Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Covert Ops Sit-Rep

For the past week I've been so deeply immersed in the world of clandestine agents that I've begun to subconsciously check my rear-view mirror for tails, and I suspect everyone.  I've noticed that my daughter has lately started spending a lot of time with a little boy from her kindergarten class.  Could he be trying to cultivate her as an asset for a foreign power?  For that matter, could my daughter actually be a mole?  I didn't keep an eye on her every minute the day she was born.  She could have been swapped for an enemy agent at the hospital.  And, try as I might, I've had no luck in convincing my wife to refer to me as el Terrifico in public.  Is she trying to blow my cover?

Nonetheless, I've made quite a bit of progress on Covert Ops this week.  The character creation rules are done and I've even received some early feedback from our man in Havan - er- North Carolina, Shane Mangus, and he's given me some excellent suggestions and food for thought.  I've also got the skill resolution mechanics as well as the shooting and close combat system hammered out, and I'm pretty happy with how things are coming together.

The rules, though, are only a small part of the game.  The bulk of the book is going to be devoted to "stuff" you can use to run a campaign.  And this stuff is going to require a lot of time-consuming research.  I've been working on weapons tables for the better part of the week and I'm no where close to being finished.  Part of the problem is that I can't just borrow from existing role playing games - arms technology advances at such a rate that most of them are out of date, so everything needs to be researched from scratch, and I'm badly out of touch with modern military small arms.

My days as a naval officer are long behind me and in those days my small arms consisted of cold war relics like the FN FAL assault rifle, Stirling submachine gun, and Browning Hi-Power pistol, which have long since been replaced by the C-7 assault rifle, H&K MP-5, and Sig Sauer.  My knowledge of the small arms currently issued to foreign powers is likewise out of date, so it's back to school for me.

When it comes to small arms, it's an easy matter to brush up on recent developments, but when it comes to modern electronic intelligence and surveillance equipment, my heart quails.  I'm something of a technophobe and I don't own a cell phone.  The concept of 'smart phones' bewilders me, so I'm sure that modern spy gear is going to melt my brain.  I miss the days when "high tech" meant pocket telescopes, spy cameras, and shoe phones.

I've also finished an appendix on espionage related terminology and slang.

You can walk the walk, but can you talk the talk?

Maybe not yet, but after you've spent some time studying the Covert Ops terminology appendix you'll know how to protect an asset without getting splashed, service a dead drop, and avoid nightcrawlers and honeytraps at the local watering hole.

So, that's about all I've gotten done this week.  I'll come out of the cold on semi-regular intervals to provide updates on my progress, but now it's time to get back to work on an appendix of world intelligence organizations and, of course, keep plugging away at the weapons lists.


Trey said...

No cell phone? You're a man out of time, el Terrifico.

Shane Mangus said...

Sean, you are making very good progress. When you release this thing I believe it will be viewed as a breath of fresh air in the OSR. It is different than anything else out there, but maintains a very cool old-school approach. I am at your disposal sir!

Sean Robson said...

@Trey: Cell phones are too easy to trace - I'll stick with my land line. Now where did I leave my tin-foil hat?

@Shane: I really appreciate your constant support and feedback and I look forward to having you as a co-conspirator to collaborate with!