Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Happy Holidays!

Thanks for the support over the last year or so and hope you have a good time celebrating this time of year with loved ones.

Taking a break for a week or so, see you all in the New Year.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Death's Chase

Already discussed this a little bit on social media over the past week, basically been trying to figure out how to run the Death's Chase air race with the Savage Worlds rules. Believed I've figured something out that at least people can try.

Death's Chase uses the Chase rules in the Savage Worlds Deluxe edition, it has a total of three laps with each lap being a Standard Chase in their own right. The first lap is the 'sounding lap' and simply involves getting round the course, laps two and three are 'weapons free' as in combat is allowed.

The following additional rules are used, these rules are to be used instead of the normal Chase rules where conflict between the two arise.


Beginning the race by assigning a different token for each individual racer, then determine the Race Order in a similar fashion as to how initiative is determined with the highest scoring racer at the front (or first place) of the Race Order.


Follow the Chase rules as normal with regards to rolling the manoeuvring trait (Piloting in this case) and each racer getting a card. An "advantage" is typically over the racer in front and must be declared as either "position" or "combat" (if after the first lap).

*Position - Means the racer has overtaken the racer in front and so their token is moved along one place in the Race Order.

*Combat - Racer gains +2 on their attack rolls.

Attacks are only allowed during the second and third laps, in addition a racer is only allowed to attack the person in front of them in the Race Order. The manoeuvring Trait roll is simply to determine initiative order for each round.

There is no change in the Race Order in between laps, having separate Chases for each lap is simply to allow the GM a chance for any non-racing players to do 'behind the scenes' stuff and thus keep them involved. The winner is whoever is in the first place of the Race Order at the end of the third and final lap, anyone who crashes during any of the laps is considered to be out of the race and is removed from the Race Order.

Final Thoughts

Tried to keep things simple and I hope people trying these rules out, though it would be interesting to see people's thoughts on them. I've been suggested to read through Gladiators of the Dominion, something that I'll probably do at some point in the future to at least compare the above rules with the chariot racing rules in that book.

Feel free to post thoughts and comments.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Plot, Adventure Plots & More Plot

Currently have a few ideas for adventures for Frozen Skies kicking around, plus a possible Plot Point Campaign. So decided to post up an overview of each one, see what interests people, etc.

*The Lost Sodkan Mine - This one I've already run a couple of times, but it still feels that it needs some more work on it. It basically involves the players getting roped in to investigate a recent series of attacks by 'mysterious ironclad raiders' and ends up with an old mine and a gunfight with agents of the Iron Collective. Considering having an alternative intro to the adventure, perhaps arriving in a town during or just after the raiders attack.

*Remnants - Working title as the moment, but it basically begins with the players getting another job from the crime lord Ferret and a sort-of follow on from Firewater & Ice. At first glance it may seem like a straightforward job; travel to some remote ghost town and meet up with one of Ferret's agents in order to pick up a package. In typically "things never go smooth" fashion the ghost town proves to be anything but and the guy they're suppose to be meeting is nowhere in sight, though he has left notes explaining that something isn't quite right in the town.

*The Spires - Again, another working title. This is the Plot Point Campaign I'm kicking about in my head at the moment. It concerns the pirate haven of Broken Spires, chiefly a power play between the various sky pirate captains and an attempt by the Commonwealth to crush this bastion of piracy for once and for all. It's already shaping up to be a possibly complex campaign as the players will probably end up interacting with multiple factions, wonder to play off against one another or somehow unite them.

And Lastly - An honourable mention of a one sheet I wrote, involves the players breaking into a rival crime boss' warehouse amidst the backdrop of a pit fight/boxing match. Things get...complicated.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

December 2015 Update

We're now hurtling towards Midwinter and the twilight of one year ready for the dawn of the next.

Interest in both the Frozen Skies Setting Primer and the Firewater & Ice adventure seems to be steady, I still get a handful of sales notifications each week with a slow trickle of income from the paid for purchases. The majority of my sales are still 'free' ones which I've come to expect from Pay What You Want (though the 'paid' ones still surprise me from time-to-time), plus thus far I've only encountered one person who's tried to pirate my stuff. Plus the general awareness of the Frozen Skies setting is steadily growing as proven by a recent discussion on Facebook (so guess I'm doing something right).

So a big thank you to everyone who's supported me thus far in this crazy venture, be it whether liked a blog post or even nabbed a copy of the Setting Primer. It means alot that at least I've created something that people have found interesting enough to warrant a closer look.

Granted my goal of getting a fully fledged book out remains unfulfilled, though I'm a few steps closer with extra artwork done and of course the Setting Primer out. I am expecting the arrival of my first-born child round Valentine's next year, though at first glance that may throw a spanner in the works but it could be a blessing in disguise since I'll be able to take a few weeks off from work but we'll have to see how it all goes. In addition I've gotten a new dayjob that has more hours and a slightly higher rate of pay, least its a better source of funds (whilst it lasts) to at least get more artwork paid for, etc.

A newborn child is going to have a major effect on what events I can attend next year. For starters UK Games Expo is out of the question, granted with the new dayjob the cost may not be such a big issue as it was but logistics remain a big problem. So that leaves events closer to home, chiefly ones that can be done in a single day. So Diceni in Norwich and ExiliCon in Cambridge are the events currently on the radar, though events in London are being considered but again we'll have to see.

Once again, thanks for all the support.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Gearheads, Scrappers & Canners

Often with machines there will be those who are passionate about them in some form or another, they may be those who tinker with machines as a hobby for those who put serious investment of both time and money into said machines. In Darmonica they are known by many names, Gearheads, Scrappers and Canners.

This week is their moment in the spotlight.


The term 'Gearhead' is often used as a nickname for those who like to tinker with machines, almost all Gearheads are mechanics but not all mechanics are Gearheads. A normal mechanic simply repairs and keeps a machine running, a Gearhead goes the extra mile to improve said machine by trying to increase its performance. Unsurprisingly given the current popularity of air travel that alot of Gearheads are aircraft mechanics, especially those involved in the air racing circuits. Very few Gearheads can be found in military service and when they are found in the Service they're often posted to remote bases where they can do the least amount of damage. Gearheads are more likely to be found in independent outfits or places like Broken Spires, ones of looser morals can find easy employment amongst air pirate gangs.

Less common are Gearheads who specialize in car, trucks and other land vehicles as their work is more limited to keeping the vehicles running rather than boosting the engine power particularly out in remote regions. Virtually unheard of is Gearheads onboard ships, though they do exist in limited numbers.


The demand for spare parts is often greater than the supply, this is where Scrappers come in.

Scrappers are basically salvage-men, with wreckage of war machines still littering the old battlefields they are doing good if sometimes illegal work. They keep a sort of grey market for spare parts well supplied with pieces they've managed to scavenge from a wrecked tank or crashed aircraft, some work may be required to bring said parts up to standard but you get what you paid for.

There are rumours that some of the scrappers' wares might be stolen...


Lastly there are the men women dubbed 'Canners', similar to aviators except the craft they pilot are land based contraptions such as Walkers which are effectively walking tanks and Mechsuits which are primitive suits of power armour. The nickname Canners comes from both Walkers and Mechsuits being called 'Tin Cans' (often not in a good way), though the Canners wear the name as a sort of badge of pride.

Canners are often found in independent outfits, though they are also found in military service but are often loners and outcasts in their units and are usually considered to skirt the borderline of insolence by officers. The most famous Canners are the pilots of the Artian Mechjager Divisions, the bane of many armoured units throughout the War.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Thats Entertainment

Apologies for being a day late again, been bit of a busy week.

This week's post it seemed natural to build upon the last couple of posts and cover recreation in Alyeska.

Cinemas and air racing have been mentioned, as well as various festivals. Though there are other ways that Alyeskans have of keeping themselves entertained such as sports and other activities.

Public Houses - Pubs (as they're more commonly known) are the predominant hostelry in the Commonwealth and they vary quite a lot. Generally the drinking age is 18. The Commonwealth does maintain a drinking hours policy which means that pubs have to close before midnight local time and there is no legal twenty four hour drinking in the Commonwealth except in a few private clubs and military messes. The ability of the mess to stay open for extended hours makes them an unusual recreational establishment and emphasises the perks of Militia membership. Broken Spires is the exception to the rule as the town doesn't recognize the Commonwealth's authority and opening hours are determined by the pub owners themselves.

Gambling - Gambling is legal in the Commonwealth but restricted, heavily regulated and taxed. Most gambling can only happen in licensed Betting Shops and a fairly rigorous watch is kept on these, so although they are profitable they are generally “clean”.


Auto Racing - Automobile racing is a newly introduced sport to Alyeska, though it hasn't gained widespread popularity as of yet. Presently only dirt tracks exist and motorcycle racing is more popular since its easier to get into.

Bandy - Bandy is a sport very similar to ice hockey but is played in halves if 45 minutes each, there are 11 players on each team and is played on a bigger pitch (typically the size of a football/soccer pitch). It is played on ice with the players using bowed sticks and a small ball.

Ice Skating - Ice skating is a popular local sport, typically in towns with access to nearby frozen rivers or lakes. Men (or sometimes women or children) compete for prizes of money, clothing or food. Prior to the Great Darmonican War there was grand or championship matches in which skaters from across Alyeska would compete for cash prizes in front of crowds of thousands.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Festivals & Holidays

Day later than planned due to a bout of illness but here is this week's post.

Recently we've had various holidays, celebrations and days of observances which got me thinking about similar days and events in Darmonica. I've long kicked about ideas for events linked to the deities of Darmonica, like for example an April's Fools style day linked to a trickster god, but I've still have a great deal of work to do on both the calender and the deities themselves.

Regardless, heres a few examples you may find useful for your games.

Armistice Day - A relatively new event that has risen in the decade or so since the end of the Great Darmonican War, both to celebrate the War's end and to honour those who lost their lives during the conflict. It typical involves a parade of veterans and current serving soldiers with a memorial service.

Commonwealth Day - Originally a celebration of the Commonwealth that involved an organised and ritualistic veneration of the Commonwealth flag. In addition schoolchildren were given the afternoon off to attend further events that were usually held in their local community. However with many Alyeskans feeling a sense of betrayal and abandonment by the Commonwealth the day is now marked by a toast in pro-Commonwealth taverns and private clubs.

Death's Chase - Actually an air race but it has grown into an annual event year in the pirate haven of Broken Spires and draws many people as the Spires takes on a carnival-like atmosphere. The race itself involves three laps through the twisting canyons and caves that surround Broken Spires, it requires a great deal of piloting skill to ensure that you don't crash into a rockface. A few number of racers drop out during the first or so-called 'Sounding Lap', though its the second and third laps where things get interesting. The other two laps are 'weapons free', the racers are allowed to shoot one another down but only if they're BEHIND their opponent (they're not allowed to swing round for an attack, though some racers learn the route to know where they can get the drop on somebody).

In short, its race where it pays to NOT be in first place.

Founding Day - Different in every settlement of Alyeska, each city and town has its own unique way of celebrating its Founding Day. These festivals often include carnivals, parades and competitions such as bareknuckle boxing and air racing.

Shrouded Days - Occurring the winter months in the more northern regions of Alyeska is a period where the sun never rises, which can range from a few days to a month effectively being a polar night. The beginning is marked by the Exodus where a large number of people leave the north to spend the period with relatives, though a number of people stay behind. A celebration called Dwanfest happens when the first sunrise happens, typically involves partying and drinking to celebrate 'surviving through the night'.

Summerfaire - A week long festival representing the middle of summer, frequently involves carnivals and communal events. In northern region it co-insides with the 'White Nights' or polar day that is centered round the summer solstice.

Tarfest - As the year rolls round into winter during the month of Tarblawan high winds beset Alyeska, rising to a point halfway through the month where it becomes too windy for flying before the weather settles down again. Aviators typically spend this period grounded and drunk whilst the more devout offer up prayers to Taran, the Goddess of the Sky.

Winterfest - A festival occurring during Midwinter, a time for gatherings of family and friends to celebrate the end of the year and herald the new one. Feasts are quite popular, so is gift giving.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Communications For The Masses

Thanks to Jubal of Exilian for the topic.

In a frontier land like Alyeska the ability for long distance communications can be critical to the survival of a settlement, whether it is under attack or running dangerously low on supplies. Originally such communications were made by the use of semaphore telegraph, a system of conveying information by means of visual signals, and post riders over short distances. Electrical telegraphy later came to the fore, providing many advantages over the previous semaphore system, but has now in turn been largely replaced by wireless telegraphy. Likewise, the post riders of old have been completely replaced by air mail.

There are two major forms of wireless communications used in Alyeska, the first is radioteletype and the other is two-way radio. Radioteletype is system of two or more electromechanical teleprinters connected by radio, this forms the bulk of the Alyeskan communications network and is used much like a telegraph service. Two-way radio is used to a lesser degree, typically only by the military, the Air Police and aviators. Both rely on the network of wireless stations scattered about Alyeska that act as rely stations to boost the signal and are capable of transmitting their own messages such as meteorological reports and relying aircraft distress calls. Whilst these wireless stations require a fair amount of manpower, they don't have to worry that much about lines being brought down by harsh weather.

Aside from radioteletype, the average Alyeskan has access to a postal service and a limited telephone system. The present postal service is virtually identical to the original post riders, save that aircraft have taken over from the horses. Mail is still delivered to a central location in a given settlement, usually called a post office, for collection by the townspeople. Most post offices are located in a settlement's general store, but much larger towns may have their own dedicated building to use as a post office. Those who regularly move about typically declare certain settlements for their mail to be sent to, though this can often mean that said mail is waiting for a number of months before it finally gets picked up. The post offices is also where people can use radioteletype, but it still suffers from the same problem that the mail service has in that the intended receiver still has to collect the message on the other end. Taverns can also be used as mail drop points by those wishing to avoid official channels for whatever reason. In the largest cities in Alyeska there is a public telephone service, mostly in the form of telephone boxes and private owners such as businesses or those who can afford a phone being installed. The service is limited to the city where its based, though the Commonwealth is looking at expanding the service.

News and general information are usually spread via the form of posters on notice boards, newspapers and cinemas. Notice boards are common in the smaller settlements, normally found in the town's general store along with a handful of weekly newspapers, and only really with local matters but are still a great source of information for new arrivals. Newspapers tend to be more popular in the larger settlements that are lucky enough to have their own printing press, more remote settlements tend to get newspapers that may be a week or so old whilst the biggest towns enjoy almost daily newspapers. Cinemas are the other means of spreading news, normally showing news reels in between films that run all day. The larger towns have the luxury of having cinemas that are open all week, others either have one thats only open a limited number of days or rely travelling mini-cinemas that stop off in different towns and show silent films that may only pass through once a month. However Alyeskans get their news some of it, especially if its from outside Alyeska, will be out of date by anywhere from a few days to a few months.

It has to be said that the Iron Collective has the most advance and reliable telecommunications service, one that outshines everything else in Darmonica. In the public spaces of virtually of the Iron Collective's towns and cities that exist television like screens that silently display messages and information all day long, the service can be edited to instantly display new messages if the authorities need to urgently inform citizens of key information like during an emergency for example. Thus far none of the other countries have anything that comes close to this system.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015


Now I've talked a bit about the Ancient Terrans, that their civilisation collapsed centuries ago and some of their stuff was left lying around. Of the latter I've never really gone into much detail, so this week I seek to address that and offer some fodder for your games.


Without a question the most visible remnant of the Ancient Terrans is the frost-coated, crumbling ruins of what were once their cities and outposts. They are spread far and wide, many believe that some are even located beyond what has been 'explored' of Alyeska today and back up their claims by pointing to what appears to be the remains of a rail network. Others have even claimed to have found wrecks of Ancient Terran skyships, though if this was proven true then it would reinforce the theory of the Ancient Terrans' technological prowess and explain how their empire once covered large parts of Darmonica.

Elsewhere in Darmonica virtually all of the old ruins have been used as the foundations for modern towns and cities, adapted in some cases as sewers or just left as a warren of tunnels beneath the city streets.The same has happened in Alyeska, but on a much smaller scale and as such there are many ruins left virtually untouched. Amongst academic circles the Alyeskan ruins are considered prime sites for study, a lot of the ruins however lie within the Wulfland but hasn't stopped the odd researcher with more money than sense.

The most notorious of the Alyeskan ruins has to be the Monolith and, by extension, the Great Stones of the Chillwynd Marches. To this day nobody has found out why the Ancient Terrans decided to carve out a completely flat plain that forms a perfect circle, nor the purpose of the standing stones that ring it in an exact copy of a clock-face. Located at the exact dead center of the Marches and rising high into the sky like a spire stands the Monolith, this great structure has many mysteries contained within and a grim reputation for madness. Much like Marches that surround it, people have vanished without a trace in the Monolith as well. There are others, sole survivors of missing expeditions, that have returned with their minds broken by whatever they'd encountered and either wind up dead or eventually vanish.


Less common but probably something that the average person is probably more likely to see or hear about is an Ancient Terran Artefact. These range from simple relics through to arcane devices whose workings baffles even the most smartest scientist. Whatever they may actually be they are widely sought after by those with the money to acquire such items, though this has resulted in a large number of fakes doing the rounds as people let greed get the better of them. There tend to be three main groups that commission adventurers to seek out and retrieve artefacts;

*Nobles and successful businessmen of the upper classes are only interested in relics and artefacts to use as display pieces and show off to their peers, though it can and has been a very cut-throat business.

*Scientists are only interested in items that look like devices, usually with the hopes of discovering a 'new' technology.

*Unsurprisingly the military is interested in anything that could be used as a weapon, though since the end of the War it has become a rather low priority.

Out of all the Darmonican nations it is really only the Iron Collective that is actively seeking out any and all artefacts that it can get it hands on, though the Coalition comes a close second.

The Remnants

The Ancient Terrans have been gone for over 1800 years and only left behind crumbing ruins right?

 Now this where things get a little murky.

There have been reports over the years from those who've been exploring larger ruins, such as the Monolith, of being 'stalked' by somebody or something. They speak also of shadows briefly glimpsed, of footsteps heard that cannot be accounted for and even attacks by unseen assailants armed with unknown but very advanced weapons. Whilst many would simply dismiss as Windryders or self styled 'prospectors' trying to scare people off, the accounts rather alarming match one another on all they key points.

Could there be some actual Ancient Terran Remnants lurking in the ruins of their fallen empire? Even after all these years?

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Alyeskan Gazetteer: Prospector's Reach

Nestled in the north-western corner of the Alyeskan Outlands between the northern coast and the eastern boundary of the Chillwynd Marches is the town of Prospector's Reach.

It was bit of a poor reputation, it is cold grey virtually all year round and occasionally the whispering winds of the Marches blow in the town's direction. The townsfolk themselves are somewhat isolationists, surviving either as ice fishermen out on the frozen sea to the north or as wilderness hunters and fur trappers ranging to the south and east of town. None of the townsfolk dare venture into the Marches, those living on the western or 'Marchside' of town keep their west facing windows permanently shuttered. Lying only a scant few miles from the Marches people do occasionally vanish during the night in town as they do out on the frozen plain, locals dubbed this as 'being taken by the winds'.

Every month a new expedition to explore the Marches assembles in town, a new of businesses has sprung up to cater to these adventurers. Hotels, taverns, stores and workshops offer their services to those intending to set out west. In addition there is a sizeable mercenary population in town of guns-for-hire who offer themselves as guards both for expeditions and the trade caravans that cross the wilderness from the town of Purpleflint. Prospector's Reach does, like most settlements, has its own airstrip but the winds from the Marches and blizzards that blow in from off the frozen sea makes life difficult for aviators and so its not a favourite destination for pilots. Travellers typically arrive overland via the weekly trade caravans, though there are proposals to build a railway line out to the Reach but as of yet nothing as materialized.

Prospector's Reach is not a place that anyone actually wants to go to, most folk are usually planning on heading into the Marches in search of Ancient Terran artefacts that are rumoured to lie within the towering spire known as the Monolith. A lot of them return empty handed, some bring something that may prove to be of worth and the rest never return at all.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

October Update

First post of October is a news/update one.

Yarr! Pirates!

Sort of bad news in a way to begin with, least it gets it out of the way first.

Everyone's aware of internet piracy, primarily from the media amongst other things. Most people are probably aware of dozens of RPG PDFs that are floating around on the web, an issue for anyone selling digital products. I've regularly done Google searches to see if any of mine turned up on sites other than DriveThru.

Couple of days ago I found the Frozen Skies Setting Primer on a file sharing site.

I put in a copyright infringement claim on the website and contacted DriveThru about it, quoting the buyer's name and order number in the PDF's watermark. As you can imagine I was more than a little annoyed about it, especially since I'm making a pretty low return on my products as it it compared to the time and money that went into producing them. Even more so considering that the Setting Primer is technically FREE through DriveThru unless you want to support the publisher, which is the beauty of Pay What You Want.

Tis the first and only incident I've encountered, so I'm not going to be making any changes now or in the future. I'll continue to do some PWYW products and other products that'll have a reasonable price, unless I find piracy a major problem for me (end of the day my RPG may end up being my only source of income). I get that some people will have virtually no money to spend on things other than bills, food, etc which will be a factor in how I price products, though I am happy to offer discounts for people on a case by case basis.

Now, onto lighter things!


Those who follow the Facebook will/should already know that I've setup a Patreon with the view to help raise funds to get Frozen Skies completed. It'll be an ongoing thing and even if you just pledge a dollar a month it'll go a long way.

Moar Artwork!

And finally the latest bit of artwork for Frozen Skies, an expedition entering the Chillwynd Marches and the towering spire of the Monolith in the background.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Skyships: Rules of Engagement

Tis what all you fledging Skyship captains have been waiting for, rules for using Skyships in your games of Frozen Skies/Savage Worlds.

Use the Chase rules as found in the Savage Worlds Deluxe rulebook as normal, though use the Piloting skill as rolls concerning Skyships. Group crew rolls also work, each success and raise adding +1 to the captain's Piloting roll and a -2 penalty if they roll a 1.

Skyships also suffer damage like normal, though if they go Out of Control they do not suffer a Flip result (they suffer a Slip instead). On a Roll Over result the Skyship still performs a Slip but lists rather than roll over. Roll collision damage for everyone inside, those out on deck must make Agility rolls to avoid falling overboard unless they happen to be wearing a parachute.

Wrecked Skyships simply sink, typically at a rate of 6d6 minutes. It'll also drift 1d6" and the GM can roll 1d12 for direction. Characters can jump off a sinking Skyship long as they have a parachute.

Now, onto a sample Skyship...

B-Class Frigate

The B-Class frigates first saw service halfway through the Great Darmonican War as a replacement to the earlier A-Class that was in service at the beginning of the War. The B-Class were particularly good as raiders, typically operating in packs of three to provide mutual support to one another. If they managed to capture a prize one would take it under tow whilst the other two would act as escorts.

They have now steadily been replaced by the newer C- and D-Class frigates, as such many B-Class frigates have been assigned either to remote outposts or relegated to patrol duty.

Acc/TS: 3/10, Toughness: 13 (2), Crew: 10
Notes: Heavy Armour
Weapons: Deck Gun (Range 70/90/315; Damage 4d8; ROF 1 action to reload; Medium Burst Template; AP 25, Heavy Weapon), .50 cal machine gun (Range 50/100/200; Damage 2d10; ROF 3; AP 4, Auto, May not move, Heavy Weapon)

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Skyships of Alyeska

A sort of follow-on from a couple of weeks ago, this week we're taking a look at Skyships in Alyeska itself.

With Alyeska being a frontier land you can imagine that Skyships aren't exactly common here, there are few trade consortiums active in Alyeska mainly due to the storms that near-constantly wrack the Mhór Farraige (or Great Ocean) and the Continent's more local problems. The Skywrights Guild are presently the only ones to successfully and regularly operate a Skyship between Alyeska and the rest of Darmonica, thus providing the only reliable lifeline to the Continent. However many accusing the Guild of greed and hiding a secret route through the storms the Guild's Skyships do still suffer damage during the crossing, so at the moment the Guild crossing is only twice a week and their Skyships can regularly be seen docked for repairs. The Guild also owns and operates much of the facilities for handling Skyships in Alyeska, save for the one owned by the Commonwealth's military for its Skyship Squadron and one or two independents.

The Guild, in effect, has a monopoly.

This is due to the Guild keeping much of the knowledge of the technology behind Skyships a secret and the stranglehold they have on Liftorium or 'Lift Gas' as its known. Not only is Lift Gas needed in order to make the Skyships work, its effectiveness as a lifting agent gradually deceases each time it is charged and de-charged. It comes to a point where it ceases to work altogether after steadily requiring more and electricity in order to produce viable lift, ideally Lift Gas needs to be replaced before this point. The Guild has ensured that it is virtually the sole supplier of Lift Gas, chiefly by buying out the various mines and refineries needed for its production. There is a black market in Lift Gas, usually whats been siphoned from someplace and often of dubious quality.

At present there are only a handful of Skyships active in Alyeska, most of these are cargo ones operated by the Guild on behalf of the Aerial Corps. There are one or two operated by pirates or independents, though these aren't seen that often due to the resources required to keep these Skyships in the air. Finally there are the three frigates operated by the Commonwealth military named, Battleaxe, Brilliant and Broadsword respectfully. These Skyships form the Alyeskan Skyship Squadron and one can be seen on any of the following duties at any one time such as patrolling the Wulflands, patrolling the Alyeskan coastline and on station over Gravenberg.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

State of the Press September 2015

Been a while since I've done one of these.


Not scheduled to attend any further events this year, aside from maybe some Frozen Skies one shots for playtesting (keep an eye on the Facebook page for details).

Next is going to be....interesting.

The girlfriend and I are expecting our first child in February, which is understandably going to have an impact on things. After some discussion we decided that, mainly, due to logistics we won't be attending UK Games Expo next year unless anyone has any bright ideas. Its a bit disappointing since its our biggest event.

We WILL be attending Diceni in Norwich and ExiliCon which is slightly further afield in Cambridge, both are one day events which we know don't present any problems with logistics.

There are also a couple of other events we're looking at, but its dependant on various different factors.


Slowly getting some funds sorted and got the artwork for Frozen Skies rolling again, though more on that in a moment.

Been looking again at Crowdfunding and the various different options on offer, increasingly I've been drawn to Patreon. Its Crowdfunding that works a little like a subscription service, you pledge however much you normally would like Kickstarter and this is effectively a subscription fee that gets paid on a regular basis. I'm looking at doing this for the blog posts and have a choice of whether its paid per post or per month, though I'm leaning towards it being a monthly payment. Ultimately any earnings from this will be put towards Frozen Skies.

People's thoughts and comments will be most welcomed on this.

And finally...


I mentioned artwork earlier.

So heres a WIP snapshot of the latest piece, a Windryder and their Dragonhawk mount.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Alyeskan Skyships Committee

In a previous post I talked a little about Skyships and vaguely stated how they worked.

Now its time to actually nail down the designs!

There are two primary inspirations behind the Skyships in Frozen Skies, namely the Iron Grip series of video games....

...and the sadly defunct webcomic Alpha Shade.

With Iron Grip the reasoning behind their airships is that the setting has a much higher level of Argon in the atmosphere, thus producing denser air and more static but frequent storms. Its basically zeppelins that they're using, but the denser air apparently means that they can built to be much larger and carry much more weight. Alpha Shade though never goes into any details, though there might be something in the printed collection but I've never had the chance to read it. As a result its anybody's guess, but it is a fantasy setting.

For the Frozen Skies Skyships I'm thinking maybe a cross between the above, at least for style and function. I've mentioned that Skyships use a gas called Liftorium to produce lift, which is normally lighter than air like Helium or Hydrogen. The idea that I'm currently running with for Liftorium is that it can be 'encouraged' to become even lighter. Skyships would have gas bags or 'cells' filled with Liftorium, though just barely enough for the craft to float. The gas cells have electric cables connecting Tesla Coils, when powered the coils produce an electric charge that energies the Liftorium which has the effect in making it a much lighter gas. Another idea I'm looking at is that degaussing can potentially screw up Liftorium's electric charge, so it could be used as a weapon in aerial warfare.

Now over to you guys for your thoughts and ideas.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Plot Points, Sandboxes and Tales of Savagery

Recently picked up and started reading through 50 Fathoms, widely regarded to be the best Plot Point Campaign around. Whilst it has been useful with ideas to help develop Frozen Skies I feel I should state how I see the setting working.

I've been asked a dew times whether Frozen Skies will be a Plot Point Setting.

Short Answer: No, not really.

Longer-ish Answer: Frozen Skies is really intended to be more of a Sandbox Setting where the players are free to do what they want with their craft of choice in Firefly style adventures. Their ultimate goal is to have enough coin to keep flying/driving/sailing and perhaps even enough to retire on.

That said there may be a handful of Plot Point Campaigns (indeed one is gradually taking shape in the recess of my mind), though whilst these probably will have an effect on the world they are purely optional as far as the GM is concerned. End of the day its the idea that the Plot Points represent bigger things that the players can it caught up in, indeed the one thats currently being brainstormed could shift the balance of power in Alyeska amongst other things.

Of course there will be more adventures much more like Firewater & Ice which whilst not much of an effect on the world if any, generally intended to be something a bit different for the players to do. It could be stuff like a bank job, a jailbreak or lost treasure.

Hope that helps to clear things up a bit.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Classified, Declassified, Unclassified

First off, apologies for the lateness of this post...its been a hectic week with various things going on.

Regardless without further delay, time to get on with this week's post!

Been brainstorming ideas recently about life in the Iron Collective, already talked about how everyone is viewed as simply being a cog in the machine that is society, how the traditional family does not exist and children are taken by the state, etc. Well this week we're going to talk a bit more about this.

The Collective's education system is built around continuously assessing a child as they develop in order to determine what role they are best suited for, it begins from the moment they are taken in by the state until they become a teenager during whats called the 'Primary Phase'. Upon turning 13 they were put into what is called the Secondary Phase, based upon assessments done during the first Phase they are entered to specialized academies to do the trade training for the role that has been determined for them. Somebody destined to be a soldier in the Iron Guard would enter a military academy, where as somebody destined to be a builder would enter a construction academy. Ultimately the trade that a person is trained for during the Secondary Phase is the trade that they will have for the rest of their life, there is virtually no way of changing it except for perhaps becoming what is called Declassified. Typically Declassification means you've committed a crime, it doesn't matter how severe as the punishment automatically includes losing one's Classification which is near permanent.

Then there is Unclassified.

Unclassification tends to come in two categories; those who have 'failed' the Primary Phase assessments and those deemed 'non-citizens'. Unclassified generally given to those who 'fail' their assessments, that is the assessment were not able to determine a role for the person for various reasons. When this happens the person either has the option of being shipped off to a work camp or what is effectively exile from society, it just depends on how good they are at outrunning the Iron Guard. Some Unclassified end up mixing with the Declassified in the criminal underworld, though mostly in the cities. Other Unclassified strike out for the fringes of the Collective, the border zones where the reach of the central authority is its weakest. It is generally the Unclassified who outsiders interact with as they tend to be the ones trading with the outside world despite the harsh laws against it. The non-citizen Unclassified are generally those who aren't in the system, mostly the Genchi on the Collective's fringes.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Greed Is Good: The Coalition

If there is one single country that did exceedingly well out of the War it has to be the Coalition, flush with money earned from war profiteering. Yet it has only been in existence for a short period of time and it is finding that the outbreak of peace is hurting its bottom line.


Before the War the Coalition didn't exist, least not in the form it does today. It was once the United Provinces under the rule of King Francis IV, an anxious man constantly worrying about external threats to his country even though the true threat came from within. Whilst the King made every effort to stay on friendly terms with his country's neighbours, a group of merchants and industrialists were plotting to remove him since they viewed him as a barrier to making their country (rather them) prosperous. When the Great Darmonican War broke out King Francis declared his country to be neutral and placed restrictions on exports, basic foodstuff and some luxury goods were generally allowed but resources that would help a country's war effort weren't. Even though the King took these steps to ensure the safety of his country the plotters saw it as the last straw.

Having effective control over the United Provinces' legislative body the Council, either by having their own members or having brought others, the plotters made their move. A Motion of No Confidence was passed against the King, something that the plotters won with a one sided vote and effectively removed the King from power. King Francis was made a broken man and spent the last few years of his life in a deep depression in exile moaning the lost of his beloved country. The Council, now free to run the country as it sought fit, set about deregulating industry and transforming the country.

Now known as the Coalition, the Council sent feelers out to the various combatants in the War and worked out trade agreements. The combatants would gain greater access to the Coalition's resources for their war efforts, however the shipments would be guarded by Coalition soldiers and sanctions would be made against those who tried attacking these shipments. After the Coalition made its points after it initial trade convoys were ambushed it was left alone, view as a necessary evil by the various powers involved in the war. The Coalition was able to build up a vast fortune, building up its industry to produce war materials. With the end of the War there was little need for the Coalition's products, as it profits fell the Coalition sought to shift its industry towards producing peacetime goods which slowed and stabilized the fall in profit. But the Coalition was not forgotten how the coin flowed during the War and it eager to see the return of conflict.

Present Day

The Coalition is a heavily industrialized nation, largely intact following the end of the War. No longer able to make vast amount of coin on war profiteering the Coalition has been forced to refocus its industry in order to keep the coin flowing. It has established a colony called Port Capital in Alyeska, where it has mounted expeditions into the Wulflands in search of Ancient Terran ruins. Elsewhere agents from the External Audit Department work towards igniting other conflicts, simply so that their masters can war profiteer again. Asset Retention Bureau operatives hunt down and recover stolen Coalition property and secrets by any means necessary, they are also tasked with gaining non-Coalition assets of interest by similar means.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Armed Rovers: The Alyeskan Outriders

The threat of the Wulvers mean that a constant watch over the Wulflands is needed, primarily to keep tabs on the various roaming packs. At first glance aircraft would seem ideal for this role, however the Aerial Corps have a limited number of aircraft available for this role and the Wulvers have leant to go to ground whenever they hear an aircraft. These two factors mean that the scope of the Aerial Corps' anti-Wulver operations are limited to sorties of fighter-bombers or light bombers that occasionally roam the skies of the Wulflands looking for targets of opportunity to attack, other means are required to keep watch on the beasts.

Hence the Alyeskan Outriders.

The Outriders were formed to undertake long-range reconnaissance patrols to gather intelligence on the movements of the Wulvers, typically by setting up so-called 'Watches' where a patrol would lay low in a camouflaged position to observe the Wulvers in a given area and radio their report to the HQ at Calharrow. Aside from this intelligence gathering role, the Outriders also conduct hit and run attacks on Wulver packs usually in conjunction with Aerial Corps aircraft or the Wulfbane Cammandos.


HQ Calharrow exercises both administrative and operational command over the Outriders, reporting directly to the Commonwealth military's Alyeskan Command. Along with the nominal Headquarters Section, Calharrow is also home to signals, survey and workshop sections as well as a small military hospital. There is also the Outrider's Air Section based at Calharrow which uses light transport planes to transport key personnel, evacuate wounded and perform other liaison tasks. A Heavy Section, used to provide logistical support by transporting supplies to bases and setting up hidden replenishment points at pre-arranged locations, is also based at Calharrow.

Below HQ Calharrow are a number of Squadrons, each one of is lettered and made up of four patrols which are in turn numbered. Each patrol as five trucks typically arranged in the following order; Patrol Commander, Patrol Sergeant, radio & navigation, medical orderly, mechanic. Each truck is normally armed with a pair of machine guns, plus the personal weapons of the various members of the patrol.

Game Stats


Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Driving d6, Fighting d6, Notice d8, Repair d6, Shooting d8, Stealth d6, Survival d6, Throwing d4
Charmisa: - Pace: 6 Toughness: 5
Edges: Combat Reflexes, Marksman, McGyver, Steady Hands
Hindrances: Vow
Gear: Rifle (Range 24/48/96, Damage 2d8, RoF 1, AP 2)


Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Driving d6, Fighting d6, Knowledge (Battle) d8, Notice d8, Shooting d8, Stealth d6, Survival d6,
Charmisa: - Pace: 6 Toughness: 5
Edges: Command, Hold The Line!
Hindrances: Vow
Gear: Pistol (Range 12/24/48, Damage 2d6, RoF 1, Revolver)


Acc/Top Speed: 10/25; Toughness: 12(1); Crew: 1+4; Weapons: 2x Machines (Range 40/80/160, Damage 2d8, RoF 3, AP 2, Auto, Snapfire)

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

On Matters Racial, Part Two

Follow on from last week's post as promised, more details on the Windryders and Genchi.

Physical Appearance

Whilst Humanoid and can pass for Human with a degree of effort, both the Windryders and Genchi have physical characteristics that set them apart from Humans as well as linking the two. They generally have green pointed ears, slightly prehensile hairless tail in matching skin tone to ears, 4-digits only on both hands and feet as opposed to Human norm of 5-digits. All thats required for either race to pass for Human is the right sort of clothing, the Windryders are typically dressed in thick furs out of practicability due to the cold climate of their home and so most folk presume that they are Human. The Genchi on the other hand can be found further afield and in warmer climates where lighter clothing are required, meaning its typically to see that they are not Human.

On the whole both races tend to be of a smaller build and shorter height on average to compared to Humans, both never have had anything close to the readily available food Humans had. Course in the present day the situation is even worse, the Windryders face a resurgence of Wulvers encroaching on their food supplies whilst the Genchi are bottom of the list with regards to the rationing that is still in force since the War. The Genchi in particular are getting even worse deal, they are frequently being accused of being thieves if the latest delivery of rations turns up short.


The Windryders have managed to retain their tribal ways over the centuries, they are nomadic hunter-gatherers and are typically grouped into family groups called kindreds. In remote places across the Alyeskan Outlands they have adapted old Ancient Terran ruins into habitable dwellings, typically only used to see out the worst of the weather such as blizzards during the winter months. These shelters are marked with Windryder runes, usually denoting which kindreds have used the shelter and critical information about the local area for other kindreds such as food sources, dangers, etc. Typically they don't take kindly to outsiders using these shelters, though they have on occasion invited outsiders who had been rescued from trouble by Windryders.

For the Genchi much of the tribal ways of their ancestors was brutally eradicated during their enslavement by the Ancient Terrans, so much of their culture they have had to rebuild from scratch. They have managed to retain the kindred structure of their Windryder cousins, this is most evident in so-called ghettos where most of the inhabitants all belong to the same kindred. Genchi Ghettos are typically the slum area of many cities, the Genchi are rarely able to earn above the poverty live due to them often being second class citizens. During the War the ghettos are particularly hit hard by bombing raids against various cities resulting in large numbers of Genchi losing their lives, today the surviving Genchi are bottom of the list for rehousing and have been forced to rebuild their bomb blasted homes best they can.

There is an offshoot of the Genchi dubbed the Skykin, the lure of the freedom of the skies of their Windryder ancestors is strong in their blood. As a result the Skykin Genchi have become nomads of the skies, residing in free roaming airships and making ends meet by bartering or offering their skills to various settlements. The Skykin have travelled widely, typically as a convoy of airships that carries an entire kindred. For extra protection the airships carry a motley collection of ramshackle fighters, which can be remarkably effective piloted by a race known for being agile.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

On Matters Racial

Had a decent response from the feedback survey I posted up last week, quite some interesting response. Overall people seem to be open to the idea of non-Human races in Frozen Skies, though they weren't so keen on them being playable races.Regardless I'll keep it going for another week, if you want to fill it out then the link can be found here;

Now onto this week's post.

First off I wish to stress that there are NO plans for the Wulvers becoming playable characters, they're intended to be savage (if somewhat cunning) beasts.They're intended to be predator in the Alyeskan wilderness, a horde thats threatening to overrun the last bastion of Man on the Continent. Its possible that they may have a primitive culture, though its probable that they can claw their way up trees. They'll certainly rip you limb from limb if given half a chance.

Secondly, couple of non-Human races that probably will be in Frozen Skies but optional far as being playable characters are concerned.


I've posted about these giant bird riding tribals before, even hinting at them being possibly non-Human since it was an idea that I was toying with. Physical details I'll cover at a later date, but the general idea was that the Windryders were around before the Ancient Terrans were. As the Ancient Terrans rose to power they raided Windryder camps for slaves, this is why the Windryders tend to be nomadic and mistrustful of outsiders. The ones that became slaves of the Ancient Terrans ended up forming an offshoot of the Windryders, namely the...


After being slaves of the Ancient Terrans for countless generations, the Genchi lost much of their old Windryder ways and gradually formed their own distinct culture. They had a mechanical aptitude breed into them, so using mechanical devices as well as repairing and/or scavenging them comes naturally to a Genchi. Though the Genchi tend to be treated as second-class citizens and so are often found in their own ghettoes or doing menial factory work, though a minority have found work in the military as mechanics. A skilled handful have even managed to better themselves.

Making Characters

Below are templates created via the Savage Worlds race creation rules, these are useful as guidelines for making NPCs of the above races or could be used to create player characters if the GM allows it.


Skyborn - d6 in Riding
Icy Home - +4 vs Cold
Pacifist (Minor)


Grease Monkey - d6 in Repair

Friday, 24 July 2015

Frozen Skies Feedback

More of an official survey this time round, though only four questions that need answering. This WILL effect the development of Frozen Skies so answers are sought after.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Rogue's Gallery: Boris MacKay

Part of a new little series to run alongside Creature Feature and the Alyeskan Gazetteer; Rogue's Gallery. This series intends to build a cast of characters for those in Frozen Skies, either serving as friend or foe depending upon the situation.

To kick things off we take a look at one of Alyeska's eccentric aviators.

Boris Mackay

Not much is known about MacKay's history, he was born in Alyeska and spent a bit of time in the Commonwealth military. It is thought that they served as a fighter pilot in the Great Darmonican War but had been mustered out or even court martialed, but he's stayed silent on the matter...well that and thumping anyone who asked. He flies a single-wing STOL bush plane that he's called Lil' Nellie, though unarmed he has defended his plane time and time again with the aid of a submachine gun that he fires out the aircraft's cockpit. When not flying he often can be found in some tavern out drinking anyone he's managed to get into a drinking challenge with him, though the years certainly haven't been kind and he no longer has the lean body he once did.

Typically he does small cargo runs, frequently carries mail and the occasional passenger as well. He is also surprisingly little troubled by sky pirates and is claimed to be a regular flier to Broken Spires, though many doubt this. What very few people actually know is that he is an informer for the sky pirates, he wouldn't have the coin to fund his drinking habit otherwise. The Air Police don't suspect anything but MacKay has been keeping his ears open for news of valuable shipments, usually by frequenting bars and taverns where drinks loosen up lips. When he carries passengers he listens in to see whether they have anything of note to say about Ancient Terran artefacts or other treasures.

He's likely to offer a flight at cheap rates to any adventurer who needs to get some place or has an item that needs to be delivered quickly, if he find out anything of worth he then tips off his sky pirate buddies.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Piloting d10, Repair d6, Shooting d6, Streetwise d6
Charisma: -2; Pace: 5; Parry: 5; Toughness: 7
Hindrances: Habit (Major), Obese, Mean
Edges: Ace, Alertness, Connections (sky pirates), Liquid Courage, Steady Hands
Gear: Submachine gun (12/24/40, 2d6, RoF: 3, Ap1 Auto)

Lil' Nellie

Acc/Top Speed: 20/52, Climb: 1, Toughness: 10 (2), Crew: 1+9

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

State of the Press: July 2015

OK, a fair few things to cover.

Frozen Skies Setting Primer

Finally released something that'll serve as a basis for Frozen Skies games for the time being, namely the Frozen Skies Setting Primer.

It has some details on the setting, stats for the Wulvers and gear such as weapons and vehicles. You'll need a copy of the Savage Worlds Deluxe rulebook, but as I said the Primer offers a basis for your games. So pop on over to DriveThruRPG and check it out, what more its listed as 'Pay What You Want' so it can either be nabbed as a freebie or you can support the publisher.

Frozen Skies In General

The main hurdle to getting Frozen Skies released was the artwork, chiefly getting it all paid for.

Recently I'd gotten a fair amount of money from a relative, but then discovered that the artist was on holiday until August. As frustrating as this was it meant that I had a bit more time on building up interest, work on the draft of the book and all the while the money sits in the bank earning a little bit of interest. Whilst I'm hoping to be able to release the proper main book for Frozen Skies this year I'm still weary of committing to a release date yet, so for now its a case of "done when its done".

But things are moving in the right direction and the basis of the setting in the form of the Primer is now out.

Looking at releasing a couple of Frozen Skies adventures, possibly another freelance adventure for Fabled Environments that may or may not be Frozen Skies related. The first adventure is The Lost Sodkan Mine that I've mentioned before and run a few playtests of, though a bit of tweaking is due before I can start writing up. Next will be an unnamed adventure, though it is based around a remote outpost under siege/attack from Wulvers. Finally the possible Fabled Environments adventure, nothing concrete yet as I have a few ideas but need to decide which one to go with.

Also looking at a possible book about a sky pirate heaven called Broken Spires, just ideas at this stage but looking at possibly inviting extra writers for this.


Authoress and artist, of both Sci-Fi and Fantasy, VJ Bartlett has recently uploaded the first chapter of her début SciFi novel 'The Return of a Nagus' onto DriveThruFiction. Just like the Frozen Skies Setting Primer its listed as Pay What You Want, so you can nab it as a freebie to see what its all about before buying one of the print copies or giving her some support via a small donation.

I highly recommend you go and check it out.

Exilicon 2015

On Saturday Utherwald was in attendance at Exilicon in Cambridge.

This is the second year that this convention has been running, the brains behind it are called Exilian. They run it as a 'convention of creative geekery' to  showcase a number of creative projects, small and independent traders, and other interesting and exciting ideas. There was another of interest things doing and people in attendance such as the Ren fantasy TV series, the guy behind The Next Great American Game movie and the first demo of the Savage Worlds licensee setting Ultima Forsan outside of Italy.

Unfortunately they accidentally picked a bad date, there was a massive summer fair going in Cambridge over the weekend (hotels were fully booked for it months back) and the venue was a little tucked out of the way and signage could've been better. Whilst there was some trade it was fairly quiet for much of the day but did pick up halfway through the afternoon. The organisers have taken feedback onboard and are looking to improve things for next year, most importantly picking a date that doesn't clash with anything.

Heres the site if you want to check it out;

Other Events

Thus far that is effectively it for our event season this year aside from local fairs to sell copies of Alyeskan Tales. There are other UK conventions that we'd like to attend this year but it is a question of logistics.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Frozen Skies Setting Primer

Now available as Pay What You Want; The Frozen Skies Setting Primer


A frontier land largely at the mercy of the savage Wulvers since the end of the Great Darmonican War, barely enough soldiers left to defend the rump of the Commonwealth's once extensive colonial holdings. With many towns cut off and large swathes of territory overrun by the beasts the safest form of transport is by air, but the breakdown in law and order as given rise to scoundrels like sky pirates and bandits.

Alyeska's frozen skies are increasingly becoming a dangerous place to be.

This primer gives an overview of heart of the Frozen Skies setting; The Continent of Alyeska.

In addition it offers a brief guide to the Commonwealth and its main factions in Alyeska, Wulvers and their stats along with a selection of gear to allow you to start playing in the Frozen Skies setting.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Alyeskan Gazetteer: Calharrow

There are dozens of towns that still stubbornly remain out in the Wulflands, typically there continued survival is usually due to a critical defensive position such as being on high ground or an island in a river.

Calharrow is one of the former.

Located on top of a mesa, it originally began as an outpost when the Commonwealth first ventured into the Wulflands. Scouts from the Royal Reconnaissance Service were the first to lay eyes on the mesa and a small fort was built on top of it, mainly as an easily defensible waystation and heliograph post (though the heliograph was replaced in turn by a signal lamp and then a radio). As the threat of the Wulvers emerged, sappers from the Commonwealth Army built drawbridges into the path that ran up the mesa and constructed a lift to raise vehicles or equipment too bulk for the path up to the fort.

Over time the outpost grew as tradesmen settled to service the troops at the fort and gradually it grew into a trading post and then eventually a town. It became a nexus of a fledging network of trade routes in the area and a key stop for settlers and expeditions heading west, but its primarily purpose was a military outpost right up until the Great Darmonican War. By the time the War started Wulvers hadn't been seen anywhere remotely near Calharrow and the scouting aircraft that flew from the airstrip regularly reported no sightings on their wide ranging patrols. This influence the decision to siphon off troops from the Wulflands for the Commonwealth's war effort and ultimately to the territory being dangerous ill-defended as was later proven.

The town was seen as a safe heaven and many fled there to seek refuge as the surrounding lands fell to the Wulver onslaught, though the town and its supplies were soon stretched to the breaking point as it became heavily overcrowded. In response the Commonwealth airlifted out everyone who wanted to leave as well as a large portion of the garrison to New Gwentia, leaving behind a skeleton force to man the fort and a handful of civilians who were too stubborn to leave. Within a few weeks Calharrow effectively became a ghost town, its population a fraction of what it once was  and most of its buildings now standing empty which helped reinforce the sense of isolation for those who were left.

For a while Calharrow persisted in a state of limbo, its future thought to be nought but dust and decaying wood. But the Commonwealth return to the town atop the mesa, it proved to be the ideal base for the Alyeskan Outriders to operate their patrols from. Army sappers soon arrived to install infrastructure to support the Outrider's vehicles and to improve the airstrip to ensure that the outpost could be kept resupplied by air. The civilians who'd had stubbornly stayed when everyone else was evacuated were finally given some hope, they managed to negotiate a supply contract with the Commonwealth and started earning coin again servicing the soldiers of the new force. Other enterprising souls soon arrived, effectively making the town's history come full circle.

Presently Calharrow is very much a military outpost with an attached civilian own and run service industry. There is now an artillery battery with its guns sited round the edge of the mesa to provide a full 360 degree field of fire in addition to a sole anti-aircraft gun which sole purpose is simply to deter raids from sky pirates with more brawn than brains. There are a handful of civilian shops as well as a tavern and brothel, all to cater to the needs of the soldiers posted here. The military has taken over much of the town and even with the revived civilian population there are still parts that sit empty, mostly homes that was ghostly relics of more fortunate times.


The Frozen Skies Setting Primer will be released SOON!

Just the usual pre-release checks needing to be done to ensure thats everything is correct prior to uploading onto DriveThrue.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Wulver History 101

Gradually getting certain aspects of the Frozen Skies setting ironed out and set in stone, especially since I hope to have the Setting Primer out over the summer.

But first, what is going to be considered canon as far as the Wulvers are concerned.

The Wulvers

Nobody is sure about the exact origins of the Wulvers, they were already in Alyeska before the first explorers arrived and they later plagued the colonists that followed. However the few Ancient Terran texts that have been found and translated make no mention of the beasts, leaving scholars divided on whether or not there is a connection between the Wulvers and the fall of the Ancient Terrans. The Windryders do make mention of the beasts in their history, though since much of their cultural knowledge is oral based it is difficult to cite this source as creditable without more solid evidence. A few have ventured out into the Wulflands in a foolhardy attempt to discover more about the beasts' origins, typically they have found the cost for doing so was too high with next to no return.

The Wulvers have posed a huge threat for settlers right from the earliest days of Colonial Alyeska, so much so that the Commonwealth was willing to station an army of troops in Alyeska to defend the settlers from the Wulvers. At first the Wulvers were kept at bay before eventually being pushed back to allow for more land to be settled, something that was aided greatly by the arrival of the aircraft which were able to freely roam and attack any packs of Wulvers they spotted. Soon clusters of settlements sprang up across the great MacKenzie Plains in the west, plans were even set in motion to incorporate the lands of the western plains into a territory in their own right.

Then came the Great Darmonican War.

The War had little direct effect on Alyeska, but as it raged on the Commonwealth started feeling the pinch with regardless to manpower. Viewing the Wulvers as being little more than a minor threat the Commonwealth began siphoning off soldiers to replace losses and bolster its ranks, but more and more troops were withdrawn from Alyeska the longer the War went on for. Eventually a small cadre of regular soldiers backed up by the volunteers of the fledging Alyeska Militia was left to defend the settlers, but they were barely enough.

As the Commonwealth's military presence in Alyeska was weakened the Wulvers grew stronger and recover their strength, especially when the Commonwealth switched its military efforts to the defensive to help free up troops. Without the Commonwealth Army keeping them in check the Wulvers began striking out at remote outposts, gradually attacking settlements in ever-increasing numbers. Within a few years large swathes of the MacKenzie Plains were overrun by the Wulvers, the rump of the Commonwealth's military forces were withdrawn east of the Dragonspine Mountains, effectively abandoning the surviving settlements in what was now dubbed the Wulflands. The Dragonspine in conjunction with a line of fortifications called the Wulf Wall now protect whats left of the Commonwealth's holdings in Alyeska. Today there are still a few settlements out in the Wulflands, though they are effectively independent towns home to folk too stubborn to move and resentful at being left to die by the Commonwealth. Those who did leave went north into the icy Alyeskan Outlands to start over, many having left everything behind in the Wulflands. 

With the Mhór Farraige being extremely difficult to cross for ships and nigh impossible for aircraft due to that ocean now being plagued by constant storms in the wake of the Blast a decade earlier, Alyeska is effectively on its own against the Wulvers. The Commonwealth sends what it can, but its not much due to the difficulty of crossing the ocean and the need to maintain its forces in case of renewed hostilities. Given the now limited number of soldiers that it does have in Alyeska the Commonwealth have formed a couple of specialist units to deal with the Wulvers; the Wulfbane Commandos and the Outriders.

The Wulfbane Commandos' role is to use brute force against the Wulvers, trained for rapid deployments and able to bring a ton of firepower with them. They're meant to hit hard and fast to break up and wipe out large packs of Wulvers. In contrast the Outriders take a more subtle approach, their job is to patrol the Wulflands and report back on the movements of various Wulver packs. On occasion both have teamed up to deal with a pack that has posed a serious threat, this thankfully hasn't happened often and the two units enjoy a friendly rivalry with one another.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

State of the Press June 2015

Summer has arrived somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere and we're past the Summer Solstice, though instead of referencing a pastime involving stately seating I shalt delve into how things are with Utherwald this month.

Fabled Environments Adventure

First up is the news that an adventure written for Fabled Environments has now been released and is called Voyage of the Sky Maiden.

It involves a heist onboard an airship and is setting generic, perfect as a one-shot or convention game.

Frozen Skies Survey

Posted on the Pinnacle forums is a Frozen Skies survey, chiefly to get people's thoughts on certain aspects of the setting, etc.

I cannot overstate how useful and important people's responses are, especially since the feedback will help shape Frozen Skies and effect the setting's development. So please read through and post your thoughts.

Upcoming Products

Hoping to have a good chunk of Frozen Skies' artwork done over the summer, the artist is currently on holiday and so its a case of sorting out the various odds and ends involved with producing a book. If the current funding keeps up then I probably won't go the crowdfunding route, though I still can't commit to a release date yet.

The Frozen Skies primer is still an option, people's feedback have been that they prefer fluff over mechanics and so the primer will be a basic guide to the setting.

More adventures are planned, The Lost Sodkan Mine is in the works and there is the possibility of another adventure for Fabled Environments.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Highway to Hell

So finally got the chance to see Mad Max: Fury Road.

It rekindled an idea I had for a convoy system for the Realms of Darmonica setting (of which Frozen Skies is part of), though its always taken a backseat to Frozen Skies. Some of the adventures I envision taking place in the world of Darmonica I view as the players being part of an outfit with a vehicle, either an aircraft or some sort of ground vehicle. Both generally will have the same format with pilot/driver, mechanic and dedicated gunners/fighters for defence. There is the optional support staff like the moneyman, etc whilst ground based outfits lean more towards being convoys with dedicated scouts, navigators, possibly even a commander who's in charge and perhaps a radioman.

Now the mechanics for a convoy system are more likely to be included in a general Realms of Darmonica core book, Frozen Skies is really more of a region guide/supplement and has a different scope. Thats not to say that convoys won't work in Alyeska, after all aircraft can only carry so much and railways are rather thin on the ground. Convoys could also work wonders for expeditions, or a relief column as part of a military game set in the Wulflands for example.

The Mule works, though more vehicles are going to be required and I do envision 'rigs' which are effectively a road train. Each trailer of the rig (chiefly when travelling through dangerous areas) are likely to have what are basically turrets or gun positions, either a fixed machine gun or firing point for a rifleman. Again convoy rules and the extra vehicles are unlikely to be in Frozen Skies, though if you wish to do a convoy based game then use the Mule, trucks from Deadlands Noir and the Semi in the Savage Worlds Deluxe rulebook (though limit it to three trailers each with a single 'turret').

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Buried In Snow & Ice - TAKE TWO! (UK Games Expo Edition)

At this year's UK Games Expo I ran the Lost Sodkan Mine adventure thats currently in the works, though featured a number of tweaks since I last ran it.

In the run-up to UKGE it was fully booked with all six places filled, even met a few of the players beforehand. However on the night only three of the players turned up, no idea what happened to the other players even though I did meet one of them whilst trading on the Friday. Regardless we soon settled on characters (I'd completely stat up a few characters), ending up with.

Talon - Marksman
Kate - Mechanic
Stella - Sneak

With no pilot we went with the group being a ground based outfit with a Mule Tracked Cargo Carrier, but no other real change. After a quick rundown of the setting we started with the party being deputized by the Royal Alyeskan Air Police, a number of remote settlements had been attacked by 'heavily armoured men' whom seemingly had no form of transport. The last settlement to report being under attack was the remote mining outpost of Prospector's Reach who radioed a distress call a couple of days previously but hasn't been heard from since.

After asking a few questions the party set off in the Mule, taking a few hours to cross the snowfields before spotting a column of smoke on the horizon in the direction of their destination. They found a low ridge to observe the town from, noticing signs of battle and an explosion in the area of the mine. Leaving Kate with the Mule, Stella sneaked into town to do some recon whilst Talon found a vantage point and settled down with his rifle. Quick search later Stella found where the surviving miners had holed up, fetching Kate to speak with the miners who confirmed that the mysterious raiders had indeed attacked them. The raiders were only interested in machinery and mechanical parts, at least until some of the miners attacked them at which point the raiders defended themselves. The miners lured the raiders into a trap that involved blowing up their store of explosives which explained the damage.

Promising to get some help the party searched round the town finding pieces of the raiders scattered around by the explosion and tracks leading to the north. Talon checked out the tracks whilst the others investigated the raider parts, some distance out of town Talon noticed tracks leading off from the main group and opted to follow them. Eventually he spotted one of the raiders, though seemingly staggering along, and took aim with his rifle. It took a few shoots before the raider was finally felled, Kate and Stella arrived just in time to see Talon land his telling blow on the raider. Kate then checked out the raider, finding that it was actually an automaton rather than a person. Further investigation they found that the power source appeared to be a strange crystal in the heart of the automaton's torso, plus some Sodkan writing.

With the mystery deepening the party retraced the main group of tracks and followed them northwards eventually hitting the coast and the frozen sea beyond. They did manage to spy an island a few miles offshore, but opted to leave the Mule and proceed on foot as they were uncertain about the ice. As they got closer to the island they were able to make out some sort of settlement or work camp, though there was an air of abandonment around it. Exploring the island they found signs of a skirmish, a transport plane that had been recently and partially dismantled as well as a building that had been fortified and was currently occupied. Stella went for a closer look and found that the building contained Sodkan soldiers and an officer who was in a foul mood, though the party elected to leave them alone for the time being.

Further exploration revealed the automaton tracks leading into a mine where there was more signs of combat, but the mine entrance was empty and the tracks led to a lift. With no other route to take the party took the lift down to the lower level of the mine, arriving in a large cavern with a number of tunnels that branched off. Taking the largest tunnel which had signs of recent work, the party had to duck into a side tunnel as a pair of automatons came marching by. Advancing further onwards they found another much larger cavern with large machines and production lines building even more automatons...lots more automatons.

Deciding that they'd completed their mission they elected to make a tactical withdrawal but found the two automatons from earlier unloading stuff from the lift, so the party made a distraction down a tunnel with some dynamite and made for the lift when the automatons went to investigate. Back topside the party set up more explosives to destroy the lift and mine entrance, though they were disturbed by the Sodkan soldiers. The party ended up hastily departing the island as the mine entrance was blown sky high and the Sodkans took potshots at them, though Talon's return fire proved effective.

Arriving back at Prospector's Reach they were able to contact the Air Police who duly sent out help and the party's reward, thus the adventure came to an end. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

UKGE 2015 After Action Report

Now that 1d20 levels of sleep have finally been recovered tis time to duly file an After Action Report for this year's UK Games Expo.

Travelling down on the Thursday proved to be rather...interesting since a crash on the A14 near Cambridge closed that road which meant the coach driver having to take a detour, also some forgotten roadwork signs on the A11 caused that road to bottleneck for no reason resulting in the coach being an hour and a half late when it finally got to Birmingham. Some confusion at New Street station meant we barely caught our train to Birmingham International, where upon arrival we discovered our hotel was on the other side of the airport...not exactly useful.

With the Hilton Hotel only a short walk away we opted to setup our stand to lighten our luggage and went for dinner at Frankie & Bennie's in the airport, probably our most expensive meal during the entire weekend. Luckily the airport had a customer service desk of a sort who very helpfully told us that there was a local bus service that ran past our hotel, one that not only ran regularly but also did so almost 24/7. Dash outside and caught one of these buses, which unusually only accepted exact fare but the driver couldn't have been more helpful and even dropped us right outside our hotel despite the bus stop being a short distance. So Thursday evening we finally got the chance to put our feet up after checking in and getting our room.

On Friday the trade hall didn't open to the general public until 2pm but the press had free range from about midday, during this quiet period I took the opportunity to grab some Savage Worlds loot in the form of the Horror Companion, Day After Ragnarok and the GM screen. Friday proved to be the quietest out of all three days, me and Tori only sold a couple of things but I suspect next year Friday may prove to be busier. By contrast Saturday was the best day for sales, the copies of the Savage Worlds Deluxe rulebook pretty much sold themselves and I also managed to sell the postcard prints, some copies of Alyeskan Tales and the Firewater & Ice adventure. Sunday was sort of between the previous two days with regards to how busy it was, which was reflected by sales. But compared to Diceni at the start of May I made four times as much money and Tori sold some of her harder to shift stock.

The Frozen Skies game I ran Saturday night was really good even if only half of the players who'd signed up actually turned up to play. The adventure went better this time round compared to when I ran it at the UEA Gamessoc 24 Hour earlier in the years, the tweaks I made certainly improved it. Was dead chuffed to find that one of the players had worked on the D20 RPG Etherscope and was intrigued by the Frozen Skies setting, certainly had alot of interest and wish I was in a position to release it now but oh well. Tori's artwork was a hit, a few people suggested that it would be brilliant for a couple of games whilst a lass from a game company told Tori to get in contact with them.

Met loads of awesome people, including Matt McElroy who's the Publishing Director of DriveThru. Also attended a couple of seminars, something that I didn't do last year. Also looking ahead to 2016 and making plans, stuff that I'd do differently or possible stock to have on hand such as more Savage Worlds products. My only complaint is a lack of communication from the organisers, we turned up at our stand just after 9:30am on the Saturday and found the trade hall already swarming with people which meant we might've lost out on some sales. Least we did get told that the tarde halls would be opening early on Sunday, though it would've been nice to have known that it was also the case on Saturday.

Wearing costumes seemed to work as it drew some interest, though next year we're going to be making certain that we double check where the hotel is before we book it. Considering running a few games to qualify for a free room at the Hilton, but nothing's set in stone just yet.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In Other News

Following a suggestion from Matt McElroy, the Firewater & Ice adventure is now listed as Pay What You Want. So you can grab it as a freebie or give some money to help Utherwald produce more products.

Also, looking at the possibility of changing Utherwald to Iceni Press. Mainly to create a stronger tie to Norfolk (Iceni was the name of a tribe native to the area during Roman times), easier to pronounce and also so that it would appear higher up in a list.

Thoughts would be most welcomed.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

UK Games Expo 2015

Tomorrow we hit the road Birmingham bound for this year's UK Games Expo.

Its a bigger event for us this time around, not only is there THREE days of trading there is also a Frozen Skies game being run. During trading hours I should easily be spotted since I'll be in costume (pilot style leather jacket and side cap), after hours I'll be wearing an Utherwald Press t-shirt. Feel free to stop me for a chat.

Just to confirm;

Trade Stand:- P22 in the Palace Suite on all three days of trading.

Frozen Skies Game:- Saturday 8pm-Midnight, Lancaster Suite (FULLY BOOKED!!!)

Hope to see some of you there!

And as an extra treat, stumbled upon this;

Article about an area in France still haunted by the scars of the World Wars, should prove useful as research material for the aftermath of the Great Darmonican War.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Creature Feature: Bodarks

Often described as "foul tempered balls of fur with tusks" Bodarks are large cattle like beasts with thick woolly coats native to the Continent of Alyeska. They have proved to be much more hardy in Alyeska's harsh climate than actual cattle, plus their woolly coats have proved to be excellent for clothing material even though their meat is tougher than most would like. Regardless a dual industry producing Bodark meat and wool has gradually grown, though their temperament leaves something to be desired.

Typically Bodarks are left to roam round vast ranches with a minimum of supervision, most predators steer well clear of Bodarks and even Dragonhawks think twice about whether its worth taking on a Bodark. They are very much herd animals and can be dangerous in large numbers, often ranchers will use Mule tracked carriers or light aircraft to keep an eye on their herds from a relatively safe distance. Being stubborn creatures Bodarks are quite difficult to steer, ranchers will often have to lay food much like a trail of breadcrumbs in order to get the herd to go in remotely the right direction and the beasts object to being stuffed on the back of a truck or a plane.

If something does pose a threat to the heard then the sole male will stand his ground to protect the rest of the heard, backed up by some of the bigger females. Bodarks encountered alone are typically males who've grown old enough to leave their herds, but have yet to establish one of their own which they have to do by luring away young females from other herds.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4(A), Spirit d6, Strength d10, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d4
Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 12 (2)
Special Abilities:
*Armour +2: Thick hide and fur.
*Berserk: When a bodark is Shaken, it goes berserk. It gains +2 to all Fighting and Strength rolls and its Toughness, but Parry is reduced by 2.
*Immunity (Cold): Bodarks take no damage from cold, including magical attacks.
*Large: Characters add +2 when attacking these beasts due to their size.
*Size +4: Bodarks are large beasts.
*Tusks: Str+d6.