Bwendi is a small agricultural planet within the Ztumsia system on the extreme margins of the Imperium. It is not a rich planet, yet it dominates the system by virtue of controlling the main food supplies and also as a result of the determination of its people not to lose. The main threats to Bwendi's peace and prosperity are rival Lord Knights with an expansionist agenda and incursions by the Red Redemptionist Rebels. Fortunately this does not happen too often.
Technology on Bwendi is limited. The Imperium strictly controls what technology is made available away from the core in a bid to weaken possible dissident elements. As a result, Bwendi is limited to 21st and 22nd century Earth Reckoning technologies. It has little by way of high technology industrial base, so grav technology is rare, high-powered energy weapons systems are not often seen and power is mostly based on natural resources, such as hydro-electric or wind turbines.
Bwendi is ruled by Imperial Lord Knight Throckmorton P. Gladiolus LXVI. Lord Gladiolus is a benign dictator and expects to rule for the rest of his life, as have his ancestors back to the colonisation and unification of the planet. The Gladiolus family has a long heritage of such activity. Lord Gladiolus is descended from Earth stock and can trace his ancestry all the way back to the cradle of humanity. Back in the 20th century of old Earth Reckoning, the Gladiolus family ruled the small central African republic of Ztumsia for many years, fighting off insurrection and rebellion at every step. However, history records that the Gladioli were able to bring peace and prosperity to this small nation in the same way as they have succeeded in doing so within the system named for Ztumsia.
The Knights of Bwendi
Here we see the Knights of Bwendi admiring Lord Gladiolus' newly acquired Scythe Class Jetcopter as Lord Gladiolus himself poses for photographs in front of it.* The Knights are Lord Gladiolus' personal bodyguard. They are the elite troops of the Bwendi army and will ride to battle with him in the Jetcopter. They wear ex-Imperial Light Armour systems with autorangers and carry bolt rifles, which fire explosive bullets. One trooper in the squad is armed with a heavy bolt rifle as a squad assault weapon. All troops also carry a range of grenades.
*These pictures will appear in Howyadoin magazine and it is the duty of every right-thinking Bwendi citizen to buy a copy and support the government. You can also read all the gossip about the Ztumsian tri-d vid stars too.
Men at Arms
The Men-at-Arms are the small professional cadre of soldiers on Bwendi. Here we see a platoon of Men-at-Arms parading in front of their Glaive class Infantry Fighting Vehicles. The platoon is led by a Lieutenant (pronounced leff-tenant on Bwendi) armed with a force sword and bolt pistol. Each platoon is organised into four rifle sections and one heavy weapons section. The bulk of the men are armed with bolt rifles, while one man in every section carries a heavy bolt rifle. All troops are kitted out with ex-Imperial light armour and carry a range of grenades. While the platoon pictured here has two IFVs, many do not have any, and some platoons, like this one, do not actually have enough IFVs to transport all the troops.
The heavy weapons squad is smaller than the standard Men-at-Arms section. It is led by a Lieutenant armed in the same way as his counterpart in the infantry section and has two soldiers armed with Support Bolters, a tripod-mounted rapid fire bolt weapon, and two soldiers with Conversion Beam Projectors, a matter conversion beam for ripping things apart at close quarters.
The bulk of the Bwendi army consists of local levies. Here we see a Levy platoon on parade. The men are expected to be supplied with fatigues, a flak jacket and a sub-machine gun or assault rifle. Officers are expected to carry a pistol and sword. Some men supplement their equipment out of their own pockets.
The levy system is the main way for Bwendi to raise large armies quickly. All men of fighting age are expected to attend two weeks' training every year and to be ready to be called up when needed. The planet is divided into levy zones and each zone is expected to supply a platoon of troops for general service each year. The size of the zones is calculated based on this requirement; while platoons do have a nominal standard size, variations do creep in. The levy zone is also expected to pay for the equipping of these troops. This can lead to variations in the quality and quantity of equipment given to the Levies.
All figures are 15mm Laserburn figures, currently available from 15mm.co.uk. We are planning to use these figures for Stargrunt II, Laserburn, Imperial Commander and Beamstrike games.
Stargrunt II is freely downloadable from Ground Zero Games. It is a platoon-based game and will probably comfortably use 30-60 figures or so plus a little vehicular support.
Laserburn and Imperial Commander can be bought from 15mm.co.uk. Laserburn is a small skirmish level game and uses up to 20 figures per side maximum. It is probably too detailed to comfortably play larger games than that. The force pictured in this post is about 1500 points for Imperial Commander, which is the "grand skirmish" rules set that goes with Laserburn. A scenario of 1500 points per side in IC will take about 3-4 hours unless you get lucky with the dice.
Beamstrike is a freely downloadable Imperial Commander clone that resulted from an inability to obtain the rights to revise and republish Laserburn and Imperial Commander. It is designed for similarly sized games as Imperial Commander but has more rules for the inclusion of AFVs.
If you are interested in discussing Laserburn, pop on over to the Laserburn Yahoo Group and say hello. The group really needs a bit of a shove to get talking again!