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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Caledonian Watch


The principal agents of The Caledonian Watch

"A pivotal event took place in 1879 with the so-called 'Tooth and Claw' in which an attempted takeover by aliens of the British Empire by lycanthropy was prevented by the Custodian of the British Museum Annex located in North Piddle, England. Grateful for his service, but disturbed by his unusual heritage, Her Majesty knighted the Custodian and his assistant before banishing them from the British Empire with an order to never return. In addition, to honor the sacrifice of those who subjects who died in the attempt at Torchwood Estate, Queen Victoria ordered the creation of the Torchwood Institute to help defend the British Empire from further alien attacks. She made sure that the Custodian understood that, if he should return, he should beware, because Torchwood will be waiting, ready to deal with him . . . "

A rare, but confirmed picture of the Custodian from 1895 in the background with the famous Miss Nightengale (from the author's personal collection).

" . . . it was unusual that Her Majesty would receive a message from the commander of  The Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London with a formal request to meet with him at the Tower of London. The Queen would not speak of the subsequent meeting only to mention it to Mr. Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street 13 years later that she had read an unusual letter by Queen Elizabeth and would he examine the letter personally. I overheard Mr. Holmes later  mention "Black Archive" and "The Custodian is forgiven" but that is all he would say . . . 

Badge of the Yeoman Warders

". . . it was then that Mr. Holmes discovered the existence of the Scottish Caledonian Watch, led by a man who should have died one to two generations ago and supposedly established to keep an eye on the Torchwood Institute and to protect the Empire from unusual threats . . ."
                                          From a Secret History of the World, Volume III, by Dr. James H. Watson

The Hibernian Watch was established by the Custodian of the British Museum's Annex in North Piddle as a highly secret organization only known to Her Majesty, Mr. Mycroft Holmes (The Government), Mr. Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John H. Watson, and Colonel Dugald Armstrong, VC, DSO, etc., of Department H (there is no Department H). Lead by Major Neil Campbell of the Campbells of Kilmartin, The Hibernian Watch is constantly alert to threats to the Empire by Evil Geniuses, criminal organizations, aliens and extra dimensional beings - not to mention the threat posed by other countries to the Empire's existence. They also keep an eye on the Torchwood Institute . . .

Major Neil Campbell with the Sword of the Campbells

Major Neil Campbell served 6 years in the British Navy on HMS Texel. He was then appointed a cadet for Bengal in 1808 in the army of the Honorable East India Co. Service (H.E.I.C.S.) and in 1809 went to India in which country he saw 33 years active service. He volunteered with the light company of the 21st Native Infantry Regiment to Kalinjar in 1812 when he was in the attack of the outpost of Kallengeree and in the storm and taking of Kalinjar. In 1815 and 1816 he was with the army in the invasion of Nepal from 1825 to 1826, and as Captain, served in the siege and led the forlorn hope assault being the first man over the walls at Bhurtpore and was mentioned in dispatches. In 1838 he was commissioned Major, and in 1841 retired from the service and returned to Edinburgh where he lived until dying at the ripe age of 79 in 1858. What a minute . . . he died? What the . . . ?

Name: Major Neil Campbell
Pluck: 2+
Fighting Value: +5
Shooting Value: +2
Speed: +1
Talents: Hero +2 HP, Fearless, Leadership +3, Impervious, Inspirational, Lightning Strike, Weapon Master (Sword), 
Basic Equipment: Sword, pistol
Armor: 10 (Chain Shirt under his meticulously tailored khaki tunic)
Points: 107

Senga Farquhar, honorary member of the 79th Cameron Highlanders. daughter of Laird Duncan, sister of Alasdair, Augustus, Coinneach, Dugald, Niall, Hammish, Rory, and Ruadh. By the way, she's the oldest of her siblings and the best shot - not to mention her work with Department H (there is no Department H).

Name: Senga Farquhar
Pluck: 4+
Fighting Value: +1
Shooting Value: +4
Speed: +0
Talents: Marksman
Basic Equipment: Military Rifle, Large Knife
Armor: 8
Points: 39

Captain Cold AKA Leonard Snart: Hero or Villain.

Harold Snart was raised by an abusive father and took refuge with his grandfather, who worked in an ice truck. When his grandfather died, Snart grew tired of his father's abuse and set out to start a criminal career. Snart joined up with a group of small-time thieves and in planning out a robbery, each was issued a gun of advanced design and a visor to protect their eyes against the flashes of gunfire. As he was finishing his part of the robbery, a security guard surprised Snart. Intending to use his gun only to scare the guard, he inadvertently pulled the trigger and discovered that his weapon had been altered in a way he had never imagined. The moisture in the air around the guard froze. Intrigued by this twist of fate, Snart donned a long jacket and the aforementioned visor and declared himself to be Captain Cold - the man who mastered absolute zero.
Snart has been used by Professor Moriarty, "The Napoleon of Crime" in the past - why he is a member of the Caledonian Watch is unknown. Maybe it is best we do not know.

Name: Harold Snart AKA Captain Cold
Pluck: 3+
Fighting Value: +2
Shooting Value: +3
Speed: +0
Talents: Cold Proof, Dodge, Fearless, Hero +1, Leadership +1, Numb
Basic Equipment: Freeze Gun (+1 SV, -2 Pluck, 12" range, Wrecking Weapon, 9 points), Arc trunchion
Armor: 10 (Jack/lined Coat with Magneto-Static Repulsor)
Points: 73

The Red Kite
She is closed lipped about her past - yet no one doubts her skill as an archer. Rumor has it that Captain Cold has taking a "liking" to her. What the Kite's thoughts on the subject are unknown.

Name: The Red Kite
Pluck: 4+
Fighting Value: +2
Shooting Value: +5
Speed: +2
Talents: Lightning Shot, Marksman, Weapon Master (Long Bow)
Basic Equipment: Long Bow, Sword
Armor: 9 (Brigadine)
Points: 61

Balgar "The Fox" Fraser: Soldier, explorer, hunter and slayer of monsters and other nefarious baddies that threaten the Empire. 

Pluck: 4+
Fighting Value: +2
Shooting Value: +2
Speed: 0
Talents: Fearless, Strong
Basic Equipment: Nock Gun, Large Knife
Armor: 9 (Brigadine)
Cost: 38 points

Coira Armstrong

Coira Armstrong is the daughter of Colonel Dugald Armstrong, VC, DSO and she accompanied her father to a remote military outpost on the northern frontier of India where she was instrumental in putting down the rebellion of the notorious Khoda Khan. In addition, the British
Government refuses to comment on her involvement in the "Roopkund Lake" incident located in the most inhospitable regions of the Himalayan Mountains that took place shortly thereafter.  Reports are conflicting but it is known that the Chinese Army incursion into India was recently thwarted and Coira was present with forces of the British Raj.  Coincidentally, shortly thereafter, Coira Armstrong was granted an Honorary Commission in the Royal Highland Regiment by the Regimental Colonel HRH The Duke of Rothesay.

Pluck: 3+
Fighting Value: +1
Shooting Value: +1
Speed: +1
Talents: Leadership +1, Fearless, Hero +1
Basic Equipment: Pistol, Knife
Armor: 9 (Magneto-Static Waistcoat)
Cost: 46 points

The new "colorized" photo of the Caledonian Watch

This is a powerful, yet small company. Don't get mobbed or outnumbered too badly!

Friday, October 15, 2021

The Anglo-Russian War: Caught in the Open, The Conclusion

Rare photograph of Imperial Russian senior leadership during the Anglo-Russian War. From the author's personal collection.

Previously: Unexpectedly, considering the poor quality of the Russian Officer Corps, the battle to capture (I mean provide her the safety and protection of the Tsar during a time of succession in her country) HRH the Princess of the Princely State of Chaimbellistan has not gone well for the Army of Chaimbellistan and some delayed help from the British Indian Army. The Russian Naval Brigade, under the command of Kapitan-leytenant Yury Andreyev, have penetrated the perimeter of the Princess's camp. While the Russian Artillery keeps the reinforcements at bay, the Naval Brigade hangs on desperately as they need another Russian unit to arrive to successfully complete the operation. But disaster may loom for the brave sailors of the Imperial Russian battleship Sissoi Veliky . . . let's finish the battle using The Men Who Would be Kings (paid link).

With a large battle cry that echoes through out the valley, the Tribal Infantry descends from the cover  on the unsuspecting and outnumbered Russian Naval Brigade!

A bloody and desperate melee takes place!

In the fight where no quarter was asked or given,  the Naval Brigade loses 6 figures - but the Tribal Infantry loses 7! They are forced to retreat, fail their role and are now pinned. All of the British Indian and Chaimbellistan units in the Field Force are now pinned.

Turn 8

Though partaking liberally from his bottle of vodka, the officer is able to move the  Izmaylovsky Lifeguards to the Princess's camp. 

In an all too familiar situation, the 19th Punjabis are once again shredded by artillery fire.

Disaster strikes as the valiant Colonel of the 19th Punjabis is mortally wounded by the artillery barrage and the unit receives another pin marker. (Whenever a unit receives a casualty, an additional roll of two dice are made; if it is a double "1", the officer is one of the casualties, and unless playing with optional rules, the Leadership Value of the unit becomes 8+)

The Naval Brigade fires at the tribesman in the hard cover but to no effect.

The 19th Punjabis attempt to rally and fail . . . 

. . . causing the unit to retreat.

The 2nd Regiment also fails to rally and retreats as panic starts to spread throughout the combined Field Force.

The brave men of the mountains rally!!!

Turn 9

Another pin marker.

Victory is almost within the Russian's grasp.

The 2nd Regiment fails to rally and retreats again.

The Punjabis rout off the tabletop.

The Naval Brigade is victorious; they inflict 3 hits and lose 2.

The Tribal Infantry must retreat and they are pinned.

Well that was surprising considering that 50% of the Russian Leadership Traits ("Worthless" and "The Gentleman has a Bottle") were a real concern. The decision by the Russians to use the long edge as their start point kept the 21st Frontier Guards with their "Worthless" officer out of the fight (they moved once); on the other hand, the reinforcements took longer to get to the Princess. Rifle firepower was about equal but the Russian artillery made a difference as enemy units were caught in the open. 

Putilov 76mm Field Gun

The Chaimbellistan/British Indian army forces did not use the terrain to their advantage; for example the 1st Regiment could have easily moved to the hard cover near the objective but failed to do so. Movement of the reinforcements failed to use the terrain to their advantage also. The Russians kept to a simple plan: move fast, move hard and keep the enemy pinned. Of course it did not hurt that the Naval Brigade was led by an officer "Destined for Greatness" and the Chaimbellistan/British Indian had some bad die rolls at critical times. But such is fate.


"Your Highness. We are merely here to escort you to a safe location and free you from the oppression of the British Empire."

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The Anglo-Russian War: Caught in the Open, Part 2

Previously: The Princess of Chaimbellistan was being escorted by two regiments of the Army of the Princely State of Chaimbellistan when they were intercepted by an Imperial Russian Force. In spite of the poor Leadership Traits of half of the Russian Force, the Russians have relentlessly attacked and have eliminated almost all of the escort of the princess. On the Russian side, the success has been primarily due to the Naval officer of the Naval Brigade who is "Destined for Greatness" and the superior gunnery of the Russian artillery. Moving as quickly as they can, are reinforcements consisting of the 19th Punjabis from the British Indian Army, the 2nd (Thundering Herd) Regiment of the Chaimbellistan, and tribal infantry from the mountains of Chaimbellistan. The Russians are the attackers and go first.

Turn 5

How much artillery can the 1st Regiment withstand? But they hold steady though they lose another brave figure.

Though his Leadership Trait is "The Gentleman has a bottle" the leader of the Lifeguards sobers up just long enough to order a devastating display of rifle fire that eliminates the 1st Regiment.

The Naval Brigade makes contact with the "immovable object" of the Princess's camp. To secure the princess, two units must be in contact, order "Stand To" and if they are there at the end of the defenders next term that's all she wrote.

A miracle. The officer with the Leadership Trait of "Worthless" (Leadership Value 10+) kinda, sorta moves the 21st Frontier Guard At the Double.

An overhead shot of the situation at the end of the Russian turn.

The 19th Punjabis move into a position where they can influence the battle.

The 2nd (Thundering Herd) fails to move!

The Tribal Infantry fails to move!

Turn 6

The 19th Punjabis feel the fury of the Imperial Russian Artillery but remain steady.

The Lifeguards (between swigs) notice the threat posed by the 19th Punjabis and fire . . . 

. . . eliminating one figure and pinning the unit.

Quick to rally, they are no longer pinned.

The 2nd Regiment is now picking up speed to rescue the embattled princess.

The Tribal Infantry descends from the hard cover of the rough, high ground.

Turn 7

The Naval Brigade fires at the 2nd Regiment - and fails to land a hit.

As other units before them, the 19th gets hammered by the accurate firing of the Russian artillery battery sustaining two more casualties.

They are pinned once more!

Even though he is inebriated, the officer of the Lifeguards gets off the command to Fire and hits another Punjabi soldier.

The 19th now has 2 pin markers - not good!

The 2nd Regiment gets hit by the Naval Brigade, losing one figure and getting pinned.

Both the 19th Punjabis and the 2nd Regiment fail to rally - is this the end? Then with a massive shout, the Tribal Infantry descends on the unsuspecting Russian Naval Brigade!

Next: The desperate and bloody conclusion.