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Plebeians & Personages:

Colonel Ian O'Reilly, ARI

by Mark Clark

Every roleplaying campaign needs a villain, and the sooner he's introduced the better. As you know from reading "Mutiny on the Majestic" in this issue, Colonel Ian O'Reilly of the Army of the Republic of Ireland (ARI) is at the center of the plot to steal the British government's quarterly Martian payroll, a huge sum (shipped in gold, of course). When the player characters cross him, he is at first amused, and then angry. Even though this is the first time the characters will meet the Colonel, you can be assured it will not be the last.


Ian O'Reilly has been destined from birth to oppose the designs of the British Empire. Seven generations of his family have fought to drive the cursed English from Ireland's shores, and seven generations have given their lives, butchered by the English government or their Irish lackeys. Ian has been a part of the movement almost since birth when he was two weeks old his mother hid a pair of pistols in his crib when the police came to call. Even though his skin was rubbed raw by the guns, he did not cry out, saving his family from the firing squad. His father died in a bomb explosion when Ian was six; his mother was raped and bayoneted by British soldiers in front of his eyes when he was twelve. Sent to an English public school by a British officer who took pity on him, Ian learned to hate his oppressors even more, while learning the skills that would allow him to pass in polite society. After leaving school, he became a solicitor (lawyer) in Dublin, using his contacts to aid the ARI in its work. During those years he arranged for the soldiers who killed his mother to meet horrible and lingering deaths. That mission accomplished, he grew tired of legal work, and planned and executed his spectacular robbery of the Irish Mail train, after which he escaped to Mars. There, in cooperation with Baron Hasso von Gruber, he has sought to embarrass the British at every turn, working to unite the savage High Martians of the Astusapes highlands for an attack on the Crown Colony of Syrtis Major. His current plan to steal the gold from the Majestic is just the latest in his daring plots to finance his designs.


O'Reilly hates the British Empire and anyone British with a passion. His greatest passion is reserved for active duty British officers and NCOs, who he loves to capture and torture in novel ways. Oddly enough, other British citizens are quite safe in his hands. O'Reilly believes that the Irish race is inherently superior to the English, and so his sense of fair play and courtesy is well developed he will not be randomly cruel, and will often give those who oppose him a way out (as long as they are not active duty military). Above all else, O'Reilly seeks the destruction of the British Empire on Mars, a collapse that he sees as only the first step to the destruction of England itself. He will rob, cheat, steal, and ally himself with anyone, no matter how unsavory (even Germans!) if it brings him closer to his goal. A master of disguise, the player characters can never be sure he's not watching. Play on that fear. O'Reilly's one weakness is money. His plans call for large amounts of cash, so the chance to obtain it will bring him running.

Colonel Ian O'Reilly, A.R.I.

Strength: 5   Intellect: 6
Agility: 6    Charisma: 5
Endurance: 5  Social Level: 1
Careers: Anarchist, Master Criminal
Skills: Fisticuffs 4, Throwing 3, Close Combat 6, Stealth 5, Crime 4 (Forger), Marksmanship 4 (Pistol), Wilderness Travel 4 (Mapping), Observation 6, Engineering 2 (Explosives), Science 2 (Archaeology), Eloquence 5, Theatrics 5, Linguistics 4 (High Martian [Astusapes Dialect], Kohline, German, Open Slot), Leadership 4, Piloting 4 (Aerial Flyer), Medicine 2.

Encounter Ideas

O'Reilly spends much of his time in the Astusapes Highlands, working to organize the High Martians, so he will most likely be encountered there, especially if he arranges for the players to be captured. He will probably wish to use them in some way to gain funds for his operations, perhaps by holding them hostage. Alternatively, O'Reilly or his minions may have kidnaped someone else, and the players are either friends with the victim or are hired to find out who the kidnaper is.

O'Reilly also is a frequent visitor to Syrtis Major and other cities in the British colony. He has two goals during these visits: obtaining arms and money for his cause, and gathering information about the movements of British troops. He will most likely be found in the Bazaar, looking for weapons and supplies. If the characters are looking for guns to arm their new privateer, they may become involved in a bidding war with O'Reilly, earning his enmity. Wealthy characters, on the other hand, may be approached for charitable donations to benefit the widows and orphans of the brave men who fell in the Oenotrian campaign, donations that will actually go to line O'Reilly's pockets. Military characters will be avidly pumped for information by women of loose virtue, whatever they say going straight to O'Reilly's ears.

If the characters are not on the right side of the law, and especially if they are Americans, they may be hired by O'Reilly for some task. O'Reilly often buys guns in Thymiamata, and if the characters have a ship they could be hired to deliver a cargo or two for him, with a double-cross waiting if they turn out to be less than honest.

One final note: O'Reilly has connections and agents all over Mars. He has sold guns to the Belgians and to the rebels fighting them, he has travelled in the Tossian Empire, it is even rumored that he has had something to do with the recent troubles on Venus. He operates through his agents and in disguise everywhere. If the players ever cross him they will find no safe hiding place.

Posted Monday, 04-May-2009 19:49:26 EDT

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