|Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1994-009-17 / CC-BY-SA|
I will warn you that I ran most of this on the fly and didn’t do much more than brisk Wikipedia research. It will be riddled with factual errors.
So, as per usual, my partner and I decided to have a go at yet another sort of game. I won’t be writing up further Actual Plays of this one as I don’t want Actual Plays to come to dominate this blog any more than they already have done. This is a Dogs of War-type game set in World War II with an actual werewolf as one of the ‘dogs’. As my partner had read a little Sven Hassel we decided that he’d play a German who landed in the army after he was forcibly enlisted by the military (not hit by conscription, technically a ‘volunteer’) when his pack mate’s brother was imprisoned due to a punch up caused over his love interest (a Jewish high school girl) being taken away by the Germans. To make matters worse, the character owes his life to a Jewish doctor (recently taken away) who helped his mother through a dangerous birth (several times, as his mother didn’t give birth easily).
So with this in his back story, we start the game with him setting off on a train full of other soldiers after a brief training course that taught him how to become a tank driver. I figured out his job by making some random dice rolls on a few tables as while the German military was more efficient than Britain I still wanted to get across that sense of controlled chaos that an army mid-war has about it (its early 1942). So he’s a Panzer tank driver. His first train ride takes him too far so he has to wait a night (he manages to get a farmer to let him sleep in the wood shed with the spiders) before taking another train in the right direction. It’s sweaty, humid, and smells rich with man sweat in a train compartment that is standing room only.
I introduce him to a guy whose a real loud mouth, talking about women around Europe and boasting about his exploits while several other soldiers listen eagerly. The two talk for a bit, which goes about as well as you expect, with this guy, Reudiger, placing a bet that someone will punch him in the face within a week. The PC responds with a bet of his own – that he will lay out the man who tries. The PC’s words also start off a nearby Nazi on a rant about the necessity of a clean uniform, that makes Reudiger shake his head.
Eventually they reach the launching off point for Operation Barbossa and everyone spills out of the train. There’s so many people moving in so many directions that the PC is quite lost. Then Reudiger comes out of the crowd, grabs his arm, and pushes him in a direction where he can make out the glint of tanks. The PC heads off as Reudiger plunges back into the crowd to pull out more folks in Panzer uniforms. Due to Reudiger’s efforts, Reudiger is late but most of the men aren’t. The captain chews him out and reveals that Reudiger is actually a corporal.
“Where’s your new uniform, corporal?” demanded the captain. “Don’t you respect your new promotion?” It’s obvious the captain doesn’t like him.
“It didn’t get assigned to me,” said Reudiger.
The captain rejects the excuse and starts assigning the new tank crews to replace the old (dead) ones and Reudiger gets the dead beats (including the PC – primal urge is a bitch). Corporal Reudiger works the radio and gives the coordinates for moving the tank gun (blah degrees higher), there’s a tank gun loader and shooter, and a machine gun loader and shooter, and then the driver. Not sure if they actually had six men per tank but we weren’t going for historical accuracy. The corporal was quite good at giving the commands in degrees for tank gun positioning although the newbies obviously weren’t that good at it.
The first mission involved them basically following everyone else into the smoke, brick dust, and screaming shells, but without a chance to really get involved with the combat as they were in the rear. It certainly freaked out the werewolf to be in an enclosed space relying on humans with shells shrieking around where luck, rather than skill, made all the difference.
Of course, I’ve sort of painted myself into a corner here. Tank drivers aren’t the most exciting of roles to play around with dice about. I suppose since it’s a solo game I could just give him control of the entire tank? How does one deal with mass combats and tank versus tank? So many questions!
I’ve got a few ideas for what they can do outside of the tanks. From ghostly parents trying to get them to smuggle out hidden children to plain old angry battlefield ghosts to wounds to missions where they must stealth out to enemy territory to gain the lie of the land. Of course, as you can see, only the last section of the mission deals with ordinary human missions. I’m having trouble thinking up more.
You guys got any ideas?