Saturday, 7 January 2017

House Rules - Three new Abilities & some notes on Languages

'House RULES' 

Three NEW abilities.

In our campaign, we have added these three new abilities to the list of those available when creating Dramatic Characters. They cover areas that we felt none of the existing abilities included.

ANTIQUITIES - The study of history, archaeology and ancient cultures. This skill also allows the possessor to understand one appropriate ancient language per level above Average.

FAERIE LORE - The study of the attributes, repulsions and habits of the various Faerie Folk and Faerie Creatures. This information is heavily mixed with common folklore and so may not always be accurate.

Military/Naval Knowledge - These are the skills a Professional Military Officer needs to know, for example, how to blow things up, fire a cannon, organise a unit, use & decipher codes etc. A Naval Officer will have Naval Knowledge covering similar specialised skills.
Military officers in the ‘Technical’ branches (Artillery and Engineering), as opposed to the ‘Fashionable’ regiments, actually have to learn the theory and practice of their craft. In some countries, such as Prussia, even the Upper Class cadets are required to attend Military Academy as it is no longer thought that ‘Character and Breeding’ are enough and that the skills of an Officer can entirely be learnt ‘on the playing fields of Eton’ (or other appropriate schools). The revolutionary idea that Military Officers should actually know something about their job is slowly spreading across New Europa.
Some Navies are starting to apply this, in the British Royal Navy, for example, all Cadets and Officers receive technical training.

LANGUAGES IN Castle Falkenstein.
My studies of the Victorian period indicate that educated people often spoke a far greater range of languages than our (allegedly) Anglophilic present.

For Diplomats and other International Officials, French is the common tongue, especially in New Europa and to a degree, worldwide. The languages of the other Great Powers, are German, Russian and Turkish (the Ottoman Empire may be ‘the sick man of New Europa’ but still has some international standing left). Some non-native speakers may choose to learn English which does not become the ‘Lingua Franca’ until the 1900s. 

Classical studies still form a major part of education so Latin and Ancient Greek are not uncommonly known. Any Dramatic Character who is Well-Educated or Upper Class is very likely to have French and/or Latin at a basic level at least. 

Those with a ‘Technical’ (i.e. Engineering) education or occupation would be reading articles in English and German. Natural Sciences lean towards Latin and German with some English. Medicine uses a lot of Latin as well as English, German and French. 

Travellers pick up the local languages as they visit places but Italian and possibly Modern Greek were spoken as the ‘Grand Tour’ of Classical Sites was a still popular, though diminishing, part of the life of the Wealthy. 

Therefore in my Falkenstein world I use the following house rules on languages:

Each character starts with their own Native Tongue.
If their Education ability is Average then they can speak one other language fluently or two languages at a basic level.
For each Level of Education ability above Average then he or she can speak a further language fluently or two more languages at a basic level.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Steamtech - The Subterranean Torpedo


The Subterranean Torpedo.

Developed by Major Weisskopf , of the Austro-Hungarian Artillery, this Infernal Weapon may herald the end of the static fortress or earthwork in war! Just revealed to the Public as a New Device in the Imperial and Royal arsenal, the Subterranean Torpedo is sure to bring fear to the hearts of the enemies of our great nation.

It is similar in appearance to a maritime self-propelled torpedo but Somewhat Larger. This machine can burrow into the earth and travel until it reaches a pre-set point and depth, whereupon It Detonates Destroying anything lying above it. The torpedo makes use of a simple analytical engine programmed by its torpedoman to determine its route and depth. The device may then dig itself down and travel to below a fortress or military camp before rising to near the surface and Exploding!

At present it is believed that Major Weisskopf's Subterranean Torpedo can only make its way through earth and softer rocks but future experiments with the digging head will allow its use in all types of geological strata. 

STOP PRESS: We have evidence that the Austro-Hungarian government is negotiating with a Dutch diamond merchant in order to trial a digging head made using industrial grade diamonds. This would certainly allow the device to cut its way through most rocks. We wonder if the cost of this will prevent the device moving beyond the prototype stage.

Cost: 135 Days, at 162,000 Florins (13,500c).
Size: Medium [100 wounds due to its armoured cylinder].
Description: A riveted iron cylinder with a small steam boiler and steering vanes at the rear.
Operation Time: Up to forty minutes with a range of thousands of feet.
Controlled by: A small, simple, pre-set analytical engine.
Moves with: A spiral cutting head.
Effects: Does Horrible Damage to Immense Targets.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Figures / Miniatures for use with Castle Falkenstein

Sources of Miniatures for
Castle Falkenstein.

For the first time, I have decided to make use of figures / miniatures for my Castle Falkenstein tabletop campaign.

on this blog has a list of the suppliers I have found for my New Europa-based campaign, please note that all the miniatures listed are in 28mm (1/56th) scale. I don’t get any commission on sales, honest!

I will update the page as I come across more sources, if you have any other suggestions, let me know by posting a comment.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Tales from the Archives: The Original Adventure Entertainment - Chapters Four.and Five

Sadly, Herr Marchall has discovered that the notes remaining in the Archive for the next two Chapters are very limited, therefore, we have presented both Chapters together.

Chapter four.
a bracing trip by sea
In which a Second Family Reunion is to be brought about and Captain Montgomery and Our Heroes are belaboured by High-Flying Prussians.
Dramatis Personae:
Katerina, Grafin (Countess) von Ulmfeld from Bavaria
Leutnant Maximilian von Ström, of the Austro-Hungarian Lancers
Louis LeBrun - A French Inventor
Frau Elsa Berg - An Austrian Nursing Sister of the Order of Cassandra
Captain Alan Horatio Montgomery - A British Steamship Captain

After they had liberated the Countess’s son, Erich (& his best Friend, Hendrick) from the Military School near Dresden, our Company escaped the clutches of the Dastardly Prussians for a couple days of well-deserved rest in Bohemia. Hendrick informed the Countess that he had been transferred to the Military School from his home in the Netherlands where his Father, Jan Van Rodeheuvel, was a Key Government Minister. Not unsurprisingly, she decided to take him home and they travelled to the Bavarian Inner Sea port of Frankfurt. There, they bumped into an old friend, Captain Montgomery, who was still exiled from Britain and had managed to gain a position as Skipper of a small paddle-steamer plying the Inner Sea. The party, therefore decided that they would travel to the Netherlands aboard his ship. Once there, they would return Hendrick to his Grateful Father.

 The S.S. Speedwell 

They booked cabins on the SS Speedwell and headed out to sea. After around six hours sailing, they were awoken by the noise of a steam engine approaching through the night mist.  The crew scanned the sea, worried about a collision, when, to their surprise, a grappling hook fell from the sky and hooked the port paddlewheel. Looking up, they could now see the guns of a Prussian Dirigible Warship pointed down at them! Lt. Maximilian von Ström started to cut through the grapple’s rope with his sword but a second grappling hook caught him in the arm as he chopped away. He was lifted off his feet but dropped free as the hook tore the sleeve of his jacket and ripped through the flesh of his arm!
Rudolf, von Ström’s batman, and the Countess quickly hid the boys in trunks in her cabin as a section of Prussian Aero-marines slid down ropes to assault the ship. They forced their way below decks where the ship’s Chinese steward was shot as he tried to lock the bulkhead door.
Whilst some of the Perfidious Prussians herded the crew and several of our heroes together in front of the bridge, the ship’s Chinese cook, climbed up a rope onto the airship overhead. Armed with a Meat Cleaver and with the Fire of Vengeance for his dead brother (the steward) in his heart, the cook cut his way through the crew to the Helm and seized the wheel! He plunged the dirigible into the sea and was never seen again!

The Crashed Prussian Airship.

Whilst the Prussian Marines were distracted by the crashing airship, the crew, von Ström and his batman rushed them, and in a bloody engagement, overpowered the enemy. Below decks, the three remaining Marines were forced to give up their attempts to enter the Countess’s cabin when LeBrun fired several of the ship’s distress rockets down the corridor they were in.

Eventually, the damaged paddle-steamer managed to limp back into the port of Frankfurt, where they handed over the Prussian would-be Aero-Pirates to the authorities, and our Adventurers were forced to continue their journey to the Netherlands by train.

Postscript: The Prussian attack on the SS Speedwell caused a minor diplomatic Incident and a large legal battle, which is still continuing in the Bavarian Courts, over who was responsible for compensating the Steamship Company for the damage to its vessel. Sadly, Captain Montgomery was dismissed and sued for negligence in a Maritime Court. He was acquitted but found it difficult to find work as a Ship’s Master elsewhere.

Host’s Notes:
This Chapter ran in Spring 1997.
Worthy of High Merit: Richard (Leutnant Maximilian Von Ström & his batman) for his Swashbuckling Attitude and Courageous Actions in tackling the Prussian airship and its marines and the NPC Chinese cook who sliced his way through the airship crew like a Hot Meat Cleaver Through Butter.

Chapter five.
The fast chase of a slow train
In which Our Heroes speed through the Rhinelands by Locomotive, but will the Deeds of a Dastardly Magician foil their Best Enterprises?
Dramatis Personae:
Katerina, Grafin (Countess) von Ulmfeld from Bavaria
Ruprecht , Ritter von Schlan, of the Austro-Hungarian Diplomatic Corps
Leutnant Maximilian von Ström, of the Austro-Hungarian Lancers
Louis LeBrun - A French Inventor
Frau Elsa Berg - An Austrian Nursing Sister of the Order of Cassandra

With their attempt to travel to the Netherlands by sea thwarted, the Party took the train to Mainz. From there, they intended to continue through the Rhineland principalities to the Dutch city of Nijmegen where Hendrick’s father would finally meet them.

Mainz Station.
After a night in a hotel, they headed to the Railway Station to catch their train to Nijmegen. Hendrick went off to the Gentlemen’s Cloakroom and didn’t return. A quick search failed to find him but a railway porter said that he had seen the boy shout “Father!” and hug a man who spoke to him in what the porter thought was Dutch. The child and the man had boarded the Express Train to Dusseldorf just as it was pulling out of the station.

With the next train being a slow train, calling at all stations en route, Our heroes had to find another means of catching up with the Dusseldorf Express. After a few Frantic Telegrams and a meeting with the Station Manager, Ruprecht, risked his career and pulled in several favours to organise a Private Train travelling under the  authority of an Urgent Diplomatic Mission which would give them priority over other trains on the tracks. He also telegraphed ahead to a friend in the Eleusinian Order of  Magicians to meet them at Dusseldorf to track where the Kidnapper had taken Hendrick from there.

At Dusseldorf, Herr Krause cast a Track spell and traced Hendrick to a slow train heading to the coast at Dortmund, presumably for his abductor to take him by ship across the Inner Sea and back to Prussia. Herr Krause also said that he could detect traces of Magick in the trail! Swiftly re-boarding their Private Train, the Countess and her friends hurried down the line and overtook the slow train. At the next station they disembarked and when the train with Hendrick arrived, they got on board, searching the carriages with the help of the Train Guards who had been informed of the abduction.

As they worked their way up the train, various Phantasmagorical Images assaulted their sense. Snakes writhed on the floor and seats turned to wolves, driving many of the other passengers and one of our heroes (I refrain from naming them publicly) back towards the rear of the train in Terror! 

The Phantasmagorical Dragon Attacking The Train.
The train neared the coast and the sight of a vast dragon bearing down on them caused the Train Driver and Engineer to stop the locomotive. They soon abandoned the train completely along with most of the passengers as a Huge Tidal Wave swept up from the Inner Sea and rushed towards the railway tracks!
Summoning up all her Courage, the Countess reached the carriage which contained the Evil Illusionist who was casting the spells! In his concentration in creating the large apparitions, which were afflicting the train, he had dropped his Magickal Disguise as Hendrick’s father. In one hand he held the boy kicking and screaming. The Countess took a deep breath and shot the Magician twice which her pocket pistol. As he collapsed to the carriage floor the Illusions Faded and normality was returned!

Hendrick Being Re-United with His Father.
After a brief period of recovery, and one or two glasses of schnapps, the Party continued onto Nijmegen and Re-united Hendrick with his Real Father. There they found that Herr Van Rodeheuvel was part of an anti-Prussian group in the Dutch Government who were trying to influence the Netherlands’ pro-Prussian King against making closer ties with Bismarck and his Allies. Hendrick’s transfer to the school in Prussia had made him a Hostage in Bismarck’s Evil Machinations.

Host’s Notes:
This Chapter ran in Summer 1997.
Worthy of High Merit: Helen (Katerina, Grafin (Countess) von Ulmfeld) for continually managing to resist the Illusionist’s Magickal Onslaughts and dealing authoritatively with the panicking bystanders (is that the right word to describe train passengers or should it be bysitters or bytravellers?) on the Locomotive as the Weirdness unfolded.