Gaming Inspiration From The Real World

Phil over at The Chatty DM has made a bit of a name for himself over the last few months with his TV Tropes posts and his take on ‘The Rule of Cool’. I always end up falling back on these exact sort of things when I’m struggling for a game idea but I gots to thinking… There are always weird and movie like happenings going throughout history and they are jut sitting there waiting to be cherry-picked.

In my office it is customary for the bosses to give their underlings presents. This usually consists of chocolates or Lush toiletries for the ladies and beer for the men. My current boss however actually put some thought into it this year and I ended up receiving an oral history of the formation of the UK and the USA’s secret service during WWII. Some of the stories the former agents and wireless operators tell might as well be from the movies as if they weren’t the ones telling them you would think they were completely made up.

A quick list of ideas for twists from just the start of the book are

  • When the Special Operations Executive offices were first opened up in London everything was going fine until one day an officer took the lift up to many floors and the doors opened on to the temporary home of the Japanese embassy. Needless to say the offices were moved that very same day but how they were assigned those rooms in the knowledge that their enemies would be directly above the secrets service leaves me bewildered.
  • When the Germans were trying to trace the whereabouts of a radio operator they shut down the power to various parts of the town while listening to the broadcast. When the line went dead they knew the area the operator was in which led to many ingenious methods of powering the radios without hooking them up to the mains.
  • An agent was travelling through France when he was accosted by some German officers and made a break for it. The Germans took a few shots at him despite it being the middle of a busy town but he got away. The officer that shot at him though was insistent that he’d hit him and so checked all the local hospitals for gunshot wounds only to find none. When they checked for breaks or fractures they found only one and 3 hours after the initial encounter they walked in to the ward to find the English agent smiling back saying “I’m impressed”

Now obviously these are all to small to be the main hook for a game but each one adds a little flavour to what might be an otherwise bland encounter or as a nice side plot to keep the players on their toes during a lull in the main campaign.

With the sheer number of WWII books out there you could pick up any random book in your book store, use a few stories from them to pad your game out and be almost gaurenteed that your players will never have read them before. They might have heard something similar but every story you come across from WWII has its own feel to it. Go on… give it a try in your next game.

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