Thursday, 5 May 2016

Sharp Practice characters - pt1

I've been amusing myself by creating character profiles for my ACW Union and Confederate leaders, using the “Adding Characters” section (p58) in the Sharp Practice rules.

Of course, you don't need to do this to play the game, but if you go to the bother of giving your leaders names you might as well create an identity for them. These characteristics will also come into play once you start adding some narrative richness to any campaigns and scenarios you play. Also, it is fun.

As I am dealing with the USA, wherever the rules refer to Nobility or Minor Royalty, I have chosen to interpret this as meaning “old landed gentry”, “political families” (i.e ones with Congressmen or Senators) or some other relevant term, such as “can trace the family back to the Pilgrim Fathers”.

Anyway, without further ado, here are some pen portraits for the Union leaders.

Major Gardiner Haskins is a very wealthy member of a family that has made a pile from hard work and trade. He owes his position to his father's millions, made from investment in the railroads. He is a man of honour, if somewhat unbending in his attitudes, well-built and good-looking enough but despite, or maybe because of, his advantages in life is a thoroughly dislikeable sort. His family and business connections have given him the chance to gain a military rank and accompanying status that is possibly beyond his abilities. Only time will tell.

Major Randolph Carter, a scion of a well-established old New England family, the Carters of Arkham, Massachusetts. He is a pleasant, easy-going, good-looking and well-built chap of an honourable character. He is otherwise unremarkable. One can only hope he will perform well on the field of combat.

Captain Bradley Stoke attended West Point and comes from a family with a history of military service, which has recently fallen on hard times and ended up in a state of poverty. Although he considers himself to be an honourable man, he is a vile individual of a weak and sickly physical build. On the positive side, he is considered to be fair of face.

Captain Decimus Dewey was unhappily born out of wedlock, although his father is a well-connected Member of Congress. He is an affable and honourable chap, but his looks were unfortunately horribly disfigured in an accident in his youth.

Lieutenant Travis Perkins is an odd sort. Although his low-born family has done well and is now extremely well-off, Perkins himself is in huge amounts of debt and is always looking for opportunities to make a few dollars. To this end, he has a history of passing himself off as other people, something which he is rather good at. His personally charming and good-looking exterior hides a rather unpleasant internal character. In short, he is a bit of a ne'er-do-well and a chancer.

Lieutenant Jacob van Klomp is from an old New York Dutch military family, which was once wealthy but has since declined into genteel poverty. He is a fine horseman and an affable, honourable and handsome devil, despite his diminutive stature.

Lieutenant Wingate Peaslee is also from Arkham, but from humble origins. Upright and honourable and a decent enough soldier, he has risen from the ranks to become an officer, if not exactly a gentleman. Physically average and unremarkable-looking, Lt. Peaslee is, for unknown reasons a vile individual.

Lieutenant Hans Niersteiner's family are recent German immigrants who have done well through hard work and thriftiness. Unfortunately, Hans is neither hard-working nor thrifty, being something of a rotter. He is always looking for ways to make a fast buck, in which enterprise he helped by his decent looks and huge personal charm.

In addition to the commissioned officers, there are several NCOs.

These are;

Sergeant James “Scotty” Mackenzie, an athletic, physically-strong individual of average build, an honourable sort with goodish looks and a hot vile temper and all-round nasty streak.

Sergeant Nathan Jones is a reliable, average, unremarkable chap with an affable disposition.

Sergeant Patrick O'Malley is similarly average, unremarkable and pleasant.

Sergeant Sidney Horstmann is also of average build, unremarkable and of a pleasant disposition, but is physically strong and athletic.

Corporal Wilbur Watts probably doesn't really want to be a soldier, being a sickly, dull sort, although quite good-looking.

Corporal Thaddeus Filmore is a good-looking giant of a man, who whenever he has been on a horse has shown himself to be a good rider. Shame he is an infantryman, really. Unfortunately, his tough upbringing and hard life have turned him into thoroughly dislikeable person.

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