Red Guard

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Basic Information

The official legend of the Red Guard - that they were formed from the remnants of an armoured division sent by the Soviets into the Baltic on transports during the final hours of the war to invade eastern Sweden - is believed by few even within its ranks. Certainly the wide-eyed, fanatical young men and women - the Secretaries, as they are known, also nicknamed the Longcoats and the Apparatchiks - who organise the Guard are no Russians, much as they pretend to be, and the soldiers themselves are almost entirely made up of local men and women, lacking in any real political views, who simply want to create order in the settlements...or who want the promise of regular meals and a warm bed. They are given a rifle, a decaying uniform patched together from older Soviet designs (often bloodstained from its previous owner) and formed into a sort of ill-trained militia.

When the Red Guard comes to a town or a village, it will set up a curfew, patrol the streets and walls against attacks, and take inventory of the settlement's supplies and state. If there is a local leader or an existing system of criminal justice, the Guard will let it stand; if not, the unit officer will generally instate themselves as the de facto governor and begin to investigate any accusations of crime or wrongdoing, putting trouble-makers on trial. A percentage of the settlement's provisions is usually confiscated 'for the commune', which goes towards the upkeep of the soldiers, but otherwise the community is left well alone. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule - several prominent Majors and Captains are renowned for their corruption - but the Guard's rule is rarely outright tyrannical; officers are well aware that their local troops could revolt if they see their countrymen being ill-treated, and even if the rank and file remain loyal, there is no guarantee that they will be strong or well-trained enough to withstand a sustained attack by a large, well-armed gang.

The problems come with the Secretaries. These young intellectuals, raised on strict Soviet doctrine by their elders, change their Scandanavian names to more fashionable Russian ones and speak with apparently unaffected awe about their planned Great Western Revolution. Guard commanders are rarely glad to see a Secretary arrive into their settlement - while some of them, naive and inexperienced, can be manipulated or show genuine common sense with regards to the difficulties of occupation, many more, heavily indoctrinated, will spout Party rules about spying out traitors, deposing local bourgeoisie and turning the town into an official commune. If there's anyone likely to disturb the peace with harsh rule, it's a Secretary...but Guard officers have to be careful when dealing with them; they know that the longcoats are taught to always hire spies from amongst the rank and file when they arrive into a new town, to keep an eye on their commanders.

The exact nature of the highest echelons of the Guard is unknown. Secretaries will often carry official-looking documents that they claim come from 'Party Headquarters' in Russia itself, but only the gullible believe that the Guard have any contact with the remains of the USSR whatsoever. And certainly the 'General Secretary', Father Bear, who appears on Secretarial propaganda as the leader of the Guard, appears to be too abstract (announcements of his goodness, power and wisdom often becoming absurdly hyperbolic) to be a real person.

Now, as the freezing weather forces the Guard to retreat south-east, abandoning its posts in the northernmost corners of the map, the gulf between the troops and the apparatchiks seems wider than ever; several high-ranking officers have already been caught by the Secretariat, plotting to overthrow them.

Relationships with other factions

Hvalbyen: The Guard has not yet come far enough west to encounter the Hvalbyen Collective.

Sins: The Red Guard, ineffectually, attempted a march into Sins territory that ended in disaster; since then, smarting from the defeat, they have kept their post on the edge of the 'feral snows', capturing and frequently torturing any Sins they encounter.

Menshes: Troops, traditionally, have a great fondness for the Menshes, calling them 'little monks', and showing admiration for their hearty good spirits and the way they bravely cross the wastes alone. Secretaries, however, often treat them as subversive troublemakers, even heretics.


A Soviet faction that mirrors the real flaws and complexities of the Red Army's relationship with the government. Just because it'd be too easy to make the commies the baddies.

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