Well....it appears that my little country has stumbled into some of the political shennanigans of some of our neighbors, thanks to our Intelligence Agent Mack The Knife. The situation came up suddenly, and if things work out, it will be resolved at the Seven Year's War Convention in South Bend this March. A four (or more) way tussle to see who gets to control the Runaway Duchess of Saschen-Vindow. Our Fearless Leader Jeff and Der Alte Fritz suggested that each faction write up a situation brief, so the players will have a script to help flesh out some of the roleplaying aspects. So....here's my stab at it:
Erwin von Mack, aka Mack The Knife, is an Intelligence Agent of the small state of Raubenstadt, near Stagonia. (It's so small the joke is that he may be the ONLY Intelligence Agent in the country.) He has learned, perhaps from Duke Peter himself, that the Duchess of Saschen-Vindow is making a ill-considered, mad, UNESCORTED dash to Stagonia. The temptation to engage in some free-lance kidnapping and ransom is just too great for him to resist.
He has "borrowed" a half-troop of Frei-Hussars from Colonel Count Rotten von Pilfering to provide the muscle; then he plotted the Duchess' probable path on a map. Assuming that such a pampered, high-born noble would avoid camping out on the cold, hard ground...."The Crooked Kobold Inn" looked like his best bet to intercept her. His plan is to disguise the Frei-Hussars as Stagonian Customs Police to fool the locals and misdirect anyone who might inquire later. Once the Duchess has been determined to be at the inn, the Frei-Hussars will come trotting in from the direction of the Stagonian border. The idea being that she will be expecting friends to arrive from that direction. The Second Squad will surround the inn to make sure no one slips in or out. The First Squad will break into two sections. The first section will secure the courtyard, the main entrance, and hold the horses of the second section. The second section, under Mack's direction, will enter the inn, proceed to the Duchess' room, and Mack will try to convince her that they are an escort from King Ludwig, but they have to put on a show of "arresting" her for the knaves, louts, and tillers of soil down below in the common room. (His priorities are getting those damned pistols away from her, and getting her to slip on the handcuffs. There will be time enough to disabuse her of the notion that this is all for show later.) If guile fails, and she suspects, then she will have to be overcome the old fashioned way, and every man in her room takes the risk of being shot by the hellcat until she is subdued.
Once she is secured, voluntarily or otherwise, they will ride like the Wild Hunt is after them, back to Raubenstadt, and Devil take the hindmost. To discourage any pursuit, each trooper is equipped with a large bag of caltrops that they will scatter in their wake when it is their turn at rear guard. Anyone who attempts to get in their way will be shot, cut down, trampled, pistol whipped, knifed, strangled, and/or pummeled without mercy. Their ultimate destination is the fortress of Felsigburg, where her fate will be decided.
Unknown to von Mack, his little "smash and grab" operation is about to get very complicated, very quickly, for there are other groups on the prowl for the Duchess. (Oh, how the Gods must be laughing! Wheels within wheels.) Here are the groups and Mack's attitude towards them:
Schinderfranz's Chauffers - Enterprising gentlemen of fortune? If necessary, a deal could be reached. Appeal to their greed. The ransom would be substantial.
de Winter's Black Legion - Her reputation preceeds her and her lackeys, but at least she's not Stagonian. Again, if necessary as a last resort to complete the mission, a temporary alliance could be forged, but double sentries all around to prevent a double cross, until the Duchess is under lock and key.
Stagonians - The only good Stagonian is a dead Stagonian. No deals or alliances will be made with any Stagonian or anybody allied with them. Unfortunately, not every Stagonian is so open about their nationality and/or loyalty. The same goes for Stagonian Allies. So....Mack gets to play one of his favorite games, "Spot The Stagonian". There is only one rule to the game. If there is any doubt, shoot first and let someone else ask the question, because Mack and his men intend to be long gone before the first inquiry is made. Double points are awarded, if the "Spot" is put between the eyes of the suspected Stagonian.
Duke Peter's Loyalist Dragoons - These guys might be useful in a tight spot, if an "understanding of mutual benefit" can be reached!
The Duchess' Rebel Supporters - "OUT OF MY WAY, PECK!" No deals or alliances with these wannabes.
The Local Militia - How dare they meddle in the affairs of their betters! Ride the scum down and push on!
Rowdy Nobles - One warning to stand aside and live, or interfere and die. No deals.
The Inquisition - Are these guys still around?! Most Raubenstadtians are Presbyterians of the Knox/Calvin ilk. KILL THEM ALL if they dare stand before us. NO QUARTER TAKEN OR GIVEN! REMEMBER MAGDEBURG!!!!!!!!!CHARGE!!!!!!!!!
Count l'Beauphaup & Unter Gruntshuffen malcontents - A conditional yesss....to these guys. Try to keep the squinty eyes and calculating looks to a bare minimum.
Witch Hunters/Vampire Slayers - These peasants are just too ignorant to even try to strike a deal. Threaten to turn them into newts or drink their blood as circumstances demand. If they don't break from the threats, kill them and their little dog too.
Friendly Hunters - One warning to stand aside and live, or interfere and die. No deals.
I'm really excited about how this scenario plays out. Though I will not be able to attend the Convention, I hope all the players enjoy themselves. Oh, by the way, Mack's nickname, "The Knife" is just that; a nickname. Even though he carries a large jack knife, and never lets it show a trace of red, I think he enjoys the look of horror on the faces of his victims when he produces the brace of double barrelled, large caliber, horse pistols that are loaded with buck and ball.
"Oh when the shark bites with his teeth, dear, scarlet billows start to spread...."