Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Rorke’s Drift (and Hope & Glory)

It is the 140th anniversary of the battle of Rorke’s Drift, a minor engagement in the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. Contravening orders, Prince Dabulamanzi kaMpande led a force of roughly 4000 Zulu warriors against a unit of 150 British soldiers led by lieutenants Chard and Bromehead, based at the mission station in Rorke’s Drift. On the 22nd and 23rd of January, the Zulu forces repeatedly attacked the British defenses, and were pushed back, in a battle pitting numbers against technology. An estimated 350 Zulu warriors were killed and 500 wounded, and 17 British soldiers died and 15 were wounded.

I first heard of Rorke’s Drift when I was ten or twelve, when I first saw the film Zulu, directed in 1964 by Cy Enfield and featuring Stanley Baker and Michael Caine. It’s still one of my favorite movies, and back in the day it made a colossal impact – the Anglo-Zulu war is not something you get in the history curriculum in Italian middle grades, and therefore the movie was, to me and my friends, first, basically an adventure story, and secondly, totally open-ended; we had no idea of how it would end, every twist and turn, every new charge was a surprise.

Zulu is a great movie (yes, I know, it is historically inaccurate, so sue me) and I guess my interest for colonial history and the British empire started there.
It was therefore only to be expected that I would do my own take on Rorke’s Drift sooner or later.
Cue to Hope & Glory.

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Hope & Glory: Number the Brave is now available

I told you there would not be long to wait: Number the Brave, the second novelette in the Hope & Glory series is out and about on DriveThroughRPG, where you’ll get the epub, the mobi and the gorgeous pdf version in a single neat bundle.

If Glass Houses, the first Hope & Glory story, was an espionage thriller set in a steampunkish Indian Raj, Number the Brave is a war story set in that same universe, but in Northern Africa1.
It owes a debt both to old Foreign Legion pulp stories, and to Zulu, one of my favorite war movies, but it turns the premise on its head: what if the besieged defenders are African warriors, surrounded by an overwhelming force of ruthless, savage Europeans?

All the stories in the Hope & Glory series are self-contained and stand-alone, and can be read (and, hopefully, enjoyed) in any order. Each volume includes an appendix providing extra information about the Hope & Glory setting, and gaming statistics for the major elements in the book.
Because let’s not forget it, Hope & Glory will be a roleplaying game, powered by Savage Worlds.
And what better way to discover the gaming universe, than read a few stories?
Two are out, more will come.

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  1. the idea being that each Hope & Glory novelette will explore a different sub-genre, to show the full potential of the Hope & Glory gaming setting.