Wednesday 21 December 2016

The Shrouded Days

As we enter the Winter Holidays, figured its a good a time as any to delve into Alyeska's equivalent known the Shrouded Days. The Shrouded Days are tied to the Midwinters Festival celebrated across the rest of Darmonica, in some respects they are considered to be the local Alyeskan observation of Midwinters.

Also, a reminder that there will be no post next week (28th Dec).

Whatever you celebrate this time of year, Happy Holidays!

The Shrouded Days

The name 'Shrouded Days' is given to what is effectively a polar night in Alyeska, though only northern areas get 'dark' whilst more southern regions tend to get at least a little bit of daylight. They can last anywhere between a few days to a month or more depending on how far north you are.

The beginning of the Shrouded Days is marked by the Exodus, a number of people will leave the north to winter with relatives who live further south. Those that stay typically move into the biggest building in their settlement where heating fuel and rations had been stockpiled in the weeks leading up to the Shrouded Days. Midwinters is marked as the halfway point during this period of darkness, typically involving present giving and a big meal to pick up spirits. The first sunrise is known as Dawnfest, a celebration is held to herald the end of the Shrouded Days and to welcome the new year.

However the Shrouded Days isn't without its dangers, particularly for more northern settlements. Outlaws can take advantage of the near-deserted ghost towns, either as a place to hideout the winter or to pull of a heist when theres very few people around. To this end the Royal Alyeskan Air Police usually deploys an officer or two to help keep settlements safe in addition to the townsfolk organising a militia of a sorts to regularly check each building in the settlement. That said its not unheard of for some settlements to be found abandoned come Dawnfest...

Wednesday 14 December 2016

December 2016 Update

2016 is drawing to a close and soon we'll be in a brand new year, looking back I feel that I've made a bit of progress in getting Frozen Skies closer to release. This week's post is mainly about plans going forward and what to expect next year, and also a quick PSA that there won't be a post on the 28th December as I wish to take a break over the Festive period.

Frozen Skies

Hopeful to have a proper release for Frozen Skies by next summer, it'll be even better if I can get it done before the start of my convention season but for now I'm aiming for summer. Different parts of the book are going be done in a mixed order, the Setting Rules are effectively complete and uploaded for feedback. The other sections I plan to initially upload as Patrons Only content over on the Patreon page for feedback, but theres no guarantee that they'll appear on the blog. Though what I've been doing for the artwork will remain the same format, though being in a better place cash wise should mean artwork being shown off more regularly.

Also going to be doing something a bit different with the blog, I've had a few people nagging me about doing a Frozen Skies campaign and I've realized doing Actual Plays will help build interest. So once my present Savage Worlds campaign (based on Fallout New Vegas for those interested) I will do a Frozen Skies one and post up session reports every other week (which is when the game sessions usually run), this will give me a bit of breathing room to do the other posts which are likely to be monthly updates and other content such as locations, etc.

In addition I'll hopefully be on a podcast soon to talk about Frozen Skies, more details when I have them.


My situation has improved a fair bit over the past year, so hoping to do more conventions and events next year. So listed below are the shows or conventions that you can expect to see Utherwald Press at;

Diceni - Norwich
UK Games Expo - NEC Birmingham
NOR-CON - Royal Norfolk Showground
Exilicon - Cambridge (TBC)

Dragonmeet in London is on the wishlist, as is Dragondaze in Cardiff but keeping my ear to the ground for other conventions in the East of England.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Alyeskan Gazetteer: Fort Cathmore

In last week's post I mentioned about trading posts that are scattered across the length and breath of Alyeska. About how they're located along established routes and offer safe-havens, offering lodgings, warm meals and supplies to wary travellers. We're also a little overdue a Gazetteer post, so naturally the two seem to go together quite well.

Fort Cathmore Trading Post

Fort Cathmore is one of a number of trading posts still operated by the New Gwentia Trading Company, though the Company may eventually give up ownership in the near future. It is located at a crossroad where a gravel road cross the partially-paved MacGuire Highway that runs from Gravenburgh at its southern end to Tay River on the shores of Wicked Antler Lake at its northern end.

The trading post predates the Highway, having originally been founded by the Great Northern Trading Company to trade with the native tribes that inhabited the area. Overtime the trading post became a small settlement known as Fort Cathmore, acquiring a tavern, a blacksmith and a couple of homesteads. With the coming of motor vehicles and the Highway the blacksmith became a repair garage and the trading post gained a couple of fuel pumps for motorcars. The trading post itself now serves more as a general store and part-time post office, it is also connected to the telegraph line that runs to Tay River.

Today the trading post is managed by a Gilbert Bradshaw who has a indifferent relationship with Miss Holland the owner of the tavern and a less than friendly one with the Mason Brothers who run the garage. Miss Holland is content to run her tavern without inference and has always paid her rent on time. The Mason Brothers, Rowland and Antony, run their own motorbus along the Highway that completes with the NGT operated mailbus and Bradshaw is certain they siphon fuel from the trading post's fuel pumps but he lacks proof. Antony and Rowland have made their ambitions clear that they wish to takeover the trading post, though Bradshaw is worried just how far they'll go to achieve that goal.

But, as of late, Bradshaw has bigger concerns in the form of outlaws who have been attacking the NGT mailbus recently. Again he suspects the Mason Brothers but lacks anything concrete and the Royal Alyeskan Air Police haven't been able to get any leads despite routing a regular patrol through the area. Bradshaw is willing to pay handsomely if anyone could bring the outlaws to justice, he'll also pay a bonus if it can be proven that the Masons have a few dirty dealings.