As I’ve mentioned before South America has not really been covered in In Her Majesty’s name. To this end I’ve produced a number of lists which I will post approximately every week for IHMN which examine a fictional banana republic in the world of IHMN. These are of course all unofficial but hopefully they’ll give other people ideas about the myriad possibilities South America presents.
This piece will hopefully serve as the beginnings on an unofficial expansion for In Her Majesty’s name. I intend to start posting companies up in two weeks’ time and then will try to do one every week. I hope you’re interested by the idea and will be on the lookout for future posts on the subject. The aim of this whole project is to cover the as yet unexplored South America in IHMN. I’ve used a fictional state and somewhat exaggerated elements found in many Latin American states of the time.
The Central American republic of San Pedrona was first discovered by the Que’echa Indians who had been driven out of the Amazon interior by rival tribes. They built huge edifices to their crocodilian god Becahalack that survive to this day. However they were no match for the invading Portuguese Conquistadores that invaded in 1581 who brought with modern firearms and cavalry. The Que’echa were set to work stripping the mountains of their bountiful gold reserves and many died from the flu and common cold which the invaders brought with them.
Until 1840 the Spanish kept control of the country until a temporary liberator, Hose Pechutio led a revolution and drove the occupiers out. This did not mean more freedom for the ordinary San Pedronans however. What followed was a series of bloody coups and revolts that led to immense instability in the country.
The most recent take-over was led by conservative elements of the military and imposed the brutal dictator General Lopez as President. He has given immense power to a select few military leaders and land owners, largely forcing the civilian populace into an indentured form of slavery. With the help of the thuggish enforcement divisions and a network of informers few people dare to oppose him.
That is not to say that no one is willing to stand up to Lopez. Captain Iago Garcia formerly of the National Guardia Republique has led a populist peasant’s revolt after defecting from the guardia because of the incredible brutality of his commanding officers. He had gathered widespread support in rural areas and his peasant “army” have defeated all four expeditions that Lopez has sent against them.
In the capital Val Verde, a bustling metropolis where the majority of trade occurs several radical European exiles have turned the most oppressed workers into revolutionaries as their comrades have in London and Paris. These anarchist movements are centred around the slum towns on the outskirts of the city and have become a major concern for the government, more than making up for their lack of training with numbers and fanaticism.
A much less politically motivated revolution has also occurred in the mountainous heartlands of the Que’echa Indians. A man calling himself the crocodile king and claiming to be directly descended from Bechalack has begun to stir up dissent in the reservations which Lopez has set up for the tribes. Rumours even exist of a new Que’echa city built in the mountains where the very power of the gods have been harnessed to achieve the goal of an world conquering empire dedicated to Bechalack.
Other dangerous threats exist also. Several convoys travelling along the banks of the mighty Antonasa river have been attacked by a mysterious group who resemble the lost conquistador company of Juan Sanchez, the first, and last, expedition to attempt to find El Dorado, city of gold. Several traders insist that these are the very same group of men and are now turned by whatever inhabits El Dorado into its most dangerous guardians.
The small aristocracy that hold a monopoly on the fertile lands of the Verde valley are allowed free reign to do as they wish on their palatial estates. A cabal of them have begun to explore the world of dark magic and have used a devilish combination of steam powered technology and ancient mysticism to increase their power and place the whole world at a greater risk than they can ever comprehend.
Of great worry to the other great powers is the growing influence of Prussia in South American affairs; Nowhere is this more true than in San Pedrona. General Hector Muchava is a well-known Prussian sympathiser and has allowed a number of Prussian operations to occur in the vast confines of his estate. The latest is by far the most dangerous for international peace. Kaiser Wilhelm himself has authorised a small group of elite Thule troops under the command of the ruthless Wilhelm Kramer to land secretly in San Pedrona and, with the help of General Muchava, infiltrate the United States of America to supply several Southern Resistance groups with the latest in Prussian technology.
At the same time Muchava’s rival, General Lucius Fernandez, has revealed his true colours as an American sympathiser and allowed a joint marine, cavalry and secret service expedition from the United States to disrupt his rival’s Prussian schemes. Captain Clint Forster is an Indian wars veteran and favours devastating cavalry charges to defeat his enemies.
But what is Lopez’s response to all this? With the lack of subtlety typical of strong-arm dictators he has ordered more force to be applied to the areas of dissent. Enforcement companies lead brutal raids on rebellious villages and also pressgang all available young men into the armed forces. They are numerous and tough but poorly trained. They prefer to use short ranged weapons and have become adept at chasing “enemies of the state” across country through the use of brutal Doberman-mastiff tracking hounds.
The National Guardia Republique are far more able but fewer in number. They tackle much more serious threats to the security of the regime. All members are army veterans and most of the officers are member of Lopez’s outer circle of followers. Most are well educated and from a generally privileged background. This makes them fiercely loyal and unlikely to sympathise with those they fight. Although the frontline armed forces get first rights to the small amount of scientific wonders that San Pedrona produces the Guardia Republique does have its own technician, a brilliant German American scientist named Helmut Sprodt. He has developed all manner of technological wonders and supplies a small number to Guardia Republique units.
The armed forces; the navy, the army and the zeppelin corps, also assist with security duties and some units have become media darlings and been placed on special operations only.
The secret police, or Sigilo, are the rapier to the other security forces’ blunt hammer. They nimbly navigate the complex politics of the region and strike with surgical skill at the most serious threats to the Lopez regime. Rigorous indoctrination produces able and utterly loyal operatives unafraid to utterly obliterate opposition. The secret police operate all over the world and have frequently come into conflict with the Okhrana and the Grey section.
Last but not least Lopez uses religion to pacify his people. The Catholic Church in San Pedrona support him, seeing a chance of stability in what has for so long been a fragile state. They go as far as to supply companies of “cleansers” to show revolutionaries the “true light of god with holy flame”. These fanatical troops are all former convicts marked for death but “resurrected” in order to serve as mindless troops of the “True” Church.
That was a brief introduction to the fictional banana republic I’m calling San Pedrona. I’ve taken several real world events and exaggerated them to a greater or lesser extent. You’ll also notice that I’ve posted up the first list, the San Pedrona peasant army.
This is Frontline armchair signing off.