As some of you may have guessed by now I have a less than firm grasp on the passage of time. Punctuality is not a trait I possess in any real abundance. Add that to the comedy of errors that this week has been and it is little surprise that it took me this long to write this post that I started promising almost two weeks ago. This post talking about what this game will and will not be. But how to approach that? It took me a few days but I figured that out. And, as you may have figured out, I like sharing my thought process.
For now though let’s just get to the game. Starting with the system Godlike and what it is in the words of its creators – or at least whatever intern they had write it up for their website. Do gaming company have interns or do they consider everyone interns because of how little they are paid?
“Godlike is a superhero game like no other. There’s no bright spandex or pulp machismo. It’s about ordinary men and women who manifest amazing powers in the midst of the deadliest war the world has ever known. For all their power, though, they are just as vulnerable as everyone else. Maybe even more so, since these so-called “Talents” are sent into the worst fighting and on the most dangerous commando missions. In Godlike, characters’ heroism comes not from their powers but from their courage in the face of fear. Superpowers are fueled by Will points, but Will points sometimes evaporate in the panic of combat.”
That is actually a pretty decent summation of the game actually. Real people facing real problems with a little bit of the fantastic to give you some distance from the all too depressing reality of WWII. Superheroes covered in dust and wearing a cape of combat fatigue, Fun stuff. I’m not running it 100% as they wrote it but it is the DM’s duty to put a little bit of spin on everything they run isn’t it?
And, no, I’m not telling you what I am doing. I’m not even telling (all of) my players what I am doing differently. It’s a surprise.
So what story am I going to be telling in this setting? A dark one. Perhaps overall the darkest idea I have ever had. One reflecting modern day worries and issues. One that steals a bit from a couple of movies to become something uniquely my own. In this case I stole a little bit of Inglorious Bastards and a lot of The Purge to produce a very different Final Solution to the Jewish Question.
Fucking hell. The research I have done for this game.
Reichsgau Wartheland, Reich District Land of the Warta River
December 5th, 1941
First Night of the Woche der Reinigung
It is here that Heydrich’s plan will first see true use use. The Week of Purging. Aimed by speech and media towards the Jewish Ghetto in Lodz. 200,000 Jews and Romani held captive nearly 2 years now with more …undesirables shipped there. It is here that they will practice their evils before unveiling them to German High Command at the Wannsee Conference. Practicing for their place at the Devil’s Right Hand.
It was the knowledge that Reinhardt Heydrich himself would be overseeing this that brought your cell of the German Resistance out of hiding. Most days you preferred to work in the shadows. Doing your best to hide your aid of the Jewish people behind at least a facade of German heritage and Nazi ideology. But for the schemer behind Kristallnacht… behind the Security Service who hunts Hitler’s political opponents… a high ranking member of the Schutzstaffel… the man behind this abominable Final Solution to the Jewish Question to show himself so close to where you live and work? The opportunity is too great.
Of course he is bringing some of the Reich’s Ubermensch – their Talents – with him but you are bringing yourselves. The Talents of the German Resistance. May God give you strength in the face of the Devil.
I’m rather proud of that little game blurb. It sounds almost professional. Like I know what I am doing and not just pulling out of my ass as we go along. It’s not true but it is a pleasant illusion.
Now I have no illusions about concerns that this game idea may cause. Handled poorly this could be an unmitigated disaster on every level. Not to mention the potential to offend literally every decent person by poor and disrespectful handling a WWII scenario dealing with the Final Solution. So to avoid doing these things I have set myself some ground rules. To this I turned to a framework used in the Powered By The Apocalypse games: Agenda and Principles.
- Show human horror.
- Let the player’s make a difference.
- Play to find out what happens.
- Address the Characters, Not the Players.
- Ask Questions, and Build on the Answers.
- Unnerve, Do Not Shock. This is Horror, Not Nazi Porn.
- Do Not Spell Out What You Can Leave to the Imagination.
- Some Evils Need No Description. We Know They Are There.
- Think Dangerous.
- Give Every Character A Name, Every Monster Life.
- Begin and End With the Fiction.
- Think Offscreen.
- Be A Fan of the Characters.
I hope this shows that I am taking this seriously. I do not approach this subject matter lightly. I want to gather people together in a fight against fascism and its evils – not cause distress. So consider this a trigger warning. There will be fascism and violence. There will be people showing the worst humanity has to offer. There will not be shock value scenes. No gore porn. No torture porn. No sexual violence. No violence against children. I’m an asshole but even I have my limits.
Hopefully you will tune in tonight at 10pm EST at twitch.tv/freefloatinghostility. I have a good group – and I know how to push their buttons. It should be fun and intense.