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.