Monday, 30 October 2017

The Airman's Gazetteer: The Commonwealth

One of the Q&As I've done in relation to the Kickstarter had people asking about the rest of the world of Darmonica beyond the shores of Alyeska. I've covered the various nations of the world to a limited degree, but nothing in depth. The most obvious one to start with is the Commonwealth (which I've posted about before) since that is the nation that currently has the most influence over Alyeska. Gradually I'll cover the other nations in turn should this mini-series proves to be popular, but hopefully it'll prove useful for those who wish to take their games of Frozen Skies beyond Alyeska and explore the rest of the world of Darmonica.

The Commonwealth of Gwentia

The Commonwealth of Gwentia is based in a cluster of islands known as the Home Isles, separated from the coastline of Tyland by a channel of water several miles wide called the 'Gwent Straits'. It has a monarch as its head of state, presently Queen Lothwyn Boudica Cathmore II. There is also a First Minister, Edmund Vermillion, who is the head of Government and answers to the Queen as well as Parliament. The Commonwealth's capital is the metropolis of Lindun, a vast industrial city that still bears scars from the Great Darmonican War.

Its laws aren't that much different from those in Alyeska, but the Home Isles are more heavily populated and thus have a much greater urban area. Rationing is still in force but has steadily eased off in the decade since the war ended, though all the cities and major towns still have bomb damage with reconstruction efforts being slow to gather pace. Like wartime air raid shelters are still in use and air-aircraft batteries can be found scattered across the length and breath of the Home Isles. With the war ending in an armistice, there is an uneasy peace and there is the ever present threat of sky pirate raids. The three Services of the Commonwealth Armed Forces (Army, Air Force and Navy) have a noticeable presence, especially since conscription in the form of a two year long term of 'National Service' for males when they turn 18 years of age.

Outside of the towns and cities there is still plenty of countryside, alot of it is made of small villages and farmland with some wilderness areas where wild forests still hold sway. Transport is mostly rail based, but motor vehicles have started making their presence felt as well as aircraft that can reach the few remote areas (particularly float-planes). The Commonwealth Air Force conducts regular air patrols and the Home Isles boost a decent sized and capable police, though the latter is split up into territorial forces for the various regions.

The Home Isles are linked to Alyeska via a twice weekly skyship service, though crossing the Great Ocean is difficult thanks to the storms collectively known as Taran's Tempest. Maritime vessels are commonly, especially since the Commonwealth holds former Tylander ports on the other side of the Straits. There are also a few air routes, but most of these are routed via Artian controlled territory with few direct flights to the Tyland Free State.

On the whole, people in the Home Isles enjoy a more comfortable standard of living than their Alyeskan cousins despite the war damage the Isles have suffered. Electricity, telephones and radios are both more reliable and in widespread use. Likewise, aircraft can take advantage of wartime CAF bases that have now been opened up to civilian use. You have to search very hard to find anything close to the frontier feel of Alyeska, even the smallest town boosts a well maintained airfield. Generally the Home Isles have a more civilized feel to them, but a comparable amount of crime thats geared more towards smuggling and the black market. Though there is a greater restriction on weapons with firearms requiring a license to own and use.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

October 2017 Update

Right, update time.

We're getting towards the end of the year and Frozen Skies is getting pretty darn close to being released, though it is still a case of "so close yet so far". The news is mainly going to be about the Kickstarter, though I do have a couple of other things to talk about.


All-in-all things have gone pretty decently, got off to a extremely good start but things were rocky for a while before we finally hit the target. As time of writing its pretty much at £3,000 and 107% funded, still a week to go and theres a comfortable margin. But we're still £1,000 short of the first stretch goal, would be awesome if we got it before the campaign finishes.

Anyhow, a few links.


Wild Die Podcast:-

RPGNet Q&A:-

Alyeskan Tales

Looking at revamping and updating the Alyeskan Tales fiction companion, this will involve adding a new story and partial rewrite of one of the other stories. Hopefully it'll be relaunched in the next couple of months, though Kickstarter backers will get a free PDF of it.


Already stated that I'll be doing a Frozen Skies campaign in the near future, though looks like I'll also be running a One Shot in November. Gaming society at the local university is running a series of One Shot Nights for RPGs, I've signed up and will hopefully be running the Things Never Go Smooth adventure on 20th November. After Action Report will probably go up the following Monday.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Rogue's Gallery: The Banshees

There are many sky pirate outfits that operate across the face of Darmonica, Alyeska is no exception given that it is home to the notorious pirate haven of Broken Spires. One outfit known as the Tundra Wolves has already been mentioned, though this week I want to take a look at an another outfit; The all-female outfit known as the Banshees.

Warrior Women of the Skies

The Sky Band - The Phantom (1996 film)
The Banshees owe their existence to a woman called Natasha 'Tash' Rogan, who learnt to fly from a young age. Natasha's father was a courier pilot before the Great Darmonican War in what is now the Wulflands, back then the area was known as Western Alyeska and home to numerous settlements. Her father taught her everything he knew about flying and when he was eventually called up for war service, Natasha was able to take his courier job. A double tragedy befell the young Natasha; her father was killed in action whilst Wulvers overran the territory and Natasha was forced to flee. She developed a grudge against the Commonwealth (for the death of her father and the loss of her home), but as a young woman on her own she still needed to survive.

The answer came in an unlikely form.

Natasha had ended up at a remote trading post, one where a sky pirate outfit (the Dragonspine Marauders) was laying up after a recent job and blowing off steam with the aid of women and alcohol. She managed to fend off a number of approaches by the drunken members of the outfit, but she decided to stay and watch the sky pirates. Her decision proved to be a mixed blessing as before dawn the following morning a rival sky pirate outfit attacked the trading post.Given that most of the Marauders were nursing hangovers, Natasha took matters into her own hands and jumped into one of the Marauders' planes.

Natasha's quick thinking saved the Marauders' hide as she managed to stall the rival outfit long enough for more of the Marauders' own planes to take-off and join the fray. Two of the rival sky pirates were shot down before the rest fled, though Natasha realized that she'd better face the music as she was unsure how the Marauders would react to somebody taking one of their planes. Much to her surprise the Marauders' leader hired her on the spot, she had made a good enough impression and they were down a pilot or two. She was only with the Marauders for a short time, the attitude of her other pilots and unwanted attention force her to leave but not before she learnt the finer points of aerial combat.

Natasha wandered for a while and managed to track down a few female pilots like herself, all who wanted to prove that they weren't just 'pretty things' and were just as capable of being sky pirates as their male counterparts. Soon they were in the news after robbing a train carrying gold south of Tay River, but their capture of a zeppelin (the first time it had been attempted) earned them worldwide fame...and a bounty on their heads. It was a newspaper reported who coined the name 'Banshees' after the sirens the gang had fitted on their planes at Natasha's orders, a scare tactic to reduce casualties by sapping the enemy's will to fight that quickly became known as the Banshees' Cry. 

Banshee Sky Pirate

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Driving d4, Fighting d6, Intimidation d6, Piloting d8, Shooting d6, Streetwise d6, Taunt d6
Charisma: +2; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Greedy, Loyal, Wanted (Major)
Edges: Ace, Alertness, Attractive
Gear: Knives, clubs, pistols or SMGs.

Natasha's Agility, Smarts and Piloting all increase one die. In addition she gains the Command and Quick edges.

Banshee Plane

Acc/TS: 20/10; Toughness: 12 (3); Crew: 1; Climb: 1; Handling: +1; Notes: Medium Chassis, Armor x1, Increased Handling x1, Improved Gunsight, Extra Ammo x1
Weapons: x2 50-cal MG (50/100/200, 2d10, RoF 4, Bursts 28, AP 3)
Special - Banshees' Cry: When diving down on an enemy aircraft, the enemy pilot must make a Spirit roll at -2 or become Shaken.
Cost: £2,500+

Monday, 9 October 2017

Northern Ghosts

One of the things I wanted to do with Frozen Skies is maintain Alyeska's frontier feel; it is sparsely populated with a scattering of settlements rather than grand cities. Man has tried to tame this land but the land has pushed back in various different ways, leaving abandoned remnants of broken hopes and dreams. These are various ghost towns that can be found across Alyeska, any of which can be worked into an adventure.

On a side note, just (at time of writing) £400 left to go on the Frozen Skies Kickstarter.

Northern Ghosts

There are various abandoned outposts and so-called ghost towns scattered across Alyeska, most were established with high hopes and expectations that didn't pan out. Others were abandoned either due to disaster or for other more mysterious reasons.

Forsaken Islands

Off the Alyeskan coastline there are many islands, some have been inhabited at various different times. There are some like the infamous Roth Island which are considered to be cursed places where no sane man ought to go. Other islands contain rusting old whaling stations, relics of a industry decimated by the Great Darmonican War and one that has never recovered. In the far north are various weather and research stations, only a handful now remain due to the war or a volcanic eruption that devastated Black Island in 1829 AF.

A Dead-end Rail Town

The town of Mcguire Pass sits in the mountain pass of the same name roughly north of Morrdun in the Dragonspine Mountains. It was where one attempt to build a railway line across the Dragonspine was made, and the township was established originally as a camp for the workers and then later as a rail depot to refuel or swap over locomotives for trains crossing over the mountains. Both the rail depot and the railway line had been completed when disaster struck of a major landslide that blocked one end of the pass. Considering it too expensive and difficult to clear, the company simply abandoned the line and the town. Only the line between Gravenburgh and Tay Rivers exists as the sole railway that cross the mountains, Mcguire pass has been forgotten about as its population has dwindled to nothing. A few derelict buildings, the abandoned depot and rusting tracks are all that remain to mark its existence.

A Cursed Mining Town

Kirkton is one of a number of mining towns that have been established in Alyeska over the years, though aside from a lone watchman it has laid abandoned since before the Great Darmonican War. The town and its associated mines were owned by the Robson family, one of Alyeska's richest families until the late 1700s AF when their fortunes suddenly turned. One after another the mines ran dry or started being plagued by accidents, causing many of the miners to quit and seek work elsewhere. Then the entirety of the Robson family vanished, with nobody certain of their final fate. With the family gone, Kirkton became another ghost town as no other mining company was interested.

Today only the foresaid watchman remains, an old fellow who stays on behalf of his 'employers'.

The Wulflands

There are countless ghost towns and abandoned homesteads across the Wulflands, will abandoned in haste when the Wulver overran the area. Many still have rich pickings for scavengers willing to brave both the Wulvers and any inhabitant who was too stubborn to leave. Some of them are used by the Alyeskan Outriders as a night-time safe-haven, preferably the ones with two-story buildings.