side of things, though.

Traitor General - Dan Abnett. One of the Warhammer 40k Gaunt's Ghosts novels, an infiltration mission to a Chaos-held world. Has some interesting ideas on how a particularly malignant occupying force might control the population.

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee - Dee Brown. Probably not much use, actually, but a Native American friendly account of the Wild West and what happened to the Indians during it, and how various wars and disputes were settled. Depending on the scope and scale of the occupation, some of it may prove useful, particularly some of the ways that the Native Americans were controlled.

Casablanca. Plenty of resistance going on.

Water Sleeps - Glen Cook. One of the later Black Company novels (may contain spoilers - no, wait, definitely contains spoilers), about the Company resisting the heck out of the Protectorate and Great General. It honestly strikes me as a very close fit for what you've described.

Order of the Stick - Rich Burlew. What? C'mon, the Azure City Resistance totally counts!

Marco Polo. The Netflix show. There's some bits in there about the Mongol occupation of China, the resistance to Mongol rule. The actual Marco Polo's memoirs may have something useful in them, but I'm not familiar enough to recommend them.

Les Miserables - Victor Hugo. Would probably recommend one of the movie adaptations, actually, because I personally hate Victor Hugo's writing style. In any event; while not about an occupation per se, it has revolution and rebellion abounding, and covers how a regime might seek to increase its legitimacy in the eyes of the people and what a popular uprising might look like.

...I think that's it for now. I'll probably be back with more suggestions later, though, once I've slept and had a chanceto search for some titles. There's some things about the Italian city-states before unification, the Medicis, Machiavelli and Castracani that should be useful if I can remember what they are. Plus there's definitely literature out there about the Roman occupations of various territories and how they were assimilated into the Empire, and, of course, the Napoleonic Wars.

2017-09-17, 10:07 PM
Casa blanca os a good movie you can watch on a date in a couple hours while working up ideas for D&D.

It is a really enjoyable iconic movie and can give you a few ideas.

2017-09-18, 09:01 AM
Dragonlance had this in D&D terms.

For movies and such, there's Red Dawn. However, I'd go with the 1980s version.

2017-09-18, 02:59 PM
Thanks for the feedback. Some of the sources overlap with what I was already considering (Azure City among them :) ) but mostly it looks like lots of stuff I haven't read or watched yet!

As for pre-written adventure modules with a guerrilla / infiltration theme, I have on my list book 6 from the Curse of the Crimson Throne and book 5 from the Iron Gods AP, and little else. My knowledge of these is mostly limited to dnd/pathfinder, but I'd really appreciate suggestions from other systems as well - I am looking more for thematic inspiration and possibly inspired NPCs than ready-made encounters.

And again, thanks for the input so far! keep 'em coming! :smallbiggrin:

2017-09-18, 03:08 PM
You could also take a lot of ideas from 'Allo 'Allo, a British sitcom about the German-occupation of France in WW2.