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...