View Full Version : A different take [Campaign Setting]

2007-01-27, 07:23 PM
I have been kicking around the idea of running an alternate universe WWII campaign using the D20 modern ruleset. I have Urban Arcana, and I'm using the rules therein to add the D&D monsters and character races. My idea is that the players will be a special forces team (multi-racial more likely than not) from the US who starts to operate in the African theatre shortly before the Pearl Harbor attack, and then, when the US starts to become officially involved, have to fight in some of the most famous battles in WWII history, of course with a little bit of difference due to the presence of magic and magical creatures.
I've made a few decisions so far.

First, Germany will have a wholly human army, because they have essentially replaced non-Aryan racism with non-human racism. They follow a very similar course through the war as they did in real life, as I don't want to change history much more than I already did unless my players do something really big. (assassinating Hitler, or somehow changing the stance of one of the major players from Axis to Allies, or vice versa) Germany will have the most complete grip on divine spellcasting, and hence will have the undead as well. They will have minor super-science, but nothing of the weaponry type. More like cloning facilities, or undead-making things.

Secondly, Italy will have folded a lot of the reptilian races (kobolds, lizardfolk, yuan-ti, etc.) into their army and taken control of Africa before Rommel could even get there. They will be a lot tougher than the Italians were in reality. Italy will not have much magic, but will make up for it with the sheer madness that is kobolds with tanks.

Japan is a nation that is now almost completely elven or half-elven. The japanese also have the only control over nature-based magic (i.e. Druids and Rangers). They will commit the Pearl Harbor attack, but it will be with Black Dragons which kinda erupted out of the harbor and started spraying acid everywhere.

Russia has mastered arcane magic, and pulled out of their alliance with Germany because they used divination magic to detect that Germany planned to betray them. After setting up a giant blizzard wall (maintained by low-level casters with Control Weather wands), they began a hit and run strategy with hobgoblins, goblins, and orcs acting as the primary forces. This has not caused the trouble to the Germans that their failed attack would have, but is successfully diverting forces that could be used to either crush Great Britain or cause many more casualties to the Allies. Russia is lead by a mysteriously intelligent Steel Golem who calls himself Stalin. Rasputin is nowhere to be seen, but may make cameos as an arcane researcher.

I have found WWII weapons, and I will post some of them later. Anyone who can recommend famous battles to involve my player group in would be appreciated. Don't worry if they are close together time-wise and far apart space-wise, the Americans have access to Teleportation
I'm looking for ideas, advice, comments, and especially resources.

Neon Knight
2007-01-27, 07:38 PM
Just a suggestion: From reading some fluff in a magazine, Hobgoblins make excellent Nazis. All military efficiency and racism, always raiding and trying to expand, double dealing and backstabbing.

Still, you said you wanted all humans for the Germans, so I guess it is a moot point.

What years of the war is the campaign going to happen specifically? Until Stalingrad, the Russians where in retreat. They won Stalingrad sometime in 1942 around the time the North African and Italian campaigns were starting up.

How could the Soviets withdraw anyway? They were under attack by hostile German forces bent on taking Moscow. Did the Russians surrender in your campaign or something?

2007-01-27, 08:02 PM
My plan is to have it start in early 1941, so the German attack won't have started yet, but I just had a thought. What if the Russians had managed to get a hold of some fairly powerful divination magic (I'm planning on making it low-magic, even for d20 modern), and had been able to predict the German attack? They could've, like I said, pulled back to the cities and set up a "hedgehog" defense, where every city and town is heavily defended, and the open land isn't contested. The Germans have to choose whether to take more ground and weaken their flank, or to attack the cities and move very slowly. According to Wikipedia, the Italians and the Germans were in Africa very early, even then.

Saint George
2007-01-27, 08:03 PM
I always liked the idea of the Germans attempting to "improve" the human race. They dip into the occult and end up with Vampires and Werewolves running around.

I think the Russians need some sort of coolness in this. Ice giants maybe? I cannot think of something off the top of my head, but they need something good.

2007-01-27, 08:05 PM
Yeah, Ice giants were kinda what I was thinking too, or maybe I'll homebrew a Yeti-type creature. I guess the Minotaur is pretty close. As for the whole Vampires and Werewolves thing, I guess it would make sense for the really human-looking monsters to be with them. Maybe all the undead. definitely adds to the creepiness factor of the Germans. Kinda a Wolfenstein element to it.

Neon Knight
2007-01-27, 08:13 PM
Mkay. If the Russians manage to predict Hitler's betrayal, and Hitler knows that they are ready for them, he may put off attacking Russia. With Nazi resources not being tied up by Russia, the Germans will be a much greater threat to the British and Americans.

As for weapons:
So your multi-ethnic American commando troops will probably be using M1 Garands and BAR 1918s, along with the venerable Colt 1911 service pistol. The Thompson wasn't adopted until by the Army until after we got hit at pearl harbor, and its derivative the M3 grease Gun won't be around either.

You'll probably have to borrow British equipment like the Sten submachine guns and the Bren light machine gun. I don't have d20 modern so I can;t help you stat out weapons, but I can offer fluff advice.

Saint George
2007-01-27, 08:47 PM
Ooo, you could also do creepy clockwork/tech stuff with the germans. Like that guy in Hellboy. What? He was nifty.

I would say that Russia would be a very dangerous place. You would have the huge numbers of troops, which in this magic world would be pretty much tanks, and then have the upper classes who are into magic. Please, please, please let there be Rasputin as some near russian demigod.

2007-01-27, 08:56 PM
The American Army should be heavily segregated(like it was in real life). So maybe your commandos are where they are because of a visionary higher up who recognized their skills as valuable assets. If you go with this approach, take care to rub it in the PC's faces at every opportunity, especially from higher ranking officers. That way, the PC can;t respond exactly how they want to, until later(sneaking into a colonels house and pranking him is allot easier than sneaking into a German compound.)

2007-01-27, 09:04 PM
Meklor, I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about. Segregated? I have Heroes of Battle, and I'm planning on using that...

George, idk about the supertech Germans, I think that I've seen that particular cliche a few too many times. It's a cool idea, that's why it's a cliche, but still.

2007-01-27, 09:32 PM
As for the races, I think that they fit well into an army unit

Dwarves are Combat Engineers, what with their skill at crafts and extra-ordinary toughness.

Elves are scouts and snipers, pretty much as is.

Gnomes are techs, researchers and Radio operators

and so-on.

2007-01-27, 09:44 PM
If you read about the American army, it was for the most part split in to. White males where frontline infantry or vehicle crews, women were nurses or non-combat flyer's(transports), and African Americans were truck drivers. There were occasional exceptions, like during the battle of the bulge, when the Army welcomed African American Troops, but it was a segregated army. Maybe there should be anti-XX sentiments, replacing X with 1 or two races that your PC's belong two. After all, this is before the civil rights movement.

Neon Knight
2007-01-27, 09:46 PM
The U.S. Army was heavily segregated in WWII. I know for a fact that their was an all Mexican regiment or company that won many awards, including many Medal Of Honors, all while being discriminated against. Remember, this is before Martin Luther King. Racism was very much alive in America.

Note: Saint George. This is WWII. Not WWI. Rasputin has been dead for some time. Stalin is in power, and life in the Soviet Union for the average peasant is living hell.

Although you could model the Soviet Union's larger umber of troops as having many indigenous tribes of goblins and orcs with which they can throw into battle, sort of like the real-life Cossacks. That's an idea. I can imagine a mad wave of charging orcs and goblins spraying wildly with PPSH 41s. (The Soviet Union armed entire divisions exclusively with this weapon.)

Saint George
2007-01-27, 10:42 PM
I know that Rasputin was "dead" at this time, but I don't think that should really stop him. I mean... he is Rasputin.

Neon Knight
2007-01-27, 11:06 PM
He was a monk. A monk who may or may not have been using his position with the Czar's family for political purposes.

What makes him so awesome?

2007-01-27, 11:06 PM
I kinda like the idea of Rasputin coming back, maybe in stalin's place. The only problem is that I don't want to change too much, if only because it makes whatever history I do hold on to less believable.
I like the goblins and orcs idea. I was trying to figure out a way to include them, if only because they're so useful for low-level characters to kill.

Neon Knight
2007-01-27, 11:26 PM
Well, the Ruskies were our allies in WWII, so maybe the orcs and/or goblins could be Italian. The Italians were the true wimps of WWII. Not very interested in the war, with a rather weak leader, Benito Mussolini, clinging on the coattails of Hitler. Many members of the French Resistance were tortured to death for their part in ensuring the success of D-Day, contrary to what Franco-phobes say.


2007-01-27, 11:38 PM
That's one of the things I want to change though. the Italians assimilated the lizardfolk, yuan-ti, and kobolds, and then had enough force to take control of Africa, which made the Italians even more powerful. This is balanced because teh Germans have proportionally become weaker because of their refusal to include the new arrivals. Timeframe wise, the non-humans started to show up about 1920.

Neon Knight
2007-01-28, 12:05 AM

A powerful Italy, bent on becoming a new Roman Empire, that has managed to eclipse the Third Reich...

Shifts the balance of power vastly. If Italy is the big threat, North Africa is a more important front than East front...

I don't see how not including new arrivals has made the Nazis any less powerful, it just hasn't made them as powerful as nations who embraced them.

Also, you said the Nazis hate the new races? Then you can kiss the Italian/German alliance goodbye. you said it yourself, the Italians are more powerful because they absorbed races that the Nazis hate.

By doing this, you alter history substantially.

2007-01-28, 12:15 AM
As I said, the germans are just proportionally less powerful. I suppose that it actually would be made up by the fact that the Germans are the only ones with control over "divine" magic. yeah, that's how it balances. The germans have evil clerics like the guy from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and they teamed up because their plan is to use the Italian's allies to take over the world, and then turn on them.

Neon Knight
2007-01-28, 12:18 AM

That makes sense. If they can sign a non-aggression treaty with the Soviets and allow them to invade several small countries and claim part of Poland and then back stab them, they can do it with the Italians.

Plus, evil Nazi clerics has all sorts of win all over it. Strange experiments with the undead to try to create super soldiers, summoning demons...

Me likey. Would you happen to be hosting the game you're going to use this setting for on this site? I'd play.

2007-01-28, 12:23 AM
y'know, I was planning on doing it with my group where I live, but I actually might use the same adventures that I'm going to write and do it here. I'll PM you if I do.

2007-01-28, 01:20 AM
So I guess there's a leyline in Australia for the arcane resources as well as the oil, eh, to make it an even more tempting target for the Japanese?

As for the Japanese themselves, I'm not sure. If you're going for correlation between standard fantasy and this WWII fantasy scenario, I'd make the Japanese an elven nation.

2007-01-28, 01:28 AM
the leyline idea is good, I like that, but as Elves tend to be CG, and Japanese society seems kinda lawful, and as an Axis power, they're evil by default (lets face it, Nazis (I know the Japanese weren't) are the orcs of the modern age). Also, I'm not replacing the countries, just adding D&D races, like Urban Arcana

2007-01-28, 01:31 AM
In Russian, Stalin almost literaly means "Man of Steel", so, maybe a warforged?

Also, for the Japanese, go for wind and water spirits and humanoids, It kinda fits with their heavy participation in the pacific theater. I'm thinking aquatic elves andwinged people, (like raproran stats maybe, but look like people w/wings) maybe flying fey and water breathing humanoid races. just tack gills to any humanoid to do it.

Also, the Chinese could be earth/fire themed people, focused more on the earth. This would explain why japan hated them so much, and why they joined the Allies.

Umm, I've got more ideas, but I have to go and brush up my history to make sure I am thinking about the right war on a few of them.

2007-01-28, 01:42 AM
I like a lot of what you've put down, I don't have anything on Eberron, so I can't do the warforged thing...
But I like the Japanese thing. I've been thinking that Pearl Harbor may have been some kind of big creatures instead of bombers. I think dragons would be cool, but then again, there are a lot of cool monsters that would work. I do know that there is going to be a mission where there is a dogfight between a squadron of fighters and a dragon, if only because that is quite possibly the coolest image I've ever come up with.
I hadn't put much thought into the Chinese, if only because I've never learned much about them.

Neon Knight
2007-01-28, 09:47 AM
How about a gigantic steel golem statue of Stalin that leads his orc and goblin hordes to glorious victory for the motherland?

2007-01-28, 02:19 PM
Yes. That is such a yes I can't even begin to comprehend it.

2007-01-28, 05:22 PM
If you're looking for stats on the WW II machine guns and rifles. you'll have to make them. fortunately on the Wizards D20 Modern website they have an article to creating stats on guns. Though you need the stats from similiar guns first. Which are found in the source books. I like your ideas. don't really have much else to say.

Saint George
2007-01-28, 05:49 PM
Rasputin is awesome because of the way he played the russian royalty for chumps, slept with many many woman (Usually multipile women at a time), and because of his legendary death. Add magic to all of this and there is no problem with him coming back as some sort of demon/undead creature looking to regain his lost power.

2007-01-28, 06:32 PM
First of all, oh good lord! Do NOT let Rasputin come into this. He is completely overused and really wan't that great. He got killed by a buch of guys that thought he sucked, so they beat the crap out of him. Don't resort to Rasputin. Hellboy did that, which is just one more reason why it was terrible. NO RASPUTIN! Especially not as a demon.

Ahem, sorry about that. Back to the campaign, I would go heavy on psionics in Russia. Russians are big into the whole psycic thing, so it works out well.

Elves would make a decent Japan. Just make 'em hardcore lawful (which is how I normally see them, despite their supposed CG alignment) and they should be interesting.

How will axis work out though? With a Germany that hates non-humans, why would they ally with Italy or Japan? I would also ensure that Germany is tougher than Italy, even if Italy gets more land.

This ought to be interesting...

2007-01-28, 06:35 PM
The Japanese should probably get a bunch of elemental spirits and the like as part of some sort of divine spellcasting. Though if you want to be really silly, you can give them stereotypical giant monsters. Dolittle raid? More like Donothing raid once Godzilla swats them outta the sky! Apply the Titanic template liberally! Who needs Banzai charges when you've got freaking huge lobsters?

2007-01-28, 07:33 PM
The Japanese had advanced science,for Pearl Harbor they invented a torpedoes that could be dropped from a plane and still work in shallow water. So let the science focus on biology, maybe having a type of aquatic rust monster, or things like that. Also, Godzilla would have had to have been a lot taller to knock those planes out of the sky, unless I am confusing flying heights.

Also, as to why Germany would ally, it knew it couldn't take the world on its own, so it made alliances that it would break after the war. In real life, Germany did it, so why not in the game world.

2007-01-28, 08:53 PM
Ahem, sorry about that. Back to the campaign, I would go heavy on psionics in Russia. Russians are big into the whole psycic thing, so it works out well.

Elves would make a decent Japan. Just make 'em hardcore lawful (which is how I normally see them, despite their supposed CG alignment) and they should be interesting.

How will axis work out though? With a Germany that hates non-humans, why would they ally with Italy or Japan? I would also ensure that Germany is tougher than Italy, even if Italy gets more land.

This ought to be interesting...

Ok, Russia is going to be pretty heavy on Arcane magic, not least because I am one of those people who have an irrational hate for psionics. I don't know why, but I just don't like em. Maybe for Japan though.
I guess the elf thing would make for a good hook for the racism that the others alluded to earlier. Even the other players are gonna be less likely to trust the elf after his people participate in a vicious surprise attack against the US.
As I said earlier, the Axis is based around the idea that Germany only has allies so that they don't have to take everything themself. The Germans have divine magic (evil divine magic of course) and so all it really takes is a Finger of Death, or a Greater Command variant, and the Germans take control. The Russians pull out once they discover divination magic. But Germany knows that the Japanese have a better navy, and they wouldn't come into conflict for a long time anyway, so whatever losses the Japanese take against the US and other Allies are just going to help the Germans anyway.

Saint George
2007-01-28, 10:13 PM
Now lets see if I can actually help rather than babble.

Japan: I like the idea of making them elves. Long lives easily explains their devotion to tradition and magic. I also really like the idea of them being able to summon spirits and possibily Kaiju (Godzilla, etc). On a side note, I swear I saw a template for making a creature a Godzilla type a long time ago in Dragon. I might be making that up though. I think the Elves should sort of have an organic type of technology. Instead of planes give them birds/moths/something. Subs could be big turtles.

Russia: Loving the idea of a heavy arcane Russia. Perhaps give them weather magic? When Russia pulled back perhaps they put up a horrible blizzard all along the border to keep the crazy germans out. Call it the Icy Curtain.

America: I would say make it like the real world. Every race, color, and creed. America has always been the rejects of the world right? America should be the only real place where all the races can live in a semblance of harmony. Since it is a blend of all cultures America would get access to many of the other countries specialties (Magic, tech, whatever), but never actually excel in them. A jack of all trades sorta deal.

Germany: I can't get off the super tech german kick. Perhaps the Germans found a way to use tech to enhance their divine magic? If you go that route then you can go for a good Magic/Tech mix of enhanced soldiers and whatnot. If you want to stay away from Tech, I would say go all out towards the evil Divine magic. Of course, when dealing in that much godly magic whatever god you are siphoning it from tends to intervene. Demons and whatnot should prolly show up.
(Random thought: Nazi Zombies? Eh? Eh?)

2007-01-28, 11:25 PM
I think that I mentioned earlier in passing that I thought Nazi Undead would be good, if only because the undead have a similar creepy factor to Nazis. On the other hand, Undead Nazis is basically the plot of the Wolfenstein games. On the other hand (I clearly have three hands) that might not be so horrible. (steals plot).

I'm starting to really like the idea of the Japanese being Elves, if only because I like the idea of Elves being like the Issei and Nissei in WWII, and I will probably throw a relative of one of my players in an internment camp. I like the nature magic, maybe most of the druids and whatnot ended up there. That would explain my mental picture of Pearl Harbor being a bunch of dragons attacking instead of planes. Ooh. Instead of subs, the Japanese have druids with Kraken familiars. *shivers up spine*

Your summary of America is pretty much what I was thinking, but more clear. I like it. It also lets me allow all class/race combinations without breaking the world. "No-one besides the Russians has arcane magic.... except you." doesn't have to happen. I'm gonna include some anti-elf racism, but other than that, I'm going for a romantic interpretation of the war. The Forces of Goodness and Light against the Evil Demon-summoning Nazis.

Okay, enough people have suggested it that I'll make the Nazis a little uber-tech. NO LASERS. *ahem*. sorry. but maybe raising the dead doesn't work that well in this world, so the Nazi's have augmented whatever magical undead they can create with undead created from captured enemy non-humans.

WARNING: I'm about to put in an idea for an adventure that I may use. If you may be interested in joining the PbP game I'm going to run, don't read the rest of my post. If you aren't, or want to lurk the game, then read on, and PM me suggestions.

Okay, so the heroes are captured by the Nazis, right? The humans and non-humans are segregated, but it's clear that the humans are going to be put in a POW camp, and the non-humans are going to what are essentially holding camps for Undead "volunteers". So The Great Escape with a more important time factor (gotta get everyone out before they're zombified) and two prisons to escape from.

2007-01-30, 07:51 PM
hm. getting kinda quiet. *Bump*