How to Create a German Super

Part 1: Germany from the 1870s to the 1950s

by Michael Brinkhues (std6230@et.FH-Osnabrueck.DE)

This article should be a short draft on how to construct a german super in the time between Emperor Wilhelm and the start of the 1960's. While I will also write up Part 2 (1960 to the present) I hope that some other Europeans will do the write-ups for their countries.

1. German Politics & Classes

Unlike the United States (USA) and Great Britain (GB) which have a majority-based voting system, Germany like most other European countries use a proportional-based system. This results in a large number of parties (currently 5, more in the 1919 to 1933 era) participating in parliament. Combined with shorter distances (even at the time of its greatest territorial spread Germany's maximum length was less than 2000km) and a relatively high population (more than 60 millions in 1933) this results in a population that is far more politically engaged and biased. During the era discussed Germany had four classes:

Class Votes for / Prefers
Working class (blue collar) Kommunists or Sozial Demokrats
Lower Middle class (clerks, civil servants) Sozial Demokrats or Centrum, after 1930 often NSDAP[1]
Upper Middle class / Industrials Centrum or Monarchic partys
Nobles The Emperor

With classes comes symbols. For example the color red is assosiated with the Kommunistic (KPD) and sozial democratic (SPD) party, black with Centrum (nowadays the CDU/CSU) and brown with the right wing. A supers dress and goals would also be affected by his social class.

During this time class and politics where closely assosiated since the parties and their programms where far more clearly defined. For example the SPD was a sozialistic democratic rather than a sozial democratic party until the early 1950's, preaching state owned industrie and a weak form of Marxism. Worker would choose between SPD and KPD, not between SPD and Centrum. It was a us against them situation.

A last difference are the unions. This are more the british variety, organised nation wide and quite powerful as well as honest. Through the SPD they had political power and knew how to use them. In the 1920's they ended a attemted takeover of the state (The Kapp-Putsch) by ordering their members to stopp working. Mr. Kapp and his cronies where forced to give up when germany came to a virtual standstill.

1.1 Language

When naming german supers of this period, remember that the USA wasn't considered an equal nation or "the beacon of civilisation". Until 1939 Europe was the center of the world and it took until the early 1960's before this would change much in the minds of the common people. So names are still of the german stil (Herman, Friederich, Willhelm, Georg, Michael, Franz, Hubert, Adolf, Eduart etc for males, Maria, Brigitte, Katarina, Waltraud, Ursula, Wilhelmine etc. for females).

Words like super or hyper, Mega and other exaggregations didn't exists. Neither did most anglicisms like Laser, Blaster, Brick or Tank. Language is stilisised and rhetorics is teached a lot. It's King Etzels Huns not the Indians that dominate the language. A hero would be compared to Prinz Eugen not to John Wayne.

As well a german Super won't be called as Super. Officialy it would be Sonderbegabte oder Spezialbegabte (Person with special abilitys), Uebermenschen (Extraordinary Person / Superperson) after 1933. The folk will know them either by their main ability (The cat - die Katze for somebody with bounce / catfall, The Spider - Die Spinne for someone with clinging & web, Der Panzer - The tank for a well armored super etc) and will call them something like Heros - Helden or something else that compares them to mythological persons like Hercules (The emperor was big on neo greek / neo roman stuff) or Siegfried (The Niebelungen / Wagner's Ring).

2. German Supers [Good & Bad]

The common US-super is a Vigilante that fights, often supported or at least accepted by officials. This would be unlikely in the far more controlled and rigid society of Europe. More likely would a super be in state service (Somethink like Hauptmann Deutschland[2]) or one hunted by the government but liked by one of the classes (Most likely a working class super), punishing criminals as well as those government / industrial leaders that he sees as a threat to his class.

Supercrooks would be thieves, cat burglars or con-men[3] and will mostly refrain from violence (German law punishes crimes against property harsher than most crimes against persons[4], reflecting the fact that most crimes are against property in the 1870's). An exception from this rule will be the terrorist who will resort to violence when needed to further his goals.

Although remember that military service is non-mandatory for german males for most of this time and the training is rather harsh, so if heavy stress is the reason the Seeder genes activate past 1924 (IST setting), there should be a lot supers waking up.

This leaves us with four types of supers:

The State-Super:
This is a patriotic citizen (all classes acceptabel) who offers his powers to the state. He will be given a military rank, most likely an officers rang (Leutnant[5] for commoners, Hauptmann and above for upper class/nobles[6]) and see service as a spy / special forces guy. Female supers will be accepted[7], exspecially in the 20th century but expected to use modest costumes and eventually marry. Most supers will wear a normal uniform, maybe tailored to allow use of their forces. Masks will be uncommon for a servant of the state. Those working as spies will use disguises like every agent but otherwise they'll live the same kind of live as a normal in the same job, maybe with a better salary[8]. He'll have a higher sozial standing.
It is quite possible that befor 1935 state-supers won't have a special name, just their normal rang and them being member in a high-prestige military unit[9]. The military will be a patron with immense wealth. After 1935, with germany rearming, the state-supers will be SS soldiers and the newer ones will name themselfs. Most names will be taken from Wagners "Ring of the Niebelungen", the Siegfried and Dietrich von Bern Sagas and North Mythologie.

The Vigilante:
This poor chap will work out much like his US-counterpart but will be hunted by the police for unlawfull behaviour. Since it is the states duty to hunt criminals he'll be trialed for things like Amtsanmaßung [Pretending to have legal powers], Koerperverletzung [Injuring people] and similar things he performs. This kind of super most likely is a working class / lower middle class type and he'll often target corrupt officials, industrials who mistreat their workers and persons opposed to the union and their fight for higher wages like Streikbrecher (people employed to work when the normal workes refuse to because the owner of the firm doesn't meet their demands).
This guys will wear a mask to protect themselfs. They might be working for German unions or the SPD / KPD (all parties had "strong men", party armies, until 1934).
He'll use a nome de guerre, either from german history (Andreas Hoffer) or his political association (Spartacus for a KPD / SPD guy) Good names might also be Hambach (a democratic meeting in 184x) or something else from the political scene.
Not much costume here for monetarien reasons. Maybe a mask or hood.
The Supercrook:
A criminal version of the state super. He'll use false names to hide his identity. Certain typs of this class will be named by the press. Most likely something like "Die Katze von [Stadtname]" (The cat of [Name of a City) for a catburglar or something similar related to his profession.
Super ConMen (using illusion etc.) normaly don't use nicknames.

The Terrorist:
This is an extrem version of the vigilante. He'll use his powers to kill what he considers enemys of his class, destroy their property etc. He'll be hunted by both the vigilante and the state super because even for the vigilante he's to dangerous. He's most likely from the KPD and will use kommunistic-inspired warnames or, if he's really bold, his real name. After 1934 he'll be hunted down and most likely vanish until the 1960's.
A variety will be the resistance fighter. He appears as early as 1934. The first generation will be worker-class supervilains fighting against Hitler because he has forbidden their party. Later on they will be joined by hunted minorities, specially Gypsies[10].
Costume will be a face mask or a hood and dark, solid clothes.

3. Names, names, names

After 1933 some supers might adopt names or taccodes.

Name Description and explanation
Siegfried Somebody who is strong & invulnerable
Walküre (Valkiry) A strong female, specially if she flies
Brunhild A strong female with fire-resistance / fire powers since in the legend Brunhild was trapped in a ring of fire.
Alberich Someone with invisibility
Der Jäger Stealth and / or sneaky combat powers (The hunter; also the ranger, like in Rodgers Rangers[11])
Panzer / Eisenmann Body of Metall and / or natural DR (Tank / Ironman)
Der Dampfhammer A strong man, specially with Growth (Piledriver)
Der Kran Strong man (There was a catcher known as Der Kran von Schifferstadt - The crane from Schifferstadt)
Der Vogelmann / Die Vogelfrau Flightpower (Birdman / Birdwoman)
Der Adler
Der Drachen Firebreathing (Dragon)
Der Riese Somebody with growth power (or shrinking power since German mythology knows of giants who become mice)
Der Gigant The giant (mostly followed by a city name like Der Gigant von Hamburg - The giant of Hamburg)
Thor Combat oriented super
Heimdahl / Freya Enhanced senses since Heimdahl was the one guarding the Brigde to Asgard and Freya could see 100miles in every direction (was a good lookin chick too)
Fenris A wolfman (The Fenris-Wolf will kill Odin in the last battle)
Der Ritter For a super with knightly powers like armor (The knight; usually in the form like Der grüne Ritter - The Green Knight)
Der Stählerne The man of steel (Die Stählerne is the female version). Fits better for a post 1933 commie super (Stalin - Der Stählerne).
Spartakus Leader of a great slave revolt. Although often used by German communists
Widukin A famous saxon guerilla.

Use qualifiers like colors (Der grüne Jäger - The green hunter) or cities (See Der Kran). As for colors green, withe, black and blue are always fitting. Brown (Nazis) and Red (commies) should be applied sparingly.

Qualifiers like Eis (Ice) Eisen (Iron) can be used like Der Eisriese (The Icegiant)

4. Costumes & Tidbits

Applie sparingly. No spandex, mostly solid cotton. Military Supers use a lot of cammo since german elite units did so since 1942. Most state supers will carry a gun as a backup. No body armor (never developed flak vests) but helmets will be in. German females will be either normal uniforms or below knee lenght shirts. Males will wear boots (riding boots) or heavy marching shoes, so will most females. Capes will be very rare. Be practical, they are germans.

If you want flashy supers, play a French. If you want hyper active ones, play an Italisn. If you want them honor bound, try a Spanish. If you like being loved by no one, play an English one.

[Continue to Part 2]


Notes:

  1. Aka The Nazis (TM).

  2. Captain America translates into Hauptmann Amerika (Hauptmann = Army Captain).

  3. Or con-women.

  4. Murder is an exception.

  5. Leutanant, lowest officers rang.

  6. In the NS-Era (1933-45) he'll be an SA or SS officer, drop the distinction between classes in the military.

  7. Contrary to what most people, even many Germans, think, Germany was and is a rather liberal state especially with female rights (Allowed to vote, join university etc. before 1914) and religion. Noble class was common but quite a few industrials were commoners (Siemens, Daimler&Benz, Krupp).

  8. If you do something special and you are a german civil servant (Beamter in German) you'll get extra pay. So a super would most likely get Bonus Payment for Special Capabilities (Zulage fuer besondere Fertigkeiten) Bonus Payment for Hazardous Duty (Zulage fuer gefaehrlichen Dienst).

  9. Something like Spezial Unit for Spezial Troops [Sondereinheit fuer Spezialbegabte] Sondereinsatzkompanie [Special operations company].

  10. Jewish German supers will be very rare because the jewish population prior to 1934. was very patriotic (A lot of WWI war heros were Jews) so most of those with superpowers will work for the state and therefore will fall prey to the first wave of Antisemitism. Gypsies (or Sinti and Roma as the two distinct groups call themselfs) will never work for the state but will fircely protect their familie & friends.

  11. The military Ranger is the Jäger in German, a light infantryman.