Leaflet Shell
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Basic Information

The leaflet shell is a round of (normally high calibre) ammunition that serves to disperse propaganda materials (traditionally leaflets) into enemy lines in the hope of affecting morale.

In the modern era, such propaganda materials tend to be dropped by air, but previous conflicts have seen leaflet shells fired by all manner of devices from artillery down to rifle grenades.

Generally these rounds require mass printing by the user and mass literacy amongst the enemy (although a lot can be achieved with cartoons) and are of debatable effectiveness - sometimes only serving to provide the enemy with an additional supply of toilet paper.

Messages can vary widely from ideological exhortations and attacks on the integrity of the target's war aims to instructions on how to surrender safely1.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • In the right circumstances, these may be fired into a position that the PCs are defending - unlikely to be a problem for them, but auxilaries, allies or conscripts attached to their unit may waver as a result of the propaganda.
  • Very useful for a spy or traitor to disguise his reports from the other side of no-man's land. Assuming that he can make sure they reach the right people.
  • The "how to surrender" version - perhaps in the form of a written amnesty - might be a useful thing to have.
    • In an alien invasion, these may be the first, apparently inexplicable, wave of the alien bombardment - in a suitably overwhelming situation, figuring out what these are and using them may be the key to saving what remains of humanity.
    • In an "after the end" setting there may be some kind of IFF token distributed to enemy forces trying to surrender during "the end" and still functioning that may protect carriers from otherwise rampaging combat robots - the robots are killing anyone without friendly IFF (which is practically everyone these days) but are programmed not to fire first on anyone with a surrender chit.
    • Of course users may find themselves disarmed and delivered to some kind of internment facility. If they are lucky, the robots will merely hand them over to a non-existant human guard post and go back on patrol … if not, well, worst cases might include being imprisoned in a fully automated and still operational prison (in which the food and water have long since run out) or being herded into some hazard (such as a radioactive crater) that just happens to be where the handover point once was.
  • The PCs have to deal with an unexploded bomb which has landed near their camp, or some other important position. The PCs won't know it's only a leaflet shell until they've attempted to deal with it in some way.
    • That is, unless they've seen that episode of M*A*S*H too.
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