Fortunes Death was founded in early 1931, by a former member of the Spanish Air Force. His original name is not known, he has taken the name Don Karnage, the Don being a title (Such as Duke, or Lord) and not a first name. And the few veteran pilots that are still with him refuse to state his old name. The unit has no official insignia. Instead using the age-old standard of a skull and crossbones, with a sand-dial to signify time is running out, it in itself being unusual, few bands using it in these modern times.
As Spain's internal struggles increased, he recognized the signs of the upcoming troubles. When the order came to invade Cuba, he deserted, recognizing it as a morale-boosting attempt, taking with him his squadron. Armed with 12, Grumman G 5 fighters, they made their way across the atlantic to the Caribbean.
After spending a short time as mercenaries, he soon decided that piracy was the answer, naming the band Fortune's Death. Most of 1931 was spend in South America and the Caribbean, much of their time spent on the lucrative lanes carrying Peruvian silver and gold to Panama (Where it was purchased by various nations, using the neutral ground of Columbian controlled Panama).
In 1932, they captured a cargo zeppelin and with a accumulated store of wealth, left South America for the Pacific. No-one knows why Karnage abandoned the rich targets in South America, although many believe he wanted to put more distance between him and Spain, and to leave before rewards and attention became more focused on him.
He arrived in the Marivellas and discovered Achilles island, declaring it his homebase.
By now Fortune's Death had managed to aquire two of the new Hughes Devastators, and bring their old fleet of 12 Grumman G5's up to 14. With this enlarged company based from their zeppelin, they began raiding Japanese and French transports.
The group continued expanding, growing to two full squadrons, although the zeppelin could only carry 12 fighters. They struck far and wide, from Ceylon off of India, to the Peruvian coast. Disappearing afterwards and then spending their loot on purchasing newer and better equipment.
As their prestige grew, more pilots wanted to join the group. As all new candidates had to take part in a mock-dogfight with Karnage, he kept only the skilled pilots, keeping his unit full of veteran pilots. His group continued expanding, and Karnage began outfitting his squadron's aircraft with pontoons, allowing his second squadron to begin operating independantly of the zeppelin.
Beginning in 1934, Don Karnage began searching for a new zeppelin, suitable for his new needs, and at the same time, he began re-working his base on Achilles to make it a more usable home base.
His base projects had been redone by the end of 1934, and on New Years day 1935, he captured the French cargo zeppelin Bastille.
It took nearly half a year to renovate, using the crude zeppelin docks on Achilles and eighty hired natives to help, before the zeppelin was turned into Karnage's vision. He renamed it the Iron Vulture and based his entire unit from it, with the exception of a single squadron that he retained at the base as a reserve.
In late 1935, Karnage and Akela Khan of Khan Industries struck a back-room deal. Karnage did not harrass the Khan Industries craft, and also "Discouraged" other pirate groups from attacking. In exchange, Khan Industries aircraft ignored Fortune's Death, and on occasion provided information on opposing shipping lines manifests. A mutual deal.
Now, in 1937, Karnage operates 5 active squadrons of aircraft, 4 on the Iron Vulture and 1 on Death's Hand, his second zeppelin.
His homebase is completed, a safe haven from prying eyes. Defended by flak cannons, machine guns and rocket launchers, Karnage has hired a number of natives to permanently man them and keep out intruders. All situated to defend against aerial and ground attack. Karnage is as paranoid as he is over-confidant, and keeps a massive supply of parts, ammunition and other supplies. Ensuring that in case of a failed raid, they are immediately ready for battle.
Don Karnage's preferred tactics for attacking targets usually involve crippling the defences and then dropping boarders, leaving the target (hopefully) unscathed by the brunt of his attack. His boarders are among the best in the business, even better than his pilots. They specialize in close-range brute attacks. And although Karnage orders that unnecesary casulties are kept to a minimum, they do their jobs with deadly effeciancy. Any crewman who gives them the slightest excuse, will quickly fall to their blades or lead.
The Iron Vulture is a former French cargo zeppelin, that underwent massive refit. Almost to the point of being brand-new. Of course this is impossible due to Karnage's being a pirate. Thus, he was forced to do it with privately hired engineers and native labor.
In it's original state, the zeppelin was 1890 feet long, carried 4 fighters and had only 8 engines and capable of 70MPH. It had been a pure cargo vessel, capable of carrying massive amounts of weight. Which is why Karnage stole it. It's reinforcement allowed him the changes he wished, without compromising it's integrety.
Since being redone, it's length is now 1900 feet even, can carry 48 fighters, and now has 10 engines capable of 80MPH. It's light "Civilian" cloth armor was removed and replaced with military grade and the engines were yanked, two extra naccelles added, and engines with 20% more horsepower added. The zeppelin is still slow by raider standards, but it can still outdistance, or outgun most of the combat zeppelins the powers send to the colonies.
The engine guns are twin .50 caliber Brownings, while the nose and tail guns are purchased 3.7CM flak auto-cannons. There are a total of 4, flak auto-cannons, 2 mounted on the nose, and 2 on the tail, straddling the zeppelins spine.
Karnage also added a launch bay, one of the first constructed outside of military zeppelins. The nose of the zeppelin has a "lip" that allows direct launching of aircraft, two at a time. Retrieval is still by hook, but it allows him to empty the zeppelin in a third of the time a standard hook is used to launch.
He also installed 12, 6" cannons and 18 rocket racks on the zeppelin. However not in the usual gun positions. Instead of laying in traditional broadsides, he installed them in the nose and tail of the zeppelin, splitting them evenly, fore and aft. This allows him a massive surprise in engagements, somewhat making up for the lack of actual firepower. This is why he chose the zeppelin, it allowing him the changes without restructuring it.
This arrangement came in usefull recently. The Vulture was under pursuit by a British King Edward class zeppelin. Karnage allowed the British zeppelin to close, then unleased his stern weaponry. Puncturing the nose gasbag and destroying an engine, he caught the British by surprise. They called off the pursuit, allowing him to escape yet again.
However with all of these changes, the Iron Vulture cannot hold hardly anything for cargo. It can carry food supplies for two weeks, basic parts, fuel and ammunition, and fuel to fly 6,000 miles.
In fact, even to carry large items they have stolen, they either have to take the target zeppelin with them, or use their second zeppelin.
The Death's Hand was the bands first zeppelin. It is only 1500 feet long, with 8 engines, capable of pushing it at a leisurely 75MPH. It can carry 12 fighters, and has adequate cargo space. However it is filled with hydrogen instead of helium, one of the reasons it is rarely exposed to action.
It only has light cloth armor, and the engine guns are merely .40 calibers from a relative unknown. The nose and tail guns are single-barreled 75MM flak cannons. A decent combat zeppelin (Just don't light a match!), it nonetheless serves more a role of tender to the Iron Vulture.
Any aircraft piloted by Fortune's Death can use pontoons with no penalty.
Pilots joining the Fortine's Death, must have a NT, SS, and DE of 4 minimum.
Fortunes Death Boarders are only veteran and elite. No green boarders
Biography: Standing average at just under six feet, Karnage usually retains a cavaliers coat, double rows of buttons kept dull as to avoid shine. A pair of riding boots, cavalry trousers and cutlass round off the image of a Spanish pirate. He has a hair-edge rage, and when entering a spell, can spew a confusing mixture of French, English and Spanish, leaving even skilled linguists dismayed.
History: A pilot from before the Spanish Civil War, Karnage is used to flying antiquated, flying junk aircraft, maximizing his flying capabilities in the air. He is a capable gunner, fast on the firing button, and accurate. His largest problem is his hair-thin rage. He easily flies into a rage, and consequences be damned he charges headfirst into it, ignoring those behind him or the result of his action. Although this can be a double-edged sword, half of the time it works, fighting with ferocity gained only through blood-red anger he has fought off opposing forces twice his own flights size.
Aircraft: Karnage currently uses a Hughes Devastator, appreciating it's agility.. He has replaced the standard .40's with rapid-fire versions, allowing twice the firepower.
Weapons: Karnage always carries his cutlass with him. Relying on hard steel (As do many Pacific pilots) due to the sometimes knife-range distance of fights. For most however, he carries a Smith and Wesson .44 revolver.
Special Rules: Karnage has to use the rules for superior rapid-fire weapons (Found in this websites "Rules" section). In addition his Devastator has the Superior Engine (-1) characteristic.