Setting: 1962 Nazi Occupied Britain.
Premise: In 1942 Germany successfully invaded England, and by 1962 now a whole generation has been born under German rule. But there is hope. The spirits of King Arthur’s Knights have returned bound to medieval weapons. Unfortunately, these longswords, even those imbued with the honor and chilvary of the round table are no match the modern german war machine. The mystical weapons are scattered and confused. But a man has a plan. The author J.R.R. Tolkien uncovered Merlin’s staff. But instead of using the staff directly he fused with it his Rolls Royce, now Merlin has a second life as an enchanted spell-casting car. Tolkien hopes that by combining the spirits of the round table with modern machinery he can free England from the yoke of tyranny. He knows though that these spirits will need guides to wield them and direct them so Tolkien also seeks out fresh young people to fight alongside King Arthur’s Knights.
Set-up: The plot will play out in five
episode game secession arcs with each episode game lasting 18 minutes. The players will get their characters assigned to them.
Episode Secessions 1-5 The Once and Future King : A 13-year-old teenage American Ex-pat orphan is attending boarding school and unable to return home he sent to stay with an elderly writer. Accompanying him to the house is 17-year-old Pete Townsend. Tolkien and Merlin fill them on the details, and introduce them to the sword of Sir Kay. The boys tell them that they need to travel to London, then Liverpool, then New Castle and other places to gather the scattered swords of the Round Table. Pete being the older boy takes Kay and fuses him the Electric Milk Float…nobody will suspect and a Milk Float. At the end of Episode 1 they are ambused by a Mini Cooper and Aston Martin…it is Mordrid and Le Faye…and they have captured Kay, Townsend and the young American.
In the following episode you find out the Le Faye, Mordrid, Sparks and Plant just want to help even though Kay doesn’t trust them. But the enlarged group battle some Germans and gets to London and meets up with Dusty Springfield and Tristan. Next it is Newcastle and Burdon, then Liverpool and Lennon. Finally at the end of espisode 4 they find that group of Germans pulling a Jaguar out of Lake and trying to start it. The group gets over powered by the Germans, but out the mist steps King Arthur…the real deal in Armor and everything. He starts the Jaguar/Excalibur and rescues everybody. Finally at the end of Episode 5 the complete team and their allies free London from the Germans. They assemble at the Roundabout in front of Big Ben and Parliament and Arthur dubs them the Rockers of the Roundabout. At the end of the episode Arthur explains that though they have London as a base of operations, the Germans are still in England and still a threat. Then he asks the young American his name, and the boy says “Bruce, Bruce Springsteen”.
Auto-Bad: We find out German is really run by an Enchanted Battleship the Bismark, and that to recapture England he sends in Enchanted Spirit Cars of his own. Wagner, and Seigfried, a BMW and Mercedes, sports cars possessed by German heros. With them is Strega nona and Befana, a Ferrari and Lamborghini respectively possessed by Italian, witches. Finally they have with them Petain, a Renault, and their faithless French sidekick. The bad guys don’t have human drivers, the message is that are nothing more than a war machine now.
Mo’town: Wilson Pickett, Sam Green, Duke Fakir and Aretha Franklin show up driving supped up Detroit autos (Pickett, of course, drives a proto-type Mustang). We get to hear bunch of Mo’town classics. The cars don’t have spirits but they have a lot of tech, and they help them defeat the Germans that week. And the end of Wilson Pickett says to Arthur, “I guess our cars don’t have the spirits your cars have.” Arthur replies, “No but they have soul”.
Vikings : Saabs, Volvos and Audi’s show up with the spirits of the Norse Gods. At first they are working the Germans, but the Rocker’s convince them to switch sides
Mitsubishi : Tired of losing ground to these kids, Bismark calls in some Japanesse Allies with high powered motorcycles. To defeat this new threat the Rockers find Galahad’s sword, and fuse it with a Triumph Motorcycle. Bruce gets to ride that around.
Gwynevere : Morgan, Sparks, Tolkien and Merlin get lost in the Scotish Highlands running from a possessed Stuka. Taking advantage of this loss of wisdom and magic in the ranks of the Rockers, one of the Italian witches impersonates Gwynevere returned as a Nash rambler. A weird love triangle resurfaces.
Rocker: King Arthur
Songs: He is quite found of the Ballet of Maldon
Spirit: Excalibur, the spirit of England
Vehicle: Jaguar E-Type (silver)
Relationship: Arthur is the only one that can get this Jaguar to start.
Rocker: Dusty Springfield:
Songs: Wishin and Hopin, I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself
Spirit: Sir Tristan
Vehicle: AC Greyhound
Relationship: Sir Tristan is flirty and brash with a larger than life personality and is always coming on to Dusty. Dusty plays the mother hen to the wild bunch of Rockers, and tolerates Tristan less than polite behavior.
Rocker: Pete Townsend
Songs: My Generation, Hall of the Mountain King
Spirit: Sir Kay
Vehicle: Electric Milk Float
Relationship: Sir Kay is a stalwart accountant, cautious and the Cassandra for the group. He clashes with the brash Pete Townsend as the two provide the group with comic relief and logistical support.
Rocker: Michael Jagger:
Songs: Sympathy for the Devil, You Can’t Always Get What you Want
Spirit: Sir Percival
Vehicle: Triumph Herald Coupe
Relationship: The pensive and pious Percival clashes mightly with the lecherous, loud and playful Jagger. The only thing they can agree upon is that England should be free.
Rocker: John Lennon
Songs: Help, Let it Be, I am so tired
Spirit: Sir Lancelot
Vehicle: Citroen DS19
Relationship: Lennon’s sharp dry wit and sarcasism constantly go over Lancelot’s head, but the two of them work with Dusty to lead the team when ever Tolkien or Arthur are not around.
Rocker: Eric Burdon
Songs: Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, We Gotta Get Out of This Place
Spirit: Sir Gawain
Vehicle: Mark V, Covenanter Tank
Relationship: Eric and Gawain fit together well, both long to be in the spot light, but like Sir Kay and Townsend, they can never seem to get to the battle on time. Yet when they do get there they bring some “vocal range”.
Rocker: Bruce Springsteen
Songs: Born in the USA (lyrics slightly altered), Dancing in the Dark, The River
Spirit:None to start…Later Galahad
Vehicle: Triumph-Bonneville (motorcycle)
Relationship: When Galahad is summoned to help fight the Japanesse motorcycle teams brought into defeat the Rockers of the Round Table, Bruce and him form a tight friendship based on earnest and emotional communication.
Author: Murial Spark
Songs: She is a writer
Vehicle: Aston Martin DB4
Relationship: Spark is strongly independent and doesn’t deal well with authority or dominating personalities. That would include Kings, Professors, Dictators and Facists in general. She is quick to judge and not easy to impress. She has formed a strong bond with Mordred, and is very supportive of his self-pity and ambition. While both agree that the Germans need to be defeated, they aren’t sure if Tolkien and Arthur are the ones to lead England afterwards.
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Songs: Please don’t ask him to suggest a song.
Vehicle: Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud
Relationship: They have the jovial arguments of two old academics in the twilight of their years. They are almost always in agreement.
Rocker: Robert Plant
Songs: D’yer Mak’er, The Battle of Evermore, Immigrant Song
Spirit: Morgan Le Faye
Vehicle: BMC Mini Cooper S
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Relationship: Morgan and the 14-year-old Robert Plant are both fun loving attention hounds. But Morgan is still a powerful sorceress even though she is car, and she is also a complete Celt-ophile. She wants the Germans out of England, but once they are gone she wants everyone that is not a Celt out England…which would include most of the English.
After a single read through I think this is an exceptional submission, and I am so very grateful you put it up here. I think this is the right length and style (first person, creepy) for one of those on-line flash fiction contests that several of the paying on-line fiction markets run. The prose is so strong in this and the descriptions so completely awful (in the way I am sure they were intended) that I don't have enough praise for the writing except to say "Boil into shot glass" maybe me a little ill.
One thought: The timing between the second and third paragraph seems a little off. Consider
I struggled feebly through out the night, working them off, scoring deep abrasions on the back of my hands, my heels. At dawn, I managed to come to my feet, my knees as solid as gelatin.
Then end paragraph and go into the description of the worms into the walls.
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I am impressed, and entertained and again thanks
I think you are being unfair strolen and I think you need to own what the site has become strolen. Scras recently wrote this about submission quality and he was paraphrasing another one of your luminaries Moonhunter.
"This is not a bad submission, but it isn't a good one either. An ideal to strive for is the Hollywood standard, as in presenting the item as if it were to be used in a movie, comic, or other entertainment venue. What does it look like? Who created it, and why did they do so? It is obviously a powerful weapon, and there are many powerful weapons (YAKAS - yet another kick ass sword), so what makes this one different?"
I am not trying to defend Morningstar's behavior or his "logic". Nor do I want codemn him. But it is wrong to suggest that this is a free-form open forum for sharing ideas. As you have said it is not "newbie" friendly. Furthermore, to tell Morningstar that this was "written not for him" is also absurd. We can only critique what is on the page. We can say how we would use it or we can guess at other uses, but that sword cuts both ways
Finally, I think the responsibility for the "usability" critique lies on you or whoever wrote the voting prompts. Saying something is useful is a coarse critique, sometimes applicable, but largely irrelevant for an idea guild. We should judge whether the idea is well developed, novel, well written, well presented and does it achieve the literal goals set forth on the page. After that, we can get into stuff like entertaining, useful or offensive.
You are right Morningstar is unkind. I have been dismissed by guys like him. (I always hope I am not one, but if I write one that looks like his just leave the comment Morningstar and I will change it. Though to be fair I didn't think his write up of this post was all that off base.) Yet I have also but also been pushed around by you, strolen, for being too "intellectual", "obtuse" or "critical". So my sympathy cuts both ways. . You, strolen, have put forth a system for judging ideas. There is a community built around that. You have achieved something here. I am not knocking that, but I don't think you are entirely comfortable with it. If one just wants to share ideas one could stick it in the forums. But if you want it to be judged you stick it out here. And you are the one that gave the judges the scoring card that read "useable".Go to Comment
Good post. It does have a lot of dry "so and so begot so and so" type history to it. It is also written in that biblical/passive voice, which is how we expect these things to be written, yet the voice makes the reading a little chewy. And sometimes you break from the voice and say things "take it up a notch".
But overall the voice has effect of making us feel like we are getting this information from an in-game intellect, so that is good . In the end it left me wanting to more about the city. It has this whole watery unground with pubs and warehouses. That is cool. I am intrigued by your setting. I want to know more. Is bluestone your idea or is that something I should now from other gaming sources.Go to Comment