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Scruddle couldn’t take his eyes off the figure lying in the snow beside him. Dressed all in white furs and fatigues, the sun glinting off its reflective goggles, its masked rifle a thin line darting out into the horizon…fingering his necklace of molars, Scruddle thought it looked like an angel.

“Well,” he ventured at last, “how many of them are out there?”

The Savo adjusted its rifle-sight without replying. Finally, it said,

“Keep your head down.”

Scruddle nervously ducked his head beneath the rise of the foxhole.

“Eight men,” the Savo said. “Six dogs, three sleds. The coal’s in the central sled. They’ve got a machine-gun mounted on the third sled. .50 calibre Browning M2. Your target’s been spending on his defences.”

“Should we pull back?” Scruddle asked, peering over the edge of the foxhole into the driving snow. He couldn't see a thing.

The Savo did not turn its head, but a barely perceptible note of contempt seemed to enter its voice as it murmured,

“Pull back?”

“There’s only two of us,” hissed Scruddle.

“Exactly,” the Savo replied. Its finger hovered over the rifle trigger. “We’ve got them outnumbered. Keep your head down.”''

“Sure, it’s a terrible thing to kill a man. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be good at it.”

Major Onholm

Basic Information

There is no swifter way to end a vicious gang war than to declare that you’ve hired a Savo to fight on your side. These military-trained Finnish mercenaries fight in all-white winter camouflage, usually with a high-powered sniper rifle and their own personal choice of equipment (except for during urban combat, when they generally wear mufti, the better to go unnoticed by the enemy) – and their skill and aim is legendary. As a result, and also due to the high quality of their weapons, Savos’ fees are extortionate – a cut of the money usually going to Major Raine Onholm, the unit’s leader and personal trainer.

Onholm picks each of his men and women personally at a young age – as a result, there are usually around 30 Savos at any one time across all of Scandanavia. Deaths are relatively rare, due to the snipers’ skills in combat, and because the Savos rarely remain working for the same gang for long (as Onholm rightly reasons, you’re much less likely to be killed by a man who thinks you can be persuaded to come and work for him), but it does happen – and amongst some organisations, having killed a Savo is a serious badge of honour.

Onholm describes himself, very deliberately, as a “man too simple to have a philosophy”, cultivating a persona of folksy kindness, and treating each of his soldiers with paternal care and concern whle making a great deal of money from them. Perhaps the strangest aspect of his immensely strict training regime is the way he carefully inculcates a loathing of sexuality in his charges – detachment, he says, is all-important. And so the Savos, although each has their own idiosyncracies, are largely quiet, introverted, unimaginative and asexual – their only lasting loyalty is to Onholm himself, their only concern for the job at hand.

Occasionally a con-man will attempt to imitate a Savo in order to make some quick cash. It’s lucrative (and as Savos are hired just as often to ‘look menacing’ and intimidate rivals as they are to actually fight, it’s often surprisingly successful) – but potentially lethal…the Savos themselves are well aware of their numbers and will very publicly eliminate any imitators they hear of.


I want the player to sweat, essentially. I want them to meet a couple of these guys throughout the game and be quietly intimidated by their demeanour and reputation. Then, if they actually end up in combat with one, I want them to whisper, “Oh, shit,” in the very full understanding that they’re about to be fighting for their life...and that even if they win, they certainly won’t come out unscarred.

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