"In these, the twilight years of the nineteenth century, I amazed
at how high mankind has soared, and at how deep it has fallen, because
of the myriad advances in our sciences and in engineering. Seldom does a
day go by without a gentleman announcing his newest life-changing
invention, each claiming it will benefit mankind in some way.
“It is a pity that we, the leaders of the civilised nations of the
Earth, could not have put these marvels to better use. May God have
mercy on us all."
Robert Delamere, Lord Conway and Prime Minister 1893-95.
It is 1895 and the world is in turmoil. In the decades to come
historians will reflect upon the cause of this state of affairs and many
will point at Charles Babbage. His perfection of his Difference Engine
and then his Analytical Engine gave the new scientific establishments in
the great imperial nations the tool they had so long needed in order to
make a great leap forward. The ability to make huge and repeatable sets
of complex calculations revolutionized the world.
Within twenty years we had the perfection of miniaturized steam engines,
electric light and motors, Radium Bricks, Arc weapons, Hydrogen and
latterly Helium Dirigibles, Road Trains, Calculating Artillery Engines,
Sea and Land Dreadnoughts and, well, the list is almost endless. Nothing
is impossible when the wealth of a great nation is coupled to the
unlimited imagination of educated men of science and their engineers.
The one thing that all these marvellous advances has not brought is
peace. Every Great Power has been jostling its neighbours for resources
and more importantly, the latest technology. None can afford to stand
still and allow its neighbours to advance their science and engineering
unmolested. If they do they risk being overwhelmed as the French were in
1861 by the Prussians with the first Mobile Calculating Artillery
Engines, or the Northern Americans in the year after that, as their
ports were put to the flame and successfully blockaded by the South's
Armoured Sea Dreadnoughts.
Some nations have also been tapping into spiritual and psychic powers as
well, in order to produce an unholy combination of the mystical and the
mechanical, such as the ghastly Prussian Tod-truppen.
Although there have been relatively few open conflicts between the Great
Powers, there is a state of undeclared and secret war between them all.
This is where the Adventuring Companies come in. These are the deniable
clandestine agents of the Great Powers (and of other globe-spanning
organizations). They act in the shadows pitting their skills, their wits
and the newest technologies against each other to obtain the latest
scientific formula, artefact or other vital component.
Small groups of highly skilled and specialized operatives are brought
together for each mission under the command of a trusted 'Captain'. In
Great Britain they work directly for Her Majesty’s Government or out of
the Explorer's Club in London’s Pall Mall. In Prussia their patron is
the highly secretive Thule Society, and in the USA they are mostly
sponsored by the Secret Service. There are similar organizations in each
of the Great Powers. They all have the choice of their nation's latest
arms, armour and other equipment with which to perform their missions.
The game of In Her Majesty’s Name pits these small Adventuring Companies
against each other in skirmish battles which may be single encounters
or part of longer narrative campaigns. The rules are quick to learn but
have sufficient depth to give a satisfying evening’s entertainment.