Monday 25 June 2018

Frozen Skies Session Three: Beneath The Spires

Session the Third in the ongoing Frozen Skies campaign, one of the players wasn't able to make and I didn't want to run what I had planned without them. So put a few options to the rest of the group and it was decided to do a side adventure instead...well ended up being more of a mis-adventure.

Don't suppose I've ever seen so many failed rolls in a single game session.

Watch Yer Step...

We joined our intrepid heroes where we left them, leaving a tavern after attempting to start a fight between two rival sky pirates. Tag had made the crew leave the tavern and nodded a greeting to the leader of the Banshees sky pirate gang. The crew had gone on ahead with Tag trailing a short distance behind them, though this was where ill fortune struck the crew. Broken Spires is a town built on many different levels and on the side of a mountain, it is the sort of town that would give Health & Safety a heart attack. Many of the 'roads' are just wooden walkways maintained to the standard of what the townsfolk can be bothered with (which isn't much).


The crew (bar Tag) had very little warning before the wooden planks gave way beneath them and dropped them a good 40 feet into an underground cavern. I allow everyone to make Agility rolls, though only Sebastian made a successful roll. Alex and George failed their Agility roll but also had a high enough Toughness to avoid taking any damage, Herbert took enough damage to end up Shaken. All four ended up with a level of Fatigue from Bumps and Bruises, meaning for most of the session they all had a -1 penalty on their trait rolls from this level of Fatigue.

After dusting themselves down, they discovered that they had no rope and that three passages led out of the cavern they'd ended up in. They decided to try and make their way out on foot, reasoning that somewhere there had to be an exit. They chose the left most passage and set off, managing to find a leg bone which they turned into a torch with a strap of cloth and some alcohol. After travelling for some time Alex was lucky enough to spy (just passed his Notice roll) an abrupt end to their path in the form of a ledge. Alex managed to stop the others from walking off this ledge, particularly since it was a large cavern of uncertain depth. They did find a normal ledge that led round the edge of the cavern, so with the lack of better ideas they pushed onwards.

Partway along this narrow ledge, Sebastian and Herbert ended up dislodging some rocks which fell into the cavern and the echoes of their fall reverberated round the cavern. These echoes were answered by the screeches of some strange creature. A couple of rounds passed with failed Notice rolls on both sides before the creatures, as it turned out to be a pair of Cloudhaunts, finally made an attack. One Cloudhaunt angled in on Alex, who had First Strike and whipped up his cane gun to shoot the critter in the face. The now dead Cloudhaunt's momentum meant it carried into Alex and squished him against the wall of the cavern. The second Cloudhaunt fell to Herbert's shotgun.

With both creatures dealt with, the crew pressed on once more and headed into another tunnel. Sebastian found some tracks in the dirt from rats, but thankfully no more critters put in an appearance. Eventually they came to another ledge, this time a cavern filled with glimmer rock crystals and a stream running through the middle of it. There was also a crevice in the cavern's ceiling which let in sunlight. Alex went full-on Spiderman and scaled the rockface up to the crevice and then out onto a snow covered landscape. The others, being considerably less skilled at climbing, opted to follow the underground stream in hopes of reaching the surface by a different route.

Up on the surface, Alex followed roughly the path of the underground stream and crossed over a ridge and discovered a small valley that contained a small lake. He also spotted a waterfall, which the others soon came across by following the stream. The waterfall fell from a small opening in a cliff and dropped down at least 10 feet into the lake, making it a little tricky for the others to get down. Sebastian went first, failed his Climbing roll but just managed to pass his Agility roll. Up next was George who also failed his Climbing roll, though he ended up Acing his Agility roll. Last was Herbert who, lacking the Climbing skill, decided to jump and just did an Agility roll which he managed to succeed with. The trio landed in the lake and I asked them to make Vigor rolls which they all failed, each gained a level of Fatigue due to the freezing temperature.

Luckily there was a small cave and some trees nearby, so they were able to find some shelter and get a fire going. They settled down for the night and took it in turns doing watches, Sebastian took the third watch and spotted a large figure approaching the cave before proceeding to rouse the others. They soon were able to spot that the figure was a large, muscular man wearing a bear skin cloak. The man saw the crew at the mouth of the cave and then started pounding across the snow towards them, Herbert got a shot off with his shotgun which seemed to have no effect upon the man. However, the man barrelled into Herbert and only managed to push him back a few feet in the snow.

Alex attempted to outflank the man, but was spotted and so quickly decided to hang back. George tried getting round the back of the man and stabbing him in the head, but failed miserably. Sebastian got a shot off with his rifle, but didn't seem to do much in the way of damage (the man manage to pass a Soak roll).

Second round saw both the man and Sebastian getting Jokers, a simple d6 roll-off saw Sebastian going first who got a head shot off and did another wound. Since we're using the Gritty Damage Setting Rule, I rolled on the injury table and rolled Blind but that didn't effect the man that much. The man, in turn, pummelled Herbert and left him with a Brain Damage result from the injury table. Alex moved behind the man and fired his cane gun at point blank range into the small of the man's back, Acing both the Shooting and damage rolls. Even after his high Toughness of 11 was taken off, the man still received four wounds from Alex's attack. By this point, much like the rest of the group, I had no bennies left and so couldn't do a Soak roll.

With the giant of a man defeated, the gang were still stuck in the middle of nowhere presumably not far from Broken Spires...


What was suppose to be a improvised adventure, clubbed together at the last minute, seemed to go down as a big hit. Though bad dice rolling for everyone meant that bennies got burned through at an almost scary pace.

I'll need to speak to Tag's player to see what he would've gotten up to, but I have a couple of ideas there. Hoping to give him the chance to earn some XP before the next session so that he stays about even with the rest of the group.

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Frozen Skies...Now Airborne!

Frozen Skies has, after at least seven years of work, been released.

Can be found in PDF and many different print options at RPGNow/DriveThruRPG.

Monday 18 June 2018

Rogue's Gallery: Marauders

Alyeska is home to many outlaws; the most infamous of these are the sky pirates that have been romanticised by the newsheets. Bandits aren't unheard, though they are not seen as exciting and tend to receive considerably less attention in the press. Then there are the motorcycle raider gangs known as 'Marauders'.

HOT OFF THE PRESS! Frozen Skies will go on sale this coming Wednesday!!

On Steads of Steel & Oil

Bandits have plagued Darmonica for centuries, typically peaking in activity following major conflicts as thousands of soldiers suddenly find themselves released from service with no job to turn to. Bandits have also moved with the times, the evolution of mechanised warfare saw increased demand for technical skills and thus resulted on a large number of those with a mechanical aptitude. The rise of the aircraft has seen many gravitate towards the sky pirate outfits that have emerged over time, though there are still those who remained earth-bound.

Marauders are outlaws who prefer to conduct their nefarious activities on the ground, usually with a motley collection of vehicles. Most marauder gangs have a couple of trucks and a fair few motorcycles, some may even have sidecars. They typically target trains, lightly armed convoys, trade caravans and even small settlements on occasion. Even the military has found that it isn't immune to marauder attacks and so has had to assign precious manpower to guard convoys and supply dumps.


Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Driving d8, Fighting d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d8, Repair d6, Shooting d6, Throwing d6
Charisma: -2; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 6 (1)
Hindrances: Bloodthirsty, Mean, Wanted (Minor)
Edges: Ace, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Steady Hands
Gear: Revolver (12/24/48, 2d6, RoF 1, Revolver), machine pistol (12/24/48, 2d6-1, RoF 3, AP 1, Auto), knife (Str+d4), leather armor

Marauder Truck

Acc/TS: 6/26, Toughness: 8 (3), Crew: 1+2, Weapons: 2x machine guns (40/80/160, 2d8, RoF 3, AP 2, Auto)

Marauder Motorcycle

Acc/TS: 12/30, Toughness: 7 (1), Crew: 1 (+1), Weapons: 1x machine gun (if motorcycle has sidecar)

Monday 11 June 2018

Frozen Skies Session Two: Flying Murder Hobos

Continuing on from the last session, our intrepid band of layabouts find themselves lurching from one spot of trouble to another. Along the way they make contact with Alyeska's criminal underworld, get blacklisted from drinking establishments, add a town to their 'never visit again' list and end up in the sky pirate haven of Broken Spires.

Oh, and a possible date with the law in the immediate future.

Job Done...Or Is It?

After completing their supply run to the logging camp at Taran's Bluffs, the crew of the airship Waylander head back to Bowerstead Post to collect their payment of 20 sovereigns (the main currency in Frozen Skies) each. Bowerstead's foreman, Hardwick, says he's heard about the Windryder attacks at Taran's Bluffs and that his superiors are going to be breathing down his neck about operations being forced to cease at Taran's Bluffs. So Hardwick orders the characters to head back to Taran's Bluffs and deal with the problem, offering to pay 25 sovereigns to each character.

Tag and Alex went and tracked down Ardan Gowan in order to speak to him about selling the weapons they'd salvaged from the sky pirate planes. Ardan offered to pay half-price for the guns, round 75 sovereigns, but needed a day to get the money together. Tag and Alex agreed to meet up with Ardan the following evening at Ardan's warehouse. Ardan also mentioned if they wanted some extra work, strictly off the books, then he might have something for them. They also spoke to Hardwick about getting an extra crewman for the Waylander, Hardwick managed to rustle up a guy called Mick who would act as a gunner on the airship.

The following day the crew stayed at Bowerstead, Tag spent the time up-armouring the Waylander to add a little extra protection. Evening time rolled around and Tag got the rest of the crew to drag the weapons to Ardan's warehouse where the exchange went without a hitch. About the job offer Ardan had, he said seek him out in a couple of days. Tag then went to one of the saloons in Bowerstead and hired himself five extra hands and equipped them with rifles and ammo, effectively starting his own merc company.

Back To The Bluffs

Another night was spent in Bowerstead before the crew headed back out to Taran's Bluffs, though Tag brought them to the site of the third crashed plane. Though somebody had gotten there before them; the pilot had been buried, anything of value removed and the wreck put to the torch. Tag just shrugged his shoulders and got back in the airship to continue their journey, though they ended up being forced to detour due to a storm/blizzard (Random Encounter). At the Bluffs they checked in with Mosley, who stated that the Windryders had become wary since the machine gun the crew left had been setup. But they still haven't been able to resume operations and so Mosley would be happy if things got resolved as quickly as possible.

The characters asked about the men who came through the camp just before the attacks sorted, they received description of the men and their plane. It was concluded that the men were probably poachers who'd stolen some dragonhawk eggs, thus angering the Windryders. The characters also learn that some of the workers overheard the men talking about going to the town of Aran Crag to the west. After detailing a couple of their hired guns to stay at Taran's Bluffs, the crew set off once more into the wild blue yonder.

Go West!

Heading west they came across a merchant airship with a fighter escort (Random Encounter again), who exchanged greetings and news. A while later, the salt mining town of Aran Crag came into sight. Leaving Mick and the other three hired guns on the Waylander, the rest of the crew split up to see what information they could find in town about the poachers.

George visited various stores in the town to see what he could find out about dragonhawk eggs. He managed to learn how big they usually are and that 'rich toffs' generally paid alot of money for them. None of the shopkeepers knew whether there were anyone in town with that sort of money, but the only guy came close was a director of the mining company who lived in town in his mansion.

Herbert and Sebastian visited the least rough looking bar they could find. Herbert has the Big Mouth hindrance and soon as they had walked in, Herbert called out "Hi, we're looking for poachers! Is there any poachers here? Does anyone know of any poachers?"


Then the scraping of a heavy wooden chair as it gets pushed back and the bar's doorman got to his feet before stomping his way over to the new arrivals. He made it clear in no uncertain terms that Herbert and Sebastian ought to leave. Sebastian did so, dragging Herbert alone with him.

Tag and Alex had better luck at the airfield where, through a generous donation to the widows and orphans fund, they discovered that the poachers did stopover in the town to refuel their aircraft. However, the poachers filed a questionable flightplan but one of the airfield guys did get a glimpse at the plane's cargo and confirmed that it was wooden crates and nets. Heading back to the airship to wait for the others, Tag and Alex spotted a guy hanging around and spoke to him. The guy identified himself as a trader of a sorts called Harold and suggested that they needed to speak to certain members of the crew about keeping their mouths shut. Another sizeable donation to the widows and orphans later, they had learnt where the poachers were most likely heading and took Harold up on is offer of a 'small errand'.

Words were had when the rest of the crew arrived back at the airship and together they set off to a nearby small town to do Harold's errand.

Smalltown Sojourn

Harold's errand involved meeting a guy in a nearby town and picking up some goods that Harold wanted, basically ran the 'Things Never Go Smooth' adventure from the Frozen Skies book. Rolled on both tables so that there were complications both with the guy the characters had to meet and with the goods they were to collect.They rocked up at the town, went into the sole saloon and asked about the guy they had to meet.

They got told he was dead.

He'd been filled with lead a couple of days previously after he got caught cheating at a game of cards, though he owned a small warehouse. With no better option, the crew went and checked out the warehouse but found it locked. Alex had a go at a bit of Lockpicking and the roll he got meant he literally just had to turn the handle. Inside they found some crates, George found one containing what looked like a highly advance but ancient looking technological device (Ancient Terran Artefact). Alex meanwhile rummaged through the officer, looking for shipping records and also emptied the safe whilst he was at it. Sebastian kept watch outside and saw a group of men emerge from the saloon and heading in the direction of the warehouse.

Realizing that they were now on the clock, Tag ordered everyone to check the crates and load anything of value on a motor-truck. Of particular interest was a bunch of rifles, couple of SMGs and a 9mm pistol. Being the only one with the Driving skill (even then a d4), George jumped in the driver's seat and attempted to smash his way through the doors. Two bennies later he managed to avoid absolutely failing and put his foot down, by this time the group of men were right outside the doors as the truck came smashing through them. One managed to jump out of the way, but the others weren't so lucky as the truck drove over the top of them. The survivor ended up being shot by Sebastion (potentially resulting in a very interesting conversation with the law at a later date).

They loaded the crates onto the airship in double-quick time and hurried back to Aran Crag. They handed the artefact over to Harold, who gave them their money back and some advice on getting to Broken Spires. Before leaving, they made another donation to the widows and orphans fund and all records of their visit to Aran Crag mysteriously vanished....

To The Spires!

The route to Broken Spires is long and difficult, involving flying through mist shrounded twisting canyons. Tag rolled three Piloting rolls, though had to spend a benny on the third one to avoid a mishap. Their first glimpse of Broken Spires was described as a town that would give health and safety a heart attack.

On approach to the town, they spied numerous airships that belong to various different sky pirate gangs. They also spotted a skyship which, unsurprisingly, Tag wanted to avoid angering the owners of. After finding some place to dock their airship, they were greeted by a clerk. Tag gave a false name, a small donation and the clerk responded. "Welcome to Broken Spires Mr Smith."

This time they decided to stick together, mainly so that they could ensure that Herbert kept his mouth shut. It was decided to head into one of the better looking taverns they could find, hopefully to reduce their chances of getting into trouble. Inside where a couple of sky pirate gangs; one all-female and the other looking like viking pilots with a white wolf's head logo on their jackets. Tag quickly directed them to the bar, ordered drinks for the crew and spoke to the bartender. The bartender confirmed that there was a gang of poachers in town and they were led by a guy called Travis Perkins.

With the information they needed, Tag directed the crew to leave the tavern. However, Alex had already asked the bartender to take a round of drinks over to the viking pilots and say that the drinks were from the all-female sky pirates. Fearing a bar brawl, Tag got the crew outside where they waited to see what would unfold. The viking pilots let out a cheer at unexpected free drinks, couple of them think to try their luck and wonder over to the all-female sky pirates. Female sky pirates object to the unwanted attention and introduced their feet to somewhere personal before leaving, the rest of the viking pilots started howling with laughter.

Outside, Tag nods at the female sky pirates and their leader returns the nod before her gang walked off down the street. We then finished things there with the characters preparing to visit the poacher's compound.


Think I'm starting to get a feel for what the group is going to do, though they now have a few options to explore.

The incident with the motor truck could cause them trouble later on, but I understand that the characters will be taking steps towards 'damage control' (ie, they're planning on repainting the airship). Herbert's Big Mouth is probably going to get them in trouble again and again, especially if they have a run-in with the law.

Tag starting his own merc army is something that I am going to need to deal with at some point, though the characters' actions so far have given me a couple of ideas there.

Going forwards, airships are probably going to have two different Toughness stats for the gasbag and control cabin/gondola respectively (like in the Pulp Gear Toolkit). Hopefully we'll get some more aerial combat soon, so it'll be interesting to see how that works with the rules ideas I've had.

Monday 4 June 2018

Update June 2018

Bit of an exciting time at present as Frozen Skies finally comes together. So the main topic this week is the timeline for Frozen Skies' release. Additionally, I'll talk about future plans which include future products, etc.

Frozen Skies
Working through Kickstarter fulfillment at the moment, hoping to get print copies out to backers in the next week or so. Couple of weeks after that Frozen Skies should be going on general release (roughly late June/early July time).

Initially selling through DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, but I am looking at options to get Frozen Skies into stores. I'll post details on this as it develops.

The next book for Frozen Skies will be Skies of Crimson, which'll have a focus on sky pirates and airships. After that, I wish to explore the world of Darmonica in more detail. This means the possibility of other books covering different parts of the setting.

Savage Worlds Black
There is meant to be a new version of Savage Worlds due out later this year, though as I understand there isn't going to be major changes. I may end up doing an errata PDF for Frozen Skies if anything needs updating for the new edition, it just depends on what actually changes.

Other Projects
Ran a poll recently on social media asking what people wanted to see next out of the various setting ideas I had. I've listed the settings below in order of popularity.

Forsaken Space
Cold War Skirmishes
The Gwentshire Chronicles
Keep The Home Fires Burning

What I'm considering doing is producing demo-kits for these settings, which will most likely be Pay-What-You-Want PDFs. This would allow me to get something basic out for the setting and then see how well each one does.