FilmSim and Eye LARP proudly presents...
The Independent Company Chronicles
Pt 1 The Candlestick Maker
December 5-7 2014
Â£55 with a Â£25 deposit via PayPal firstname.lastname@example.org
Limited player places 20
May 1944. Adolf Hitler is master of Europe, yet his grip upon the continent begins to loosen with each passing day. The Red Army is on the move in the east, the British and Americans roll up through Italy toward Rome, while in England the largest armada in history prepares to land somewhere in Northern France.
And yet, even now as the tide seems to be turning against the Nazis, the blood and sweat of the Allies could all be in vain. Only two months ago, the famed Birds network of secret agents in France, painstakingly constructed by British S.I.S over the past two years, was discovered and burned by the SS. Last month it was the Dutch Resistance who were infiltrated, with several top S.O.E agents being captured and tortured.
One by one, the intelligence networks are being shut down, with the unofficial Spy-Master General of the SS, Standartenfuhrer Emil Ausburg leading an almost prescient campaign to destroy allied espionage in Europe completely.
Is there a mole, or is something more sinister at play here? As final plans for the invasion of France get underway, only one network of spies and informants remains unblemished by the Germans. The ever-burning lights of the Candlestick Network; a networks of high-profile agents spanning the whole of Europe. Not run from Whitehall or even by S.I.S, the identity of each agent is known only to one person, the elusive Candlestick Maker, and answerable only to the heads of a highly specialised and secret government department, the Independent Company.
Established early in the war, it is rumoured that much of the funding for the Independent Company came from Churchill himself, among a number of British and American notables whose influence has enabled the I.C to second and recruit its members from nearly every branch of the Alliesâ€™ secret service.
The men and women of the I.C have waged their private war against the Germans for years. For King and Country, the American Way, liberty of their homeland, it does not matter, all have sworn themselves to the task. Many have accused the I.C of being pirates or bandits, marauding outside the chain of command and pandering to the vanity of a few rich men. However, from their isolation comes their strength, for the agents and informants of the I.C and the missions they undertake might now be the only chance of saving thousands of allied lives on the shores of France.
But even that hope might be in doubt following a brief yet urgent radio call to I.C Operations one wet May evening in 1944â€¦
â€˜Candlestick Three is burning. Requesting Angels!â€™
There had been no further contact after that last message four hours ago, and the frequency had offered nothing but static since. Captain Lewis scratched his moustache nervously and reached for his tea, not even realising it was by now stone cold.
â€™Where was his last location?â€™ Asked Lieutenant Philips, sitting across from Lewis at the map table, the vast stretch of occupied Europe laid out in full and littered with tacks and flags between them.
â€˜â€Heâ€?â€™ Retorted Lewis with a raised eyebrow and a questioning tone to which Philips shrugged in submission.
â€˜Well whoever they are. If theyâ€™ve gone silent, it either means theyâ€™ve been captured or the Jerriesâ€™ have the radio.â€™ To this, Lewis nodded, sighing softly and loosening his tie.
â€˜If the Germans were anywhere near close to getting to Three, we wouldnâ€™t have been asked for a rescue party. No thereâ€™s something more to this.â€ Lewis frowned, reaching for the case file entitled â€˜Subject: Candlestick Three. Top Secret. Eyes Only.â€™ His eyes skimmed through the last batch of communication transcripts, his eyes widening slightly.
â€˜Last known location is the region of Andorf, northern Austria,â€™ He pondered a moment, reading on. â€˜The last report mentions a detachment of SS and SD in the areaâ€¦â€™ Lewis attempted to hide the slowly spreading sense of horror from his features, but to as close a confidant as Philips, Lewis might as well been screaming it in terror.
â€˜Itâ€™s Ausburg, isnâ€™t it, Sir?â€™ Philips asked curiously, but with a sense of realisation. He already knew the answer. â€˜How did he know?â€™
â€˜It doesnâ€™t really matter right now, does it, Lieutenant? Thatâ€™s a question for another time.â€™ Lewis answered with a low wearied rumble as he reached for the telephone. â€˜This is Captain Lewis, put me through to Major McLaren at Independent Company Headquarters.â€™
â€˜What have you decided, Sir?â€™ Asked Philips, his attention dragged from the radio transcripts and code book to watch his senior officer.
â€˜The only thing I could decide, Philips. Candlestick Three is at risk. That could put the Candlestick Maker himself in jeopardy. Theyâ€™ve requested angels. So weâ€™re going to send some.â€™
As a member of the Independent Company (Often known simply as â€˜Angelsâ€™), you have been hand-picked for your special skills and resources and are one of the top men or women in your field. You may be a soldier, seconded from the Commando Brigade, Army Rangers or Airborne; or recruited from the intelligence agencies, such as S.I.S, S.O.E or O.S.S. You may even be from one of the civilian services, selected for your academic brilliance, work at Bletchley Park or scientific ability with T-Force. Wherever you came from, whatever you were, you share one thing in common with your fellow Angels: You know that failure is not just about losing, itâ€™s about losing everything.
What the Independent Company is
A disparate collection of spies, academics, and cold-hearted killers. The only virtues worth a damn in the I.C are loyalty and discretion. You know that surviving the war means comfort for life, but the odds are poor. The I.C owes its allegiance to Churchill alone and takes orders from no one else.
What the Independent Company is not
A formal branch of the British army or Secret Intelligence Service. You might hold the Kingâ€™s Commission, you may have signed the Official Secrets Act, but no Sergeant Major is coming to haul you out of the barracks and march you up and down the square. Youâ€™ve already proven your skills, success or failure is entirely up to you.
PART ONE: Forming the Company
Perhaps the most important theme in the I.C Chronicles is the dynamic and story of the Company itself and the characters within it. Essentially acting as Churchillâ€™s private army, the I.C has learned to be self-sufficient in most cases and has a broad talent base on which to call. The I.C is also resented by many of the more established agencies within the allied forces, especially the Special Air Service, with whom relations can be downright hostile at the best of times.
Before designing your character, it is advised that players discuss this variety of roles between them and allow everyone to fulfil a particular niche within the Company. Most Company missions are behind enemy lines, and often involve danger, peril and sometimes horrendous violence. However, while Company task forces (known as â€˜Flightsâ€™ or sometimes â€˜Flights of Angelsâ€™) are usually supported by elite combat troops, those with particular expertise are not chosen to join the I.C at random. Do not be fooled by any apparent redundancy in character specialisations, youâ€™ll need it if someone hasnâ€™t got it! And remember that military rank or service seniority is not as important within the I.C as it is elsewhere, with loyalty taking precedence over discipline.
PART TWO: Your Character
I.C agents are meant to be unique individuals and possess special skills. There are three departments within the I.C who draw their recruits from various branches of the allied services, representing the military, the intelligence services, and academia. To create a character, simply follow the three step process.
[Note: the following list is the TRADITIONAL recruitment avenue for I.C agents, but as ever, the I.C are receptive to recruits from elsewhere (Except the S.A.S of course!)]
Step One: Choose Department (Soldier/Agent/Scholar)
Step Two: Choose Branch (1 of 3)
Step Three: Choose Speciality (1 of 2)
Soldier "Department of Mayhem"
Commando Brigade (Inc. Inter-allied detachments and Free-French)
British Airborne Reconnaissance / US Airborne Pathfinders
Combat Medic (R.A.M.C or A.M.C)
US Ranger Battalion
Agent "Department of Smoke and Mirrors"
Scholar "Department of Riddles"
Doctor of Medicine
Oxbridge / Miskatonic Research Institute
Your characterâ€™s speciality represents his or her most prominent skill and the primary reason they were recruited into the I.C. Some of the listed specialities have a particular in-game mechanic, such as the ability to set up explosives, or sustain heavy injuries etc. Other skills by contrast are almost entirely role-play orientated, such as being a leading expert in a particular academic field or just being a cold-blooded rock under pressure. In all instances, players are encouraged to stretch the role-play of these specialities beyond the rules. If you are a U.S Ranger with the â€˜Relentlessâ€™ speciality, why are you relentless? Was it that you grew up on the tough streets of Detroit? Did you suffer some head trauma in North Africa that has left you with a certain disdain for death or injury? Think of your speciality as a tag-line that describes you in one word.
Your character has received extended training in all types of small arms and fixed position weaponry. You may even operate artillery.
Bridges, bunkers, cars or train carriages, you've been trained to blow them all sky-high. You require both explosive charges and detonators of the appropriate quantity to set explosives.
You've received extensive communications and navigation training. If equipped with a suitable map and radio, you may either change coordinates for a pickup, or request an air raid from Bomber Command.
Fixing wounded people up is difficult enough; fixing people up whilst being shot at is just short of insane! You can strap broken bones, stop bleeding, even administer morphia. If equipped with dressings you may replace two bandages for one dressing. You may also administer Morphia to allow a wounded character to ignore the roleplaying effects of their injuries for a short while.
You always were one of those folk that just wouldn't go down. No matter the beatings, whatever the odds, you just kept coming. You may ignore the role playing effects of injuries that would otherwise incapacitate others for a short period. If shot, you may not stand, but may still otherwise defend yourself or continue fighting (nature of the injury depending).
You've never believed in being outgunned, and there's nothing that scares those krauts off like the liberal application of .45 calibre bullets! You can carry twice as much ammunition as anyone else.
Trained in clandestine warfare, you are a master with the dagger, garrotte, or even your bare hands. By placing your hand on a surprised opponent and whispering "Shhhh" into their ear, they are dead and may NOT make a sound.
You run intelligence networks, set up information drops, invent covers, and have access to informants across occupied Europe. Given time, you can arrange meetings with local contacts or gain access to stolen enemy intelligence.
Your mastery of modern languages is quite unique. You're not only fluent in German, French, and maybe even Italian, but could also have a crack at Polish, Russian or Czech. You're a very useful agent to have in the field.
No matter how tough they are, having their fingernails ripped off and being electrocuted in a bathtub will make nearly anyone talk...except you. You'll take those secrets to the grave.
Codes are just the application of mathematics with the understanding of the human thought process. You have spent years cracking codes and deciphering enemy messages given time, there isnâ€™t a code in the world you canâ€™t break.
You are basically brilliant, and can turn your hand to any subject. While you are certainly no match for a trained professional, with careful practise and observation, you may attempt any task that you might otherwise need a relevant skill for.
Your understanding of rockets and aircraft is unsurpassed, as is your familiarity with top secret weapons research. You can identify most top secret equipment on sight and with some study, may even adequately operate it.
Doctor of Medicine
No, you're not particularly used to giving first aid under fire, but you can perform major surgery and save lives from serious injury. If equipped with surgical tools you may perform surgery on a seriously injured character. You also have a good understanding of biological research and forensics.
In your field, there is no one better educated. Whether you're a leading archaeologist, an expert in ancient religions or a renowned chemist, your voice is never ignored, professor!
If you have to look this skill up somewhere, you haven't got it.
PART THREE: Finishing Touches
The I.C Chronicles is meant to capture the imagery and feel of classic World War Two movies and spy thrillers, not be a history lesson. Players are not expected to have degree-level knowledge of the British secret service during the 1940s, nor will they be required to know who their local MP is in 1944. That said, a brief bit of research into your characterâ€™s chosen branch of service will help in fleshing out the details of your characterâ€™s history. Players are encouraged (but not required) to submit a short biography of their character for their personnel record, a document that will grow with each mission.