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Old 01-04-2013, 06:27 AM   #1
Icelander's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default British Military Combatives in the Queen's Service

In a world that starts out very, very much like our own, but has started to diverge because of the emergence of secret magic*, one of the power groups that are starting to arise in response to knowledge of the new rules is connected to the British Crown.

Publicly, magic doesn't exist and any political figure stating that it does would lose his job in short order. Privately, a well-connected network with the Queen at its head has been convinced and have started to gather information and even take action in order to safeguard the interests of Queen and Country. They can't call upon official resources, but if anyone in the world has the potential to muster enough unofficial influence, wealth and favours for a secret organisation, it's the Queen**.

Edit: A Name

I need some term to refer to the organisation. The senior figures have so far avoided giving it a formal name, believing that the more informal it is, the less any enterprising reporter who heard strange rumours could confirm or ever dare print. I have an idea for an informal name, though, which might have emerged as a joke between early members.

Obviously, the first few conspirators, primarily members of the Royal Household, might have used terms like 'The Queen's Secret' or just 'The Other Household'. As soon as the dangers from the supernatural became more real, the royal bodyguards (current and former) who learned about it would have started to prepare to face such threats. Even before the establishment of what became the first quick-reaction team in 2005, there were those who saw their role as not just scholars and investigators, but defenders of the Crown, their country and the people who still didn't know about the threats. As soon as they first took an active role to kill a dangerous supernatural predator or capture one for research, I imagine that with dark humour, some of them started to speak of themselves as Her Majesty's Supernatural Game Wardens or something similar to that.

Given that junior members are not necessarily formally told that the Queen is aware of all of what they do (though all of them understand that they are serving the Crown in some way), such a term was ill-advised. Also, anything that could not be used in front of others was somewhat risky and the best term would be something that sounded innucous if someone should overhear a partial conversation. On the other hand, what little weapon and combat training that the early members did would have been on the grounds of royal residences, particularly the larger ones in Scotland, alongside the gamekeepers of the household there. Hunting is hunting and no one would bat an eye when well-born former military men with connections to the royal household were invinted for many hunts. So, Royal Gamekeepers might not be so far out. Another word for gamekeepers, of course, is Rangers. And that word has strong connotations, at least for Tolkien readers, of risking life and limb to protect an oblivious populace from dire threats.

If we postulate that one or more of the early senior people were not only Tolkien fans, but also football fans, it becomes plausible to call the quick-reaction teams, at least, Rangers. With a degree of humour (and if we imagine that one of the influential people who started the QRTs was a West London man), their full 'name' could even be Queen's Park Rangers and that name could be used in casual conversation without anyone becoming suspicious. Even if shortened to Rangers, people would simply assume that the Glasgow Rangers were what was meant.

So, 'Rangers', 'QPR' and 'Queen's Rangers' are all viable terms for the organisation.


The recruits are mostly high Status British subjects, with the senior recruits being people with a personal connection to the Queen. Informally, the Queen has been quietly gathering information and allies since the 80s, but with recent events, the informal organisation is becoming something else. Starting in 2000 or so, plans started to be made for a formal group of secret operatives, spies, researchers and magicians. In 2005, that group became operational.

The operatives are recruited among patriots loyal to the Royal Family in the British armed forces (overwhelmingly Old Etonians or from 'the Other Place'), Metropolitan Police officers from the Queen's security element and the intelligence services. In nearly all cases, they are brought in by personal friends already within the group, but recently, some have been approached after surviving a strange experience. It's not as covert and eventually, it will lead to the secret becoming public after a failed recruitment, but this is seen as the lesser of evils.

It is becoming clear to the senior members that the supernatural not only exists, but has existed for a long time, with waxing and waning of the impact on the mortal world. While it has remained dormant or at least irrelevant to the world almost since the Industrial Revolution***, it is now returning and is doing so at an ever increasing pace.

The Queen and her advisors now see it as likely to become a threat to human society greater than human-on-human violent crime within a single generation. They differ on how to approach that problem, but many feel that secrecy cannot possibly last and the only question is how and when the secret will come out, not if it will.

All of which was a long preamble to a rather simple question.

Given that many recruits are ex-servicemen or ex-police from the UK and that those who are not are often affiliated with elite universities (the researchers and magicians), what kind of martial arts training, armed and unarmed, is it likely that they will adopt?

If possible, they'll like to have their recruits continue civilian life for as much as they can, living cover lives as graduate students in Oxford or Cambridge, with exceptions being made only for those few who are members of their quick-response units. So they'd like to be able to enroll people in public training programs, with only those aspects specifically related to the supernatural being taught at whatever remote castle in Scotland I decide is adopted as their headquarters.

What practical martial arts are popular with British soldiers and cops? Knowing that their quick-response people might have to fight supernaturally tough creatures who cannot be killed except with melee weapon exotica like silver-bladed knives or hawthorne stakes, what real-world blade combative art would they want to encourage people to learn?

Would any current or former British intelligence, security or military people retain a useful knowledge of Defendu or FCCT? Would it be worthwhile to learn instead of simply adopting a more commercially popular martial art that incorporates knifework?

*Which is, however, extremely limited in its effects, scope and verifiability, due to most of Earth being a Very Low Mana Zone, with -8 to -10 to magic use being the most common. Magic use also generally requires knowledge of ancient rituals, languages or scripts; with such knowledge alone not being enough, but some degree of inborn talent being required as well. In addition, the expectations of any observers have an effect, with sceptical people causing an extra penalty. As a result, only a few people in the setting could perform magical feats while around sceptics, in an area they hadn't previously prepared. Doing so reliably enough to constitute proof for said sceptics would make it even harder. So far, no one powerful enough has been interested in coming out to the world at large.
**And the Pope, yes. And, indeed, there is an Equal (if not quite 'and Opposite') Conspiracy in the Vatican.
***With, possibly, a few localised or short-term intrusions of supernatural phenomena at certain time periods.
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Last edited by Icelander; 01-07-2013 at 06:13 AM.
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combatives, martial arts, monster hunters, secret magic, shadow court

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