Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Alyeskan Gazetteer: Broken Spires

Another location nestled amongst the Bastion Peaks, though close to the Wulflands, is the pirate haven and outlaw town of Broken Spires.

This shanty town that stands defiantly against the Law is infamous across Alyeska and beyond.

History

Broken Spires was sort of conceived by accident and evolved over time rather than come into being as a planned settlement, in fact if it wasn't for the invention of aircraft it probably never would have existed.Record keeping is something that is somewhat lacking in Broken Spires which makes creating a definite timeline for the city somewhat difficult. It is generally known that it owes its existence to a gang of sky pirates seeking a place to lie low for a while. The gang sought refuge in the narrow, twisting canyons that characterize the western Bastion Peaks. Despite only intended as a temporary bolthole a settlement gradually as other sky pirates were drawn by the relative safety from the law that it offered and they were in turn drawn by merchants looking to make a quick profit by servicing the needs of the sky pirates.

The fledging city's early years were marked by chaos and violence as rival gangs clashed with one another, heedless of the damage they inflicted on the city itself. Things only settled down after an incident almost razed half the city and folk decided that enough was enough. In a rare display of unity the citizens and some of the gangs banded together to drive out the culprits, then set about bringing a degree of order to the city. Thus was born the position of Sky Marshal and the Air Wardens militia to forge order through force of will....and force of arms. As a result, most of the pirates, smugglers, and thieves that populate the Alyeskan wilderness treat Broken Spires as neutral territory.Though tensions remain high due to the presence of the crime lords that dubbed themselves the 'Sky Captains' to seek to expand their influence and power at the expense of others.

Present State

Broken Spires is a health and safety nightmare, the entire city and its buildings have been laid out in such a fashion to send most planners insane. The Air Wardens are only concerned with keeping the peace when the trouble threatens to damage the city, beyond that they don't really care if the pirates and bandits kill one another long as there is no collateral. A thriving outlaw mechanic industry has formed in Broken Spires, with scores of machinists and aircraft experts performing illegal and dangerous modifications on pirate craft. In addition the city's economy relies heavily on profits from the best saloons and whorehouses in Alyeska.

Plot Hooks

*An racer is interested in a highly sought after mechanic who can be found in Broken Spires...for a price.

*Sky pirates and their stolen cargo have been tracked to the city, the Air Police are interested in bringing the scoundrels to justice but require freelancers to do the job.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A Cesspit of Bureaucracy: The Alyeskan Aerial Corps

The Alyeskan Aerial Corps is a state-owned, or 'Crown Corporation' in Commonwealth lingo, air transportation company thats answerable to the Governor-General.

The main purpose of the Aerial Corps is maintaining vital communication links across the Continent by providing air services for passengers, mail and general freight. The Corps also operates a 'flying doctor' service for remote settlements, typically flying out a doctor twice a week to settlements that lack one of their own or an air ambulance for medical cases that require urgent treatment at a proper hospital. For many settlements the Corps effectively their lifeline.

For the pilots' themselves its a cesspit of bureaucracy.

The Corps is a sticker for paperwork, perhaps even more so than the military as many of its full-time pilots bemoan but its still steady work. The Corps also makes use of freelance, semi-independent pilots known as 'Auxiliary Pilots' who typically get one-off jobs as and when the Corps need it. Pay for an Auxiliary isn't the best around, but there will always be a job going and the opportunity of going full-time with the Corps.

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Other news this week is that the Firewater & Ice adventure for the Savage Worlds system has had its price reduced to $0.75.

Find it on RPGNow here; http://www.rpgnow.com/product/130885/Firewater-and-Ice

Friday, 17 April 2015

Creature Feature: Dragonhawks

Following on from the Windryder post from a couple of weeks ago, heres a closer look at the gigantic birds they use as mounts.

Dragonhawks

These huge birds are native to the Continent of Alyeska, there are very few sightings of them outside the Continent. In addition their remains, both fossilized and recent, have only been found in Alyeska which makes them amongst the oldest known species to inhibit the Frozen North.

They call the Bastion Peaks and the other lofty heights of the Central Highlands their home, a place that has resisted the encroachment of Man. The only harmonic relationship they have with another species is that they have with the Windryders, an almost symbiotic relationship as many have commented on. A Windryder and their mount bond at an early age during a ritual thats called 'The Choosing', a young Windryder must go alone and unarmed into a Dragonhawk nest. There the Windryder must then present themselves, if the Windryder has a dark mark on their heart then the Dragonhawk mother will be openly hostile and the Windryder could face exile from their tribe. Though if the Windryder proves to be good of heart then the Dragonhawk mother will, warily, let them approach the nest. Then the Windryder must settle down next to the nest and wait, eventually one of the younglings will choose the Windryder and the bonding process begins. Though if one of the younglings from the nest choose the Windryder after the sun has risen four times, then the Windryder must find another nest.

Only a portion of the Dragonhawk population serve as companions and mounts to Windryders, the rest are for all intents and purpose 'wild'. Wild or 'tamed' alike they are still big birds and tend to require bigger prey to feed upon like elks, goats, bison and, much to the ire of farmers, livestock. For the larger prey a Dragonhawk tends to pick it up with its claws and then drop the unfortunate meal from a great height, though this tends to be with cattle sized prey that could give the Dragonhawk problems whilst in the air.

Man is the Dragonhawk's only real predator, the wealthy tend to pay large sums of money to acquire Dragonhawk eggs. The pirate gangs that plague the Bastion Peaks try to capture hatchlings with the intention of clipping their wings and forcing to fight one another. The Windryders tend to deal very harshly with poachers attempting to do either.

(Stats based upon the Roc found in the Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion)

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6(A), Spirit d6, Strength d12+8, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d10, Notice d8
Pace: 8; Parry: 6; Toughness: 14
Special Abilities:
*Bash: Dragonhawks have incredible lift, and can pick up large creatures in order to drop them from a great height. It takes a full round for the Dragonhawk to properly grasp a potential meal, which is a Fighting attack against a 'Parry' of 2. With a raise, the dragonhawk lifts the creature into the air and ascends 6" per round afterward. After five full round rounds it drops its prey, the prey then suffers damage according to the height.
*Flight: Dragonhawks have a Flying Pace of 16", with an Acceleration of 4" and a Climb of 6".
*Huge: Characters add +4 when attacking a dragonhawk due to their great size.
*Size +8: Dragonhawks are huge creatures with wingspans over 120'.
*Talons: Str+d6.

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There is now an Events Page on the blog listing forthcoming events that Utherwald will have a presence at, also we like to announce that we'll most likely be attending ExiliCon in Cambridge on July 11th.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Wulvers Revisited

Since my original post on Wulvers I've been thinking more on how they interact with the world and how the race as a whole functions, chiefly ideas on how to improve them in my mind.

Going with the idea that they are savage beasts, very dangerous foes to fight in combat and generally to be avoided at all costs. These would be what would be considered 'pureblood' Wulvers, they are beasts born and breed. Their bite carries an infectious disease, which is for all intent and purpose rabies.

Then there are the 'half-casts'.

The half-casts are those unlucky few who were 'infected' (for a lack of a better term) when their mother was bitten whilst they were still in the womb and survived to be born, the lucky ones were the ones that didn't survive. For some reason the Wulvers' bite has a peculiar effect on an unborn child, the infection remains dormant in the child's body until said child reaches puberty when the infection goes active. The person then becomes part-Wulver, able to 'Hulk out' and become a savage beast but also able to return to their normal human form. Such 'Wulftouched' persons are rare, often the mother will not survive the Wulver bite or if she does the child is cast out into the wilderness usually to perish....if the parents are aware of the child's nature.

If a Wulftouched survives to adulthood then they have the choice of trying to make a life for themselves in the dregs of human society where they can find work as pit fighters or with the criminal underworld. There is also the option of seeking out a Wulver pack to attempt to join...if the pack accepts them that is. One or two have managed to do both, setting up so-called 'Wulf Cults' to try and overthrow the Commonwealth. This makes Wulftouched dangerous foes, able to hide amongst humanity undetected and able to hatch their plans in secret.

Thankfully a Wulftouched cannot infect another person and it is doubtful that they can reproduce by themselves, least there is no record of such a thing happening. The only way known to produce more Wulftouched is to have a pregnant woman be bitten by a Wulver, though this method is unreliable at best.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Leaf On The Wind

The name of two groups who've inhabited Alyeska, the Ancient Terrans and more recently the Commonwealth, have been stated. Though there is, of a sorts, a third group that inhabits Alyeska.

The Windryders.

These nomadic hunter-gatherers can be found all over the continent, having called these frigid lands home seemingly since the world began. They are an ancient people whose traditions and customs have survived through the centuries, they also recall the rise and fall of the Ancient Terrans in some of their oldest tales. All of their knowledge and history is oral, kept alive by telling and retelling through the generations, though vital edicts of their culture was carved onto stone ages ago on what many dub 'Ryder Stones'.

What makes the Windryders particularly noteworthy and has helped spread the word of their existence throughout the wider world is the mounts they choose to ride; Dragonhawks.

Dragonhawks are gigantic birds, rivalling most medium aircraft in size and have the appearance of effectively a feathered dragon hence their name. These birds and their riders have a very close bond, some even suggest some form of connection between the minds of both of them but thus far this is only an unproven theory. Certainly the Dragonhawks are hostile to outsiders attempting to claim them as a mount, even going far as attacking those who try to capture it. Also the Windryders will make very effort in finding a lost Dragonhawk, the worse weather conditions only delay them temporarily.

Of the Windryders themselves not much is really known, they very rarely have contact with outsiders for trade with those who've earned their trust by learning their customs. They are grouped into tribes known as kindreds, but outsiders only ever to see one or two Windryders. But it is known that kindreds use Ancient Terran ruins as refuges and waystations, but they seem rather picky by only maintaining some whilst shunning others which has led many to believe that they know more about the Ancient Terrans than they let on. They certainly do speak of the Ancient Terrans as though they were an cursed people, even going far as to warn others away from certain ruins and sites.

Some numbers of Windryders have embraced the modern world, swapping bows for rifles and some even going far as hiring themselves out as scouts to expeditions and the Aerial Corps. They still have their Dragonhawk companions and are almost as standoffish as their more isolationist cousins, but some have have parted knowledge about their people to those they trust.

But many questions still remain about the Windryders, chief amongst them is whether or not they are actually human? Many also wonder whether there is any connection between the Windryders and the land based tribals known as the Genchi whose lands have been sized by the Coalition in its endless drive for expansion. And lastly, what do they know about the terrible fate that befell the Ancient Terrans?