Wednesday 20 January 2016

Setting Idea: Weird Wars: Home Front

The second in a series of setting ideas on the 'Would Like To Do Someday' list.

Admittedly this one has changed a bit from the initial idea, though the core aspect of a British supernatural horror setting remains. Regardless it'll follow the same format as last week's post.

Setting Name: Weird Wars: Home Front

Elevator Pitch: Supernatural horror amidst the Blitzed towns and countryside of WW2 Britain.

Genre: Weird Wars, Horror, Supernatural and WW2.

Inspiration: Weird War Two, Secrets of the Third Reich wargame, Foyle's War, Dad's Army, The Woman in Black 2 Angel of Death, various Doctor Who episodes, London's Dark graphic novel and The Ghost Train (1941 film).

Overview: This idea originally started out as a modern day setting, effectively a British version of The Thin Blue Line. Though there was a suggestion made to go for what was effectively Foyle's War with supernatural elements thrown in, basically covering the British Home Front in PEG's Weird War Two setting.

The basic idea is that during the First World War there was some outbreak of supernatural activity in Britain as a result of the conflict, partially due to the Thule Society and partially due to the widespread fear due to zeppelin raids. The government of the day managed to keep a lid on things, thanks to the outbreaks being pretty minor and keeping the public's attention on the war being fought on the Western Front and other places. For a decade following WW1 things quietened down until the Great Depression hit, after that occult activity steadily rose during the 1930s with incidents making it into the news (such as Borley Rectory). As the clouds of war started to gather in the late 1930s the British Government was keenly aware how much of a threat the occult could be to the British Isles.

At the outbreak of the Second World War and the Phony War period that defined the first few months of the conflict, the government's fears proved to be unfounded. With the Battle of Britain and then The Blitz, the government started receiving a number of alarming reports and it was decided that something needed to be done. The Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, had been arranging for the creation of the Office of Special Investigation with the Americans. But there are many within the British Government who were against the idea of 'American cowboys running wild round the English countryside'. After some wrangling an organisation charged with combating the supernatural within the British Isles was formed and dubbed Section Q.

From the beginning Section Q was wary of the OSI, initially with what was perceived as the 'poaching' of Section Q agents by the latter. From 1942 onwards there was clashes between the two as the OSI claimed jurisdiction over American forces stationed in the UK, though after D-Day the OSI became more focused on the European Continent. In addition Section Q faced problems from some elements of the British Government as it found itself in a curious position seated between the Home Office, the War Office and MI5 experiencing varying degrees of hostility from all three whilst at the same time being answerable to them. On top of these problems Section Q doesn't quite have the same clout as the OSI does and thus a trickier time when it comes to resources, more often than not it has to rely on Home Guard units rather than the British Army.

Section Q is based out of Scotland Yard, its members generally serving as detectives in the Metropolitan Police's Special Branch or Criminal Investigation Department (CID). There are regional offices such as York to cover the northern half of England, Bristol to cover the south-west, Cardiff to cover Wales, Edinburgh (with a branch in Glasgow) to cover Scotland and Belfast to cover Northern Ireland. Known 'hot spots' may even have a local office, though again the agents there would normally be detectives belonging to the local Special Branch or CID (same goes for the regional offices). Section Q agents are considered 'part time', they still serve as detectives in their respective police forces and thus still have their normal duties to perform in addition to any Section Q cases that get passed to their desks. There is also a small support staff of civilians such as clerks at Scotland Yard and a Research section.

In the field since Section Q agents would normally be police detectives they would have access to local police constables to secure locations, though heavier support can be gained from local Home Guard units and occasionally the Army. In more serious situations Section Q can, somewhat reluctantly, call upon help from the OSI.

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