How to win Alesia, Crécy, & the Battle of the Boyne
Turning that frown upside down for the Gauls at Alesia, the French at Crécy, and the Irish at the Battle of the Boyne.
The Armchair Corporal reverses the outcome of some of history’s famous battles by pointing out the bleeding obvious! Amazing battlefield insights are all too easy with Wikipedia, Osprey military books, BBC documentaries, fog-o-war penetrating goggles™, a dollop of arrogance, a comfy chair, common sense, and of course 20/20 Hindsight.
So sit back and marvel as I give Julius Caesar the run-around, scold yet more silly French kniggits, and rectify another Jacobite shemozzle.
Wilderness RPG adventure in the Grey Mountains of Tolkien’s Middle Earth
Filling in one of the blanks of Middle Earth Role Playing.
Way back in the nineties Iron Crown Enterprises wrote the awesome ‘Northern Mirkwood’ campaign supplement for Middle Earth Role Playing. The book detailed all sorts of locations, not just in Mirkwood, but across northern Rhovanion. There was lots of info on cool locations from the Hobbit, as well as the Grey Mountains, the Withered Heath et al. As usual the MERP maps were very detailed…
My eye was caught by a specific locale. High up in the Grey Mountains there was a large hidden valley called Uthrael Beoac. There were a couple of intriguing paragraphs about this valley in the text but nothing more. My interest was piqued.
Years passed and no details, let alone adventure books, about it emerged. Finally ICE released their Grey Mountains campaign book but alas- no further detail on Uthrael Beoac! And then ICE lost the rights to Middle Earth –arghh!!!
Add a few years and long comes teh interwebz, and the groovy Middle Earth Role Playing wiki / the Notion Club archive (http://merp.wikia.com) with some intriguing little hints about fan modules. The Uthrael Beoac page (http://merp.wikia.com/wiki/Uthrael_Beoac) has a map that seems to indicate that at one point someone had written an adventure that closely matched the Wind Thrones illustration from Middle Earth: The Card Game. However I could find nothing else online other than a cool French website (http://crepusculesuranduin.over-blog.com/) ‘Twilight on the Anduin’ with another illustration and some more ideas about what the valley could contain.
At that point I decided to stop searching for what someone else had created and instead, detail the mysterious mountain valley the way I imagined it. Using the background hints provided by MERP, plus ideas from the Middle Earth Role Playing Wiki et al, I have outlined the history (and prehistory) of the valley, general adventuring locations, and some adventure plot-lines all in a rough imitation of the MERP format.
Check out my version of this wilderness adventure at…
How the losers could have won at Agincourt, Naseby and Culloden
Bite sized historical rematches with 20/20 Hindsight
The Armchair Corporal turns the tables in another three famous battles. Talking about himself in third person hasn’t reduced AC’s amazing insights into how losers would have won, if only they were as brilliant as he!
Charles I of England, Bonnie Prince Charlie and some more ‘Medieval Dickheads’ all get a slap upside the head and some serious schooling in what they should have done if only they had 20/20 Hindsight and a dash of omniscience.
How to win the battles of Waterloo, Gettysburg and Hastings
Bite sized rematches: Omniscient Armchair Corporal out-generals the pros.
Any amateur history buff worth their salt has imagined re-fighting a battle and rewriting history. It just so happens that I eat famous battles for breakfast, so I’ve described my legendary skillz in the Alt History section. Napoleon, General Lee and some ‘Medieval Dickheads’ could learn a thing or two from me as I blitz Waterloo, march all over Gettysburg and rewrite 1066 in the Anglo-Saxon chronicle.
So take a step back in time and suspend all notions of the fog of war. In my world, commanders always do what they are told and have excellent cross country navigational skills. My physically exhausted troops can always keep marching, especially on the huge flank manoeuvres that are all the rage with Armchair Generals. Coordinating multiple attacks without radios or even semaphore just happens as my mind wills it.
If I wasn’t allergic to getting up early I would probably join the armed forces and get that world peace thing happening. In the meantime you should check out how to turn the tables in some classic engagements at the 20/20 Hindsight Refight page.
Adding zing to the Fate of the Sky Raiders Traveller adventure
Fate of the Sky Raiders by FASA lacked specific detail, so I have written an addenda to this sci-fi role playing adventure.
‘Fate’ was the culmination of an awesome Traveller trilogy by the Keith brothers. Classic Traveller RPG adventures always looked very professional and unfortunately a bit ‘dry’ too. But any good GM could see the potential in there for jazzing Traveller games up. Insert the “latest” movie ideas (Alien/ Aliens/ Blade Runner/ Star Wars/ Starship Troopers etc) into a game and most of those old adventures could sizzle.
The Sky Raiders trilogy was no exception – with a few tweaks it was Indiana Jones in space. And the concluding episode, became “Raiders of the Lost Space Ark”.
The first two adventures ( The Legend of the Sky Raiders & The Trail of the Sky Raiders) were crackers. The final book, Fate of the Sky Raiders, had heaps of great ideas but I found that it didn’t quite deliver. It had all this great lead up: a 5000 year old space ark with collapsed and devolving societies; treasure from dozens of worlds; ancient tech mixed up with savages etc etc and what do the designers do ? They give us a general description of the asteroid, a vague story arc and leave the interaction down to the GM with some random encounter tables!
Mega let down! Or is it?… coming up with your own personalised version is one of the pleasures of GM-ing. Like most Traveller adventures, there is much fun to be had in the adaptation to your gaming style.
So, putting finger to keyboard, I outlined four major cultures, inserted a few dangerous animals, detailed some interesting locations & encounters, and postulated the ongoing consequences for the Traveller universe. Addenda inspiration came from: Dr Who ‘The Face of Evil’ for the regressing cultures based on ancestral occupations; Robert E Howard’s tale ‘Red Nails’ for the pervading nasty atmosphere of enclosed warring societies; ‘Fast’ zombie movies and H.G.Wells’ Morlocks for the Ghoul society; and of course, the FASA legendary writers, J. Andrew Keith and William H. Keith,Jr for the wicked set up.
The Awakening of the Wyrms is a role playing campaign set in Tolkien’s Middle Earth in the early years of the 4th Age. Using locations and creatures from Middle Earth Role Playing (MERP) this alternative history involves the awakening of the Dragons of the Withered Heath and the subsequent havoc they wreak on the north.
Obviously I have broken the Tolkien canon a wee bit in that the description of the early 4th age by Tolkien does not go happily for the free folk. This work specifically combines the expansions of I.C.E.’s MERP and Anders Blixt’s awesome idea for the Queen of Shadows campaign (https://gondica.wordpress.com/).
I read Blixt’s idea quite a few years ago and only came back to it recently in an urge to get some 4th age action happening. His vision of Sauron’s Daughter pulling the strings in the background (a la the Mule from the Foundation series) was quite inspired but I felt that the overall nature of the campaign was a bit too human- o-centric. The 4th age might be the Age of Men however there are still many classic elements left in Middle Earth that could give this campaign an epic fantasy feel.
Awakening of the Wyrms can be used as an expansion of the Queen of Shadows or as a stand alone campaign. Regardless, I have had fun cobbling together a semi-plausible alt history of Middle Earth’s 4th age.
The campaign narrative along with FAQs and RPG resources is contained in the Middle Earth Menu – see Menu bar at top of page…
MERP, 4th Age Campaign, Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, Roleplaying, Middle Earth, BotFA, Dragons, Traveller, Civ 2, Fate of the Sky Raiders
Contained herein you will find assorted musings on this and other worlds.
Check out the menu and see what grabs you. The works here are not set in stone. I have posted these few ideas up here as a resource – leave a comment if you see something worth improving / tweaking.
Apologies for any poor grasp of practical military necessities, logistics and ill conceived tactical and strategic howlers. The view from the armchair is as close as the corporal intends to get to serious combat experience!