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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Hi all!

    My group's been looking to try something new lately, and I recently picked up the player and DM's guides for Achtung! Cthulhu!, a Call of Cthulhu/Savage Worlds variant set in WWII. The premise is that while the Allies and Axis play out their campaigns, there's a similar war going on involving the occult, outside the view of the public, where Axis and Ally agents are competing for, fighting over, or in desperate circumstances, joining forces against occult artifacts/creatures without most of the world being any the wiser.

    While I'm nowhere near ready to run a full campaign yet, I thought it'd be cool to put together a quick one-shot to run everyone through to familiarize ourselves with the rules and the setting. I'm currently entertaining a thriller/who-dun-it style game involving a number of British agents tracking down an undercover Nazi agent headed for the states. The agent has orders to transport cargo to Miskatonic University in Arkham, where he'll unleash its contents to wipe out the single greatest catalog of occult knowledge across the atlantic, removing America as a threat to his masters plans, and greatly weakening the allies prior to the war. Time isn't on the Brits side, as the agent has already boarded, along with his cargo. To make matters worse, MI6 was only able to send them a basic description in time, and a warning that their target suspects he's being followed. They've had a stroke of good luck though; at the last moment they were able to board just before the zeppelin left, and now their target is trapped with nowhere to go, as the Hindenburg departs for America.

    I'd love to hear comments and suggestions from people as to how I could go about running this game/other one-shot ideas, and especially feedback from people who've played Call of Cthulhu. Thanks :D
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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Of the several people who fit the vague description, one of them is an Occult Scholar of german origin, fleeing the Nazis and trying to get to Miskatonic himsel, along with a piece of cargo (His research notes, hidden inside a hollow statue). He was supposed to meet an American OSS agent onboard the Zepplin, but the German agent discovered the OSS agent and killed him. An extra objective is to get him to Miskatonic safely, provided the PC's don't assume HE'S the German Agent and kill him.


    Somehow, a few copies of The King In Yellow managed to find their way onboard. Hopefully nobody ends up reading them.

    The influence of the Thing in the cargo hold is slowly driving the crew and the passengers mad.
    Last edited by BRC; 2014-07-22 at 05:15 PM.

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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    The PCs (could be either side of the conflict) have been tasked to investigate rumors of witchcraft performed in an American base. Unfortunately for them, it turns out the rumors are true! Herbert West has perfected his technique, and has been busy using an abundance of corpses to reanimate a horde of undead soldiers and animals! To make matters worse, the germans launch an attack right as the PCs stumble into this revelation. Now they need to contend with the half-living abominations while caught in the crossfire of modern war, with bullets, bombs, and body parts flying everywhere. If the PCs survive, then the chaos (and bombs) spared little evidence of West's experiment, the PCs' testimony is brushed off as some kind of stress-induced psychosis, and the survivors are sent away to an asylum. This one could be spiced up by making the PCs german elite forces who also need to maintain their cover in the base.

    You could also play through a modified version of the submarine-story, where their vessel is crippled by the other side, then fishmen and other monsters try to devour the (now insane) crew while the ship slowly sinks to the bottom of the ocean. Down there, they have little choice but to venture into some weird ruins which seem to mentally draw them in. If the PCs survive the dungeon, they either die in the epilogue because nobody is going to rescue them from the bottom of the ocean, or they get rescued by a sub and labelled as psychotic for their story.

    You could also do the one from Call of Cthulhu. The PCs are going through the ocean somewhere (on an unarmed ship), when mad cultists (perhaps wearing the tattered remains of friendly uniforms) attack their ship. Soon after, they run into Rl'yeh, now risen from the deep. When they investigate (how could they do otherwise?), they run into eldritch horrors and are forced to flee Great Cthulhu himself rising from the deep. Crashing their craft into the Great Old One earns them the "good" ending.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Just curious... do you expect your players to show any signs of - unease, when you mention the name of the airship? You could drop hints to the players that, if they can't identify the agent before the ship docks (Wikipedia says it takes 3 days to make the crossing), then occult agents on the ground in New Jersey will be forced to take measures of their own, which they don't want to do because of the danger of serious collateral damage.

    Anyway, sounds like a great setup. One minor detail - I'm reasonably sure that MI6 was better known as the SIS (Secret Intelligence Service), up until sometime well after 1945.
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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    So first off, thanks for all the ideas and comments! You guys are seriously awesome . :)

    BRC, I love those ideas you proposed; I may just work in the rogue researcher (one of my players has already asked to play a fleeing german occult researcher after hearing the description 'Indiana Jones meets Cthulhu, with airships'). My original idea for cargo was a (poorly) restrained Star Vampire, but that just seems somewhat underwhelming now, even if it is dangerous. Something more subtle is probably the way to go.

    Slipperychicken, those are all great mission ideas, and I'll admit I'd even considered Herbert West and the submarine scenario on my own, (though they were nowhere near as fleshed out or awesome sounding as yours).

    Veti, as far as the Hindenburg thing goes, it was just an idea that came to me and sounded good at the time. I thought the revelation of which exact airship they were on mid-way through might add to the atmosphere of impending doom. Now I'm somewhat ambivalent. It's a nice historic way to provide another layer of horror, but its starting to feel more contrived and cheap as plot points go. I may need to sleep on that one. Also, I believe you're right about SIS - need to temper my excitement with more research before I get carried away!

    Speaking of research, I was able to find floorplans, photos and information on the Hindenburg and its sisters ships, so now I can accurately model the thing on paper :D (Courtesy of this beautiful website: http://www.airships.net/hindenburg/interiors). Something that struck me as a possibility is to give the investigators partially created characters - set the basic stats and background, but let them fill in the blanks prior to play, and give them all individual histories, motivations and goals for a paranoia-esque game where nobody knows at the outset what the others are up to. Thoughts?
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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Here's the thing about Lovecraft. Ideally, you shouldn't treat it like a list of monsters for the players to fight. Cosmic Horror is fear of the unknown, it's the idea that the things you took for granted are not true.

    Basically, don't be afraid to stretch things a little.

    Creeping Madness is better than a Big Scary Thing.

    I mean, there could ALSO be a Big Scary Thing.

    Maybe the Renegade Researcher is bringing a Big Scary Thing, locked away in a secure crate marked with an Elder Sign.

    Meanwhile the German Agent's weapon is a phonograph record that plays a song in no known language from an opera about the Old Ones and that drives those who listen to it mad.

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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    I know it's alternate history, but the Hindenburg caught fire 2 years before World War II started, so you need a reason why it's still around for a story 'set in WWII'. Maybe the Zeppelin company was able to get the helium desired, maybe they made a pact with Dark Forces to keep it afloat. Perhaps instead of the Hindenburg, you use the second Graf Zeppelin, which was flown during World War II, though it never, in our reality, entered service.
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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    I know it's alternate history, but the Hindenburg caught fire 2 years before World War II started, so you need a reason why it's still around for a story 'set in WWII'. Maybe the Zeppelin company was able to get the helium desired, maybe they made a pact with Dark Forces to keep it afloat. Perhaps instead of the Hindenburg, you use the second Graf Zeppelin, which was flown during World War II, though it never, in our reality, entered service.
    From the setup, I was assuming the war hadn't started yet. (Otherwise it's harder to explain how the airships are still flying trans-Atlantic at all, let alone carrying a multi-national passenger manifest.) By the time of the Hindenburg disaster, there were plenty enough people in British intelligence who were getting nervous about Germany that a sort of 'cold war' atmosphere could already have been said to set in.
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    Quote Originally Posted by warrl View Post
    "They didn't change the alignment system, they just augmented its inherent weaknesses and limitations with a few gaping holes."
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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    I know it's alternate history, but the Hindenburg caught fire 2 years before World War II started, so you need a reason why it's still around for a story 'set in WWII'. Maybe the Zeppelin company was able to get the helium desired, maybe they made a pact with Dark Forces to keep it afloat. Perhaps instead of the Hindenburg, you use the second Graf Zeppelin, which was flown during World War II, though it never, in our reality, entered service.
    Maybe they performed last-minute repairs before that flight, allowing the vessel to survive for two additional years? Or the Germans listened to the zepplin company and decided to postpone that flight (not for two years, obviously, but long enough to fix it up)?

    Or you could just say the one-shot is taking place in 1937, if you can justify the sabotage as pre-war jockeying or something. Maybe the PCs would be sent by one of the european countries Germany was occupying at the time. They could also be saboteurs/terrorists who support one of the ethnic groups (such as the Romani) being killed by the german government.
    Last edited by Slipperychicken; 2014-07-23 at 05:36 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Slipperychicken View Post
    Or you could just say the one-shot is taking place in 1937, if you can justify the sabotage as pre-war jockeying or something. Maybe the PCs would be sent by one of the european countries Germany was occupying at the time. They could also be saboteurs/terrorists who support one of the ethnic groups (such as the Romani) being killed by the german government.
    Germany wasn't really occupying anything, or killing anyone much, in 1937. Unwanted elements within Germany were increasingly having a hard time, and by then it was difficult for them to get out; but at that point still no-one really had much of an inkling of what was coming.

    There was a civil war going on in Spain, in which Germany was enthusiastically testing its new aircraft, but it's a stretch to paint that as a precursor to WW2.

    However, there was plenty of buildup - "jockeying", as you call it - before the actual outbreak of hostilities. Anytime from the Berlin Olympics (1936) onwards, it's entirely plausible to have British and German black-ops teams squaring up to each other in secret missions that the outside world never knows of.

    Edit: if your rogue researcher is Jewish, it would explain why he (and for flavour, his family) are so keen to get out of Germany. But it would have taken some serious palm-greasing to get them onto the Hindenburg; by and large, most Jews who actually had that kind of money had already left, in 1934-35, before other countries essentially stopped taking them.
    Last edited by veti; 2014-07-23 at 06:34 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by warrl View Post
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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by KOedBarbarian View Post
    I'd love to hear comments and suggestions from people as to how I could go about running this game/other one-shot ideas, and especially feedback from people who've played Call of Cthulhu. Thanks :D
    First of all, I haven played Call of Cthulhu, but I have a general idea of what it's about. You basically have to prevent Cthulhu from coming into this world, right?

    Secondly, combining WWII and Call of Cthulhu is silly, but the awesome kind of silly. If you want a WWII related Call of Cthulhu idea, perhaps I have something for you. Goebbels once said about Nazi Germany that “If the day should ever come when we [the Nazis] must go, if some day we are compelled to leave the scene of history, we will slam the door so hard that the universe will shake and mankind will stand back in stupefaction.” Let's make this literal. Historically the Nazis were so desperate to not surrender that they actually sent children to the front. Why not take it further? Why not make it so that the Nazis are so desperate, they would literally prefer the entire world being consumed by Cthulhu to surrendering? It would be Nazi's last fatal blow to deal the Allies.

    Of course, in this context it's all the more important to differentiate between a German and a Nazi. Not all Germans were Nazi's and not all Nazi's were German.

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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Hi Massimo from Italy
    running cthulhu campaign for ages. any time any places.

    WWII is one of the best settings ever, because Nazi , as Indiana Jones taught us, are the greatest villains ever.

    I run a short scenario that may suit your needs

    where: Paris
    when: christmas 1943
    who: a ragtag french\international band of "freedom fighters"
    what: retrieve a parachuting american professor (named Armitage) and help him save some ancient rare books from the nazi grip
    why: Nazi Captain Mueller is being advised by a wierd arab scholar to search Paris sewers for an ancient Templar's hidden Refuge
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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    Here's the thing about Lovecraft. Ideally, you shouldn't treat it like a list of monsters for the players to fight. Cosmic Horror is fear of the unknown, it's the idea that the things you took for granted are not true.

    Basically, don't be afraid to stretch things a little.

    Creeping Madness is better than a Big Scary Thing.

    I mean, there could ALSO be a Big Scary Thing.

    Maybe the Renegade Researcher is bringing a Big Scary Thing, locked away in a secure crate marked with an Elder Sign.

    Meanwhile the German Agent's weapon is a phonograph record that plays a song in no known language from an opera about the Old Ones and that drives those who listen to it mad.
    I think it's a very nice adventure idea. Just not very cthulhuoid with secret military opperatives fighting each other with magic in service to their governent.

    I think for classic Lovecraft cosmic horror, a bomber crew crashed on a pacific island could be great. They got hit by a strange atmospheric anomaly and end up on that island, that may not even be on any map and is way off the common shipping lanes. And they discover something that is way worse than the whole war thing going on.
    For an added twist, they might be Japanese soldiers in early 1945, who are already aware that the war is going well. But if they don't succeed with ending the thing on the island, the fate of the country will be far worse than anything the americans could do.
    Last edited by Yora; 2014-07-24 at 08:01 AM.
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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    I don't think this would necessarily work well for one-offs, but I was reading through this post and came up with an interesting idea. Perhaps the Nazi death camps and the like were a way for Hitler to appease the dark lords and otherwise help them protect the German people from their wrath. The camps would act as soul "food sources" for the aberrations that Hitler is so afraid of.

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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I think it's a very nice adventure idea. Just not very cthulhuoid with secret military opperatives fighting each other with magic in service to their governent.
    The more I think about this, the more I think you're 100% correct. It's a neat idea, and I think there's still a way to make it work for cosmic horror, but as I've written it so far, it's very much a spy-thriller game, and not a Cthulhu one. I'll have to do some more brainstorming - I still very much want to make the airship aspect work, if only because it'd be shame to waste all this history and support material I've found.

    My hang-up with the death camps for appeasement idea, is that it provides an excuse, (however flimsy and riddled with holes), for some of the most evil acts the Nazis committed. To loosely parrot something from the DM's guide, there's a danger of downplaying the horrors and atrocities the Nazis committed by including the Lovecraftian horrors into their overall plans. Keeping them mostly distinct from one another allows for interesting contrast between the depths of human depravity, and something entirely alien and unknown. Which isn't to say there couldn't be a camp somewhere where the guards feed inmates to cosmic horrors or something; just that, as a whole, Nazis should be evil because they're Nazis, if that makes sense. I could totally see them trying to annihilate the world by feeding it to Azathoth once they realize they're going to lose though.
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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    A proper Cthullu campaign, in my mind, should slowly build up.

    At first it's all spies and espionage, with the occasional hints of something sinister lurking. Then, as the campaign continues, things like the approaching War become distractions. While the governments of man are fighting over europe, the Players are grappling with forces posed to destroy the world.

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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by KOedBarbarian View Post
    The more I think about this, the more I think you're 100% correct. It's a neat idea, and I think there's still a way to make it work for cosmic horror, but as I've written it so far, it's very much a spy-thriller game, and not a Cthulhu one. I'll have to do some more brainstorming - I still very much want to make the airship aspect work, if only because it'd be shame to waste all this history and support material I've found.
    I thought the original airship scenario (with or without the fleeing German occultist) was a good setup. And setting it on the Hindenburg, with the eventual destruction of the airship as one possible ending if they can't come up with anything better, is a nice touch to engender just the right level of pressure/paranoia in the players. In fact, it would be very much in line with my idea of a CoC campaign if you don't mention anything remotely supernatural in the briefing, and just let them think this is a regular SIS mission that will make some (probably minor) difference to the coming war. At that point, the only clue there's anything unnatural going on would be the honking great logos and artwork on the rulebooks and character sheets...

    To that end, don't put any monsters on the airship. Just one or two slightly-less-than-averagely sane Germans, plus their favourite bedtime reading.

    Quote Originally Posted by KOedBarbarian View Post
    My hang-up with the death camps for appeasement idea, is that it provides an excuse, (however flimsy and riddled with holes), for some of the most evil acts the Nazis committed.
    I think that's a good call. Don't go there.

    Also keep in mind that the horror of the death camps didn't just appear overnight - it was built up over a long time. The Nazis came to power in 1933; by 1935, life was getting difficult for Jews, but it wasn't until 1938 (the Evian Conference) that they started to grow really desperate, and not until 1941 that some of the concentration camps became full-fledged "death camps". Each step making perfect sense, from the Nazis' viewpoint, at the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by KOedBarbarian View Post
    I could totally see them trying to annihilate the world by feeding it to Azathoth once they realize they're going to lose though.
    Again... that's the kind of thing that would most likely happen as a sideshow. I can see one or two cultists who just happen to be senior Nazis pursuing that goal, without most of their superiors being aware of it.

    I have previously seen the suggestion that it was Nyarlathotep who guided, first the Nazis, then the Allies, on the path to building the atomic bomb...
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    Quote Originally Posted by warrl View Post
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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    I thought the original airship scenario (with or without the fleeing German occultist) was a good setup. And setting it on the Hindenburg, with the eventual destruction of the airship as one possible ending if they can't come up with anything better, is a nice touch to engender just the right level of pressure/paranoia in the players.
    It's nice to hear that kind of praise - I think my waffling has been due to only having run a single Pathfinder campaign prior to this, one that I don't feel I did particularly well running, (although my players might argue otherwise). So when it comes to running something near and dear to my heart like Call of Cthulhu, I freak out a little too much about doing it right. *deep breaths* I can do this :) Thanks for bearing with me guys!

    This'll be my last post for a few days though. I'm moving this weekend, and I can't guarantee I'll have internet access until Monday. Hopefully after that things'll calm down enough for me to devote a full evening or two to fleshing out these ideas into a proper session.

    Did sneak in a little reading into the background material last night; two groups stood out to me in the occult societies list. The Cult of the Black Sun is a group nominally dedicated to Nazi principals of superiority and studying occult methods to guarantee their supremacy. In actuality, they're devoted to Yog-Sothoth, and count Nyarlothotep as one of their supporters and patrons. They study magic in the hopes of finding a way to free their god from his prison. Their rival/daughter group, Nachtwolfe, studies ancient/alien technology to craft new nightmare weapons for the Nazi warmachine, (ex: they were able to copy Herbert West's serum, and now use a gas version of the agent combined with artillery shells to decimate and reanimate enemies at range, later moving in with flamethrowers to eliminate the zombies).
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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    The airship picked up a British woman (Miss Y. Thoth) and her blind younger brother (Alexander Zachary Albert); she is going to become a teacher at Miskatonic U and he's...a little out of it, but not unfriendly. There's always a phonograph - often a pair - playing around them, and the brother nods along.

    The music is disturbing, but shouldn't be described as such at first. The sanity-melting effects are subtle and gradual, and get worse when only one phonograph is playing.

    Unfortunately, the nazi agent was aware of this madness-inducing music, and has infiltrated the airship specifically to steal one (or both) and weaponize them.

    When one goes missing, therefore, Miss Y. Thoth becomes very concerned, saying over and over how bad it would be if the music stopped. Her brother can give some insights, but his fey way of speaking (or, perhaps, his simpleton nature) make him an unreliable source.

    If the lone remaining phonograph runs out before the other is found, Alexander Zachary Albert starts to get more animated. His sister implores the party (and anybody who'll listen) to keep singing, lest he wake up before she can start the record over.

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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    to quote myself(is that bad form?) from another place and time.
    Quote Originally Posted by the OOD View Post
    I'll just leave the greatest investigative adventure design advice I have ever seen here.


    read it. learn it. love it. praise it. worship it. bow before it. it wakes. worship it. bow before your lord and master. caress it. WORSHIP YOUR LORD AND MASTER. ia! ia! Cthulhu f'thgan! know it. love it. bow and grovel as the master approaches. PH'NGLUI MGLW'NAFH CTHULHU R'LYEH WGAH'NAGL FHTAGN!
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    Remember kids: a good thief can steal everything that isn't nailed down, on fire, part of the building, or trying to kill them. Skilled adventurers have been known to leave behind far less that that.
    probably edited for spelling and/or grammar.

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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    The campaign description wasn't cosmic horror, it was urban fantasy/secret world using the human scale Lovecraft elements. Recognize the difference and you're fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by ryu View Post
    Setting gods on player characters who actually know what they're doing really is just a particularly large XP packet. If you stat it, they CAN kill it. Even then. Especially then.
    I'm just hoping they stat the Lady of Pain at some point.
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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    I think that the one that would be awesome would be one set during the Winter War, as Soviets. More specifically, give them the unnerving feeling that the Soviets themselves felt - the Finns were incredibly hard to take down, and often times would damage Soviet units by loads. In the meantime, drive every man in their unit slowly mad.

    I would be unnerved if I had to choose between Cthulhu and Simo Häyhä.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    You could also set some scenarios in southeast asia, which was home to fishman cults long before Innsmouth was a thing. I might post a more detailed scenario later.

    Additionally, the middle east and india have loads of mythos lore centering around there, and they featured somewhat in WW2.

    Quote Originally Posted by GPuzzle View Post
    I would be unnerved if I had to choose between Cthulhu and Simo Häyhä.
    Who says you get to choose? Clearly, Simo's position was aided by forest-dwelling cultists (fearful that they would be persecuted under the Russians) who helped conjure forth some of the harshest winters in history, used strange geometry to conceal him from the Russians, and brought up the spirits of great marksmen to help his aim.
    Last edited by Slipperychicken; 2014-08-18 at 06:56 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Slipperychicken View Post
    Who says you get to choose? Clearly, Simo's position was aided by forest-dwelling cultists (fearful that they would be persecuted under the Russians) who helped conjure forth some of the harshest winters in history, used strange geometry to conceal him from the Russians, and brought up the spirits of great marksmen to help his aim.
    There's a brick-shaped hole in my chair now and I do not know how to explain it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    The Joker is supposed to be a nightmarish figure, the culmination of all things despicable and horrible about mankind. Of course he's a hipster.


    Working on a fantasy webstory. Doctor Who may or may not be referenced right out of the box.

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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Sorry for my prolonged absence everybody - I've been running around putting out fires (moving, work, issues with management, etc.). I think I see some light up ahead though, so with any luck I'll be able to get this party started at long last.

    Quote Originally Posted by the OOD View Post
    to quote myself(is that bad form?) from another place and time.
    Ooh, thank you very much the OOD - I think I'll be referring back to that a great deal in future!

    I love the Simo Haya/Eastern front ideas too. Lots of great stuff to draw inspiration from :)

    As for the Hindenburg scenario, I've fleshed it out some more, but will have to hold off on sharing the details until tomorrow evening, or I'll be up writing all night.
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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    I agree with the previous posters, your idea with the Hindenburg is a great setup, and it isn't cheap at all. I would love to play in a game like that. I also agree that something more subtle is the way to go, instead of a star vampire or another evil creature. Subtle influence that slowly "changes" passengers over time, the easily susceptitble first. BRC is right, slow buildup is your friend.

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    Ah well, they're actually called Nachtwölfe, I'd assume, Night Wolves in English. Nachtwolfe is very obviously wrong German, so you might want to write "Nachtwoelfe" if you're not able to do an Ö, or just call it "Nachtwolf", Night Wolf".
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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Just a thought, perhaps a totally worthless one:

    If you're going for creeping, subtle horror, one of the best ways to induce that feeling of dread and paranoia is to take away the safety and reassurance the party itself offers.

    You mentioned pre-generating the characters. Do so with each player individually. Don't let the players share any information you share with them, except through roleplaying. Drop heavy hints that the SIS fears the suspect might have allies amongst their own ranks.

    Now your players are hunting for the bad guy, and they can't be positive that one of their own isn't a traitor. You're the only one that knows the truth.

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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Chacha View Post
    If you're going for creeping, subtle horror, one of the best ways to induce that feeling of dread and paranoia is to take away the safety and reassurance the party itself offers.
    As long as you don't split it, or get the players themselves at each others' throats OOC.


    Granted, backstabbing isn't really what Lovecraftian horror was about. When they did travel in groups, his protagonists were typically able to depend on each other. The Dunwich Horror's protagonists, for example, didn't have much inter-party bickering at all: They just went in and did what they had to do. Likewise for the the dozen or so stories wherein some protagonists organize a bunch of dudes go in to take out something nasty (Examples include multiple instances in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, also The Alchemist's backstory where Comte and his gang face down Michel the Evil, the government men in Shadow Over Innsmouth who fought the horrors of Innsmouth, even the armies of ghouls, cats, and night-gaunts from The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath worked together without issue): Sure, human protagonists tended to get pretty shaken up about it once they're done, but they were generally able to cooperate in not only facing down the unknowable, but also in keeping their mouths shut about it afterwards.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

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    Default Re: WWII Cthulhu One shot ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    One minor detail - I'm reasonably sure that MI6 was better known as the SIS (Secret Intelligence Service), up until sometime well after 1945.
    The 1920's on, at least according to wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directo...gence#Sections

    You could have MI-13, 18, anything in the 20s, or possibly something that predates the formal secret service (dating back into antiquity and created at the behest of a monarch - say Elizabeth I as she has some of the earliest known espionage agencies), and it's grandfathered into MI-Zero.

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    There was a civil war going on in Spain, in which Germany was enthusiastically testing its new aircraft, but it's a stretch to paint that as a precursor to WW2.
    Personally, I'd say the Spanish Civil War is a major precursor, along with Japanese imperialism in Asia, and the failure of the League of Nations to do anything about it.

    There's also right-wing elements in various countries (the "Blackshirts" in Italy and Britain in the inter-war years, for example), plus the Communists (the Cambridge Spy Ring were recruited in the 30's), and the IRA had a short period of activity pre-war (Ireland was officially neutral, but unofficially aided Britain in various small ways - mainly because Britain would likely have invaded to prevent Ireland being used as a launching point for an axis invasion).

    One possible scenario might be to have the villain being an allied agent (say something has driven them insane and they're trying to perform some ritual, either to prevent/end the war with something they've no chance of controlling, or just end the world because it's what humanity deserves), with axis ones trying to stop them, who the PCs will have to team up with.

    If you get into the war itself, the PCs might have to go through SOE evaluation and training, to prepare them for infiltration missions into occupied Europe to capture or destroy artefacts etc.

    Or there's Indiana Jones-style "races for the artefact" - but not just ones the axis are going after, but also ones the allies want - chasing rumours of Excalibur, for example. And of course, you could have fake missions - the PCs are sent after something that doesn't exist (although they think it does), in order to either identify and eliminate enemy groups, or deflect their attention away from something else.

    Or, there's possibilities around mundane operations with low amounts of magic/ the occult at the edges, say protecting someone who's being targeted, because some precog's said they're going to be important in the approaching conflict, and when normal methods fail, they switch to more exotic ones - don't go for a name like Alan Turing or Barnes Wallis, go for someone slightly less well known, like Tommy Flowers (the man who originally created the Colossus computer), or even go for someone completely fictional.

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