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Old 01-13-2013, 05:20 PM   #31
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Default Re: London Metropolitan Police Force Career Paths

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
I'm particularly interested in royal bodyguards after 1990. The most likely early recruits would have been there in 1990-1995. I'll use fictionalised real people if I can, so by all means suggest them if you know of any, but I'll make up NPCs if I have to.[/SIZE]
Secretly bringing the household guards up to speed on the situation to properly defend the Queen could be entertaining. They are basically an armored recon unit that protects Windsor Castle while the Queen is in residence. They use FV107 Scimitar light tanks, in addition to actual horse cavalry for ceremonial purposes and some infantry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_Cavalry_Regiment

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FV107_Scimitar

Light tanks against some eldritch horror could be an interesting eye opener for revealing magic to the PCs, or giving the magical PCs a chance to help the regular soldiers not have their souls sucked out or whatever.
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:07 PM   #32
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Default Queen's Bodyguards

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Originally Posted by Kale View Post
Secretly bringing the household guards up to speed on the situation to properly defend the Queen could be entertaining. They are basically an armored recon unit that protects Windsor Castle while the Queen is in residence. They use FV107 Scimitar light tanks, in addition to actual horse cavalry for ceremonial purposes and some infantry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_Cavalry_Regiment

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FV107_Scimitar
The Blues and Royals are also HRH Prince Harry's regiment. I'm quite sure that his grandmother would rather he did not know about any of this and certainly she feels that he should on no account become involved, but I'm also fairly confident that should Prince Harry disagree with HM (as he no doubt does), he will find a way to become so regardless of her wishes. And if he does get involved, he'll need his own allies, agents, contacts and other intimates who are initiated in the secret; and who better than the men he's served alongside under fire?

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Light tanks against some eldritch horror could be an interesting eye opener for revealing magic to the PCs, or giving the magical PCs a chance to help the regular soldiers not have their souls sucked out or whatever.
It would certainly be a flashy introduction. ;)

One might worry that a tank battle near Windsor Castle would ensure that any secrecy in the campaign was thus flung aside. This might make for interesting gaming in its own right, but my preference for a campaign in this setting would be to have the PCs become aware of the supernatural well before it was featured on breaking news on SkyNews, BBC, CNN and more; not to mention splashed over every front page and news site and the subject of feverish web speculation.

There is also the problem that anything likely to appear in the setting in the first decades of the return of the supernatural will either be an invisble spirit or it will be a supernatural creature of fairly subtle appearance and powers. And if it can be killed or stopped with physical means, it will probably be wildly outmatched by an actual tank and if it can't, it won't care about them. So either the tanks are useless or they serve to make the encounter so anticlimatic that the troopers only realise that they were facing more than crazed terrorists when they examine the splattered bodies.

None of which is to say that I don't plan to have NPCs from the Household Cavalry Regiment in the Shadow Court and the Queen's Paranormal Rangers, just that I don't expect that their tanker skills will be their primary contribution. At least not until the veil is lifted from the paranormal and mana levels have risen so far that supernatural beings which require tanks to challenge roam the Earth. Which would be a rather unfortunate state of affairs for humanity, but possibly an enjoyable one for players interested in playing a no-holds barred game of ultraviolence with modern weapons as the last defence of humanity against the apocalypse.
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:21 PM   #33
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Default Re: Ideas for real-world people belonging to the inner circle

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These people unquestionably exist, but who they are is somewhat obscure. People who know the royals personally tend to keep quiet about it, and don't participate in the modern trend for self-publicity, at least on this front. So I'd suggest that you research likely institutions and invent individuals.
While I'll invent individuals when I can't find any suitable ones, I much prefer seizing on flimsy evidence to fictionalise a real person into a paranormally-aware version of him- or herself.

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Something to understand about the way royals are treated is that while they don't have much direct authority, people are very polite to them. This extends to granting their wishes in a great many matters that aren't of huge practical importance.*

[...]

*For example, George VI caused the rules for naming Royal Navy ships to be broken. The first "major" warship built during a reign is named after the monarch; this tradition goes back centuries, but Elizabeth II hasn't had hers yet - it is building now. However, George VI asked that "his" be named after his father instead, for personal reasons. This happened, not as a matter of authority, but of politeness.
Just so. It is precisely this sort of influence that the senior members of the Shadow Court rely on when it comes to quietly gathering information, raising black funds for their clandestine activities, advancing the careers of conspiracy members to place them in useful positions and arranging for other small favours that the group needs in their activities.

While no government of the UK has yet been able to perceive the ongoing return of the paranormal, let alone willing to take potentially politically harmful action about it, the Crown is able to prepare the ground for an eventual reveal by extending tendrils of informal influence into various branches of the Civil Service, armed forces, law enforcement, academia and other places.

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Some sources of people that may be useful. Westminster Abbey and a few other churches are "Royal Peculiars", which are directly under the monarch's control, rather than the general CofE administration. The Queen knows Cambridge University rather better than Oxford, because Prince Phillip was until quite recently Cambridge's Chancellor (ceremonial head). They visited quite regularly, in part because Phillip liked being in the only place where he took precedence over his wife.

The Master of Trinity College is also a direct royal appointment; Trinity is weird because it's both a pillar of the Establishment, and an academic powerhouse, with about as many Nobel Prizes as France. It seems like a good place to use, and the level of applied eccentricity amongst its students and Fellows will cover up a good deal. The buildings are ancient, but have been modernised. Cambridge also has a whole department devoted to Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic studies, which looks like another good place to use.
Good ideas; thank you.

I'll also be using the University of London quite a lot, as it turns out that many of the colleges falling under it have substantial pedigrees in research that would be useful to the Shadow Court. As mentioned before in this thread, this includes the Warburg Institute, but there are also the Institute of Classical Studies, King's College London School of Arts and Humanities, the School of Oriental and African Studies and the UCL Insitute of Archeology.

Does anyone know of any academics involved with these with known connections to the Royal Family*? Strange beliefs or membership in esoteric organisations? Or a particularly delicious academic specialisation, easily turned to occult uses?

*Such as, for example, having been the recipient of important honours in the gift of the monarch, particularly ones HM has personal discretion over granting, as opposed to confirming the decisions of her government.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:22 AM   #34
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Default Re: Queen's Bodyguards

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One might worry that a tank battle near Windsor Castle would ensure that any secrecy in the campaign was thus flung aside. This might make for interesting gaming in its own right, but my preference for a campaign in this setting would be to have the PCs become aware of the supernatural well before it was featured on breaking news on SkyNews, BBC, CNN and more; not to mention splashed over every front page and news site and the subject of feverish web speculation.
Training exercise. @:-)
Seriously though, they are a recon unit, so if you wanted to keep the circle small while bringing overwhelming firepower (you hope) to the party the Royal Guards would be an ideal unit. You could dispatch them to a far corner of the desert as part of a clandestine op in a war zone. The tanks protect the PCs from the human dangers while the PCs take care of the supernatural.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:39 AM   #35
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Default Re: Ideas for real-world people belonging to the inner circle

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Such as, for example, having been the recipient of important honours in the gift of the monarch, particularly ones HM has personal discretion over granting, as opposed to confirming the decisions of her government.
The main ones that are in her personal gift are the Order of Merit, which is too public and too limited in size (24 living members), and the Royal Victorian Order, which is the right one for this. If there is a list of members online (other than the top grade, who are heads of state and the like), I can't find it.
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:53 AM   #36
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Default Re: Queen's Bodyguards

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Training exercise. @:-)
Seriously though, they are a recon unit, so if you wanted to keep the circle small while bringing overwhelming firepower (you hope) to the party the Royal Guards would be an ideal unit. You could dispatch them to a far corner of the desert as part of a clandestine op in a war zone. The tanks protect the PCs from the human dangers while the PCs take care of the supernatural.
Spot on; old chap.

When I last featured the Shadow Court in a game, the year was 2010. At that time, they were just starting to become involved with the supernatural outside of Great Britian and the Commonwealth, in that case a fact-finding mission (to Boston) in response to a particularly vivid prophetic dream on the part of HM. It resulted in friendly contact with some American nationals who had independently come across proof of the paranormal and at least neutral contact with agents of the Vatican. All in all, the Shadow Court gathered a lot of valuable information and set up information exchange agreements that might prove valuable in the future. At the cost, however, of revealing their existence to a foreign-born academic unwilling to join the group, albeit one vouched for by one of their own academics and willing to swear total secrecy.

I suspect that such foreign missions will occur again after 2010. With the assumptions made about magical metaphysics in the setting, the state of esoteric knowledge will be comparatively high among many less developed nations. Places where Westerners are feared or hated will also tend to feature some individuals exhibiting a certain willingness to use the arcane as a weapon. As a result, it won't be unknown for soldiers on active service to come across inexplicable phenomena and in this case, what they do not know can definitely hurt them.

Before 2005 or so, only a few locations would have high enough mana for effective magic use and any supernatural creatures with a presence in the physical world would be sharply limited in where they could stay and for how long. It's possible that only one or two incidents a year would be dramatic enough so that those involved could not just write off what they saw and felt as adrenaline- and shock-induced hallucinations. As the 00s wound on, however, the frequency of hostile paranormal contact would go up among soldiers on foreign service.

Given that the Shadow Court has associate members and semi-aware contacts who are still serving officers, I imagine that rumours within the services would eventually reach the Shadow Court. If anything in those rumours indicates an ongoing threat which cannot be dealt with by normal military means, I suppose that the Shadow Court might consider arranging for Rangers and some of their military members in the know to visit.

Why not just leave it to the Army, you ask? Maybe finally make that public announcement? Well, even if the years since 2000 has seen belief in the supernatural start a meteoric the rise among cops, soldiers and anyone else who has the potential to encounter it in the course of their duties, the vast majority of people still consider it a bunch of hokum. This is still our world and thus a world where most Western people grew up believing that such things couldn't be real.

After an encounter with something inexplicable with mainstream science, individual soldiers and officers might decide to believe their eyes and thus realise that the supernatural is all too real. It is, however, plausible enough that their superiors are less willing to sign off on a report that says sorcerers, jinn or monsters are real. More than likely, the military authorities prove unwilling to credit that even the strangest after-action reports represent proof of a genuine supernatural event. Or, at least, that was the situation in 2010 and I'm considering retaining it until at least 2013, if it's not too implausible.

That means that the amed forces would be mostly in the dark, but a certain proportion would lend some credence to the rumours going around. And the Shadow Court would have been quietly extending its influence among the officer corps for almost two decades*, preparing for the time when no more denial is possible and Great Britain must change to meet the challenges of the new world.

And if there is a need for covert expeditions, without the sanction of the official government, against foreign enemies of Britain who use sorcery as their terror weapon of choice, well, as you say, the Blues and Royals and the rest of the Household Regiments might turn out to be an ideal choice for the heavy ordnance and warm bodies to fill out such an expedition.

*Very slowly and carefully in the 90s, increasing their activities around 2000 in response to a greater realisation of the dangers involved and after 2005 some courtiers and associates would have become increasingly prepared to accept eventual discovery, as long as they succeeded in preparing the services for the dangers ahead.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:18 AM   #37
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Default Re: Ideas for real-world people belonging to the inner circle

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The main ones that are in her personal gift are the Order of Merit, which is too public and too limited in size (24 living members), and the Royal Victorian Order, which is the right one for this. If there is a list of members online (other than the top grade, who are heads of state and the like), I can't find it.
I can't find it either. Which is a pity, as it would be a great resource to find real people to fictionalise. Anyone with the right skill set or connections who has gotten an MVO since the late 80s is worth looking into and suitable people who got LVO or CVO in the years after that are clearly in the know. ;)

The only thing I can find is Wikipedia and not only is this list very partial, it's also mostly people who died a long time ago.

I suspect that some MPS constables and other officers who work in the Royalty Protection Branch might sometimes get an MVO if they're on the detail long. I don't know if any of them have gotten more substantial honours in the RVO. In either case, finding out the names has proven difficult.

Service as the Queen's Gurkha Orderly Officer (two per year) carries with it the MVO as more or less a matter of course, as well as usually preceding promotion to Major (QGO), until recently the most senior position Gurkhas could realistically attain in the British Army. I wanted to find out if any Gurkha Orderly Officers had received a higher honour than MVO, which would in my campaign certainly mean that their duties for HM had included more than ceremonial ones. But no luck.

Obviously, if there is a Wikipedia site, reasonably detailed newspaper account or other source on an individual bodyguard, soldier or academic, it will note any honours he has received. But that requires me to already know the name in question and cross-reference it. I suppose I could click the names of any likely academics in several universities, checking if they have royal honours after their names.

But the tediousness of that method brought me here, hoping that some poster would happen to know about British professors or lecturers who had been honoured by the Queen and whose field of study had some relevance to the paranormal, at least potentially so in my setting.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:38 PM   #38
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Default Staff around HM and her family

Through diligent Googling and cross-references of Wikipedia lists, I've found an ample supply of real people to fictionalise into early members of the Queen's conspiracy. Lists of ladies-in-waiting*, equerries and posts in the Royal Household are plentiful, if somewhat tedious to cross-reference for data relevant to my purposes.

What I did not find were, obviously, people who might be friends with HM or members of her family, but do not seek or accept a post in the Royal Household. I'd still welcome any suggestions about personal friends outside of the Royal Households of HRH the Queen Mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, HRH Prince Philip and HM Queen Elizabeth II, in particular.

I also wonder about the 'common' people who might have regular contact with HM, but whose names are not usually published. I'm talking about maids, footmen and the other domestic staff of the palaces. I know about Angela Kelly LVO and plan to use her as an accomplished witch charged with magical defence of HM, but what about other servants employed by the Queen? Does anyone know anything about them?

How many are there, for one thing? How many domestic staff are employed on personal attendance to HM and HRH Prince Philip? Do they staff each residence, always maintaining a full complement at each one even when no royals happen to be occupying it, or do some or all of them follow their Royal Highnesses when they move between palaces? What about Balmoral and Birkhall? How many domestic servants, groundskeepers and suchlike work there?

Does Windsor have a butler, running his staff of domestic servants in the best Downtown Abbey style, with possibly a touch of Colour Sergeantry thrown in? Does HRH Prince Philip have a valet, a gentleman's personal gentleman?

I guess I'm asking to what extent the Royal Family has managed to retain a Victorian or Ewardian (at least as it extended into the Jazz Age interbellum) feel as regards domestic staff? Do they still have veteran live-in servants, with familial traditions of service, or does a cleaning staff with rotating minimum-wage personnel arrive daily and check out at night?

Presumably there are chefs and suchlike. Given the volume of fancy dinners and receptions, it would be a necessity. Are any of their names known? Or at least what a typical one is like? Are they top-notch restaurant chefs or is that a different speciality? Do they usually only work there for a for a comparatively short time, regarding an offer from Buckingham Palace or Windsor as they'd regard one from a top restaurant?

In other words, is the hiring process for Buckingham Palace, Windsor, Balmoral, Clarence House and other royal places a competative, businesslike one run by some HR person or is it arcane, opaque and hide-bound? Would it be unusual for HM to take a direct interest in it? Are there families where there is a tradition of service as a domestic servant, kitchen staff or in other day-to-day service jobs connected to the Royal Family? Is preference given to people with such backgrounds?

I know that Angela Kelly apparently started work in the Palace as a maid right after her service as a WREN. By her age, that would be in the mid-70s, which also fits some newspaper accounts saying that she has 'dressed HM for forty years'. She rose to personal dresser in 1993-1994, replacing Bobo McDonald, and apparently successfully agitated for a change in name that better matched her responsibilities, becoming 'Personal Assistant' at some point after that. In 2002, she became Senior Dresser, which apparently meant that now she was responsible for the design of all the outfits (instead of buying them from designers) and that she has authority over an unknown number of HM's personal staff.

So, there's clearly some element of long service and loyalty, instead of people just being hired from the fashion industry for their skills. Bobo McDonald is an even better example, having started as a nursery maid and served as nanny before becoming a personal dresser, which post she then held for a lifetime or so. In all, Bobo served HM from 1926, until her death at 89 years of age in 1993.

I'm curious whether there are any other such people, who have spent their whole lives in the entourage of HM, even if they don't count as holding positions in the Royal Household, but are instead staff of either a particular royal residence or of the Royal Household in general. Anyone who might have started as footman and now serves as valet or butler? A chef who rose from potato-peeler?

And would it be implausible to place a grizzled old ex-Navy warrant officer in a position of some authority among HRH Prince Philip's staff, as a butler of Windsor or Balmoral, a valet or maybe just a senior footman?

Into what kind of service positions would their Highnesses be be able to discreetly place initiated members of the conspiracy with useful skills? Groundskeepers at Balmoral and Birkhall, probably. What else?

*With all their arcane nomenaclature, depending on their birth, title, husband's rank and whether they serve just a royal or a monarch.
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:41 PM   #39
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Default Lt. Col. Dan Rex MVO; Queen's Paranormal Ranger

Searching over the lists of people close to HM and family, I came across an obscure, but delightful figure.

From 2010-2012, the Queen's Equerry was one Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Dan Rex MVO, Royal Gurkha Rifles. Now, the fact that Rex is a RMA Sandhurst graduate and a well-regarded fifteen-year veteran of the Gurkhas is perhaps not unexpected among the ranks of those chosen to serve as Equerries to the Monarch. After all, such a position for a serving officer is often regarded as a prelude to fast-track to high rank. Indeed, after his term as Equerry was up last year, he was promoted and attended the Advanced Command and Staff Course in preparation for yet higher command.

No, the interesting things are that; a) While almost all other Equerries have a very public profile on the Internet, with Wikipedia articles and plenty of mentions in the media, Dan Rex is comparatively obscure; b) About his only public claim to fame is the fact that among his many combat assignments, he commanded a six-month long defence of a fort in Afghanistan against waves of Taliban attacks in what was described as the fiercest close quarters (up to hand-to-hand) fighting British troops have seen since WWII c) Between 2008-2010, Maj. Rex had a phenomenally opaque job description, namely 'Military Liason Officer', without any listing for where he was stationed or what he was doing; d) During that time, Maj. Rex apparently attended some courses run by the London Metropolitian Police Service, including the National Hostage and Crisis Negotiation Course; and finally and most interestingly, e) His education prior to Sandhurst was in Ancient History and Archeology, graduating from the University of Birmingham with honours.

Let's see, a fighting Gurkha officer outstanding enough to land a coveted posting by the Queen's side, which represents a fast-track to command, and he just happens to have a degree in Ancient History and Archeology...

Yeah, he's a Queen's Paranormal Ranger. Probably the newest team leader, if they don't decide to allow him to reach higher rank in the regular military first. There he can influence policy and potentially steer the right course after the supernatural becomes public.

This is a good example of the kind of thing for which I'm looking. Does anyone happen to know more about Lt. Col. Dan Rex? Or have other suggestions about real people with connections to HM who are easily fictionalised into occult conspirators, supernatural planning officers, magicians or men who seek out things that go bump in the night?
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:35 PM   #40
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Default Re: The Shadow Court of HM Queen Elizabeth II

I can't help much (wrong nationality, wrong specialty) but you might be interested in this link to resources on ancient estoeric traditions: http://rogueclassicism.com/2013/01/1...-in-antiquity/ What aren't they saying, and what happens when some learned materialist posts a photo of exactly the wrong papyrus on their Academia.edu page asking if anyone can help him interpret this binding spell?

The date 2005 comes up a lot in your posts. Someone came out with a new Italian translation of the Corpus Hermeticum with some supplimentary Coptic texts in that year.
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