BRP WWII Notes: November Company

A while back I posted a couple of NPCs (here and here) I had put together in relation to a World War II scenario I intended to run over Thanksgiving using Basic Roleplaying, but other gaming got in the way (darn the luck!). Before I realized that was going to happen, though, I started work on some brief notes designed to help the players produce “new recruits” quickly, since we were likely to have 6 hours at most for gaming. Rather than toss these, or worse, risk losing them to my “special” filing system, I thought I’d post them here. They ain’t pretty and they ain’t detailed, but if you know BRP then they should make sense. Oh, and cheers to the mighty Charles Green for his work on Dragon Lines, where I more-or-less swiped the skill distribution concept from.

Given that the game was intended to be a one shot (or, at best, a once-a-year shot) I was purposefully limiting all of the players to making soldiers rather than letting a motley crew of spies, femme fatales, and archaeologists (or femme fatale archaeologist spies) take the stage. Still, I believe there’s enough room for customization below that the characters would all have been unique enough for the game. At least, I think they’d have been unique enough for a vintage WWII movie, which is the feel I was going for, after all.

But enough about me. Here’s the notes:

  • Attribute Determination: roll 2d6+6 seven times, place in desired order
  • Step Six is on
  • Professional Skills
    • Put 25 points each (in addition to skill base) into each of the following:
      • Brawling
      • Dodge
      • Firearm: Rifle
      • First Aid
    • Put 25 points each (in addition to skill base) into any six of the following:
      • Artillery: Howitzer, Mortar, etc.
      • Climb
      • Command
      • Drive: Jeep, etc.
      • Firearm: Machine Gun, Submachine Gun, Revolver
      • Grapple
      • Heavy Machine: Tank
      • Heavy Weapon: Tank Gun, Turret Machine Gun
      • Hide
      • Language: French, German, Italian, etc.
      • Listen
      • Jump
      • Medicine
      • Melee Weapon: Bayonet, etc.
      • Missile Weapon: Crossbow, Thrown Knives, etc.
      • Navigate
      • Repair: Mechanical
      • Ride: Horse, Camel
      • Spot
      • Status: Army (base 20)
      • Stealth
      • Technical: Radio Ops
      • Throw
  • Put INT value into 10 skills of your choice, either Professional Skills above or other era-appropriate skills (Perform: Jitterbug, anyone?)
  • Army Status skill indicates rank as follows:
    • 01-29 Private
    • 30-39 Corporal
    • 40-49 Sergeant
    • 50-59 Lieutenant
    • 60-69 Captain
    • 70-79 Major
    • 80-89 Lt. Colonel
    • 90-99 Colonel
    • 100+ General

For the record, I am in no way, shape, or form a WWII buff. I built a few airplane models (P-51D Mustang, P-38 Lightning) and played with army men when I was a kid. I’ve watched a fair number of vintage WWII movies (and too much Rat Patrol), but not a lot of the modern ones. I’ve never played any of the WWII-based computer games. I have played Wings Of War WWII (and WWI, but that’s not important right now), but only a few times. In short, I am a complete and utter tourist in the genre. This means that I’m open to suggestions if anyone has any, but they must be delivered gently and with patience 🙂

I hadn’t gotten too far into thinking about the exact weaponry that was going to be involved, and I was likely to depend on what info I could track down at Wikipedia on the subject. I’d also considered picking up a few of the GURPS WWII books in PDF format, but once I realized we weren’t going to be playing this particular game, I decided to save my pennies for another day. Maybe next year when this particular group of old-timers gets together I’ll think about trotting this out again. And thanks to the blog, I’ll actually be able to find it!

Addendum: As the title of this post suggests, I was planning on referring to the game as November Company. It was a nice reference to the fact that we were going to be playing around Thanksgiving. I discovered a little later (thanks, Wikipedia) that “November” wasn’t used as the indicator for “N” in the phonetic alphabet until 1956, which is just a bit after the time period in question. If this ever does get run, I’ll likely stick with the anachronism though because, as I said, I’m a tourist. That and the fact that November Company sounds way cooler than Nan Company. Naan Company, on the other hand, sounds tasty.

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0 thoughts on “BRP WWII Notes: November Company

  1. G-Man

    Very intriguing. Would it be possible to get you to disclose the plot you’d planned for this scenario?

    Two technical questions: 1) how did you plan on handling skill bonuses/penalities from attributes, and 2) were you going to use the rules for ‘dodging’ missle fire?

  2. the venomous pao Post author

    Howdy G-Man!

    All I can say about the scenario is that it was going to be very Rat Patrol – a small group of “elite” soldiers mucking about in North Africa. I’d tell you more, but I never got around to coming up with anything else 🙂 I figured out that I wasn’t going to be running this before I got too deeply into the plotting stage. That, and I tend to be very improv heavy in my actual GMing, especially with the particular group I was expecting for this.

    As to the technical questions: 1) I was going to use the “simple” bonus option for this (i.e., 1/2 INT or DEX, depending on the skills in question) and 2) There was going to be a limited “dodging missiles” option, with 1/2 Dodge for the first shot in a round and then no Dodge thereafter – basically, jumping out of the way but winding up prone or otherwise unable to “dodge” thereafter. I wasn’t planning on being too much of a stickler about all this, though. I’m kind of a softie at heart.

  3. Goblinkin

    See, if you’re going to go the Rat Patrol way, November company works fine – “November Company” could be the special designiation given to an early special forces unit.
    November company is apparantly the battalion’s dumping ground for hardcases, screw ups and odd balls. In reality it’s the long ranged, heavy hitting unit that gets the toughest jobs going…