The Complete Canal Priests Of Mars is now available!The original publication of Canal Priests Of Mars cut slightly over a third of author Marcus L. Rowland's manuscript to fit GDW's adventure format. The Complete Canal Priests Of Mars restores the cut material, features all new artwork by Paul Daly, and adds many useful player handouts. Enjoy the "author's cut" of a classic Space 1889 adventure, or experience it for the first time!
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For the past twenty years, Mars has reluctantly begun to release her secrets to men from Earth. These secrets, and the chance to grow rich from trade, farming, and the recovery of ancient Martian technology, has led large numbers of Earthmen to travel to Mars. The British Crown Colony of Syrtis Major has drawn thousands of these settlers to the Red Planet, and with their arrival has come increased turmoil between the Martian inhabitants and the newly arrived British and Imperial colonists. In Syrtis Major, and the other large cities (especially Parhoon and Gorovaan) the British police forces and their native compatriots maintain the peace. In the countryside, peace was originally maintained by the British Navy and the Army, but with the outbreak and resumption of hostilities with the Martian city states to the south, no longer can the military spare the manpower to protect colonists, prevent crime, and maintain order. Wisely, those in Government House choose to establish the Royal Martian Constabulary, a mounted, and armed paramilitary police force that maintains the peace between Martian and Earthman, preserves tranquility, and helps to promote prosperity through the maintenance of peace
The Royal Martian Constabulary (RMC) is modeled after the its Irish counterpart, the Royal Irish Constabulary. The RIC was established in the beginning of the 19th century to preserve the peace in Ireland after the republican disturbances during the Napoleonic era. Maintenance of peace in the face of armed insurrection required that the RIC be armed, and the vast distances required that they be mounted. Most of the RIC recruits were Protestant, and from the urban areas of Ireland. Highly successful in maintaining the peace, they soon came to fulfill other jobs as well. They protected magistrates, they served eviction notices, guarded food exports during the potato famine, halted riots, thus maintaining peace and tranquility through armed force. Their excesses were constantly mentioned in the British press throughout the middle of the century, but it was their early successes which inspired Sir Robert Peal to established the Metropolitan Police in London in the 1830's.
When the Republic of Texas wished to create a state police force, the famous (or infamous) Texas Rangers, they modeled themselves after the RIC. The Texas Rangers, modifying the RIC experience for local conditions, proved to be highly successful both before and after the Civil War. Thus when the British officials were searching for a way to preserve the peace outside of the major urban cities, they had a ready model in the RIC when they decided to create the Royal Martian Constabulary.
The RMC consists of 120 troopers, armed with Henry-Martini carbines and Webley .455 revolvers. The 120 troopers are led by twelve officers, all with reserve commissions in the British Army. The vast majority of the troopers are either former policemen, from the City of London or Metropolitan police forces, from the RIC, or are ex-Army enlisted men. The officers, for the most part, are University graduates, either with previous military service, or who have a legal background. This is important for almost all of the officers are also magistrates, and are thus legally allowed to enforce the law and to sentence and try criminals on the spot if necessary. More importantly, because of the complexities of the British legal system, having a magistrate assigned with the police unit allows the reading of the Riot Act over any illegal gathering of three or more persons.
The unit has a tremendous esprit-de-corps, due to their high pay and their prestige among the British colonists. The unit is made up of 90 troopers, or patrolmen, 10 sergeants, 10 lieutenants, 5 captains (both the lieutenants and the captains are magistrates), 4 chief magistrates, and 1 commissioner. The commissioner is directly responsible to the Lieutenant Governor of the Crown Colony, acting as the Crown's representative to the Home Office. The commissioner, Colonel Sir Henry Albert Wallingford, DSO, KGIE, was formerly the assistant commissioner in charge of the North-West Frontier Force on the India/Afghanistan border. Sir Henry felt that by becoming the first commissioner of the RMC he would be able to set the standards for the future of the force. His actions, to date, have been acceptable, and there have been few complaints, either from Martians or from Earthmen.
The RMC's main base is just south and east from the city of Parhoon, and it is given charge of all territory within the Crown Colony, other than the cities themselves. They are subordinate to the military in all situations involving foreign powers, and they are not authorized to enter the city-states without permission from the respective leaders of the urban police forces. Nevertheless, the RMC is extremely powerful in the countryside and is able to use necessary force to maintain the peace. The troopers, mounted on either gashants or horses, usually patrol in 10 groups: 8 troopers, 1 sergeant, and 1 lieutenant. Each city-state Syrtis Major, Parhoon, Gorovaan, Haat, and Meepsoor) are assigned a captain, and a chief magistrate, as well as with two troopers assigned various office duties. The commissioner is assigned to the Parhoon headquarters instead of a chief magistrate. However, very often the head office captain is forced to act shorthanded when the commissioner is in Syrtis Major performing political tasks. Thus, though head office duty is more trying, it offers quicker promotion to chief magistrate, or quicker demotion/expulsion if the captain is unable to keep up with the duties assigned to him.
Although the force is presently armed with Martini-Henry carbines, rumor has it that the commissioner wants his men equipped with the newer Lee-Metford carbines, or he will purchase American made Winchester carbines. The force is also armed with .455 Webley revolvers, though it is understood that any .455 caliber side arm is acceptable, if the trooper or officer wants a different weapon. The RMC also uses specially modified single barrel, breech loading shotguns. These shotguns take special ammunition made only by the British government, and they will not fire with any commercially available ammunition. Thus if the weapons are stolen during the course of a riot, they are useless to the thief. Modification of the weapon destroys its ability to fire safely, and thus most of the shotguns stolen are quietly returned to the RMC stations. Only three shotguns have been permanently lost, and it is assumed that they were destroyed when the owner attempted to use the weapon or after they modified it. The entire force wears a dark blue uniform, consisting of cord riding breeches, shell jacket, and a 10 foot silk pugeree, which is generally wrapped around the waist or around the white pith/sun helmet. Not only can they be used in sand storms, but tied together, they are strong enough to act as an emergency rope. Members of the unit wear a silver badge on their helmets and their left breast, which includes their identification number. The badge is an eagle grasping the identification number, all set above a setting sun. This badge, however, has its detractors who hint that the appearance of an armed police force on Mars spells the decline of the British empire. (An eagle grasping the ID number above a setting sun, geddit?) Nevertheless, the RMC has maintained the peace for nearly 20 years, and Sir Henry promises it will do so for another twenty.
Posted Monday, 04-May-2009 19:50:50 EDT