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Old 03-09-2014, 04:02 PM
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Default Twilight 1900

I'm reading a chapter in The Savage Wars of Peace- Small Wars and the Rise of American Power (Max Boot) on the Boxer Rebellion and the event/setting seems to me to make for a pretty interesting alternative T2K-ish campaign scenario. You have multinational military personnel (American, British- including imperial troops such as Sikhs-, Russian, German, French, and Japanese) and various civilians (diplomats, merchants, missionaries, Chinese Christians or other friendly locals) involved, and a pretty nasty set of enemies (boxers, imperial Chinese troops) as well.

There are lots of ways you could play it. The players could be part of a multinational relief/rescue force cut off from its parent units, or a small party sent out to reach an isolated outpost to rescue civilians or reinforce a garrison, or a group of civilians trying to reach the international community in Peking, or you could simply play out a bit of intrigue in one of the besieged legations. Whatever the starting point, your players would be stuck in a strange and exotic land, surrounded and outnumbered by hordes of bloodthirsty enemies.

I think it would be interesting to research period arms and equipment- it's not my area of expertise.

The one thing that makes me a little uneasy about the idea is the latent racism that is part-and-parcel of turn-of-the-century imperialism. I wouldn't feel comfortable RP'ing that and I can see how it could cause issues for a gaming group.

Still, the 1900 Boxer Rebellion seems like an interesting premise for an unconventional T2K campaign.
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Old 03-09-2014, 04:58 PM
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The Sand Pebbles is an excellent example of this kind of adventure. Cut off from any support, forced to pick a side in a war they have no intention of becoming involved in, and trying to get home.

McQueen's last line in the film is heartbreaking.
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:00 PM
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Don't forget that at that time it took months for ships to travel from distant ports and rail transport could take days if not weeks. You don't need to do a lot to have a unit cut off from higher command or from friendly forces.

It's also worth noting that at that time China is considered to have been a nation in decline and foreign nations had control over many of the Chinese ports thus controlling trade and immigration. It's also worth noting that the Boxers were a product of China being under the stress of this foreign control and they display typical characteristics of a millenarian movement. They believed themselves to have supernatural abilities and also that they would be aided by millions of "spirit soldiers" in their fight to rid China of foreign influence. In this they share some similarities with the Ghost Dance of 1890.

From what I recall of my high school classes, China at the time, consisted of a number of provinces run by lords/warlords who owed their allegiance to the Dowager Empress. The Empress herself was not universally loved/liked as she was quite conservative and had rejected the "Hundred Days of Reforms" so as to maintain Manchu power. She visibly took power in 1898 from the more progressive Emperor Guangxu although she had been the true ruler for many years (but she had formerly worked behind the scenes). So while the country had a "national" army and it was being modernized, the province lords were responsible for maintaining the armies (and militias) in their provinces and there was a lot of variation in training, equipment and uniforms of the different provinces. There's plenty of room for intrigue, political power plays and shifting allegiances between the lords/warlords.

And to add to the international flavour, both Italy and Austria-Hungary sent land forces while Australia sent naval contingents that also supplied troops and the French forces dispatched included Indochinese and Algerian units.
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Old 03-10-2014, 03:10 PM
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For the production of 55 Days at Peking a pretty good "reduced area" recreation of the Legation Quarter was built. We've got some screen caps on our wiki: http://asmrb.pbworks.com/w/page/9959233/TooB%20Peking

We even did a 1900-era firearms list (it's for Call of Cthulhu mechanics, but otherwise "in-period").

http://asmrb.pbworks.com/w/page/9959...irearms%201900

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Old 12-08-2018, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
I'm reading a chapter in The Savage Wars of Peace- Small Wars and the Rise of American Power (Max Boot) on the Boxer Rebellion and the event/setting seems to me to make for a pretty interesting alternative T2K-ish campaign scenario. You have multinational military personnel (American, British- including imperial troops such as Sikhs-, Russian, German, French, and Japanese) and various civilians (diplomats, merchants, missionaries, Chinese Christians or other friendly locals) involved, and a pretty nasty set of enemies (boxers, imperial Chinese troops) as well.

There are lots of ways you could play it. The players could be part of a multinational relief/rescue force cut off from its parent units, or a small party sent out to reach an isolated outpost to rescue civilians or reinforce a garrison, or a group of civilians trying to reach the international community in Peking, or you could simply play out a bit of intrigue in one of the besieged legations. Whatever the starting point, your players would be stuck in a strange and exotic land, surrounded and outnumbered by hordes of bloodthirsty enemies.

I think it would be interesting to research period arms and equipment- it's not my area of expertise.

The one thing that makes me a little uneasy about the idea is the latent racism that is part-and-parcel of turn-of-the-century imperialism. I wouldn't feel comfortable RP'ing that and I can see how it could cause issues for a gaming group.

Still, the 1900 Boxer Rebellion seems like an interesting premise for an unconventional T2K campaign.
A lot of the Eight Nations Alliance weapons were still in use in World War I, so I had a lot of them already done, and added in the handful that were obsolete by the start of the Great War. These have all been calculated using FF&S, plugging in actual numbers for the cartridge data and the firearm's barrel length, overall length, and weight.

Italy:
M1891 Rifle (Carcano): Wt 3.83 kg, Dam 4, Pen 2-Nil, Blk 9, SS 4, Rng 116, Mag 6, BA
M1889 Revolver (Bodeo): Wt 0.95 kg, Dam 2, Pen Nil, Blk 2, SS 4, Rng 20, Mag 6R, DAR

United States:
M1892 Rifle (Krag-Jorgensen): Wt 3.83 kg, Dam 4, Pen 2-3-Nil, Blk 8, SS 4, Rng 121, Mag 5, BA
M1895 Rifle (Lee): Wt 3.77 kg, Dam 3, Pen 2-Nil, Blk 8, SS 3, Rng 85, Mag 5, BA
M1892 Revolver (Colt): Wt 0.94 kg, Dam 1, Pen Nil, Blk 2, SS 3, Rng 5, Mag 6R, DAR

United Kingdom:
Rifle, Charger Loading, Lee-Enfield: Wt 4.19 kg, Dam 4, Pen 2-3-Nil, Blk 8, SS 4, Rng 127, Mag 10, BA
Rifle, Magazine, Lee-Metford: Wt 4.19 kg, Dam 2, Pen 1-Nil, Blk 8, SS 1, Rng 88, Mag 10i, BA
Martini-Henry Mk IV: Wt 3.83 kg, Dam 3, Pen Nil, Blk 8, SS 3, Rng 87, Mag 1i, SS
Webley Revolver: Wt 1.10 kg, Dam 2, Pen 1-Nil, Blk 2, SS 4, Rng 24, Mag 6R, DAR

Germany:
M1898 Rifle (Mauser): Wt 4.09 kg, Dam 4, Pen 2-3-Nil, Blk 8, SS 4, Rng 126, Mag 5, BA
M1883 Revolver (Reichsrevolver): Wt 0.94 kg, Dam 2, Pen Nil, Blk 2, SS 4, Rng 21, Mag 6R, SAR

France:
Mle 1886 Rifle (Lebel): Wt 4.18 kg, Dam 4, Pen 2-3-Nil, Blk 9, SS 4, Rng 136, Mag 8i, BA
Mle 1892 Revolver (MAS): Wt 0.85 kg, Dam 2, Pen Nil, Blk 2, SS 4, Rng 18, Mag 6R, DAR

Austria-Hungary:
M1888 Rifle (Mannlicher): Wt 4.52 kg, Dam 4, Pen 2-3-Nil, Blk 9, SS 4, Rng 132, Mag 5, BA
M1898 Revolver (Rast & Gasser): Wt 0.94 kg, Dam 2, Pen Nil, Blk 1, SS 4, Rng 16, Mag 8R, DAR

Japan:
Type 30 Rifle (Arisaka): Wt 3.95 kg, Dam 4, Pen 2-Nil, Blk 9, SS 4, Rng 121, Mag 5, BA
Type 22 Rifle (Murata): Wt 4.09 kg, Dam 4, Pen 2-3-Nil, Blk 9, SS 4, Rng 148, Mag 8i, BA
Type 26 Revolver: Wt 0.88 kg, Dam 2, Pen 1-Nil, Blk 2, SS 4, Rng 20, Mag 6R, DAR

Russia:
M91 Rifle (Mosin-Nagant): Wt 4.00 kg, Dam 4, Pen 2-3-Nil, Blk 8, SS 4, Rng 124, Mag 5, BA
M1895 Revolver (Nagant): Wt 0.88 kg, Dam 1, Pen Nil, Blk 2, SS 4, Rng 17, Mag 7R, DAR


The Lee Rifle was used by U.S. Marines, the Krag by the Army.
Most UK troops had the (long) Lee-Enfield. “Colonials” (Indian, Australian, and Chinese UK troops) had either the Lee-Metford or Martini-Henry.
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Old 12-08-2018, 11:40 PM
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The Austrians had upgraded to the M1895 Mannlicher mostly I think, plus the M1890 Mannlicher carbine.

United States has Springfield trapdoors out the door. There's also the Remington-Keene rifle which was used by the Bureau of Indian Affairs police. And the Army had bought 10,000 Winchester 1895s during the Spanish American War but hadn't sold them off until 1906.

Russians still had large stocks of their Model 1868 and Model 1870 Berdan rifles.

French had their Fusil Gras mle 1874, the Gras rifle.

Italy had fairly recently switched over to the M1870 Vetterli and M1870/87 Vetterli.

Germans had a half-dozen variants, modernizations, and upgrades of the Mauser Model 1874. There's also the Gewehr 88 and its carbine plus modernizations which were common through to WWI in reserve units.

Not a whole lot of them in the first-line national armies, but available in a thousand calibers and variants is the Remington rolling block. There's the accompanying Model 1871 and Model 1901 pistols with the same type action.
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Old 12-09-2018, 01:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcchordsage View Post
The Austrians had upgraded to the M1895 Mannlicher mostly I think, plus the M1890 Mannlicher carbine.
Mostly, but they hadn't reached everywhere yet. The M.95's first combat use seems to have been the First Balkan War in 1912, in Bulgarian service.

All of the other mentioned weapons, to the best of my knowledge, did not see service in the Boxer Rebellion (although a few of the oldest may have been used by the Boxers). WW1 would see all sorts of ancient firearms brought out for rear echelon duty.

The Boxers themselves had a variety of arms. According to Ian Heath's Armies of the Nineteenth Century: Asia, the Qing armed the Boxers with Snider-Enfields, Marlins (probably 1894s), Winchesters (probably 1892s), Mausers (at least one Mauser 71 was captured during the campaign), and Mannlichers. I suspect there probably also were Hanyang 88s, a Chinese development of the Gewehr 88.
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Old 12-09-2018, 02:09 AM
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Coming back to this thread I see I forgot to mention that there were other groups in the area that could be considered as combatant forces - bandits and pirates.
Considering that they owed their allegiance to themselves and money, there could be the opportunity to hire them as skirmishers and the like.

There could be other mercenary forces in the region as well - I'm not certain of any basis in the real world for China at that time but I'm thinking of people such as ex-soldiers and police hired as private guards for wealthy individuals travelling in the region, small units hired by merchants to protect their wares, ships, shops etc. etc. professional detective agencies (e.g. Pinkertons), professional tomb robbers, ship masters with their own rivercraft (modified to carry weapons for perhaps) and so on.

I'm thinking very much of some films set in China in the period before WW2 for story/adventure inspiration: -
High Road to China (but without the aircraft)
Seven Women (AKA 7 Women) about a mission station in 1930s rural China dealing with a warlord
There were other movies too, made in the 1920s or 1930s, dramas centred around drilling for oil and so on but I can't recall their names.

It makes for an interesting mix where you can offer a lot of player character choices and plenty of intrigue alongside all the political and military conflict going on.
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Old 12-09-2018, 09:47 AM
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A good setting for the Bira Gun I just added to my site if the PCs find themselves in the area of Nepal...
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Old 12-09-2018, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b View Post
A good setting for the Bira Gun I just added to my site if the PCs find themselves in the area of Nepal...
Just a note that the total ammo capacity of the Bira is 120 rounds (it's a 60-round pan with two layers, not a 120-round pan with two layers) per Garry James' article in Guns & Ammo about firing the Bira. I had looked it up a while back because I was considering a pre-Maxim automatic weapons post, which hasn't happened because I fell down a rabbit hole trying to figure out just the Gatling gun variants.
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:22 PM
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Ah, I didn't think we were limiting it to just Boxer Rebellion guns. I'd be surprised if some variety of Mauser 1871 wasn't used but admittedly not my area of expertise.
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Old 12-09-2018, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vespers War View Post
Just a note that the total ammo capacity of the Bira is 120 rounds (it's a 60-round pan with two layers, not a 120-round pan with two layers) per Garry James' article in Guns & Ammo about firing the Bira. I had looked it up a while back because I was considering a pre-Maxim automatic weapons post, which hasn't happened because I fell down a rabbit hole trying to figure out just the Gatling gun variants.
Thanks for the link, it's an interesting piece of kit with some unique (though practical) approaches to automatic weapons. A shame it's been relatively unknown for so long as it's a fascinating bit of history (and not simply for the smallarms aspect but also the geopolitical).
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Old 12-09-2018, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
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Ah, I didn't think we were limiting it to just Boxer Rebellion guns.
In hindsight, I should have bolded one of the sentences about the Boxer Rebellion in addition to the sentence about research.

Quote:
I'd be surprised if some variety of Mauser 1871 wasn't used but admittedly not my area of expertise.
The Boxers had them, mostly (if not entirely) in the magazine-fed 71/84 configuration. They had been bought by the Qing government.

Also, I noticed that I did the American M1892 revolver with its original black powder cartridge. With smokeless, it's a little less anemic: Dam 2, Pen 1-Nil, SS 4, Rng 19, all other stats remain the same.

There were also the rather beastly wall guns, which remind me of an amusette I saw once at the Castillo de San Marcos.
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