Status Update: I'm working on some new content for this poor, neglected blog as my limited free time permits. In the meantime, I happened on some content from my even older and long defunct gaming site from back in the day. I'll be dusting off some of it from time to time.
This post features the idea of using the descendants of a lost Nazi expedition in the Stargate: SG-1 setting. It predates my purchase of Alderac Entertainment Groups' licensed Stargate: SG-1 game and the last few seasons of the TV series. It also predates the Stargate: Atlantis antagonists known as the Genii, who loosely resemble the concept.
The premise of Stargate: SG1 is steeped in weirdness. It establishes that the pyramids were landing pads for alien starships, that there is a factual basis for many of Earth’s myths, that at least one crystal skull does have strange powers, and other Fortean goodness. Most of the time, ideas like these are presented as background material and the story moves on. None of the characters seem to dwell too much on the fact that basic assumptions about the history of their world are routinely destroyed.
Putting some of the ideas from the series together and mixing in some weirdness from other sources can lead to even more interesting results. Here is an example. The Stargate unearthed at Giza in 1928 lacked a DHD. The episode "Watergate" establishes that the Soviets captured the missing DHD from the Germans after WWII. "Solitudes" reveals that existence of a second Stargate and DHD in Antarctica. Add the notion that the Nazis possessed secret underground bases in Antarctica.
The result? Nazis in Antarctica, who use the Stargate there to escape Earth after WWII.
The Giza DHD
"The Tomb" establishes that the DHD at Giza was removed by German archaeologists in 1906. They would have been able to determine its age from other clues at the dig site. That the DHD is a product of advanced technology would be self evident. However, it is not likely that they were able to determine its function, since they lacked a Stargate.
Some of the higher ranking Nazis had an interest in archeology and the occult. For example, they sponsored expeditions to locate the Holy Grail in France. If word about the discovery at Giza leaked out, someone working for the Nazis may have made the connection between the DHD and whatever was found in 1928. This may have sparked more research into the DHD.
The Soviets may have captured any German research along with the DHD after WWII. The Russians already had detailed information on the SGC when they started their own Stargate program. The German researches may have given them an additional edge over the Americans. The Russian government could still have the notes from these researches.
Antarctica in WWII
There was no fighting in Antarctica during WWII, but a few interesting events did occur in the area before, during, and immediately after the war. Here are some of the highlights from real world history.
January 1939: Alfred Ritscher leads an expedition from the Kriegsmarine catapult-ship Schwabenland. The ship operates two Dornier-Wal flying boats which are used to survey over 200,000 square miles. Six-foot metal spears with swastika fins are dropped from the aircraft to stake a claim on the surveyed territory. Ritscher names this area Neuschwabenland ("New Swabia").
During WWII: The German commerce-raider Pinguin sinks or captures thousands of tons of Allied shipping in southern waters.
After WWII: Several high-ranking Nazis elude capture and disappear.
August 1945: U-530 and U-977 surface off the coast of Argentina three months after V-E Day. U-977 is undermanned. 55 German U-boats are unaccounted for.
Late 1946: Operation High Jump. A US Navy task force of 13 ships, including an aircraft carrier, spends several weeks surveying the Antarctic continent. The expedition is commanded by Admiral Richard Byrd.
The idea of Nazi bases in Antarctica dates back to speculation during WWII. The story of how the Nazis established themselves in Antarctica usually starts with Ritscher. His expedition discovers hot springs and ice caverns that would be suitable for the creation of secret underground facilities. Over the next few years, U-boats transport the personnel and supplies necessary for the construction of these bases. More technology and materials are sent as the war turns against the Nazis. The bases become a bolthole for some of the high-ranking Nazis would went missing after the war. Operation High Jump was an attempt to locate and possibly destroy any Nazi bases in Antarctica. Speculation on how the bases remained hidden over the decades range from secret deals with other governments to moving the bases to the Hollow Earth. Although these are interesting notions, they are outside the scope of this document.
The Implications of a Nazi Base in Antarctica
In the Stargate: SG-1 setting, it is assumed that one of these bases was near the Stargate and the scientific personnel there learned how to use the DHD. This would create the ultimate escape route for the Nazis. This would be especially tempting after months of living in the cold of an Antarctic base.
One problem is that the abandoned Nazi bases would have to be hidden even after they were abandoned. The SGC built a base near the location of the Antarctic Stargate ("Frozen"). The function of the base was to see if there was anything else of interest at the site after the Stargate and DHD were shipped off to the United States. The SGC personnel would have found any signs of a Nazi presence near the Stargate.
The best solution is that the Nazis, who were paranoid to begin with, eliminated all traces of their bases to throw off pursuit. Explosives would have collapsed any caverns. Teams of men could have carefully picked up any trash near the Stargate that would betray their use of it. The last team to go through the Stargate may have triggered a partial collapse of the cavern it was in as a final security measure.
Stargate: SG-1 establishes that dialing random coordinates takes a great deal of luck. Even then, it might take hundreds or thousands of tries before a wormhole connection is made to another Stargate. And not every Stargate is on a world capable of supporting life.
The scenarios below assume that the Nazis got lucky. After all, finding the long dead bodies of Nazis on some airless world is not a very interesting adventure (although it might be used as the start of one). The scenarios also assume that any bases in Antarctica were stripped and abandoned. The Nazis committed all available resources to escaping Earth and colonizing the world they discovered.
Destination: An Uninhabited World
Most of the worlds capable of supporting life seem to be inhabited by a human or alien culture. The exceptions tend to be uninhabited for a reason. They might be geologically unstable, lack enough water, be too close to a black hole, or pose some other danger to anyone on the surface. Again, it is assumed that the Nazis got lucky. Their world is safe for long term human habitation.
The main difficulty faced by the Nazi colonists is a lack of numbers and technological resources. A more realistic Antarctic Nazi base (as much as such a notion can be realistic) holds no more than several hundred personnel. A few hundred is more likely. Many of those people would be needed for fairly mundane tasks, such as growing food. Even with equipment from Germany or captured from Allied shipping, they may not be able to immediately establish an industrial base. This would make it difficult for the Nazis to maintain the equipment they brought with them. Keeping up with technological developments on Earth would be impossible. Of course, a cinematic campaign featuring the Nazis as evil masterminds can feature thousands of personnel and whatever equipment that Nazi Germany was even remotely capable of manufacturing.
Destination: An Unclaimed Primitive World
This describes a world with a pre-industrial human culture that has no contact with any of the various alien races. The native population would number in the thousands. Most of them make a living by growing crops, but there are a few specialists such as blacksmiths.
How the Nazis would treat the natives would depend on their ethnic background. Anything other than an Aryan population would be subjugated. Such a population would be a good resource of aid for the player characters, especially if they can set up some kind of resistance movement.
It should be noted that the Nazi definition of "Aryan" changed considerably over the course of WWII. Their Imperial Japanese allies were embraced as Aryans of a sort. Even the fanatical Waffen SS units were recruiting non-Germans by 1943, including Russian POWs. This decision was spurred by personnel shortages. The Nazis were not above redefining their beliefs for pragmatic reasons. The realities of a small population supporting a growing industrial base might force them to do so. On the other hand, a die-hard SS commander might order the native population worked to death regardless of other factors.
Assuming that the native population survives, the Nazis will benefit from not having to devote personnel to growing food and mining raw materials. This will increase the growth of their industrial base. Their level of technology would be comparable or superior to that of Kelowna. While this still lags behind that of Earth, it is enough to work with nuclear power and develop a basic understanding of any Earth or Goa’uld technology that they capture.
Destination: A Goa’uld World
It is assumed that the Nazis somehow survive their first encounters with Jaffa and establish some kind of base. Otherwise, their presence will be nothing more than a footnote.
A Goa’uld would only tolerate Nazis on his planet if he got some kind of advantage out of it. The Nazis may have convinced him that they can offer him technology or other services in exchange for limited freedom. They may also agree to become enforcers on the world that they are on, freeing Jaffa for duty on other worlds. This would involve an unusually open-minded Goa’uld, however.
Another possibility is that the Nazis went underground and are fighting the System Lord or minor Goa’uld ruling the planet. The Nazis are unlikely to have a large base or other resources. This makes maintaining their weapons and equipment a problem. They may have small manufacturing sites hidden underground, but they would not have the means to research more advanced technologies. An irony of this approach would be that the SGC could find itself on the same side as the Nazi descendants while fighting for the freedom of this planet. Afterwards, the Nazis might be regarded as heroes by the population and end up ruling them. This poses obvious issues for the player characters and their chain of command back on Earth. This is especially true if the Stargate program ever goes public.
Destination: An Asgard-Protected World
There is a degree of irony in this concept. The Nazis attempted to revive worship of the Norse gods, going so far as to depict WWII as Ragnarok. The pre-industrial humans under the protection of the Asgard generally give them a great deal of reverence. It is possible that the Nazis will incorporate the Asgard into their belief system after contacting such a culture. Such beliefs would be reinforced by the recorded projections that the Asgard use while interacting with those under their protection.
The Asgard themselves might be unaware of the arrival of Nazis on a protected planet. "Thor’s Hammer," "Thor’s Chariot," and "Red Sky" imply that the Asgard do not regularly monitor conditions on worlds covered by the Protected Planets Treaty. The Asgard have provided the means for the populations of protected worlds to contact them, but this requires knowledge that a pre-industrial culture would not possess.
On the other hand, the Asgard could know of the Nazis, but not be concerned about their presence on a protected planet. The Asgard may have been more active in the 1940s than they were during the 1990s and early 2000s. The Replicator threat may have been smaller or even non-existent at the time the Nazis made their escape through the Antarctic Stargate. This makes it more practical for the Asgard to check on the worlds under their protect ever now and again. A group of more technologically advanced humans would be obvious. Why not tell the SGC about the Nazis? The Asgard have been known not to volunteer information to the SGC for a variety of reasons. They not regard it as important or may not wish to see fighting break out between the SGC, the Nazis, and the native population.
How the Asgard react to the Nazis depends on their behavior. Nazis who abuse the population of a protected planet may be treated the same as a Goa’uld invasion force. A group of Nazis who treat the population as long-lost Aryan brothers and try to raise their technology level might be regarded as a useful loophole in the Protected Planets Treaty. However, the Asgard may try to change the Nazis into something less aggressive and bigoted. In any event, the Asgard will know exactly who they are dealing with due to their knowledge of Earth history.
It is likely that the Nazis will fare about as well on an Asgard-protected world as they would on an unclaimed planet with a pre-industrial civilization. They will be able to trade for food with the native population, but developing an industrial base will still take time. The Nazis are not likely to benefit from any Asgard technology they examine. The relative technology levels are too far apart for any useful reverse engineering to take place.
How the SGC discovers the Nazis is mostly left as an exercise for the GM, but here are a few guidelines. Stepping out of the Stargate and into the middle of a Nazi-held planet is less than sporting, but will certainly be exciting for the players for as long as the adventure lasts.
The Nazis may have buried their Stargate after they arrived on their new home. This would prevent the SGC from discovering them and allows the GM to introduce them at a time of his choosing.
It is also possible that the Nazis will launch an exploration program once they have created a secure base of operations. Their explorations will be slow unless they find a source of valid Stargate coordinates. Random dialing would only turn up a valid set of coordinates after months or years of trying.
A Nazi equivalent to a SGC team would be quite capable. Nazi Germany developed weapons and other gear that still holds up fairly well in the early 21st Century. Their SG-44 assault rifle and MG-42 light machine gun are comparable to the AK-47 and M-60. Their main weakness would be the lack of advanced electronics. It is highly unlikely that the small industrial base available to the Nazis would be able to keep up with Earth in this regard. Any electronics that they do have would either be reverse-engineered from other sources or would be very crude by SGC standards. This will give the SGC advantages in nightvision, communications, and computing, but both sides will be a rough match in firepower. These advantages will degrade with time as the Nazis adapt and improvise improvements to their doctrine and gear.
Giving the Nazis a larger industrial base or access to advanced technology would produce a serious threat to SGC. The Nazis may end up using the equivalent of modern firearms and electronics supplemented by alien equipment. This makes them an even match for an SG team. The balance may tip towards the Nazis if they manage to develop hardware from experimental programs begun in Germany. The more advanced gear the Nazis have access to, the bigger their advantage.
Suppose they capture a SG team. They will interrogate them to determine the defenses around the SGC’s Stargate and develop a plan of attack. Such a plan would like revolve around using a captured GDO to get the SGC to open the iris. The next step is to toss a few dozen grenades through the Stargate into the SGC. This would be followed by sappers who would kill off the remaining USAF Security teams in the Gate Room. The sappers would then use explosives to destroy the Gate Room doors. Meanwhile, SS troops would be coming in through the Stargate and preparing to rush into the base. Their first objective would be to secure control of the Stargate dialing computer. Once that is secure, they can attack the rest of Cheyenne Mountain and establish a secure base of operations on Earth.
And you thought Anubis was scary.
Dirty Little Secrets of World War II by James Dunnigan and Albert Nofi (Quill, ISBN 0-688-12288-4). Filled with little known information about WWII.
Gateworld.net (www.gateworld.net). Reviews, episode guides, and various facts about Stargate.
GURPS: WWII: Weird War II by Kenneth Hite with William Stoddard (Steve Jackson Games, ISBN 1-55634-661-1). The most unusual aspects of WWII in a format useful for gaming.
Suppressed Transmission the First Broadcast by Kenneth Hite (Steve Jackson Games, ISBN 1-55634-423-6). Plenty of campaign ideas, adventure seeds, and other gaming weirdness.