May 17, 2011: Next Time We Fight The Laws Of Thermodynamics
I've been on the Internet for a long time. My student-body presidential platform in college centered on my audacious desire to get everyone an e-mail address. I remember (vaguely) the arcane rigmarole needed to kludge a connection using Windows 3.1. And I'm certainly familiar with Godwin's law -- briefly, "If I mention Hitler, I lose." Which leads me, in a roundabout fashion, to talking about the just-released PDF version of GURPS WWII Classic: Weird War II.
This sourcebook has the subtitle "Secret Weapons and Twisted History," which tells you half of all you need to know. The other half is that it was compiled by Kenneth Hite (who wrote a good chunk of the supplement's contents, as well). As seekers of the strange are no doubt aware, the inimitable Mr. Hite is also the mastermind behind the recently-released revision of GURPS Horror. If there's one person I would want on my speed dial to orate the oddities of World War II, it would be Ken. (If there were two people I'd want on my speed dial, the second would probably be Bill Stoddard, author of GURPS Steampunk and a jillion other cool supplements. Fortunately, he also wrote a big part of this supplement. Unfortunately, I can't think of a clever way to namedrop him without feeling like a propaganda-loving Hitl . . . man. Hitman. Like a propaganda-loving hitman.)
As a gamer, I love how much of this supplement is off-the-shelf accessible. There's a huge amount of systemless information, making it an excellent read all on its own or serving as fodder for any cliffhangers, atomic horror, or Monster Hunters settings. There's a section on how to plot alternate paths to World War II, including what happens if certain Active Heads of state were killed or unavailable. There's information on conspiracies (mundane and occult), sci-fi possibilities, superheroic setups, sacred relics, crazy plans, and more. It's enough to delight even the jaded brain in a jar I keep at my desk -- a brain that once belonged to . . . some guy I knew. From college. You wouldn't know him.
So if you're looking for the definitive gamer-worthy treatment on the wonder and weirdness of World War II, you needn't demand it be done like a jackbooted thug led by Adoline Hitcherson (the head of my homeowner's association). Simply head over to e23 and we'll be happy to reveal our secrets.
-- Steven Marsh
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