Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Cold War Skirmishes: The Gurkhas

The British Army has contained many famous units throughout its long history, ranging from the 95th Rifles of the Napoleonic era through to the SAS. Counted amongst them is the Gurkhas, Nepalese soldiers who have fought alongside the British forces since the first Gurkha unit was raised in 1815 following the Anglo-Nepalese War. This week we'll be covering the British Army's Gurkha units during the Cold War period, featuring an brief overview of their history, training and some role play material.






Pre-Cold War

Prior to the Cold War the Gurkhas had been loyally serving in the British Indian Army for over a hundred years, primarily in the Far East and on the North West Frontier of British India. They also served in both World Wars, but this required a special dispensation known as Pani Patiya. It is believed that crossing the sea means that Gurkhas forfeit their privileges of caste and rights, failing to obtain the dispensation results in heavy punishment. Others who may have unwittingly taken food and water with the transgressor are also placed under the same ban.

The First World War saw some 200,000 Gurkahs fight on the Western Front and throughout the Middle East from the Suez Canal to Syria. The Gurkhas won 26 Victoria Crosses during the conflict but lost twenty thousand men, this includes a battalion of the 8th Gurkhas that fought to the last man during the Battle of Loos by hurling themselves time after time against the weight of the German defences. After the war the Gurkhas went back to being peace-time soldiers on the frontiers of India, though they still took part in many conflicts such as the Third Afghan War and the Waziristan Campaign.

Went the Second World War broke out the Gurkhas once again sailed across the sea to fight for Britain. They fought from Syria through the Western Desert through to Italy and Greece. In the Far East they fought in Malaya, Singapore, the retreat from Siam and throughout the Burma campaign. At war's end they were involved in various peace-keeping missions including Vietnam after the Japanese surrender until the French returned. They had been in the thick of the fighting against the Japanese in Burma, yet when they arrived in Vietnam they found that the Japanese had been allowed to keep their weapons and eventually the two former enemies fought alongside one another against the Vietnamese nationalists.

Partition

By 1947 there were ten Gurkha regiments (some twenty battalions) in the 'old' Indian Army, with the Partition of India these were divided between the 'new' Indian Army and the British Army. Six regiments (twelve battalions) were transferred to the 'new' Indian Army whilst the remaining four regiments (eight battalions) were integrated into the British Army as the Brigade of Gurkhas. The Brigade also consists of The King's/Queen's Gurkha Engineers, The King's/Queen's Gurkha Signals and the Gurkha Transport Regiment.

The Brigade of Gurkhas would see service throughout the twelve years of the Malayan Emergency and later in Brunei and Borneo during the Indonesian Confrontation. Their HQ and main training base was later established in Hong Kong where the Gurkhas were deployed on security duties that included patrolling the border checking for illegal immigrants entering the territory. They were never allowed to be deployed to Northern Ireland nor they were ever assigned to the British Forces in Germany, but they did take part in the Falklands War. The Gurkhas' reputation preceded them in this conflict in 1982 as the Argentines surrendered rather than fight when confronted by the Gurkhas, even if the Argentines were entrenched in strong positions!

Selection and Training

During the Cold War period the British Army needed 400 recruits a year for the Gurkhas, every year there were 8,000 young men eager to join. Old soldiers were sent into the hills to do the preliminary selection and whittled it down to 800 potential recruits who were sent to the depots at Dharan and Pokhra for medical and selection. Most of the Gurkha recruits were subsistence farmers scratching out a living at around 7,000 feet, often travelling barefoot for many miles up and down mountains whilst carrying heavy loads. As a result the Gurkhas all have immensely powerful legs, but they are prone to tuberculosis and one of the first tests they have to pass is a chest X-ray. Living in the mountains, thus away from the population and noise of cities, also means that they have excellent eyesight and hearing.

Though whilst to Western eyes the Gurkhas may all look alike, the Gurkhas belong to a tribal or clan system which has different dialects and differing physical traits. This often meant that the individual Gurkha regiments recruited from specific areas of Nepal. The small, quick-witted Rais and the taller, slower-speaking Limbus from Central East Nepal formed the recruitment pool of the 7th and 10th Gurkha Rifles; on the other hand the 2nd and 6th took Gurungs and Magars from Central West. Though the stated difference between the two was that the Gurungs had finer features.

Those who were accepted were sent via aircraft for ten months training at the Brigade's main base in Hong Kong, something that was often a culture shock for the young Nepalese men. They had to be taught how to live in the modern world and learn English in addition to basic soldiering. The training was tough and maintained a discipline long out of fashion with British regiments. Their accommodation consisted of large wooden huts that were so out of date that for a time the Royal Marines kept one at the Commando Training Centre just to show recruits how rough life was in the old army. Yet the Gurkhas lapped it up and considered it an insult if their training was softened for any reason.

Officers

Historically there were two types of officers in the Gurkhas; regular British officers and the King's/Queen's Gurkha Officers (K/QGOs).

The British officers (of which there were only 17 to a Gurkha battalion) had to attend the two-month Nepalese Language Qualification Course at the Hong Kong training depot and was expected to immerse himself in Gurkha culture and tradition. He was told to never shout at a Gurkha as that would only lower his prestige in the eyes of the Gurkha and he had the responsibility to maintain his own standards, thus develop a mutual relationship of trust with his men. If a Gurkha lost faith in his officer that officer was finished, but once trust is established the Gurkha would follow him to hell and back. The British officers also looked after their men, even going as far as keeping an eye on the men's gambling (which was only allowed during the religious festive of Diwali).

Queen's Gurkha Officer sat somewhere between warrant officers and full commissions, meaning they had no authority over British troops and were technically subordinate to any British officer regardless of rank. Most QGOs were typically old hands who had come up through the ranks and served as either platoon commanders or as deputy commanders of companies. A scheme started in the 1950s introduced Gurkha officers commissioned from the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy who were on par with British officers and had greater promotion prospects (one Gurkha became a Lieutenant-Colonel).

Service and Duty

The main base for the Gurkhas was at Hong Kong, where they were primarily employed on internal security duty (typically picking up fugitives from Communist China), there were other postings and the battalions had a rotation system for these postings. Each battalion spent two years in the UK followed by four years in Hong Kong, two in Brunei and then back in Hong Kong for a further two years before they started the sequence all over again.

There were other postings: to the Jungle School in Brunei, to the Demonstration Company at Sandhurst or the Demonstration Company at the NCO Training Wing at Brecon and four-month long postings to Korea where a large platoon of Gurkhas formed the United Nations Honour Guard. Additionally there was something like a thousand Gurkha soldiers in Nepal at any one time, either working at the Dharan base or travelling to and from their homes on leave.

More details can be found here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigade_of_Gurkhas

Gaming the Gurkhas

Probably the easiest way to use the Gurkhas in Savage Worlds is a bridge campaign between Weird War 2 and Tour of Darkness, covering the post-WW2 period in Vietnam before the French re-occupation and First Indochina War. This would only cover the 1945-46 period but would feature a number of clashes with the Viet Minh, but plenty of Weird Wars elements be can thrown in. For example this would involve trying to beat the Viet Minh to a secret Japanese (or Vichy French) research base located deep in the jungle.

A mash-up of Weird War 2 and Tour of Darkness can, to a degree, also be used to cover the Mayalan Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation. The former saw the use of alot of old WW2 era equipment, though the latter would require some conversions from Tour of Darkness. A Falklands War based game would be a little trickier since the Gurkhas never got to see much action (for reasons listed earlier), but the conflict took place over a large part of the South Atlantic and a forgotten Nazi base in the far south could come into play.

Equipment wise the Gurkha used standard issue British weapons such as the L1A1 SLR and General Purpose Machine Gun (use M60 stats), though they were also issued with the American M16 depending on the mission requirements. Every Gurkha also carried a kukri, a knife that is similar to a machete and is used as both a tool and weapon in Nepal.

Suggest using the following stats for the kukri: Str+d6

Particularly in the Far East the Gurkhas wore Tropical DPM fatigues, this gives them a +1 bonus to their Stealth rolls whilst in a jungle environment.

Below is the suggested stats for a Gurkha soldier;

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d8, Notice d6+2, Stealth d6, Shooting d6, Survival d8, Tracking d8
Charisma: -2; Pace: 5; Parry: 6; Toughness: 4
Hindrances: Bloodthirsty, Loyal, Small
Edges: Alertness, Marksman, Woodsman

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

June 2017 Update

Right, time for the monthly update.

With UK Games Expo done and dusted for another year the focus can now be directed once more at Frozen Skies and the other projects that are in the works. So this week entails progress report on the status of Frozen Skies and some ideas for related projects.

Short Mayo Composite
Frozen Skies

The writing for Frozen Skies is now pretty much done, just waiting on a couple of pieces to be proofread and edited before everything is handed over to the layout guy for him to work his magic. There may be one or two extra bits of artwork required, though we'll see since I'm going with artwork for the start of each chapter and portraits of certain NPCs. Depending on how well Frozen Skies does I may look at doing an updated version with extra artwork, but that is largely depends on money flow (which is effecting how much artwork I can currently have).

Looking at Frozen Skies being about 130 pages, but it'll certainly be a 7" by 10" softback in addition to a PDF. Release is looking likely to be August time, initially through DriveThruRPG/RPGNow with a view of eventually getting Frozen Skies into game stores. May do a hardback version, but that depends on demand. Likewise looking at doing Frozen Skies for different systems, FATE is one people have been asking for.

My last update post I mentioned about other ideas such as producing cards with aircraft on them, thinking of it being a top-down view of the aircraft (like the picture below). This is something that I'll need to look into, though probably would be a cheaper alternative to miniatures as I can have a few generic planes which can have any stats used with them as well as already 'named' aircraft. Another idea I'm toying with is another adventure for Frozen Skies, it can basically be summed up as Murder on the Orient Express on a flying boat.



Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Post UKGE Report 2017

Its been a couple of days since we got back from this year's UK Games Expo.

It was good to be back after having to skip it last year and meeting people again, certainly to make sure Utherwald is there again next year. Already plans for next year are being made.



This year it was probably the best convention I've had, least with regards to selling stuff. No where near breaking even but a good way towards that goal. In addition I have a few avenues to explore when Frozen Skies is release, mainly to help promote it and get distribution to game stores sorted. Certainly feels like I've raised greater awareness of Frozen Skies and seemingly some follow through sales.

But I could've possibly done better.

I was sharing with a couple of groups (Exilian and Birmingham Game Designers) and as a result the stand appeared a little cluttered, which may had made it difficult for people to tell what the stand was about and possibly put people off. If I'm sharing with anyone next year I need to make sure Utherwald Press is its own distinct thing and easily identifiable. May go with the same size pitch I had with two tables, though the tables at either end of the pitch to effectively create the impression of it being two separate stands (if that makes sense). Likewise I need to invest in a banner of some description.

Frozen Skies should hopefully be released at the beginning of August, just in time for it to be announced at Gen Con. After that it'll be a case of getting it into game stores before starting on the next project, though does hopefully mean I can submit it for next year's UKGE Awards.

Monday, 5 June 2017

We're Back From UKGE!

Back from UK Games Expo, will do a blog post later in the week detailing experiences..

Big hello to all the people who've had a look at the blog following Expo.

Also, print version of the Frozen Skies Setting Primer is now live!

 http://www.rpgnow.com/product/152526/Frozen-Skies-Setting-Primer

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

UK Games Expo 2017

No blog post this week, we're off to Birmingham for this year's UK Games Expo.

Find us on stand J7!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Money, Money, Money

As Frozen Skies nears completion, I'm gonna take a closer look at small details of the setting to flesh things out a little for those who have picked up the Setting Primer. This is mainly intended to tie people over until the main book is released, also to see how the proposed coinage system works.

Money, Money, Money


The currency used in Alyeska is based heavily on the Commonwealth system of coinage, though it has its roots in the currency introduced by the Great Northern Company in the early days of Alyeska's colonial days. It works by having three different types of coins; copper, silver, and gold. A hundred copper coins equals one silver coin, whilst ten silver coins equal one gold coin.

The coins currently in circulation are as follows:


*Farthing:- 1 copper

*Shilling:- 5 copper

*Florin:- 10 copper

*Half-crown:- 25 copper

*Crown:- 50 copper

*Sovereign:- 1 silver

*Half-throne:- 5 silver

*Throne:- 1 gold

Farthings are represented with a lower case 'f' regardless of the name of the actual coin, so a half-crown would be 25f. Similarly sovereigns are represented by the '£' symbol, meaning that two thrones and a shilling should read as; £20.05 (the farthing symbol is only used for prices less than a sovereign).

The Commonwealth also uses paper banknotes, widely issued in the Home Isles but their introduction in Alyeska has been resisted by the various gold mining companies. The companies prefer keeping the throne gold coin in circulation mainly to secure their profit margins and generally refuse to accept banknotes. Recently the Commonwealth has put pressure on the Alyeskan parliament to pass laws that recognise banknotes as legal tender, though this faces opposition from the gold mining companies.

Non-Commonwealth currency may be accepted but depends on the individual trader, however a favourable exchange rate can't be expected.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Cold War Skirmishes: L1A1 SLR

Another Cold War Skirmishes instalment, this time a look at a battle rifle that was the standard issue rifle for much of the British Commonwealth during the Cold War period: The semi-automatic L1A1 SLR

The SLR as it was simply known ("inch pattern" FAL in the USA) was a British version of the Belgium FN FAL, and was used in numerous conflicts including the Falklands where it was used against Argentine FN FALs. Fans of Doctor Who may recognise the SLR as being the rifle used by UNIT soldiers during the 1970s.

Includes brief overview of the L1A1 SLR and modifications/variants.

L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle

Doctor Who - Terror of the Zygons
The SLR was in service with much of the British Commonwealth from the mid-1950s and into the 1990s, various small countries still uses it as a combat rifle whilst the Royal Navy and its New Zealand counterpart uses it for line throwing between ships. The British used it for virtually every conflict that fought in during the Cold War, the main exception being Korea which took place before the rifle was introduced into service, and second line British units in the First Gulf War used it.

Below are the stats for a standard L1A1 SLR;

L1A1 SLR (30/60/120, 2d8+1, RoF 1, 20 shots, Min Str d6, Notes: AP2, Semi-Auto)

Two unique optional sights were developed for the SLR over its lifetime, the "Hythe Sight" and the
L2A1 "Site Unit, Infantry, Trilux" (SUIT).

The Hythe Sight was developed for close range, dusk and night use and incorporated two overlapping rear sight aperture leaves, and a permanently glowing (until radioactively decayed) tritium inserts in the front sight post for improved night visibility.

Suggested Rules: Scope that gives +1 to Shooting at Short Range only, also halves Dim and Dark Lighting penalties (round down).

The SUIT sight was similar to the earlier Hythe Sight in that it used tritium-powered illumination so that it could be used in low-light conditions. It was not designed as a sniper sight, but it was still issued to designated marksmen. Primary user was the British Army, though it was also used by the Australians and New Zealanders. It was unusual that that it used an inverted sight and thus used allowed very rapid target re-acquisition by leaving a clear sight picture under the inverted pointer when the rifle's barrel was raised by recoil.

It was virtually copied by the Soviet Union and designated as the 1P29 telescopic sight.

Suggested Rules: Scope (providing the normal +2 to Shooting at Medium range or higher), halves Dim and Dark Lighting conditions (round down), grants an additional +1 to Shooting in the round after the shooter fired an Aimed shot.

A 20 round magazine was standard for the SLR, but Commonwealth magazines had a lug brazed onto the front to engage the recess in the receiver compared to the smaller pressed dimple on metric FAL magazines. Metric FAL magazines could be used with the SLR, but Commonwealth magazines can't fit into the metric FN FAL. The SLR could also take the magazine from the 7.62mm L4 Bren LMG, the bigger capacity of 30 rounds came at the cost of the L4 magazines being gravity assisted downwards feeding and thus unreliable with the SLR's upwards feeding system.

Suggested Rule: L4 magazine increases the SLR's shots to 30 but imposes the Unreliable rule; when the shooter rolls a one on a Shooting roll (regardless of the Wild Die) it means that the weapon has jammed. Repairs required 2d12 minutes and a Repair roll.

Variants

L2A1/C2A1 'Heavy Barrel'

The Heavy Barrel was an automatic version of the L1A1 co-developed by Australia and Canada as a light automatic rifle or quasi-squad automatic weapon (SAW), similar to the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) or the Bren gun. The L2A1 was an inferior weapon to the Bren as the latter was designed from the start for the fire support role, likewise the Bren's barrel could be changed unlike the L2A1.

L2A1 'Heavy Barrel' (30/60/120, 2d8+1, RoF 1, 30 shots, Min Str d8, Notes: AP2, Auto, Snapfire)

SAS L1A1/L2A1 

During the Vietnam War the Australian Special Air Service field modified SLRs and L2A1s by cutting down the barrel length and installing a XM148 40 mm grenade launcher beneath the barrel. Semi-automatic L1A1s were unofficially converted to full-auto capability by using lower receivers from the L2A1. In service with the Australian SAS it was nicknamed after a female dog.

SAS L1A1/L2A1 (30/60/120, 2d8+1, RoF 1, 30 shots, Min Str d8, Notes: AP2, Auto)

XM148 Grenade Launcher (24/48/96, 4d8, RoF 1, Notes: MBT, Single Shot, 1 round to reload) 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

May 2017 Update

OK, a decent amount to report this week.

We'll be taking a look at current progress on Frozen Skies and, on a slightly related note, plans fot his year's UK Games Expo. In addition there will be a look at what to expect after Frozen Skies is finally released.

Frozen Skies
Pretty all the artwork for Frozen Skies has been completed now, all thats left is to get the writing sorted. The last chapter thats needs to be finished is the adventures ones, in the process of writing up the adventure generator which I should hopefully have done by the end of the week. After the adventures chapters I just need to check through couple of other sections before the whole lot is sent off for proofreading and editing, then finally onto layout.

It does mean, however, that I'm not going to be able to have copies for sale at UK Games Expo. Plan B is updating the Setting Primer and producing a print copy. The updated version has some minor edits, an expanded gear list and updated prices as well as the "Things Never Go Smooth" adventure to make it a bit more well-rounded. Also considering doing some custom dice (with the Pilot Skull wild card symbol above), but depends on price and time amongst other things.

On top of that, also having a map done. Below is just something whipped up in Inkarnate, but should hopefully give an idea of what the final map will look like.


Beyond Frozen Skies

Certainly have a few ideas here.

Have had an idea kicking around for a Frozen Skies related book called 'Skies of Crimson' that would focus more on the sky pirates, more details on Broken Spires and more aircraft stuff. I'd also like to explore the rest of the world of Darmonica, have a few plot ideas and the rest of the world has some solid foundations now. I'm also going to look into the idea of doing some cards with different aircraft on them, similar to the figure flats for Savage Worlds, for use with the air combat rules.

There are also the various Setting Ideas I've had, plus the Cold War Skirmishes project I've recently started. With regards to the latter I'm thinking of starting with the ANZACs in Vietnam so that it can be tied into an exisiting product in the form of Tour of Darkness.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Cold War Skirmishes

This is a side project initially started to practice stating up vehicles for Savage Worlds, though has since grown into a project in its own right. The basic premise is a series of books to cover the lesser well known conflicts of the Cold War period, give stats for equipment used and suggest game/campaign ideas (Weird Wars related or otherwise). The intention is to use existing Savage Worlds material where I can, but obviously fill in the gaps where I have to.

Cold War Skirmishes

An Iroquois helicopter from 9 Sqn RAAF in close support of Centurion tanks in South Viet Nam.
The format I'm intending to use is a nation 'core' book and a series of related supplement books that cover various conflicts that a nation was involved in. The core nation book will contain weapons, vehicles, uniform details, possibly common tactics and possibly new Edges/Hindrances. The supplement conflict books will give an overview of the conflict, suggested game/campaign ideas and maybe some adventures. The conflict books will list weapons used, possibly even give stats where they don't currently exist in current Savage Worlds material.

Going to be starting with the British since thats what I have the most knowledge about and have a good selection of actions during the Cold War to choose from. I won't cover Northern Ireland since that it is well known (being in the news for a good 30 years) and there are other factors to take into consideration. Vietnam also falls into the category of being well known, that said I cover the Australian and New Zealander involvement since that seems to be overlooked compared to the coverage of the American efforts during that conflict.

I'll use the ANZACs in Vietnam for a few examples, each would be useful for Tour of Darkness games.

Platoon Structure & Weapons

For the most part the Australians followed British military practice, but fighting in the Pacific during WW2 meant they had to develop their own military doctrines. Post-WW2 they fought alongside other Commonwealth forces in Korea, Malaya and Borneo. The latter two gave them the jungle warfare and counter-insurgency tactics they would put to good use in Vietnam.

The Aussies still employ the basic British platoon structure of three rifle sections (squads) and a HQ section. Dthe Vietnam War, a rifle section consisted of ten personnel comprising: 1 Cpl (Section Commander) - 1 L/Cpl (Section 2i/c) - Scout Group(2 Pte) - Gun Group(2 Pte) - Rifle Group(4 Pte).  The Aussies tended to rotate the job of scout round the members of the platoon whilst the New Zealanders tended to have specialist full-time scouts. The scouts would be armed with either 9mm SMGs or M16s.

Platoon HQ

Platoon Commander, Subaltern, L1A1 SLR
Platoon Sergeant, Sergeant, L1A1 SLR
Signaller, Private, F1 SMG/M16, Radio Set
Batman/Medic, Private, L1A1 SLR (Not always present)

Rifle Section (3), each

Section Commander, Corporal, L1A1 SLR/M16
Second-in-command, Lance Corporal, L1A1 SLR/M16, M79 Grenade Luancher
Rifleman (4), Private, L1A1 SLR
MG No.1, Private, M60
MG No.2, Private, L1A1 SLR
Scout No.1, Private, F1 SMG/M16
Scout No.2, Private, F1 SMG/M16

L1A1 SLR (30/60/120, 2d8+1, RoF 1, 20 shots, Min Str d6, Notes: AP3, Semi-Auto)

F1 SMG (12/24/48, 2d6, RoF 3, 34 shots, Notes: AP1, Auto)


M16 (See SWD)

M60 (See SWD)

Frag Grenade (5/10/20, 3d6, RoF 1, Notes: MBT, Thrown)

Smoke Grenade (5/10/20, RoF 1, Notes: LBT, Thrown, lasts 1d6 rounds, only Night Vision equipped characters can attack those within a cloud)

M72 LAWs were sometimes issued for use agaisnt enemy bunkers and buildings (see SWD).

M79 Grenade Launcher (See Tour of Darkness).

Centurion Mk.5/1 (Australian)

This is an Australian modified version of the British Centurion MBT, these saw extensive service in the infantry support role during the conflict.

Acc/TS: 5/11
Toughness: 26/20/17 (12/6/3)
Crew: 4
Notes: Heavy Armor, Infrared Night Vision, Stabilizier, Tracked
Weapons: UK 20pdr cannon (100/200/400, AP 4d10+1 (AP24), HE 4d8 (AP8), RoF 1, MBT, Notes: Reload 1 action, Heavy Weapon), M1919 commander's cupola, M1919 coax, M2 Browning coax/ranging gun (3RB only)

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Frozen Skies Ideas April 2017

As playtests take place and I check through what I've written for Frozen Skies I've discovered that theres been bits I've missed by accident or stuff that I could add. So this week is a couple of items that could be useful for characters in Frozen Skies even if they have specific uses. Where possible I've tried to use existing rules for Savage Worlds, but where I haven't been able to find anything suitable I've had to come up with my own experimental rules.

(The FatBoy Slim album reference below will make sense, honest gov'nor!)

Better Living Through The Chemistry

Millfields Mines - Fable 3
Peppermint Bomb

The Peppermint Bomb has been around for quite, created for use against Wulvers and originally required a fuse to be lit before throwing. Thankfully the design has been improved to use a fuse from a hand grenade, but it still functions the same as its always done.

It works just like a hand grenade in that can be thrown, though it can be used as part of a trap. When it explodes it produces a Small Burst Template that remains in play for 2d6 rounds. Any Wulver caught within the Template or enters it immediately ends their movement and makes a Spirit roll at -4, a failed roll means they're Shaken. Whilst they remain in the template all Spirit rolls are at -4 and they must make a Spirit roll to avoid being Shaken, though if it makes them become Shaken they do not suffer any wounds if they are already Shaken. If the bomb lands directly on a Wulver then the templates moves with the Wulver until it expires.

Range: 3/6/12

Wulf Bait

Wulf Bait was designed to lure Wulvers to a certain spot, but it also works on wolves and other canines. When used place a Large Burst Templete which lasts for 2d6 rounds. When within 6 inches of the template Wulvers (and canines) must make a Spirit roll at -4 at the beginning of their turn, failure means that they must move into the area covered by the template. On successive turns until the template expires Wulvers have to make a Spirit roll at -4 to try and avoid the effects of the template.

Regardless of whether they're affected by the templete or not Wulvers suffer -2 to scent based Tracking rolls whilst within 6" of the template.

Like the Peppermint Bomb it can be thrown or placed.

Range: 3/6/12

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Alyeskan Tales: Things Never Go Smooth

The last real big piece of writing left to do for Frozen Skies is the adventures section, I'm mulling putting in Firewater & Ice in addition to Fool's Errand. But I still need some more adventures and an adventure generator. This week I'm looking to partially address the former.

Things Never Go Smooth

"It never goes smooth! How come it never goes smooth?" - Mal - Firefly
Ferret approaches the group with a simple job offer; he wants some goods collected from a small town in the Alyeskan Outlands. When they arrive in the town they're meant to meet up with a contact of Ferret who'll hand over the goods.

However, there are one or two compilcations.

You can choose any of the following options or draw a card from the Action Deck to determine the type of complication, then roll a die for the specific problem. Drawing an Ace means you roll on BOTH tables.

BLACK - Problem lies with Ferret's contact.
Roll 1d6
1. He's in prison.
2. He's dead.
3. He's the 'guest of honor' at a big town dinner (i.e. cannibals).
4. He's in trouble with a rival gang.
5. He's skipped town.
6. He's incapacitated.

RED - Problem with the goods.
Roll 1d6
1. They've been lost (i.e. plane crash).
2. The authorities have them.
3. A rival gang has them.
4. They're locked up where Ferret's man can't get to them (i.e. warehouse or the cellar of a tavern).
5. They're in a cave outside of town 'guarded' by some animals (i.e. bears, wolves, etc).
6. Ferret's man has sold them on/got the wrong items.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

April 2017 Update

We've over quarter of the way into a year that seems to be rapidly galloping by as various things start coming together and begin to bear fruit. Certainly feeling that I'm hell of alot closer to finally getting Frozen Skies released to the point where I'm partially-excited/partially-scared by the prospect. Also being a new month and all figured its high time for an update post.

State of the Press

Estimate the writing on Frozen Skies to at least be 90% done; still got the adventures section to complete, add in extra content in places, check through to make sure everything's correct and tweaks on things such as Bestiary stats or Gear prices. Currently exploring my options for proofreading/editing and if everything goes to plan I *should* hopefully have Frozen Skies sent off for layout at the beginning of May. After that it hoping the timings are good to make sure that I get copies ready to sell at the UK Games Expo at the beginning of June, may be a close run thing.

Other than that the main artwork is done, just having another artist do some character portraits to finish off. Though I am still looking for somebody to do a Wild Card Symbol.

In closing, a little treat in the form of some artwork.

Female Windryder/Genchi
Garian Hist WIP

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Vehicle Combat: Sword vs Tank

After revising the Cloudhaunts recently, one thing I noticed is that there doesn't seem to be much regarding vehicles and melee combat. This is fairly important since Cloudhaunts attack vehicles (aircraft in this case) and only have their claws to attack with. Obviously a means of handling this needed to be thought of, something that sparked off one or two other ideas.

Vehicle Combat: Sword vs Tank

Crimson Skies - Preview Comic
 As stated previously Cloudhaunts attack aircraft, normally en mass to in order to force it to crash via sheer weight of numbers. Since a vehicle technically doesn't have a Parry I've had to go with something else, ended up going with the pilot's Piloting skill -2 as the TN for Cloudhaunts to get in order to attack an aircraft.

Then I got thinking about how the aircraft's pilot would be effected, critters clinging to and clawing at his aircraft is going to cause problems. Did think of going with a flat -2 penatly for Piloting rolls, but figured that something based off the Ganging Up rule would probably work better. So the pilot will get a -1 penatly to his Piloting roll for every creature attacking his plane, though to a max of -4. This makes Cloudhaunts that little bit more of a threat whilst at the some time make for a more dramatic game as the players try to shake them off their aircraft to reduce the penatly.Course some of this would be useful for dealing with Skyjackers trying to board the aircraft, least the penatly and the following maneuver;

Shake (-1 to -4): The pilot can try jinking his aircraft in order to shake loose whatever is clinging onto their aircraft. A success and each raise will throw off one of the clingers, perhaps even reducing the pilot's penatly if enough of them are thrown off. The modifier depends on how many creatures are clinging onto the aircraft. If the roll is failed, the pilot goes out of control as usual.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Cloudhaunts Revisited

Almost a year ago I posted about a creature called a Cloudhaunt, recently looked over it again decided some changes are warranted. Some of its special abilities have been changed and I've changed its description since I wasn't happy with what I had. Hopefully it means a much better creature for games of Frozen Skies.

An Aviator's Nightmare

Winged Rat - Mutant Epoch RPG


Still going with the idea that Cloudhaunts are typically found in packs and attack aircraft en mass, latching onto said aircraft and proceeding to rip it apart. Another tactic that they employ is lurk inside clouds, thus justifying their name, and then ambush unsuspecting aircraft.

Apperance wise now going with a scrawny, attenuated rat-like thing with two metre wide ragged wings and a whip-thin four metre long tail.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6(A), Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d12, Stealth d10
Pace: 0; Parry: 5; Toughness:5
Special Abilities
*Bite/Claws: Str+d6
*Whip-Tail: Str+d4
*Flying: Pace 8, Climb -2
*Aircraft Attacker: When attacking aircraft the TN for Cloudhaunts to hit is the pilot's Piloting skill -2. Cloudhaunts are considered to have the Steady Hands Edge for this attack.
*Cloud Stalker: Gains +2 to Stealth rolls whilst inside a cloud.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Regal-class Skyship

Talked a fair bit about Skyships, but haven't really said much beyond how they work. Thus far I've posted about the Bayleaf freighter and the B-class frigate, this week I'll be posting another Skyship in the form of the Regal-class light cruiser (which has been mentioned previously).

Regal-class Light Cruiser

CAS Viceroy on a rare visit to the Alyeskan skies.


The Regal-class was commissioned roughly halfway through the Great Darmonican War, designed as the Commonwealth's answer to enemy commerce raiders and incorporating technological advances made earlier in the conflict. One of the features the class was notable for was the use of oil-fired engines rather than coal-fired ones, making them one of the first Commonwealth Skyships to do so. The lead ship of the class, CAS Regal, was the first to begin construction but suffered damage during an enemy raid that delayed her launching and allowed her sister ship CAS Viceroy to be launched first.

For much of their wartime career, the Regal-class Skyships were employed on extended patrols over the waters of the Commonwealth's Home Isles. Though they were also used as convoy escorts and occasionally raids on enemy targets, CAS Sovereign was lost in a raid upon a Sodkan Lift Gas refinery. Probably the most noteworthy action of the Regal-class was the Second Battle of Lindun when the Skyships Archduke, Marquis, Regal, Regent, Viceroy and Viscount directly engaged enemy bomber streams by firing flak from their main guns.

Post-War they have continued their patrol duties, this time against sky pirates who lack the means to take on a Skyship.

Following stats based upon Weird Wars.

Acc/Top Speed: 3/12; Toughness: 50 (20); Crew: 570
Notes: Heavy Armour; scout planes(1), catapult launched.
Weapons: 8 x 6" guns in 4 turrets.
AA Rating: 2d6 (18 x 40mm in 5 open mounts, 2 x 20mm in 2 open mounts, 12 .50 cal MG).

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Got Gear?

Work progresses on Frozen Skies and the various sections get completed in turn. Some are virtually complete save for editing and proofreading, others require a little bit of work to bring them up to scratch. The gear & goods segment falls in the latter section and is our topic for this week.

Currency


The main currency in Frozen Skies is the Commonwealth Pound (ease the pound symbol '£' will be used), at present the currency looks like what is listed below;



*Penny:- 1 copper
*Tenpence:- 10 copper
*Quarter-pound:- 25 copper
*Half-pound:- 50 copper
*Pound:- 1 silver
*Half-crown:- 5 silver
*Crown:- 1 gold

Basically works out as a penny being £0.01 and a Crown being £10, the rest should be easy enough to figure out. Its likely this may get revised, probably with the coinage above a Pound being retcon to being paper money. 

Got a little bit of work to do regarding prices for various items, part of this has involved researching 1930s exchange rates. Ended up coming up with the following exchange rates for people wishing to convert Savage Worlds or even Deadlands Noir dollars to Frozen Skies pounds.

SW; £1=$50
DLN; £1=$5

Gear & Goods

Currently I stated starting funds to be £250, though this may end up being changed to better reflect prices. Regardless heres updated list of goods with actual prices, though these may get revised.


Common Gear

Clothing

Boots £1
Dress, simple £1
Flight jacket £3
Gloves £0.20
Hat £0.60
Overcoat £3
Pants £0.50
Shirt £0.50
Shoes £0.40

Equipment

Battery £0.01
Binoculars £5
Camera £1-£17+
Crowbar £0.20
Doctor's Bag £4
Film roll, camera £0.04
Flashlight £0.20
Handcuffs £0.40
Lamp, oil (1 pint) £0.04
Lighter £0.20
Lockpicks £10
Radio, vacuum tube £6
Tire, truck £0.80
Tools, repair kit £2
Wristwatch £1-£5