"¡Personalities of El Dorado!"
A Flintloque Background Article by Danny O'Hara
Image from 'Pancho Villa e Los Revolucionarios' by Mike Capron*
The Revolutionary Wars in El Dorado featured some fascinating characters, including the famous larger than life rebel, Aston Villa.
There are many fascinating characters at work in the Revolutionary War period in El Dorado. This epoch is also known as the "Bovrilar Period" by some, which tells you of the importance of this fellow! The index of these biopics is:
Aston Villa - Bovrilar - O'Bigguns - Lord Cockroach - Zapitapata - Moronos
While Simón Bolivar and Bernado O'Bigguns have undoubtedly been the better revolutionaries, to many the archetypal El Doradoan Rebel will always be Aston Villa. With his characteristic sombrero and swagger, Villa has the air of a great bandit - a larger than life figure who looks ready to ride off into a folk-story. He was born into a cactus-farming family in Chihuahua Province, and had the name of Doroteo Durrango at birth. He first came to note when a Catalucian soldier raped his little sister - at which point young Doroteo killed the culprit and fled. The Catalucian authorities were after him, so he changed his name to Aston Villa and took up a career as a meat-supplier to the Army. He did this by stealing cattle in other areas, then driving them to his local Army camp, and selling the herd on! Eventually, he was suspected by the Catalucians, and ran into the hills with his cattle-rustling gang. They continued their activities, but switched to supplying the East Valonians of Teczaco. His gang grew steadily, and gained arms from the Teczacans. When the Ferach invasion of Catalucia sparked off the rebellions in the rest of El Dorado, there were various risings in Chihuahua. Aston Villa decided to join in the struggle! His fast-moving, mounted raiders ran rings around the Royalists. Survival, ever difficult in these deserts, meant that the Royalists with their infantry and artillery had to keep close to rivers and roads. But Aston Villa's tough mounted infantry, while not the best of soldiers, could live on cactus. He cut off detachments, spoiled water supplies, and generally made life difficult for the regular troops. With the eventual victory of the Rebels, and the installation of Generalissimo Carlos Santaner as President of Chihuahua, Aston Villa and his boys rode through Cactus City as a parade. But, when the Ferach decided to use their "alliance" with Catalucia as a pretext (along with the "Pastry Incident") to invade and gain the mineral wealth of Chihuahua, Aston Villa found himself on the wrong side of the fence again!
The Ferach installed the "Emperor" Maximilliahound as ruler of Chihuahua, and set about pacifying this state with Ferach and allied troops - and Villa was one of the prime targets for pacification! He fled to Teczaco in the face of these tougher troops, but found to his dismay that his old friends here were now Ferach allies! Spending a gruelling season as a hunted man, with the Ferach being harder to throw off than the Catalucians, he still managed to survive in the desert. When the Ferach withdrew, he immediately resumed his raiding, and became a trusted General of the new Chihuahuan Rebel leader, Benito Shureis. Shureis was a politician, rather than soldier, and it was left to Villa and Emiliano Zapitapata to secure victory. After a successful campaign, Villa's "Division del Naughty" and Zapitapata's peasant army met in Cactus City, and had Maximilliahound shot. They then installed Shureis, and officially went back to their previous work. But, for different reasons, both commanders were soon fighting against the new regime!
For Villa, it was revenge. He decided that the Teczacans had betrayed him when he was in need, and so he led his troops in a cross-border raid. But the Teczacans, now part of the Union of Secessionist Albionites, viewed this as a Chihuahuan invasion! The East Valonians sent troops in to Chihuahua, and fought a couple of actions with the official Chihuahuan Army of Shureis. They did not catch Villa, who is still on the loose, though an agreement was reached between the two governments that the border incident was all Villa's fault, and that whoever caught him would hang him! But, with support for the wily old bandit still strong in the countryside, he is still at large...
An enigmatic figure in many ways - called the "Greatest Soldier in El Dorado" by some, adored by millions, yet hated by many and seemingly unable to run a government, Bovrilar is the leading Rebel of El Dorado in this period. Born into a rich and aristocratic family in Marracas, young Simón was sent to be educated in Catalucia. He was influenced by much of the "Revolutionary" movement in the Old World, and also by the cloak-and-dagger politics of Catalucian high society. It has been noted how on many occasions (both military and political) he was either extremely lucky, or other people backed down in the face of him - while this is usually ascribed to some mystic power, or strength of will, the truth is likely to be that Bovrilar maintains a network of spies and informants. He seems able to blackmail/bribe just about everyone whom he comes up against (including General O'Bigguns).
On finishing his schooling, Bovrilar travelled widely in Old Valon, and was present in Armorica when Mordred seized the throne. He also noted the weakness of the Catalucian military in the face of the Ferach, and that of the Ferach against the Orcs of Albion. Hence, in his El Doradoan campaigns, he has been at pains to organise his Dark Elf troops along Ferach lines, and to use as many Orcs as possible in his armies!
Returning to El Dorado after the fall of Catalucia, he joined the new "Revolutionary Council" in Marracas. With the Catalucian troops in El Dorado distracted by events at home, the Rebels took control of the city and surrounding province, but the troops soon rallied and threw them out. Bovrilar took refuge in the neighbouring province of Nueva Grenada (which had declared itself independent of Catalucia, and was engaged in a low-key campaign between Rebels and Royalists), together with many of the Rebels, and almost immediately took control of the movement. He led the new, reformed Rebel Army back to take Marracas, where he was proclaimed "Liberator". However, the Royalists quickly rallied and threw him out again.
Following this defeat, he exiled himself to Jamcakey, where he met and befriended the Halfling rebel Drogo Dekker. This worthy gave him funds to continue his liberation war, and Bovrilar hired a small army of Orcish mercenaries to try again. This time, he headed for Nueva Grenada, and with his Orcish Army he defeated the Royalist Army of Nueva Grenada at Ballchucca. From here, he then resumed the campaign to take Marracas - which he did after the battle of Carrabuboe. Then, in conjunction with his gifted subordinate General Azucar, he invaded the Audencia de Quilto and after a brief campaign freed that area from the Royalists. Azucar then led an army into Pupu, which had been largely cleared of Royalists by O'Bigguns and the Jalapenoans, and after Bovrilar caused the Dictator to retire, the last major Royalist Army outside of Chihuahua was defeated at Imachuchu.
Now the master of a huge swathe of El Dorado, Bovrilar initially seemed to be the only possible leader for these provinces. But, by his apparent inability to get along with people, he appears to be losing his popularity as time goes on - will he keep control, or has he had his time in the sun?
General Bernado O'Bigguns
Like Sharke, General O'Bigguns is of mixed Elf and Orc parentage, but in this case it was the marriage of Grishnakh O'Bigguns, a Bog-Orc officer in Catalucian service, to an El Doradoan Dark Elf maiden (daughter of the Governor of Jalapeno) that resulted in the birth of a half-breed. While Sharke suffered ridicule for his "poncey Elf" background, it was the brutish Bog-Orc heritage of O'Bigguns which brought him into conflict with his fellow children...though his larger size usually won through! After some unfortunate incidents, Grishnakh O'Bigguns sent his son to the Albion Military Cadet School at Gritthurst, where he was "knocked into shape" (quite literally - any remaining "elven" features were permanently bashed out!). On his return to El Dorado, he almost immediately set about organising a local rebellion in Jalapeno Province. At the head of a rag-tag army, he was defeated at the battle of Rancidbutta, and fled across the Handies to the borders of Prattigonia. Here, meeting with Simón Bovrilar, he reformed and increased his army. Bovrilar helped him to secure arms supplies, and the new "Army of the Handies" set out to win victory at Chuckabooto. After a campaign of small actions, O'Bigguns was proclaimed Dictator of Jalapeno. He set up a government of sorts at Swankiago, and was settling in to enjoy himself when General Wasereuno invaded from Pupu. After a defeat for his forces at Cattcha-Tryharda, the Patriots fell back on Swankiago. The Royalists followed, and O'Bigguns counter-attacked at Maypole - where he won a stunning victory. This was the last serious Royalist activity in Jalapeno. O'Bigguns, never one to forgive, plotted to overthrow the Royalist regime in Pupu. He engaged the services of Lord Cockroach, recently a frigate captain in the Albion Royal Navy, and the Jalapeno Navy was built under his command. Meanwhile, O'Bigguns built up the Jalapeno Army. These two commanders then set about the assault on Pupu by land and sea - with Cockroach's fleet doing most of the work, but O'Bigguns tried to take the credit. However, Bovrilar turned up with an army towards the end of the campaign, and after a brief meeting with O'Bigguns, the Jalapeno forces retired and left Bovrilar to proclaim himself the "Liberator of Pupu". (While the official line is that O'Bigguns recognised the greatness of Bovrilar and stepped down, this seems most unlikely. Bovrilar was a noted blackmailer, and obviously had some "dirt" on the Jalapenoan leader). With this disappointment, together with his abuse of power and privilege, O'Bigguns was overthrown by his people and fled to Armorica.
A noble Orc from Albion, and son of a famous alchemist, Tomaskh Cockroach was a brilliant naval commander who took many Ferach prizes and gained fame and reknown in Albion, but then launched a campaign of words against corruption and inefficiency in the Royal Navy. Forced to resign on trumped-up charges, he was offered command of the Jalopenoan Navy by General O'Bigguns. Taking this offer, he organised this new navy along Albion lines, and instilled great efficiency into the mixed Elf and Orc crews. The coast of Pupu was vital to the Catalucian cause, as the great silver wealth of Pupu was exported through here. The neophyte navy successfully blockaded the silver trade, captured the merchant shipping, and then destroyed the Royalist Navy in El Dorado. This meant not only no silver supplies, but no troop reinforcements for the Royalist armies!
Cockroach then started to attack the Royalist positions on the coast, and gained total control over large areas. His Navy was later given some half-hearted aid from O'Bigguns' land forces, but were ordered to withdraw when Bovrilar arrived. Angered by this, Cockroach resigned his command and is apparently now helping the Satyrs to organise a Navy to fight the Othari...
Like Aston Villa, born a poor cactus-farmer, Zapitapata differs in that rather than being a bandit who may occassionally help the poor, Zapitapata is a genuine agrarian reformer and class warrior!
During his childhood in the ever-turbulent province of Chihuahua, young Emiliano watched his family's land-holdings gradually reduce. The rich land-owners were always calling peasant land-tenure into question - and as they controlled the courts, there was little that the poor could do to stop this. But Emiliano had a dream. He dreamed of a land where every farmer owned the land which he farmed, where people did not starve on the wasteland while rich nobles had plenty. Things would have to change!
With his passion for land law, and obvious intelligence, Zapitapata became the virtual head of his village at an early age. He gathered evidence of land-theft by the nobles, and intended to take this to the Viceroy in Cactus City. But, on hearing of his aims, the local land-owners sent a gang of thugs to kill him. As they approached, Zapitapata was warned by his fellow villagers to flee and seek sanctuary elsewhere - but Zapitapata was made of sterner stuff, and organised a rapid defence of the village by peasants with sticks and stones. The gang contemptuously rode into the central square, and demanded that Emiliano Zapitapata be brought out - he walked up to them, and told them to leave while they could. At this, the thugs laughed and jeered - and were then stoned to death by the surrounding villagers. Gathering the firearms left by the thugs, Zapitapata organised the young male villagers into a rough company. They marched to the hacienda of Don Lardo (the offending land-owner) and burnt it to the ground. When the local militia soldiers came to arrest Zapitapata, they were surrounded and disarmed by the peasants (and some joined up!). The rebellion spread like wildfire, and the Zapitapatistas began to control a larger area of Chihuahua. Within their area, land was distributed evenly between the peasants.
The Zapitapatista cause was aided by the Ferach invasion of Catalucia, which prevented the Catalucian Army from crushing them. In fact, when Generalissimo Santaner took control, he gave the Zapitapatistas control of their own area, but when the Ferach-backed Maximilliahound took charge, these peasant communes were banned. Having said that, the Ferach found the peasant armies harder to fight than they had thought, though they made inroads into the Zapitapatista territory. As noted in the entry for Aston Villa, the bandit chief and the peasant leader both overthrew the Dog Emperor and established Benito Shureis as President in Cactus City.
But, after an initial "honeymoon" period, the Zapitapatistas realised that Shureis had struck a deal with the big land-owning nobles. In return for their support for the new regime, they would be allowed to take back their previous land-holdings. Zapitapata was appalled, and declared Shureis to be an evil dictator. The Peasant Army was back on the war-path!
The new Army of Chihuahua was much more efficient than the previous Catalucian one, and the two Armies fought to a stalemate. At this point, a truce was declared, and Zapitapata invited to the house of a friend in the new regime, to discuss terms. He went along warily, but was shot dead by the Shureistas. But, despite this, there are still reports of the wild-eyed Peasant General riding into battle on his pure-white steed, and the peasants are still fighting in the fields...so did Emiliano Zapitapata really die in that hail of lead on the outskirts of Cactus City?
Father José Moronos
While his mother claimed to the end of her days that young Jose Moronos was the natural son of his Dark Elf father, he is undeniably of Orcish blood in some part. A huge, ugly, brutal figure, he became (for whatever reason) a Catatonic Priest. Not particularly good as a priest, he took up the Rebel cause readily on the Ferach invasion of Catalucia, and became quickly famous for his brutality and physical prowess in combat. Wielding his trademark machete, he has hacked his way through countless engagements. Initially helping Santaner to the Presidency, he stayed a strong opponent of the Dog Emperor, though losing most of his troops in fruitless charges against strong Ferach positions. With the fall of Maximilliahound, he has become a firm supporter of Benito Shureis, and has fought against both Aston Villa and Emiliano Zapitapata. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but undoubtedly fierce and single-minded!
The above Flintloque background was originally published on Danny O'Hara's excellent Flintloque website, Weird Wars, way back on the 4th August 1999.
The scenario was first published on Orcs in the Webbe in February 2006. It was absent for several years due to a prior regeneration of the website not transferring everything over correctly. That wrong has now been righted and it returned in it's original form on the 19th December 2023 as the thirteenth entry in that year's Advent Calendar and, of course, is part of Orcs in the Webbe's ongoing Flintloque Archive Project.
Danny passed away a few years ago now and I miss both him and his fantastic contributions to the world of Valon.
Any comments in maroon in the article above have been added by me either to provide additional information or clarity. I may also have made small changes to grammar and layout but have not marked these.
* Note that the image has been used without permission and will be removed if requested by the copyright holder.