Monday, 17 June 2019

More Aircraft For SWADE

Getting a blog post done this week has proven to be a struggle, though still wanted to produce something. Ended up opting to update some other aircraft to SWADE, the aircraft in question were extra cargo planes written over a couple of years ago. Hoping next week to have something more substantial.


Crown Aircraft Co. 'Beagle'

The Beagle is a twin-engined, all-metal cargo plane that saw service in large numbers in the latter years of the Great Darmonican War. A few remain in military service a decade after the conflict, many more can be seen flying in civilian hands.

Top Speed: 260 MPH; Toughness: 12 (2); Crew: 2-4; Climb: 10;  Handling: -1; Size: 8 (Huge)
Notes: Cargo Space x7, Extra Fuel Tanks, Increased Torque

Crown Aircraft Co. 'Wolfhound'

A larger counterpart of the Beagle is the four-engined Wolfhound, which has tricycle landing gear that also helps to set it apart from the tail-dragging Beagle.

Top Speed: 200 MPH; Toughness: 14 (2); Crew: 4; Climb: 10;  Handling: -1; Size: 10 (Huge)
Notes: Cargo Space x12, Increased Torque, Wind Adjustments

Monday, 10 June 2019

Keep The Home Fires Burning: Setting Rules

Its been a while since I've posted anything for Keep The Home Fires Burning, though I've had a few ideas on how I want various Setting Rules to work. The Adventure Edition of Savage Worlds also provides a good excuse to look again at this setting idea. Once Frozen Skies has been updated for SWADE and an updated book released, I hope to come back to this setting in hopes of producing either a Jumpstart or Mini-Setting for it.


The Flu

The Spanish Flu forms a huge backdrop to the setting; in addition to being the catalyst for all the critters crawling out of the woodwork it is also going to have an affect on the player characters. So this calls for a couple of special rules; Contraction Rolls and Infection Rating.

Contraction Roll 

A Contraction Roll is a Vigor roll made every four hours of game time or when the character moves into an area with a higher Infection Rating. Each character has a stat called Immunity, this is grants a +1 bonus per Rank to the Contraction roll. Though, the character suffers a penalty equal to the Infection Rating of the area that they are in. Germ masks provide a +2 bonus and the roll can be modified by Edges and Hindrances.

Optional Rule: -1 penalty for every infected character in the group.

Refer to the Disease rules in SWADE and consult the table below when making the roll.

Critical Failure - Lethal, make Vigor roll every four hours.

Failure - Chronic, no additional effects.

Success - Deilitating

Raise - Perfectly healthy, no ill effects.

Infection Ratings

Infection Rating 0 - Negligible chances of contracting the flu, though only tends to be sparsely inhabited countryside or isolated islands.

Infection Rating 1 - Villages and other small settlements that have semi-regular contact with nearby towns or other settlements. Also large parks within towns and cities.

Infection Rating 2 - Large villages with regular contact with other settlements or small towns, plus the wealthier neighbourhoods of large cities.

Infection Rating 3 - Most towns or where there is a regular gathering of people.

Infection Rating 4 - Cities and other areas with large gathering of people such as public transport or military bases.

Infection Rating 5 - Hospitals and the slum areas of cities; fair number of people packed into a small area means infections tend to spread like wildfire.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Aerial HEXfight!

Organising a Play-By-Post game of Frozen Skies has prompted thought over how to handle aerial combat in this medium. Theatre of the mind's eye I feel wouldn't work as well as I feel things would get too confusing with positioning. So some sort of map seems the best option, but again that has it limitations. Fortunately I think I found a decent compromise for what I'm looking for.


The Basics

The Aerial HEXfight rules for Frozen Skies uses a hex grid for movement and combat.

Divide all speeds and ranges from Frozen Skies by 50, though round down. This means an aircraft with a Top Speed of 320 has a Hex Speed of 6, one with a Top Speed of 180 has a Hex Speed of 3. The Hex Speed (shortened to HS) represents how many Hexes an aircraft can travel, though the Hexes must be joined by a flat edge. An aircraft can move either in a Straight line or turn Left or Right. Harder turns are available, though these require a Piloting roll and are demonstrated in the picture below.


Combat

As mentioned above, divide ranges by 50 in order to get the number of Hexes. Normal combat rules of Ranges, RoF, Unstable Platform still apply as does the Evasion stat for aircraft from Frozen Skies.

However, aircraft can only make attacks along a straight row of Hexes like below with Fixed weapons.


Weapons with Arcs of fire, such as turrets, have a field of fire extending out from the aircraft.

Manoeuvrers

Manoeuvrers from Frozen Skies can work for the Aerial HEXfight rules, though some require some changes.

Immelmann (-2): Move Hex forward, but turn the aircraft around 180 degrees. Failure still means aircraft goes Out of Control.

Tail: Move into a valid tailing position (see below), at Medium range for weapons and attempt an opposed Piloting roll. If initiating pilot gets a raise they count as tailing the other aircraft and gains a +2 bonus to attack rolls. Tailing aircraft must remain in a valid tailing position behind the target aircraft within Medium range in order to maintain the tail.



Shake a Tail: Opposed Piloting roll, if successful the pilot attempting to shake a tail can make a Hard Left or Hard Right manoeuvrer. A raise means the pilot can reverse positions and tail the other aircraft.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Weird Science Update!

A recent conversion has prompted a look and some ideas how Weird Science works in Frozen Skies under the SWADE rules. How Power Points and Devices work now warranted a rethink for Frozen Skies. Hoping to preserve the differences between Glim-Tech and Ancient Terran devices, if anything to reflect their own style and theme.


She Blinded Me With (Weird) Science!

Weird Science in Frozen Skies works the same way as it does in SWADE, the normal rules work for Glim-Tech devices. Ancient Terran Artefacts are handled a little differently.

*Ancient Artefacts impose a -2 penalty to use due to how unfamiliar they are for people to use.

*The Unstable rule remains.

*Ancient Artefacts are treated as Arcane Devices under SWADE, though they come with their own pool of 5 Power Points (which can be added to).

*Ancient Artefacts cannot be created without the Ancient Terran Artificer Edge, though they can be found in the world and used.

Overdrive! Overcharge! Supercharge!

The changes also mean that some changes are needed for the Weird Science Edges in Frozen Skies.

Overcharge - Reduces the cost of Power Modifiers by 1.

Supercharge - Requires Overcharge, reduces the Power Modifier cost by an additional 1.

Glim-Tech Mastery - Grants +2 bonus to using Glim-Tech and Ancient devices.

Ancient Terran Novice (formerly Ancient Terran Mastery) - Reduces the penalty to use Ancient devices by 1, now a Novice ranked Edge.

Ancient Terran Associate (formerly AT Expert) - Removes the -2 penalty for using Ancient Artefacts, now a Seasoned Edge.

Ancient Terran Technician - Requires AT Associate, grants a re-roll to use Ancient Devices.

Ancient Terran Master - Veteran ranked Edge and requires AT Technician, removes the Unstable rule.

Ancient Terran Artificer - Now Heroic ranked Edge, grants the ability to craft new Ancient devices and increases the device's own pool of PPs to 1.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Update May 2019

So...its been a wee while since an update on things was posted.

The big thing most people are going to be interested in is what is currently happening with Frozen Skies, chiefly the update to SWADE. Also covered will be plans for the future, new products and potential events. There will also be a small announcement, so hang around for that.





Frozen Skies

Have already confirmed that Frozen Skies will be receiving an update to SWADE and it has been something that's been worked on. Can't currently give an ETA, but provisionally it'll be some point over the summer. Presently the Bestiary is the current section being worked, pretty much the various NPCs that need restating (Savaged.us has been a huge help here). Then it'll be the Adventures section, updating what is currently there and attempting to include an extra adventure or two.

You can check out the current version of the update *HERE*.

After the SWADE update is done I intend to start work on the next Frozen Skies book; Skies of Crimson.

This book will have a strong focus on sky pirates and a detailed look at the pirate haven of Broken Spires in addition to all the usual goodies. Certainly a few pirate gangs will feature along with stuff relating to aero-vessels.

Other Products

Other items in the pipeline include mini-settings of the various Setting Ideas that I've posted about previously and more content for Cold War Skirmishes (beyond Operation Thule). First proper entry for CWS is likely to be the ANZACs in Vietnam, allowing content to be used with Tour of Darkness.

Events

Recently did Diceni in Norwich, though personally I am not likely to be attending any more events this year. You may be able to find copies of Frozen Skies at other shows, possibly ones that have a presence from Indie Press Revolution.

Have a wishlist of shows that I'd like to do next year, but its too early to say anything at this stage.

Announcement

Frozen Skies has been submitted for this year's ENnie Awards, not sure how well it'll do be we'll see when nominations are announced in July.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Frozen Skies: Post-Campaign Thoughts

Certainly a few things that I could've done differently or better with my Frozen Skies campaign, things I'm sure that my players can pitch in on. So this week I'm taking the chance to address the things that come to mind for me and what, if possible, could've been changed. Will also post about ideas I have forming for my next Frozen Skies campaign, no matter the format that takes.


Reflections

First thing that comes to mind is the plot.

I had a couple of adventures pre-written before I started the campaign, though soon found that I needed greater motivation for the players (i.e. helping out Taran's Bluffs). Admittedly after that I played things a little loose, offering the players jobs to but letting them drive things forward. It did mean that the build-up to the planned Broken Spires plotline was slow and eventually sidelined, though the plot created and driven forward by the players themselves ended up being fun and interesting.

The issue here, to me, seems split between pacing and striking the balance between GM Railroading vs Player Freedom. I will also have to raise my hand and admit my guilt of a degree of GM laziness as well. It probably would've helped if the characters' backstories were more interlinked and the characters more established as a crew prior to the campaign, plus it much more clearer as to who the captain was (and being stronger in that role).

The Future

The ideas I have for my next Frozen Skies based campaign is based on a PBP RP I took part in where the characters were part of a squadron of commando pilots going on special ops and covert missions. Sort of similar to the video games Secret Weapons Over Normandy and Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII. It will be a military based campaign, so by its nature it will be more rigid with a chain of command so that its easier for somebody else to take over if the commander gets taken out.

My choices for running it could have it set during the Great Darmonican War or the present era, the latter would see more of a focus on fighting sky pirates and Cold War style black ops.

Probably more likely to run it with a different group in a Play-By-Post format, but we'll see.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Frozen Skies: The Broken Spires Conspiracy

There are a handful of plotlines I had planned for my Frozen Skies campaign, but never got the chance to do much with these. Big focus of some of these revolved around the sky pirate haven of Broken Spires; which got teased but no follow through. So this week we'll take a look at these and what could possibly had happened had the campaign continued.


The Conspiracy

The crew first learned about a possible Commonwealth campaign against Broken Spires on their first visit to Spitsworth Manor, though this was in the form of letters about seeking justification for a military operation. There was no confirmation that an attack would go ahead, but the crew took it as read that something would happen. They tipped off Natasha Rogan, leader of the Banshees gang, and the crew looked like they would take steps to prevent the attack...least until Tag's death.

Now heres the kicker.

The crew were going to be used to provide justification for the attack on Broken Spires, particularly after they'd dabbled in sky piracy and everything had been setup for the Conspiracy plotline to advance. Andrei, the Tylander broker of secrets they'd been working with, would have given them another airship heist job to pull off. Though this time it would've been stressed that there was a time limit for the job, so one that had to be done there and then rather than postponed. The job involved an airship named the Ogman's Hand flying out from Broken Spires, though they would discover Andrei's information was faulty as the airship had a far bigger escort than the crew was told.

When the crew started their attack, particularly when they tried shooting out the airship's engines, the Ogman's Hand would explode. Couple of the crew would realize that this was impossible, plus would of the airship's escorts would then try to escape (probably done as a Chase). Later, when the crew reached one of Alyeska's main settlements, they would learn that the Ogman's Hand was carrying none other than the prince consort.

Effectively they would now be wanted for treason by the Commonwealth.

Their options would be trying to expose the conspiracy, though that would require them gathering extra evidence to prove their case and thus a trip to the Home Isles. Other options would've been to defend Broken Spires against the attack or striking a course somewhere beyond the Commonwealth's reach.

The Power Play

Another Broken Spires related plot was a power play amongst the 'big shot' sky pirate captains to seize control of the pirate haven. This was something introduced by Natasha Rogan, though something the crew sat on for a while and Natasha was going to force the crew's hand with regards to it by making the crew enemies of one of the other sky pirate captains.

This one was more open ended, they could've picked a side or joined in for themselves.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Frozen Skies: The Spitsworth Family

What started as a background detail for a character morphed into a plotline that ended up driving a campaign forward. This week, as part of a series of posts related to my now finished campaign, will focus on the Spitsworth family. Included will be a brief description of its members, plus some extra details that’ll flesh out the family even more. 


Reginald – Status: Alive but dirt poor 
As one of the player characters, this Weird Scientist was the first member of the family that was encountered in the campaign. Already something of a black sheep, Reginald’s night in a police cell after kicking off against some police officers was the final straw and he ended up being disowned by the family. In order to regain access to his family’s fortune he had to work his way into his family’s good graces once more.

  I thought that, with his supposed character’s interest in Ancient tech, that Reginald would seek out and discover a previously unknown Ancient artefact which would make him famous and rich again. Certain I’d suggested it, but the Ancient tech avenue was barely touched. Instead, the crew went along with an elaborate kidnapping scheme that ended explosively and Reginald no better off (though his family was also a might bit poorer).

  Reginald was also the source of conflict within the crew and tended to make more enemies than he did friends.

  Lord Charleston – Status: Alive but furious

  Patriarch of the family, Lord Charleston is also a member of the Commonwealth’s parliament (Assembly Delegate being the proper title), government official and a high ranking member of the Skywrights Guild. The crew met his Lordship after Reginald was recalled home following his stint in a police cell (mentioned above), though he was more neutral to the rest of the crew and discussed with Tag the possibility of doing some work for his Lordship. Lord Charleston also suggested the thing about Ancient tech as a way of Reginald redeeming himself.

  It was through Lord Charleston, admittedly his personal letters and files, that the learned of a Commonwealth plot to take out Broken Spires. Initially the crew favoured Broken Spires, so that was probably a factor in their later plans when they intended to kill him in connection with the kidnapping scheme. Ironically killing Lord Charleston would’ve had no effect on the attack on Broken Spires, though more on that in another post.

  Lord Charleston was extremely rich, extremely paranoid and had a lot of friends in high places which allowed him to hire a company of mercs to defend his mansion. He also had the sense to be at a safehouse someplace else when the crew attacked. Right now he’s furious at the destruction of his mansion, the fact that the family’s bank accounts appear to have been raided and he’s lost both of his sons.

  Elisa – Status: Alive and expecting


  The crew met Elia, the youngest of the three Spitsworth siblings, round the same time as they met her father Lord Charleston. One of the crew got to intimidate know her, which led to trouble when the crew found out that she was engaged to be married. Though her fiancĂ©e died in a freak airship accident that involved no foul play what so ever…honest gov’nor!

  She was also at a safehouse elsewhere when the Spitsworth family home got destroyed, though her immediate future will be very interesting.

  Edmund – Status: Dead and crispy  

  The middle child of the Spitsworth siblings and was the most successful, being a manager at a major Skywright’s Guild shipyard in the northern industrial town of Tarcastle. He was kidnapped by the crew as part of their elaborate scheme and then interrogated, thus ended up giving away access to the family’s bank accounts. He was still onboard the Stormrider when it exploded.

  He left behind a wife and three children. 

   Expanding the Family  

   Going forward I’m going to run with the idea of the Spitsworth family being a pretty important independent family, but it harbours ambitions of achieving full clan status. They’ve got some rebuilding to do, both physically and financially, before that goal can be realised. This could form the basis of a Home Isles based campaign where the clan base society of the Commonwealth can be delved into along with visits to other places such as the Tyland Free State and the Artian Confederation. Possibly one that I may run at some point in the future.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Frozen Skies Episode 21: Endgame

So after a lunchtime shoot-out in a country pub, the crew prepared themselves for an assault on Spitsworth Manor. Expecting a recreation of the Forlorn Hope or the Charge of the Light Brigade, almost nobody could've expected the explosive finale. It was a night to remember, one filled with ferocious battle, fiery destruction and the fall of many a great name.


Assault on Precinct 13 Spitsworth Manor

Having previously scouted the manor grounds and spotted a company of guards present, thus learning the grim odds against them, the crew decided to go all out. The limo they'd acquired from Edmund Spitsworth was packed with explosives and driven towards the main gates with Gren at the wheel, though he managed to bail out but rolled badly and was left momentarily winded. The Rolls-Royce missile on four wheels hurtled towards the heavy gates,collided with them and then exploded taking one of the guards by the gate with it. Gren, now recovered but with a few aching bruises, sniped the other guard before Jacob ran through the gate before sliding along the wet grass mowing down guards with his pair of machine pistols.

Meanwhile, Sebastian and Herbert flew in on the latter's young dragonhawk to provide some aerial support before the crew's airship arrived. It was at this point that the crew discovered the manor was defended by anti-aircraft guns, primarily when one of the guns mysteriously exploded and killed its crew when it tried shooting at the dragonhawk. Sebastian then spotted a couple more AA guns and took one of them out by sniping its pile of ammo. Some of the ratings from the crew's airship then assaulted the main courtyard, only to be cut down to a man by the guards...leaving a chief petty officer called Mick McGuire as the last man standing and with the luck of the devil.

Being the coward that he was, Reginald used his gizmos to turn invisible and ran away.

The third and final AA gun got a shot off that injured the dragonhawk, though Herbert and Sebastian managed to stay on and keep the giant bird in the air. Sebastian sniped the gunner whilst Jacob and Gren took out the rest of the gun's crew in order to capture the gun. The AA gun was turned round to point at the house, the intention to blast a hole in the wall rather than trying to storm any of the doors. Also, the crew's airship arrived...

...only for an explosive fireball to rip through its innards and blast the aero-vessel apart. With the death groan of some great levitation of the sky, the flaming wreckage carried forward and downward towards the manor. With a thundering crash, the wrecked airship smashed into the building and completely destroyed it along with the crew's plans. It was then everyone realized that nobody had seen Alex since leaving the pub earlier and, knowing his character, put two and two together. 

Gren and Jacob vowed to hunt down Alex and have their vengeance on him, the rest decided to scatter to the four winds and strike their own paths.

Epilogue

"Ah, I've been expecting you gentlemen." Andrei smiled as the two men entered his study. "You come seeking information as to the current whereabouts of your...former...compatriot Mr Stondheim haven't you?"

"I thought as much." Replied the Tylander keeper of secrets. "But, I must ask, what do you offer by way of payment?"

* ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * 

He had alot of time to think, the sole walker down a lonely country lane with no real destination in mind. He had his pension from the Service after being demobbed, plus he'd put aside some of his wages from the logging company and then the crew. This was cash that he could draw upon for the essentials; food in his belly, a room for the night, new clothes and perhaps a ticket to wherever he wished. His real asset was his winnings from card games amongst the crew and some of the casino tables. Yes, it would be more than enough to buy himself an airship and get together a crew to fly it.

"Life as a free trader, Captain McGuire." Muttered Mick before he smiled. "I like the sound of that."

 * ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * 

It was a case that would puzzle the Commonwealth Garda, a crime had been committed...two in fact...but the Powers That Be were quite happy for the matter to be brushed under the rug. A lord, long thought to be a respectable member of the community, turned out to be an infamous crime boss who's influence spread far and wide before he was found dead. Understandably, the Establishment wanted the matter kept quiet and so it was. Though what was curious was that one of the man's offices had been broken into and quite clearly a pair of pistols had been stolen, yet the Garda was told in no uncertain terms that this thief never ever happened.

A short while later, the offices in question burned down.

Short while after that, a certain Elisa Spitsworth received a letter. A smile spread across her face as she read it and a hand rested on her belly.

* ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * 

They say in the Alyeskan Outlands there is a man, a supposed doctor, who rides a dragonhawk like a Windryder but is not of those people. He travels the wilderness from settlement to settlement, lending his skills as a medicine man before moving on again. Though they say he lacks in wisdom and his mouth, occasionally, has a habit of running off without him.

* ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * 

If you walk the streets of Lindun, or any other town or city in the Home Isles, you'll come across the Glimmer Man. He wears threadbare clothes, but holds with a manner that betrays an aristocratic background. Usually found on street corners trying to entertain passer-bys with displays of his gizmos cobbled together from pieces of scrap so that he could beg for the odd coin or two.

* ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * 

A figure, with quite clearly a gun in their hand, stepped into the alley ahead of him whilst another blocked the way behind him. The first figure spoke, a familiar voice echoing across the years and laden with dread. "Hello Alex...remember us?"

"We'd like a word or two..."

It was quite clear that at least one person was going to be leaving the alley in a wooden box. 

Thoughts

What, THAT was most certainly an explosive finale.

Despite all the characters surviving, it was decided by the group that it was a good enough moment to finish the campaign there. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed it and its almost a shame that its over, especially now I have to think extra hard if I wish to continue weekly blog posts. Though my next few posts are likely to be the various plotlines that I wanted to do but didn't get to.

Though a Frozen Skies game may be run on the RPG site SavageRifts at some point in the future.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Commonwealth Revisited: The Garda


Continuing the effort to take another look at the Commonwealth and make revisions where needed, we take a look at the Commonwealth’s national police force; the Garda.

We take a look at the Garda’s origins and how it became the force it is today. In addition, we’ll also take a look at the Garda’s current roles and some ideas for including the Garda in your games of Frozen Skies.

Keepers of the King’s Peace

The Commonwealth Garda has its origins as the Righ Garda, effectively the King’s Guards. To begin with the Garda were little more than bodyguards, though successive monarchs gradually expanded the role and duties of the Garda to help spread the monarch’s influence over what would become the Commonwealth. Charged with upholding the King’s Peace, the Garda was given much wider jurisdiction than the various town and city watches in addition to being ranked above them.

As power shifted from the monarch to the Commonwealth’s parliament, the role and responsibilities of the Garda were formalized. Over time the system of town watches proved to be inadequate and they ended up be gradually absorbed by the Garda until it became the Commonwealth’s main law enforcement agency.

Present Day

Today the Garda provides day-to-day local policing within the Home Isles, though it does have jurisdiction in other territories despite their own local police forces. The main public image of the Garda is of uniformed officers patrolling the streets or, less commonly, in patrol cars. On the whole the Garda is a largely unarmed force, certain units within the Garda do routinely carry firearms but generally the Garda likes to escalate things to the military in instances involving firearms.

The Garda has plain-clothes detectives organized into either the Detective Branch or Special Branch. The former deals with investigation and detective work concerning fighting crime. Special Branch, on the other hand, tends to focus its efforts on counter-intelligence and cases that effect the national interest and security. Unlike the Commonwealth’s intelligence services, Special Branch has the power to arrest spies and is frequently called upon to do so.

Though air security is generally in the hands of the Royal Aero-Fleet, the Garda does maintain its own Air Wing to combat aerial crime within the Home Isles. Blimps of the Garda Air Wing are a common sight over the towns and cities of the Home Isles, though the Air Wing also has a squadron or two of light fighters on its books stationed in the capital of Lindun. Air Wing officers are also placed on passenger airships as effectively sky marshals, particularly if there is an important passenger or valuable cargo onboard.

Use in Games

The most obvious way to use the Garda is as an opponent for the characters, though the Garda could also serve as a useful ally. If the characters go down the sky pirate route there is a good chance that they’ll have a run-in with the Garda sooner or later. Similarly, if the characters commit a high profile crime in the Home Isles they can expect the Garda to come after them. On the flip side, if the characters are working for the Commonwealth they can expect to find a valuable ally in the Garda.

The other way to include the Garda is to run a Garda base campaign with the characters being members of either the Detective Branch, Special Branch or the Air Wing. There is a degree of overlap in the work done by these departments, so it is possible for the characters to work alongside colleagues from other departments or form part of a multi-department team.