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Old 04-16-2015, 10:33 AM   #41
Icelander
 
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Default Potential PCs

I want to provide a range of pre-generated characters that the players can pick among. Those who aren't picked will be NPCs, I guess.

I thought I'd start by identifying roles that need to be filled in a covert operations occult commando caper like this.

The group will need one or more social engineers that are absolutely convincing as native Germans and can preferably pass as officers of the SS stationed in Berlin. I'll have one Polish SOE operative who speaks perfect German and probably a French one too.

I'm going to offer at least German citizen, probably a college educated Jewish character who doubles as an occult expert as well. I'm thinking an assimilated one who was a professor of Germanic history, culture or something similar.

The team will need several experts in the occult, both ones with knowledge related to the McGuffin and ones with expertise in countering whatever the boffins at Maxwell Knight's section believe will be defending the McGuffin.

I think it would be cool to offer a female SOE agent who studied something usefully occult at Oxford before the war. Another idea is a British country from the commandos who happened to have a mother who was a village wise woman and who has a wealth of practical experience with an unpretentious but useful mystical tricks.

They'll need a communications expert and they'll probably need a transport specialist as well as someone with a great deal of expertise in facilitating entry into heavily defended tunnels. A mechanic or engineer who can fix most anything would be useful for the transport and a demolition expert seems like a good idea if you're not entirely sure that your local contact can provide keys to all the locked gates and portcullises of what might be an extremely secure underground tunnel system.

They'll need fighting men, as the traitor on the German side might be able to get them into a secret compound, but the odds are that the commando team must then seize the McGuffin from some fanatical SS troops or even worse opposition. I expect that most of the fighting men will be NPCs who meet up with the PCs for the last phase of the mission. Maybe a chalk of paratroopers or a section or two of British commandos.

I will offer some fighting men as PCs, as that sort of thing pleases players. Of course, most of the potential PCs will be good at commando stuff, but one or two of them might be good at nothing else, if any player wants to be entertainingly inept at the spy stuff and have to make some nail-biting rolls just to get away with a "Jawohl!" that doesn't blow their cover.

The roster might thus look something like this:

Team Leader: Educated, German-speaking English SOE officer from the upper classes. Will have experience of the secret occult aspects of the war. Skilled commando officer with a broad knowledge base in covert operations and occult secret warfare, if lacking the depth of expertise in each field possessed by dedicated specialists under his command.

Executive Officer: Jean-Marie Reynard. French SOE officer, an africain blanc or what would later come to be called pied-noir . Born in German Kamerun in 1911 and raised in French Cameroun by a French father and German mother. Ran away from home as a teenager, joined the Foreign Legion and fought in the last battles of the Moroccan War. Later became a smuggler, opium-trader and gunrunner to African tribes, complete with adventures in Abynissia in 1935. Former member of No. 10 Commando. Experience working with the Resistance and jumping with a Jedburgh team. In civilian life, an adventurer, gambler, ne'er-do-well and all-around romantic figure. Skilled social engineer, covert operative and saboteur.

Mission Specialist: German professor of something Volkisch, of Jewish extraction. Emigrated to the US or Britain around 1933. Expert on runes and occult Nordic stuff. Either works with Maxwell Knight's section of MI-5 or the R&A branch of OSS. Carries around useful items enchanted with runes, which in those rare areas where magic actually works will be powerful magical items.

Field Occultist: Female English SOE agent, educated at Oxford in something useful for occultism. Veteran of several missions behind enemy lines in France. Champion skeet shooter and equestrienne in her youth, skills which translated well to such wartime necessities as the use of the Sten gun and parachuting from low altitudes. Described by her admiring superior officer in the SOE as "a perfect English Rose, but you'll want to watch the thorns."

Radio Operator: Polish SOE agent, former member of the Cichociemni. Studied electrical engineering in Germany before the war, speaks perfect German. Intelligent, resourceful and adaptable. Extremely proficient in covert movement, infiltration and sentry removal.

Mechanic: Scottish member of No. 62 Commando. Grew up in Glasgow as a troubled and violent youth, ran away to sea at sixteen and eventually found work in the engine room of a steamer out of Hamburg, which he did from 1934-1939, ending up as second engineer. Joined the Royal Navy in 1939 and volunteered for the Royal Naval beach parties (later Royal Naval Commandos) in 1941.

Security: A Gurkha soldier with a gift for languages. Served on Cyprus when war broke out and has fought in the Middle East and Italy with the 1/2nd King Edward's Own Gurkha Rifles. Loves music, singing and statuesque women singing. Learned marvellous Italian from fading soprano running a tavern on Cyprus. Speaks some German, decent Greek and is capable of perfect English, though he prefers to speak with a thick Nepali accent.* Comes from a witch-finding family and has a marvellous facility to withstand supernatural influences. Also happens to be cheerfully murderous and utterly without fear.

*He claims that speaking English with an accent from the Indian subcontinent is clearly more correct than any British accent, based on descriptive linguistics and simple demographics.

Security: Garner Lane Hadley, a newly-minted American Marine Lieutenant (previously a Sergeant) who had never been outside of South Carolina when the war began, but because of some Top Secret prophecies is considered vital for this mission by the OSS. He's a preacher's son, evangelical Christian, nice, polite, somewhat naive in the ways of the world, but after four years of warfare in the Pacific, absolutely lethal in combat.

Does anyone have suggestions for fleshing those out? Any roles I missed?
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Last edited by Icelander; 04-29-2015 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 04-16-2015, 01:23 PM   #42
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Default Re: [WWII/TS/Covert Ops/Weird War II] Götterdämmerung on Walpurgisnacht

A scout might be very useful. Someone who can pass reliably as an uninteresting German private, with good stealth and escaping skills, would fit that role.

A cover story for the SOE lady needs care. The Germans really didn't have many women auxillaries going around with men; segregation was the policy.
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Old 04-16-2015, 01:30 PM   #43
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Default Re: [WWII/TS/Covert Ops/Weird War II] Götterdämmerung on Walpurgisnacht

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
A scout might be very useful. Someone who can pass reliably as an uninteresting German private, with good stealth and escaping skills, would fit that role.
A Polish commando and covert operative who studied in Germany seems perfect for that role. The radio will be buried most of the time and in between one or two transmissions at set times per day, he will be available for other duties. During the kinetic phase at the end, it's not as if the radio will be carried into battle, so he'd probably default to being a scout, given his infiltration talents.

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A cover story for the SOE lady needs care. The Germans really didn't have many women auxillaries going around with men; segregation was the policy.
I imagined that she would pretend to be a government secretary or the private secretary of a senior officer, if one of the PCs will be impersonating such a beast. In real life, Traudl Junge and her fellow secretaries were escorted around by SS men and soldiers around much of the area the PCs want to infiltrate all the way up to Hitler's death.
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Old 04-16-2015, 03:16 PM   #44
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Default Re: [WWII/TS/Covert Ops/Weird War II] Götterdämmerung on Walpurgisnacht

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
A Polish commando and covert operative who studied in Germany seems perfect for that role.
Ah, missed that bit of him, reading on my phone. Sounds good.

Quote:
I imagined that she would pretend to be a government secretary or the private secretary of a senior officer, if one of the PCs will be impersonating such a beast. In real life, Traudl Junge and her fellow secretaries were escorted around by SS men and soldiers around much of the area the PCs want to infiltrate all the way up to Hitler's death.
Being the secretary of someone senior enough that they didn't have to follow the rules was a bit different from working for an ordinary government official or senior officer. Other things to try being would include a local civilian who'd attached herself to a group of men in the hope of protection, or someone from a German ally's diplomatic service.
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Old 04-16-2015, 04:38 PM   #45
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Default Re: [WWII/TS/Covert Ops/Weird War II] Götterdämmerung on Walpurgisnacht

A female "fanatical" Italian might work, plus she can cover Latin areas of the occult.
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Old 04-16-2015, 04:59 PM   #46
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Default Occult notes

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Originally Posted by adm View Post
A female "fanatical" Italian might work, plus she can cover Latin areas of the occult.
What I have in mind for the occult elements of the scenario is that the McGuffin changes the No Mana of Earth into at least Normal Mana close to it, bleeding into Low Mana and Very Low Mana point by point of penalty as distance increases.

The opposition will be heavily into various völkisch traditions, with a group of deluded scholars of Germanic and Nordic rune magic being able to actually achieve useful effects as long as the McGuffin is channeling energy into the compound. Necromancy, curses and blood magic might all be expected, with everything dressed up in Germano-Nordic aesthetic.

Given that Ahnenerbe scholars in the setting have been known to study Tibetan lore and spent a lot of time looking for common Aryan origins, which involved chasing after all kinds of artifacts from India, various types of ancient Indo-European mysticism cannot be ruled out.

As the PCs get closer to the McGuffin, they'll encounter creatures that are clearly in violation of some natural laws, at least here on Earth. During the planning for the mission, however, no one really knew what to expect in that regard.

No one can rule out ice giants, werewolves, gigantic sea serpents or a creepy corpseship full of the damned, but optimistic souls are confident that despite the presence of some anomalous factors that science can't explain during previous encounters with a cult within the higher orders of the Nazi regime, most of the hokus-pokus stuff is more smoke-and-mirrors and superstition than it is useful tactically.

Given the völkisch flavour, I expect anything from the Classical World to be more likely to feature as background than an adventure element. That is, anything from actual respectable history, as opposed to myth and legend. The Spear of Longinus and similar might absolutely be present, but it isn't as if that legend has any real connection with Rome or Latin.
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Old 04-17-2015, 01:30 AM   #47
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Default Re: [WWII/TS/Covert Ops/Weird War II] Götterdämmerung on Walpurgisnacht

My suggestions for a McGuffin have been superseded by the last post, as they're not very volkisch, but I'll post them anyway.

The Lance of St George: St George was a Roman soldier born in Cappadocia, living around 300 AD. His lance may actually appear as a more of a spear, and could be found alongside the Spear of Longinus in an occult weapons collection, perhaps even being mistaken for it due to its vintage and origin. To otherwise cloud matters, it could be referred to as "The Cappadocian's Spear/Blade/Relic". It could be a justification for dragon-like or demonic entities appearing in the vicinity- give it summoning and control powers. Note that St George's day is April 23, so that might be useful too. And this would be a particularly significant relic for the British to recover. Perhaps it could be a sword, or it could be piercing through a stone (a petrified dragon's heart, liver or gall), if you want to raise some confusion between it and Excalibur. The Relic could either be in its original form, or it's been weaponised as the core element of a massive deiselpunk death machine.

The Last Descendant of Christ: Taking a leaf out of Leigh, Lincoln & Baigent's Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (which of course was the basis for The Da Vinci Code, but you can ignore that), and also riffed upon by Garth Ennis's Preacher (which is about to become a TV series, so I'll try not to drop any spoilers)- the bloodline of Jesus has been maintained throughout the centuries by a secret cult. Their last hiding place had been in the Spanish town of Guernica, so after German agents had captured the Descendant the town was bombed into oblivion. They have had the Descendant in their custody since then. This means the McGuffin is actually a person, making escape that much more difficult. The Descendant could be any age you choose, from an unborn child in his mother's womb to a decrepit old man, to further make things interesting. You could also check out how Ennis portrayed the Descendant for another twist, but that way lies spoilers. To make things hairy in the vicinity, the Descendant is protected by a legion of angels, ghostly saints or apostles that your team has to contend with. Your preacher's son PC might have been chosen for the mission with this target in mind.

The Minder: The McGuffin, whatever it ends up being, must actually be taken together with a scientist, academic, doctor, engineer or occultist who is needed to protect it or keep it under control.

ETA:
Napoleon's Head: 'Nuff said.
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Last edited by Daigoro; 04-17-2015 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 04-17-2015, 01:38 AM   #48
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Default Re: [WWII/TS/Covert Ops/Weird War II] Götterdämmerung on Walpurgisnacht

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Originally Posted by GoldenMonkey View Post
They won't want to be wearing anything close to SS uniforms when the Russians finally arrive. That will be an unpleasant death.

They also don't want to use a cover as Soviet-sympathizer Germans, members of the local Communist party or whatnot. Those guys didn't fare too well either.
Would these sorts of problems have been foreseeable beforehand though? Were the Allies expecting a lot of trouble from the Soviets?
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Old 04-17-2015, 02:47 AM   #49
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Default Re: [WWII/TS/Covert Ops/Weird War II] Götterdämmerung on Walpurgisnacht

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Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
Would these sorts of problems have been foreseeable beforehand though?
The one of being in SS uniforms? Yes. The other, I don't know but I don't think so.

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Were the Allies expecting a lot of trouble from the Soviets?
That depended on whom you asked. More yes than no, though.
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Old 04-17-2015, 03:20 AM   #50
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Default Re: [WWII/TS/Covert Ops/Weird War II] Götterdämmerung on Walpurgisnacht

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
My suggestions for a McGuffin have been superseded by the last post, as they're not very volkisch, but I'll post them anyway.

The Lance of St George: St George was a Roman soldier born in Cappadocia, living around 300 AD. His lance may actually appear as a more of a spear, and could be found alongside the Spear of Longinus in an occult weapons collection, perhaps even being mistaken for it due to its vintage and origin. To otherwise cloud matters, it could be referred to as "The Cappadocian's Spear/Blade/Relic". It could be a justification for dragon-like or demonic entities appearing in the vicinity- give it summoning and control powers. Note that St George's day is April 23, so that might be useful too. And this would be a particularly significant relic for the British to recover. Perhaps it could be a sword, or it could be piercing through a stone (a petrified dragon's heart, liver or gall), if you want to raise some confusion between it and Excalibur. The Relic could either be in its original form, or it's been weaponised as the core element of a massive deiselpunk death machine.
What's so special about that day?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
The Last Descendant of Christ: Taking a leaf out of Leigh, Lincoln & Baigent's Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (which of course was the basis for The Da Vinci Code, but you can ignore that), and also riffed upon by Garth Ennis's Preacher (which is about to become a TV series, so I'll try not to drop any spoilers)- the bloodline of Jesus has been maintained throughout the centuries by a secret cult. Their last hiding place had been in the Spanish town of Guernica, so after German agents had captured the Descendant the town was bombed into oblivion. They have had the Descendant in their custody since then. This means the McGuffin is actually a person, making escape that much more difficult. The Descendant could be any age you choose, from an unborn child in his mother's womb to a decrepit old man, to further make things interesting. You could also check out how Ennis portrayed the Descendant for another twist, but that way lies spoilers. To make things hairy in the vicinity, the Descendant is protected by a legion of angels, ghostly saints or apostles that your team has to contend with. Your preacher's son PC might have been chosen for the mission with this target in mind.
Or maybe easier if they want out.
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