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A quiet day in the office.

In the Shanties on Caldoom, Madam Veronica controls two middling sized rafts that are but a very minor part of the city of Liberty. She is regarded by most people as a decent enough boss, she employs twelve bullies and a lieutenant. She also funds a soup kitchen, a teacher and a paramedic.

Now there are those unkind souls who assume that being a boss merely consists of drinking exotic cocktails whilst watching your minions feed your still living enemies to your hunting dogs. (Other pets are available.)

This is an attempt to set the record straight. (I’ve rather geared the scenario/campaign for Hell by Starlight rules, so I’ll use their terms. They’re generic enough and should fit easily into other rule systems.)

Meet Madam Veronica. Madam Veronica is carried in a palanquin, which is somewhat modified. Firstly it contains a grav plate so she can hover without bearers if she needs to. Secondly the chair contains a Personal Force Field Generator. The field created is a sphere that protects Madam Veronica, her two bearers, and anybody who can place the sphere between them and somebody shooting at them.

Her two bearers are bullies, they count as warriors and they have submachineguns hidden in the palanquin. Madam Veronica is a veteran warrior with a hard wired energy pistol she will use on anybody who attempts to attack her.

Mal, Normal, submachinegun.

Tac. Normal, submachinegun

Madam Veronica’s Bullies.

Composite aliens. Reaction point total 17

Because the figures came from the CP Miniatures Scum and Smugglers range, all are different and figures tend to have a wide variety of weapons.

Looking at an individual figure I would give it either flak or ablative armour. If it has a hand to hand weapon this will give them two dice shifts in close combat. I would allow them the weapon they are equipped with, as well as an energy carbine for ‘general’ use.

As to how competent they are roll a d6 for each figure.

1.       They are Green

2.       They are Green but hardwired for the weapon they are holding

3.       They are normal

4.       They are normal but hardwired for the weapon they are holding

5.       They are normal and hardwired both for the weapon they’re holding and their energy carbine.

6.       They are veteran and hardwired both for the weapon they’re holding and their energy carbine.

(Assume the Lieutenant rolls a 6 at this point.)

Now the first thing we need is some idea of Madam Veronica’s territory. She has two cluttered rafts, and I suggest you split each raft into four. So there are eight areas and each area represents a wargames table onto which you pour as much clutter as you feasibly can. In addition you have various important places which need to be placed in an appropriate area.

  • A water filtration plant.
  • The paramedic’s ‘hospital’
  • The soup kitchen
  • The school
  • Madam Veronica’s HQ

Number your squares, from one to eight. Then roll a d10, and this is the square the various places appear. Thus in theory all could be on the same square. If you roll 9 or 10, then you get to choose which square they’re on. It makes sense to create a ‘map’ but you can do this by simply laying out eight playing cards in two rows of four. Then you can put on each playing card the places and bullies who are there.

Then your various bullies have a roster. Madam Veronica and her Lieutenant are always on duty. Of the twelve remaining, two did night duty, one on each raft. (It was a quiet night so they didn’t have to call for backup.)
During the day, the other eight will each have a square to patrol. Note that patrolling includes collecting protection, slouching at a fast food joint having their lunch, snoozing in the sun with one ear half open for signs of trouble, and even walking round being seen to be keeping order.

The remaining two are the reserve. They’re in or around the HQ.

You have 12 daylight hours. Each hour roll a d6. On 1,2,3 there’s an ‘issue.’ If an issue lasts after the end of daylight, those not needed will go off duty and the night shift will come on and help.

Some of these issues are dealt with by the bully in the square, some need an assistant, so you will have to move a bully from another square to help. Some demand more help or even the presence of the Boss or the Lieutenant.

Just roll a d20. Some are only likely to occur once per day (Josson the Mad Judge is brisk and efficient but even he’s not that brisk and efficient.) Some, like 1) A builder, could happen several times, different square, different tradesman.

1) A builder working on a ‘Square chosen at random’ is having problems. He’s trying to repair a shanty and the kids keep stealing his stuff. He wants a bully to stand nearby and stop them. Roll a d8 for how many hours it’ll take.

2) Josson, the Mad Judge, has been spotted in ‘Square chosen at random’. Josson is a pro bono bounty hunter with a strong sense of justice, who takes on what he regards as good causes and hunts down people he has decided have been gratuitously unpleasant. Josson has quite a following amongst the ordinary people of the Shanties, as all of them know that if they end up with serious issues, he might help them and if he does, they can afford him. In reality some bosses will also put work his way because he can reach out into areas they cannot touch. Gunning down Josson, even if you manage it, is not going to play well.

Courtesy demands if he’s on your raft, then the Boss should greet Josson to discuss his work. When the boss does, roll a d6.

1-5 Josson is hunting a third party. Lend him one of your bullies as a guide and leave him to get on with it. Roll a d6 for how many hours it will take.

6. Josson is after one of your people. Roll a d6, 1-5 he’s happy to go for an arrest and to hand the person over for trail. On a 6 he’s judge, jury and executioner. Roll for the bully at random, the guy can even go on the run and Josson will hunt him down. Alternatively you could organise a formal shootout. Clear the street and let them face each other. Josson is a veteran with Enhanced Sensory Array, a military rifle firing an intermediate cartridge, and wears flak armour.

You may just be a man down. Note that if there is a major problem on the square where Josson is currently hunting, he is happy enough to join in to support the bullies working for the boss who is assisting him.

3) At ‘Square chosen at random’, there is a major altercation. Several rafts away, the bullies of Cheadle Wallup got caught in an ambush by a larger group of bullies owning allegiance to Fanshaw Wellnigh. The Wallup bullies managed to cut their way through to a barge which they stole, but the Wellnigh bullies pursued them. Finally, recognising your raft, and knowing that Madam Veronica and Cheadle Wallup are generally considered to be allies, the fleeing bullies hit the side of the raft at speed and have managed to get the barge stuck so they can climb out and escape. The Wellnigh bullies are still following.
The Wallup bullies are six strong, but two are severely wounded and two of the others have to carry them. There are a dozen Wellnigh bullies pursuing them.

Roll up both parties at random in the same way that you created Madam Veronica’s bullies.

Any of Madam Veronica’s bullies in that square should be able to drop everything to help support the Wallup bullies. Other bullies in other squares who aren’t busy can also join in. Other bullies in other squares can also join in. Those in adjacent squares can arrive in four moves, it takes the others four moves to cross a square to get there. It probably doesn’t last much more than an hour but you’ll be kept busy.

4) Somebody has stopped to unload a barge, but not at the wharf. This means a narrow channel is blocked as boats and barges struggle to get through in both directions. There has already been fisticuffs, three people thrown into the water and somebody else threatened with a knife. It will take one bully on ‘Square chosen at random’ plus one assistant bully, d3 hours to sort it out.

5) A group of juveniles, of several species and all sexes, have been building a racing wagon to try and make serious money in the wagon races in the Western Suburbs. They’re now trying it out in, ‘Square chosen at random’ and causing chaos. Toss a coin.

  • Heads. It takes one bully one hour to given them the lecture and sort things out.
  • Tails. “Boss, this wagon is a serious contender.” Takes three bullies, d6 hours, to put together a track across the whole raft, and to keep order as the potential winners practice.

6) Two adult females, not necessarily from the same species, are engaged in a shouting match in the middle of, ‘Square chosen at random.’ It will take one bully one hour to deal with.

7) One bully, collecting protection in, ‘Square chosen at random’ comes across somebody who won’t pay, because they say the rate is wrong. This takes the Lieutenant or Madam Veronica to sort it out. Takes one hour.

8) There is an argument in the queue at the soup kitchen and it looks like trouble. It will take one bully an hour to keep order.

9) A clerk from Manufactories comes to see Madam Veronica. The clerk has a list of six companies who seek to recruit more labour and are wondering if you have any new arrivals who are looking for work. It will take Madam Veronica or the Lieutenant two hours to deal with this.

10) A security officer from the Western Suburbs arrives in ’Square chosen at random’ in hot pursuit of two sneak thieves who were disturbed as they were working on his patch. He produces pictures taken by security cameras.

1,2. The two are known trouble makers that you want rid of. It takes your bully and the security officer d6 hours to find them, arrest them, and send them back to the suburbs for a magistrate.

3,4. They’re local lads who want slapping down before they get to be a nuisance. It takes the bully an hour to find them and give them a damned good talking to.

5,6. They’ve kept going, the security officer follows them across contiguous squares across your territory until they’re found and dealt with, or they leave your territory. Each time he crosses into a new square, a new bully should join him to act as a guide. It all takes time

11) The paramedic is treating a young female who has staggered into his little hospital with gunshot wounds. He thinks a bully ought to have a word with her and investigate. Roll a d6

1,2. She seems to think she shot herself cleaning the weapon. Given she was alone in her shanty at the time, there’s nothing else anybody can do even though she seems to have thoughtlessly mislaid the weapon and cannot now find it. Takes 1d3 hours.

3,4 She claims she disturbed an intruder who opened fire on her, but she fired back. Takes the bully 1d3 hours, finds the body of a known thief floating face down under the raft with probably fatal gunshot wounds.

5,6 Your bully reports that he can find no evidence of a weapon, nobody heard anything, nobody saw anything, there’s nobody else hurt. He had a word with his wife, and his wife says that she heard the female was carrying on with somebody else’s mate. Takes d6 hours and he suggests doing nothing.

12) The Water Filtration Plant is broken down. A team from the municipality came to fix it, but half way through they went on strike. Apparently they want today off because they claim they’re entitled to it as it’s their holy day, it’s a day sacred to the Initiates of the Golden Spur. They have also demanded an increase in pay for all those married with offspring. Given that Initiates of the Golden Spur are all eunuchs, the municipality has refused to negotiate until they come up with demands that make sense. It will take Madam Veronica or her lieutenant d6 hours to get a team in to do the work. When they arrive it’ll take d6 hours to fix things, and a bully will have to be stationed with them because people are getting fractious because they’re running out of water.

13) The school is having a concert, the pupil recorder ensemble is playing. This leads to a riot among the parents because of what one parent said about the playing of another parent’s offspring being taken the wrong way. It takes three bullies two hours to calm things down and restore order.

14) Five armed thugs are hitting a gambling den on ‘Square chosen at random.’ Because the gambling den pays protection, the proprietors expect the boss to deal with the thugs and get the money back.

The thugs are obviously professional and have done a lot of planning. The two competent ones seem to have fetched the other three as muscle and ablative shielding. They are Warriors, Reaction point total 15

Leader, Veteran, flak jacket under coat. Energy carbine, hard wired. 

Number 2. Normal, no armour, Energy carbine, hard wired. 

Number 3. Green, no armour. Energy carbine. 

Number 4. Green, no armour. Energy carbine. 

Number 5. Green, no armour. Energy carbine. 

Any bullies in the square may be able to drop everything to deal with them. Other bullies in other squares can also join in. Other bullies in other squares can also join in. Those in adjacent squares can arrive in four moves, it takes the others four moves to cross a square to get there.

15) A clerk from the Administration visits the HQ. She is there to organise water cards for new arrivals to Madam Veronica’s rafts. It’ll take Madam or her lieutenant 1d3 hours to deal with this matter.

16) A squad of Grelfarl military police, in plain clothes, have arrived on, ‘Square chosen at random.’ They are looking for deserters who have started up a smuggling racket getting contraband and seditious literature into Grelfarl territory and getting more deserters out. They’ve arrived on a barge passing themselves off as delivering goods. Their plan is to hit the deserters’ shanty, capture or kill the occupants, and get back to the barge before resistance can happen. (There is a bonus for prisoners who can answer questions.) They are First class regulars with a reaction point total of 18.

All are in civilian clothes with hardwired submachineguns concealed under coats, in packages they are carrying etc. Each man also has a hand grenade

Squad leader, Normal.

MP. Normal.

MP. Normal.

MP. Green.

MP. Green.

The barge.

On the barge are three crew, one to steer, one to watch the engines, and a third to man the Vehicle mounted energy weapon. This is currently concealed, but it can be made ready in two moves to provide fire support.

The deserters are caught somewhat unawares. They count as warriors. There are three of them armed with hardwired pistols. There is one of them on the door keeping watch. The other two are inside. Roll a d6.

1,2, The Military police get to the door of the shanty before being recognised.

3,4  The Military police get to within one move of the door before being recognised.

5,6 A bystander recognises them as Military police and gives a warning. All three deserters are ready by the time the Military police are within two moves of the shanty.

The deserter/smugglers are enterprising businessmen, ‘the sort of people we ought to encourage’ and have paid you protection, so protect them. Any bullies in the square may be able to drop everything to deal with them. Other bullies in other squares can also join in. Those in adjacent squares can arrive in four moves, it takes the others four moves to cross a square to get there.

17) Lost child. In a ‘Square chosen at random’ your bully is stuck holding the small child who is tearful and lost. This dire emergency lasts an hour until he finds the mother.

18) Your neighbour and ally, Pags, really needs the loan of d3 bullies now. They’ll be away for d6 hours.

19) A strong smell of cooking. In a ‘Square chosen at random’ there is a fracas. One of the fast food joints is using so much strong spice that locals are complaining that their eyes are watering and some are having asthma attacks. It takes your bully d3 hours to sort out, because others of the locals actually like food that strongly spiced, which is why the fast food joint is cooking it in the first place.

20) A small child falls into the canal at ‘Square chosen at random’. Fortunately your bully in that square is on the scene and dives in to rescue the unfortunate. By the time he’s been thanked by grateful parents, been to the paramedic to get his shots and found some dry clothes, d3 hours have gone by.


Note that you can borrow bullies from Pags if you’re desperate, just as he might borrow bullies from you. Pags can lend you up to d6, it’ll take them an hour to get there.

You can also awaken the night shift. You’ll have already rolled to see what they’re like when you rolled up the rest of the bullies. During the first four hours, they count as two levels of competence lower than you rolled. If you awake them between four and six hours into the day they are only one level of competence lower. After that, they take no handicap.

Playing the Game

As you can see this is set up for solo play. Indeed, although some of the situations which develop could work with an opponent, Hell by Starlight rules tend to ensure that you can lose control of your own forces so people assure me they use them perfectly happily for solo play.

Playing the game is easy enough. Place your bullies ‘on the map’ and each move roll a d6 or toss a coin to see if anything happens. A lot of things don’t need playing out, but instead you just mark the bully in the ‘Square chosen at random’ as busy. Obviously it is possible that he’s already busy and at this point you might have to move another bully into his square to help out.
It’s when you have bullies tied up in all sorts of jobs, and then the midden hits the windmill. Perhaps in two different places.

I’m not sure what your day with bring, it’s perfectly possible that Madam Veronica spends her day in the office dealing with officialdom, whilst her lieutenant spends it on the phone trying to get somebody to come and fix the water filtration plant. All the while your gallant bullies are rescuing small children and for all I know, getting pet cats down from the roofs of shanties they could climb up onto but cannot get down from.

Alternatively by dinner time the whole thing could look like a warzone.

Oh and if you like the scenery, it’s all produced by Iliada Game Studio.


In case you don’t know them, the rules are Hell by Starlight, available from Iliada Game Studio for £4 in pdf

Also from Wargame Vault for £4 in pdf

And from Amazon as a paperback for £9.50 or £4 on Kindle.

There’s more stuff for Hell by Starlight and Caldoom at

2 thoughts on “A quiet day in the office.

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