For centuries the Crocodile Emperors of the Que’echa ruled what would become San Pedrona unchallenged. Using a winning combination of brutal oppression, powerful armies and heavy indoctrination to create a powerful empire and crush their rivals. At the centre of Que’echa society was the crocodilian god Bechalack, a vengeful and destructive deity who was believed to crush the enemies of the empire.
However the myth of Que’echa invincibility was crushed in 1581 when Portuguese conquistadores landed on San Pedrona’s coast. They ruthlessly pillaged outlying villages and the fleeing Que’echa brought back frightened rumours of “fire-sticks” and “men with the bodies of animals”. The conquistadores continued their vicious attacks into the interior of San Pedrona. They camped on the edge of the plain that would become known thereafter as Santa Maria. Unbeknownst to them Que’echa scouts had been following them since they entered the jungle. Now, hidden in ditches and foliage lay 5000 of the elite Crocodile Guard, a terrifying force of fanatical combat experts. As the Conquistadores made camp that night the light from their torches glinted of the flint clubs and blades of the Que’echa as they sprang from their hiding places and set about the invaders.
They had reasoned without the tactical genius of Manuel Fiero, leader of the conquistadores and victor across a thousand fields in his native Italy. He had used disaffected serf tribes slaving under the whip of the Crocodile emperor’s lash to beat the Que’echa at their own game. The very scouts themselves were being followed by these natives who wished to throw off the Que’echa yoke. Fiero had laid his soldiers armed with arquebuses at the centre of his camp, and, as the Crocodile warriors leapt from their hiding places, their gruesome battle cries were cut short by the gunpowder of the so called “fire sticks”. Only then did the heavy cavalry engage crashing into the Que’echa flanks and hacking down the unarmoured infantry. Fiero himself led a cohort of pike men into the melee and masterfully orchestrated his forces to drive back the numerically superior opposition. The Emperor Coatl watched in horror from his golden palanquin as his greatest warriors were effortlessly destroyed by these foreign “sorcerers”. Soon he was caught up in the rout and, as the story goes, a skilled Swiss marksman among the conquistador forces killed him with a shot to the stomach.
The remaining Que’echa leaderless and under the belief that their protector god had deserted them offered little resistance to the victorious conquistador forces. The remnants of the Crocodile guard headed into the mountains where it is believed they died from exposure and the harsh predators that haunt the lonely peaks. The conquistadores, driven half-mad by the stories of endless fortunes of gold soon had the Que’echa working as slaves to unearth the gold reputedly hidden in the mountains.
314 years later the Que’echa situation does not seem to have improved. Under general Lopez they are still being forced to search for the gold that eluded their ancestors. They live in heavily guarded labour camps where, until recently they have lived oppressed. That was until in 1894 a remote camp in the high mountains stopped its regular contact with high command. All investigators have not returned but their fate is clearly pointed to by the shrunken heads which regularly appear strapped to the gate of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples in Val Verde. More remote camps also stopped making contact and a similar pattern of events occurred until a full-scale military operation was ordered. Veteran troops from the Atlantic War journeyed into the mountains. The few crazed survivors talked about fanatical troops wearing the hides of crocodiles holding flaming swords and carving a bloody swathe through the San Pedrona army soldiers. Soon lowland camps flared into revolt as rumours of a new Que’echa empire high in the mountains spread like wildfire.
Lopez had tried to discount these ideas as the mad ravings of the insane but behind the scenes his generals are terrified by a figure known only as Crocodile King. This man is in fact the last descendant of Emperor Coatl who survived the battle of Santa Maria and oversaw the establishment of a city on the peak of Mount Alto. The forbidden knowledge of the Que’echa Black Priests was unlocked for the first time and harnessed to reequip the few surviving Crocodile guards with weapons of demonic power. It was under the current Crocodile King, a boy of only 17, that the attacks began. He is no longer content to bide his time as his forefathers have. Releasing the imprisoned Black Priest, Kamun, he has set his sights upon one goal and one goal alone; the conquest of the earth and the creation of an international Que’echa empire. If his current success continues he may succeed in his aim.
The Crocodile warriors that have carved out their ruler’s bloody empire are fanatics to a man. Only the strongest members of Que’echa tribe are chosen to serve in this distinguished unit and they are given the finest equipment and weapons available. Potential warriors must kill and skin a giant crocodile before being allowed to join and they wear this toughened hide into battle as a mark of their deeds. Many paint vicious patterns on their faces with skulls being particularly popular.
Those Que’echa who do not possess the natural ability to join the elite ranks of the Crocodile warriors serve as support units wielding swords, shields and spears strapped with explosives. Some also form the scout units known as chameleons for their abilities to blend into the natural flora.
The Black Priests were a long forbidden order of rogue sorcerers who were rumoured to conjure demonic spirits. Traditionally Que’echa rulers had shunned these evil beings but, in his endless quest for power, the Crocodile King has released the ancient being known as Kamun, a 500 year old immortal with almost limitless powers.
|Crocodile king||2+||+5||+0||+1||Ld+2, Up to 20pts of magical powers||Crocodile sword, crocodile hide||52+|
|Kamun||2+||+2||+0||+0||Ld+1, Up to 40pts of magical powers, immortal||Combat knife, lined coat||32+|
|Black Priest||4+||+2||+0||+0||Ld+1, Up to 20pts of magical powers||Combat knife, lined coat||13+|
|Crocodile warrior||4+||+3||+0||+1||Berserker||Crocodile sword, crocodile hide||28|
|Que’echa soldier||5+||+2||+0||+1||Sword, shield||10|
|Que’echa spearman||5+||+1||+1||+1||Explosive spear, lined coat||19|
Crocodile hide counts as a breastplate
Crocodile blade counts as a sword with a -2 pluck modifier
A sling counts as a thrown knife
An explosive spear is a thrown weapon which can be used any number of times in a game with the following profile
|Weapon||Range||SV modifier||Pluck Modifier||Notes||Pts|
|Explosive spear||6”||+5||-1||Select a point for the spear to land all enemies within two inches are hit by the explosion||21pts|
Kamun or any Black priest may replace their knife with a ritual blade (sword) (+1pts)
Any Que’echa soldier may take a lined coat (+1pts) or brigandine (+2pts)
One demon may be taken. This can be a lesser or greater demon (See heroes, villains and fiends for rules)