Monday, 16 July 2018

Rogue's Gallery: The Tundra Wolves

There are many sky pirate outfits in Alyeska, ranging from little more than bandits with a couple of planes through to successful gangs with their own airships. A group known as the Banshees have already been covered and have even made an appearance in the Frozen Skies campaign that I'm currently running. Another gang that has featured in the campaign and have only been mentioned previously; The Tundra Wolves


Honour Among Cutthroats

At first glance the Tundra Wolves seem like just another gang of sky pirates, though closer inspection reveal some surprising facts.

Firstly they are the only known all-Sodkan sky pirate that exist in Alyeska; its members having come from either Sodkan families who'd settled in Alyeska prior to the Great Darmonican War or fled their homeland when the Holy Sodkan Empire collapsed. This Sodkans-only policy sets them apart from the other gangs, almost to the point of making them outsiders. But the Wolves' leader, Andrei Skirov, wouldn't have it any other way.

Thanks to their association with Petro Broklaw, the Wolves utilize a range of weird science gizmos which gives them an edge over other sky pirates. These gizmos help the gang sneak up on and then rob airships, something which the Wolves have specialized in doing. Among the gizmos that Broklaw is said to given the Wolves are darklight goggles, targeting scopes for their planes with unparalleled range and a device rumoured to be called a 'transdislocator'.

The Wolves exclusively target airships known to be carrying valuable cargo such as gold bullion or Ancient artefacts. Unusually they give some of their profits to the various downtrodden Sodkan communities in Alyeska, something that further steps them apart from other gangs and makes them also folk heroes.

Stats

Use the Sky Pirate stats from Frozen Skies, but change Smarts to d6 and then add the Weird Science skill at d6. Additionally, they also have the Loyal Hindrance.

Andrei Skirov has Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d8. He also has Fighting d8, Piloting d8, Shooting d8 and Weird Science d8 as well as the Ace, Command and Command Presence Edges.

The Tundra Wulves are equipped similarly to Sky Pirates, but they have darksight goggles and transdislocator harnesses (teleport). Andrei also has a glimmer gun.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Frozen Skies Session 4: Unexpected Allies And Likely Foes

Go Forth With Session Four!

A full house again as Tag's player joined us after having to miss the last session, thus enabling much advancement and development of plot. These past couple of sessions have proven that great flexibility as a GM is required as what I had planned to happen and what ended up happening because of circumstance were two different things. Though managed to get things pretty close to being back on track in this last session, so feeling a little bit of a sense of achievement with that.


Meanwhile...

Last session saw most of the crew fall down a hole and enjoy an adventure of their own, Tag (mainly because his player wasn't there) didn't fall down the hole and so the start of the session was going through what he got up to. Seeing that he wasn't able to help the others, Tag opted to go and hire a new crew. He visited one of the nearby taverns, after spotting the female sky pirates from earlier enter it, and he spoke to the bartender about where to look for a new crew. Bartender informed him that most folk tended to gravitate towards one of the big established outfits, though there are still plenty of loners down by the air-docks who could be convinced to join.

Tag headed back to where the Waylander was berthed, found a crate to stand on and started a showman routine to attract potential recruits. Though he didn't have the Persuasion skill and thus had to roll it unskilled, I let him have a +2 bonus as he role-played his recruitment pitch. I then said a success on the roll would give him two new recruits and each raise would give him another recruit; he managed to get a couple of raises on the roll and so gained four new recruits. He got the new recruits billeted away on the airship and then set about drawing up plans for tackling the poachers.

One of the female sky pirates from earlier was spotted loitering around outside the airship, so Tag went over and spoke to her. The sky pirate informed Tag that her 'boss' would like very much to speak to him and asked him to follow her back to their own airship. Enroute, the sky pirate pointed out the skyship the crew had spotted when they first arrived in Broken Spires. She then pointed out an airship near to it as belonging to her outfit, then said that the skyship belonged to one of the local crime lords who've dubbed themselves 'Sky Captains'. She also told Tag that the Sky Captains were not people to be messed with and it was generally a good idea to steer clear of them.

Eventually Tag was led to the Banshees' own airship, the Raven, and taken aboard. Among the things Tag noticed were; a hanger fitted with 12 fighters that seemed to have some sort of box underneath their noses, the airship seemed to be maintained to near enough military standards and the crew appeared to be well disciplined in addition to wearing roughly the same basic uniform. He was finally taken to the quarters of the Banshees' leader who identified herself as 'Captain Rogan'. Having introduced herself, Captain Rogan said she'd heard about the misfortune of Tag's crew and that she had a proposition for Tag; She would help Tag in exchange for an undisclosed favour to be called in at a later date.

But first she wanted to know why Tag and his crew were in Broken Spires to begin with, which Tag told her was to do with a gang of poachers led by a certain Travis Perkins. Rogan admitted that she was aware of the gang, that they were independent and that she was more than happy to help take the poachers down. With support from the Banshees agreed, Tag was escorted out but he took the opportunity to take in as much details as he could about the Banshees' airship. Tag then did a recce on the poachers' compound and began hatching a plan.

An Unexpected Rescue

Out in the wilderness, the rest of the gang spotted a pair of aircraft that turned out to belong to the Banshees. The pilots informed the gang that they'd been ordered to look for them, this was part of the 'help' that Rogan offered. The gang were given a lift back to Broken Spires, though cramped and uncomfortable which required Vigor roll to avoid a level of Fatigue from Bumps and Bruises.

Tag and the gang were reunited, though the meeting was tinged with a pinch of awkwardness as Tag was prepping the new crew for the upcoming attack on the compound. Tag quickly filled them in on the plan, though it was clear that Herbert had a head injury (from the previous session) and so had to sit this one out (his player played one of the new NPC crewmembers).

The Raid

The first part of the attack on the poacher's compound was the Banshees' airship conducting a bombing run against three of the four guardtowers of the compound. The first tower was damaged and its occupants killed, the second tower was completely obliterated whilst the third tower was largely unaffected as the bombs went wide and hit the building Sebastian and a crewman were sniping from. Sebastian and the crewman sniped the fourth guard tower, managing to down one of the two guys within it and resulted in a drawn-out sniper duel for the rest of the battle.

The rest of the gang commandeered a truck and crash their way in through the gates of the compound, George manned a heavy machine gun fitted to the back of the truck and mowed down everyone in the courtyard. The others dismount and take cover by the trucks parked in the compound, all took potshots as Tag's other crew and a squad of the Banshees charged in behind the gang. George raked the loading bay of the sole building within the compound, gradually counting for a good number of the poachers. Tag's other crew supported the gang as they moved up to the center of the loading bay, the Banshees flanked round to either end of the building. Alex attempted an Intimidation roll which seemed to have marginal effects.

By this point Alex had taken a wound (guts on the Injury Table), plus Sebastian and his crewman companion were in a sniper duel with the survivors of the third tower. It was the Banshees who stormed the building and mowed down the surviving poachers, thus allowing for the gang to move in and help secure the building. When he entered the building, Tag called out for Travis to show himself and got a hail of bullets as a reply which did two wounds (again, guts result on the table). Tag then ordered everyone to open fire on Travis, it was the crewman controlled by Herbert's player who managed the 'killing blow' by acing his damage roll and brought the poacher low.

Travis managed to pass a Vigor and though he took an injury to the guts, it was only temporary. Tag ordered the crew to load what they could onto the trucks, which included five dragonhawk eggs. Travis' fate was to be brought before Captain Rogan who had him thrown into the brig to stew until she decides what to do with him.

The crew of the Waylander then made preparations to leave Broken Spires, though they were already forming plans to sell one of the eggs....

Thoughts

As I said earlier, things happened differently to what I had planned. Ultimately things got back onto track and the adventure is pretty close to being wrapped up as planned.

I had expected the group to seek to sell some of the eggs, especially when they learnt the value of the eggs on the black market. It looks like they'll try to sell at least one of the eggs and hand the others to the windryders. Least it seems that they'll get some interaction with the windryders.

Tag's player wishes to acquire a bigger airship and go more independent (they're currently working for a logging company), though the legality of his and the groups' future adventures remain to be seen. They do have a job from Ardan Gowan waiting for them.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Challenge Accepted

Recently Utherwald Press reached over a 100 likes on Facebook.

To celebrate this achievement I offered to either an adventure, location, item or NPC based upon a one or two word prompt. I was expecting some interesting responses and I wasn't disappointed, though they were surprising all the same. So...


Organic Spacecraft

An interesting one, though not all that surprising given who posted it (you know who you are!).

Spacecraft automatically means we're looking at the SciFi Companion for this one. Decided to build it like a normal spaceship to begin with, though picking stuff that would make sense. Then to better reflect its organic nature, added in some special rules.

Drokzi Hive Ship

Gargantuan Starship: Size 24, Acc/TS 25/20, Climb -2, Toughness 67(25), Crew 3000
Notes: Artificial Intelligence, Armour x6, Electromagnetic Shielding, Garage/Hanger x6, Sensor Suite (Planetary), Torpedo Tubes x8, Targeting System
Weapons: Heavy Torpedo x112
Special Abilities
*Living Ship: Instead of a Repair roll to fix or 'heal' wounds, the ship uses the Healing skill to do so. It is assumed to have d6 for the purpose of this roll.
*Sentient Vehicle: See SciFi Companion p.92
*Regeneration: The ship can make a natural Healing roll once per day.

Cargo Cults

This was the other response, a particularly curious one. I have to admit that this one cause a bit of head scratching until I hit upon the idea of a religious order devoted to the safe transportation of goods.

The Conveyors of the Way, or simply the Conveyors, is an organisation that traces its origins back to the wars that once ravaged the lands that now form the Artian Confederation. The many wars waged between Tyland and the Holy Sodkan Empire saw trade disrupted within the Artian states and many towns and villages left upon the brink of starvation. Many concerned church leaders branded together and got tact approval from the commanders of the warring armies to run convoys through to the affected villages, though it still left the problem of bandits and highwaymen. A call went out to the faithful who processed skill at arms and they were taken on as effectively caravan guards, though they proved themselves more than capable fending off ruffians and seeing that the convoys got through.

The Conveyors have evolved a bit since then, attracting former soldiers and specializing in safeguarding certain goods. Though whilst there are certain factions they won't work and certain goods that they won't escort, the Conveyors do only ask for a modest fee. Once they've been charged with escorting a cargo, a Conveyor will guard it with religious devotion until it reaches its destination. There have been many stories of Conveyors giving their very lives to ensure the safety of the cargo that they were charged with protecting.

Conveyor

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Notice d8, Repair d6, Shooting d6, Taunt d6
Charisma: -2; Pace: 6; Parry: 7; Toughness: 8 (3)
Hindrances: Code of Honor, Loyal, Vow (Minor)
Edges: Alertness, Block, Combat Reflexes, Counterattack, Dodge, First Strike, Quick, Quick Draw, Steady Hands, Two-Fisted
Gear: Revolver (12/24/48, 2d6, RoF 1, Revolver), sword (Str+d6), plate corselet

Monday, 25 June 2018

Frozen Skies Session Three: Beneath The Spires

Session the Third in the ongoing Frozen Skies campaign, one of the players wasn't able to make and I didn't want to run what I had planned without them. So put a few options to the rest of the group and it was decided to do a side adventure instead...well ended up being more of a mis-adventure.

Don't suppose I've ever seen so many failed rolls in a single game session.


Watch Yer Step...

We joined our intrepid heroes where we left them, leaving a tavern after attempting to start a fight between two rival sky pirates. Tag had made the crew leave the tavern and nodded a greeting to the leader of the Banshees sky pirate gang. The crew had gone on ahead with Tag trailing a short distance behind them, though this was where ill fortune struck the crew. Broken Spires is a town built on many different levels and on the side of a mountain, it is the sort of town that would give Health & Safety a heart attack. Many of the 'roads' are just wooden walkways maintained to the standard of what the townsfolk can be bothered with (which isn't much).

Crack.

The crew (bar Tag) had very little warning before the wooden planks gave way beneath them and dropped them a good 40 feet into an underground cavern. I allow everyone to make Agility rolls, though only Sebastian made a successful roll. Alex and George failed their Agility roll but also had a high enough Toughness to avoid taking any damage, Herbert took enough damage to end up Shaken. All four ended up with a level of Fatigue from Bumps and Bruises, meaning for most of the session they all had a -1 penalty on their trait rolls from this level of Fatigue.

After dusting themselves down, they discovered that they had no rope and that three passages led out of the cavern they'd ended up in. They decided to try and make their way out on foot, reasoning that somewhere there had to be an exit. They chose the left most passage and set off, managing to find a leg bone which they turned into a torch with a strap of cloth and some alcohol. After travelling for some time Alex was lucky enough to spy (just passed his Notice roll) an abrupt end to their path in the form of a ledge. Alex managed to stop the others from walking off this ledge, particularly since it was a large cavern of uncertain depth. They did find a normal ledge that led round the edge of the cavern, so with the lack of better ideas they pushed onwards.

Partway along this narrow ledge, Sebastian and Herbert ended up dislodging some rocks which fell into the cavern and the echoes of their fall reverberated round the cavern. These echoes were answered by the screeches of some strange creature. A couple of rounds passed with failed Notice rolls on both sides before the creatures, as it turned out to be a pair of Cloudhaunts, finally made an attack. One Cloudhaunt angled in on Alex, who had First Strike and whipped up his cane gun to shoot the critter in the face. The now dead Cloudhaunt's momentum meant it carried into Alex and squished him against the wall of the cavern. The second Cloudhaunt fell to Herbert's shotgun.

With both creatures dealt with, the crew pressed on once more and headed into another tunnel. Sebastian found some tracks in the dirt from rats, but thankfully no more critters put in an appearance. Eventually they came to another ledge, this time a cavern filled with glimmer rock crystals and a stream running through the middle of it. There was also a crevice in the cavern's ceiling which let in sunlight. Alex went full-on Spiderman and scaled the rockface up to the crevice and then out onto a snow covered landscape. The others, being considerably less skilled at climbing, opted to follow the underground stream in hopes of reaching the surface by a different route.

Up on the surface, Alex followed roughly the path of the underground stream and crossed over a ridge and discovered a small valley that contained a small lake. He also spotted a waterfall, which the others soon came across by following the stream. The waterfall fell from a small opening in a cliff and dropped down at least 10 feet into the lake, making it a little tricky for the others to get down. Sebastian went first, failed his Climbing roll but just managed to pass his Agility roll. Up next was George who also failed his Climbing roll, though he ended up Acing his Agility roll. Last was Herbert who, lacking the Climbing skill, decided to jump and just did an Agility roll which he managed to succeed with. The trio landed in the lake and I asked them to make Vigor rolls which they all failed, each gained a level of Fatigue due to the freezing temperature.

Luckily there was a small cave and some trees nearby, so they were able to find some shelter and get a fire going. They settled down for the night and took it in turns doing watches, Sebastian took the third watch and spotted a large figure approaching the cave before proceeding to rouse the others. They soon were able to spot that the figure was a large, muscular man wearing a bear skin cloak. The man saw the crew at the mouth of the cave and then started pounding across the snow towards them, Herbert got a shot off with his shotgun which seemed to have no effect upon the man. However, the man barrelled into Herbert and only managed to push him back a few feet in the snow.

Alex attempted to outflank the man, but was spotted and so quickly decided to hang back. George tried getting round the back of the man and stabbing him in the head, but failed miserably. Sebastian got a shot off with his rifle, but didn't seem to do much in the way of damage (the man manage to pass a Soak roll).

Second round saw both the man and Sebastian getting Jokers, a simple d6 roll-off saw Sebastian going first who got a head shot off and did another wound. Since we're using the Gritty Damage Setting Rule, I rolled on the injury table and rolled Blind but that didn't effect the man that much. The man, in turn, pummelled Herbert and left him with a Brain Damage result from the injury table. Alex moved behind the man and fired his cane gun at point blank range into the small of the man's back, Acing both the Shooting and damage rolls. Even after his high Toughness of 11 was taken off, the man still received four wounds from Alex's attack. By this point, much like the rest of the group, I had no bennies left and so couldn't do a Soak roll.

With the giant of a man defeated, the gang were still stuck in the middle of nowhere presumably not far from Broken Spires...

Thoughts

What was suppose to be a improvised adventure, clubbed together at the last minute, seemed to go down as a big hit. Though bad dice rolling for everyone meant that bennies got burned through at an almost scary pace.

I'll need to speak to Tag's player to see what he would've gotten up to, but I have a couple of ideas there. Hoping to give him the chance to earn some XP before the next session so that he stays about even with the rest of the group.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Frozen Skies...Now Airborne!

Frozen Skies has, after at least seven years of work, been released.

Can be found in PDF and many different print options at RPGNow/DriveThruRPG.

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/242075/Frozen-Skies

Monday, 18 June 2018

Rogue's Gallery: Marauders

Alyeska is home to many outlaws; the most infamous of these are the sky pirates that have been romanticised by the newsheets. Bandits aren't unheard, though they are not seen as exciting and tend to receive considerably less attention in the press. Then there are the motorcycle raider gangs known as 'Marauders'.

HOT OFF THE PRESS! Frozen Skies will go on sale this coming Wednesday!!


On Steads of Steel & Oil

Bandits have plagued Darmonica for centuries, typically peaking in activity following major conflicts as thousands of soldiers suddenly find themselves released from service with no job to turn to. Bandits have also moved with the times, the evolution of mechanised warfare saw increased demand for technical skills and thus resulted on a large number of those with a mechanical aptitude. The rise of the aircraft has seen many gravitate towards the sky pirate outfits that have emerged over time, though there are still those who remained earth-bound.

Marauders are outlaws who prefer to conduct their nefarious activities on the ground, usually with a motley collection of vehicles. Most marauder gangs have a couple of trucks and a fair few motorcycles, some may even have sidecars. They typically target trains, lightly armed convoys, trade caravans and even small settlements on occasion. Even the military has found that it isn't immune to marauder attacks and so has had to assign precious manpower to guard convoys and supply dumps.

Marauder

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Driving d8, Fighting d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d8, Repair d6, Shooting d6, Throwing d6
Charisma: -2; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 6 (1)
Hindrances: Bloodthirsty, Mean, Wanted (Minor)
Edges: Ace, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Steady Hands
Gear: Revolver (12/24/48, 2d6, RoF 1, Revolver), machine pistol (12/24/48, 2d6-1, RoF 3, AP 1, Auto), knife (Str+d4), leather armor

Marauder Truck

Acc/TS: 6/26, Toughness: 8 (3), Crew: 1+2, Weapons: 2x machine guns (40/80/160, 2d8, RoF 3, AP 2, Auto)

Marauder Motorcycle

Acc/TS: 12/30, Toughness: 7 (1), Crew: 1 (+1), Weapons: 1x machine gun (if motorcycle has sidecar)

Monday, 11 June 2018

Frozen Skies Session Two: Flying Murder Hobos

Continuing on from the last session, our intrepid band of layabouts find themselves lurching from one spot of trouble to another. Along the way they make contact with Alyeska's criminal underworld, get blacklisted from drinking establishments, add a town to their 'never visit again' list and end up in the sky pirate haven of Broken Spires.

Oh, and a possible date with the law in the immediate future.


Job Done...Or Is It?

After completing their supply run to the logging camp at Taran's Bluffs, the crew of the airship Waylander head back to Bowerstead Post to collect their payment of 20 sovereigns (the main currency in Frozen Skies) each. Bowerstead's foreman, Hardwick, says he's heard about the Windryder attacks at Taran's Bluffs and that his superiors are going to be breathing down his neck about operations being forced to cease at Taran's Bluffs. So Hardwick orders the characters to head back to Taran's Bluffs and deal with the problem, offering to pay 25 sovereigns to each character.

Tag and Alex went and tracked down Ardan Gowan in order to speak to him about selling the weapons they'd salvaged from the sky pirate planes. Ardan offered to pay half-price for the guns, round 75 sovereigns, but needed a day to get the money together. Tag and Alex agreed to meet up with Ardan the following evening at Ardan's warehouse. Ardan also mentioned if they wanted some extra work, strictly off the books, then he might have something for them. They also spoke to Hardwick about getting an extra crewman for the Waylander, Hardwick managed to rustle up a guy called Mick who would act as a gunner on the airship.

The following day the crew stayed at Bowerstead, Tag spent the time up-armouring the Waylander to add a little extra protection. Evening time rolled around and Tag got the rest of the crew to drag the weapons to Ardan's warehouse where the exchange went without a hitch. About the job offer Ardan had, he said seek him out in a couple of days. Tag then went to one of the saloons in Bowerstead and hired himself five extra hands and equipped them with rifles and ammo, effectively starting his own merc company.

Back To The Bluffs

Another night was spent in Bowerstead before the crew headed back out to Taran's Bluffs, though Tag brought them to the site of the third crashed plane. Though somebody had gotten there before them; the pilot had been buried, anything of value removed and the wreck put to the torch. Tag just shrugged his shoulders and got back in the airship to continue their journey, though they ended up being forced to detour due to a storm/blizzard (Random Encounter). At the Bluffs they checked in with Mosley, who stated that the Windryders had become wary since the machine gun the crew left had been setup. But they still haven't been able to resume operations and so Mosley would be happy if things got resolved as quickly as possible.

The characters asked about the men who came through the camp just before the attacks sorted, they received description of the men and their plane. It was concluded that the men were probably poachers who'd stolen some dragonhawk eggs, thus angering the Windryders. The characters also learn that some of the workers overheard the men talking about going to the town of Aran Crag to the west. After detailing a couple of their hired guns to stay at Taran's Bluffs, the crew set off once more into the wild blue yonder.

Go West!

Heading west they came across a merchant airship with a fighter escort (Random Encounter again), who exchanged greetings and news. A while later, the salt mining town of Aran Crag came into sight. Leaving Mick and the other three hired guns on the Waylander, the rest of the crew split up to see what information they could find in town about the poachers.

George visited various stores in the town to see what he could find out about dragonhawk eggs. He managed to learn how big they usually are and that 'rich toffs' generally paid alot of money for them. None of the shopkeepers knew whether there were anyone in town with that sort of money, but the only guy came close was a director of the mining company who lived in town in his mansion.

Herbert and Sebastian visited the least rough looking bar they could find. Herbert has the Big Mouth hindrance and soon as they had walked in, Herbert called out "Hi, we're looking for poachers! Is there any poachers here? Does anyone know of any poachers?"

Silence.

Then the scraping of a heavy wooden chair as it gets pushed back and the bar's doorman got to his feet before stomping his way over to the new arrivals. He made it clear in no uncertain terms that Herbert and Sebastian ought to leave. Sebastian did so, dragging Herbert alone with him.

Tag and Alex had better luck at the airfield where, through a generous donation to the widows and orphans fund, they discovered that the poachers did stopover in the town to refuel their aircraft. However, the poachers filed a questionable flightplan but one of the airfield guys did get a glimpse at the plane's cargo and confirmed that it was wooden crates and nets. Heading back to the airship to wait for the others, Tag and Alex spotted a guy hanging around and spoke to him. The guy identified himself as a trader of a sorts called Harold and suggested that they needed to speak to certain members of the crew about keeping their mouths shut. Another sizeable donation to the widows and orphans later, they had learnt where the poachers were most likely heading and took Harold up on is offer of a 'small errand'.

Words were had when the rest of the crew arrived back at the airship and together they set off to a nearby small town to do Harold's errand.

Smalltown Sojourn

Harold's errand involved meeting a guy in a nearby town and picking up some goods that Harold wanted, basically ran the 'Things Never Go Smooth' adventure from the Frozen Skies book. Rolled on both tables so that there were complications both with the guy the characters had to meet and with the goods they were to collect.They rocked up at the town, went into the sole saloon and asked about the guy they had to meet.

They got told he was dead.

He'd been filled with lead a couple of days previously after he got caught cheating at a game of cards, though he owned a small warehouse. With no better option, the crew went and checked out the warehouse but found it locked. Alex had a go at a bit of Lockpicking and the roll he got meant he literally just had to turn the handle. Inside they found some crates, George found one containing what looked like a highly advance but ancient looking technological device (Ancient Terran Artefact). Alex meanwhile rummaged through the officer, looking for shipping records and also emptied the safe whilst he was at it. Sebastian kept watch outside and saw a group of men emerge from the saloon and heading in the direction of the warehouse.

Realizing that they were now on the clock, Tag ordered everyone to check the crates and load anything of value on a motor-truck. Of particular interest was a bunch of rifles, couple of SMGs and a 9mm pistol. Being the only one with the Driving skill (even then a d4), George jumped in the driver's seat and attempted to smash his way through the doors. Two bennies later he managed to avoid absolutely failing and put his foot down, by this time the group of men were right outside the doors as the truck came smashing through them. One managed to jump out of the way, but the others weren't so lucky as the truck drove over the top of them. The survivor ended up being shot by Sebastion (potentially resulting in a very interesting conversation with the law at a later date).

They loaded the crates onto the airship in double-quick time and hurried back to Aran Crag. They handed the artefact over to Harold, who gave them their money back and some advice on getting to Broken Spires. Before leaving, they made another donation to the widows and orphans fund and all records of their visit to Aran Crag mysteriously vanished....

To The Spires!

The route to Broken Spires is long and difficult, involving flying through mist shrounded twisting canyons. Tag rolled three Piloting rolls, though had to spend a benny on the third one to avoid a mishap. Their first glimpse of Broken Spires was described as a town that would give health and safety a heart attack.

On approach to the town, they spied numerous airships that belong to various different sky pirate gangs. They also spotted a skyship which, unsurprisingly, Tag wanted to avoid angering the owners of. After finding some place to dock their airship, they were greeted by a clerk. Tag gave a false name, a small donation and the clerk responded. "Welcome to Broken Spires Mr Smith."

This time they decided to stick together, mainly so that they could ensure that Herbert kept his mouth shut. It was decided to head into one of the better looking taverns they could find, hopefully to reduce their chances of getting into trouble. Inside where a couple of sky pirate gangs; one all-female and the other looking like viking pilots with a white wolf's head logo on their jackets. Tag quickly directed them to the bar, ordered drinks for the crew and spoke to the bartender. The bartender confirmed that there was a gang of poachers in town and they were led by a guy called Travis Perkins.

With the information they needed, Tag directed the crew to leave the tavern. However, Alex had already asked the bartender to take a round of drinks over to the viking pilots and say that the drinks were from the all-female sky pirates. Fearing a bar brawl, Tag got the crew outside where they waited to see what would unfold. The viking pilots let out a cheer at unexpected free drinks, couple of them think to try their luck and wonder over to the all-female sky pirates. Female sky pirates object to the unwanted attention and introduced their feet to somewhere personal before leaving, the rest of the viking pilots started howling with laughter.

Outside, Tag nods at the female sky pirates and their leader returns the nod before her gang walked off down the street. We then finished things there with the characters preparing to visit the poacher's compound.

Thoughts

Think I'm starting to get a feel for what the group is going to do, though they now have a few options to explore.

The incident with the motor truck could cause them trouble later on, but I understand that the characters will be taking steps towards 'damage control' (ie, they're planning on repainting the airship). Herbert's Big Mouth is probably going to get them in trouble again and again, especially if they have a run-in with the law.

Tag starting his own merc army is something that I am going to need to deal with at some point, though the characters' actions so far have given me a couple of ideas there.

Going forwards, airships are probably going to have two different Toughness stats for the gasbag and control cabin/gondola respectively (like in the Pulp Gear Toolkit). Hopefully we'll get some more aerial combat soon, so it'll be interesting to see how that works with the rules ideas I've had.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Update June 2018

Bit of an exciting time at present as Frozen Skies finally comes together. So the main topic this week is the timeline for Frozen Skies' release. Additionally, I'll talk about future plans which include future products, etc.


Frozen Skies
Working through Kickstarter fulfillment at the moment, hoping to get print copies out to backers in the next week or so. Couple of weeks after that Frozen Skies should be going on general release (roughly late June/early July time).

Initially selling through DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, but I am looking at options to get Frozen Skies into stores. I'll post details on this as it develops.

The next book for Frozen Skies will be Skies of Crimson, which'll have a focus on sky pirates and airships. After that, I wish to explore the world of Darmonica in more detail. This means the possibility of other books covering different parts of the setting.

Savage Worlds Black
There is meant to be a new version of Savage Worlds due out later this year, though as I understand there isn't going to be major changes. I may end up doing an errata PDF for Frozen Skies if anything needs updating for the new edition, it just depends on what actually changes.

Other Projects
Ran a poll recently on social media asking what people wanted to see next out of the various setting ideas I had. I've listed the settings below in order of popularity.

Forsaken Space
Darkwatch
Cold War Skirmishes
The Gwentshire Chronicles
Keep The Home Fires Burning

What I'm considering doing is producing demo-kits for these settings, which will most likely be Pay-What-You-Want PDFs. This would allow me to get something basic out for the setting and then see how well each one does. 

Monday, 28 May 2018

Frozen Skies Session One: Getting Airborne

After the 'warm-up' session a couple of weeks back, the group began its first proper session of the campaign. This was where the group got their characters established and how they worked (or not worked) together as a team. It was also interesting in that there was some unexpected aerial combat, though more on that later on.


Welcome to the Outlands

Play started with the characters being established as freelancers working for a timber company called Outland Lumber Co. Description and a little of the backstory of each character was then shared as well as their starting location of the company town of Bowerstead Post.

They were called into the office of the town's foreman and told that they were being given a job to deliver supplies to a logging camp located near a twin pair of hills known as Taran's Bluffs. The list of items was food, medicine, new tools and some mail for the loggers based at the camp. They were also approached by a man, Ardan Gowan, who asked the characters to deliver a small package to a workman called Tolbert. Jack refuses to take the package until Ardan reveals what it is, in the end Ardan reluctantly opens the package to show that it is a small wooden box containing peppermints. Alex decided to do a search based Notice to make sure nothing was hidden in the box, a high roll turned up nothing but the peppermints. 

After they'd finished loading their airship, the characters set off to the logging camp. All seemed to go well until a trio of specks appeared on the horizon...

Dogfight!

The specks soon turned out to be medium fighters aiming to intercept the character's airship. Jack took the airship's controls whilst the others fought among themselves over who was manning what turrets, ultimately George took the front turret, Alex the rear turret and Herbert manning the turret of the Marauder still attached underneath the belly of the airship. Jack threw the airship into a tight bank round, swinging the airship round almost 180 degrees. George fired off a burst from the twin 50-cal MGs in his turret and scored two hits on one of the fighter, though only one did enough damage to inflict a wound. The fighter's pilot failed both their Out of Control and Bail Out rolls, something that would set the standard of my dice rolling for the evening.

Herbert and Alex fired off bursts from their respective turrets, though only Alex scored a hit but failed to do anything more and the pilot just managed to stay in control. One of the fighters tried shooting the airship's engines but missed (will explain at the end), the other managed to do a Jink manoeuvre to improve its Evasion (thus stopped Herbert from doing much against it) but failed to do much with its shooting.

Next round saw Jack throw the airship into a tight turn, causing the two fighters to overshoot. One of the fighters tried doing an Immelmann turn to bring itself back around and failed miserably, but managed to stay in control (as well as burning through all my GM bennies). The other elected to try a much more sedate turn. Both fighters ended up falling victim to a burst of fire from the turret Herbert was manning, both pilots failed to bail out (one completely failed on a 1). Once again it was just the airship and the open sky.

White Wolves

At Jack's insistence, the characters went to investigate and then salvage what they could from the fighters they had shot down. Upon finding the crash site for two of the planes the characters discovered that the planes were Kestral medium fighters, both had a picture of a white wolf's head on the fuselage. The pilot of the first wrecked plane they came across was death from a broken neck, though he wore a pilot's jacket with the same white wolf picture on the back and a necklace of wolf teeth.

Jack and Alex checked out one of the other crashed fighters, finding the pilot still alive, trapped and firing potshots at them with a revolver. Jack managed to duck into cover behind a handy tree whilst Alex ran over, rested the end of his cane gun on the edge of the cockpit and pulled the trigger. Needless to say, the pilot wasn't able to make much of a response after that. Regardless, the characters salvaged the guns and ammo from both crashed fighters whilst noting the location of the third. 

Jack helped himself to a jacket from one of the dead pilots, noting the white wolf picture. The group as a whole didn't seem to be too fussed that they'd been attacked by sky pirates, then again they had shot the planes down with ease. Regardless, they re-boarded their airship and Jack bolted two of the salvaged machine guns to either side of the airship. They then continued back on track to the logging camp at Taran's Bluffs.

Trouble With Windryders

Arriving at the logging camp they found it under a state of siege, barricades set up all around it as well as stockades. They were greeted by the camp foreman. Mosley, who explained that the camp had recently started suffering attacks from the local Windryder tribe. He went to explain that it was unusual and shortly before the attacks started, a group of men came through the camp in a hurry. Mosley asked whether the characters could help and Jack offered to trade Mosley one of the salvaged machine guns with some ammo, eventually managed to barter it for a key and some bottles of whiskey.

Alex went and tracked down Tolbert to give him the peppermints they'd been asked to deliver, receiving Tolbert's thanks and an explanation that the mints was one of the few 'luxuries' he could get out in the wilderness. Herbert went to see whether he could lend any assistance to the camp's doctor whilst Sebastion and George ended up unloading the supplies from the airship.

Once the airship had been unloaded, and despite Mosley's plea for help, Jack decided that the group should head back to Bowerstead Post now their 'job' had been completed. Jack argued that Mosley wasn't 'their' boss and so he could only ask them to help, additionally Jack wanted to get paid. So they departed Taran's Bluffs, leaving a fair number of disappointed people behind them.

Thoughts

For the air combat segment I allowed the players to have an Evasion stat on the airship, Jack's high Piloting skill of d10 meant that the sky pirates struggled to hit the airship (though my bad dice rolling was a big factor as well). Going forwards any and all airships are going to have a TN of 4 like normal Shooting attacks, but I'm otherwise happy with how the air combat went.

Additionally, its looking like some sort of incentive/orders from the boss is going to be needed to get the characters to go on certain adventures. Jack's player is playing the character as being bit of a douche, I just need to be aware of this for the rest of the campaign. Though Jack's player is looking to make more modifications to the airship, some of which I may be able to incorporate into future Frozen Skies related material.

The sky pirates with the white wolf symbol has given a potential plot hook to use later on, though remains to be seen how they handle future 'jobs' from Ardan Gowan.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Frozen Skies: Expanded Airship Rules Ideas

So running a Frozen Skies campaign gives me the opportunity to try stuff out beyond the typical scope of a one shot adventure. One of the ideas that I wish to develop and playtest is expanded rules for airships and combat involving them. This will of course feed into Skies of Crimson, the next book that is planned for Frozen Skies.






Aircraft vs Airship

Mentioned under the Airship Combat rules is that weapons over a certain size are able to hurt airships, meaning the options of an aircraft are pretty limited. Have a few ideas to address this as discussed below.

Called Shots - Basically works the same as normal ranged combat; characters can target specific parts of the airship. This would incur a -4 penalty on the Shooting roll and can target the following locations; Engines, Controls and Weapon Mount. This attack inflicts the effects described on the Airship Critical Hit Table in Frozen Skies for the locations, but it doesn't actually inflict a wound on the airship.

The idea here is that the aircraft would be disabling the airship rather than killing it outright.

Gas Cells - Another idea I'm toying with is something that could allow aircraft to actually hurt an airship; targeting its gas cells.

Targeting the gas cells would grant the attacking aircraft a +2 on its Shooting rolls, though I am toying with the idea of halving the airship's Toughness for these type of attacks. Gas cells would then suffer wounds as per the normal damage rules, additionally the airship will begin losing height at a rate of 1d10" per wound. Also, gas cell wounds inflict a -1 penalty on Piloting skill rolls like normal wounds and this will be cumulative with the airship's regular wounds and other modifiers. The fourth and each successive wound thereafter should be considered as wounds on the airship itself, potentially meaning that the airship will be losing altitude at a rate of 6d10" per round.

This method means its easier for an attacking aircraft to do but it requires a greater effort.