Friday, April 21, 2017

Their Finest Hour: Firearms of 1940

Most of the iconic firearms of World War II find use after the Battle Britain, but there is still plenty of innovation between 1940 and Victoriana’s default setting of the 1850s. Weapons (specifically firearms) grew in deadliness, capacity, and accuracy. Here is a selection of weapons from 1940 used by the United Kingdom, and the German Army, along with some new rules for Fully Automatic weapons.

Revolvers                              Damage Dice     ROF        Shots      Reload   Range
Enfield Revolver No 2         7                              2              6              2              20
S&W Model 10                      8                              2              6              3              30                                          
Webley Mk VI                        10                           2              6              3              40                          
Colt M1917                            11                           2              6              4              40          

Semi-Automatic Pistols   Damage Dice   ROF        Shots      Reload   Range
Colt Model 1903                   9                             2              8              1              20 
Colt M1911                            12                           2              8              1              30          

Bolt Action Rifles               Damage Dice   ROF        Shots     Reload   Range
Lee-Enfield SMLE                 10                           1             10            2              550                                                                        
M1 Garand                             14                            2              8             1              500                                                        
M11903 Springfield            14                           1               5             2              900        

Submachine Gun                 Damage Dice    ROF        Shots      Reload   Range     Special  
Thompson M1928, M1        12                           3              20/50*   3              100           Fully Automatic    

*The Thompson submachine gun can be loaded with a variety of magazines. The 20 round magazine attacks as normal, but attacks using the heavy 50 round “drum” have +3 black dice.

Light Machine Guns            Damage Dice      ROF        Shots      Reload   Range     Special                                                  
Bren LMG                                   14                           4              30           2              600            Bipod mounted, Fully Automatic
Lewis light machine gun       14                           5              47           3              400             Bipod mounted, Fully Automatic
M1918 BAR                               16                           5              20           2              500            Bipod mounted, Fully Automatic

Anti-Tank Weapons            Damage Dice    ROF        Shots      Reload   Range     Special                  
Boys Anti-Tank Rifle             20                           1              5              5              300            Bipod mounted, Armor Piercing (6)

Firearms of the German Army
Semi-Automatic Pistols     Damage Dice      ROF        Shots      Reload   Range    
Walther PP                                8 (950)                  2              8              1              40                                          
Luger P08                                 10 (1148)              2              8              1              50
Mauser C96                              12(1,394)              2              10           1              150

Rifles                                     Damage Dice     ROF        Shots      Reload   Range                                    
Karabiner 98k                     14                           1              5              1              500                        

Submachine Gun              Damage Dice     ROF        Shots      Reload   Range     Special                                                  
MP18                                      10                           3              30           1              200            Fully Automatic    
MP40                                      13                           3              32           1              100            Fully Automatic

Anti-tank Weapons         Damage Dice     ROF        Shots      Reload   Range     Special                                  
Panzerbuchse 39                22                           1              1              5              300             Bipod mounted, Armor Piercing (8) 

Fully Automatic Attacks
Every attack with a fully automatic firearm spends 3 rounds of ammunition.
Because of their ability to quickly spray bullets over a target area, fully automatic firearms give their wielders two special combat options in addition to a normal firearms attack. Using these special combat options spends an additional 3 rounds of ammunition to a total of 6 per attack.

Spray Attack
To increase their chances of hitting the target, attackers using a submachine gun can perform a Spray Attack. Spray Attacks give +3 dice to Attack Dice pool and -3 dice to Damage Dice Pools.

Multiple Target Spray Attack
Attackers armed with a fully automatic firearm, can shoot multiple targets with one action using a Multiple Target Spray Attack. Attackers roll as normal, but divide their total damage (attack successes + damage successes) over multiple targets (rounding up) in close proximity to each other. How many targets, and what counts as close proximity is up to Gamemaster discretion. As a basic rule of thumb, you cannot attack more targets than half the weapons damage dice (rounded up).

Mounted Weapons (tripod, bipod etc)
Unless a mounted weapon is already set up, average sized characters suffer +6 Black Dice until they spend an action setting up the weapon. These weapons are heavy, unwieldy and often have a very high kickback. Ogres can wield most mounted weapons with little trouble.
All Light Machine Guns have a reduced penalty of +3 Black Dice due to their smaller size, and weight.

Next week’s post features adventure ideas for the Battle of Britain home front, and the week following we’ll look at adventures abroad. I hope you enjoy.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Their Finest Hour- Magical Battle of Britain

The first half of this series looked at a lot of the historical facts of the Battle of Britain, and how they could be adapted for Their Finest Hour, a World War II setting for the Victoriana role-playing game. Last week we dipped our toes in the more fantastic side of the setting, but this week, we dive into the deep end to talk about magic. Fortunately for us, there is no end of weird magical folklore and conspiracies attached for World War II for us to play with.

In Victoriana’s 1850s setting, magic wanes from its strong, primal antediluvian origins. Miracles became spells practiced only by a learned few, as the industrial revolution spread across the world. By the Battle of Britain, radio, automobiles, telephones, electric lights, airplanes, and other conveniences take magic’s place.  Scientists, mystics, and priests strive to rediscover and recapture magic’s lost might, some by examining magical formula with modern scientific theories (such as Albert Einstein), and others by embracing tabooed occult practices (such as Alistair Crowley).
The Axis war effort seems to have overcome whatever universal law causes magic to dwindle. Refugees of the Blitzkrieg tell stories of magicians able to change the battlefield with ease, conjured creatures of legend, and sorcerous machines of war. None of the Allies know the source of this raw aetheric power and rumors spread quickly of its origins. Some of the rumors circulating through  England include:

-During the 1939 German expedition to Tibet, Nazi mystics learned ancient forgotten methods to harness Vril from an ascended Master in Shamballa known as “the King of the World”.

-Nazi musicologists discovered the potent mythic reality suggested by Wagner’s operas. Through their fanaticism and skill, trained spell singers (called F├Ącher) gain strength from Germanic myth cycles and Aryan folksongs.

-The Race Office of the SS bred magically adept children through the Lebensborn (fountain of life) project. SS officers kidnapped Polish and Russian children gifted with psychical abilities from occupied territories adding to their breeding stock.

Worried by the Axis’s magical superiority, Allied forces try to close the gap. Magical practices previously dismissed by the Guild, such as conjuration, become the subjects of careful study. Scientists and hermeticists exiled from their overrun countries add their expertise to the war effort. The Guild strives to harness Britain’s few magical resources and discover powerful treasures long lost. Some groups, such as the Ancient Order of Druids (of which Prime Minister Winston Churchill is a member), hope for a miracle from the past. Old legends say Avalon will appear when again England needs King Arthur, and when has their need been greater?

Magic in 1940
Victoriana gives their magic a great sense of the period through names. Because Their Finest Hour takes place 90 years later in the 1940, some of the terms seem a bit behind the times. Instead of magnetists empowered with magnetic abilities, psychics with psychical abilities sounds a bit more modern.
Likewise, Quintessence is fine for Englishmen, but magical energy is called Vril by the Nazis.
To reflect the waning power of magic plaguing the earth, all characters in Their Finest Hour have four pips on their Quintessence dice instead of six.

This series has been a blast to write. We’re heading into the end of the series with only three or four posts left to go. It’s been great diving into the setting, and I’m really looking forward to the upcoming adventure ideas post.