RolePlay onLine RPoL Logo

Welcome to Marland Colonial One Dice Steampunk and Pulp

06:13, 21st July 2024 (GMT+0)

Marland Colonial One Dice Steampunk and Pulp

Marland Colony (A potential colonial gaming setting.)
British colony somewhere in the Pacific Ocean on the coast of a large unexplored island/continent called New Albion.  It is far enough north that the colony is temperate not tropical. [Further investigation (6.15.14) has led me to see it as being where the Shatskiy Rise is in our world, if the Shatskiy Rise actually rose above water.]
The colony was founded by wealthy evangelical Christian philanthropist Horace Marland circa 1820-30. Marland made a treaty with the native Indigenes (brown-skinned people with dark hair and eyes, not African or specifically Polynesian or Amerindian.) He agreed to only occupy the lands along the west coast within a semicircle of mountains.
The coastal people in that region had been largely devastated by diseases and vices brought by previous white visitors, chiefly whalers.  Most of what was left of the coastal people moved east of the mountains where similar people live as hunter-gatherers in a harsh semi-desert environment. However, some coastal people, often mixed blood, still live in Marland chiefly as shepherds working for white squatters in the hills of eastern Walsingham district or farm laborers in the tobacco plantations of Burghley district.
 The Indigenes on the west coast north of the mountains are said to be very warlike –the settlers call them the Fierce Firth Folk because they live along deep firths (inlets) in the wet, rocky, heavily forested northeast coast.  They live rather well by salmon fishing and whaling. Each firth is ruled by a separate chief and warfare among the firths is endemic, but the folk all unite against any outside threat. In recent years they have managed to obtain enough rifles to be able to stand off anything short of a modern army with artillery.
(Added 3.3.15) Before the Europeans came, the Fierce Firth Folk had a regular custom of seasonal raids. They raided the Small Folk of Darnley whom they regarded as easy prey, and the Coastal Folk of central and southern Marland, whom they saw as wealthy and settled (and soft). They even raided each other, since each firth was home to a separate clan or tribe, at war (or open to the chance to begin it) with all the others.  Raiding Darnley or the Coastal people was considered profitable but not very honorable. Personal renown as a warrior could be more easily won against neighbors. They raided the folk of southern Marland more for women than wealth, since raiding the other clans of the Firth Folk was dangerous.  The women usually accepted the situation. They assimilated into a household or clan.  There are rare reports of people who died of grief. Those women who were local were more likely to bring in their own people to take revenge on the clan of their captors (cf. the Nibelungenlied).
 Marland has six original settlements, three coastal, three inland. Coastal north to south Grenville, Drake, Hawkins. Inland north to south Dudley, Walsingham, Burghley.  Each elects one senator and 2 M.P.s. The M.P.’s are elected from subdivisions which are called quarters. Each quarter elects a bailiff who is the local administrator.  Each town elects a mayor.  Odiham in Walsingham is the capital and largest town and the parliament meets there. Drake is the largest port (usually called DrakePort).  There was a “lost” settlement on Gilbert Island north of Dudley, which was mysteriously destroyed. (The general suspicion among the settlers is that it was destroyed by the Fierce Firth Folk, but it may have been destroyed by the Lotonogo).
Dudley grows potatoes (the famed “Dudley spuds”) and has herds of milk cows in the hills. Grenville is chiefly a fishing port with some whaling.  A few bold spirits try trading with the Firth Folk. Walsingham has a textile mill and several lumber and paper mills in Odiham. The trees are cut in the hills above Odiham and rafted down to Odiham to make lumber.  The lumber is used for houses and more is sent down river to Drake where small but sturdy wooden sailboats are built for fishing and coastal trade.  These are the boats that sail out of Drake, Grenville and Hawkins.  Drake also has larger ships (mostly built elsewhere) for trading on the high seas to neighboring islands, other colonies (chiefly Australia and New Zealand).  Hawkins trades chiefly with a neighboring archipelago inhabited by Indigenes (the Southern Isles or Pirate Isles).  Some trade honestly but others are blackbirders importing labor for the tobacco fields, and a few are near pirates and raiders. There are also some deposits of lead and silver in the southern hills beyond Hawkins.
[Towns added June 15.2014.  The capital of Burghley is Theobalds, inland on the Copper River. The capital of Dudley is Kenilworth, inland on the Silver River.]
Upfield and Downfield: added Jan.23, 2017 from earlier note: “Upfield” is the region in the foothills of the mountains on the inner  (old colony) side. In Dudley and Walsingham it is chiefly sheep country or in Dudley potato farms, as well as mines. In Burghley it is tobacco growing and small farms.
Downfield is the region along the coast –cotton fields in Hawkins and western Burghley,, wheat and cattle in western Walsingham, oats and potatoes in western Dudley and eastern Grenville.
Downfield is the region closer to the coast.
Desert Outposts Added Jan/23. 2017 from earlier notes: There are a string of settler outposts across the desert between the passes through the mountains and Lakeland. Each of them is based on a water source.
 Near Well: As its name implies, this is the settlement nearest the mountain passes. There is a well-established track (after about 1920, paved macadam road) over Broad Pass connecting Near Well by way of the Walsingham towns to Odiham. It has its own reliable natural spring and seasonally can collect limited water from intermittent streams coming off the mountains. It is the oldest and largest of the settlements, serving as a base for traders, trappers and explorers who go deeper into the desert, and has several permanent trading posts of its own, as well as a few bars, a doctor, a Methodist mission, a Constabulary post, etc. Several clans of Desert Indigenes maintain semi-permanent camps on the outskirts of the settlement and can often be hired as guides, bearers etc. The chiefs of these clans meet at traditional festivals and may elect a "King of the Desert" who claims to speak for all the Desert people, though his authority may be slight beyond the nearer clans.
Far Well: This is the next settlement away from the mountains, more or less directly east of Near Well, with a well-established track (after circa 1920, macadam paved road) linking it to Near Well. It is smaller, with one reliable but not large natural spring, a few trading posts, and a Constabulary post, but few other amenities. ((After the 1920s it grows somewhat.) One Desert Indigene clan makes Far Well its usual base, and other clans visit irregularly.
Far Gone: This is not a regular settlement but a campsite with seasonal water. Settlers built a tank to collect water, and there is usually some there except in very dry seasons. Huts are maintained there with supplies for travelers (who are expected to contribute to replenish the supplies they use.) One trader goes there regularly to trade with Desert Indigenes and others come by irregularly. No Desert Indigene Clan camps there permanently, but several of the clans who prefer to live independently in the desert come there fairly often to trade. The Constabulary sends a patrol out quarterly from Far Well to Far Gone and will also send special investigators if needed. (Again, this becomes a more established permanent settlement in the 1920s.)
Gone Too Far: This is a campsite with less reliable seasonal water, known as the site of the death of Ted "Gone to Hell" Healy, one of the earliest Marlanders to explore the desert. His naturally mummified body and notebooks with valuable information on the desert trails were found by another early Desert explorer, Edward "Duffer" Duffy. Healy was one of the first Marlanders to master the Desert dialect, and learned of the way across the desert to Lakeland from conversations with Desert Indigene wise men. However, when they learned he planned to go back and lead more settlers into the region, his Indigene informants hamstrung him and left him to die at Gone Too Far when the water dried up.  Duffy was less knowledgeable of the Desert and its Indigenes, but he reached Gone Too Far with a small, well-armed party in a season when the water pool were full, retrieved Healy's notebooks and brought them back to Marland where they were used for guidance by the First Lakeland Expedition. Healy was honorably buried under a large cairn at Gone Too Far. Duffy became a successful trader in the Near Well-Far Well circuit, but rarely went out as far as Gone Too Far again, as the deep Desert Indigenes blamed him for the coming of more settlers and were said to have sworn to kill him on sight. (Even in the 1920s and later this remained a very small outpost, though when a paved road was built all the way to Lakeland (1950s?) it did become a more regular stop, with water tanks kept filled by water brought from the larger settlements.)
 The Desert Folk (Indigenes): The Desert Folk say they were the first people to come to New Albion (save the Lotonogo) ). At first they lived on the coast and enjoyed its fertile soil with plenty of plants to gather and animals to catch, but then the present Coastal People came and drove the Desert Folk over the mountains and into the Desert in a long series of vicious little wars. Though this was long before the coming of the Europeans, it is still bitterly remembered, and the wild Desert folk are still likely to kill any Coastal male they meet on sight, if there are no Europeans about. Coastal women and children are captured and taken into the Desert Clans.  Coastal people are likely to respond the same way. These clashes were rare between the end of the forced migration of the Desert Folk into the Desert and the coming of the Europeans, but when the Europeans began to settle the Coast, some Coastal people withdrew, first into the Mountains and then into the outskirts of the Desert, reigniting the conflict between the two peoples.  Once the Marland Europeans established official dominion over the Desert (about the 1860s) they endeavored to suppress the conflict (as they wished to use the Coastal  people as laborers, and the Desert Folk as guides, trackers, trappers etc.)  However, until at least the 1880s the handful of Constables assigned to the Desert posts had a hard struggle to keep a minimum of order. The Lakeland People came down from the north, and settled the Lake country without conflict with the Desert Folk, and for some time (roughly the 1830s to the 1880s) the Lakeland people had secret pacts with the Desert Folk to discourage European penetration across the desert by whatever means necessary (though the Desert Folk did not risk open warfare, they would ambush solitary Europeans or small parties, if they felt certain of leaving no living witnesses;  they could also lead parties astray, poison waterholes etc. By no means all Desert Folk were parties to these pacts with the Lake; some were neutral or even friendly to the Europeans.)

Marland 2
Note: The Politics and Business Descriptions here apply to the late Victorian era circa 1870 -1900.
The current prime minister is the Liberal leader James “Sunny Jim” Foley. He is a short sturdy red-faced clean-shaven man with a perpetual public smile. He has a daughter Hope and a son Anthony, a rising barrister.
The former Liberal leader (the colony’s first premier) is Evarts Williams, a tall thin Welshman reputed a great orator.  He has a strong following among the Welsh shepherds and coalminers in western Walsingham
The leader of the opposition is the Conservative Sir Arthur Talcott. He is a tall, stooped, heavily built man with a thick beard, from an established family of planters in Burghley.
His deputy and shadow Treasurer is one Benjamin Josephson, son of a successful Jewish trader but himself a nominal Anglican, a townsman from Hawkins.
Politics tends to be “the two ends against the middle” Burghley and Dudley against Walsingham, but Dudley is more doubtful than Burghley.
In general, the Liberals favor a “little Marland” position and strict adherence to Marland’s treaty with the Indigenes limiting settlement within the mountains.  They also favor adding more seats in parliament for Walsingham and Drake on account of their greater population.
The Conservatives favor an “imperialist” policy of expansion beyond the mountains and punishment for the supposed guilt of the Firth Folk for the loss of the Gilbert settlement.
[Added June 15, 2014 expanded from an earlier note: There is a proposal for a Greater Marland Confederation to include Darnley and South Isles as districts equal to the other six districts. This plan is supported by the Marland Conservatives (proto-Chamberlain imperialists) but not by the Liberals or by Darnley, which is presently a Crown Colony. The feeling of Europeans in the South Isles varies on how well they are doing in dealing with the Indigenes, especially the King of Morgan.  When they fear the Indigenes (as they do now due to the Dawkins Incident) they tend to favor confederation.
Sir Stanley Stevens built the railway through the hills linking Walsingham, Dudley and Burghley where before there were only “little sheep paths.”  The railway was built in the early 1860s. He had first discovered the coal in the hills of western Walsingham which powered the railway and the factories in Odiham. He imported the Welsh miners to dig the coal who became some of the strongest Liberal voters, though he himself is not.
Sir John “Black Jack” McCarthy formerly of Ballarat and San Francisco, reputedly one of the “Sidney Ducks” who ruled the Frisco waterfront. He is a dubious character, a labor contractor and trader out of Hawkins to the islands, reputed a blackbirder, but before the railway he controlled the coastal shipping and also boats on the Golden River during the gold rush in the 1850s. In those days he was called “King of the Golden River” and was a power to be reckoned with in business and politics. As the gold field has become played out, his power has diminished but he hopes to revive it by sponsoring new discoveries further inland. He had tried to discourage the railway project but failed. He is Sir Stanley’s bitter rival and a strong Conservative.
Sir Alexander Michelson was the chief engineer on the railway and also built bridges over valleys in the hills and improved the docks in Drake. He led the first serious successful expedition over the mountains and the desert beyond and discovered the great Lake Alexandra named for the Princess of Wales because it was discovered in the year of her marriage (1863). His heroic exploit led to his invitation to Windsor to meet Queen Victoria and his knighting and recently (c. 1880s) to his appointment as the first Marland-born governor-general of Marland on Foley’s recommendation. Having discovered the relatively civilized Indigenes of the Lake region, he strongly supports the Liberal policy of respecting the treaty and letting the Indigenes “work out their own destiny.”
[Religion: Added June 15, 2014.  There is an Anglican bishop of Marland whose cathedral is in Odiham, with archdeacons in Theobalds, Kenilworth, and Holyrood, and a mission in Raleigh. Some of the miners in western Walsingham are Methodist and others are Irish Catholic.  There is an Irish Catholic vicar apostolic in Odiham with jurisdiction over Marland, Darnley and Raleigh. There is a Catholic mission in the Southern (Pirate) Isles, under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Santo Nicolao

 (Sports added Jan.16, 2017, revised Jan.19) There are two major sports, cricket and Marland football which is something like soccer or rugby. Cricket is played on a district basis with eight teams: the six Marland districts (Grenville, Drake, Hawkins, Dudley, Walsingham, and Burghley) plus one for Darnley and one for Raleigh (which includes all the Pirate Isles, insofar as any of the British population are players.) The league was established about 1865 though informal matches were played from the 1840s. Marland football is played by town clubs including the Drakeport Dragons, Odiham Statesmen (aka Windbags) Theobalds Squatters, Gold River Miners, Kirkofields Stranglers (Officially Holyrood Royals), Grenville Whales, Spens Sailors, Barton Pirates, Raleigh Rovers etc. League play began 1885. Gaming for match results –for cricket –roll 1d 6 l 1-3, score is 3 digits on d10. If either team scores over 100, roll d6 to see if a player scores a century –a century is scored on roll of 6.  For football, roll 1d6 – number of goals is number rolled, except 6 is 0 (or –if roll is 6, reroll – 1-3 is 0, 4-6 adds points beyond 5 –4 is 1 etc.) .  If over 3 goals are scored for a team, roll 1d6 to see if a player scored a hat trick. On a roll of 1 a hat trick is scored.

There are four cultures among the Indigenes, the Coastal, Desert, Northern and Lacustrine. Their languages are related, with Coastal being more closely related to Desert and Northern and Lacustrine being more different.  Coastal has few pure native speakers left, but as all the languages are mutually comprehensible to some degree, the white settlers tend to use Coastal as a lingua franca or trade language with people of all four groups.
Coastal Indigene Male Age Groups and leadership (Added Feb.1, 2017): In the pre-European contact and early contact period, Coastal Indigene males underwent demanding coming of age rituals (the details varied from clan to clan) at about the age of 15; those who passed were designated Hasakiri, or warriors, and were expected to take a full part in hunting expeditions and raids on rival clans. At about the age of 45, those who had proven themselves successful Hasakiri were elevated to Satariki or elders, who were invested with the sacred wisdom of the clan and had the duties of conducting the coming of age rituals, making offerings to the gods, and performing healing magic. The most respected Satariki became members of the clan council who in normal conditions ruled the clan. In times of feud with other clans, or other critical periods (after contact, often in times of trouble with the Europeans), a single clan chief would be chosen by the council, who might be one of the council or (in a feud situation), a senior Hasakiri known for his prowess and leadership in battle. In the post-contact period, such chiefs tended to become permanent rulers who were succeeded by members of their own families (though usually with the approval of the council).Competition for power between rival clans intensified with more use of European weapons, with some ephemeral paramount chiefs claiming to rule over several clans at once. The Europeans recognized a nominal "King of the Coast" primarily to have an Indigene representative who could officially authorize European expansion. As the Coastal Indigenes died from warfare between clans or with Europeans and from European diseases and also interbred with Europeans, the traditional system gradually disintegrated. It had largely collapsed by the 1890s. Note: boys who failed the coming of age rituals became Muthularaka or outcasts; in pre-contact times they could only scrape a living on the fringes of clan life and often died young. With the coming of the Europeans, many of them took refuge in European settlements. Some became beggars or day laborers; others were taken in and educated by missionaries and might have fairly successful lives outside their Indigene culture. Despite such limited success, they were still generally despised by "true" Indigenes.
(The following description of the Lakeland people applies about the 1860s to 1890s. In the 1890s the Lakeland people were conquered in a series of bitter wars. This note added Jan.16, 2017)
The Coastal, Northern and Desert peoples have been briefly described earlier.  The Lacustrine people around Lake Alexandra live off a kind of wild rice growing along the shores of the lake, and fish from the lake. Their rulers also have some cattle and pigs, and hunt wild antelope and other creatures. They wear more elaborate clothing than the other peoples and their rulers wear golden crowns and jewelry which appear to be very old. Their own tradition is that their ancestors  brought the gold with them when they came north up the Great Gorge through which Lake Alexandra drains to the south to regions still unknown to whites and legendary even to the Indigenes. However, some whites, notably Sir John McCarthy, believe the gold came from the smaller rivers which flow into Lake Alexandra from the great mountains to the north which lie east of the Firth Folk’s coast. He hopes to sponsor an expedition to that region, bypassing the Lake folk’s territory. Michelson hopes to sponsor an expedition south through the Great Gorge to see if there is truth in the Lake folk’s traditions.
The Lake folk are organized in one kingdom under a near-absolute king. Recent kings have been very aware of the ruin of the Coastal people by contact with whites and have adopted very strong laws to prevent their own ruin. They allow very few whites into their kingdom.  Those who come must spend 60 days quarantine at a specified place on the border, where each day every stranger must exhibit himself naked on a certain high rock to be examined by the Lacustrine priests (who are also their doctors). White women are not allowed at all, and the Lake women are strictly forbidden on pain of death from having intercourse with white men, to prevent venereal disease. (A young Lake women fell in love with a young white man of Michelson’s party, and though they had exchanged nothing beyond a few kisses, she was clubbed to death in his presence without the horrified young man being able to save her, as Michelson had sworn to obey native law, and anyway did not have the numbers to defy the king.)  For every gun brought into the Lake country by a white man, another gun of equal quality must be given to the Lake people’s guards. These guns are test-fired before being accepted, and must be accompanied by ammunition equivalent to that brought by the whites for their own use. The Lake people are reputed to worship a great crocodile who lives in the lake, to whom they make offerings of fish, pigs, cattle and occasionally people. Their king is said to be descended from the crocodile, and is called Great Crocodile.
(The God of the Lake: Added March 3, 2015)
The god of the lake takes the form of a gigantic crocodile which apparently swam in from the sea by the unknown mouth of the river which flows out of the lake and presumably reaches the sea somewhere on the Unapproachable Coast on the east side of Marland where reefs and sandbars make exploration well-nigh impossible. It has grown ever since. Ancient tales of the Lake People suggest it used to be of a more normal size, but it has simply kept growing (as some reptiles do) till it is far larger than any normal crocodile.
An English scientist wants to find out what keeps it alive. He believes it could give near immortality to humans, but it cannot be due to properties of the water, since the people of Lakeland who drink the water, swim in it and eat fish from it, do not live unusually long. Due to the lack of modern medicine, their lives are shorter than the English –so the cause of the long life of the god cannot be anything in the water. The scientist thinks it might be something in the lake floor
[Lake People Added June 15, 2015: the choice of king/high chief is by ten regional chiefs from around the lake and the hinterlands beyond. The right to be a candidate is matrilineal descent from a king, but the father must be of chiefly blood. “Chiefly blood” is defined as one ancestor being a chief within the last four generations. Families may try to “refresh” their chiefly status by marrying into a chiefly line within that time. Commoners and regional chiefs normally have only one wife at a time, but high chiefs/kings have multiple wives (of chiefly families) and concubines (of common families). ]
In the mountains north of the Lake there are said to be legendary humanoids called the Lotonogo. They are reputedly gigantic, hairy, ape-like, but capable of using fire and simple stone weapons. They are reputed to eat deer, bears and occasionally people.
John Leland April 12, 2014
. Additions June 4, 2014
Geography: North Albion: Darnley Colony
East of Marland beyond the Fierce Firth Folk on an island separated from New Albion by a narrow strait is North Albion.  It has a Scottish settlement, Darnley, with two ports, the larger Barton on the west coast, the smaller Spens on the east coast. [ Added June 15, 2014: The capital is Holyrood, also known as Kirk o’Fields, situated inland between the two ports. The people grow oats, cabbage and potatoes, do some sheepherding and also fishing.  The people are chiefly Presbyterian and the church is governed by the Presbytery of Holyrood, with classes in Barton and Spens. There is another Presbytery covering mainland Marland and a mission in Raleigh in the South Isles.]  Gilbert Island, where the lost settlement was, is in the strait between North Albion and New Albion.
(Added 3/4/15 –notes made earlier but mislaid) The Seal Skerries:
North of New Albion and North Albion are a series of small rocky islets, the Seal Skerries. They are inhabited chiefly by seals and seabirds. The sealing rights in the region are contested by American and Russian sealers, especially the latter, though Marland claims jurisdiction over them and sends coastal patrol boats there to restrict the sealing. There is a Russian vice-consul in Grenville and a consul in Drakeport to protect the interests of the sealers (and intrigue for the annexation of the skerries to the Russian Empire). There is also a Russian chaplain at the consulate, Father Jonas, who looks after the spiritual needs of the sealers, and also supports Father Makary.
Makary the Seal Saint: Staretz (Russian Orthodox spiritual guide) who was a Russian sealer who repented and became a hermit on a small island at the northern tip of the Seal Skerries – called “Mackerel” by the Anglo-American sealers –given offerings of food (and other supplies) by Russian sealers who avoid sealing around his island out of religious veneration. It has become a seal sanctuary – many breed there. Americans and English also avoid it out of superstitious fear. They believe Makary can “call” sea beasts to defend the isle against sealers and whalers. There is a tale he “called” a white whale that destroyed a ship whose crew had raided his isle (or tried to).
 [Indigenes on North Albion: Added June 15, 2014 from memory of notes –may be corrected later.) The Indigenes of North Albion tend to be shorter and more slightly built than those of the mainland. (The North Albion people average about 5 feet in height and 100 pounds.  The Fierce Firth Folk and the Lake People run 6 feet and 200 lbs. among the males, and a little less for females. The South Isles Indigenes are even larger.)  When the Darnley colony arrived, the Indigenes withdrew with no significant resistance into the barren hills in the north of the island, while the colonies aside from a few shepherds, hunters and fishermen chiefly settled the more fertile plain in the south. The Darnley colonists blended the Indigenes with Scottish tradition and call them the “Little People” or “People of the Hills” and have legends about their supposed magical powers, especially invisibility and hunting/fishing magic (which is probably just better bushcraft.)  There are said to be an even smaller folk, the “true little people” regarded as legendary and magical even by the “People of the Hills.”  There are also said to be a smaller version of the (Lotonogo) , short, squat, hairy and muscular, living in caves in the hills and sometimes capturing human children for slaves or food. ]
Added 3.4.15 (by memory of earlier ideas recently written down) The Unapproachable Coast: The west coast of New Albion is known as the Unapproachable Coast.  It was originally named by the Spanish, who coming from Mexico found the winds against them when they tried to reach New Albion, but coming from Asia the winds were favorable for reaching the east coast. The west coast remains “Unapproachable” due to the reefs (rocky reefs, not coral) and sand banks. It is said there are several wrecks of Spanish ships on that coast, including at least one treasure galleon (loaded with silver for trade with China) , as well as the wreck of an 18th century French exploring vessel and wrecks of several more recent American sealers or whalers.
There is a trading outpost called Raleigh in the South Isles southwest of Burghley. [Additions June 15, 2014. Raleigh is on one of the two largest of the South Isles, the only one with a significant European population. The other large Island is Morgan. It has a small European outpost called Port Royal, but is dominated by the strongest of the South Isle chiefs, known as the “King of Morgan.” Other islands are Kidd, Teach, Roberts and Rackham to the south of the two main islands and Bonney and Reade to the northwest.]
Indigenes of the South Isles:
[Addition June 15, 2014: The Kings of Morgan are high chiefs who claim overlordship over the chiefs of all the isles. However, lordship over a given island’s  chief can be decided by a ritual combat between one or a small number of champions in war-canoes throwing spears at each other until one side is dead or too severely wounded to continue. (The latter is regarded as humiliating, and most champions prefer death if the battle is serious. Sometimes, however, the battle’s result is negotiated in advance –usually for a submission by the lesser chief with payment of tribute and perhaps the gift of a wife to the high chief – in which case the battle is only to a “first blood” flesh wound. ) Some islands have successfully maintained their independence of the “Kings of Morgan” for generations by wining these fights, and occasionally the chief of one of the lesser islands has defeated the chief of another and established temporary tributary superiority intermediate between the King of Morgan and the lesser chief, but no chief of another island has ever yet defeated a champion of Morgan and claimed overlordship of Morgan, and none of the temporary intermediate lordship has proved lasting. It is said the Chief of Teach, who is notoriously warlike and ambitious, hopes to defeat the other chiefs and ultimately make himself King of the Isles, but so far he has only established overlordship over the chief of Kidd. It is said he is secretly negotiating with certain blackbirders who resent the King of Morgan’s restricting their activities.]
[Dawkins from Hawkins: Recorded June 10, 2014, expanded and copied June 15. 2014: One of the worst of the blackbirders, Jack Dawkins from Hawkins in Burghley, tried to gain control of the Indigene King of Morgan by smuggling a revolver into an audience with the king (firearms are forbidden at his court).  He shot the king’s favorite concubine when she tried to shield the king, and ordered the king’s daughter, the crown princess (matrilineal heiress) to come to him, as a hostage and possibly a future wife (hoping to establish himself as the next King of Morgan). The princess managed to seize Dawkins’ gun arm and hold it despite his furious struggles until the king’s bodyguard beat him unconscious with a club. When he woke, Hawkins was slowly ceremonially eaten alive over several days. It is said his screams could be heard as far as Port Royal (or in a wilder version, even on the east coast of the neighboring island of Raleigh.)
Dawkins’s partner Perry Fisher, a coldly businesslike man who normally acted as the firm’s agent in Hawkins, selling the cargoes of indentured servants run in from the isles by Dawkins, is now said to be in Raleigh seeking to organize an expedition of revenge, arguing that it is dangerous for any “native” to “get away with the murder” of any European, no matter the cause. However, the Marland governor of Raleigh has refused official sanction to Fisher’s expedition, or any military or naval support, so he has had to try to recruit local desperadoes, in addition to Dawkins’ crew, who generally were loyal to their captain, who was generous with rum rations and permission to abuse Indigene women.]
(Added 3.4.15 from memory of earlier notes now mislaid) The Lord High Admiral of the Pirate Isles: Ruthven Despard was a British naval lieutenant on one of the first ships to explore the South Isles in the late 1840s. He deserted (or, as he insists, formally resigned) and became naval adviser to the “King” of Teach, and has raised and trained a small but dangerous fleet, including a formerly British brig mounting a battery of light guns and manned chiefly by English sailors, and several large war canoes manned by the Indigenes of Teach. Despard claims to have been “knighted” by the King of Teach and granted the grandiose title of admiral. His status is not officially recognized by the Marland authorities but they sometimes have had to negotiate with him.  He married a French woman from New Corsica and had a son, Desmond, and two daughters, Desdemona and Desiree. All are very good-looking (dark curly hair and flashing dark eyes) and athletic and educated in England and currently making a splash in Marland society.
 (Added 3.4.15 from memory of earlier notes now mislaid) New Corsica is the largest of a group of islands colonized by France. Originally settled in the reign of Napoleon III, they were called the “Napoleonic” isles in his day, but under the Republic were later named the Bonapartic isles, “for the republican general, not the emperor,” as it was proclaimed. Besides the main island of New Corsica, there are two small islands, New Elba and New St. Helena. Both are prison colonies, with New St. Helena (Nouvelle Sainte Helene) being used for the worst offenders. ”The Devil Macaire” or “”Devil May Care”: Claude de Sainte-Macaire, allegedly originally a convict (a déclassé revolutionary aristocrat, unjustly exiled in 1852 for resisting Napoleon III, or so he maintains) escaped from New St. Helena, became a notorious blackbirder and pirate in the South Isles. His sister Marie married Ruthven Despard, but he has never attained even the semi-respectability of Despard.
[San Nicolas is a small old Spanish colony on a neighboring island (south of the South Isles) dating back to the Manila galleon trade. As of the 1870-1890 period, it does some blackbirding, exporting labor to South America.  The most notorious Spanish blackbirder is Manuel Quiroga. He would like to see the South Isles annexed to Spain. After the Spanish-American War, San Nicholas became a US territory and was the base of US forces engaged in Marland in World War 2 (see below)
(Added Jan.16, 2017: The Germans had a colony, Caprivi, on a small archipelago west of Marland which was captured by a Marland-Japanese expedition in World War 1 and given to Japan in the Treaty of Versailles. It was the main Japanese base in the region during World War 2. The Japanese form of the name was Kaparifi.)
Later Political Developments (Added Feb.10, 2017 from notes made the night before):
Teach-Morgan War (after the death of Admiral Despard) (later 1890s): The king of Teach invades Morgan and at first overruns much of the island, using modern weapons in open disregard of the traditional customs of island war. Marland traders on Morgan appeal for aid, and Marland intervenes with a small but competent force which after  some fierce fighting drives the invaders back to Teach and deposes the king. Teach comes under direct Marland rule and Morgan is officially declared a Marland/British protectorate (which effective includes the rest of the Southern Isles.)
The Greater Marland Confederation (including Darnley and the Southern Isles) is implemented by the British Conservative government with the support of the Marland Conservatives (1903?), despite opposition from Marland Liberals and others.
Added Jan.22, 2017:  World War 1 Period (use One Dice World War rules): Caprivi Campaign:  Caprivi was invaded by an Allied force, chiefly Japanese but including the Marland Field Force – the expedition commander was the Japanese Commodore Nakashima, but the MFF was led by Brig. Gen. James (“Jock the Rock”) Ruddock (a hard-bitten Dudleyman toughened by fighting with Fierce Firth Folk). The German defenders, a small but well-trained garrison reinforced with a certain number of local traders and native auxiliaries (ethnically related to the people of the Pirate (Southern) Isles) were led by Corvette Captain Max Haifisch, who was determined to be the “von Lettow-Vorbeck of the Pacific.”  The Japanese began with a straightforward banzai charge onto the beach near the colonial port and capital, Georgshavn on the southwest coast. The Japanese were slaughtered by well-place machine-gun nests.  Meanwhile, the MFF had successfully landed on an inlet to the northeast (later called Ruddock’s Cove) against limited resistance by a surprised outpost. Seeing this success, Nakashima shifted the main weight of the invasion to Ruddock’s Cove, reinforcing the MFF with a strong force of Japanese Marines. Seeing that his defenses around Georgshavn had been outflanked to his right rear, Haifisch withdrew to the northwest into a rugged region of volcanic mountains and dug new defensive lines. The Japanese and the MFF cautiously advanced against those lines in a kind of miniature trench warfare; ultimately Haifisch was forced to surrender as the Allied naval forces were able to blockade the Germans, while also capturing the smaller islands of the archipelago.
Small party adventures: 1) landing party goes into Ruddock’s Cove by night to reconnoiter for the original MFF landing, silences a German outpost. 2) scouting party advances into the mountains to seek out Haifisch’s new lines. 3) possible small party sent to take one or more of the outlying islands of the archipelago –resistance chiefly traders, planters, and native constabulary.
Marland World War 1; Home Front; The Crocodile Conspiracy (Added Feb.7, 2017 from memory of earlier notes: The Germans plan to raise a Lakeland revolt by spreading a story that the Crocodile God (which British adventurers killed in the 1890s) will rise from the lake to lead his people into battle. They have set up a manned mechanical submersible crocodile in the lake (impervious to small-arms fire) which is scheduled to rise in front of a large gathering of Lake Indigenes. However, a small British party discovers the plot and is able to destroy the mechanical crocodile at the critical moment (possibly with a mountain howitzer?)
More Later Political Developments (also Added Feb.10, 2017)
After World War One, a Liberal/Labour coalition government replaces the Marland Conservatives and passes the Indigene Administration Act, which creates the Indigene Advisory Council including representatives of all the Indigene peoples, but with little actual power. Extending a Marland Old Colony law that originally applied only to the Coastal people, Indigenes who meet certain property and education qualifications are permitted to vote in Marland elections. The more educated Indigenes are divided between assimilationists, who want all Indigenes to adopt British culture and gain full citizenship, and the autonomists, who favor the non-Coastal peoples (Fierce Firth Folk, Lakelanders, Southern Islanders and perhaps Desert People and Darnley Small Folk) as a loose association of autonomous nations. The assimilationists are represented by the Indigene National Congress, and the autonomists break away in the Indigene Independence Association.
Marland in World War 2: (One Dice Pulp rules)
(Added Jan.24, 2017 based on earlier notes I cannot find just now)
World War 2 was marked by an actual invasion of Marland by Japan, which successfully occupied much of the old colony within the mountains, but was held at the mountain passes in fierce fighting, and eventually defeated; all Marland was liberated with cooperating  Marland resistance and allied (chiefly US) forces, and finally the Japanese base at Kapirifi was taken.
(Before the Japanese invasion of Marland, a small Marland contingent served with Anzac troops in North Africa. It was led by Brig. Gen Andrew (Canny Andy) Randolph, who was home on leave when the Japanese invasion took place and became the military leader of the Marland Resistance).
Fall of Drakeport: Dec.8, 1941, a Japanese flotilla launches a successful attack on Drakeport, which is taken by surprise and falls after a few days of bitter fighting. Small Party Adventure: escaping from Drakeport to join the resistance inland, possibly carrying valuable intelligence regarding Japanese agents in Marland.
Retreat through Walsingham (1942): the Japanese advance up Golden River is bravely contested by the outnumbered Marland forces, but ultimately they are forced back into the mountains. Odiham is declared an open city by the Marland government and occupied by the Japanese, who set up a puppet Indigene regime drawn from collaborationist members of the Indigene Independence Association (other members of the IIA are Marxist sympathizers and follow the "Popular Front" line, in resisting the Japanese, though trying to build up their own strength independent of the Marland government, which is established at Near Well.(The more moderate Indigene Congress also supports the Marland government more unreservedly.) The Japanese also occupy Grenville, Hawkins, and Spens, but Dudley, Burghley, and western Darnley around Barton remain contested. Small Party Adventures: parties can fight delaying actions against the main Japanese advance or guerrilla actions outside the main Walsingham front. In particular there is ferocious fighting for control of the mines, not only the gold mines up Golden River, but also the strategically valuable copper mines in Burghley. The radical miners' union (Ancient Order of Freemen) is especially dedicated in these conflicts, using sabotage techniques (originally developed for strikes) to prevent to Japanese from exploiting the mines. Another Small Party Adventure is the capture of the Hideyoshi Maru, the capture by Marlanders of a Japanese ship loaded with supplies, largely British  ammo etc. taken at Singapore and helpfully compatible with the Marland weapons. The ship is boarded, taken to a hidden bay, unloaded and sunk. --
Battle of Broad Pass (1943): In a climactic battle, the Marlanders manage to prevent the Japanese from penetrating Broad Pass and breaking out into the lands beyond the mountains. After this battle, the main front stabilizes. The Japanese intrigue with the Desert Indigenes, Fierce Firth Folk, and Lakelanders attempting to provoke uprisings in the rear of the main Marlander lines, but do not succeed in raising more than minor revolts. (Small Party Adventures: A party may secure (and decipher) the Japanese plans for the battle, aiding the Marlander defense. They might also try to kill or capture the Japanese commander. In the later phase, they can work to foil the Japanese intrigues with the Indigenes, in particular one party might work with Rev. Theophilus Doggo, the (half-Desert Indigene) Marland Methodist missionary/agent in Far Well, in preventing a rising by the Desert Indigenes.)
The Liberation (1944) Allied (chiefly US) planes and ships deliver supplies and reinforcements from San Nicholas to Marland via dangerous routes over the Unapproachable Coast. Ultimately the reinforced Marland/Allied forces return to Walsingham, free Odiham, and take Drakeport in house-to-house fighting, while an Allied naval contingent joins in from the sea, destroying Japanese ships in the harbor and bombarding Japanese positions. Small Party Adventures: small parties can do reconnaissance for the liberation behind Japanese lines, work to cut Japanese transport and communications, overrun specific Japanese strong points in Drakeport etc.
Invasion of Kapirifi: the New Marland Field Force joins an Allied (largely US) amphibious operation taking Kapirifi from a deeply entrenched Japanese garrison. Intensely violent conflict including original beach landing, gradual defeat of outlying Japanese lines, and final overcoming Japanese suicidal resistance in tunnel complexes in the northeastern mountains. (Small Party Adventures: landing parties can prepare the way for the main invasion, later parties can storm specific Japanese outposts or penetrate specific strategically important parts of the tunnel complex.)