Monday, November 12, 2012

Hmm, WWI as an RPG? Maybe...

Okay, so I came across a new (new to me, that is) RPG blog today called Dark Dungeon 2.  And there was a post noting that today is Armistice Day, marking the end of WWI at 11:00 on 11 November 1918, and noting that there doesn't seem to be a WWI RPG out there.  That got me thinking about the topic of WWI RPG gaming.  I do seem to remember that there is a new one in the works (Kickstarter?) and "No Man's Land: WWI Mythos Action With the Lost Battalion (Call of Cthulhu Horror Roleplaying)" from Chaosium.

At first glance WWI seems a terrible setting for an RPG.  WWI was all about military combat on a massive scale with little room for individual or small-group heroics.  As a history buff I took this as a quick design challenge to see what could be done with WWI as a campaign setting.  Some concepts are:

  • Lawrence of Arabia - daring commando raids and tribal diplomacy in the sands of Ottoman Arabia
  • The Flying Circus - fighter aces in the skies over France (or wherever)
  • The Bolshevik Revolution - political intrigue, battles, and romance (think Doctor Zhivago)
  • Northwest Frontier - despite the war in Europe, there's still intrigue and violence on the Afghan frontier

Sci-Fi/Alternate History
  • Chemical Zombie Apocalypse - chemical weapons used at the front combined freakishly and created zombie hordes
  • Steampunk Mecha - instead of the tank, they've invented the piloted walker
  • The Flying Circus - but with steampunk rocket packs instead of aeroplanes; or possibly small flying mecha suits

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