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

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Skykin

Some time ago I mentioned there was an off-shoot of the Genchi called the Skykin, who still still feel the lure of the skies as felt by their Windryder cousins. This week we'll take a closer look at them, see how they live and how they would interact with player characters. In addition, there are one or two suggestions for playing a Skykin character.

The Skykin 
Airship - aninael

As stated previously the Skykin are an off-shoot of the Genchi, though there are very few if any differences between them. Skykin share the same physical appearance as their Genchi brethren (and Windryder cousins), though the Skykin are probably the most overt about it. They retain the kindred traditions as well, though thats where most similarities end. The Skykin have developed into a nomadic culture that roams through the skies on airships, typically an aerial convoy of Skykin airships carries an entire kindred.

Regarded as the gypsies of the skies, the Skykin are forever moving and never staying in one place for any length of time. It is know that they get by either through bartering or plying their skills as stunt flyers, though some say that there is a marked increase in petty theft when Skykin are in town. Some Skykin have been known to get work as pilots, a surprising number have even joined the military to fly but admittedly only on short short enlistments. Though a handful of Skykin aces are know to have existed during the Great Darmonican War, however these flyers are usually part of a specially raised Skykin unit. Skykin flyers more commonly fly with independent outfits, some have been known to fly with air pirates.

Player characters are most likely to encounter Skykin in the form of one of their air convoys, typically a handful of zeppelin style airships protected by a motley collection of ramshackle fighters. Skykin aren't exactly in the best state of repair, some employ sail power or are towed by other airships when their engines finally give out. Alot of Skykin airships have been modified in some way with no uniform pattern, leading them to be referred to as 'junkers'. The Skykin do occasionally carry passengers, though it has to be worth their while. Skykin will never go out of their way to attack somebody, they prefer to flee than fight and so are unlikely to engage in combat with player characters. That said they still defend their homes if attacked, though a lone Skykin may be encountered with a group of air pirates.

Mechanics wise Skykin are the same as their Genchi brethren, save they take a d6 in Pilot rather than Repair. They share the Genchi and Windryder mistrust of others, plus they also mistrust authority but as said above some have joined the military.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

March 2017 Update

First post in March and little bit of a short one.

Really a quick look at how things are shaping up regarding Frozen Skies and plans, such as conventions, for the rest of this year. In addition I'll be doing a follow-on to last week's post in relation to feedback received.


Frozen Skies

Estimate the writing is about 90% done, mainly involves finishing off some sections as well as some spit and polish. Give people the mostly complete bits to look at and have received a generally positive response as well as some excellent feedback. A HUGE thank you to all those who offered their services in this regard.

Got a couple of pieces of artwork currently in progress, once they're done it'll be a case of seeing whether they're enough. Having the Skyship picture redone as I'm not entirely happy with how the previous one turned out. Also I need to see about getting a map done to go in the final book.

Conventions

Thus far this year only the UK Games Expo in Birmingham (UK) has been booked, though looking at doing NORCON in Norwich (UK) again. When I last went to UKGE in 2015 I ran a Frozen Skies game, though haven't made up my mind whether I wish to run anything this year. But I am hoping to have the book ready in time.

Ideas Feedback

Had some great suggestions on improving some of the Edges and Hindrances that I post last week, the updated ones can be found below.

Bad Reputation (Minor/Major)

One way or another, either by not completing jobs or simply selling off the cargo, you've earnt yourself a poor reputation as being unreliable. When making a Charisma based roll you get a -2 penalty, as Major this increases to a -4 penalty. In addition you get no upfront payment as a Minor Hindrance and 25% less reward money as a Major.

Cannot be taken with Good Reputation.

Good Reputation

Requirements: Seasoned
The opposite of Bad Reputation, you've got a rep for being reliable and honest when it comes to getting jobs done. You gain a +2 bonus when doing a Charisma based roll. In addition you get 25% extra reward money.

Cannot be taken with Bad Reputation.

Excellent Reputation

Requirements: Veteran, Good Reputation
As above but with a +4 bonus and 25% extra on the upfront payment for a job.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Frozen Skies Ideas Feb 2017

As work progresses on trying to get Frozen Skies finished and released this year ideas crop up for new content and options. The fluff side of things is mostly nailed down save for a bit of polish here and there. On the other hand a bit of work is still required on the mechanics, primarily character creation options. So this week I'm presenting some Edges and Hindrances for feedback.


Hindraces

Bad Reputation (Minor/Major)

One way or another, either by not completing jobs or simply selling off the cargo, you've earnt yourself a poor reputation as being unreliable. When making a Streetwise roll to find a job you get a -1 penalty, as Major this increases to a -2 penalty.

Cannot be taken with Good Reputation.

Wulftouched (Major)

Whilst you were still in the womb you were infected when a Wulver bit your mother, though it didn't seem to have any effect growing up though you gained a reputation for being bit of a wild child. As an adult you find it difficult to control your anger, something that has caused no end of trouble.

At the GM's call during a situation involving extreme stress make a Spirit roll and make a note of the result. Should you fail three such rolls in a row your character loses control as the infection takes over and you transform into a Wulver. The process takes 1d6+1 rounds after which your character will attack friend and foe alike.

Edges

Good Reputation

Requirements: Seasoned
The opposite of Bad Reputation, you've got a rep for being reliable and honest when it comes to getting jobs done. You gain a +1 bonus when doing a Streetwise roll for jobs.

Cannot be taken with Bad Reputation.

Excellent Reputation

Requirements: Veteran, Good Reputation
As above but with a +2 bonus.

Scentless (Weird)

Requirements: Novice
For reasons unknown Wulvers have a hard time trying to track you. When trying to detect you, Wulvers must roll Notice at -4 in order to do so.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Setting Idea: The Blue Lamp

This week's post is a Setting Idea I've recently had, one that is a sort of British counterpart to A Thin Blue Line. The Blue Lamp is reference to the lamps that sit outside the entrance to British police stations, first used in Victorian times and are still in widespread use today. This is important as the setting is intended to be partially historical and partially modern day, but I'll explain further on.

Woolwich Police Station
Setting Name: The Blue Lamp

Elevator Pitch: Police officers finding themselves misplaced in time confronting weird happenings.

Genre: Police, crime, supernatural horror.

Inspiration: TV series Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes.

Overview: The Blue Lamp is inspired by the British TV series Life on Mars and its spin-off Ashes to Ashes. The basic premise of both series is that a modern day police officer wakes up in the past with full memories of their 'modern day' life. Weird and unusual things happen to the main characters in both series as what happened to them is slowly revealed. Its not until the finale of Ashes to Ashes that we learn that the characters find out that they are in a sort of limbo for police officers who had died through different means.

This would mean that the characters themselves are already dead but don't realise this or had forgotten all about it, so they carry on as normal police officers trying to solve crimes. Its possible that some may have memories of their old life, which may or may not be useful to events during the game. To begin with a campaign should be run as a police based game, but gradually supernatural elements and weird happenings can be introduced. This could range from characters hearing voices of loved ones on telephones or radios through to the characters being stalked by shadowy creatures intent on claiming their souls.

There is a broad scope for campaigns, the period of choice to set a campaign is from the 1960s up to the 1990s. Likewise there are different locations to use such as 1960s London ruled by the Kray Brothers, the hunting ground of the Yorkshire Ripper in the late '70s and any big city in Thatcherite Britain during the 1980s. These are just some examples but campaigns could be set in other periods such as Victorian times or the Interwar period between the World Wars.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Rogue's Gallery: Garian Hist, Ex-Aero-Marine Turned Freebooter

The Great Darmonican War left its mark on a great many men and women, some found fame whereas others were left little more than broken shells. All bear scars of some form or another, shaped by the experiences they endured during the conflict.

Then there are some like Garian Hist who were reborn amidst the carnage of battle.

Life At The Sharp End

Guard face concept - Dishonored
Garian Hist was one of many fresh-faced youths who enlisted seeking glory, being entranced to join the Royal Aero-Marines by the 'glamour' portrayed by the recruitment posters. Some of that glamour became a little tarnished during basic training, it became even more tarnished when Hist finally got to taste the bitter reality of service life. He quickly became frustrated by the long hours of sentry duty guarding air bases or spent scrubbing down barrack blocks, he longed for action rather than the 'hurry up and wait' attitude of the military.

Before long Hist was assigned as a combat replacement to No.319 Squadron embarked on CAS Viceroy. The Viceroy was a Regal-class skyship, equivalent to a naval light cruiser, and part of a picket aero-fleet guarding the Commonwealth's eastern flank against the Sodkans. Hist came under the wing of James Midnightte, who 319 Squadron's senior most NCO and had the title of Sergeant-at-Arms. Midnightte was for all intent and purpose a warrant officer, his job was to lead boarding actions against enemy airships. Commissioned officers were meant to stay on their own vessel to command its gun crews and stand ready to defend against enemy boarders. A squadron's Sergeant-at-Arms typically didn't last long in their role unless they were wise or extremely lucky, for Midnightte it was the former.

Midnightte had worked his way up the ranks, but had never gone chasing a commission. Part of a Sergeant-at-Arms' job was also to assess men, both in and out of combat, to offer recommdation for extra responsibilities, medals or even promotion. At the same time Midnightte also weeded out the hot heads and the incompetent, usually by having a quiet word with the squadron's commander to head off potential trouble.

The C/O of 319 Squadron learnt to trust Midnightte's judgement, or 'Midnightte's Word' as it became known amongst the men. So when Midnightte suggested promoting Hist to the rank of Corporal, the squadron commander did so without hesitation. Hist, for his part, proved Midnightte's Word was justified by proving to be a natural leader of men and soon rose to the rank of Sergeant. The odds were good for him to gain a commission, in fact he was made an officer-cadet on probation and needed final approval of his conduct before he could get his hard-earned commission.

Then disaster struck.

The Viceroy chanced upon a lone Sodkan skyship, managing to catch it unawares. A barrage from the Viceroy's guns managed to cripple the Sodkan's engines and knocked out her port side gun batteries. Seeing a chance to capture a prize, the Viceroy's captain gave orders for the Sodkan vessel to be boarded. Being the Sergeant-at-Arms, Mdnightte commanded the boarding party and as ever there was a number of men who wanted to prove themselves in his eyes with Hist chief among them. It became a brutal, close quarters battle as the Sodkans fought bitterly to defend their ship.

In any boarding action the first objective is the ship's engine room, it is where the main equipment used for the skyship's lift is located. Control of the engine room is key especially since a desperate crew could scuttle their vessel by deliberately damaging it. There are of course secondary objectives such as a vessel's radio which are still important, especially since the defenders could radio for help. Hist was given orders to secure the radio room and hold it with a small squad of men, the code books there were of particular interest to military intelligence and there was a need to ensure that the Sodkans couldn't co-ordinate their reinforcements.

The radio room was quickly secured, though Hist became increasingly anxious about the battle for the engine room which had become a bloody stalemate. Hist interrogated the Sodkan radio operator and learnt there was a secondary entrance to the engine room, effectively an emergency hatch that could be used. Rather than wait for orders Hist left a couple of men to guard the radio room and took the rest of his squad to find the hatch the Sodkan had mentioned, which they soon found and gained entry to the skyship's engine room. They were able to outflank the defenders, though the team under Midnightte's command were unaware of Hist's squad and took their chance when the defenders faltered. Hist ended up being wounded and knocked out by a hand grenade, it was hard to tell which side had thrown it in the confusion of battle.

Worse still the Sodkans had managed to retake the radio room and called for help from a couple of Sodkan skyships that were in the area, forcing the Viceroy to abandon its prize. Midnightte had explosives planted in the engine room before conducting a fighting withdrawal back to the Viceroy, carrying as many of their wounded as they could. Hist woke up a day or so later in a Commonwealth hospital and returned to duty six weeks later, though for disobeying orders he was busted down to the rank of Marine and his chances of a commission were shot. He became prone to fits of anger and also alot more ruthless, he finally ended up being dishonourably discharged after shooting some enemy soldiers who were trying to surrender.

After his discharged, Hist ended up in and out of prison where he made a few contacts. Once he'd his fits of tempter largely under control Hist used the contacts he'd gained, got himself an airship and a crew together before setting out for Alyeska. In a short time Hist had set himself up as a freebooter not to mess with, plus one that wasn't too fussy about what targets he attacked and how he did so. The Commonwealth had to put a bounty on his head after he took down a military convoy.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Knowledge (Battle) d6 Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Shooting d6 Charisma: -2; Pace: 5; Parry: 6; Toughness: 9 (2)
Hindrances: Bloodthirsty, Mean, Stubborn, Wanted (Major)
Edges: Brawler, Brawny, Command, Command Presence,
Gear: Knuckleduster (Str+d4), Shotgun (12/24/48, 1-3d6, RoF 1), Flak jacket (+2/+4)

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Alyeskan Tales: Wreck of the Skellig

It was a bit tricky trying to decide what category to fit this week's post under, ultimately went for an Alyeskan Tales post in the form of an adventure hook. This week's post is also part of a little experiment, mainly related to social media, but means going forward most posts will probably have a picture of some description attached.

Across Alyeska there are many tales and legends that grace the circuit of bar-room talks, typically spoken about on long dark evenings. Some are told as cautionary tales, others as some light entertainment to pass the time whilst the weather's foul. There is a kind of magic to these fables as a kind of hush falls upon the tavern as the drinkers listen to the words as they are spoken, for there is sometimes a grain of truth that may lead to a rich pay off.

One such tale is that of the...

Wreck of the Skellig

Ice Ghosts - Mike Doscher
The Skellig's tale stems from the Great Darmonican War, it was a skyship in service with the Tylander Air Service. During the conflict she fought in a number of skirmishes against her Commonwealth and Artian counterparts, though as a raider rather than at the forefront of battle. Her involvement in the raid on the Artian liftorium refinery at Stomberg was a particular highlight of her career.

At some point during the War she was ordered to Alyeska, this was unusual as Tylander skyships normally conducted raider style missions round the Commonwealth's Home Isles rather than some far-flung colony. It is believed that she was sent to pick up some sort of cargo found by Tylander agents and bring it back to Tyland, though both the cargo and the mission itself has never been confirmed or denied. But is a moot point as the Skellig was lost with all hands after picking up the cargo, about the time this supposedly took place a Commonwealth air patrol reported seeing an unidentified skyship over the Alyeskan Outlands but lost her in the clouds.

To this day the Skellig's ultimate fate remains unknown, though a handful of people have reported finding a crashed skyship in the ice north of Prospector's Reach. Though whenever somebody went out to double check the reported location there was nothing to be found, though there is some speculation that the wreck moves with the ice flows as its been reported in different locations. Likewise there is some belief that the Skellig's cargo may had been some sort of Ancient Terran device that could've led to her lost.

Both the skyship itself and its cargo are worth a small fortune to the right parties, though any enterprising group could free her from the ice and restore to the skies. The only real issue is what downed her in the first place...

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

A Fool's Errand

Last night got to run the first part of my Fool's Errand campaign, though time constraints meant for a short gaming session. As ever there was one or two things that I didn't account for, though thankfully didn't have to wing things that much. Regardless heres the session report followed by some thoughts.

An Offer You Can't Refuse

Our adventure begins with a pilot called Arnie and his companion Brick the...err...Brick, receiving a visit from some brutes decently dress in second-hand suits. Our duo have summons from a local crime boss known as 'Ferret', though he would be most disappointed if his invitation was declined. Not wishing to disappoint (and wishing to avoid some interesting bruises) the duo accept Ferret's summons and are escorted to his office in a warehouse by the local airfield. Ferret greets them when they arrive and explains he has a job for them, a simple fetch and retrieve kind of job.

But it ain't that simple.

The item is a box located in a bank vault and there are possibly other people after the same item, oh and the bank is in a ghost town out in the Wulflands. Other problem is that if they headed to the town right there and then they would arrive only a short while before nightfall, spending a night out in the Wulflands isn't exactly a good idea. Arnie did point out that neither he or his heavyweight comrade are safecrackers, Ferret introduced his own locksmith in the form of a short lass called Karla. Things got off to a good start when Arnie made a comment about babysitting, Karla responded in kind and stated she could handle herself.

Our trio set off via aircraft to a point just east of the Wulfwall, a line of fortifications separating the Wulflands from the rest of Alyeska, where they setup camp for the night so that they had more daylight to take advantage of the following day. After an uneventful night they completed the rest of their journey and found the town without too much trouble, a circuit round the town showed it was abandoned with no sign of life. They then landed at what they took to be the town's airstrip, Arnie positioned the aircraft after landing so that it was facing along the runway so help save time later when they took off again.

Moving into town they saw many signs of neglect, wooden buildings rotted and partially collapsed. Even some of the brick buildings had sagging roofs and broken windows whilst the streets were cracked with weeds, there was also some wildlife in the form of birds and rabbits. The bank itself was easy to find, being one of the larger brick buildings and located in the town square, it also showed signs of neglect and its doors swung freely in the breeze as debris littered the interior. The vault thankfully seemed to be intact and Karla got to work opening the door (three successful Lockpicking rolls, last of which got a raise) and had it open within half an hour. Inside there was the box as Ferret said there would be, plus bags of paper money and bank bonds. Though the paper crumbled as Arnie picked some up, so the bags were considered to be worthless and left.

Just as our trio were getting ready to leave movement was spotted outside, an impressive Notice roll from Arnie revealed some men trying to sneak up to the bank in one of the nearby alleyways or side streets. A quick search of the bank turned up a back door which the trio left through and found themselves in an alley, though the men quickly discovered this and were soon on the trio's tail. A short Chase then took place on foot through the alleyways and streets of the town, one of the men fell to gunfire whilst a second got an impressive strike from Brick's knuckleduster (29 damage!). Gunfire on both sides proved to be ineffective during the short pursuit (the thugs giving chase often rolled too low to get an Action Card), Karla failed both times she tried to 'Force' the thugs with a distraction and Brick almost came a cropper when he ran into a wooden barrel (Minor Obstacle complication).

Before long they were back at the airstrip, slightly outnumbered by the thugs (5 vs 3) but still in procession of the box. The leader of the thugs attempted to convince the trio to hand over the box but Arnie, fearful of what Ferret may do to them, refused even when the thug boss offered double the coin that Ferret had offered them for the job. With a sigh the thug boss called out "shoot 'em!" and gunfire broke out a second time, the scant cover offering little protection for our trio as Brick went down almost instantly under the volley of fire but without a permanent injury. Karla was next to go down, but the trio had managed to thin down the thugs slightly in return.

Then Arnie spotted something.

Some Wulvers had been drawn by the sound of gunfire and set upon the thugs, tearing two of them limb from limb. With the thugs now otherwise occupied Arnie dragged both of his companions and the box onto the aircraft and hastily started her up. Only the thug boss remained facing down the Wulvers as the aircraft's engines spluttered into life, fire from the boss' machine pistol managing to cripple one of the beasts but that only delayed the inevitable of him being ripped to shreds. By now the plane was rolling down the runway and picking up speed, the Wulvers gave chase but soon enough the plane's tail came up and its wings started to bite the air. Before the beasts could get within a hair's breath the aircraft was already climbing up into the wild blue yonder, Arnie breathing a huge sigh of relief before easing off the throttles and settling the plane down into a cruising speed.

Both Brick and Karla were Incapacitated, but thankfully they weren't bleeding out and neither of them got permanent injuries. They still had the box and thus could complete the job for Ferret, but first Arnie wanted to get his companions seen to and had set course for the nearest town east of the Wulfwall. Because of time constraints the session finished there, but I'm quite pleased that we managed to finish Act One of Fool's Errand within two or three hours.

Thoughts

Stated earlier that there were one or two things that I hadn't accounted for when I wrote the adventure series; the players choosing to run.

I was expecting the players to stand their ground and use the bank as an improvised fort, but players are always doing things you don't expect. Still it gave me a chance to use the Chase rules earlier than was planned, one of my players said it was certainly a bit different compared to the normal combat that they were used to. But I will have to try to use the Chase rules a bit more often now in my games, obviously where it makes sense to do so.

My other observation was how much of a struggle it ended up being for the players, after all there was only two player characters and the GM controlled Karla against 7 thugs of which one was a Wild Card. The players had the Advantage over the thugs for much of the Chase, but the range penalties hampered their shooting by a noticeable amount. The thugs for their part had to contend with my pair dice rolling, though when they got the chance to shoot they almost wiped the floor as proven by how quickly they felled Brick and Karla in open combat.

On the whole I'm quite happy with how the adventure ran and the players seemed to have enjoyed it, though when it comes to writing it up properly I will have to factor in the consideration that the players may choose to flee rather than stand and fight.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

January 2017 Update

We're a few weeks into 2017 and already plans for the year are beginning to take shape.This week's post mainly concerns convention appearances, primarily trade stands and perhaps events I may run during the convention/show.

Diceni

It is a bit disappointing that Diceni will not be running this year, though it is understandable that a number of factors meant the show organiser wasn't able to run it this year. Still, its set to return next year and its a good opportunity to take some time to plan out possible changes.

UK Games Expo

We're back baby!

Had to skip last year's UKGE, so looking forwards to returning to what is the biggest convention for Utherwald. Again we'll have a trade stand over the three days that the Expo runs, though tempted to run Frozen Skies related one-shots but we'll see.

Though I am hoping to have something pretty big for UKGE, but thats dependent on a few things and I cannot give any details until we're much closer to May time.

NORCON

The second big event of the year for Utherwald, now expanded to a two day event in October. Though here it'll just be a trade stand.

Exilicon

The third and, quite possibly, final event of the year for Utherwald is Exilicon in Cambridge. Once again there'll be a trade stand, may do other events like the presentation I did last year. More details when I get confirmation of dates.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Iron Road

Prior to the arrival of aircraft, another form of transport was expected to be king in Alyeska; Railways.

Though eclipsed by the raise of air travels, the railways made a mark on Alyeska's history and still plays a valuable role to this day. Whilst everyone agrees that aircraft can fly cargo almost anywhere throughout Alyeska, the railways can carry almost anything. There are some cargoes that are better suited to carriage along the iron road than through the air.

The Grand Trunk

The greatest example and most important piece of railway in Alyeska is the Grand Trunk, a 'main line' that begins in Gravenburgh and runs through Morrdun before passing through the Wulfwall and terminating in Fort Ragnar on the coast of the Wulflands. Surprisingly passenger services are run along the entire length of the line, though in reality not many people will travel via rail to Fort Ragnar due to the dangers of the Wulflands. Alot of passenger trains terminate at Fort Albert on the 'civilized' side of the Wulfwall, the sole reason for the handful of passengers trains that do brave the Wulflands do so for political reasons to appease the reaming civilian population of Fort Ragnar.

There are another of branch lines that split off from the Grand Trunk, though alot of these are industrial in nature using mining and logging camps thus tend to see freight rather than passengers. Indeed the greater portion of traffic on the Grand Trunk is generally freight, a good portion of which is military related carrying supplies and munitions.

Other Lines

Aside from the Grand Trunk there are other railways in Alyeska, most of these are in the Outlands and don't reliably carry passengers. Again these are mainly industrial, serving mining and logging camps. The Tay River Railway connects Gravenburgh to the town of Tay River, located on the southern shore of Wicked Antler Lake in the Outlands. Purpleflint, a town on the northern shore of the same lake and capital of the Outlands, also has a railway line but that one is largely used for ores to be shipped to the town and loaded onto river barges to be taken to the coast. There are plans to construct a line that goes round the lake, but nothing has been done to achieve this yet.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Creature Feature: Scavvers

We're kicking off the New Year with a new Creature Feature!

This week we'll be taking a look at a critter that can be found all over Darmonica, one that is widely as nuisance vermin. In the coming weeks I hope to get a posting schedule sorted, basically structure what I'm going to be posting each week. Monthly updates and planning notes/session reports of my Frozen Skies campaign will probably form the backbone of this with a mixture of new monsters, locations, setting notes, etc.

Scavvers

Scavvers are small humanoid creatures with pale grey skin, big pointed ears and a scrawny build. They are natural tinkerers and are drawn to machinery, mainly found in urban areas but they been spotted in mining camps as well as old battlefields and aircraft crash sites. Scavengers second to none, they are considered a nuisance for their tenacity to steal parts which makes them especially unpopular in factories and workshops alike. In the eyes of the law they are officially considered vermin, some areas (if they're highly industrial) will place a small bounty on them.

Being cowardly creatures they would rather flee than face a fight, though if cornered or if they have numbers on their side they will fight like cornered rodents and will gang-up to bring down larger foes.

Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d8, Stealth d10, Repair d8
Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 4
Special Abilities
*Claws: Str+d4
*Size -1: Scavvers stand barely more than 3' in height.