An Imperfect World

Imperfect Design 8
The Butterfly Effect

So thoughts on the Berlin Atomic Drop. So the Germans were working on many secret weapons from the very beginning of the war. One of these is the Ubermensch Project, another was the development of nuclear weapons. In this alternate history, Germany started working on some “mysterious nuclear properties”, or some such thing. Both these projects were on the outskirts of the blast zone. When the Atomic Bomb is dropped, the blast breaches the projects’ bunkers. The resulting combination is sucked into the Jet Stream, causing the strangeness in the world that follows. At least that is where I am currently leaning. Of course I could just leave the whole thing to speculation and give no answer. I kind of hate that sort of thing, not knowing, I think I would prefer even a partially plausible reason, rather than none at all.

I also think that this effect won’t just effect people, or even living things. I think it would be interesting if the effect(radiation, mutagen, or whatever) “pooled” in locations, allowing for physics to be mutable in some places, and for fortean phenomena and such like.

As to the amount of the superhuman/fortean phenomena. I think that it should be quite rare. maybe no more than a thousand people world wide, and very few unique locations and strange animals. Now, I think that the prevailing beliefs of the people’s collective unconscious, or whatever will have an effect on the nature of the strangeness. Which is why some animals(and even some plants) can have a human like intelligence. These are simply my basic thoughts on this subject, I will write more.

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Imperfect Design 7
The great bear of Russia

So here are a few thoughts on Russia. Most of my major changes will occur after the war. With the extension of the war, and the bombing of Berlin, Russia will come out of the war quite a bit worse off than in our time line. Also, after supers start appearing dark things awaken deep in the Carpathian Mountains, and in the tundra. The Soviets try to deny these incedents, however the peasants know that Baba Yaga is lurking in the forests, that vampires stalk the nights, and the country is protected by the great bear of winter.

Also the country will have less to do with international politics, as I see it having a near economic collapse right after the war. With all of these internal issues, Russia cannot be as involved in the world around it. This may change both the Korean and the Veitnam wars. though I may have to think on this. I see this as a very fun setting to play in. You could play KGB members hunting down “Monsters” and dissidents. or you could play Russian supers, deciding to try to protect the people from it’s govronment, or will you support the regime and really be the People’s Protector, only to risk Stalin growing paranoid at your power and having you eliminated.

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Imperfect Design 6
The Sino-Japanese Conflict

So I am incredibly depressed today, and I thought it might be helpful if I tried to create something. so today I will be working on Japan. During the Thirties, the Japanese were invading china. they were doing this for many reasons, but the main one was resources, Japan is fairly low on material resources: steel, oil, and that sort of thing. they invaded China to procure more of those resources. My basic thought on this is what if the Japanese were working on alternative power sources during this time. the big question is what power sources would they be working on? solar would be the obvious one, as it was invented(?) back in the 1800’s. however I want to think of some other ideas here as well. maybe geothermal energy, I know that the Japanese Islands are seismically active, I think that means there is geothermal energy available, right? I will have to look into that see what I can find out. I did read an article stating that the first geothermal engine was invented in 1905, or something like that. I have always been a fan of OTEC engines, so I will look into that, I know that the concept had been around by the thirties, I am just not sure if anyone tried to make one. if they do that, then they could build artificial islands around several OTEC generators. so the islands of Japan could be surrounded by many artificial islands. that’s a fun concept, I may have to work with that, even if I don’t use the OTEC. the hard part would be the storms and weather around Japan…now if there was only a way to negate that, or harness it. wind power is an option I guess, but does the wind around Japan blow steadily? I just do not know, I will have to look into that. Marine Current Power sounds very promising, however it was only invented recently, and so it might be a little off for the Japanese to invent it in the mid to late thirties, but I really like the idea so maybe…

also I believe the Russians were involved in a war with the Japanese prior to WW II. I just can’t remember when, wait minute I will go check…OK so that was in like 1904, I guess that idea is out. well darn! well by the time of the Sino-Japanese war(actually this is the second Sino-Japanese war, but the first doesn’t really enter into my speculations at this point)the Chinese had become Communist(sort of). so the question becomes what if the Japanese do not lose the holdings they gained through warfare. they could build Dams across many of the rivers in China and that would supply many factories much power. however, what to do about the lack of steel…I will have to think on this. I think that is all I have to say for now. I will sink back into my own self loathing for a while, maybe something will happen.

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Imperfect Design 5
Losing all control

looking at this idea, I am realizing the scope is far beyond the standard for a campaign. This is more world building and alternate history than an actual campaign at this point. I will be attempting to focus more in on the campaign aspects than the world in the future. unless of course I decide to continue on the current path.

The first campaign arc will be street level, city level, story arc. The focus will be on the criminals running the city(basically). The players will be the first costumed heroes ever. I want to go through all the beginning decisions, why are they donning the mask, what are they using(skills, gadgets?), do they use a cape, are they sponsored by someone, are they alone, why did they form a group?

That last one will be the big issue of the first campaign. Why did they get together? Was it fame, or power, or loneliness? they will really need to work out the group dynamic, I hope to have very human characters and very human reasons for doing what they do.

now the second stage of the campaign will be in the war. the army will put these masked heroes into commando units, as they are used to dealing with strange things. so then you will get Nazi Ubermensch versus Allied masked heroes. which gives me a warm tingle when I think of it. that’s all I can think of at this point I will write more later.

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Imperfect Design 4
thinking thoughts...well no, not really.

Working on this project has brought to light one of my many faults as a designer. I start out with a good idea, but I add to much. the idea grows and grows, taking up more space every day. what to do? I guess I could split the game up into separate settings. one setting is in the thirties in America, masked heroes fighting costumed crime. then I could work out a World War II scenario, Allied heroes with nothing but there wits and a few tricks versus the Nazi Ubermensch. I could split that up. I really do not want to though. so I will be focusing on the beginning and we’ll see where that takes us.

today I have been thinking on gimmicks. if I want villains of the comic book variety(with a more realistic feel of course), then there needs to be a reason for the gimmicks. it doesn’t have to be a good reason, so long as it is plausible. Fame might work, the press latch onto these costumed villains and start asking why they use methods or weaponry that doesn’t match the theme of the costume. maybe the engineers they hire just start making weird devices, then the villains have to come up with a way to use the device for crime.

now there’s a thought, basic motivation. criminals are not devoted to crime as a concept. generally they are seeking something else. something that they feel is easier to attain through crime than through legitimate work. now some are looking to hurt the banks or the government for some perceived slight. some are in it for the money. some, though, some are in it for the thrill. I think that the last category would be the most likely to don cape and cowl to do dangerous and illegal things. so the typical costumed criminal is an adrenalin junky, hamming it up to become rich and famous. I think that works for me. of course after a while some “regular” criminals would dress up, simply because it is the thing to do.

that’s abut it for now, I will work on this more when I have something concrete.

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Imperfect Design 3
Randomality

so I got to thinking, if the cold war were stagnated, and we didn’t get involved in the Vietnam war would we have gone to the moon in 1969? also Cuba is an issue, maybe it is not communist? lets say that ODESSA still existed and managed to smuggle a few of the scientists and functioning Ubermenschen to South America. I like the idea of secret research being done deep in the heart of the Amazon, continuing on the work they did in Germany, maybe they seek to kidnap superhumans from all over the globe. to understand why their research led to “failures”, and why the accidental interaction with the atomic bomb worked better than the controlled instances in the lab. yeah this could work, the stories write themselves. also what if the government of whatever country they are in gets involved. provides them sanctuary provided they are supplied with the technology they need. this would create an odd power surge in a small south American country.

also would Kennedy have been shot? maybe he still was but Oswald gained powers after that so he could not be executed as easily(he’s immortal or something). so he is imprisoned in the first super max prison ever. locked away in Alaska somewhere far north and buried beneath the ice and snow. could nick name it “The Fridge”.

also consider setting the start date for the game to be in the early seventies, that would be a weird place. the seventies would look nothing like the seventies in our world.

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Imperfect Design 2
The Red Scaring

so I have been putting a bit of thought into who the first costumed villain would be. I have decided to have two firsts. one that was the actual first, and one that was the publicly acknowledged first. the First villain will be George Anderson). he has the villain background, European nobility, educated in the finest skills, and committed the ultimate crime(for his time period). seriously $2.4 million dollars in 1921, how much is that in modern money? that’s a serious butt-ton of money. so he was the first, I am thinking that he disappeared after that heist, so he was the first, but he was a fluke. John Dillinger had read about that heist in the paper when he was young, after his stint in prison he decided that was the trick to getting away with the crimes he was going to commit. so he took on a costumed persona, and when he succeeded in his bank robbery he put half his money into upgrading his equipment. this lead to a continued interest in the highest tech he could get. he had the fastest cars, with extra features to help get away. he had specialized guns, and even body armor. this soon led to imitators throughout the criminal classes. flashy operators who had the best tech, sometimes even inventing it themselves. this led the various mobs to invest in science and engineering, causing an upswing in engineers and scientists working for the underworld. either they worked willingly for huge amounts of money, or unwillingly(“that’s sure a nice family you have there doc, be a real shame if somthin’ bad were to happen to ‘em. you now what I mean?”)

also I had a bit of a thought on post world war II Russia. I was thinking that the Ubermenschen would be used to great extent on the Russian front. causing even worse damage than was caused in the real world. maybe Russia spent a lot of time rebuilding thus retarding the cold war by at least ten years. maybe stopping it entirely. so America wouldn’t have gotten involved in Korea, or Vietnam. maybe the colonial powers would still hold sway over there. that’s a thought, also I need to look into post war China, and how would that change…

so that is all I have for now will write more later when I have thought of it, or maybe something else. Africa is a serious interest as is china and India. also what about ODESSA and south America. and if the Nazi scientists are killed in the bombing of Germany how does that effect the space program and suchlike? food for thought…

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Imperfect Design 1
or why can't I ever focus?

so I have decided to write down any notes on the fleshing out of this setting as I go along. I may end up running this as a game, but for now it is mostly a mental exercise. while watching “The Watchmen”(I’ll wait for the laughter to die down…) movie one line kind of jumped out at me. the original night owl and the current(retired) night owl were sitting there and the original said something to the effect of ,”it was the crooks that started it all, wearing costumes, oh we’d catch ‘em but it wouldn’t stick because no one could identify them.”

later on I was watching some show that mentioned John Dillinger. it was as if lightning had struck my brain. I have always been of the opinion that, for masked heroes to exist(super, or not) masked villains had to exist first. I mean who are you going to fight? you need villains, that’s why in comics villains so rarely die for good.

I started putting these thoughts together, but it wasn’t really an idea yet. it was more the precursor of an idea, the first contractions if you will. then my friend ionbeast, who had seen the movie with me. asked me if any of the Watchmen had powers or if they were just normal. I really didn’t know how to respond. I mean they didn’t have any powers, sure, but normal? what the hell is normal? my mind instantly started running RPGs through it; trying to give a statistical equivalent of normal, and how that compares to what Night Owl, Rorschach, and Silk Spectre were.(I am not going to postulate whether Ozymandias was or was not a super being)

Enter Wild Talents, I had just Purchased the game, and I was rabidly devouring it(strictly in the literary sense, there is no BBQ sauce on earth that would make me chew on a book, but that’s neither here nor there). I realized that the rules would do The Watchmen ridiculously easy(Except for Dr. Manhattan, and come on he is such a Plot device that no one could play him. also if you, as a GM, used him they would say you were railroading. they’d be right to).

it was at this point that two and two and two and two made four for me. what if the bank robbers bankrolled super science. it would give them an edge on the cops and keep the money flowing. then I got to thinking, these guys from the early thirties were very dramatic, influenced by movies and popular media, and photogenic. what if they started wearing costumes? they could hide who they were and still be famous. of course after the FBI failed to bring them down some one would have to try. enter the masked marvels and mystery men.

that’s about all I am willing to write at the moment. I will continue this at a later date. we’ll see where this takes me.

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