Monday, 24 September 2018

The Gwentshire Chronicles: The Laine Collection

Sometimes, its amazing where you pick up ideas from.

Recently visited the Lynn Museum in Kings Lynn, which proved to be interesting and a gold mine for ideas. The museum had in display a collection of curiosities amassed by the artist and explorer Thomas Baines. The collections features curios from Africa, Australia and even South-East Asia. There was also some stuff on the English Civil War and the Siege of Kings Lynn, another source of ideas which I'll write about in the near future.


The Laine Collection

Officially, the so-called 'Laine Collection' had its genesis in the efforts of Sir Thomas Laine to preserve curios and other artefacts during the English Civil War. Various items were entrusted to Laine by various landowners to safeguard them as Parliamentarian and Royalist forces clashed with one another within the boundaries of the county. Sir Thomas is notable for organizing a wagon train to evacuate the collections during the Siege of Gwentford in 1644, then hid the collection on his estate until after the Restoration. The Collection continued to grow until it was eventually entrusted to the care of the Gwentshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, who later used the Collection for the founding of the 'Gwentford Museum' in 1889. The museum, renamed the Gwentshire County Museum in the early 1900s, still houses the Collection but only has a small part of it on display to the public.

The official story isn't that far off the truth, the Collection was the result of Sir Thomas attempting to safeguard certain artefacts during the English Civil War. It is generally unknown that Sir Thomas had a more secret motivation for doing so; he did it to help the Mist-Bound.

Sir Thomas first became aware of the Mist-Bound in the late 1620s, though at first he thought them to be little more than demons. It was only after an encounter in 1637 that he realised that they were the spiritual guardians of Gwentshire and quickly set about trying to help them however he could. With the outbreak of the English Civil War 1642, Sir Thomas realised that dark forces could use the conflict to strike at the source of the Mist-Bound in hope of critically weakening them. Sir Thomas soon raised a band of men and women to help him acquire artefacts he knew were important to the Mist-Bound so that he could safeguard them, though as a cover he offered protection for the valuables of the local nobility in the area.

The Collection would remain in the care of the Laine family for the next hundred years, though there were attempts by outside forces to destroy it (a fire in the 1760s came close to destroying the whole Collection). Eventually Sit Thomas' descendant, William Laine, would entrust the Collection to the Gwentshire Archaeological and Natural History Society after his son and sole heir was killed during the Crimean War in 1854. The Society set about cataloging the Collection, then decided to use it as the foundation of a museum which opened to the public in 1889. Attempts continued to steal or destroy parts of the Collection, leading the Society to decide to only put a small part of it on public display whilst moving the rest to safe storage. Occasionally, larger parts of the Collection have been put on display as part of some exhibition.

In the present day, the Collection is still housed at the Gwentshire County Museum. An air raid shelter, built during WW2 in the museum's basement, and later refurbished in the 1990s contains the bulk of the Collection. As mentioned previously, a small part is on public display but the items are periodically rotated between being in storage and on display. The museum grants access to the Collection for those who can prove a valid scholarly interest.

Using the Collection

There are a few options for GMs with regards to using the Collection in their games. 

The main option is using the Collection to aid the players, either to fight some supernatural foe or find out key information. The best way of using this is have a player roll Investigation and then add +1 for a success and each raise (to a max of +4) on either a Knowledge (Occult) roll or an attack on a supernatural foe. Other rolls for the bonus include Streetwise or other Knowledge skills, possibly even on Intimidation on certain characters.

Another option is to use the Collection to link campaigns set in different time periods. A 'past' campaign could see the player characters retrieving an item for the Collection and then needing that item in a campaign set years or even decades later. An example could see the characters being part of Sir Thomas' band in the 1640s collecting artefacts against the backdrop of the English Civil War, then having those some items show up in a 1930s era campaign either to stop a big bad or even being stolen by the characters.

Finally the characters could be out to destroy the collection, particularly if they are under the impression that the Mist-Bound are evil beings needing to be defeated. This option could result in the characters releasing a truly evil and powerful being which they'll have to somehow defeat, a task that could've been made more difficult if they have destroyed an item that could have been used to defeat said being.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Frozen Skies Session 7: This Is Fine

Last time we joined the crew of the airship Waylander, two of their fellows had ended up in a police cell as the law tried to get the entire crew booked for smuggling. Though the law would be frustrated in its efforts, it does have other tricks up its sleeves. One of the detained crew members has to face a court martial, the other had urgent summons from home to face an equally dreadful matter.


The Not So Long Arm Of The Law

Previously the crew attempted a smuggling run, though a chance encounter with a wrecked cargo ship gave them a bit of legality by amending the ship's cargo manifest. When they arrived to find the police waiting for them, they were able to claim that their cargo had been salvage. The only thing that the police were able to pin onto the crew that was one of them, the medic, was an army deserter. The newest arrival, the mad scientist Reginald Spitsworth, also got locked up as the police doubted that he was the son of a noble...which he also kicked up quite a fuss about.

Reginald was duly released, though the medic Herbert was held until a military provost arrived to escort him to a court-martial at Calharrow. The crew were also asked by the police to pick up a prisoner, a downed sky pirate, from Prospector's Reach and transport him to Gravenburgh. Both Herbert and Reginald got a chewing out by Tag, plus it was agreed to do the prisoner transport job and then take Herbert to his court-martial.

They flew out to pick up the prisoner without any encounters enroute, once in Prospector's Reach they rolled Vigor due to the cold and Sebastian burned through his bennies to avoid getting a level of Fatigue. Likewise, picking up the prisoner went without a hitch...though the characters were perhaps getting a little paranoid at this point with how well things had gone.

Things Never Go Smooth

Deciding to drop the prisoner off in Gravenburgh first, they flew south-east from Prospector's Reach rather than risk getting too close to Broken Spires. Things were going smoothly until a Spades face card was drawn, signifying enemies. Sure enough five aircraft, one 'Hornet' light fighter and four 'Kestral' medium fighters, launched an attack out of the clouds. Two of the Kestrals took on the crew's Blackforge Marauder, though only one of the enemy aircraft managed to do damage and admittedly that was three wounds in a single pass. The Hornet and other two Kestrals went after the crew's Banshee plane, but between them only managed a couple of wounds (the character had the adventure card that negated damage).

The Marauder limped back to the airship, whilst the Banshee plane took on the sky pirates. The Banshee's Siren was put to great effect, I ruled that making the enemy pilot Shaken granted a +2 bonus to Shooting rolls against them. My notoriously bad dice rolling kicked in and the sky pirates only managed to succeed in damaging the controls of the Banshee plane so that it couldn't turn right. The turrets on the Waylander proved their worth, helping to shoot down the enemies. Only two of the enemies managed to bail out, the rest ended up in a twisted metal coffin. Sebastian, in one of the turrets, took out the last sky pirate by doing an impressive 54 damage.

Thoughts

A high Piloting skill coupled with an agile aircraft (ie bonus to Handling), in the case of the Hornet with Evasion 8, didn't prove to be an issue. It was basically like a high Parry, though maneuvers and tricks can help counter this. I seem to be getting a better handle on range modifiers, it required the use of maneuvers by both sides to negate the penalties for shooting. All-in-all, very happy with how air combat is working out.

This week's post is shorter than I'd like, unfortunately I've struggle to get this written due to various factors but I hope I got the key points covered. 

Monday, 10 September 2018

Keep The Home Fires Burning

This week we're looking at another of the planned settings for Utherwald Press and, fittingly enough as I have a cold, its Keep The Home Fires Burning.

It'll pretty much be a few ideas I have in mind for the setting, concepts and possible rules. There will also be an insight in how character players interact with the setting along with a couple of adventure hooks.


The Flu

Central to the setting is going to be the Spanish Flu; at least a quarter of the British population was affected and over 50 million people died because of it worldwide (228,000 in Britain alone). Even Prime Minister David Lloyd George contracted it but survived.

The visual signs of the flu is going to be people coughing and sneezing in addition to overcrowded hospitals. Though there is other things such as theaters, dance halls, churches and other public-gathering places being closed in addition to people wearing anti-germ masks. Carts piled with the flu's victims would also be common.

In game terms the flu would be Long-Term Chronic, Majorly Debilitating. Edges and Hindrances could be used to represent immunity (or lack of) to the flu, also considering something like the Fear Levels from Deadlands but adapted for areas of greater or lesser risk of infection. These 'Infection Levels' would determine the penalty on a Vigor roll to contract the flu, the higher the Level the greater the penalty. Hospitals would have the highest, but something like a large park would have a pretty low Infection Level due to lack of people. Anti-germ masks could provide a bonus here.

The Characters

Decided not to go with any references to MI13, instead the characters will be part of a group known as 'Home Office Auxiliaries'. The characters will have been sworn-in as special constables (unless they're already members of the police) to work for the Home Office by investigating and containing the weirdness that is afflicting London in hopes of keeping it under wraps. Though whilst they are likely to face the weird and supernatural, they are just as likely to deal with more mundane affairs.

One task the characters could expect to do is being called to a hospital to investigate why the bodies in its morgue are being disturbed, only to discover a warren of ghouls under the building. On the other end of scale, the characters could have to deal with a criminal gang who have been peddling a false 'vaccine' for the flu.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Frozen Skies Session 6: Going Down To Grimsport

The adventures of the airship Waylander and its crew continue.

Combat proved to be surprisingly absent this session, though some critical plot development took place setting things up for other things to occur later on. Highlights include; the introduction of a new player character, visiting a town with an ill-reputation, meeting an NPC who'll become important later on...oh and the characters themselves being arrested.


A Sharp Dressed Inventor

After successfully resolving the Windryder problem at Taran's Bluffs, the crew return to Bowerstead Post. Alex sought out Ardan Gowan, mainly to collect some promised money and to get an update on the job Ardan had mentioned. The job was up for grabs as the pilot, Harris, had done a vanishing act. Tag meanwhile reported in with the company foreman, Dermot Hardwick, and said about some of the things that had happened. In return, Hardwick says theres some toff who claims to be one of 'em fancy inventors and a supposed dab hand with machines. Tag, reluctantly, agrees to have the toff sent over to the airship.

So a posh speaking and well dress gentleman present himself at the airship, introducing himself as 'Reginald Spitsworth the Fourth'. Reginald reveals that he's dabble with Glim Tech and has been amassing knowledge on Ancient devices, though he ends up making himself an unwelcomed guest amongst the crew. Later, some of the crewmen manage to coax him into a game of cards and fleece him for all he was worth. Reginald's wallet also ended up having an adventure of its own.

The crew accepts Ardan's job and fly to the decrepit fishing town of Grimsport, the most derelict and miserable town in all of Alyeska. Shortly after arriving they quickly learn that the locals are extremely unfriendly to strangers, though the two-man Air Police detachment and the store owner are the only friendly faces for miles around. Tag confronts one of the locals who's extremely rude back and the ruckus attracts attention from the other townsfolk, though both sides back down and Tag sends word back to the Waylander that all the airship's guns are to be manned round the clock.

Eventually their contact, a sea captain, sails into port and hands over the goods after a friendly exchange. The crew's job was to then take the goods to Gravenburgh where they would be delivered to another contact. En-route they spied a cargo ship that had floundered on the rocks and abandoned by its crew, so the characters scrambled aboard and took what they could get their hands on. They also took the ship's log, cargo manifest and associated paperwork. Alex amended the cargo manifest to include the goods they were transporting as part of Ardan's job, basically making them look like they were salvage.

They were met by the law when they arrive in Gravenburgh and asked to come back to the station to answer a few questions and to hand over any and all paperwork relating to the airship and cargo. They were asked about one of the towns they'd visited, their deceased crewmate (the ex-Aero-marine George Packer) and their reasons for being in Grimsport. Herbert was revealed to be an army deserter and held pending a response from the army. Reginald was also held as the officers didn't believe he was the son of a Commonwealth noble, though a message was sent to his supposed father.

The rest of the crew (Tag, Alex and Sebastian) were released on bail. Tag was met by a car waiting outside the police station and an invitation. Tag accepted the invitation and was driven to a rather plush house, the owner of which introduced himself as a broker of secrets called Andrei. He'd heard about the crew and basically offered them some work, in addition to his information services. Tag noticed a ticking noise but no clock in the room, though the sound stopped and Andrei revealed a mechanical arm which he pulled out a key for and winded it up. Though Andrei talked about "perception" and "what is truth and what is not".

Tag shared a few choice bits of information, in return Andrei revealed that Harris had 'turned Crown's evidence'.

Thoughts

The session has to be one of the few sessions I've seen where combat hasn't taken place, though it could've still happened depending on the characters' choices in Grimsport and checking for random encounters (they only got one which was Fortune). What should be noted is that they are selling the location of the glimmer rock deposit they found, though they'll approach a number of different interest parties to maximize their profit.

I had to applaud Alex's player for thinking of amending the cargo manifest to help, legally cover their tracks. Originally they were going to do what I'd expected them to do and land outside of the town and offload the goods, though the random chance of the ship wreck gave them an unexpected option and the players were clever enough to exploit it. Though it does mean they'll suffer a minor setback, granted nothing compared to the major issue thats going to arise (depends what's happened to a certain item). This will be on top of Herbert's potential court martial and the response from Reginald's father.

Though curious is that they discussed the idea of returning to Grimsport and turning it into a base of operations.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Setting Overview: Darkwatch

Darkwatch is the combination of two Setting Ideas; Forsaken and Deepwatch.

The core of Darkwatch is still the original idea for Forsaken, except I've decided to make subterranean elements a stronger part of the setting. Also envisioning Darkwatch to play as a reverse resistance campaign; the player characters are part of the occupation forces attempting to root out the resistance cells of the enemy forces still lurking in the city.


Welcome to the Darkwatch

As I said above, I view Darkwatch based games and campaigns to be the reverse of the typical resistance campaign. Though the city has been liberated, it is far from secure as enemy forces still lurk in the shadows. The player characters are part of a group called the Darkwatch, effectively the city watch and military garrison. Their job is to basically protect the city as it starts to rebuild and to secure it by hunting down the enemy remnants still within the city.

Also going with the idea that the war against the dark forces is still ongoing, so the characters will have to deal with sabotage and trouble from soldiers going to and from the 'front'. It could be as mundane as guarding a grain warehouse or as exciting as chasing across rooftops after an enemy spy. In addition to the military angle, the characters will be expected to deal with crime to help promote law and order in the city. From time to time they could also have to deal with deserters hiding out in the city or be sent to deal with bandits in the countryside surrounding the city.

The ultimate goal of a Darkwatch campaign would to be fully reclaim and secure parts of the city, whole campaign arcs could be set in a single district. There is the possibility of the characters finding treasure amidst the ruined buildings and tunnels of the city.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Frozen Skies Session 5: "Trust me, I'm a drunk!"

After a break off over a month, the crew of the airship Waylander are back flying the Frozen Skies!

For one reason or another, the entire group hasn't been able to get together over the past month. One session got cancelled and the following ended up being a Savage 40K one-shot, but the whole crew is back in Alyeska. The group seemed to be happy getting back into the swing of things, though one of the players has ended up changing characters (more on that in a bit). This week, though slow to begin with, was a fun session.


Departures

After a quick recap, we picked up from where we left off with the crew still in the pirate haven of Broken Spires. Upon receiving the 'Love Interest' Adventure Card, Tag's player immediately plays it and asks that its the leader of the Banshees; Captain Natasha 'Tash' Rogan.

Cue another meeting with the female sky pirate, who states that she looks forwards to working with Tag in the future. Tash also gives the crew one of her planes, which gets put to good use later on. Whilst this meeting (and the logistics of putting the new plane on the airship) takes place, George heads into town followed by Alex. Before the game George's player had expressed that they wished to change characters, so George was effectively leaving the crew. Alex decided to follow, then waited until George entered a dark alley and straight up murdered him before looting his corpse.

Upon returning to the airship, Alex told Tag that he'd found George dead in an alley. Despite Tag's suspicions, Alex managed to bluff it that he had nothing to do with George's untimely demise. With a new plane, but a crewmember down, the crew of the Waylander departed Broken Spires and Tag managed to pilot them through the maze of twisting canyons without mishap.

A Brew o' Trouble

Following their departure from Broken Spires, the crew picked a spot in the wilderness to put down for the night. Whether from brain damage or to help with the pain of his injuries, Herbert got hold of some liquor and ended up getting blind stinking drunk. Both Alex and Tag were still injured from the gunfight with the poachers, Tag in particular wasn't very happy as he was the worst injured. But Herbert's state of intoxication wouldn't be known until the airship came under attack by Cloudhaunts.

With their respective characters out of action, Herbert's and George's players took over some of the Extras that made up the rest of the airship's crew and manned the two planes. George's player used the siren of the Banshee's plane to keep the Cloudhaunts Shaken whilst Herbert's player used his plane's propeller to deal with a few of the critters after they'd attached themselves to the Waylander's gasbag. Sebastian and Alex manned the two top turrets, whilst the rest of the Extras manned the 50-cal MGs that Tag had fitted. Tag used the airship's klaxon to scare the Cloudhaunts off of the airship, making them easy prey for the two planes.

The critters managed to grapple onto the Banshee plane and did enough damage to inflict a wound on the aircraft, though they failed to do the same to the Blackforge Marauder flown by Herbert's player. The creatures only managed to cling onto the Banshee plane for a single before they got thrown off, some of them got shot and killed by the Marauder, the remainder were finished off by Alex in the airship's turret.

With the threat dealt with, Tag went and sought out Herbert for an awesome bit of role-play; Herbert got chewed out by Tag for being drunk as Herbert was the crew's only medic and some of the crew were wounded. Herbert then got confined to his quarters with a load of coffee to sober up, Tag then went to his own cabin to rest. Some time later Herbert went to the airship's infirmary, then attempted to use the Scavenger Edge to find a bottle of alcohol. I ruled that he would only find it if a roll of six came up on a d6...which it did.

Herbert also had the Big Mouth Hindrance, so we went with him shouting out "Yes! Booze!" and alerted the rest of the crew. Alex, by this point, had sneaked up behind Herbert and knocked him out for six hours before having the medic dragged back to his cabin. Tag was furious when he found out and went to have words with the medic, threatened to kick him out of the crew but still gave the doctor one final chance in another bit of brilliant role-playing.

An Egg In Hand

The crew returned to Taran's Bluffs and informed the camp foreman Mosley that they were only able to recover three of the Dragonhawk eggs (truthfully it was four...). Mosley admitted that he didn't see how many the poachers had stolen, but was hopeful that the eggs would help make the Windryders cease their attacks on the camp. The eggs were loaded onto some trucks, the crew invited along, and the convoy traveled a handful of miles into the surrounding forest.

The convoy came to a halt when a group of figures were spotted in the trees, though Tag got a high enough Notice roll to spot a pair of Dragonhawks. Mosley had all the engines killed and instructed everyone to keep their hands where they could be seen. A female Windryder stepped forward (Tag's player wished he'd kept the Love Interest card) and introduced herself as Narine before asking why they were there.

Tag said about the eggs and the canvas cover pulled off each one, causing some excited chatter amongst the Windryders. Narine ordered a couple of her people to go check the eggs, once satisfied she thanked the crew. She also offered them payment in the forming of tipping them off about the location of a crashed plane, though she called it a "metal bird with broken wings".

After handing back to the airship, the crew set off once more towards Bowerstead Post but flew over the location Narine had told them about. Again it was Tag who got the best Notice roll and spotted a big, four-engine aircraft under the trees. They set down their airship and went over to the crashed aircraft, finding it to be a military transport plane that seemed to have been there for quite some time. Inside the wreck they found crates filled with Ancient Terran devices, which they were in the process of loading onto the Waylander when we had to end the game due to time.

Thoughts

As I said earlier, it seemed to be a good game and fun was had by all.

Alex's actions could potentially cause the crew issues when they return to Broken Spires, but thats in the future. George's player was OK with what happened to George as he was going to be bringing a new character in. There is still the consequences of the group's earlier actions which will come into play very soon, but I'm kinda going with the idea of the players rope to hang themselves with when it comes to their character's actions.

On the subject of consequences, as I understand it the crew will be selling the location of the glimmer rock cave they came across to a mining company. This is good as it'll set up some plot for later on in the campaign, plus other stuff is starting to fit into place.

Going forwards, I'd like to start incorporating some of the ideas and advice from the Up to Four Players guys. I like their take on the Chase rules for Savage Worlds and theres a couple of more general RP ideas that I like to try out.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Forsaken Space: Wreck Generator

This week we're continuing with revisiting the other settings in the works from Utherwald Press. Taking the spotlight this time round is Forsaken Space; scavengers braving haunted wrecks in a SciFi Horror setting.

To help kickstart your ForSpace games, heres a wreck generator.


Spaceship Wreck Generator Table

You'll require use of the Savage Worlds SciFi Companion, the table uses the different ship sizes found in that book.

To use this table, first draw a card from an action deck and compare the result.

Clubs - Alien
Diamonds - Civilian
Hearts - Military
Spades - Science

1 - Small
2-4 - Medium
5-6 - Large
7-8 - Huge
9 - Giant
10 - Gargantuan
Jack - Behemoth
Queen - Levitation
King - World Killer

Black Joker - Sentient, the vessel is alive in some fashion either through an advanced AI or is a bioship. Draw another card.

Red Joker - Hazard, the vessel contains a major hazard such as a radiation leak or had its crew killed via a virus, etc. Draw another card.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Cold War Skirmishes: Flashpoint Belize

Continuing on with taking a look at other settings and products that Utherwald has in the works. This week it is the turn of Cold War Skirmishes and we'll be taking a look at a potential conflict that almost erupted in Central America during the early 1970s. As ever the post will feature a overview of the military situation, offer adventure ideas and suggested NPC stats.


A Latin American Oddity

Unlike most of Latin America, the area that became Belize (known as British Honduras 1862-1973) did not fall under Spanish control. This was partially due to the decentralized society of the Mayans, who inhabited the area, and its lack of resources. There was some attempt at Spanish settlement, but English pirates proved to have greater success. Spain did attempt, a number of occasions, to expel the British settlers but grudgingly allowed them to remain after suffering an embarrassing defeat in the Battle of St. George's Cay.

The 19th Century saw pressure from the United States, under the Monroe Doctrine, for Britain to relinquish its holdings in Central America. Though whilst Britain did yield in some areas, it produced in 1854 a formal constitution for what became the Colony of British Honduras in 1862. There remain a strong American reluctance over the existence of the British colony, one that would last well into the 20th Century.

Unfriendly Neighbours

From 1821 the neighboring country of Guatemala has claimed part or the entirely of what is now Belize. This territorial dispute saw frequent flare-up of tensions, passions and tensions do run high in Central America as was proven by the 1969 Football War between El Salvador and Honduras. A treaty was signed in 1859 where Guatemala agreed to recognize British Honduras in return for Britain to build a road connecting the two. The dispute was then largely forgotten until the 1930s when Guatemala started claiming that the 1859 treaty was invalid because Britain had failed to uphold its end of the deal by not building the road.

In 1948 Guatemala threatened to invade and forcibly annex the territory, Britain responded by deploying two companies of troops. But the invasion threat never materialized, though Britain decided to permanently station troops in the colony. Guatemala would periodically mass troops on the border, but nothing further would develop. 1958 saw pro-Guatemalan Belize Liberation Army fighters cross the border, plant the Guatemalan flag and exchange fire with British troops before being arrested.

Attempts were made in the 1960s to negotiate an agreement, the US was asked to mediate and President Lyndon Johnson drafted a treaty that would give Guatemala effective control over the territory. British Honduras responded with riots. Talks would continue on and off as tensions flared and Guatemala threatened to invade, particularly as British Honduras made move towards independence. 1975 saw Britain, in response to the massing of Guatemalan troops on the border once again, deployed a large number of troops supported by artillery and fast jets which defused tensions. Guatemala suffered from troops desertions at this time in addition to an earthquake which put paid to its attempts to annex the territory.

Opposing Forces

The British

Britain typically kept a company of troops in British Honduras, though this would be reinforced with additional forces during times of tension. Additionally, a pair of frigates would be on station in the Caribbean as part of the Royal Navy's West Indies Station. The carrier HMS Ark Royal would be deployed in 1972 to deter Guatemalan aggression and a flight of Harrier Jump Jets would later be established. Whilst the British forces were a well-trained, equipped (for the early '70s) and professional force, they only maintained a small garrison and it took time for reinforcements to cross the Atlantic.

Equipment

L1A1 SLR
Sterling SMG
Bren 7.62mm
General Purpose Machine Gun
81mm mortar
Wombat Anti-tank
Harrier Jump Jet

The British also had access to F-4 Phantoms and Blackburn Buccaneers from HMS Ark Royal in the early 1970s. Though their only viable weapon against Guatemalan aircraft was 2-inch unguided rockets.

The Guatemalans

Guatemala had an army that was well trained by Latin American standards, its elite troops were even trained by the US military, but alot of its equipment dated from WW2. The Guatemalan military did enjoy support from both the CIA and US Military Assistance Programme.

Equipment

The Guatemalan Army used virtually the same infantry weapons as the US Army did in Vietnam, though its a little unclear on precise vehicles used. The M8 Greyhound armoured car and M113 APC are confirmed to have been in Guatemalan service (and still are), there was supposedly tanks and the best fit I can find is the M3 Stuart. Walker Bulldog light tanks were given to Guatemala in the early '80s.

Air assets included the Huey, P-51 Mustangs and Lockheed T-33s.

Adventure Ideas

If actual war had broken out, most battles would probably be squad or platoon sized skirmishes with perhaps one or two company level battles. The British, to begin with, would be at a disadvantage with having to wait on reinforcements which could be held up if the US denied use of its airspace for troop transport flights (which it did). The Guatemalans enjoyed greater mobility and potentially, if things went far enough, widespread support in the Americas. There probably would've been pressure from the US to end the fighting, but its difficult to say who's side the US would've backed as the US would've had to chose between allies.

Local British commanders, given lack of resources, planned to harass Guatemalan forces in hopes of buying time for reinforcements to arrive. Though if the sole international airport fell, the British would've resorted to guerrilla warfare in the jungles of Belize. There would be plenty of scope for squad level actions which would probably have been the mainstay of the conflict.

For the Weird Wars aspect, the region is riddled with Mayan ruins amidst the thick jungles with unknown creatures lurking among them. This potentially could see both British and Guatemalan patrols battling each other as they are in turn stalked by unseen sinister foes. Another angle could be British desperation in the form of trying to enlist the aid of an army of undead pirates to fight the Guatemalans.

Stats

The Experienced Soldier stats in Savage Worlds Deluxe would be a good basis for both British and Guatemalan soldiers as both were roughly equal in training and professionalism. Though due to the British Army's focus on marksmanship, it is recommended that British soldiers have the Marksman Edge.

Monday, 30 July 2018

The Gwentshire Chronicles: Ald Jack

With Frozen Skies out I can relax a little and turn my attention to other setting ideas, something that I intend to do every so often. This time its the turn of the Gwentshire Chronicles, chiefly a look at another of the key characters in the setting; Ald Jack


A Hound of Blackest Night


Common in English folklore are so-called black dogs, regarded as demonic entities by some and benign beings by others. One of the more well-known of the black dogs is Black Shuck, which roams the East of England and is said to have inspired the Sherlock Holmes story ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’.  Shuck, as he is sometimes known, is said to protect souls as much as he causes them harm.

Needless to say, Gwentshire was going to have its own black dog in the form of Ald Jack.

When I originally pitched the setting idea, he was going to be called ‘Grim Jack’. But the Old English word for ‘old’ seems a better fit and helps define Gwentshire’s relationship with the hound. Jack is agnostic, a little like the legendary Black Shuck, in that he’s just as likely to be a foe for the characters as he is an ally. He’s also just as likely to ignore the characters and purpose his own agenda.


Just like the Mist-Bound, the origins of Ald Jack are uncertain. It is believed that he has been around since Pre-Roman times, archaeological evidence found throughout Gwentshire would seem to support this. Surviving historical texts held in the archives of the Gwentford Shire Hall include a number of references to Ald Jack over the centuries and at least one brewery has used his name for a beverage.

To use Ald Jack, use the stats for a Hellhound from the Horror Companion. Add the Champion Edge and Tracking d6.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Brokers of Secrets

This particular post was going to be another installment of the Frozen Skies campaign I'm running. However, half the group wasn't able to make and so the session got cancelled. Hopefully in two weeks time it'll be the next bit of the campaign.

In the meantime, I've had to think of a different topic for this week's post...


Brokers of Secrets

As has frequently been stated before, Alyeska is home to a wide range of individuals from different backgrounds and of different professions. Among these there are a handful of secretive persons known as Brokers of Secrets.

These independent individuals make it their business to know any and all information of value, if they worked for a country they would be called spymasters. They collect information and then sell that information to the highest bidder, preferring to remain neutral by accepting coin from those willing to pay. They'll sell critical information to a client, though at the same time they'll happy sellout that client if the client's enemies pay well enough.

The Brokers are the source of high profile jobs, so they tend to be selective with whom they do business with. Though typical Brokers charge a fair amount for their fee, which functions a sort of passive filtering by discouraging bandits and ruffians. Occasionally they do contract so-called 'small fry' for jobs on behalf of clients, normally jobs that require effective nobodies to complete.

Brokers are often regarded as eccentrics, though they are wise enough to surround themselves with bodyguards. They amass a fortune, thus allowing them to fund a small army of bodyguards and maintain their own private compound. To further aid in defending their persons they acquire a few tricks and gadgets only known to them.