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.