Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Yesterday Machine - Nazi Time Travel

Nazi mad scientist, time travel, & college kids sounds like a great Saturday afternoon. Yesterday Machine is really obscure & comes down to us in the public domain from '63. The plot goes something like this:
Margie, a college baton twirler, practice her moves while her boyfriend, Howie tries to fix a balking fuel pump. It's getting late, so he gives up and they walk through a woods to get help. They encounter two civil war soldiers who shoot Howie. Margie is unaccounted for. Howie's wound and Margie's disappearance has the local police and a reporter asking questions. The bullet in Howie, and a cap found at the scene were authentic civil war items. This causes Lt. Partane to recall an odd experience in WWII where old men prisoners were, by the records, actually young men. The camp's Kommandant was a rogue physicist, but was never found. While reporter Jim and Margie's sister Sandy explore the scene, they are transported to Dr. von Hauser's underground lab. Sandy and Margie are reunited in a dungeon cell. Von Hauser lectures Jim, (at some great length) about his science. The two rehash the old arguments over Nazi machiavellianism, which gets Jim tossed into an adjacent cell. They try to talk Didyama, (a female minion from ancient Egypt) into helping them escape. One nazi guard enters the women's cell with ill intent. Didyama stabs him in the back, but he chokes her to death before he dies. The women get out and let Jim out. In a showdown back in the lab, Jim shoots the other nazi guard and puts two bullets into the time machine before fleeing. Coming up through a secret hatch in a private graveyard, Jim, Sandy and Margie meet Lt. Partane and other policemen. They hear the time machine start up again. Partane goes down to the lab. Von Hauser shoots, but Partane hits von Hauser, who slumps into the time machine's chair and fades out to some other time. Partane destroys the machine. He gives a speech about man not being ready for such technology. The End

The OSR angle of The Yesterday Machine

In 1944 Dr. Von Hauser got his hands on a Yithian time engine. These experimental devices allowed one to jump through the time lines & their alternatives. The technology had wide reaching implications & the good doctor had little restraint in the matter.
Each of the yesterday machines not only created doorways into time but also into alternative time branches. The Dr.Von Hauser who was killed at the end of the Yesterday Machine might be only one version of the madman! There might be multiple versions of this dangerous psychopath rampaging through the time streams.

 The Yesterday Machine might not simply be a collection of wires, bit of junk, etc. The "machine" might be a concept flowing through time. The machines are simply the lens that allows the effect to intrude into the normal local space time continuum
The Reich was experimenting with very dangerous stuff. These machines would allow them to foot holds on thousands of timelines. They might be encountered anywhere. The machine allows them at least 3 levels of weird science tech levels.
These machines would allow a DM to create multiple connections between the various worlds such as Mutant Future, Labyrinth Lord, & gasp even dread Carcosa.What other time travelers might the characters meet?
The doctor & his associates have been encountered in a wide variety of space based locations. The usual tactic is smash & grab any technology they can get their hands on. The doctor will make any effort  to make contact with any Nazi within these areas. Or to set up a base to begin his time traveling operations once again.
Random Time Traveler Encounter Table 1d10

  1. A small group of Nazi zombies including officers 3 hit points each along with fire arms 
  2. Mech 6 hit points with a brain in a jar as the pilot . 1d4  damage heat ray 40 yard range 
  3. Two very lost American sailors from 1943. 2nd level warriors 
  4. Roman Soldiers in full armor, able to speak English(because of machine), 3rd level fighters 
  5. Star Travelers armed with ray guns 1d4 damage 50 yard range. Very angry & hostile 
  6. Yithian warrior 5 hit points with Lightning gun 1d4 damage full charge 80 yard range
  7. A swarm of flying polyps 1d6 of the monsters come from the swirling vortex of time space & will attempt to kill everything around them. 
  8. 1d6 American GIs 2nd level fighters each a bit trigger happy. Taken from a battle field 
  9. A group of 1d4 adventurers along with their 2nd level wizard.
  10. A very angry star spawn of Cthulhu who will try to eat anyone it comes across! Max Hit points 


  1. This brings to mind a kind of Nazi version of the Stargate program, only instead of exploring other planets to look for technology, they explore other timelines. Great stuff.

    -Ed Green

  2. Thanks for the comment Ed.
    That's sort of the idea with this a Nazi version of the Stargate program. But only instead of exploring other planets to look for technology, they explore other timelines to plunder. They basically can show up in any place at any time. I'm grooming several projects with these guys as bad guys for my upcoming Stars Without Numbers & the retroclone games I've got going on the fly. So there's more to come.


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