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Updating Zero Company (Dogs of War) to 2E

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  • Updating Zero Company (Dogs of War) to 2E

    I've been reminded of how much I like the Metal Gear franchise (minus Survive, which isn't a Metal Gear game), and from there, the World of Darkness stand-in for FOXHOUND, only with Even More Weirdness and Personal Issues, Zero Company. For those who don't know, "Zero Company" is the nickname of a particular American Army recon battalion that are supposedly just the guard for Fort Harmon, a storage base of advanced aerospace plastics, but in reality is the place where soldiers who become a little stranger get transferred to. The supernatural soldiers aren't a majority, but a significant portion of squads have supernatural capabilities of some sort. And naturally, they tend to get requisitioned the missions that focus on things that are a bit weird.

    Now, Dogs of War was made in an era where White Wolf was a bit too intent on keeping the supernatural and mortal worlds separate, and while I like the guidelines for playing supernatural members of the armed forces, the psychology of everyone involved has been changed for the more resilient and flexible, and the book was made before even Hunter came out. So, I feel it's time for an update to them, and an examination of how their supernatural squads work, since it's typical only one or two members has preternatural powers or is a gameline monster, and they work as a unit still. Also theories on who and what General Strand, the commander of Fort Harmon is (a Beast with a battlefield gull for a Horror? A Sin-Eater who came back from a mission when everything went wrong? A semi-rogue Task Force Valkyrie agent angry at their hidden vampiric backers? An avatar of the gestalt consciousness of the company? Or just a guy who knows way, way more than a mortal should?).

    EDIT: I just realized I should put something. Ahem:

    Changelings in Zero Company

    The Lost are, as a rule, not ideal frontline soldiers. Yes, they mentally recover faster than any human with the potential for PTSD, but they also receive mental wounds far easier and stop functioning after too much stress. The ability to, say, knock out a gunman with a grazing wound is incredibly useful, but Ogres are only one of several Seemings.

    Zero Company is not a frontline unit. They're an intelligence unit. Usually attached to special ops. And there, changelings shine.

    In many ways, the Lost are ideal guerillas. Their very society and continued freedom is dependent on their ability to wage the ultimate asymmetrical war against their former Keepers; literal gods who cannot invade their former slaves' territory directly and so send indirect operatives to carry out their will in targeted missions against individual changelings, and try to co-opt native fighters to their side. Meanwhile, the changelings use their familiarity with the mortal world and the kind of overwhelming patience born of knowing any quarter given will be exploited and unthanked to outlast the waves; sooner or later, the True Fae grow bored and frustrated, and the tide recedes, or they overreach and end up losing more than they put in. A changeling is above all else an extremely crafty and cunning survivalist who already has one great victory under their belt, and one that only gets wilier as they learn the ins and outs of their powers. You can't ask for a better tactician when fighting insurgent forces, or when working with minimal supplies.

    Strand knows this, and it fits with where he puts his fae. A Zero Company changeling is in one of three roles, each one emphasizing a different aspect of their supernatural skills. The first is that of advance scout; few things are stealthier or speedier than a Darkling with access to flowing water or a Beast with the right Steed Contracts. They can and do get in, take the necessary measurements, and get out with no one on the opposing force realizing the sniper nests are not only detected, but mapped, analyzed, and charted around (or marked for bombardment, if there's no other way). The second is that of interrogator; a skilled oneriomancer and a supply of tranquilizers is a literal mind reader, able to extract critical info humanely, efficiently, and almost reliably in the course of a single night. Finally, if the changeling in question is a the kind of hypercompetent that normally shows up only in action movies, is what Strand calls "special logistics", and every else in Zero Company calls "Hedge transport"; while dragging supplies and men through the Hedge on short jaunts isn't particularly faster or at all less dangerous, it is the ultimate ace in the hole if it can be pulled off; more than one operation has gone from a potential rout into a total victory because one Hedge guide was able to sneak his squad out of an ambush safely, and Zero Company still likes to trade stories of Mad Maxie, who managed to drive an M41 Walker Bulldog through a convenient trod right into the back line of some very surprised minelayers during the Korean War. Of course, the fact she vanished mysteriously hints at why special logistics are always, always a part of third or fourth contingency plans, if at that. The True Fae don't stop trying to run counter-asymmetric operations just because their property has found some native help after all. If anything, an entire squad sitting like heavily armed ducks in the middle of the Hedge is incredible sport for a bored Master of the Hunt.
    Last edited by Leliel; 12-11-2018, 01:03 AM.



  • #2
    This is awesome. Great job!

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    • #3
      A lot of major splats work well in assymetric warfare. Heck, werewolves already rely on such tactics to fulfil their 'divine' heritage ; the Wolf Must Hunt.
      Mages, as always, truly shine with prep time and investigation, making them powerhouses for scouted sites. Improvised magic is useful when stuff goes south and every supernatural member of the unit avoids contributing to Paradox...


      Sorry, brain just told me that Zero Company, if modelled mechanically at all, should be a group of Sworn/False ala the Contagion Chronicle. The fact they have an ongoing mandate doesn't mean they don't also do their other duties, rather when the US government noticed it became their job.


      Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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      • #4
        Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
        A lot of major splats work well in assymetric warfare. Heck, werewolves already rely on such tactics to fulfil their 'divine' heritage ; the Wolf Must Hunt.
        Mages, as always, truly shine with prep time and investigation, making them powerhouses for scouted sites. Improvised magic is useful when stuff goes south and every supernatural member of the unit avoids contributing to Paradox...


        Sorry, brain just told me that Zero Company, if modelled mechanically at all, should be a group of Sworn/False ala the Contagion Chronicle. The fact they have an ongoing mandate doesn't mean they don't also do their other duties, rather when the US government noticed it became their job.

        Indeed. The problem with Uratha is getting them to listen to a civilian top brass. They're more warriors than soldiers; more capable of independent action and tactics, but not as good with maintaining discipline or respecting a larger plan when their squad/pack is put in danger. As far as black ops go, especially surgical strikes? Wonders.

        We might want to wait for rules for them to come out first. I think we haven't gotten a good Vector type for a military organization yet. Fervor maybe, but that seems tied into faith and recruitment given the Jeremiad. Zero Company is about war.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Leliel View Post


          Indeed. The problem with Uratha is getting them to listen to a civilian top brass. They're more warriors than soldiers; more capable of independent action and tactics, but not as good with maintaining discipline or respecting a larger plan when their squad/pack is put in danger. As far as black ops go, especially surgical strikes? Wonders.

          We might want to wait for rules for them to come out first. I think we haven't gotten a good Vector type for a military organization yet. Fervor maybe, but that seems tied into faith and recruitment given the Jeremiad. Zero Company is about war.

          You could always do a lodge for the Uratha already have a cop based lodge called the lodge of shields I wouldn't be shocked if Zero company supernaturals made there own bloodlines, Lodges, or Legacies

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          • #6
            what is Zero company?

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            • #7
              It's a division of American military that supernatural soldiers get transferred to. It's been described in the "Dogs of War" supplement.


              ~

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              • #8
                Do other countries have there own Company zero?

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                • #9
                  so does taskforce VALKERIE know anything of this military group?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
                    so does taskforce VALKERIE know anything of this military group?
                    I think that's something to leave ambiguous. It's happened enough in history that one part of the government doesn't know about another part (see: No Such Agency).


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                    • #11
                      I ran a Hunter campaign centered around VALKYRIE where one member was an ex "handler" from Company Zero

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                      • #12
                        Considering hunters may have a problem with it, it doesn't seem like letting them get involved with Company Zero in the first place would be a good idea.

                        Company Zero seems like a nice idea. 'If you've become a supernatural while in the Armed Forces, you get transferred there.' Definitely seems like something other countries with well organized and numerically large armed forces would have. China and India would definitely have them.

                        I do think Dogs of War's views of werewolves are a little first edition fashioned, which is understandable. It seems more reasonable that they would fit in in second, especially as they would be capable of making their troop a pack, their CO a pack leader. An appropriate and likely easy-to-find totem in the base would probably have a ban that required them to follow commands of superior officers. Of course if it caused some messes, with a commanding officer like Sobel from Band of Brothers, there would be reason for werewolf officers to ensure that they get the packs under them, so they would both more understand the capabilities of their soldiers. Some stay for life, some leave when their time is up, I thought up something like that with a 'School for Gifted Children' type of thing that took in wolf-blooded and werewolf children from families that couldn't raise them (like, they were human, or the werewolves were on a vicious, long quest that they couldn't take with children) some would stick around and become teachers or scouts.
                        Last edited by nofather; 12-14-2018, 02:36 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Why is Dogs Of War view of Werewolves first edition? What’s the difference between First and second edition?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Konradleijon View Post
                            Why is Dogs Of War view of Werewolves first edition? What’s the difference between First and second edition?
                            1E was made in mind that Uratha use Alpha pack dynamics. About a year before 2E, it was discovered Alpha dynamics are only a thing for captive wolves, a wolf pack is normally a mated pair and their adult pups before the pups go off to find new territory. They don't have anything resembling human dynamics, or even most domestic dogs.

                            So 1E Urathra were on average bad at following chain of command, as it was supposed they had to respect the guys above them personally before accepting orders without grumbling. 2E werewolves are a lot more human in behavior, so I say they're a lot more easygoing about the guy in charge, but I doubt they're the kind of people who can function well if they feel their squad is being mistreated or used as bait. They've had their dominance instinct replaced by a more acute pack one, and I'd imagine that can be both good and bad on a battlefield; great for unit cohesion, terrible for clear decision making if one member is in danger but tactically unsound to relieve immediately.


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                            • #15
                              I haven't read Dogs of War but I picture any such group being more mercenary in nature, not part of a clear chain of command. After all most (if not all) of the splats see normal people as somehow 'less' or at least less able to understand and handle the truth.
                              They would 'serve' for their own reasons be they money, influence, patriotism or just that my purposes align with yours, but always with the fiction that they can leave at any time. I also picture them accepting missions, not orders.
                              They would also need to be off the books, with plenty of deniability if there is a danger that the public will find out.
                              I also don't see these groups being a commodity known to the military or government, but being arranged by individuals in the system who keep their use isolated from the hierarchy. Think dirty tricks instead of the FBI or Seal Team 6. These guys do the work and nobody asks how.

                              I also picture any group with the reach and resources using such groups, not only governments but even churches and major corporations, they just wouldn't know they used such groups.

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