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Old 02-26-2010, 11:09 PM   #1
macphersonrants
 
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Default Weird War II Sources and Inspiration

When I set up the Lexicon Game referenced in this thread I also put together a list of a few sources. I figured I would throw them up here in the hope that others might be willing to share their favorites as well:

Weird War II Suggested Reading (work in progress)-

Comic Books and Graphic Novels:
Mike Mignola and others, Hellboy and related titles, Dark Horse Comics, 1994 to present:
The BPRD: 1946 and Lobster Johnson are around the correct period as are the backstories for several of the titles. The feel for the villains and the occultism seems close to what we are shooting for.

Various Authors, Weird War Tales, DC Comics/Vertigo Imprint, 1997 to present:
Some of these deal with WWII and have a feel that works for me. I haven't read all of them and don't care for every one I have read.

Books:
Alan Furst, Various Titles, Random House, 1988 to Present:
Night Soldiers and The Foreign Correspondent do a good job of capturing the paranoia and pessimism of the immediate pre-war years. Furst prefers European, rather than British and American, protagonists and provides some good ideas for possible character types.

Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity, NYU Press, 2001:
The real world beliefs of Neo-Nazi crackpots provide the best possible source for forays into the evil occult Nazi trope, excepting-

Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology, NYU Press, 1993:
...which features the beliefs of real evil occult Nazi crackpots. Both of these are well researched scholarly works. If you want a credible treatment of what the occult element within Nazism really believed these are the books to check out.

Jack Higgins, The Eagle Has Landed and The Eagle Has Flown, Berkely and Chapmans, 1975 and 1991:
These fast paced thrillers are reasonably well written and feature some interesting characters. The first features a commando raid aimed at killing Churchill. These are both good sources if you are looking to explore concepts for German characters who are not evil Nazis. Some of Higgins more contemporary thrillers feature German antagonists and include flashback sequences set during the war. The film for the first book features Donald Sutherland as a superb Liam Devlin.

E.M. Nathanson, Dirty Dozen, Dirty Distant War, and Knight's Cross, Dell and Berkeley, 1965 to 1990:
Well written and plotted special operations adventure stories. The main character in the first two is based on Aaron Bank who among other things was tasked to kill Hitler and would go on to be one of the founders of the Green Berets. These thrillers are fairly well researched and read true to life.

Films:
Where Eagles Dare, MGM, 1976:
This fine action film features Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton as the key members of a team making a covert commando assault on an alpine castle. It has some great action scenes and holds the distinction of being the film in which a Clint Eastwood character chalks up the highest body count.

Games:
Brian J. Underhill w/ Kenneth Hite, ed., GURPS WWII: Weird War II, Steve Jackson Games, 2000(?):
The primary GURPS source for the genre. The book systematically deals with WWII alternate history, conspiracy theory, secret magic, weird science, monsters, and super powers. It is the essential source for the sort of thing we are trying to accomplish.

Kenneth Hite, GURPS Cabal, Steve Jackson Games, 2000(?):
One of my concepts for the setting is to essentially run Cabal, but without the Cabal. Several of the lodges make an appearance on my suggested topic list.

C.J. Carella, GURPS Voodoo: The Shadow War, Steve Jackson Games, 1995(?):
This book includes some interesting conspiratorial and secret magic groups. It also has some ideas on using 'realistic' secret magic in a modern horror setting.

Edward M. Kann, Rocketship Empires 1936, STORYArt Games, 2007
This game does a masterful job of combining 1930s pulp action with a space setting. The artwork is pretty good and the overall concept is excellent, as is the nice retro-tech feel. Highly recommended.
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: Weird War II Sources and Inspiration

Comic Books and Graphic Novels:

I was always partial to The Haunted Tank and Sgt. Rock.

Films:

Although set just after WWII, Cast A Deadly Spell is one of my favorite movies.
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:54 PM   #3
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I strongly recommend the novel Declare, by Tim Powers, a very tightly plotted story about the involve of djinn in World War II espionage and sigint. It might be the best novel Powers ever wrote.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:06 AM   #4
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Default Re: Weird War II Sources and Inspiration

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I strongly recommend the novel Declare, by Tim Powers, a very tightly plotted story about the involve of djinn in World War II espionage and sigint. It might be the best novel Powers ever wrote.

Bill Stoddard
Just happens to be sitting on my bedside table as we speak. I'm looking forward to reading it as soon as I finish The Atrocity Archives, which should definitely be on this list. It provides a great approach to the cosmology of a setting where monsters rub tentacles with secret agents in the modern day. While I am not completely in love with Stross's style, I think its core ideas probably make it a must for anyone considering running a campaign along the lines of Delta Green or Cabal.
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Old 02-27-2010, 03:34 AM   #5
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Cold city from contested grounds contains some good stuff as does it's follow up Hot War, the first is set in Berlin just after the war and is about the allies looking for the Nazi's twisted technology. I've included some of it in a game I run.
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Old 02-27-2010, 03:54 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by macphersonrants View Post
Films:
Where Eagles Dare, MGM, 1976:
This fine action film features Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton as the key members of a team making a covert commando assault on an alpine castle. It has some great action scenes and holds the distinction of being the film in which a Clint Eastwood character chalks up the highest body count.
The novel that the movie is based on is also very good.

Then there's Harry Turtledove's "World War" tetralogy about an alien invasion during World War II. It gives a fairly good sense of some of the historical characters that were around at that time, and also strongly supports the very high CP value given to Otto Skorzeny in "GURPS Hands of Steel".

There are some sequels taking place at a later time, but I haven't bought or read those. Yet.
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Old 02-27-2010, 04:23 AM   #7
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[...] and also strongly supports the very high CP value given to Otto Skorzeny in "GURPS Hands of Steel".
Stats for Skorzeny are in Weird War II, not Hand Of Steel.
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:08 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by copeab View Post
Although set just after WWII, Cast A Deadly Spell is one of my favorite movies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I strongly recommend the novel Declare, by Tim Powers
I was not familiar with either of these, but the review material I find online makes them seem worth looking into. Thanks for the recommendations!
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: Weird War II Sources and Inspiration

I just recently picked up a 3 DVD series called "The Occult History of the Third Reich," which I haven't checked out yet, but it looks promising -- it's a series of Canadian documentaries from a company I've never heard of before (Madacy).

You've got a few of Ken Hite's books listed already ... his Suppressed Transmissions books (compiled from the article series in Pyramid) has a bunch of beautiful high weirdness, and at least a few articles about Nazis.

And of course, the wellspring from which virtually all of this stuff flows -- Robert Anton Wilson's incomparable Illuminatus! trilogy...

No one's mentioned the Castle Wolfenstein video games, which have plenty of these elements as well.
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Old 02-27-2010, 02:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: Weird War II Sources and Inspiration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brevitt View Post
Cold city from contested grounds contains some good stuff as does it's follow up Hot War, the first is set in Berlin just after the war and is about the allies looking for the Nazi's twisted technology. I've included some of it in a game I run.
I can't say too many good things about these games. Both have really interesting settings and innovative mechanics.

I'll also second the later posters endorsement of Suppressed Transmissions. Anyone who is thinking about running a game with weird or conspiracy elements should try to pick both books up. Since the Pyramid archive is no longer available, I wonder if SJG couldn't put out the later columns that came out after the 2nd Ed as a PDF?
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