Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Trail of Commerce

Though the main focus of Frozen Skies is obviously aviation, there are other aspects of Alyeska that may appeal to players and some have been mentioned previously. Though aviators and their aircraft are considered vital, there are those who consider themselves equally important if not more so at keeping the lifeblood of trade in Alyeska going. Theirs is a less glamorous life trekking across the frozen wastes, fending off beasts and raiders alike to help keep the flow of commerce open. These are men, and women, known as Free Traders.

New Gwentia Trading Co.

For a long time Alyeska was dominated by the Great Northern Trading Company, originally a fur trading business that gained a monopoly on all trade in Alyeska. Though the Great Northern ran into difficulties and had its assets seized by the Commonwealth, thus ending its long time monopoly and allowing independent traders to fill the void as the company ceased to exist. The Commonwealth formed a replacement called the New Gwentia Trading Co. (NGT for short), though it had limited power and influence compared to the old Great Northern.

The NGT's main function is to maintain some of the Great Northern's old trading posts, effectively small settlements in their own rights, and run general stores in various settlements across the Alyeskan Interior. The trading posts are located along established routes and offer safe-havens, offering lodgings, warm meals and supplies to wary travellers. Some of these trading posts are also service stations for motor vehicles, though this tends to be closer to the bigger settlements.

Another role of the NGT is contracting free traders, offering routes up for bidding and providing guards for hire. Contracts usually require yearly fees, but in return contracted traders can bypass Board of Trade fees and can claim compensation if they suffer losses. However there has been growing competition from startup truck companies who prefer to broker their own contracts with prospective clients.

Free Traders still hold sway over much of the Interior, their routes run from the few existing railheads to far-flung settlements. Admittedly slower than aircraft, a Free Trader convoy is able to transport items in bulk and is likely to remain a common sight for some years to come.

Adventure Ideas

A NGT/Free Trader based campaign is likely to take place on firm earth and feature long treks through the Alyeskan wilderness. Typically it'll be based around a two or three vehicle convoy, most likely Mule Tracked Carriers, defending said convoy against beasts and outlaws. Players could serve as guards or simply be passengers in addition to the possibility of running the convoy themselves.

Aviation could still feature, either aircraft coming to the aid of a convoy or being scouts for a free trader seeking a new route.

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