The "Baker" explosion, part of Operation Crossroads, a nuclear weapon test by the United States military at Bikini Atoll, Micronesia, on july 25th 1946. A massive version of the above photo is here
- Late 1950's (We're starting in December 1959, or its approximate in all things) Cold War, era; alternate world
- Ideological conflict by proxy rather than epic world war; largely because epic world war = radioactive, lifeless rockball.
- Players are expected to post profiles of their nations, including military, economy, culture, notable people and technology level. These things will be examined by the GM with regards to realism (so don't bother trying to minimax, unless you're intentionally setting up for North Korean style failtastic. )
- There is a UN-style group called the World Conclave; it will have similar disadvantages and shortcomings to the modern UN, including a Security Council.
- GM'ed; I also have a system for figuring out combat and so forth, but I also prefer to keep it fluid and less reliant on stats. So we'll all have to agree to play in a certain spirit rather than work with a huge ruleset.
- Also, in general, this game is more about diplomacy and low intensity conflict than playing out military strategy -- the military has a role here, but the role is way more complicated after a worldwide conflict that we will develop the history of (akin to WWII) after we have nations in play. If you're looking to conquer the world/collect all the pokemons/win, this is probably not the RP for you.
- There are three or four great power slots, and a number of smaller powers, some of whom might be former great powers (war losers), future great powers or powers that aren't gonna make the cut/are nowhere near period. In playing a great power, I will basically expect a certain degree of domestic political instability due to factional infighting. This, of course, is also a fun thing to do with your smaller powers as well. Nations may seem united and undyingly loyal to one leader through good propaganda, but that is a facade.
- Players are encouraged to not be overly competitive to the point of arguing in the OOC.
In Character Info
The world is a scarier place than it used to be; it is smaller and more deadly. The advent of the nuclear age leaves the entire world under the shadow of the Sword of Damocles, and there is the heightened terror that some dictator, demagogue or madman might decide to press the button and start a conflict that would destroy all. The big players eye each other warily and jockey for improved strategic position, trying to deny each other assets and contain each other's power, but it is an indirect process of using proxies, spies and playing diplomatic games with the World Conclave, an idealistic attempt to mediate disputes that has become, in the eyes of many, a joke, or a pawn of one power or another. Routinely, the nations with veto power in the Executive Chamber of the World Conclave exercise that veto to stymie the other sides.
Very rarely do they actually agree on anything, but when they do it is often a measure to keep smaller countries from becoming rivals.
Meanwhile, smaller countries are caught in the wake of the movements of greater powers; they are often the battlegrounds of the era, where ideological conflict by proxy between factions supported by the main superpowers tear these smaller countries apart. Nationalists, communists, royalists, colonists, natives, theocrats, terrorists, guerrillas, rebels...the works, supported by this power or that, with the partners giving lip service to the values of their patrons, or worse, perhaps holding with the often-extreme ideologies.
Out of Character Info
Players are basically thrust into this highly delicate political situation as either the superpowers (I'm limiting that to three or four player-controlled ones) and many smaller powers -- this isn't about e-peen size, and the reality is that the smaller nations are going to get to have more of the action.
On the other hand, there will be no WWIII without a lot of groundwork and escalation involved. Invasions by nations are stymied by the World Conclave's Executive Chamber without a good reason; not that this stops foreign 'interventions' and 'occupations' of destabilized regions in order to 'promote security.' The typical war of the era is a low-intensity conflict, an insurgency or 'police action' type of war that involves limited objectives and attempts to win the hearts and minds of the people living in a given country. It involves diplomacy and deception, the providing of aid in its various forms to win over against the enemy, whose proxies are receiving the same.
Technology should be 1950's technology; it's highly transitional. Computers are just getting started, rocketry is still being developed, jets are being cranked off the production line and then being taken out of service as better jets suddenly come off the assembly line. Weaponry is a mix of the old and the new as armies upgrade and learn new lessons. So much is untested theory at this point that it's unclear how effective things are until they've been tried. That means stuff might fail in combat, or doctrines come up short. This is going to be known as the 'Shit Happens' factor in this RP.
It will be a random factor as well as a regulatory measure to keep people from getting too overconfident that everything will go off with a hitch; the big lesson of this period in history is, after all, that nothing is terribly certain.
There's also the fear of nuclear annihilation; Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) that makes powers tentative about fighting; a smaller power knows that to provoke a larger may well elicit a nuclear response, whereas the larger powers are loathe to use the weapons, even on a smaller power, lest the enemy misread the intentions and respond in kind with a world-destroying counterstrike.
A Little Setting Color/Flavor:
Oh, and this is a little piece of era black humor for those that appreciate authenticity and a look into how American intelligentsia coped with the issues of the day. If you read down this far, I'm assuming you're the sort of person that would relish this.
So Long Mom (A Song for World War II) - Tom Lehrer