Sunday, 22 October 2017

October 2017 Update

Right, update time.

We're getting towards the end of the year and Frozen Skies is getting pretty darn close to being released, though it is still a case of "so close yet so far". The news is mainly going to be about the Kickstarter, though I do have a couple of other things to talk about.


Kickstarter

All-in-all things have gone pretty decently, got off to a extremely good start but things were rocky for a while before we finally hit the target. As time of writing its pretty much at £3,000 and 107% funded, still a week to go and theres a comfortable margin. But we're still £1,000 short of the first stretch goal, would be awesome if we got it before the campaign finishes.

Anyhow, a few links.

Kickstarter:- https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/applied-vectors/frozen-skies-rpg-for-savage-worlds

Wild Die Podcast:- http://thewilddie.podbean.com/e/bonus-episode-frozen-skies/

RPGNet Q&A:-  https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/2017/10/19/qa-stephen-hughes-ian-liddle-frozen-skies/

Alyeskan Tales

Looking at revamping and updating the Alyeskan Tales fiction companion, this will involve adding a new story and partial rewrite of one of the other stories. Hopefully it'll be relaunched in the next couple of months, though Kickstarter backers will get a free PDF of it.

Gaming

Already stated that I'll be doing a Frozen Skies campaign in the near future, though looks like I'll also be running a One Shot in November. Gaming society at the local university is running a series of One Shot Nights for RPGs, I've signed up and will hopefully be running the Things Never Go Smooth adventure on 20th November. After Action Report will probably go up the following Monday.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Rogue's Gallery: The Banshees

There are many sky pirate outfits that operate across the face of Darmonica, Alyeska is no exception given that it is home to the notorious pirate haven of Broken Spires. One outfit known as the Tundra Wolves has already been mentioned, though this week I want to take a look at an another outfit; The all-female outfit known as the Banshees.

Warrior Women of the Skies

The Sky Band - The Phantom (1996 film)
The Banshees owe their existence to a woman called Natasha 'Tash' Rogan, who learnt to fly from a young age. Natasha's father was a courier pilot before the Great Darmonican War in what is now the Wulflands, back then the area was known as Western Alyeska and home to numerous settlements. Her father taught her everything he knew about flying and when he was eventually called up for war service, Natasha was able to take his courier job. A double tragedy befell the young Natasha; her father was killed in action whilst Wulvers overran the territory and Natasha was forced to flee. She developed a grudge against the Commonwealth (for the death of her father and the loss of her home), but as a young woman on her own she still needed to survive.

The answer came in an unlikely form.

Natasha had ended up at a remote trading post, one where a sky pirate outfit (the Dragonspine Marauders) was laying up after a recent job and blowing off steam with the aid of women and alcohol. She managed to fend off a number of approaches by the drunken members of the outfit, but she decided to stay and watch the sky pirates. Her decision proved to be a mixed blessing as before dawn the following morning a rival sky pirate outfit attacked the trading post.Given that most of the Marauders were nursing hangovers, Natasha took matters into her own hands and jumped into one of the Marauders' planes.

Natasha's quick thinking saved the Marauders' hide as she managed to stall the rival outfit long enough for more of the Marauders' own planes to take-off and join the fray. Two of the rival sky pirates were shot down before the rest fled, though Natasha realized that she'd better face the music as she was unsure how the Marauders would react to somebody taking one of their planes. Much to her surprise the Marauders' leader hired her on the spot, she had made a good enough impression and they were down a pilot or two. She was only with the Marauders for a short time, the attitude of her other pilots and unwanted attention force her to leave but not before she learnt the finer points of aerial combat.

Natasha wandered for a while and managed to track down a few female pilots like herself, all who wanted to prove that they weren't just 'pretty things' and were just as capable of being sky pirates as their male counterparts. Soon they were in the news after robbing a train carrying gold south of Tay River, but their capture of a zeppelin (the first time it had been attempted) earned them worldwide fame...and a bounty on their heads. It was a newspaper reported who coined the name 'Banshees' after the sirens the gang had fitted on their planes at Natasha's orders, a scare tactic to reduce casualties by sapping the enemy's will to fight that quickly became known as the Banshees' Cry. 

Banshee Sky Pirate

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Driving d4, Fighting d6, Intimidation d6, Piloting d8, Shooting d6, Streetwise d6, Taunt d6
Charisma: +2; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Greedy, Loyal, Wanted (Major)
Edges: Ace, Alertness, Attractive
Gear: Knives, clubs, pistols or SMGs.

Natasha's Agility, Smarts and Piloting all increase one die. In addition she gains the Command and Quick edges.

Banshee Plane

Acc/TS: 20/10; Toughness: 12 (3); Crew: 1; Climb: 1; Handling: +1; Notes: Medium Chassis, Armor x1, Increased Handling x1, Improved Gunsight, Extra Ammo x1
Weapons: x2 50-cal MG (50/100/200, 2d10, RoF 4, Bursts 28, AP 3)
Special - Banshees' Cry: When diving down on an enemy aircraft, the enemy pilot must make a Spirit roll at -2 or become Shaken.
Cost: £2,500+

Monday, 9 October 2017

Northern Ghosts

One of the things I wanted to do with Frozen Skies is maintain Alyeska's frontier feel; it is sparsely populated with a scattering of settlements rather than grand cities. Man has tried to tame this land but the land has pushed back in various different ways, leaving abandoned remnants of broken hopes and dreams. These are various ghost towns that can be found across Alyeska, any of which can be worked into an adventure.

On a side note, just (at time of writing) £400 left to go on the Frozen Skies Kickstarter.

Northern Ghosts


There are various abandoned outposts and so-called ghost towns scattered across Alyeska, most were established with high hopes and expectations that didn't pan out. Others were abandoned either due to disaster or for other more mysterious reasons.

Forsaken Islands

Off the Alyeskan coastline there are many islands, some have been inhabited at various different times. There are some like the infamous Roth Island which are considered to be cursed places where no sane man ought to go. Other islands contain rusting old whaling stations, relics of a industry decimated by the Great Darmonican War and one that has never recovered. In the far north are various weather and research stations, only a handful now remain due to the war or a volcanic eruption that devastated Black Island in 1829 AF.

A Dead-end Rail Town

The town of Mcguire Pass sits in the mountain pass of the same name roughly north of Morrdun in the Dragonspine Mountains. It was where one attempt to build a railway line across the Dragonspine was made, and the township was established originally as a camp for the workers and then later as a rail depot to refuel or swap over locomotives for trains crossing over the mountains. Both the rail depot and the railway line had been completed when disaster struck of a major landslide that blocked one end of the pass. Considering it too expensive and difficult to clear, the company simply abandoned the line and the town. Only the line between Gravenburgh and Tay Rivers exists as the sole railway that cross the mountains, Mcguire pass has been forgotten about as its population has dwindled to nothing. A few derelict buildings, the abandoned depot and rusting tracks are all that remain to mark its existence.

A Cursed Mining Town

Kirkton is one of a number of mining towns that have been established in Alyeska over the years, though aside from a lone watchman it has laid abandoned since before the Great Darmonican War. The town and its associated mines were owned by the Robson family, one of Alyeska's richest families until the late 1700s AF when their fortunes suddenly turned. One after another the mines ran dry or started being plagued by accidents, causing many of the miners to quit and seek work elsewhere. Then the entirety of the Robson family vanished, with nobody certain of their final fate. With the family gone, Kirkton became another ghost town as no other mining company was interested.

Today only the foresaid watchman remains, an old fellow who stays on behalf of his 'employers'.

The Wulflands

There are countless ghost towns and abandoned homesteads across the Wulflands, will abandoned in haste when the Wulver overran the area. Many still have rich pickings for scavengers willing to brave both the Wulvers and any inhabitant who was too stubborn to leave. Some of them are used by the Alyeskan Outriders as a night-time safe-haven, preferably the ones with two-story buildings.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Forsaken Space

Up a day later than planned, Man Flu will kinda do that to a guy's schedule.

Recently found myself thinking about a setting idea I posted about early last year, basically fleshing it out a bit more. The core idea remains unchanged, just thought of a few addition to better round out the idea and make it more interesting. Also settled upon the name of 'Fosaken Space' for the setting.

Frozen Skies Kickstarter next Monday (2nd October), 5pm Brit time (12 noon US East Coast).

Space Wreck - EVE Online

Forsaken Space

Interstellar Travel - Probably one of the defining features of the setting, especially I I end up expanding it, is having interstellar travel be done via naturally occurring wormholes. Though these wormholes are only open for varying periods of time, bit like Space: Above And Beyond. It does mean that space travel isn't a simple case of travelling from A to B, you may end up going through multiple different systems before you reach your intended destination. Timing would also be a factor, so you may have to hang around sometimes for the best route to open up.

It can also mean that the system, which is the main setting for Forsaken Space, is frequently cut off by a wormhole that is only open for a short period every 2-3 months.

The Corporation - Though I still have to think of a proper name for it, I picture a large corporation having exclusive rights to the system. With only one, known, wormhole its not hard for the corporation to have complete control. Though the corporation will hire freelancers, officially called 'Prospectors', to do all the salvaging work on the various wrecks. These Prospectors are normally hired on six month long contracts, something that doesn't coincide with the wormhole being open and is deliberate as the Prospectors will have to either spend their creds whilst they wait or sign on for another tour.

Gateway Station - The main base of operations in the system and is located close to the wormhole. All cargo and personnel pass through this station that also serves as the corporation's local HQ.

Gaunts - Once the Human crews of some of the wrecks, these creatures are now a dangerous hazard to Prospectors working the hulks in the cold hard vacuum of space. For this reason Prospector crews are authorised to carry weapons for defence.

Hazards & Situational Rules - Forsaken Space is going to make use of rules for radiation and varying degrees of gravity due to the condition of the various wrecks and, quite possibly, the different planets.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Frozen Skies: The Campaign

Mentioned previously that my group is gearing up to do a Frozen Skies campaign, one that I hope to post a bit about as the group progresses through it. A bit of prep work is still required, though thanks to the players I have a framework to begin with (more on that below). Not sure as to when the campaign will actually start, I'm currently running a Fallout New Vegas based Savage Worlds game and to take a break from being GM for a little bit whilst somebody else runs a campaign.

These Are The Tall Tales And Exploits...

Airship Norge, The Arctic, 1926

First thing I did was give my group a list of keywords and told them to pick one or as many as they liked, what they picked would determined the campaign and thus related adventures. The list (and a tally for the choices) is below, though it does look a little bit like Firefly...

Airbase
Airship I
Aircraft I
Air Racing
Broken Spires - Pirate Haven I
Bounty Hunting
Crime I
Commerce I
Cargo
Driving
Exploration
Expedition
Ground
Hunting
Investigation
Law
Logging (Timber) I
Military
Mining
Privateer II
Raiding
Social (parties, social events, etc) I
Sky Pirate
Settlement
Smuggling I
Treasure I
Wulflands
Windryders II

First off it looks like they'll have a mobile base of operations in the form of an airship, probably a blimp or small zeppelin in size. So I'll have to come up with airship creation rules, or at least some stats, over the coming weeks. Aircraft was picked as well, whether its an escort fighter for the airship or a sort of air-shuttle/roundabout. Features are dependent on what the players pick.

Briefly going over the other choices it does look like the players may get involved with sky pirates in some form of another. Likewise, looks like they'll probably operate on either side of the law, again its looking alot like Firefly. Logging/Timber is an interesting choice, possible starting off point of the group working for a logging company venturing into the Alyeskan interior. In addition a visit to Broken Spires might be in order, though one that may or may not be connected to Treasure.

Windryders seem to be a favourite choice, so looks like a fair bit of involvement with them. Working with the logging company the players could quite easily come into contact with a Windryder tribe, possibly Social coming into play as the players attempt to broker a deal. Certainly the Windryders could send the players to Broken Spires in search of a stolen Dragonhawk egg, plus they might have a thing or two to say about the Treasure.

Privateer is another favourite choice, though would the players be for or against the Commonwealth? What if a foreign power had been taking the Dragonhawk eggs? If so, why? That last thing could open up an avenue to the rest of Darmonica.

Monday, 11 September 2017

September 2017 Update

Many things afoot....

A few things to cover this week including change of schedule, Kickstarter news and a new Facebook group for Frozen Skies. In addition some details about a Frozen Skies campaign that I should be running soon as well as a few one shots.






Wait, a Monday?!

Regular readers may notice a big change in that this blog post has gone up a couple of days early. This is due to a change in my personal schedule (such as going back to college part-time) as well as other factors, hopefully it'll work really well.

Kickstarter!

We've got our launch date for the Kickstarter; Monday 2nd October 2017

Still some work left to do but hoping to put up a preview link soon, mainly to get some feedback and make improvements if needed before it goes live. So please, feel free to share far and wide.

Frozen Skies 

Aside from a few edits and some more artwork (hopefully funded through the Kickstarter) Frozen Skies is virtually done, how soon it comes out depends on factors presently out of my hands. If the Kickstarter is successful and we get a quick turnaround on the extra artwork it is possible that it'll be out before the end of the year, or at least early next year. If the Kickstarter doesn't go well then obviously it'll either be quite some time before I can self-fund anything more, other option is release Frozen Skies in an artwork-lite form and maybe gave crowdfunding another shot later on.

Thats pretty much where Frozen Skies is setting right now.

New Facebook Group

We now have a dedicated group for Frozen Skies over on Facebook, it'll run concurrent with the existing Utherwald Press page but only feature Frozen Skies related blog posts. Check it out *HERE*

Actual Plays

Hoping to be starting a Frozen Skies campaign soon, likely to post some details about it next week. In addition I'm also hoping to run a few one shots for Frozen Skies, just waiting to hear back whether I'll actually get to do this. Least with the campaign you can expect write-ups of each session, this will probably be every other week since my group meets once a fortnight. But as I said, details will probably be posted next week.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Alyeskan Tales: A Dragonhawk In Hand

Some time ago I posted about both the Windryders and their Dragonhawk mounts, both have evolved a little since I originally post about them but that isn't going to be the subject of this week's blog post. I'm going to be running a Frozen Skies campaign some in the next few months and my players have expressed some interest in the Windryders and I've been thinking of ways to use them. So an Alyeskan Tales post fits best as a series of adventure hooks, some which may make their way into the campaign but otherwise all are free to use for anyone who wishes.

Ryders of the Wind

Flyers, Alpha Shade - Inspiration for the Dragonhawks

There are a few ways that you can work Windryders and/or Dragonhawks into your campaign.

*The party is looking to hire a Windryder scout, but they must complete some task before the scout signs-on.

*Certain parties (rich businessman, crime lord, etc) is interested in acquiring a Dragonhawk egg and will pay good money for it.

*A Windryder tribe is looking for help in tracking down and dealing with poachers who have been stealing Dragonhawk eggs.

*Raiders using Dragonhawks have been attacking remote settlements, could they be a Windryder tribe on the warpath or actually bandits?

*A Dragonhawk reared by an unsavoury party for illegal pit fighting has escaped and the players must help capture. Or they might be the ones who let it loose...

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

A Surprise Announcement!

Mentioned that I'm hoping to release Frozen Skies soon-ish, especially since the writing and layout work is pretty much done. No word on an actual release date as of yet, mainly because I don't want to commit to something unless I'm pretty certain that it'll be met. However, I do have bit of a surprise announcement to make....

KICKSTARTER!!!


Yep, you read that right.

There'll be a Kickstarter for Frozen Skies starting in late October (date to be confirmed) and run by Applied Vectors. The main objective is to help pay for more artwork and cover some of the final costs to get Frozen Skies released. The stretch goals (if it gets that far) will cover the Skies of Crimson supplement for Frozen Skies that'll focus on the sky pirates of the setting and introduce new content.

Will probably post a preview link and confirm launch date when the campaign is close to being ready.

Until then, heres a preview of Frozen Skies' layout work.


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Cold War Skirmishes: Odd Angry Shot

So last week we took a look at a few ideas I had for Skies of Crimson, this week we return to Cold War Skirmishes and delve deep into the jungles of Vietnam with the ANZACs. Odd Angry Shot is the name of this book, covering the Australians and New Zealanders in a conflict that was dominated by the Americans. This should hopefully form a good starting off point for the Cold War Skirmishes line.

The Odd Angry Shot


Thankfully theres a decent amount of material available that I can draw upon regarding the Australian and New Zealand forces in the Vietnam War. Both tended to use more or less the same pieces of equipment standard throughout the British Commonwealth in addition to gear acquired from the Americans. There was some differences between the two such as organisation, though most of these were minor and will probably be covered if they're considered important.

*Timeline of ANZAC involvement in the Vietnam War from the first training advisers through to final withdrawal of forces.

*Brief history of the ANZACs.

*Organisation and operational methods, pretty much patrol structure and how they conducted patrols.

*Gear & Equipment.

*List of ANZAC units that served in Vietnam.

*Adventure/campaign ideas.

*Further Interest, list of books and films that would be considered useful.

Again, open to ideas and suggestions.