The Other Side

Waldo's Weekly - Letters from a Crow Runner

Hey Wyrdos,

We found Waldo playing in the trash this week. Somehow, it didn’t surprise us in the slightest. What did surprise us, however, is the rare gem that he found among the garbage. After pushing away old pizza boxes and coffee tins (and a bottle of whiskey or two – don’t ask me how they got there), our favorite mischievous imp stumbled upon something that is only ever found on beaches and in cheesy 80’s songs: a message in a bottle.

So, this week, we’re opening the bottle and unraveling the notes in this unique short story about a Crow Runner in The Other Side. Enjoy!

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18 August, 1906

Dearest Mother,

Sergeant says I can’t tell you where I am, nor what I am doing, nor who I am with. What a nightmare for you, to not know what your daughter is doing with her days! I still remember your rules for boys; an itinerary, a guest list, and home by ten. Well, I will not be home by ten tonight, or the next, or for quite a while, I fear. But know that I am in good company. These are good men and women I fight beside. They would die for your daughter, and I for them. Let us hope that is not necessary.

I can tell you that the weather here is beautiful. The days are harsh, but at night the sky is full of stars, and the sunsets are like a jewel cut from blood. We move so far ahead of the army that its clamor does not reach us. It is peaceful. I like to find a high place, and turn my back to the sunset, and watch its last light fall on the dreadnoughts as they power down for the night. It is like a little city we bring with us, the army, buildings and all.

I think often of you and Ebo, sitting by the hearth as you prepare dinner, and father in his workshop. The food on the march is terrible. We have kinche that we must mix and eat cold, and the only coffee available is stolen from the Barbary and is hardly worthy of the name. We sometimes hunt, but Yonas is not as much of a cook as he claims. After the war, I will bring him to your hearth, and let you teach him how to make a proper wat.

Hug father for me. He would not speak to me before I left. I know this is not what he wanted for my life, but the days in Amara were long, and going nowhere. Try to understand. And do not let Ebo follow me. That boy would be more of a nuisance to his compatriots than he would to the enemy. Keep him occupied with his maths, and away from that Aifa girl.

Your faithful daughter,

Makda

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2 September, 1906

Mother,

I know I promised weekly letters when I left, but things on the front are difficult. I’m trying to get this in between patrols, when I ought to be sleeping, or eating, or praying, but I find I have little interest in these things. And you deserve a word from your daughter.

Bit of a scare last week. Sergeant had us on a long sally, trying to find the flank of the enemy’s lines. We were part of a larger force probing the west, but were cut off when our supporting elements were counterattacked and driven from the field. Rather than circle back, we pressed on, hoping to get clear of the enemy’s attention so we could find our way home. Three days in the bush, and let me tell you, Yonas’ cooking does not improve in the wild, though it does not seem to affect his mood. I swear, that man’s smile could light up the sky. It would have been a longer journey without him.

I hesitate to mention this. Sergeant is strict about these things. If he hears us talking about it around the fire, he scolds us, and tells us we’re children. But I must put it in ink, in case… just in case. There was something in the darkness, hunting us long after the enemy patrols had given up. I saw it once - a water thing, but on land, with teeth like daggers. There have been stories of these things among the ranks. I did not believe them, but now I do.

I do not like this new world we have created, mother. We have enough war already, always pressing on our borders. But a war with monsters? With demons? Sleep is difficult enough without the nightmares coming true.

Speaking of sleep, I find it necessary. Another patrol in an hour. Hopefully we will be back on friendly ground before the month is out, and then I can write more frequently.

My love to father, and Ebo. Do not worry, mother. Your daughter is strong.

Love,

Makda

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12 December, 1906

I do not have words to express my sorrow, mama. Your letter about Ebo was much delayed. You will have already buried him. I can’t help but feel this is my fault. If I was there… if I had known… if I could have come home. But I wasn’t, and I didn’t, and I can’t.

I wish I had something to comfort you with. The war is grim. We have fallen back and fallen back, until it feels as though we have nothing else to lose. And maybe we don’t. Fool that I am, I miss Yonas and his cooking. We lost him on the long run back to the river. Our advance was turned before we reached the valley, and then one of the dreadnoughts fell to heavy fire, and the rout began in earnest. This was supposed to be an easy fight. The The Barbary League may have made a deal with the devil, I think, or perhaps the Guild. I’m not sure which I would rather face. Sarge would say that I shouldn’t be telling you all this, but he’s in the belly of some hellspawned monster, so what say does he have in it?

What was I saying? The river, and Yonas. After the rout began, Sarge tried to get us to press forward, but there was no hope of that. The Barbary rolled across the valley like ants, their guns rattling and their cannon turning the ground into dust. There was no way forward, so we ran. A group of us went through the woods, thinking to put some cover between us at the front lines, but they were waiting. I have never fought like that. It was desperate and bloody, and when it was done we were running again, this time to the river. Yonas lies in that forest, somewhere among the trees. You would have liked him.

Once we got away from the main body of the rout, things calmed down for a while. We were numb, in body and in mind. Word came that the boats were waiting, that we could escape, if only we could reach the river. So we ran, harder than I’ve ever run in my life. We passed a lot of dying people. We should have stopped, to help, or to give them mercy. Ebo would have stopped. But to stop was to die, and so I ran.

Of course, the boats were gone. More than gone. They were destroyed. I stumbled half-mad into the river. Sergeant was yelling, but all I could think about was that this wreckage, these floating boards and bloated bodies, they were supposed to be my salvation. And then sarge was pulling me out, and I saw them coming. Not the League. Something else. Something from the water.

Sarge saved me. It cost him his life. This thing… this creature… rose up from the water and bit him in half. I can still see his legs, wobbling in the shallows. Like sausages. I lost my mind. I must have run. The river turned into a boil of humped backs and squirming limbs, a pot overflowing with teeth. We went back the way we came, straight into the Barbary charge. It was the monsters who saved us.

They found me two weeks later, sifting through the banks. Another army, this one clean and bright and full of hope. They’re marching to retake the valley. They gave me a new rifle, and a new sergeant. There is a man in my unit who laughs like Yonas, but he does not cook. I am marching with them, but your daughter is still in the river, praying.

I will hug Ebo for you. Give father my love, and tell him he was right.

Makda

Click on the image of Makda above to download the PDF of this story!

The Other Side FAQ/Errata and Tournament Docs - January 2019 - Available Now

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Hey Wyrdos,

The Other Side's first FAQ and Errata document is now available.

You can find the files on our website

The focus with this document was not to buff or nerf (though some adjustments were made), but rather to add further clarification to some confusing or unclear wording. Errata cards and rulebook will be available on our website (for free!) very soon. 

In addition, we also released The Other Side's Tournament document, which is available on our website.

If you're looking for a competitive experience in The Other Side, then look no further! It's time to see if you've got what it takes to either take over London or protect it.

Lastly, you also can find the slight adjustments we made to the Tides of Battle 1.1 document (specifically the Garrison system) on our website

The Other Side's Tides of Battle is Now Live!

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Hey Wyrdos,

We've officially released the Tides of Battle!

Tides of Battle is the official Escalation and Achievement League format for The Other Side. With this document, you will be able to play The Other Side in new and exciting ways by earning achievements and creating new Companies in the process. It’s a fantastic way to meet new players and establish a community in your area.

In the Tides of Battle, you’ll also find the Garrison system. Every two weeks, your Company will expand with more Scrip to spend on units and Assets, more Strategems to better prepare you for the battles to come, and more Commanders to lead your Fireteams to glory. The Garrison system will also be a part of the upcoming tournament document, which we will be providing in the near future.

You can find the Tides of Battle document here!

The Other Side Rules and Cards - Available Now!

Hey Wyrdos,

With the Kickstarter fulfillment underway, we decided it was as good a time as any to release the rules and stat cards for The Other Side… for free!

That’s right! Translated in six languages (Russian is coming soon), both the rules and stat cards can be found here.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to back the game on Kickstarter, don’t worry. The Other Side will be hitting your local game store shelves in the coming weeks.

Head on over to our forums or our Facebook group, A Wyrd Place, to discuss! There’s also the unofficial Facebook group for The Other Side, which can be found here.

Zeppelin Transcript from The Other Side

Hey Wyrdos,

With The Other Side’s release, we thought that it might be a good change of pace to take a peek into its world. Below is a transcript from the perspective of the men and women of the King’s Empire who piloted the zeppelins floating above London after the battle broke. This short story is an exclusive glimpse into the Other Side that you won’t be able to find anywhere else, including the core rulebook!


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Partial Transcription of reconnaissance reports from Recon Wing Galliant. Compiled by Communications Group Kent, Signal Division, at the request of HRH King Edward VII, being a summary of reports from IMFS Andover, IMFS Aggressor, and IMFS Bellicose. Signal Division wishes to apologize for the inconsistent nature of these reports, as events unfolded more quickly than could be captured via the aethervox. All speculation is the work of Signal Division, Cyphers Branch, and must be taken with a measure of wisdom.

0636, 1st June, 1906 - IMFS Bellicose, under the command of Sir Jacob Ellingray, and with the escorts Andover and Aggressor in support, was dispatched to London to investigate reports of a deluge and subsequent catastrophe. Early reports are harrowing, and unworthy of speculation. Sir Jacob has ordered all hands to stations, and all weapons primed. “We fly to the King!” he declared prior to departure. (Ellingray may have been the wrong man for the job. His service in Africa and the Oceanic colonies, while worthy of praise, did not prepare the man for what waited in the skies over London) (-Admiralty redaction- It won’t do to be casting dispersion over the heroes of the Empire. Especially now. Strike this and all other disparaging remarks from the final report.)

0712, 1st June, 1906 - Bellicose reports fair skies and light winds, good visibility. Winds to the east at 3 knots, barometer 17.5k and rising. Air Wing Kent inbound to London. (Early reports that some sort of channel-bound hurricane, previously unmarked and preternaturally sudden, are not supported by these readings. Further reports from Andover, redacted here, indicate a heavy fog over London proper, terminating in the vicinity of West Kingsdown and Seven Oaks.)

0825, et al - Bellicose - Sir Jacob has ordered Andover to the west and north, while Aggressor remains behind with Bellicose to provide support. The fog that blankets London is impenetrable at this altitude. Andover will head directly for Kensington, while Bellicose investigates the entrance to the Thames, where the worst flooding is suspected. The rest of Air Wing Kent is awaiting the arrival of the army.

0845 - Bellicose - Reports of flooding vastly underestimate the disaster. London is gone. The wreckage of buildings and bodies cover the surface of a vast and shimmering inland sea. (Ellingray’s time at Oxford betrays him here. His initial estimate overstated the destruction. For want of a better phrase, Sir Jacob imagined his words in the history books, and dictated them to his vox operator as such) We await reports from Andover as to the well-being of the King.

0915 - Bellicose - The King lives! Long live the King! Andover established visual communication via signal flag with Buckingham Palace shortly after 0900. HRH has refused extraction, and the docking moors have suffered some sort of damage. Andover’s report on the matter is folly, as Captain Hourst insists the moors have become the habitat of giant wasps. (Again, Sir Jacob underimagines what he sees, and overimagines his capability of addressing it.)

0930 - Bellicose - Previous reports verified. Andover has engaged a swarm of hostiles with light rifle and shot from the portside batteries. Marines have been ordered to the deck. She is preparing to be boarded.

(There is a significant gap in reporting for the next fifty minutes. What follows is a compilation of speculative reports based on after action debriefings, ship’s logs, and an account from witnesses on the ground. Regular reports pick up at 1022, when Sir Jacob re-establishes control of Bellicose’s command deck)

0935 - Details unclear. Andover is swarmed and set adrift. Its progress takes it over Buckingham, where witnesses describe a desperate battle on the decks and upper causeways of the anti-ballast. The swarm lifted suddenly from Andover and flew east toward Bellicose.

0957 - A single garbled message dispatched from Bellicose, warning of hostiles inbound and requesting aid from Aggressor. Aggressor’s commander orders the cutter to come about and open fire. A brief and violent struggle follows, during which Bellicose is overwhelmed. Aggressor prepares to accept survivors.

1009 - As quickly as the swarm attacked, it withdraws. The enemy seems to follow no rhyme or reason in their tactics. Ellingray was forced into the ward room with his officers, and only regains the deck after his Bo’sun and the ship’s royal marines secure the quarters. His report, which follows, downplays the severity of the loss.

1022 - Bellicose - IMFS Bellicose reports all hands secured, and the attack repelled. Heavy casualties. Contact with Andover re-established. All escorts ordered to rally to Bellicose in preparation for withdraw. (Admiralty countermands Ellingray’s instructions, ordering him deeper into London. The army is preparing for an assault, and need information about the enemy’s composition and strength. Out of respect for Sir Jacob’s standing in the peerage, we have redacted the precise exchange between Bellicose and Air Station Kent.)

1045 - Bellicose- Andover and Aggressor have formed up on Bellicose and are prepared to drive deeper into the skies over London. A brief flag exchange between the two wounded ships indicate the fighting has cost them both dearly. Andover especially is operating on a skeleton crew. Reinforcements from Aggressor shore up her defenses. The trio proceed toward the only landmark they can find; the dome of St. Paul’s, miraculously still intact, and towering over the wreckage of a drowned London.

1112 - IMFS Aggressor takes the lead as Bellicose and Andover limp along behind. The bulk of the Royal Air Force Southern Command has taken up position on the outskirts of London, awaiting the Air Wing’s final report, and Admiralty’s permission to proceed. A transcript of vox communications between Aggressor and Bellicose, overheard by Air Station Kent, follows.

Aggressor: We have St. Paul’s in sight. Command wishes to know how we are to proceed.

Bellicose: Carefully, Aggressor. Keep your eyes up. What is the condition of the cathedral and surrounds?

Aggressor: The cathedral is intact. Ludgate hill is dry and crowded. Forward observer post reports masses of civilians at the doors of the cathedral. Attempting to signal them now.

Bellicose: Thank God! As long as St. Paul’s stands, there is still a London! (Again, Ellingray is doubtlessly aware his words are being overheard) Prepare to stand to and accept—

Aggressor: Sorry to interrupt, Bellicose. There’s something wrong with the crowd. They seem unresponsive. They’re just standing, staring up at the dome, with their hands to the sky. Shellshocked, perhaps. Away teams are preparing—

Transmission is cut short by violent static. Radio operators at Kent Station and Oxford suffered damaged equipment from the electromagnetic backlash. Backup stations followed the rest of the conversation when it resumed mid-report.

Aggressor: —blinding. Some kind of weapon. Anti-ballast compromised. Repair crews dispatched. Bellicose, are you reading?

Bellicose: Bellicose here. We have eyes on the target. Some kind of light erupted from the dome. Did it strike you?

Aggressor: Unclear. We have—brief radio silence (Cypher Station Kent insists we include the fact that the aethervox operator transcribing this exchange swears on her life that she could hear whispering voices during this interruption.)—fifteen, possibly more. Fires along the anti-ballast. Captain has ordered emergency maneuvers and full power, but the engine room is not responding. We are making due with manual control.

Bellicose: Aggressor, there are figures along your topkeel. They look like… like they’re on fire. (By this point, Ellingray has abandoned the vox and secured his place in history. Witnesses and survivors report the Lord Commander was already on his way to the life vessels, marines in tow) And the crowds around St. Paul’s… my God, they’re burning! They’re—

(long silence)

Aggressor: Bellicose, are you transmitting? Several portals have opened up along our maindeck. Pitched fighting in the engine room. Fires along the gundeck, and the crews are reporting damage to the anti-ballast is critical. Deploying—

Andover: Aggressor, this is Andover. We have sighted bright lights inside the hull of Bellicose. She’s either on fire or… or… God, I don’t know what. But nothing burns that color! Suggest you abandon course and return to Kent.

Bellicose: —have it in our hands. It’s in our hands! God, the veins are turning to light! My hands!

Aggressor: Bellicose, repeat prior transmission! We have away teams prepared to offer assistance. Is your deck secure?

Andover: Aggressor, strongly suggest turning back. Turn back, I say! Bellicose is lost!

Aggressor: There’s something outside… outside the door. I can see…

Andover: Aggressor, what is—

Aggressor: Shut up and listen. This is it for me. I just want you to listen… It’s a doorway made of fire. There are shadows inside of it… no… coming out of it. They’re here. They’re—

Witnesses on the ground report seeing Bellicose wheel sharply, clipping Andover before plunging into the waters around St. Paul’s. There was no further communication from Aggressor. She drifted south, eventually settling among the fields of Dover, her decks empty and crew missing. They were never recovered, and their fate remains a mystery. As for IMFS Andover, the first zeppelin to tangle with the London threat was the only to survive the fight. When Bellicose fell, Andover turned and made for home, her captain deliriously spouting about burning figures and the murmuring deep.

While this report offers little insight into what happened in the skies above London that day, it is the hope of Admiralty that it will reflect well on the men and women who gave their lives in service to the Empire, and lift the spirits of its fighting forces in the days to come. Long live the King.

Click the image above to download the PDF version of this story!

Click the image above to download the PDF version of this story!