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Ratling Rascal

The guardman who would be king

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Dear fellow-masters,

 

 

I was thinking about building a campaign inspired by the novel from Kipling "the man who would be king" (perfectly adapted in a film with Sean Connert and Michael Caine by the way).

 

Here are my first thoughts:

 

The PCs are part of a small contingent sent to a recently discovered planet with archaic human population. The initial plan was to absorb the planet into the Imperium and prospect interesting resources. For a reason or another (accident while in orbit or during the landing, an ambush from an enemy while the ship is in orbit, etc...) the vast majority of the personnel of the mission dies except PCs. The PCs suddenly find themselves on the surface of the harsh planet with very few resources (plus several dozens of la guns).

In the first part of the campaign, the PCs would have to gather what they can from the carcass of their crashed ship if they want to survive (foodstuff, medicine, shelters). The PCs would later have to join the nearest village of locals. With their Imperial technology, they could be hired as mercenaries by the ruling class in the vicinity and later try to overthrow these latter. They could soon forge themselves an army to carve their empire on the planet.

 

The end of the campagin would be when the Imperium sends a new mission on the planet. The PCs would have to face the questions of the persons in charge of the second mission. They would be rewarded if they have done well, having contributed to quickly absorb this planet and its human population within the Imperium. One of the PCs would have prepared the priests to adapt their religion within the Imperial creed. They could also be severely punished (and quickly executed) should they have during the campaign totally forgotten the Imperium and decided to proclaim themselves rulers or even worse gods among the locals.

 

Sorry for the multiple mistakes above. I am French.

Please do not hesitate to add your ideas.

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Sounds like an interesting premise, if unusual for an Only War campaign.

 

The only thing that comes to mind would be the likelihood of attempted theft from the PCs. In particular if they allow themselves to be hired by others, said others might not have as much respect for the characters, and attempt to appropriate some of their powerful weapons.

 

It all comes down to how the players will handle this and what sort of appearance they wish to portray when introducing not only themselves but also their "magical" abilities.

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Bonjour from across the channel, monsieur. I like what you've got so far, but I would like to ask what kind of scale you want to approach this from?

Are we talking Game of Thrones backroom politicking? Risk style army management? Potential for custom antagonists? (Turns out Merlin is actually a Sorcerer of Tzeentch, gasp!)

I'd like to know more of what you're looking for with respect to our feedback, so that we can tailor our responses to be as helpful as possible.

Question I have to ask though, and do forgive the tongue-in-cheek nationalism, is the Regimental Standard a plain, white flag? =P

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Thank you all for the funny replies. Always fun to tell you are French abroad. Jokes suddenly rain down hard. France is probably the country people from other countries love to hate the most... apart from USA of course.

 

Regarding the Chauchat, I have to agree: we apparently are better at making cheese or wine than machineguns!

 

Merlin actually disciple of the Ruining Powers? I love the idea!

 

Regarding the scale of the game, this all depends of the number of gaming session, the talent, inspiration and ambition of the GM, I would say. I would begin nicely with a dozen of villages to manage and come up with a small realm.

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Sgt. Ash" Lissen up you primitve screwheads!" :D

 

First of i like the idea!

I think the players could get into a lot of interesting situations:

 

 

The guardsmen get accused of witchcraft.

 

Peasant: "Aaaah! he has fire comming from his hand! Witch!"

Trooper Pike: "Dude, It's just a lighter!"

Peasant mob: "They're witches! Burn 'em!"

Trooper Pike: "No, YOU burn." *activates flamer*

 

 

One of the PCs is an ogryn:

 

Bone 'ead: "Me finks me no longer da dumbest 'round 'ere."

Sgt. Ash: "You could be right, buddy."

Bone 'ead: "yeah me kan do diz!"

 

 

The PCs have an audience with the king:

 

King: "Greetings, strangers from the stars! I'm King Adam, Ruler of all."

Commissar Detlev: "Sorry pal, but I annex your world into the imperium of man in the name of the Emperor!" *points laspistol*

King: "Usurper! I have no fear of your magic trinkets!" *draws glowing sword from his scabbard*

Trooper Pike: "Is that a power sword?"

Sgt. Ash: "Where did he get that?"

Edited by Robin Graves

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I'm kinda stuck for ideas, but I recommend looking through the history of Dark Ages to Medieval Britain, and associated folklore (such as the legend of King Arthur.)

And you're right. We redcoats like the Americans even less. Apparently they fight back, though, what with all this revolution talk.

There's a thought. What level of Tech do the natives have access to? Are we talking bows and arrows or muskets?

Edited by SgtLazarus

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In terms of technology, Afghanistan during the 19th century as in the novel and film seemed quite interesting to me. Not to advanced, not to primitive. And this period and location is far too rarely used in films not to speak about roleplay. So flintstone muskets misfiring 50% of the time and copper chamber pots being the most advanced form of domestic comfort. The pike and shots period in Europe would also be cool if you wish to the PCs to manage one or two elegant cities and not only mud-built villages.

 

Sgt Lazarus: speaking of the American Revolution (some might say Independance War, noble fight for freedom!), we French helped these ungrateful colonists a great deal to kick these **** Brits out... in retaliation following our recent defeat in the American Indian Wars.

 

Antigonism between France and England reminds me sometimes of the relationship between elves and dwarves.

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Give us a common enemy and we got each other's backs. The rest of the time we're busy kicking each other around.

Still, I like what you have here. I guess what's next is that you really need to just get stuck in and run it, and roll with whatever it is the PCs choose to do.

The one serious problem you will need to consider is how are you going to replace characters that die during the course of the campaign? Only War is not too forgiving on that front, and with the Regiment destroyed in the crash landing...

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One thing you could do is bypass The Man Who Would Be King and go directly to the source. Kipling based the novel off of the lives of Josiah Harlan and James Brooke, both of which were explorers who became nobles in the exotic lands they traveled. The key difference is that Brooke managed to found a prosperous kingdom, while Harlan got a measly title and was forced to return home. He wrote a book. 

 

What would this play like?

 

If it was a Harlanesque campaign, say the locals have relatively primitive technology - muskets and swords being the main form of weaponry. The players are tasked with training and outfitting a "modern" army by the local ruler, to deal with a stronghold of slavers and bandits. After dealing with difficulties with the language barrier and the ignorance of modern military discipline, the small army is led by the PCs to take the stronghold. Should they succeed, they become vassals of the king, then are later outmaneuvered and expelled by the king's rivals. Where do the landless nobles from another planet go from there?

 

For a more Brooke-themed story arc, they could be given small fiefs as military service by a higher noble. They then do very well, ruling the people as nobles and then the descendants of the original characters. What happens when you are now the original character's grandson, and the Imperial Guard comes to figure out what happens to the missing regiment? This could be a cool way to play, as it would probably incorporate Rogue Trader's Mass Combat rules and other elements of that game line. 

Edited by cpteveros

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Thanks for the information. I did not know these two adventurers inspiring Kipling.

This reminds me the biography of a German officer during WWI, other potential source of inspiration for an Only War campaign. The French title is "the Papuans of the Kaiser". In New Guinea with absolutely no support he conducted a guerilla war against Allies leading a force constituted by Papuans

 

What do you guys think about this battle system by the way in Rogue Trader? Does it work well?

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The one serious problem you will need to consider is how are you going to replace characters that die during the course of the campaign? Only War is not too forgiving on that front, and with the Regiment destroyed in the crash landing...

 

I suppose everyone may have at least one life in that they could play as their Comrades once the main PC dies. After that, though, the PCs may have to start looking into recruiting locals.

 

That could create a new dynamic all on its own -- first conscripted locals as "squire"-Comrades, who then slowly begin to mix with the PCs, getting inducted into some of their technological secrets, decades later resulting in a weird blend of tainted local tradition and warped Imperial ways, where a secretive cult with godlike powers rules over a terrified populace, all the while having forgotten its own origins as none of the original leaders are still alive and all current members have been seized as they were still little kids. ;)

 

... almost like what the Space Marines do! :D

Edited by Lynata

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What do you guys think about this battle system by the way in Rogue Trader? Does it work well?

 Personally I don't much care for the rules in Battlefleet Koronus. I think the response to them was mixed at best. They certainly seem cool in theory if not execution. I generally go with the mass combat rules in the core book, simple as they are, or totally abstract it out.

 

But yeah PC recruitment. I'd imagine a few junior guardsmen NPCs would survive to fill in for a bit before you started recruiting locals which is more or less your objective anyway.

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Maybe a slight variation, what if they aren't the first group of lost soldiers, or maybe more accurately there is a major nation that in fact does have a fair amount of power and the locals constantly talk about their deadly magic, etc. So the group assumes the influence of the ruinous powers and gears up to go face them only to find out that the magic is other imperial tech, maybe even a few examples of xenos tech or something similar that gives them a huge edge but only a few of them have it. The new problem though is that the group might have to start using more irreplacable items like grenades or certain heavy weapons.

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