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Old 01-07-2013, 03:50 PM   #41
sgtcallistan
 
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Default Re: British Military Combatives in the Queen's Service

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
snip In many fictional works where the normal order had broken down or was in the process of doing so, the Royal Family of the United Kingdom managed to retain authority over the armed forces.snip
The Knights of God was a book and TV series (in Briain) where a fall of civilisation to about 'Mad Max 1' levels left the Army 'remaining in barracks' for decades, until the heir presented him/herself.

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On the other hand, I'm tempted to cast Harry as an inquisitive, open-minded, active, persistent and idealistic young man, enough so that he has learned about the conspiracy and wants to be a part of it. Given the informal nature of the Rangers and lack of legal command structure, what would the loyal senior people do if the Queen's grandson demanded to be allowed to go on dangerous missions? They can't claim that he doesn't have a relevant skill set and when a mission finally blows up in their faces (a constant fear), with police arriving on the scene, he might be able to talk them into silence when normal ex-police or ex-army recruits would just be arrested.
You could take current reality for 'heirs and successors' as a cue; serves as an infantry commander in Afghanistan, trains and serves as a helicopter pilot, marries, all that, while holding down a serious role in the 'magical defence of the relm'.

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While the term is not used any more, I get the feeling that the FCCT in GURPS Martial Arts is generic enough to be a useful basis for a lot of the commando-style sentry removal and hand-to-hand training that modern special operations personnel in the British armed forces might receive.

Would it be reasonable to use a few points spent on that style for recruits who come from the SAS, SBS, Royal Marines and Parachute Regiments?

Perhaps only those who focus the most on sentry removal would, with others having what amounts to 'hard' Judo or Jujutsu with the Military Lens. In any case, these are very similar in game terms.
Fairbairn's book, 'dirty fighting' as it was known to my father (Rifle Brigade, light infantry specialising in agressive night patrolling, sentry removal and return for questioning) is subtitled 'all-in fighting' which emphasises commitment and determination to defeat and / or kill the enemy with fists, feet, knives, garottes, and assorted other nasty mehods to hand.
I doubt that things have changed much since then. My father described much of it as 'knowing where to land the blow', including relatively exotic things like the edge of the palm chopped under the nose, or across the throat.
How useful this would be against demonic creatures, I don't know.

The little I have seen of Gurkha knifework (demonstrated on a dummy at the Royal Military Tattoo in the 1980's) was a beheading from behind as a sentry removal.
Kukri cuts one way, other arm twists head the other way. Nasty.

Hope this is useful.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:44 PM   #42
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Default Re: British Military Combatives in the Queen's Service

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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.
My first thought upon reading this was to refer to the organization by an address/location. (Okay, my FIRST first thought was Skyfall, but then it went on to "Whitehall" or "Bletchley Park" or *snicker* "Hogwarts".) They might have to send folk there for training, and need a out-of-the-way place to do research. Feels more British, and I really can't see them referring to the Queen in any way, so the chance slip of the tongue would not tie it to her or vice versa.

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Old 01-07-2013, 07:10 PM   #43
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Default Re: British Military Combatives in the Queen's Service

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post

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.
The Shadow Cabinet?

I think that term gets used in UK politics.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:23 PM   #44
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Default Re: British Military Combatives in the Queen's Service

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The Shadow Cabinet?

I think that term gets used in UK politics.
The shadow cabinet is the leadership team of the opposition party, as I understand it each cabinet position has its 'shadow' figure, the opposition team (currently the Labour Party).
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:35 PM   #45
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Default Re: British Military Combatives in the Queen's Service

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My first thought upon reading this was to refer to the organization by an address/location.
Good suggestion! The British have quite the tradition of secret organisations with no actual name, referred to by the name of a building or locality where the people who work for it go to work or train (e.g. "Bletchley Park") or even a Whitehall postal designation to which its correspondence goes. The Secret Intelligence Service had no name until 1994. (A lot of people thought it was MI6, but in fact it wasn't.) So you could just call the thing "Kilburn House", "Maidenhythe", or "Down Street".

Another thing that I would suggest would be to refer to the organisation in its research activities as something like "The Walsingham Scholarships", and in its more physical activities as an athletic club of some sort: "Marlborough Gymnasium", "Holyhead Paintball Club", or "Keswick Fellwalkers".
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:28 PM   #46
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Default Re: British Military Combatives in the Queen's Service

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Another thing that I would suggest would be to refer to the organisation in its research activities as something like "The Walsingham Scholarships".
Glad someone mentioned him - he seems like exactly the sort who would have put something like this together way back when.

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Old 01-07-2013, 11:36 PM   #47
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Default Re: British Military Combatives in the Queen's Service

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My first thought upon reading this was to refer to the organization by an address/location. (Okay, my FIRST first thought was Skyfall, but then it went on to "Whitehall" or "Bletchley Park" or *snicker* "Hogwarts".) They might have to send folk there for training, and need a out-of-the-way place to do research. Feels more British, and I really can't see them referring to the Queen in any way, so the chance slip of the tongue would not tie it to her or vice versa.
My first thought for a name was to use that of the isolated castle on the moor where they'd have their headquarters once they'd grown big enough and active enough that they'd need one. Does anyone know about a castle owned by the Royal Family that is located on a very lonely moor in Scotland somewhere? Preferably with a cool name?

Referring to the quick-reaction teams as 'QPR' or just the 'Rangers' ought to be safe enough. As mentioned earlier, those are sports teams and a chance overheard remark about football in the UK is not likely to raise any eyebrows. As long as people are careful to call their missions 'fixtures' or 'away games', their gear 'kit' and potential publicity that needs to be neutralised an 'own goal', the chances of anyone realising that the conversation is out of the ordinary is miniscule.

Even the use of the Queen's title as part of any organisation (which, I agree, is a bad idea) does not necessarily imply any personal involvement. No British Sovereign is connected to either the Queen's Park Rangers, the Scottish F.C. Queen's Park, the Queen's Foundation Birmingham or Freddie Mercury's Queen. And organisations like the Queen's Club, Queen's College in Cambridge or the Queen's Tavern have no closer relationship with Her Majesty than having had a long ago monarch as a patroness or simply someone they wished to honour.

Names which might jokingly refer to the organisation as a whole, used in conversation* between senior members, might be something like the 'Dee Club', 'Bacon Appreciation Society' and 'Newtonian Debate Club'. The academic activities might refer to 'Walsingham Scholars', as Brett suggested, or 'Marlowe Fellows'. Inevitably, the younger members would be prone to referring to the isolated castle (once they are important enough to learn of its existence) as 'Hogwarts', to people not in the know as 'Muggles', to their studies as 'Defence Against the Dark Arts' and to themselves and those others they know about within the conspiracy as the 'Order of the Phoenix' or 'Dumbledore's Army'.

*With new ones periodically surfarcing as one of them feels witty.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:11 AM   #48
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Default Re: British Military Combatives in the Queen's Service

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Glad someone mentioned him - he seems like exactly the sort who would have put something like this together way back when.
One of the design goals for the setting is to avoid ancient and honourable conspiracies with a perfect record of secrecy. While the supernatural apparently was alive and well during some periods of history, it's been dormant for more-or-less two hundred years. Consequently, any conspiracy claiming an uninterrupted descent from one hundreds of years ago would have been composed of deluded people with no actual magical powers for a couple of centuries, which is less 'cool' and more 'sad'.

The Queen's conspiracy is specifically one that started within living memory and which is struggling to keep tabs on a huge problem with an informal organisation and limited resources.* That's the only reason it is still secret. Even so, since the operations started in 2005, it's pretty much accepted that this secrecy will eventually come to an end.

Fortunately, given how rapidly crime rates** have risen between 2000 and 2012, many people within government, the police and the military have independently come to the realisation that something is seriously wrong, even if they don't know what, and some of those are functioning as semi-aware contacts within the structure of the legal government.

While providing information to people who are technically governmental outsiders is strictly speaking illegal, the British have a long tradition of doing so anyway in cases where the interlocutor's patriotism is 'above suspicion', because of some combination of having gone to the right school, wearing the right regimental ties, being from the right family, knowing the right people or merely having served with distinction throughout their careers.

And in this context, there is no more 'right people' to know than members of the Royal Family and their close friends. Even today, there are servants of HMs Government and officers of the British armed forces who are incapable of thinking of any act done as a personal favour for Her Majesty or her family as treasonous.

So even if the whole conspiracy might not count more than a hundred people (a couple of hundred at most) who are aware, even vaguely, of what they are involved in, there are many, many more who provide information or unofficially smooth things over to make them easier without knowing more than doing so is a favour to the Royal Family.***

The secrecy is not meant to be permanent. It is to last only as long as the weight of evidence is not sufficient to convince the public without an acrinomious debate where highly placed people and respected academics get called 'nutbars'. Essentially, no one wants to blow the whistle on the secret first, thus becoming a laughingstock (if done way too soon) or causing people to doubt your motives in so doing (if done later). There are also other, still-theoretical metaphysical reasons why secrecy might be valuable, but the validity of them is hotly disputed within the upper echelons of the society. In any event, most of the society believes that eventually, some catastrophe will become public and the secret come out, regardless of their wishes. They expect, or at least hope and pray, that this will not happen in a Commonwealth country, but probably one of the places on Earth where the majority of people not only believe in the supernatural, but many of them routinely perform rituals that are designed to cause it to manifest and affect the physical world.

A grace period of a few years while the public still doesn't believe in the paranormal is meant to allow preparations so that when the secret gets out, the Crown will be ready to enact the necessary changes quickly and with some hope of them being effective. The Queen's Paranormal Rangers would become a training cadre for new units of police, security services and military, the 'Marlowe Fellows' academics would publish a lot of what they had been investigating**** and the inner circle would provide a pool of senior officials for a new service of paranormal intelligence.

*While the Queen is fantastically wealthy and some other senior members might be quite comfortable, leaving a substantial and inexplicable money trail anywhere is one of the surest ways for something to eventually find its way onto a frowning bureaucrat's desk or even a grinning news editor's one.
**Caused by the influence of spirits on mundane criminals, the spectacularly successful careers of a few unethical scholars who have discovered magic but not felt constrained to use it responsible and the predations of truly monstrous creatures.
***Many of these unofficial contacts, not explicitly clued-in by any insider, still have a fairly shrewd idea about the state of affairs. Upwards of 500 murders a year that have something supernatural about them is quite enough even for people without the spiritual gifts to sense such things to become suspicious in the extreme.
****The parts which could help normal people deal with unknown dangers or which serve as interesting new areas of knowledge. No so much the parts which could be used by unethical people to perform dangerous magics.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:43 AM   #49
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Default Re: British Military Combatives in the Queen's Service

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The Shadow Cabinet?

I think that term gets used in UK politics.
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Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
The shadow cabinet is the leadership team of the opposition party, as I understand it each cabinet position has its 'shadow' figure, the opposition team (currently the Labour Party).
By analogy, the term to use about a coterie of people whose unofficial power stems from their personal relationship with and service to a monarch, not their electoral success, would be 'Shadow Court'.

Obviously, this term is not something to use in public or even anywhere one could conceivably be overheard, but it is an accurate enough description of the role of the Queen's inner cirle in this matter for it (or its more dramatic cousin, 'The Court of Shadows') to see some use in private policy discussions between the most senior members when they are on the secure grounds of their castle.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:09 AM   #50
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Default Re: British Military Combatives in the Queen's Service

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You could take current reality for 'heirs and successors' as a cue; serves as an infantry commander in Afghanistan, trains and serves as a helicopter pilot, marries, all that, while holding down a serious role in the 'magical defence of the relm'.
He also went to Eton, which means that he'd know several of the younger SAS-cum-Queen's Paranormal Rangers recruits also educated there; and he was deployed* as a Forward Air Controller** in the Helmand province, which has been the province of several Old Etonian SAS commanders, where the Prince served alongside Paras, Gurkhas and the SAS, among others. In fact, two of the commanders of Task Force Helmand, (then) Brigadiers Ed Butler*** and Mark Carleton-Smith****, both Old Etonian SAS men, are in the running for people I might end up using as senior military officers of the secret society.

Finally, Harry's Private Secretary is one Major (Ret.) Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, a 20-year veteran of the SAS (and Old Etonian, naturally), with service in the Gulf War, two years in Colombia against narcoterrorists and the Balkans. Brilliantly, he also consults for the PSC Kroll Risk Managment and owns and co-manages the PSC Objective Travel Safety.

All in all, I don't see any reason not to make Prince Harry an active and vital fixture of the Queen's Paranomal Rangers, much as that may vex his grandmother and her inner circle of advisors. If I do, his long-time military friend and mentor, Brigadier Edward Smyth-Osbourne will probably be involved as well. Comes from an established and well-connected family (in Burke's Peerage, claiming descent from William the Conqueror), with familial contacts outside and in the military establishment.*****

*In the Blues and Royals, a Household Cavalry regiment, though, not an infantry one. Harry never did command infantry, he was a lieutenant in a tank unit before the deployment.
**Which means that he'd have been serving in a two man team at or near the front lines in a war that mostly involved light infantry patrolling or flat-out special operations. Lots of SERE training, CQB and suchlike. Also, technical proficiency with communications, computers, sensors and other useful stuff. And once things go sufficiently wrong on the supernatural front, they might be grateful to have someone who not only knows how to call in an airstrike, but could probably arrange for one with a couple of calls to top generals. Or, you know, just borrow an Apache.
***His somewhat mysterious retirement in 2008, ostensibly for family reasons, allows me to state that he actually retired to serve as a senior commander of Queen's Paranormal Rangers. That his new job is as an executive with a murky international consulting company is just gravy.
****His current job, Director Special Forces, seems like it would be pretty useful as a contact for the secret society, to say the least.
*****Such contacts include many retired military men, landed aristocrats, people in the City, a Financial Director of Mallett flc and some family members who breed racehorses.


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Originally Posted by sgtcallistan View Post
Fairbairn's book, 'dirty fighting' as it was known to my father (Rifle Brigade, light infantry specialising in agressive night patrolling, sentry removal and return for questioning) is subtitled 'all-in fighting' which emphasises commitment and determination to defeat and / or kill the enemy with fists, feet, knives, garottes, and assorted other nasty mehods to hand.
I doubt that things have changed much since then. My father described much of it as 'knowing where to land the blow', including relatively exotic things like the edge of the palm chopped under the nose, or across the throat.
Was your father's service during WWII or later? If Fairbairn's book on 'gutter fighting' was still current within the British military after the war, it would argue that FCCT is an appropriate style to represent the sentry-removal and hand-to-hand techniques of British commandos for some time after the war, maybe even up to the modern day.

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How useful this would be against demonic creatures, I don't know.
The proposed solution, at least among the more pragmatic ex-military QPR, to the nightmare problem of an amoral and powerful human magician who uses his magic to commit multiple murders in ways that the police can't track, but is too dangerous to have declared insane and placed in a psychiatric institute, would be to eliminate him in his sleep with sentry removal techniques.

Aside from that, those aspects of FCCT related to taking captives for questioning would be very applicable when dealing with spirit-influenced or possessed people, at least if they are not armed.*

*The QPR don't want to murder British subjects if they can avoid it, but armed threats, even if they may not be acting on their own volition, still need to be dealt with by neutralising their ability to pose further danger.

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Originally Posted by sgtcallistan View Post
The little I have seen of Gurkha knifework (demonstrated on a dummy at the Royal Military Tattoo in the 1980's) was a beheading from behind as a sentry removal.
Kukri cuts one way, other arm twists head the other way. Nasty.
I've included the famous beheaving sentry removal trick in the Gurkha style, but I wonder if I should add a Perk that allows them to use the 'All-Out Grapple and Strike' rule with a swinging attack, as long as it is made from the rear and against the neck with a kukri.
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