It seems that Spartan Games is determined to take all of my money in exchange for large piles of awesome looking toys. I can’t complain too much, it’s a fair exchange I suppose.
Below is a couple of previews for, the soon to be released, Dystopian Legions. I rather suspect I’m going to have to sell a kidney…
Empire of the Blazing Sun
The Imperial Alchemical Institute is well known for its bizarre creations, made all the more unbelievable by their exceptional and reliable performance, even in the heat of battle.
Of all of these, amongst the most astonishing are the Ryuma Steambikes; mechanical steeds which can skim a few feet above the ground on steam jet enhanced repulsine gyros, and propel themselves at astonishing speeds. Although some have questioned the efficiency of these ‘hover’ machines, the ability to traverse almost any ground, no matter how treacherous, is proving invaluable in battle.
Once perfected, these unique engines were quickly adopted by the armies of the Empire of the Blazing Suns, as their advantages over more conventional cycles or traditional horse cavalry were evident. Samurai, already adept at mounted combat, quickly began adapting their tactics and techniques to take full advantage of the machine’s potential.
The armies of the Empire of the Blazing Sun have long been famed for their shock assault tactics – be it from the renowned Ashigaru regiments with their Type 4 ‘Dragon’s Breath‘ shotguns, or the Shinobi Assassins who use stealth and infiltration to conduct brutal lightning raids.
However, now that the Ryuma Steambike-mounted Cavalry are growing in notoriety, the Empress’ enemies have a new threat to fear. Faster, and more manoeuvrable than anything else on the battlefield, these Samurai are expert at hit-and-run attacks.
Cutting through enemy formations at breakneck pace, they scythe down their stunned targets with a combination of Katana and ‘Firefly‘ Quad-Barreled Kanpon Type 12 machine guns. Whatever foes remain after these blitzkrieg attacks are often too shocked to react, and easily dealt with by the Ashigaru advancing in the cavalry’s wake.
Kingdom of Britannia
The Knights Templar are an ancient Order, which traces its origins back to the 12th Century. However the Society today is a very different entity.
Since its expulsion from continental Europe several centuries ago, the Order has receded into the shadows somewhat. Most of its efforts have been focussed on furthering the expansion of the Britannian Empire, and it is a common belief that they are the real power behind the ‘Knights’ faction within Britannian politics.
Since the outbreak of the World War, the Order has galvanised its military arm. Equipped with the finest technologies that the Royal Society can supply, the distinctive tabards of the Knights Templar are becoming an increasingly common – and ever welcome – sight amongst the ranks of the Line Infantry.
The Knights themselves are very different in aspect to the feared Teutonic Order Armsmen of the Prussian Empire. They are patriots to a fault; fighting for the safety and prosperity of Britannia with a fervour and dedication that sets them apart from others on the battlefield.
The Knights Templar are an intimidating presence on the battlefield. Although smaller than the hulking armoured suits of the Teutonic Order, with their personal Shield Generators they are nearly as well protected, but with a much smaller sacrifice in agility.
Their offensive comes primarily in the form of the Adams No. 10 Auto-Revolver, an immensely powerful weapon which only the Templar’s in their motorised combat suits could hope to fire with any degree of accuracy.
The Adams No. 10 Auto-Revolver lacks the long range capacity favoured by the Britannian Line Infantry, but compensates with close range devastation. The weapon is even powerful enough to punch holes through the more vulnerable side or rear armour of some Ironclad vehicles.
“See, lad, that there officer is Colonel MacDonald VC. Legend in his own lifetime, that chap. He might be gettin’ on, but he’s seen more battles in his time than every man in this platoon and lived to tell the tales, so mind your manners around him.”
-Sergeant Reginald Chaplin, 18th Royal Somerset Rifles, to a young recruit
Colonel Samuel Horwood MacDonald is one of the Kingdom of Britannia’s most celebrated soldiers. A descendent of Anglo-Scottish gentry, his first stint on a battlefield was as a 13-year old drummer boy at First Waterloo itself, but his first military service for the Kingdom was as a young subaltern in the last of the Britannian-Burmese wars in 1826. Even at this early stage, he already displayed the attitudes that would become his hallmark – leading from the front, bellowing encouragement to the men under his command and apparently heedless of danger.
In his lengthy career, he served all over Britannia’s vast empire, serving as a captain in the crown’s forces during the Australian mutiny of 1842 and French-sponsored Portuguese rebel mercenaries in south-east Africa in the 1850s. It was during this rather obscure campaign that he would earn the highest honour, the Victoria Cross, for leading an ambush of an enemy column approaching the Limpopo River, and routing them with a force only one third their size and composed mainly of local militias.
Promoted to Colonel of the 18th South Staffordshire Fusiliers in 1857, MacDonald’s last official action took place during the Britannian intervention in the American Civil War. The then sixty-two year old Colonel MacDonald led the South Staffordshires on the ground during the Britannian offensive into the state of Michigan in 1864 to threaten one of the North’s key industrial heartlands.
Following the end of that war, Colonel MacDonald returned to Britannia to take up an appointment with the General Staff, regarded by Horse Guards as a purely ceremonial post. He was expected by most to do nothing more trying after so many years’ service than to settle down in well-earned retirement on his country estate. However, the General Staff were in for a rude shock.
Colonel MacDonald refused to go quietly to pasture. He became a constant feature at Horse Guards, trundling up and down the corridors in his specially adapted Brunel-built bath-chair. He submitted endless demands and suggestions to the war planning department, especially after the tensions in South-East Asia boiled over in the late 1860s.
Eventually, his insistent ‘advice’ grew so aggravating that Lord-Admiral Tillinger, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, became personally involved. There was no question of sacking MacDonald, with his fame and immensely popularity among the common soldiers, especially the thousands of ‘Short-Shrifter’ volunteers who had signed up after the London Raid. His public appearances and speeches had drawn audiences of hundreds and vastly increased recruitment numbers wherever he went.
So Tillinger hit upon a plan. He offered the old Colonel a field commission. To the joy of the Kingdom’s regular infantry – and the abject relief of the General Staff – MacDonald eagerly accepted. Since then, he has seen extensive service, leading once more from the front from a special armoured wheelchair, roaring out his orders. The troops under his command never fail to rise to any challenge, scything down the enemy with torrents of hot lead!
Although Colonel Sir Samuel ‘Big‘ MacDonald has only recently returned to active service after a leisurely decade in retirement, his presence is being felt all along the Britannian Line – but not always for the right reasons.
Only a fool would underestimate this great man, although perhaps past his physical prime, his mind is as sharp as it ever was – making the Colonel a superb commanding officer.
Although his tactics are firmly lodged in the pre-Sturginium age, they ring as true today as they ever did. His Focus Fire Command Ability makes a Line Section even more deadly at range, and his Mad MinuteCommand Ability can lead to a section putting out as many dice as a full Machine-gun Battery!
Despite his age, the Colonel is still a fair combatant. Although he’s not able to put up ‘the old fisticuffs‘ like back in the old days when he helped to build the Empire, which was when he acquired the moniker of ‘Big MacDonald‘ because of his huge physique. Instead he now goes into battle with carrying his trademark Blunderbuss – a huge weapon that will soon see off any enemy that comes too close.
The armour of his plated bath-chair (and many layers of blankets) provide enough protection to the Old Colonel to ensure that he’ll be around to fight many more battles to come.
Even if he does rub other officers up the wrong way from time to time, few officers can hope to match Colonel MacDonald’s abilities to keep his men in line and fighting at their best.