Nova Russia (Novan: Нова Россия) is the collective term for the communist forces encroaching into the kingdom’s lands from the south. Their existence was apparently unknown to all cities till the subsequent invasion of Cumbrian lands.
Currently little is known about the state of Nova Russia. Reports from scouts indicate that the empire is triple the landmass of the entire Explored Kingdom and even their population outnumbers the EK’s by ten to one. It is unknown why the state of Nova Russia has decided to invade the EK’s borders and all attempts at diplomacy have been met with hostile action.
The history of contact with Nova Russia began with the destruction of the lumber-town ‘Briskwater’. The town was attacked at night by a small platoon of Russian conscripts that quickly conquered the under prepared town-guard and immediatley began fortifying the towns boundaries.
Core responded with an immediate counter-attack on the towns position. When the human forces arrived they discovered the town deserted of enemy troops. The troopers began searching the town unbeknownst to them that the Russian conscripts had been busy zeroing in the town for bombardment. Just minutes passed before the town was utterly destroyed by artillery fire from deep within the Russian borders.
Response to the attack was slow. The forces of the Kingdom were still adjusting from the Arctic expedition that cost hundreds of lives. It would be a full week before a true resistance could be mounted to repel the invasion. Until that time Caledonian forces scored many victories against the invading menace, however even the high-command agreed that the attacks against Kingdom positions were too light and sporadic to be the real invasion force. Many forces began to believe that Nova forces were deliberately holding back, although they did not know why.
The Jenninton Raids was an attack on a coalition settlement just north of the Nova Russian border. Jenninton was a small town used by all the cities as a temporary base of operations to help co-ordinate the war-effort. Its central location meant that it was a strategic necessity for both sides. EK forces could use it to enact hit-and-run operations on Russian forces while Nova Russian could use it to field their gargantuan artillery pieces to bombard Core.
The invasion of Jenninton began with the mobilisation of Widowmaker strike force by the Nova invaders. The widowmakers made their way across the frosted ground and began lining up the towns defenders in their scopes. Luckily a Caledonian by the name of Telemis spotted the widowmakers through the twilight mist and quickly rose the alarm. The widowmakers position was passed to a Cumbrian mortar team who lit up the assassins with an incendiary shell.
Later on in the night the Russians made their move. Mortar fire from the Russian forces caused extensive damage to the towns defences and succeeded in displacing a few of the dug-in defenders. Seconds later the first wave of infantry backed up by Juggernaut warwalkers attacked the towns walls. The soldiers mounted on the walls managed to dispatch the entire infantry division attacking the wall but their fire failed to make any impression on the warwalkers lumbering towards their defences. Incendiary fire from the mortars did manage to cause the boiler in one warwalker to temporarily overheat, granting the defenders a window of opportunity to focus fire and destroy it. Eventually however the defenders had to retreat from their walled position as two warwalkers ploughed through the walls and rampaged into town.
The two Juggernauts split-up, one heading for the town-centre and the other fleeing into back-alleys. A house near the town-centre was being defended by a group of Caledonians and was subsequently rigged with many traps to foil a breach. The juggernaut was hit several times with archery fire from Caledonian Dina, however most hits ricocheted off the machines plating and only served to draw attention to their position. The juggernaut was reported to of smashed into the front door of the house where it subsequently fell through a trapdoor hidden under the rooms rug. The machine fell and was trapped within the houses basement where the Caledonians began throwing oil onto the machine thus igniting it in a huge pyromatic blaze.
By this time word had been received from the tech’s at Caladon, who had been researching a piece of the machines salvaged in a previous operation. This piece revealed insight into the machine’s workings and exposed a serious weakness in their design. The machine’s reactors were not well ventilated and were prone to over-heating. This information sadly came too late as the Caledonian occupants had long since covered their target juggernaut with enough fire to cause its reactor to go into meltdown subsequently destroying most of their house in a blaze of fire.
With one juggernaut down all eyes turned to the remaining juggernaut, that by now was being chased by over two dozen soldiers. Its foray into town was short lived however as within seconds it was destroyed by combined musket-fire from all the remaining defenders.
A small group of the towns defenders returned to the central courtyard of the town and quickly encountered a threat that makes the juggernauts look like kobolds. Standing a foot taller than a human and equipped with a formidable array of plating the defenders came square-to-square with a squad of Novan “Man-o-wars”.TO BE CONTINUED
The Winter Guard are the standard troopers of Nova Russia. They are typically conscripts drafted in to fight for their homes although sometimes the occasional guard is a career soldier.
The guard fight with their characteristic hand-cannons. These oversized pistols pack a singular shaped cannonball capable of inflicting immense damage to any opponent, providing it hits. The gun has notoriously bad accuracy and is seen typically used at a range of 5-15ft. When the gun does hit however it causes immense internal bleeding to the recipient as effectively their insides have been bludgeoned by the immense trauma inflicted by the round.
Tactically the winter guard are easy to dispatch at long range. Their breastplates grant them some protection from ranged weapons but no protection from spells or advanced fire-arms. Caledonians recommend using spell based attacked or long-range to attack them.
Widowmakers form the elite sniper division of the Novan armed forces. Most regard snipers as little more than cowardly assassins, but Nova Russia has embraced their angels of death and elevated them to the status of heroes. It is scarcely possible to overstate the skill Widowmakers possess with their long-barrelled Nova rifles. So efficient are they that they can take apart incoming battalions piece-by=piece with well-placed shots. Killing a man becomes as automatic as drawing a breath.
A Widowmaker’s primary role is neutralizing officers and unit leaders to facilitate chaos among the enemy and prompt route. They frequently advance ahead of the main battle group, and their arrival is often signalled by enemy officers abruptly falling dead before the report of rifle fire can be identified. They also offer support during strategic withdrawals by ensuring their own wounded do not become prisoners. If a downed officer cannot be retrieved, Widowmakers make sure he does not fall into the wrong hands for interrogation. A true patriot knows it is better to die by a comrade’s bullet than be placed in irons.
Widowmakers expect little charity from their enemies if captured. Indeed, it has been reported that a Cumbrian or two have hanged Widowmakers without trial.
Fishing and hunting arc the prime sources of food for many rural areas of Nova Russia. Novan hunters tend to be held in higher regard than those of other kingdoms, particularly in the cold and rugged northern mountains and forests. They are experts at tracking and killing some of the most dangerous game, such as the Novan buffalo, and some have moved on to the most cunning prey of all—man.
Manhunters often operate behind enemy lines, and they are armed with twin hand axes for close combat. Whether stalking prey in silence or swinging their axes with blinding efficiency, manhunters are frightful killers. The hiring of such men by the Novan army is apparently an old tradition, and their value on the fringes of the battlefield has been exploited in many wars. In exchange for their services, they are well provided for by the armies that hire them. They are sent to accompany reconnaissance groups where they join Kossite peers and the Widowmakers to strike at the enemy from unexpected directions.
Looming over all of the Cumbrian warwalkers of this day, the Juggernaut is a mammoth of plated armour viewed as the glorification of the Novan temperament. It has come to symbolize the supremacy of the Novan martial warwalker and is as dangerous today as when it was freshly discovered. Scout reports from Thesian spys indicate that few juggernauts exist, but they continue to endure brutal punishment admirably and are rebuilt and repaired countless times before deemed beyond salvage. There are Juggernauts still serving on the front lines that appear to have persisted for a hundred years or more.
The Juggernaut is a product of the ingenuity of Novan mechaniks challenged to combine the most powerful steam engines with as much massive armor plating as its armature could sustain.
The Juggernaut is armed with a large hydraulic axe. This ‘Power-Axe’ is the Juggernauts main weapon and is capable of cleaving any metal into useless scraps with just a few hits. With its free hand the Juggernaut can seize an enemy warwalker and hurl it across the battlefield to crush enemy infantry. All Novans respect power, and there is not a soul in the Motherland who does not admire the Juggernaut and its endless list of accomplishments in battle.
Caledonian scientists predict that the fabrication of Novan warwalkers require rare materials that are in short supply in Novan lands, so their warwalkers are doubly expensive and precious. The Man-o-wars are likely the Novan answer to the lack of resources.
The suit of armour worn by a Man-o-War is a miraculous creation imbuing each soldier with warwalker like strength. These shock-troopers utilize their dramatic abilities in their powerful Annihilator blades, one stroke of which is capable of devastating even magical plate-mail.
As with traditional armoured infantry, they can file into ranks and lock their shields into a phalanx formation, this is used to great effect thanks to their powerful short-range shield cannons. The cannons pack a considerable punch and give these slow warriors added reach and versatility. No matter how you look at them, a Man-o-War platoon is a serious threat on the battlefield.
Currently only the juggernaut is known to EK scouts but it is more than likely that many variations of warwalker exist within Novan lands. The EK utilize 5 variants of warwalker (one for each city) and is more than convinced that Novan scientists are busy inventing warwalkers designed specifically to counter EK variants.