Sunday, December 7, 2014

Killing Hitler


Time Warp #1; 2013, DC Comics; Art by Ian Culbard

If anyone deserves an abbreviated lifespan, it's the “Greatest Fascist Dictator.”  Widely reviled as one of the most evil people in history, Hitler is often the subject of time travel hypotheses.  Remove him and prevent the horrendous volume of murder and misery he caused – so logic would suggest.  Of course, killing him after he perpetrated his evil would defeat the purpose.  Killing him beforehand isn't exactly fair and brings into question free will and predetermination.  Also, there's a paradox to worry about.  If Hitler is removed, then there's no motivation to go back in time to remove Hitler; therefore, Hitler isn't removed.

Anyway, with Hitler out of the way, we can't be certain how history would have changed.  Would there still be atrocities?  Would they be as extensive?  One argument against killing Hitler is that the alternative would be Something Worse; that we live in the best of all possible worlds.  Having endured his evil, perhaps we – as a civilization – have learned to be more tolerant.  Perhaps if Hitler didn't exist, we would be forced to invent him.

The third 'adventure' for Timeship is the most detailed of the three 'Time Capsules' included with the game.  “This is one of the most complex and difficult Capsules,” author Herbie Brennan writes.  It is a TASK Capsule and according to the Capsule, “It is the task of the Group to reach Hitler in those fearful, final days of April 1945 and ensure his death by assassination.”  Unless and until they kill Hitler, the Voyagers cannot return to their present.  By this time, Hitler has perpetrated his evil, so there seems little sense in disposing of him.  However, Brennan suggests that...
...the Fuhrer made good his escape, travelling secretly through Spain before sailing to South America, there to lay the foundations of a Fourth Reich destined to grow in secret for several generations before making its bid for world domination.
The back of the box posits a slightly different scenario:
On June 7th, 1956, World War Three began when the Nazi government of Argentina, led by Adolph [sic] Hitler, invaded Brazil.  Hitler had escaped capture at the end of World War II and begun the Fourth Reich in South America.  It is now April 30th, 1945 and you are stalking Hitler through the bunkers beneath a city in flames.  Your mission:  find him, then make it look like suicide.
Not only is the threat more immediate, but the party must make Hitler's death “look like suicide,” probably to maintain history as we know it.

Normally, Voyagers enter a Time Capsule through a Gateway that shows the destination.  However,
...times of war produce great stresses on the timestream.  Thus the Gateway is unstable.  Inform your Group there can be no absolute guarantee of their arrival.
Brennan uses the 'unstable' Gateway gimmick to subject the Voyagers to a montage of historical scenes:  the '36 Olympics, Neville Chamberlain's “peace in our time” speech, and the Nuremberg Rally.  This sequence takes up nearly a page.  Afterwards, the Voyagers do not appear at Hitler's bunker, instead they find themselves “materialized in Zone Red” (or Red Zone as it is referred to also).  The Red Zone is a ring area 3.7 km to 7.7 km from the bunker.  (These distances are an estimation since the provided sketch map has no scale.)  Exactly where in the Red Zone is at the discretion of the Timelord.  Within the Red Zone, there is the Orange Zone, then the Yellow Zone, and finally the Green Zone, the center of which is the bunker.  The Red Zone represents the area with most the most intense “Allied shelling and bombing” with interior zones subject to lesser and lesser activity.

In essence, the Voyagers must find the bunker, enter it, kill Hitler, and then find the EXIT.  If the back of the box is to be believed, the death must seem to be a suicide.  The Voyagers are left to their own devices to accomplish these goals.  Attempting to reach Hitler through violent means is not likely to be successful; subterfuge is necessary.  Even if the Voyagers manage to get close to Hitler and kill him, they must escape retribution long enough to get to the EXIT, the presence of which won't be known until after Hitler dies.  Making his death seem to be a suicide is a practical impossibility.  The 'Publisher's Note' concludes “that this Capsule will, if carefully handled, provide a Voyager group with an experience of exceptional interest and challenge.”  Realistically, there would be a time limit imposed in this Capsule; however, nothing of the sort of is mentioned.

Brennan includes an impressive amount of information with the Capsule, such as a description of documents German nationals were required to carry at the time.  Several personages are described including Martin Bormann, Hans Krebs, and Hanna Reitch.  However, with regard to game terms, Brennan provides only THN for the appropriate weapon, SPEED FACTOR, and damage capacity.


  1. I wrote a long, fairly abusive comment castigating you for using "(sic)" in a blog post, then I realised it's just that I have the flu.

    There are no paradoxes in time travel.

    Also, there will be no bonuses.

  2. We of course know what happened to the last time unit that was sent to take care of this job.

  3. Oh bunker room #21, you are the site for so many YouTube rants. ;)