The 1938 Campaign was a fun experiment. It was one of the few times since 1987 that I (Ashleigh) had been GM in a campaign. Most of our usual cast of players were there, Cat & Mike, Bjoern & Stuart, Adam, Erynn & Gordon – I think this may have been the last campaign they were both in, as they divorced around this time. 🙁 Liam & Richard, sadly, had already moved to Arizona, and were absent.
Steve Jackson Games had published GURPS Voodoo: The Shadow War (1995), GURPS Alternate Earths (1996) and GURPS Who’s Who 1 (1999); these were followed with GURPS Vampire: The Masquerade, GURPS Werewolf: The Apocalypse, GURPS Undead (1998), . I wanted to play with these.
I remembered some early D&D campaigns where a fantasy party got thrown into dungeons staffed by Nazis, but that wasn’t my thing.
I’m a fan of the 1930-49 pulp fiction heroes, such as E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman series, The Shadow, Doc Savage, and their four-color counterparts in the comics – DC’s Justice Society of America, and Timely’s Invaders (Prince Namor, Captain America, Bucky, the original Human Torch, and Toro.) There was also that short lived series of novels from TSR back in the 1980s – Agent 13: The Midnight Avenger, which, despite the name, had nothing to do with Sharon Carter, much to my disappointment.
Accordingly, I proposed to our players a game set in Paris, France, immediately prior to the major atrocities of the War That Should Never Have Been, having already survived The War to End All Wars (or as we know them in our world, World Wars I and II.) Theprimary point of divergence between “our reality” and my World of 1938, was that in my world, Nikola Tesla had been successful, married J.P. Morgan’s daughter, and easily fended off many of the legal and financial difficulties he experienced in our world.
I encouraged creativity, and set out some fairly loose guidelines – pulp adventurers, supers, wealthy deletants with Special Interests/Talents, and the group did not disappoint.
As the characters came together in the players mind, they began to exchange emails detailing aspects of the character; this went on for close to a eyar before everyone was ready to play our first actual session. There were art exhibits to attend, dinner parties to host, strangers to meet and become acquaintances, and then friends.
It was an extremely fun process, at least for me, and the players seemed to enjoy themselves as well. Sadly, we only played a few sessions before life got in the way of gaming, but I’ll see what I can rescue from my files and emails.
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