Late yesterday I was looking at the search terms people used to find this blog, and one of them instantly caught my eye:

ww2 super hero adventure seeds

…and I thought, “That would make a dang good subject for a blog post!” So thinking of that anonymous Web searcher, and mindful of the media attention being lavished on the new Captain America movie, I sat down with a legal pad and pencil last night and started scribbling. Within an hour I had a list of sixteen adventure seeds for superhero RPGs set during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s:

  1. Mobsters kidnap a star college quarterback before a big game in an attempt to influence the outcome and make a killing by betting on the underdog opposition. The heroes are tasked with rescuing the athlete and apprehending the kidnappers.
  2. The characters are assigned to guard an important atomic physicist on a cross-country rail journey from New York to New Mexico. The physicist is terrified of flying and thus insists on traveling by rail.
  3. Local law enforcement learns some sketchy details of a Bund plot to sabotage a factory engaged in military manufacturing. The heroes must prevent the catastrophe and arrest the would-be saboteurs.
  4. The heroes are inserted behind enemy lines to aid freedom fighters and partisans who are fighting Axis occupation forces.
  5. Plans for a new top secret jet engine are stolen by Axis supervillains. The player characters must defeat the villains and either retrieve the plans or destroy them to prevent their use by the enemy.
  6. Entire railroad trains carrying vital defense materials and munitions are vanishing without a trace. The heroes must solve the mystery and halt the disappearances.
  7. After a sudden wave of highly successful torpedo attacks against Allied shipping (in which no submarines were detected), a porpoise is discovered carrying a torpedo strapped to its back. Could this be an Axis program to train marine animals to act as living bombs?
  8. Ordinary citizens are attacking city government officials, seemingly at random and without remembering later what they’d done. Are they under some sort of sinister hypnosis or mind control?
  9. Axis supervillains attack the 1943 conference in Tehran, the first meeting between FDR, Churchill, and Stalin.
  10. Several rare flytraps and other carnivorous plants are missing from the state botanical gardens. Soon after, numerous thefts are reported from chemical companies. It’s discovered that the chemicals can be combined to produce a “super fertilizer” to accelerate the growth of plants to monstrous proportions.
  11. In 1938 Egypt, teams of archaeologists from England, Italy, Germany, and the United States, each bolstered by 2-3 metahumans, are searching the Valley of the Kings for a lost gem called the Eye of Horus, said to possess mystical occult powers.
  12. A common link connects the sudden unexplained deaths of several famous artists, writers, dancers, and musicians: each of the victims was found with a strange luminous green diamond-shaped mark on the side of their faces.
  13. Four airplanes and an autogyro have crashed mysteriously within the last two weeks, all within a 2.5 mile diameter area in a desolate part of Arizona, with literally nothing but sand, scrub, and rock in the vicinity.
  14. A powerhouse Axis supervillain challenges one of the player characters to a battle – on the Mall between the Capitol and Washington Monument in Washington DC.
  15. [This one could be a fun “one shot” session) A mad scientist demands a payment of $20 million from the U.S. Government. If the ransom is not paid, the scientist will use his Destructo-ray cannon to permanently burn a “Hitler mustache” on each of the faces carved on Mount Rushmore.
  16. “Lend-Lease Heroes”. In 1940-41, the U.S. loans the player character heroes to Great Britain to help fight off the German attacks on England.

Have fun! – Steve

Copyright 2011, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.