A Flintloque Background Article by Steve Blease.
Back in the 90s there were a variety of planned expansions and spin-offs for Flintloque that sadly never came to be. One such release would have been a new edition of Flintloque taking things in a direction inspired by the events of the Crimean War...
I've just been doing some spring cleaning on the Mac and came across what I'd written for the original 2nd edition of Flintloque. This was ... according to the file tag written on 24/9/97 - about a month before I told them that I was quitting!
I've decided to publish a chunk of it ... purely for reference really, so you can have have a butchers of which way I was taking things (especially the background) - obviously this is contradicted by stuff that was subsequently written but I thought you might find it of interest.
I've inserted the odd comment in <purple>
Steve Blease - September 2000
Black Powder Fantasy Skirmish Gaming in the Realm of Valon
by Steve Blease
Miniatures by Mike Owen
<these would have been Sharke, Harpy, the Light Co. South Mordor versus Elf Caribineers - in busbies>
Artwork by Pete Knifton
Original Game Design by Steve Blease and Mac Coxhead
This edition of Flintloque could not have been produced without the input and ideas of a lot of gamers worldwide. Special thanks to Matthew Hartley, John Fletcher and Simon Evans for the wealth of rules and background ideas they have come up with over the last couple of years.
Thanks also to Carl Birch, Peter Bowkett, "Our Man in Chicago" Tommy Boyd, Andre Broszinski, Martin Broszinski, James Clay, Roberto Di Meglio, "Mr Mortar" Dieter Elbrecht, Heinrich Elbrecht, Conrad Gonsalves, Jochen Heggen, Phil Nicholls, Stefan Nolde, Tim Pollard, Malcolm Randle, Alex Stewart, Gavin Syme, Geoff Taylor, Steve Tee, "Dagenham" Dave Toone, Spencer Warner for their enthusiasm and input.
Finally thanks to Karen Blease for keeping Steve's head straight during all of this.
"Captain Sharke carefully pulled the hammer back on his trusty Bakur rifle and aiming down the barrel lined up his target...
As the High Elf finished relieving himself behind a tree, Sharke pulled the trigger and the Elf's head disintegrated into a red mist. The around him world exploded into chaos as the Orcs around him let loose with a volley of death from their Bessie muskets. In the glade pandemonium reigned as the Elves fell to the perfectly executed ambush.
Cries of pain, terror and surprise echoed through the trees and the panicked survivors anxiously searched the treeline for their attackers.
The search was brief...
Pulling a huge, battered, heavy cavalry sword from his sheath, Sharke stood and yelled at his command: "Charge!"
Out of the trees the Orcs charged into the glade. A desultory volley of muskets came from the remnants of the Elf section. Panicked and unformed, the Elves return fire was ineffective. Then the Orcs were amongst them...
Kicking an Elf in the groin, Sharke swung his sword into the side of the Elf's head, slicing it in two. Nearby one of the Orc redcoats, hammered the butt of his musket into the face of one Elf, before spinning around and catching another with a bayonet in the guts. To Sharke's left an Orc tripped over a body and died as he struggled to rise, an Elf bayonet through his eye socket. The Elf's victory was brief as Sharke swung is sword in an arc, slicing through the Elf's shoulder and down. The spray of gore soaked Sharke, his mouth tasting the blood of his victim. The fight was brief, nasty and bloody...
As peace once again claimed the glade, Sharke swiftly looked round for the courier the Elves had been escorting so close to the Orc lines. Damn! Sharke thought, no trace of the bastard! He must of legged it...
Suddenly a crash of volley-gun fire thundered through the air. The Orcs dove for cover, for a second fearing an Elven counter-ambush. As the smoke cleared, a huge figure strode down the lane, a huge grin splitting the ugly visage, holding up a gore splattered and somewhat charred Elven despatch case.
Throwing the case at Sharke's feet, Sergeant-Major Harpy took a drag on his cigar and smiled at his officer. "Thought ye might a' lost this Soir..."
<Panzerfauste Skirmish owners will realise that I did not waste this bit of colour text and converted the participants to Stuermer and some Gnomes...>
Welcome to the cut-throat world of Valon. A world of high intrigue and low chicanery, noble deeds and treacherous back-stabbing. Valon is a world at war, a violent place where success and history can hang on the deeds of one individual, as much as they do when whole armies clash. It is a land of opportunity and adventure...
However Valon is not your standard fantasy realm. Times have changed. No longer are battles decided by sword and arrow, plate armour and chainmail is an anachronism. Black powder rules the battlefields of Valon and sweeps all before it like chaff on the wind. Armies march in disciplined formations, bringing the power of the massed ranks of muskets to bear. Cannon belch fire and destruction across the world, whilst airboats drop death from above.
And the changes are no just restricted to the weapons, the races of Valon have changed too. Orcs, once a wild, uncontrollable barbaric horde are now a highly disciplined and resolute army, the Elves once a dwindling, insular race are now bent on conquering the world; even the Halflings, the kind, peaceful creatures of legend are now definitely to be avoided in a dark alley, late at night (in fact are just best avoided, period).
... bit more to add...
The Rise of Mordred
For three thousand years the power of the Crystal Elves had gradually diminished in the world of Valon. Other, more barbarous races, including the short-lived Humans, pushed at the boundaries of the ancient realm of Armorica . The suzerainty of the Elves over Valon was broken; their time looked to have passed. The Empress of the Elves, Morgana, sat on the Peacock Throne and surrounded herself with flunkeys and sycophants, whilst the Empire crumbled. Once the Elves had ruled Valon, now they controlled less than a sixth of the world and even that territory was threatened.
Morgana's son, the Crown Prince Mordred refused to accept that the days of the Elves were limited and that the Peacock Throne would not once again rule over all Valon. Injecting a long unseen vitality into his followers, Mordred built up a considerable power base in Armorica , taking control of much of the army. Redefining its tactics and methodology, he began to reverse the fortunes of the Crystal Elves, leading them to decisive victories over Orcs and Humans. However it was not enough. Weakened by the cancour at the heart of the Elven Empire and fighting against overwhelming numbers of enemies, even the genius of Mordred was pushed to hold onto what the Elves had, let alone restore the Empire to what it had once been.
The Crown Prince soon realised that he could only restore the old glory, by removing the old order. In a lightening move Mordred's Ferach Guard seized the capital of Armorica and Mordred took the Peacock Throne by force of arms, deposing his mother. The gods smiled upon Mordred and favoured him, as not only was he able to gain the symbol of sovereignty that was the Crystal Throne, but also the embodiment of the Empress Morgana's power - Brocan Noz, the Power Ring.
<Brocan Noz is Breton for something which I've now forgotten - given the Arthurian links I thought it'd be cool to make the Ferach more Breton in culture than French - I even changed the flags to the black and white Breton one, but Knifton changed it back! Again waste not, want not - the Gnomes in Panzerfauste are Breton inspired...>
The Ring was vital in Mordred's schemes, as it not only meant that he controlled all the ancient symbols of the Empire, but with the sorcery that the god Shivalia had used to create Brocan Noz, Mordred was able to exercise some control over Valon's dangerous and unpredictable Wylde Magick. At the influence of the diety Buon-Partee, Mordred learnt much about the potential of Brocan Noz, and how to break the Law of Wylde Magick, a law which had annulled the power of black powder.
Soon the Elves were transformed. The discipline and innovative tactics that Mordred had introduced into the Ferach Guard was introduced into the whole army. Elven weapon smiths forged strange new weapons called flintloques or muskets, smithies cast the barrels of large guns called cannon and alchemists mixed the quantities of brymstone, charredcoal and saltpetre necessary to create the explosive black powder that would forever change the face of Valon.
The Flight of Morgana
Dispossessed and overthrown, Morgana and a small band of loyal followers fled Armorica and sought sanctuary within the fastness of her hereditary enemy - the Court of Artur, the Kaiser of the Dwarves. Using the last residual vestiges of the power Brocan Noz had infused in her, Morgana spied out the secrets of the Elf weapon smiths and alchemists and bought her safety in the land of the Dwarves.
Whilst Mordred led the Ferach army west against the Elves implacable enemy of the last thousand years, the Dracii; the Dwarf weapon smiths turned to producing the new fangled weapons of war. Under the direction of the warlord Nisenouk, the clans were formed into regiments and trained in the tactics the Elves were successfully employing in the west. There was some resistance amongst the naturally conservative Dwarves to the changes. Traditionalist elements balked at these changes and attempted to overthrow the new order with warhammer and axe. Whilst it was obvious to them that Artur was under the glamour of the evil Elven witch, the power of the despised 'fire-sticks' was not and they died in a hail of lead and clouds of acrid smoke. Others, shocked by the swift victories of Mordred against the Dracii and with their baronies situated close to Armorica , demanded isolationism from the affairs of the Elves and Morgana's expulsion from the realm. When this was not forthcoming, these Dwarves seceded from the Krautian League and formed the Confederation of Finklestein.
It was at this time that the new gods appeared, of which Buon-Partee was the first. In the Dwarf Pantheon arose Blookha - the God of the Iron Star, who later gave the secret of black powder to the Troll Gods, whilst to the south a hawk-faced god called Sentinel appeared to the migratory Orcs.
Under the leadership of Gorge, son of Gorge, son of Gorge, the Orcs united and an Orc warlord known as Ar-Tan was appointed as Warlord of the Orc Armies. Sentinel filled the Orcs minds with new and alien skills, taught them the new ways of war and how to fight the Elves and win. Supplied with flintloques made for them by the Dwarf weapon smiths, the Orcs ceased their migratory ways and fell on the remaining Human settlements in the Middlelands. Annihilating the Humans at Dresda, Warchjiwa and Kolenz, the Orcs carved themselves a kingdom between the homes of the Dwarves, Rats and Goblins, a kingdom they called Albion .
The Fall of the Dark Elves
Across Valon new gods arose, many of them warlike and cruel. In the kingdom of Argoët , a horned god named Cernunnos seduced the once peaceful Wood Elves, poisoning their minds with jealous thoughts and barbarous practices. Twisting their knowledge of the forest and herb lore, the Wood Elves became deadly fighters, striking at their enemies from the cover of night, murdering and poisoning with abandon.
These changes resulted in them being known as Wood Elves no longer, now they were called Dark Elves. The priests of Cernunnos rose in the hierarchy of power forming a secret cabal known as the Inquisition. Behind the facade of decadent nobles and the weak Emperor Fernando, the Inquisitors hold the real power in the land they renamed Catalucia.
Fresh from his successes against the Dracii, the Emperor Mordred looked East and spied the treachery of his mother. Throughout the east, the Dwarf smithies supplied weapons to many hostile races and cultures, whilst Morgana's agents forged alliances between the once hostile races of Orcs, Dwarves, Goblins and Dark Elves. Mordred flew into a rage. How dare his mother stand against the destiny of her son and Armorica ! Raising his armies Mordred demanded the return of Morgana by the Dwarves. Artur ignored the demand...
However it was impossible for Mordred to directly attack the Krautian Dwarves. One route lay across the Armoricaine Ocean , the other through the wealthy Northern Kingdom of Catalucia. Mordred chose the latter.
Intoxicated on the wine of jealousy and power with which Cernunnos had infected the Dark Elves, the Catalucians attempted to stand against the Armorican army. Despite the Inquisitions attempts to embolden their troops by drugging them on a concoction of herbs and liquor, Mordred's army smashed them aside, conquering the northern realm in a matter of weeks. Reeling from the Ferach, many of the Dark Elves crossed the Karenia Sea to their less hospitable southern kingdom, along with the remnants of the Dark Elf army.
The War Expands
The ease with which the Ferach army had conquered Northern Catalucia , awakened the dreams of world conquest in Mordred's mind. Rather than concentrate on the attacking the Dwarves and capturing Morgana, the new Emperor decided to split his force, half under Mordred's direct command attacking the Krautian League, the other half despatched to finish off the Dark Elves by conquering Southern Catalucia.
Initially both the expeditions went well, the Dwarves, outgunned and outmanoeuvred on the Dardesheim Plains were pushed back into the Alpen Mountains following a series of stinging defeats. Across the Karenia Sea in Southern Catalucia , the Dark Elf army once again crumbled in the face of the High Elf legions. However the initial successes were not to be maintained.
In the north, the Dwarves more at home in the mountainous terrain than on the lowland plains, started to put up a more protracted resistance to Mordred. Unable to wield his army in the manor he wished by the very nature of the terrain, the Emperor grew increasingly exasperated as the war developed into one of attrition rather than movement. Meanwhile in Southern Catalucia , the Armorican army soon found itself under attack by the native population who carried on a guerrilla war against the invaders well behind the frontline of the 'real' war. This coupled with the entry of the Goblins of Al-Garvey as allies of the Dark Elves into the war caused the first doubts to be raised amongst the High Elf command of fighting a war on two fronts.
As the war in Krautia ground to a halt as the first of the winter snows descended on the land, the High Elves still could claim success in the warmer land of Southern Catalucia . Despite the land being aflame with insurrection and the Goblin entry into the war, the completion of the conquest of Southern Catalucia seemed inevitable. Until the Orcs entered the war.
Enter the Orcs
Following their victories over the Humans, the Orcs were quick to involve themselves in the struggle against the rising threat of Mordred and the Ferach Elves. Although the bulk of the Orc army still needed training under the generalship of the warlord Art-Tan, now more widely known as the Iron Duke, an Orc expeditionary force under the command of Surgeon-General Moor landed in Southern Catalucia , behind the main thrust of the Ferach advance.
With the weather starting to turn, the Elves found themselves in an unenviable position of having an enemy to their rear, as well as their front. Fortunately the small size of the Orc force, coupled with the ineptitude of the Dark Elves to exploit the Ferach problems, led to the High Elves being able to successfully disengage from their assault on the Dark Elves and Goblins and switch their attack back onto the Orcs.
The Orc force fought valiantly in increasingly snowy weather as winter gripped the barren Southern Catalucian countryside and although they were eventually forced to retreat on the small fishing village of Kooruna, where the bulk of the survivors were successfully evacuated, their intervention in the Southern Catalucian campaign had been decisive and prevented Mordred's legions completing their conquest of the Dark Elves.
Morgana Flees North
The harsh winter that gripped Valon prevented any further major hostilities until the following spring. The war in Southern Catalucia ebbed and flowed as the Iron Duke led the main Orc army into the war, prosecuting successful battles against the Elves at such noteworthy sites as Sallymanky and Tel'n'Vera, despite the millstone of his Dark Elf allies, who seemed bent on losing the war through their natural inefficiency.
To the north, Mordred resumed his attacks on the Dwarves, hammering the Dwarf armies in a series of lightening quick battles, swiftly bringing the Krautian League to it's knees. Unfortunately for the Emperor, his raison d'etre for the war had fled during the winter months, seeking sanctuary in the northerly Dog Empire of Östaria. Once again Morgana sold the secrets she had gleaned of Mordred's power to gain her safety, once again Mordred damned her for her treachery and sent his army in pursuit.
The Dogs proved a resilient enemy and tenaciously resisted the initial Ferach advances, however against the genius of Mordred's generalship, they were doomed to defeat and forced, as the Krautian Dwarves had been, to sign a peace treaty with the Armorican Empire. Yet again though, Mordred's quarry escaped the trap, though this time barely, and was forced to seek refuge in the court of Aleksandr - The Star Wraith, Czar of the ice-bound Witch-lands, Lord of the Undead.
Death in the Snow
Initially Mordred was pleased with this turn of events. Let his mother freeze in the frigid wastes of the north, amongst the rotting Undead, such an exile seemed fitting and the successes of the Orcs and Goblins in Southern Catalucia were beginning to concern the Emperor of the Elves.
Although Mordred was content to now leave his mother alone, his mother was not prepared reciprocate the gesture. She had not sat on the Peacock Throne for over one thousand years without learning a thing or two about manipulation and deceit. With the care of a skilled craftsman, Morgana spread a web of seductive rumours and enticements
(Unfinished - Witch-lands campaign (inc Troll & Mountain Elf hints) - as per Deadloque mythos)
<from this point on it was just prompts in the way the history would go - I was keen to break away from a mirror of the Napoleonic Wars and devise something more interesting and of use to players>
Success in Catalucia
Orc successes in Southern Catalucia under Wheeling-Turn, plans to invade Northern Catalucia... Krauts re-enter war against Ferach, Trollka join allied coalition
A Change of Fortune
Wheeling-Turn badly wounded in Sharkes Victory incident, Sir Augustus Fartingale takes control. Invasion of Northern Catalucia fails (Bay of Pigs style fiasco). Elves take to offensive in Southern Catalucia...
The Treachery of the Dark Elves
As per Orcs 6 ILN, Fernando switches sides, Orcs and Gobs retreat out of Southern Catalucia, Elves invade Al-garvey, Orcs & Gobs pushed back into Albion.
The March of Damnation - Deadloque II
As per Orcs 8, Undead start march south through Dog & Gnomelands. Dogs switch to Ferach side in face of Undead threat. Finks & Ferach defeat Krauts. Kraut army retreats to Albion (army in exile stuff)
<this last bit was probably going to go into the proposed big version of Ranke & Vyle, possibly upgraded to batallion level>
The Invasion of Albion - Ranke & Vyle (Top Secret!)
Ferach invade Albion , as Undead continue March into Fink territory forcing Ferach back. Londinium under siege (doesn't fall). Armies concentrate outside Dresda/Wheeling-Turn. Elves & allies on one side, Orcs and allies on other - Iron Duke returns from sick bed to lead Orcs against Mordred.
The Final Battle - R&V - Top Secret!
Whoppy great battle - ebbs and flows - Trolls arrive late in day to bolster Orc resistance, but the day appears lost as Ferach Garde relentlessly attack. At eleventh hour Undead arrive and smash Ferach force. Mordred disappears and resistance collapses. With final victory Undead collapse into dust their mission complete - everyone goes down pub...
<I did some amendments to the racial stats... this was going to read like a GW product here with stats and brief racial history. The stats line was very GW MC being Movement Crawl - as you can see races had an initiative stat as I was going down the road of alternate moves based on initiative rolls as most players couldn't cope with simultaneous movement - which IMHO was better for a skirmish game!>
The Plains Orcs of Albion are the race which has undergone the most staggering transformation since the annulment of the Laws of Wylde Magick. Within the space of one generation they have changed from a race of migratory warrior-horse herders to one of the most powerful industrialised nations in Valon. Under the leadership of clan chief Gorge, son of Gorge, son of Gorge, the Orc tribes united and at the behest of the hawk-faced god Sentinel, appointed an Orc (rumoured to be of Bog Orc ancestory) as the Warlord of his armies. This Orc was known as Ar-Tan.
Ar-Tan raised his banner outside the deserted human city of Dresda and organised and trained the tribes in the new methods of warfare, using weapons supplied by the Dwarves, traditional enemies of the Orcs, but now forced into an alliance with them to face the threat of Mordred. Tribes were formed into units called Regiments, many retaining distinctions from their past such as facial war paint and traditional melee weapons such as spiked clubs, which contrasted with the red uniform coats the infantry now wore and the black powder muskets (called Bessies) they carried into battle.
The Orcs first battle as a black powder army was against the human Dresdan Relief Army of Otto V, which was anhilated by the disciplined firepower of the Orcs under the city's walls. The remnants of the human army spread the word of terror throughout the human Middleland Kingdoms, which soon fell to the army of Ar-Tan, as he carved his King a realm out of the Middlelands that they called Albion.
Whilst Ar-Tan trained his army and sent it to the Goblin and Dark Elf lands to the west to stand with these races against the High Elf threat, Gorge put into place a plan of rapid industrialisation throughout his realm, putting suitable clan chiefs into positions to run muntions and textile factories necessary to support the army in their war against the Ferach. These Mill Barons (as they became know) ruled Albion ruthlessly with the support of the army and Gorge himself, filling their dark and hellish mills with underfed, underpaid workers from all corners of Albion, Guinelia, Joccia and even the distant realms of Al-Garvey and Krautia. These workers were crowded into the abandoned human cities, their rookeries and slums becoming disease ridden holes of discontent and potential revolt. Although occassional riots and mill burnings do occur, by and large the Mill Baron paid Constabularly (nicknamed either Flayers or Peelers in various parts of the realm) and the local Yeomanry keep the population under control by widepsread use of force.
Many workers flee this existance and join the army, where discipline is harsh, but life not so bad as in the cities.
The Land of Guinelia is to many an inhospitable place of contrasting terrain, wild and barbarous, populated by a breed of Orcs generally larger than their Plains cousins, known as Bog Orcs. Guinelia is regarded by most Orcs as part of their kingdom, though some of its inhabitants beg to differ (occassionally violently). Whereas in Albion much of the country is controlled by Mill Barons, in Guinelia the power lies with a select group known as the Brewer Barons.
The Brewer Barons are industrialists of a type, although unlike their Albion neighbours, they do not produce textiles and weaponry, but a strange thick black liquid beverage with rumoured medical, aphrodisiac and definite alocholic properties. This drink, called Guirog, is extremely popular through Guinelia, Albion , Krautia and Al-Garvey and demand is such that riots have occurred in Orc cities such as Livapuld and Mudcester when supplies have run out in the local taverns.
Many Bog Orcs find employ in the armies of Albion, some joining regular Orc units, others enlisting in dedicated Bog Orc regiments of foot such as the 27th (Illskinning) and 88th (Konnertist Rangers), who have fought with distinction in Al-Garvey and Southern Catalucia against the High Elves and their allies.
Albion 's rule in Guinelia has generally been harsh on the native populace, the Brewer Barons exerting tremendous influence in Londinium's corridors of power to ensure their position and power in Guinelia remains unchallenged. Often perceived slights such as the infamous Turnip Tax often result of the ignorance of those in distant Albion , unaware that the Kingdom wide tax caused great offence to the Bog Orcs who revered the vegetable as the provider of life, it forming the staple of their diet.
However it is not unknown for action to be undertaken at the behest of the Brewer Barons with the direct intention of subjugating the identity of the Guinelian Orcs, the most recent manifestation of this being the outlawing of the religious Bog Orc ceremony of dancing in rivers <this was Mike Owen's idea I hasten to add!>. This law caused further resentment amongst those dissatisfied Bog Orcs who had openly rebelled against the Turnip Tax, only to be driven into the inhospitable Murphess Marches following the defeat of the insurrectionist armies at the Battles of Vindinga Hill and Bluddimuk. These Bog Orcs formed a secret society known as the Society of Terrible Orcs Under Tyranny, which wages a clandestine war against Albion , ambushing Orc Militia patrols and kidnapping Ablion Orc Tax Collectors. Although small in number these Bog Orcs receive popular support from the oppressed local population and tie up valuable resources that Albion could well employ against the Ferach Armies.
Some of the dissatisfied Bog Orcs fled Guinelia after the defeated rebellion and under the auspices of the High Elves have created a infantry regiment known as the Legion Guinelia. This unit has fought in the Krautian, Witch-lands and Catalucian campaigns with distinction.
Mountain Orcs <the original idea for the Welsh in Flintloque!!>
<these ideas remained in my head but were akin to what was done in Panzerfauste - I wanted to have three linked scenarios of a pursuit nature - in the first Sharke had to flee with the despatches...>
They will die. All of them. I have sworn it!
<not sure why I typed that! Presumably I meant Sharke ... :-) >
This was originally published on the Flintloque eGroup (still going and now known as The Historical Orc) in September 2000 was first published on Orcs in the Webbe on the 22nd November 2007.
It was absent for several years due to a prior regeneration of the website not transferring everything over correctly, the wrong has now been righted and it returned on the 11th June 2015 as part of Orcs in the Webbe's ongoing Flintloque Archive Project.
All comments in maroon in the article above have been added by me either to provide additional information or clarity. I have also made small changes to grammar and layout but have not marked these.