Monday, 12 August 2019

Frozen Skies: Mariners of the Air

Aaand we're back to Frozen Skies.

This is an idea that I've been considering for some time, mainly as an alternative way to managing NPC crewmen in the Frozen Skies campaign that I ran but struggle to come up with something at the time. Currently preparing to run a game in a different setting and system, one that involves spaceships and a degree of crew management. This other game prompted a train of thought and I've think I've come up with something that'll work for Frozen Skies.


Mariners of the Air


This is intended to be an optional set of rules that builds upon the Wealth Rules in SWADE, targetted at hose who like a little bit of bookkeeping and wish to have airships with sizeable crews. These rules come in two parts; Wealth Pool and Crew.

The Wealth Pool is a Wealth roll for the character's airship and works in a similar fashion. It starts at d4 but the characters can increase it by 'investing' in the collective wealth pool by transferring a die of their own Wealth to the Wealth Pool. In gameplay the characters can use the Wealth Pool instead of their own Wealth for trying to buy items, though the Wealth Pool is also used to make a once a month Upkeep roll for the airship. This roll represents the general upkeep of the airship, buying spare parts, fuel and supplies for the crew and works the same way when buying things. Though if the Wealth Pool goes 'broke', then the characters must transfer a die each of their own Wealth to avoid a mutiny by the crew.

Crew is, unsurprisingly, the crew of the airship. They start with a collective trait die of d6 for the relevant trait rolls they may be required to make (Shooting, Piloting, Repair, etc). This trait die (or Crew Rating) can be increased one step by reducing the die of the Wealth Pool by one, like downgrading the Crew Rating can increase the Wealth Pool as a lesser crew cost less in wages. The lowest Crew Rating will impose a -1 penalty on the Upkeep roll that will build up over successive months to a maximum of -4 if the Crew Rating stays at this level, representing the increased upkeep costs with a poorly trained crew.

Crew Rating

Incompetent - d4 - Upkeep rolls incur a -1 penalty that increased by -1 per month (to a max of -4) that the crew remains at this rating.

Competent - d6

Crack - d8

Veteran - d10

Elite - d12

Monday, 5 August 2019

The Gwentshire Chronicles: Crostwick Combe

A third Gwentshire related in a row? What madness is this?!

On little bit of a roll with ideas for the Gwentshire Chronicles setting, this week it is a location. Since Gwentshire is meant to be roughly located where North Somerset is, it shares some geographical features with its real life counterpart. One of those features is a combe, effectively a small valley through which a watercourse does not run. In Gwentshire there are many combes, the most notorious of which is Crostwick Combe.


Crostwick Combe


Officially, Crostwick Combe does not exist.

It isn't marked on any maps and the scientific refuses to accept that it exist as no proof of its existence has ever been found. It is suppose to be located in the Weston Hills in sight of the Iron Age hill fort near the hamlet of Medbury, but many have searched and have found no trace of the combe. The locals, the older folk in particular, have stated; "To find the combe, let the light of the night be your guide."

Many have gone searching at night with little success, only a handful of people have claimed to have found the combe but have never been able to find it again. The only to actually find the combe is to use the light of the full moon and follow a path highlighted by the moon's glow. In the combe lies a pond up against a cliff, with a inscribed stone on the far side of the pond at the base of the cliff. What is actually written on the stone is unknown as nobody has been able to get close enough to read it and it is also partially obscured by plant growth.

The pond is said to be the residing place of the Old Wise Woman of Crostwick, called a mystic by some and a witch by others. Nobody knows who, or what, she is and it is stated that she's claimed to have been in the combe since "long before the Eagle marched across these lands."

Regardless of the truth behind the Old Wise Woman, many seek her out for answers to their questions. Answers she gives, though despite being truthful they are open to interpretation. She will only answer one question from a person and an ancient ritual is required to summon her in the first place.

Using Crostwick Combe


The only real reason that the player characters would have for visiting the Combe is to see the Old Wise Woman, though finding it and summoning the Woman would be an adventure in itself. Only allow one question per character, though the Woman's answers are a little vague but they will have a ring of truth about them. This can be a way to give big clues to the characters regarding other adventures or villainous NPCs.

Monday, 29 July 2019

The Gwentshire Chronicles: The Rolfe Sisters

Back after spending a week in the West Riding of Yorkshire, more accurately in Brontë Country. There was certainly plenty to see and do in the area, also plenty of inspiration for various settings that I am working on. In particular the Brontë Sisters provide a source of inspiration for the Gwentshire Chronicles, namely in the form of the Rolfe Sisters.


The Three Sisters of Lombe


The Rolfe Sisters were a trio of female writers and siblings who resided in the Weston Hills near the village of Lombe during the early 1800s; Enda, Gwen and Rowan. The sisters have very few books written between them and all three died before they reached their 30th birthday. Dark rumours abound that the sisters discovered that things didn't lie well in Gwentshire and wrote their books to try to warn others, ultimately doing so ended up dooming them.

It is believed that the sisters developed a keen interest in the Weston Hills from a young age, spending many hours exploring every nook and cranny of the limestone hills. However, it isn't known precisely when they first stumbled upon the secret truth of the nature of Gwentshire especially as they didn't start writing until their late teens. The girls were fortunate in that their father, Bayden Rolfe, was the local village vicar and could afford to have the girls educated.

Again, it is uncertain when the girls agreed to write a novel but a local printers was contracted to print a very limited run of five books in 1842. Further small print runs were ordered over the next few years for a few more books, the last seeing the light of day in 1849. A mere two weeks after the last book was printed the youngest of the sisters, Gwen, was found dead aged 26. Six months later the oldest, Enda at 29, was also found dead. The last of the sisters, Rowan, was last reported heading into the Weston Hills some time later where she vanished without a trace.

After the loss of the sisters, their books also disappeared with the odd rare copy surfacing every so often only to be brought by a mysterious stranger for a staggering amount of money. Curiously, a previously unknown book titled the Rolfe Memoirs appeared in 1949, its handwritten pages confirmed to match the handwritings of each of the sisters. Bizarrely, the Rolfe Memoirs have a publishing date of 1859 but no record was ever found concerning this. Before anyone could get to the bottom of the mystery, the book vanished despite being in the secure archives of the Gwentshire County Museum.

Never achieving fame or wide-spread acknowledgement, the Rolfe Sisters passed into relative obscurity with their books becoming sought after prizes in certain, select circles. Today the only reminder of the girls existence in Gwentshire is the Rofle Waterfall, a tributary of the River Gwent, some miles south-west of Lombe.

Using the Rolfe Sisters


For a game set during during the 1830s/40s period, the sisters could directly feature either as the sources of information or possible adventures. A -4 Common Knowledge is needed to find out about the sisters, after that Persuasion is need to determine how forthcoming they are about information.

The Rolfe books themselves require a -4 Research roll to use, each success and raise grants a +1 bonus to Occult rolls to a maximum of +4. Of course the book themselves can be the focal point of an adventure.

Monday, 15 July 2019

The Gwentshire Chronicles: Setting Rules

As mentioned previously, the forthcoming new edition of Savage Worlds gives me an excuse to revisit some of my other setting ideas. This week is the turn of The Gwentshire Chronicles, a supernatural horror set in a fictional county in the West Country of England during different time periods. This post will have some setting rules and Edges, plus a side note on Gear.

PSA: Due to a family vacation, there will be no post next week.


Setting Rules


The Mists

The Mists of Gwentshire are a curious thing, a common occurrence regardless of the time of year as they seemingly creep in to engulf the countryside at night. Thats not to say that they do not ebb and flow; some nights will be completely clear, other nights the mists will become so thick that they muffle all sights and sounds. There are even times when folk find themselves turned around in the mist, even if they were using a compass or following a road or a fence.

Thats not to mention the things sometimes glimpsed.

The Mists can become so thick and cloying, even more so than normal fog. In these instances, the Mists impose a -2 penalty on Notice rolls, Survival rolls made to track or to navigate, and ranged attack rolls. This penalty stacks with Dim or Dark lighting, but has no effect in Pitch Black conditions.

Also, the Mists increase the Fear rating of monsters by +1.

As the Mists seem to play with travellers and lead them astray, navigating when the Mists are out requires a Survival roll (with the penalty mentioned above) regardless of the mode of transportation. A successful roll lets the traveller and his group reach their destination in more or less the expected amount of time, a raise gets them there in half the time. A failure uses up the default amount of travel time, followed by a new roll. A critical failure leaves the traveller some place other than their destination.

Edges


Ancestral Ties
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Spirit d6+

The Veil that separates our world from the spirit world is thinner than usual in Gwentshire, this allows some people to call upon the spirits of their ancestors for aid.

Whenever a character wishes aid from beyond the Veil they have to make a Spirit, this has a -2 penalty if they are seeking general help or a -4 penalty if they are seeking the aid of a specific ancestor (ie "my great great grandfather fought werewolves"). A successful roll grants basic information or a +1 bonus to certain skills at the GM's discretion, a raise provides more detailed information or a +2 bonus.

Failure on this roll means the character receives vague or even misleading information as they are able to get a clear message or hint (ie "vampires hate smelly socks"). A critical failure results in an ancestor spirit, or even something else, trying to take over the character's body. In this instance, an opposed Spirit roll is made with the invader's Spirit being one die higher than the character's. If the character succeeds, they are fine but Shaken. If the invader wins, they take control for 1d6 hours. After this time, the invader can choose to leave or make another opposed Spirit roll to stay.

Improved Ancestral Ties
Requirements: Seasoned, Ancestral Ties, Strong Willed

The character has strengthened their willpower and gains a +2 bonus on rolls to contact ancestor spirits or to resist invaders.

Note on Gear & Skills


The Gwentshire Chronicles is intended to be set in different time periods, which is going to be a huge factor on the gear and skills available to the characters.

Driving and Electronics are going to be obvious skills that instantly come to mind, both of those aren't suitable for a game set before the 20th Century (or even the 1950s with the latter skill). Medicine is going to be something else to consider as the level and service of healthcare changed and improved over time, especially after WW2 and the creation of the National Health Service.

Weapons is another thing to consider, especially firearms. The right to keep and bear arms had originated in England during the reign of Henry II with the 1181 Assize of Arms, and developed as part of common law. This changed with the 1689 Bill of Rights where it become the right to bear arms "...as allowed by law."

The first serious attempts to restrict weapons (melee weapons as well as firearms) began in the 1700s after the Jacobite rebellions and continued throughout the 19th Century. Typically after major conflicts saw increased controls over weapons due to fears of weapons being brought back by returning soldiers. A permit wasn't required until the Gun Licence Act 1870, which was created to raise revenue and required a person intending to carry a gun off their property to obtain a licence over the counter at their local Post Office.

Firearm controls became more restrictive in the 20th Century with the Pistol Act of 1903 which saw the first restrictions on the sale of firearms. The Firearms Act 1920 saw obtaining a certificate hinging on the police and placed restrictions on ammunition, though 'self-defence' was still a valid reason for owning a firearm. 1937 saw another Act that extended controls over a wider range of firearms and their sale, in addition to self-defence now ruled as no longer being a suitable reason for obtaining a firearm.

This was only a basic overview, more details can be found here; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firearms_policy_in_the_United_Kingdom

Monday, 8 July 2019

The Wulftouched Overhauled

So mentioned last week that I was taking another look at the Wulftouched, mainly because I wanted to change how they work in the rules. Had some feedback on my initial ideas and some time to think over it, certainly looking like basing the Wulftouched's mechanics on the Harrowed from Deadlands is something worth perusing. So this week is an attempt at getting some rules down for the Wulftouched and a few Edges.





A Dog's Life

As I said above, looking to base the Wulftouched on the Harrowed from Deadlands. This seems my best option to expand the Wulftouched.

Wulftouched 

Remains a Major Hindrance, though it works similarly to the Harrowed Edge from Deadlands but without any of the benefits. It also unlocks a series of Edges.

Fury

Fury works similarly to the Harrowed's Dominion, though this is a right up Trait roll rather than an opposed one. A character begins with a Fury of 0, though this changes based on the success or failure of the character's Fury roll (see below). The GM will generally call for a Fury when they feel the situation is right, this is typically when the character is under a great deal of stress. Make a Spirit roll for Fury when the GM calls for it, using the character's current Fury score as a modifier. Fury can never go below -4 or above +4.

Fury Table

Success: The Wulftouched retains control and gains 1 of Fury, or 2 with a raise.

Failure: Your character loses a point of Fury and is Shaken, though doesn't 'wolf out'.

Critical Failure: The beast is let loose as the character loses 2 points of Fury and transform into a Wulver. The character remains in this state for 1d6 hours before changing back, though possibly with an uncomfortable taste in their mouths.

Wulftouched Edges

 

Bestial Features
Requirements: Wulftouched, Menacing

The character's bonus to Intimidation increases to +4.

Beast's Hands
Requirements: Novice, Wulftouched

The character gains Claws that do Str+d4 damage in combat and count as Natural Weapons.

Fight the Beast
Requirements: Seasoned, Strong Willed, Wulftouched

Gains one free re-roll on Fury rolls.

Nose of the Wulf
Requirements: Novice, Wulftouched, Survival d6+

Gains +2 to Survival rolls made for Tracking.

Tame the Beast
Requirements: Fight the Beast

Can make a Spirit to change into a Wulver. Success means the character retains control and acts normally, able to use Edges at the GM's discretion. Failure means the character loses control as they turn.

Monday, 1 July 2019

The Wulftouched Revisited

Updating Frozen Skies to a new version of Savage Worlds has made me consider various things in the setting that need revising or expanded upon. One of those things that have recently crossed my mind was the Wulftouched; aside from a Hindrance they haven’t really been touched upon in the setting that much. So this week is a few ideas I’ve had to expand on the Wulftouched, hopefully to try and make it more appealing beyond just a Hindrance.



Touch of the Wulf

To recap; Wulftouched are the offspring of pregnant women who got bitten by a Wulver, the bite contains some sort of retro-virus that remains dormant until puberty. After puberty, the person runs the risk of turning into a Wulver if they encounter a stressful enough situation. Before the Wulver War this was an uncommon occurrence, but not completely unknown. Course, that conflict brought about something of a boom in the number of the Wulftouched…especially as most of them are about to effectively become walking time-bombs as they hit puberty.

Now there is the very real risk of the player losing their character, so I can understand people’s reluctance at taking the Hindrance. So I’ve been thinking of ways of making it more worthwhile, but at the same time retaining an element of risk. Suppose I could make the Wulftouched a bit like the Harrowed in Deadlands, basically having the character go Wulver only for a short period but I’m in two minds about making them into effectively werewolves.

Though an idea that I probably will explore is a series of new Edges that require the Wulftouched Hindrance to unlock them. In particular I’m thinking these Edges grant a temporary boost to the character, be it to Strength or to Tracking rolls. Certainly flavour wise, they could be described as the Wulftouched character trying to master their inner Wulf.

Finally there is the idea of something called Rage tokens; haven’t fully decided how they work but they could be considered like an extra pool of Bennies. At the moment I’m thinking one Rage token per rank with Edges granting more. They’ll probably be situational, perhaps buying an extra melee attack for example. Using them will incur a cumulative -1 penalty on the character’s Spirit rolls to resist the Wulf and keep control, so making them little bit of a gamble to use.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Rogue's Gallery: Andrei Dunlyfe

The world of Darmonica has a wide cast of characters who call it home, some are mere specks by the wayside whilst others exert influence far beyond the reckoning of most folk. Of the latter most are diplomats or heads of states, others work from the shadows to subtly nudge events in a particular direction. Andrei Dunlyfe is a man accustomed to working in the shadows, though currently a so-called 'Broker of Secrets' he was formerly a spymaster of the Kingdom of Tyland.


The Tylanish Shadow

Befitting a man of shadows, Andrei's life is largely unknown. It is generally known that he enetered Tyland's Royal Military College as an officer cadet, completing the infantry officer's course before specialising in military intelligence. He was recruited by the Central Intelligence Bureau, Tyland's external military intelligence agency, and soon proved his worth as he rose up the ranks. Andrei frustrated the efforts of the Commonwealth's intelligence service during the Great Darmonican War and quickly got called the 'Tylanish Shadow'.

After the war had ended, Andrei travelled to Alyeska where he set himself up as a broker of secrets. He trades in information with anyone who has enough coin, though will pick freelancers to give 'free' titbits but otherwise remains strictly neutral. Some do have to question what his motivations and ambitions are, especially since it is known that he has no love for the Commonwealth.

Those who have met him have stated the constant sound of ticking that comes from a supposed clockwork arm, least Andrei stresses that its clockwork but doesn't go into further detail.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Athletics d6, Common Knowledge d8, Fighting d8, Intimidation d8, Language (Sodkan) d6, Language (Gwentian) d6, Language (Artian) d6, Notice d8+2, Persuasion d8, Research d8, Shooting d8, Stealth d8, Thievery d8+1
Pace: 6, Parry: 8, Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Code of Honor, Curious
Edges: Alertness, Ambidextrous, Assassin, Block, Combat Reflexes, Extraction, Feint, Improved Block, Improved Extraction, Level Headed, Quick, Streetwise, Strong Willed, Thief
Gear: Revolver, Mechanical Arm (+1 Str die & Armor +2 on arm), Short Sword (mounted on mechanical arm, kept retracted until needed).
Languages: Tylanis (Native), Sodkan (d6), Gwentian (d6), Artian (d6)

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.