Thursday, February 12, 2015

On The Fly, But Not

Sure, it's only a two hour game tomorrow. But "The Condor Falls" is the one scenario I am running at Con of the North that is not "on the fly" - even though it does involve aircraft. We'll be test driving the Achtung! Cthulhu Fate Core edition for a game set during the Spanish Civil War.

When I say the game is not on the fly, I mean that I have done a fair amount of historical research (for me) in order to get sufficiently grounded in the conflict. We've read John Preston's The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Repression, and Revenge. This is the definitive general history of the war. We also picked up a couple of books on the Condor Legion, Hitler's "volunteer" force in Spain, as well as Carlos Medina's text on the war (lots and lots of photos and maps of troop movements), and an Osprey on the Republican forces. I've had volume 1 of Peirats' definitive history of the CNT in the Spanish Revolution (the anarchists' preferred term for the social revolution that occurred in the Catalan region of the Republican zone) for a while.

I also downloaded the Smithsonian Folkways double album of the Songs of the Spanish Civil War.

The players will be members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, one of the International Brigades that came to Spain to fight for the Spanish Republic. Some 2,800 men and women from the United States came to Spain to fight Franco's fascists and protect the democratic Republic. We owe them a great debt, as they had the courage and the foresight to try and stop evil while the leaders of the Western democracies stood silent and still.

Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives

My scenario is set late in the war, when things grew pretty desperate.  It hardly seems necessary to add to the horror of the war with supernatural elements.


  1. I've always found the American volunteers (or mercenary, sometimes) of the Lafayette Escadrille, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the Flying Tigers, and in the Mexican Revolution and Greek War for Independence interesting. It seems to me there would be a difference between going to war for your country and going to war when it isn't a shared social experience.

    All that to say: Sounds like a fun game!

    1. For sure! People who served in the Brigades were labelled "premature anti-fascists" by the US political establishment, while the majority of civilians in the Western democracies sympathized with the Republic.

      There was also the confusing political struggle within the Republic, in which all Republican factions had... umm, valid points and grievances with the other factions. Must have been tough for the independent leftists who came over with the Brigades to know who to believe sometimes.

  2. When General Strasser reads Rick his personnel file in Casablanca, it's almost entirely empty. One of the few things known about him is, "you fought against the fascists in Spain."

    I humbly suggest a cameo appearance by one Sgt Richard Blaine. You've always wanted to do a Bogart imitation.

  3. Definitely the premier 'What If' Marvel comic story of 20th century western history for me. What if the Republicans had won? I wish there was even a tiny corner of SF dedicated to that. Where is the Spanish Civil War's 'Man in the High Castle'?

    Though war in general hardly needs supernatural elements to make it more horrific, 'Pan's Labyrinth' did it to good effect within the Spanish Civil War.

    Anyway someone in the setting should have the super-power of Marxist Unification.