Almost Heaven by Jim Webster

Issue: 8

Almost Heaven
by Jim Webster

The Colonel looks at you with obvious disdain. He flicks casually through a pile of reports and reads one, apparently at random, looking at you coldly he finally condescends to speak.

"so what exactly have you to say about your part in last night's disgraceful episode Lieutenant?" Working on the old military maxim that what you don't tell them can't get you hung, you maintain what you hope is a dignified silence.

"I see, so drunk you can't even remember! Ah well, you are lucky, I was just going to bust you clean out of the Regiment. However you have "friends" in high places who felt this was too good for you. So you are to be promoted to Captain, and sent to command the garrison at "Almost Heaven".

So there you have it. Young officers who disgrace themselves face a range of imaginative punishments, not the least of which is a posting to the edge of the empire, cut off from civilisation, honour and all possibility of advancement. Visit "Almost Heaven" and rot.

This game is meant to be played solo. The idea has been kicking around for a while, and I've sort of used it a couple of times, however I was finally inspired to set it down in this form by Alternative Armies Duel. This postulates an Honour driven Elf Empire which combines Napoleonic French dress sense and culture with reasonably standards Fantasy arms technology. Not only that but I wanted a use for some really nice Elf Napoleonic cavalry figures. So there you are, posted to "Almost Heaven", one of the further fiung corners of the Empire, named by a clique of property developers whose sole aim was to encourage settlement, but who never actually bothered visiting the area themselves. Your sole aim is to win enough honour to get posted out of it and back to the capital.


Now you are in charge at "Almost Heaven" you must get your priorities right. First rest and relaxation. Choose a hobby from the following. Each month roll 1d10.

Drink and Women
0,1You have finally hit rock bottom. All ambition spent you are content to vegetate here. For you the game is over.
2,3,4,5Life passes in a drunken haze, no chance of glory this month.
6,7,8Time passes.
9,10Your current mistress attempts to beat some sense into you, take up another hobby.

In the first month you take up drink and women add + 2 to your die roll, the second move + 1, the third move nothing, fourth move -1, and keep it at -1 from then on.

Scholarship and Study
1,2Suddenly bored by the whole business you throw your hand in and take up drink and women from now on.
3,4,5,6Time passes.
7,8,9Your reading leads you to exchange letters with the great scholars of the empire. This increases your self respect. + 1 on the next roll.
10Your just published paper on 'The development of light troops and their tactics in General Urien's campaigns" causes a considerable stir, and you are given a Staff appointment back in the capital.
Restoring Military Discipline
1There is a limit to what flesh and blood can stand, one unit revolts at random, they attack your headquarters and try to kill you. You are defended only by Cavalry squadron you brought with you. If they are posted elsewhere that's it for you and the household servants.
2Why bother? You throw your hand in and give drink and women a try.
3,4,5,6Well, time passes and the rabble isn't getting any worse.
7,8,9The troops are responding, from now on they are more enthusiastic and you get + 2 on your next roll.
10Your efforts have paid off, for the first time in military history your units both passes inspection and were combat ready. You are promoted immediately and accompany the Inspector back to the capital.


Well I suppose you'd better have some work to do as well. Look at the map. For scale remember it takes convoys and infantry one week to travel from Lost Cause to "Almost Heaven". Cavalry do the same trip in half the time. You are based in "Almost Heaven". At Rock Bottom, Mugwump and Lost Cause there are understrength Militia companies in garrison. At "Almost Heaven" you have three militia companies, three militia light horse squadrons, and your own squadron of regular Horse.

Each week roll 1d10 twice for tasks on hand.
1Hostiles spotted. (When you roll your hobby remember the die roll, this is the area the hostiles are spotted in.)
2Merchant convoy needs escort, follow rout, "Almost Heaven", Lost Cause, Mugwump, Rock Bottom, "Almost Heaven".
3The "Almost Heaven" Trucking Company wants an escort from Mugwump to Rock Bottom. Please arrange this.
4Hostiles spotted. (see 1)
5Refugees on the border. A party of displaced persons have arrived at Rock Bottom and want admittance to the Empire. In accordance with Imperial policy you must admit them, and use at least one company to escort them to "Almost Heaven" for processing before admitting them to the Empire.
6Diplomatic Mission. They must be escorted from "Almost Heaven" to Rock Bottom by at least two Cavalry squadrons, where they will engage in talks with chieftains from across the frontier. This will last one week when they can be escorted back.
7Condemned Criminals and other settlers to be escorted from "Ahnost Heaven" to Mugwump where they are to be processed and settled.
8Hostiles spotted (see 1)
9Merchant convoy needs escort. Collect it at Rock Bottom, and then travel Mugwump, Lost Cause, "Almost Heaven" and Rock Bottom.
10Major problem. Check on separate table.

Hostiles spotted:

A force of approximately 1d6 infantry companies and 1d6 cavalry squadrons is spotted in the area. If a convoy or similar is passing through the area they will attack it. Ideally you should attack these hostiles and destroy them.

Convoy security:

Roll 1d6 per convoy per week and on a a 1 the convoy is attacked by bandits who are in the equivalent to two companies strength.

Major Problem Table
1Hostile incursion in some strength, equivalent to 10 infantry companies and 2 cavalry squadrons. Roll 1d6-1 to see which area it has entered. Meet and defeat them.
2Raiding party of light horse, equivalent of four squadrons, travelling area 5,6,2,3,home. Intercept and defeat them.
3Hostile infiltration, 1d10 companies of infantry, 1d6 squadrons of cavalry, to discover their whereabouts roll 1d10, that is the area they have been spotted in. They will head for the nearest town, run off any livestock outside the walls then make for the frontier. Intercept and destroy.
4Civil disturbances in Mugwump. Rush two companies and a squadron there to restore order. They remain until normal service is resumed. Roll 1d6 a week, when you roll a 6 they are no longer needed and can be used elsewhere.
5Outbreak of rioting in "Almost Heaven". Three infantry companies must stay to restore order. They remain until normal service is resumed. Roll 1d6 a week, when you roll a 6 they are no longer needed and can be used elsewhere.
6Garrison in Lost Cause undergoes a collapse of morale due to acute boredom, take a squadron and go in person to jolly them along and restore order. If unable to go due to drunkenness the garrison individually deserts and a new company needs sending.

So what about it. When you in person take part in an engagement and are victorious you get one honour point. If you fight in the front rank you gain one honour point, and if the enemy lose 75% casualties you gain one honour point. Once you have some honour points you can attempt to roll less than the current total on 1d10. If you succeed your petition to the capital for recall is granted. If you fail, not only are you turned down, but you lose any honour points you have already gained.

Figures, Battles and Rules

I have left things deliberately vague so that you can use anything you have handy for Hostiles and bandits. Similarly Militia infantry and cavalry need not actually be Elves, Humans would do. However as I said, this game is an excuse to find a use for Alternatives Napoleonic Elf cavalry so this could be the excuse to treat yourself to some.

With regards to strengths of units I have left everything in companies and squadrons. I don't know what figures you have or what rules you use. If you are uncommitted, flexible or merely dithering, I'd recommend that you try Hordes of the Things or DBA. In this case a company could be four infantry bases and a squadron four cavalry bases. I suggest Hostile infantry could be Horses, their cavalry and Militia light horse would be light horse, and your own regiment Knights. Hope it gives you a few ideas anyway.