Forgotten Futures VII

A Searing Account of Life During the Tsar's Invasion of Britain
Battle Under The Metropolis

The Tunnelling Terror
A Tale of Heroic Children in the Siege of London

Marcus L. Rowland
Copyright © 2001, portions Copyright © 1993-2000

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NOVEMBER 1904. The Tsar's invasion of Britain is at its height, and most of London is in ruins. Bombs fall by day, shells by day and night.

The adventurers are lower class children separated from their parents by the war. They have been evacuated to shelter in one of the deep underground "tube" train stations, where they will be comparatively safe. Use the special rules for children (Appendix E of the e-text rules, page 44 of the printed rules) and generate characters aged 8 to 12. The Pilot skill is not available. The only possessions they have are their clothing and whatever they carry on a normal school-day; ask them to list their possessions before describing the situation. Likely possessions are books, small toys, spectacles, pocket knives, pencils and crayons, possibly a catapult or a small (harmless to humans) air gun, and a few pence in cash. Bicycles were not allowed in the shelter, but anyone who chose a bicycle may be carrying some detachable accessories such as lamps and/or the pump. Girls will probably be wearing pinafores or school uniforms that lack pockets, but may have some of these items in their school bags. Each player must roll 2D6; on 11-12 all possessions other than clothing were lost in the evacuation or have since been stolen. Under no circumstances do the children have any guns, explosives, or other weapons.

Since some players may prefer not to take on the role of children, there are some suggestions on using teenaged or adult characters at the end. These notes should be read before running the adventure.

Useful sources for this adventure are the films Jabberwocky and Hope and Glory. Other films about the London blitz may also be helpful. The title of one section was suggested by Rat on a Stick, a Tunnels and Trolls scenario published by Judge's Guild. A printout of the map below will be needed.

Players Information
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THE day Britain was invaded you were at school, your parents were on a factory outing, a day-trip to Margate; the railway line to London was cut by bombing, then they were presumably caught behind the Russian advance; you have no idea if they are safe or not. Later your homes were shelled - fortunately you were at school, but you still have horrible memories of the destruction. As homeless children you were evacuated into the deep tube [subway] tunnels, which have been converted into bomb shelters since the Russians bombed the Thames Power Barrage and cut off the electricity supply. Currently you're living in Golders Green station. At first the Salvation Army looked after you, but things have gradually become disorganised; there's an occasional hand-out of soup, tea and bread, but otherwise you're left to your own devices. It'd be great fun if you weren't continually hungry and worried about your families.

In the last week or so food has become more scarce; the last few Salvation Army handouts have been poorer than usual, and none of the other refugees in the station seem to want to give you anything. You're tired, hungry, and feel a little ill.

Tonight there's an unusual smell in the air - a smell of cooking meat. At one end of the platform a group of ragged men are hunched over a stove and a cauldron, stirring a rich bubbling stew. They're selling a cup for 3d, and between you there is enough change for a couple of cups, which you share. It isn't until an hour or so later that you overhear some of the adults talking and realise that you've eaten rat stew.

Your first reaction is disgust. But starved as you are, it did taste very good.

With the power off you've ventured into the tunnels on several occasions, and have run into rats every time. Maybe there's a way to solve your food problems and even earn a little cash...

Referee's Information
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tube diagram tube map THE map and diagram show the setting of the adventure, the City and Southern Railway tunnels (later the Northern Line) under North London. The version shown is based on the real lines of this period, but more construction is completed or under way than in our history. The map to the left is geographical, and shows the layout of the lines throughout London (note that it doesn't distinguish between the deep "tube" tunnels, shallow "cut and cover" tunnels, and surface lines), the smaller diagram to the right isn't to scale; in particular, the branch line out to Edgware is much longer than it looks, and both of the Northern sections that are under construction pass under the Russian lines. The stations and cabling haven't been completed, but the tunnels have been dug and rails laid.

The Russians have discovered the tunnels and are preparing to use one for a raid into the very heart of the City of London, where they intend to detonate several tons of explosive under the Bank of England (which is above Bank station), blast their way into the vaults, killing anyone who interferes, and loot the Bank's gold reserves. This will destroy the economy of what's left of Britain and the British Empire, as well as giving the Tsar some much-needed gold to pay for the fleet of warships he has commissioned from the American Ring of plutocrats.

Optionally there is also a Terrorist base in the tunnels, one of several sites where the Terror is storing supplies for the eventual move against the Russians. If all else fails they may be used to stop the Russians and help the children, but this should be very much a last resort. It is better if the children survive (or die) by their own efforts.

The aim of this adventure is to give the children a chance to stumble across the raid in progress and either sound the alarm or sabotage the Russian plan. If they succeed any survivors will be treated as young heroes; this will eventually result in their adoption by members of the Terror (they are orphans, although they don't know it yet), a move to Aeria, and involvement in later adventures. If they fail they will probably be killed and hundreds of lives will be lost, but the result of the war will not otherwise be affected since the American Ring has already been destroyed by the Terror [AR 37].

As an alternative, the children might instead stumble across the Terrorist base first and be led to believe that they are the invaders; this option and its consequences are discussed at the end of the adventure.

Because of semi-starvation the children begin this scenario with all rolls to avoid disease etc. made with BODY -1. If they get a few good meals normal health is regained. Players should not be informed of this unless it becomes important.

The Tubes
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Building the "tube", 1904
LONDON'S deep "tubes" [subways] are run through steel tunnels embedded in the hard clay under the city. The trains are lower than surface designs, with curved roofs designed to fit the tunnels and short carriages so that they can negotiate tight curves. The use of moving shield rotary excavators followed by gangs of workmen to line the tunnels allows extremely rapid construction. The stations are also built inside steel tubes, to withstand the immense weight of the soil around them; for example, the station depicted in the diagram consists of two tubes somewhat wider than the main track tunnels, containing track and platforms, with a short central tube between them at the bottom of the stairs or escalators, which run through a diagonal tube to the surface.

More complex stations may have track on two or more levels, or more than two lines on the same level; if so there will be stairs and corridors linking the different platforms. In this period most stations (including Golders Green) have stairs only, not escalators. A few stations have one or more lifts [elevators] plus emergency spiral stairs.

Normally the platforms would be lit electrically, but as shelters they use oil lamps instead. The platforms are lined with rows of shaky bunk beds; since the power is off boards have been laid on the track adjacent to the platform, and more bunks have been put there. The air is smoky and VERY smelly; the "lavatories" are buckets emptied a little way down one of the tunnels when somebody remembers. Baths are a distant dream, but drinking water is available - sooner or later the pipes will probably be broken by bombing, but for now they're intact.

The dwellers in the station should be a cross-section of London life; most are from the poorer strata of society, often mourning family and friends killed by the Russians. Some are injured, or suffering the after-effects of traumatic events. Invariably there will be a few stock childhood problems; bossy old ladies who want the children to behave, a bully from their school, someone who thinks that they need educating, and so forth. Occasionally someone dies or leaves the shelter, and new faces appear; the news from the surface is grim, much worse than anything underground. There is no news of the adventurers' parents.

The tunnels themselves are dark steel-lined tubes whose floor is interrupted by the rails and their supports and power cables. Negotiating them in the dark should be a nightmare of tripping over cables and other obstacles underfoot, with occasional rustles and the squeals of mice and rats. Occasionally there is a distant rumble of an explosion somewhere overhead. Sometimes dirt showers down, loosened by the blast; there isn't any great danger, since the Russian bombs are fused to detonate on impact, but children shouldn't know that.

At intervals the parallel tubes are linked by smaller pipes, and there are safety alcoves in the tunnel walls, large enough to hold one or two adults (or several children) every hundred feet. There are occasional escape shafts with spiral staircases or ladders leading up to street level; due to the war most are now covered with tons of rubble and unusable. There are pools of water where the tunnels pass close to underground streams or sewers; normally they would be pumped dry, but without electricity the pumps aren't working. Near some stations branch tunnels lead to sidings used for trains that have been taken out of service; if you are feeling generous the children may even find a train, with oil lamps, torches, fire axes and other useful stuff in the cab. If for any reason they've made Golders Green too hot for themselves - for example, if they've been caught stealing - a train in a siding would make an excellent hideout.

The sections of the tunnel which are under construction have been closed off by wooden barriers a hundred yards past the last "working" stations; there are loose boards which can be pried off to reveal a gap large enough for a child. Beyond them the tunnel continues, but the tunnel is littered with wheelbarrows, scraps of timber, and other junk. Work stopped soon after the siege began. The stations in these sections were still under construction and the stairs haven't been installed; accordingly they have not been opened as shelters.

Rat On A Stick?
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IF the children don't follow up on the idea of catching rats, food supplies worsen and attitudes to beggars and thieves harden. Occasionally there is a tantalising smell of cooked meat, usually an unmistakable rat carcass cooked on a skewer over an improvised brazier. DON'T let the children eat any unless they steal food or can pay; rats are now 4d apiece, and there is talk of the price rising to 6d. All other foods are similarly expensive; a potato costs 3d, bread 1d a slice. There are still occasional hand-outs from the Salvation Army, but as the distribution network on the surface falls apart they come less and less often.

Historically rats have been a common source of food in sieges etc., and were often eaten by prisoners, aboard ship during the Napoleonic wars, and in other conditions of scarcity. If prepared properly and cooked thoroughly they are no worst than any other animal protein, although care must be taken to avoid their fleas and other parasites while preparing them. See any survivalist guide for more information.

Let the children spend some time preparing to explore the tunnels (they'll need to scrounge oil lamps or candles, sacks for the rats, spears and knives, gloves etc., all of which are in short supply) then make two or three trips, and catch enough rats and make enough money to want to go back for more. This shouldn't be completely without risk; rats can bite, and carry disease:

Rat - BODY [1], MIND [1], SOUL [1]
Brawling [1]; Bite, Effect 1, Damage A:B, B:B, C:F
Wounds: Any wound kills

Note: Players in the role of smaller children may object to the idea that a rat has the same BODY as them; remember that BODY indicates several factors including speed, agility, stamina, and coordination, not just strength or weight. While a BODY [1] child may be larger and stronger than a rat, the rat may be able to get a bite in before the child even realises where it has gone.

If anyone is bitten during a hunt, roll the number of bites that have caused Flesh wounds against the victim's BODY. If the roll succeeds, the bites are infected and the victim will become ill after 1-3 days. This should be treated as an Injury, becoming Critical after another 1-3 days without medical help.

Rat hunting methods might include simple traps, netting, cornering some rats and jumping on them with heavy boots (not recommended for children!), or using improvised spears, air guns, clubs and other weapons to kill them individually. Anything that sounds plausible should work at first.

As the children hunt the rats grow wary, and retreat further from the stations. Once they are routinely going a long way into the tunnels, hit them with the Russian attack. This should preferably come while they are exploring the incomplete track North of Golders Green, but anywhere away from a station will do. If the adventurers seem to be going too far afield block the line with a fall of debris (part of the tunnel roof has collapsed as a result of repeated bomb hits above); it can be cleared and shored up in a couple of hours by the Russian force described below, but children will find it an impassable barrier.

Troubleshooting: What if the children really don't like the idea of hunting rats, and adamantly refuse to go into the tunnels (for this or any other reason)? Then the Russians described below arrive at the station without any warning, and start to round up its occupants. Give the children a momentary chance to escape; if they don't oblige, put them to work clearing the boards and bedding from the track, and let one of them find a small revolver hidden under the bedding. If they still don't try to escape by the time the track is clear, the Russians will treat them like the other prisoners - they aren't worth saving...

Tunnel War
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THE Russians have captured the North end of the partially-completed line to Edgware and are preparing to use it for a daring raid on the Bank of England. Since there is no power the Russians must use railway wagons packed full of explosive, hauled by prisoners, and clear the builder's debris as they go. Once they reach Golders Green they will break open the barrier, "neutralise" any opposition they find, and carry on towards the Bank. It's slow going.

The Russian force consists of four ten-man squads, each led by a sergeant, assigned to clear out any opposition, followed by twenty prisoners who have the job of clearing the line, with five armed soldiers guarding them. Next come four tube carriages filled with explosive, each pulled by twenty prisoners and escorted by six more soldiers and four sappers (soldiers with engineering training). Four more squads of soldiers follow, accompanied by a Captain and two Lieutenants who are leading the raid. In all there are 128 Russians and a hundred prisoners. Any prisoner who refuses to work is whipped; anyone who tries to escape is shot.

The route from Edgware passes through several miles of unfinished tunnel before reaching Golders Green station. There are numerous hiding places along this route; stations, safety alcoves, cross tunnels, and so forth. Hiding behind builder's debris (such as barrels or cable drums) in the tunnels is a bad idea, since the Russians will have to move these obstacles out of the way to get the wagons through. There is no way to reach the surface, all exits in this section are incomplete or blocked by rubble, but the adventurers should easily hide and wait for the Russians to pass, then follow them to find out what's going on. If they try to go the other way towards Edgware they should run into more Russians, the rearguard who are making sure that there is no British counter-attack. They can also try to keep ahead of the Russians, of course, and may gain a few minutes if they can get through the barrier first. This gives them a little time to try to warn the adults at the station or get out, but convincing anyone will be difficult, and there isn't much that the evacuees can do anyway, apart from panicking or trying to escape to the surface or along the tunnels.

If the children venture onto the surface (at this or any other time) they'll run into random shelling; roll 2D6 for every minute that passes in real time (use the bracketed numbers for teenaged or older characters):

(10-12) A shell lands 2D6 x 10 ft. from the children:
Shell, radius 10ft, Effect 15, A:F/I, B:I/C, C:K
(3-9) Nothing happens.
British soldiers or police see the children and try to "rescue" them; the children must then convince them of the Russian threat (if they know of it). If they fail to convince the soldiers, they will be hustled to the next convenient shelter - a tube station which happens to be on the Russian line of advance - and left in the care of adults. Any adults or teenagers on the surface will be assumed to be looters, and fired on by anyone who sees them!
There are few intact buildings; most structures are reduced to cratered rubble by the shelling, and there is little or no shelter from the shelling. Since it's the first time the children have been on the surface in several weeks they will be dazzled by the November sunshine.

If the Russians find the children in the unfinished section and they appear to be harmless an English-speaking officer will question them ("Are there any soldiers in the tunnel?" "Why are you hiding here?" etc.) then either detail some soldiers (one per two children) to take them back to the Russian lines for further questioning or press them into service pulling wagons, as seems appropriate for their ages; older children will be forced to work, younger children are taken for questioning. Any child who can speak Russian, however poor, will be kept as an interpreter. If the children are taken away they may be able to overcome incautious guards and steal their weapons (rifles, bayonets, and explosive and gas grenades - see below), but if they fail they can expect no mercy. If they don't try to escape they will be questioned briefly then kept with other prisoners; unfortunately this leaves them in the target area when the Terror finally attacks the Russians, and they may be caught in the crossfire.

Note that the Russians will say nothing to reveal their target; that's a military secret. However, children who look young for their age may be able to take a look at plans while pretending to understand nothing that's going on. If players think of this they should be allowed to get away with it. The Bank station is circled on the map the officers occasionally consult, the sappers have detailed engineering plans for the Bank station and the Bank of England itself.

Once in the occupied part of the line the soldiers will cover both parallel tunnels in their advance, and use their guns, bayonets explosives and gas grenades to kill anyone they find to make sure that nobody can sound the alarm. They are well-rehearsed; when they come to a station they will force everyone out of the central lobby, blow the stairs, escalators, or lift to leave them impassable, force the evacuees to clear the tracks, then herd them back into the central lobby. If any of the prisoners pulling the wagons have died or are injured the Russians will "recruit" some of the most healthy-looking evacuees from the station. Finally they throw in cyanogen grenades to kill or incapacitate the rest. Anyone who resists or tries to escape is shot.

Cyanogen - Effect 6+1 per 2 rounds¹, A:F, B:I C:C/K
¹This is for exposure as a grenade explodes, or in the first minute afterwards. Reduce the base Effect by -1 per minutes since it explodes; e.g. after 5 minutes the base Effect is only 1+1. Once the Effect drops to 0+1 the droplets of liquid have settled out and air can be breathed normally, although surfaces remain dangerously contaminated for days.
The victim is coughing violently, will have difficulty breathing for several minutes once clear of the gas, and is partially blinded by streaming tears.
Long-term physical damage to lungs or heart which will take weeks or months to heal completely.
Immediately incapacitating permanent damage, as above, which will probably result in death within a few hours to days. Full recovery takes years, if it is possible at all.
Note that cyanogen makes repeated attacks until the victim dies or escapes.

If the adventurers are in the tunnels between occupied stations they ought to have a good chance of going unnoticed; the Russians won't be expecting to find anyone. If the children are searching for rats they will probably be going into cross passages, sidings and safety alcoves; they will hear shots and explosions echoing down the tunnel before the Russians come into view. As the Russians pass it should be obvious that they mean no good; all are armed, and they are talking in obvious foreign accents.

The children can try to keep ahead of them, hide and wait for them to pass then look for a way out, follow them, confront them, or try to find a way to sabotage the Russian plan.

If they go back the way the Russians have come they'll find everyone dead at the station. Cyanogen is an extremely nasty cyanide compound, and if the children encounter the gas cloud before it has completely settled they may be seriously injured or killed, as described above.

Escape tunnels are infrequent, one or two between each station; the referee should decide if there is one nearby. They lead up 40-50 ft. spiral stairs to grilles which are probably impossible for a child to open. Shouting may eventually attract attention, or improvised tools might be used to open them. Once out, they face the shelling described above. If they can find someone in authority who is prepared to believe them, there will be time for a messenger to warn the Army, and get a defending force down into the tunnel. It will take some hours for the Russians to reach the Bank and prepare the charges for detonation.

If they follow the Russians they'll be walking into the next massacre, and another station whose central lobby is filled with cyanogen fumes.

If the children confront the Russians without weapons they'll be pressed into pulling one of the wagons and whipped if they stop. Not a good idea...

As the wagons pass there may be time to get into the wagons from safety alcoves or connecting tunnels; the tunnel is dark and the Russians are making a lot of noise so nobody should notice if they are careful. Once aboard they may be able to do something to disrupt the attack. There's nobody inside the wagons - just crates of explosives, fuses, etc. If the children have matches they can give the Russians a real headache, but all of the prisoners pulling the wagons will probably be killed, and an explosion of this magnitude will break open the tunnel and fill it with earth and debris. Nevertheless, this is still a qualified success. Dynamite could also be thrown at guards etc., although the burning fuse makes it obvious and easy to dodge.

What else can the adventurers do? Anything that sound plausible and will keep things moving! Don't be too harsh if they manage to steal guns and start stalking the Russians; they're small targets so the fusillade of shots that follows should mostly miss, at least at first. If they can kill all three officers the remaining Russians will retreat; only the officers can give the order to detonate the bombs.

If the children can get to the surface and convince the authorities that the threat is real, soldiers will be sent down into the tunnels and will eventually manage to stop the Russians; the children won't be allowed to participate, and at some point the wagons will explode, killing the prisoners and many British soldiers. This is still a success for the adventurers.

The Tunnelling Terror
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THIS is an optional plot complication, which should be introduced if the players seem to be unusually inept, and are on the run from pursuing Russians. As they are running through the dark tunnel they stumble into a side tunnel which they have previously overlooked (or haven't reached in earlier exploration). It has no obvious reason to exist; although there are points and rails there is barely room for one carriage of a train, and it ends in a rivet-studded steel bulkhead after forty feet. There are several large empty crates at the end of the tunnel, made of fresh-looking wood which lacks the dust seen on every other surface. The tracks end abruptly at the bulkhead, without buffers or any warning signal. If examined closely, it can be seen that the rails go into the bulkhead; there is a tiny gap around them, and a child's fingers can feel them continuing for at least an inch or so.

At a minimum the children should think of hiding behind the crates, they may also wish to investigate them; if so they will find the word "Mauser" stencilled on the wood. Before they can do much the lights of the Russians become visible. As the children hide or prepare to run, another bulkhead silently slides down between them and the tunnel entrance, then the "solid" end of the tunnel opens, revealing a crude-looking tunnel, lit by red lamps stretching into the distance, and a half-dozen men holding magazine pistols fitted with silencers (which will not be recognised by children, they are virtually unknown in this period). They wear plain grey uniforms with red ribbons in the lapel. They quickly question the children - they want to know why they are there, who they are hiding from, and anything else that seems useful. Naturally they have no interest in answering the childrens' questions. As they talk the Russian search party arrives and checks out the remaining ten feet or so of the alcove, watched by one of the men in grey via a cunningly concealed system of mirrors. The children are made to keep quiet until they depart, finding nothing.

The men are Terrorists, guarding one of their main London weapons caches, built in part of a temporary tunnel which linked the two Northern branches of the City and Southern line during construction. The section consists of a few hundred yards of single track, with three long sidings. Unlike the permanent track the sides and ceiling are planks, not steel and concrete segments, supported by massive timbers that give it the look of an old mine. It was originally used to move the tunnelling machines and all plans show it as filled in; nobody is aware that this part still exists. A battery-powered engine and twenty wagons loaded with guns, munitions and explosives are stored in the tunnel and in two sidings. The third siding contains four tube carriages which are used as the Terrorists' "barracks", divided into some dormitories, offices, a kitchen, and a closed goods wagon which can be used as an improvised cell. Twenty Terrorists are based here.

The Terrorists have been ordered to stay put and do nothing except defend the cache, but given a sufficiently heart-wrenching account of the Russian actions they may be moved to intervene. However, if they are told that the Bank is the Russian target they'll refuse - it's a major institution of Capitalism, and high on their list of things to be destroyed when the Revolution comes. Even if they decide to intervene the decision will be preceded by a long argument about dialectical materialism, political necessity, and the greater good of humanity, which will be of little or no interest to children; one of the men in grey gives them a hunk of bread, and they will be too busy wolfing it down to pay much attention.

Once the Russians have been dealt with, the Terrorists withdraw leaving the surviving prisoners to fend for themselves. They take care to take the children with them, since they know the location of their base. During the next few days, until word comes that the weapons are needed, the Terrorists treat the children well and try to indoctrinate them into the basics of revolutionary socialism. Anyone trying to escape will be locked into the goods wagon, of course...

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Russian Soldiers
of the 1904 War
Russian Soldiers / Sergeants
BODY [3/4], MIND [2], SOUL [2], Brawling [6/8], First Aid [4] (one soldier per squad), Marksman [5], Melee Weapon [5/6], Military Arms [4], Riding [4]
Quote: (in Russian) "Sir! Yes Sir!"
Equipment: Rifle, 50 rounds ammunition, bayonet, 10 explosive grenades, 5 cyanogen grenades, gas mask, lantern, whip (prisoner guards only).
Notes: Typical Imperial soldiers, ruthlessly trained to obey orders regardless of their nature. The sergeants are selected for strength and brutality, hence the higher BODY etc. At least one soldier in each squad has been trained in a few English phrases, such as "Clear the track!", but is not a linguist. One soldier per squad has first aid training and a field dressing kit.

Russian Sappers (engineers)
BODY [3], MIND [3], SOUL [2], Brawling [6], Marksman [6], Melee Weapon [5], Military Arms [6], Riding [5]
Quote: (in Russian) "Give me a five minute fuse."
Equipment: Rifle, 50 rounds ammunition, knapsack filled with fuses, detonators, 10 explosive grenades, gas mask, helmet, miner's helmet lamp, spades and picks (on wagon)
Notes: Soldiers with a little more technical knowledge, but otherwise trained to the same ruthless efficiency as the others.

Russian Officer
of the 1904 War
Russian Officers
BODY [3], MIND [4], SOUL [2], Brawling [6], Linguist (French, English, Italian) [5], Marksman [6], Melee Weapon [6], Military Arms [6], Riding [7]
Quote: (in Russian) "Rapid fire, Sergeant"
Equipment: Revolver, 20 rounds ammunition, sabre, gas mask, torch
Notes: Typical Russian officers, arrogant but obedient to the Tsar. They have no compunction in killing anyone they encounter in the tunnels, it's war and these are just enemy peasants...

Terrorist Volunteers
of the 1904 War
Terrorist Soldiers
BODY [3], MIND [3], SOUL [3], Brawling [6], First Aid [5], Marksman [7], Melee Weapon [6], Linguist (Russian, German) [4], Military Arms [6], Riding [4]
Quote: "Dialectic requires us to weigh the consequences of our actions"
Equipment: Rifle, 50 rounds ammunition, bayonet, 10 explosive grenades, miner's lantern, field dressings.
Notes: Typical Terrorist soldiers, trained to unthinking obedience to The Cause but able to push the parameters of their orders provided that their main mission isn't compromised.

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THERE is one obvious variations on this plot; the children find the Terrorist base before the Russians invade, and are on the run from the Terrorists when they encounter the Russians. Don't spell out the politics of the war in any detail; all that the children should know is that the Russians have invaded and are besieging London. They may have heard of the mysterious airships of the Terror, and have some vague idea that the Terrorists may be a third force in the war, but know no details.

In this variation the children are searching a side tunnel for rats when they find a stack of Mauser boxes. As they search the end of the tunnel opens, as described above, and the children are captured and questioned about their reasons for being in the tunnel. The Terrorists treat the children humanely but refuse to say anything about themselves, and it should be obvious that some of them have foreign names and accents; highly suspicious in the context of the war and the tradition of most of the adventure novels the children will have read. It should also be obvious that these mysterious foreigners have explosives stockpiled under London. If the children decide that they must be plotting to assassinate the King or commit some act of wholesale destruction they're thinking on the right lines for the genre.

After a couple of days one of the guards is careless and opens the doors while the children are nearby, giving them a chance to escape. They should not be allowed to commit any major acts of sabotage, such as setting fire to the ammunition trains, before escaping.

Although the Terrorists don't want to hurt children, they can't let them reveal the secret of their base, so a group sets off in pursuit. This should be a nightmare hunt through the tunnels; the Terrorists have been down here at least as long as the children, and are equally at home in the conditions of the tubes. Just as the children think that they have shaken off pursuit... they reach one of the stations on the Russian line of advance, just in time to witness the massacre of its occupants. It should be obvious that the attackers are Russians, and a lot less kind than their former captors, which ought to leave the children wondering who is chasing them. They can stay - and probably die - or retreat, with a good chance that the Terrorists will catch them if they go back.

In this situation the children may try to lead the Russians to the Terrorists, or vice versa, without being caught, a good way to resolve the scenario. They may instead return to the Terrorists and tell them what they've seen, with results as above.

Teenaged and Adult Adventurers
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TEENAGED characters should be aged 15-18 and based on a point for every year of their age. In this case and in the case of adults the characters are working class, former employees of a local factory which was bombed early in the siege; their homes were also bombed. They left school at the earliest opportunity and may spend up to three points on any appropriate skill (such as Brawling, Thief, Mechanic), but may not purchase primarily academic skills such as Doctor, Psychology and Scientist; Pilot is not available, and any other skills should be relevant to work or a plausible previous job. Since anyone with military training would be called up early in the war, military skills are only available if the character has deserted from the Army or Navy (in which case the shelter should occasionally be checked by the military police, who will arrest any deserters they find) or was invalided out earlier in the war; appropriate physical disabilities should be taken as reduced BODY etc. Active members of the armed forces should not take part, since they would be in the lines around London fighting the Russians.

Older characters may need more encouragement to start rat hunting, but there are other ways to get them into the tunnels. Most alternative sources of food and money involve theft, which could easily lead to their being chased out of the station, or to the arrival of police during a lull in the shelling. The station entrance could be bombed, with a sewer broken and filthy water flooding down onto the platform - the adventurers' bunks are in the path of the water, and nobody else is prepared to make room for them. The army could send the military police down to the station to "recruit" all able-bodied men (including teenagers), and arrest all deserters; make it clear that such "recruits" will be sent straight to the front. If the adventurers can't take the hint take them to the front and give them a couple of days of trench warfare, bombing, and shelling, with no chance to hit back effectively, under seriously incompetent officers (think of the first world war or the TV series Blackadder Goes Forth) before they have any opportunity to escape. There is no room for heroics here; the enemy has superior equipment and firepower and any attempt to advance or cross the fire zone between the lines is suicidally dangerous. Female characters will be left in the tunnels, of course, unless they adopt male disguises. After a few days give the characters in the trenches a chance to escape back to the tunnel; they find one of the emergency escape shafts while digging a trench, or get a chance to desert when their officers are killed. If they prefer to fight on bravely this should be allowed, of course, but it is more or less futile.

Once the adventurers are in the tunnel, let them stumble across the Terrorist base before the Russian hordes. The Terrorists spend some time interrogating the adventurers as suspected spies, then subject them to some sort of initiative test (such as escaping from a locked wagon) before giving them a chance to join the Revolution as probationary members of the Outer Circle. Give them a little firearms training (enough to give them Marksman at its default value) then throw the invasion at them. Continue the battle until all of the adventurers have been Injured or worst - this is a desperate situation and neither side is taking prisoners - with the injured adventurers left behind as the Terrorists advance. Unless someone does something very stupid this should end with the adventurers as wounded heroes of the Revolution; afterwards they will be given pensions and offered jobs in the rebuilding of civilisation.

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THIS is an extremely dangerous adventure, especially for a child, anyone surviving should earn Bonus Points for effective role-playing (bickering like children, good marketing tactics while selling rats, sobbing, etc.), for unusually creative use of a child's limited characteristics and skills, for effective or imaginative tactics, or for enhancing the referee's enjoyment. Points should also be awarded for the following specific objectives:

Stop the Russians before they destroy the Bank.
(only if the Terrorists were not involved)
3 pts / player
Do so without killing their prisoners.2 pts / player
Per Russian officer killed by the children.1 pt (but see below)
If the Terrorists were involved:
The children persuade the Terrorists to intervene.2 pts / player
The children take an active part in the battle.2 pts / player
If the variant plot is used:
The children shake off Terrorist pursuit.1 pt / player
The children shake off Russian pursuit.2 pt / player
The children persuade the Terrorists to stop the Russians.2 pts / player
The children trick the Terrorists into stopping the Russians.3 pts / player

While Bonus points are awarded for taking part in the battles and killing officers, children are likely to be traumatised by such experiences. Possible results might include later psychosis, bad dreams, violent or homicidal tendencies, or extreme pacifism. It is likely that these symptoms will take some time to appear, weeks (after the war) or even years later.

Children have delicate ears, and anyone near loud explosions or gunfire might suffer hearing damage; divide the Effect of the most powerful weapon or explosion by 10, and use it to attack the child's BODY - on a B result there is minor hearing impairment, on a C there is serious damage (this should not amount to total deafness). Anyone critically injured at any point might suffer some permanent damage, such as a missing hand or eye - use the hit location table in the rules to decide this.

To convert an experienced child into an adult character

Example: Timmy Jenkins (aged 8) has earned 8 Bonus points and is going to grow up.

Further Adventures
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THIS adventure takes a week or two before the end of the war, giving time for more incidents before it ends. For example, the Terror might have a mission which needs a child, to act as an apparently innocent courier or to get into a space too small for any adult. The children might decide to escape from the Terror if they are being held in the tunnel. The Russians might launch another assault on the tunnels. There's lots of scope, and a whole city available for further adventures. See FF5 for much more on London as a campaign setting.

Once the war is over there should be some weeks of uncertainty before the children know that their parents are dead (If you want a plot complication at a later date, there might always be some doubt of some or all of the deaths). Orphans who distinguished themselves fighting the Russians are likely to be bought to the Terror's notice and offered homes in Aeria, even if they accidentally caused trouble for the Terrorists - after all, a child can't be expected to understand the nuances of revolutionary politics. This is a convenient way to create Aerian characters for a campaign set early in the twentieth century; just convert the character to an adult as outlined above, briefly describe a few years in the newly-created (and very Spartan) Aerian educational system, then decide on a career that is likely to lead characters into adventures. Along the way they are thoroughly indoctrinated into the Federation's version of revolutionary socialism, taught to pilot an air-ship, etc.

The Federation Intelligence Bureau (appearing in the next adventure) is a particularly suitable career since it badly needs operatives who are not obviously members of the former Terror, and offers adventure opportunities for both sexes. If other careers are selected, remember that all Aerians are trained to absolute obedience to their leaders; they can simply be assigned to any mission that needs them.

It is entirely possible for characters to go in other directions. For example, a child might refuse to go to Aeria, be adopted by Londoners, and eventually become involved in opposition to the aims and methods of the Terror (later the Federation). In this event they will remain outsiders and should not be able to learn the Pilot skill. It is possible to work for the aims of the Federation without being an Aerian citizen; the Federation armed services are largely composed of such outsiders - needless to say they do not have knowledge of the technology of flight. It is plausible for members of the Federation Intelligence Bureau to have this status; care will be taken to avoid involving them in cases which might give them access to Aerian secrets.

For an unusual character, someone might be adopted into the Terror but resist indoctrination; sooner or later one order too many will be disobeyed, with unpleasant results - remember that anyone who knows the secrets of flight will find it very difficult to withdraw from Aeria without suffering an unfortunate "accident".