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.


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)