Monday, 23 December 2019

Frozen Skies: The Duskfall Run

So 2019 is drawing to a close and we head into the festive season, typically a time of giving. As this is going to be the final post of the year, heres a gift in the form of a new adventure that is also themed for this time of year. This adventure is set at the start of a period known as the Shrouded Days, a time of polar night in the far north of Alyeska marked by the Exodus as a large number of people head south.

Until the New Year, Happy Holidays!


The Duskfall Run

The adventure sees the characters flying the last aircraft out of a remote northern settlement just before the polar night engulfs the land in darkness. With a short window of opportunity to fly before both the dark, and weather, close in the characters very much have the odds stacked against them. Worse, an outfit of sky pirates have spotted the characters' plane and are giving chase when the adventure begins.

Adventure Setup

The adventure uses the Chase Rules from Savage Worlds Adventure Edition, primarily using the Range Increment for an airplane. It is suggested that 15-20 Chase Cards are used, though feel to free to adjust.

Opponents wise there are 5 Sky Pirate Extras and 1 or 2 Sky Pirate Aces, though for the purpose of this adventure the Extras' aircraft only take one wound whilst those flown by the Aces have the normal number of wounds. The Extras have d8 in Shooting and Piloting, in addition to the Rock and Roll! and Steady Hands Edges. The Aces have d10 in their respective skills and the Ace Edge. It is suggested to use the Trodai Fighter for the Sky Pirates, but again feel free to change this.

The characters own aircraft is an armed, fast light cargo plane.

Top Speed: 300 MPH; Toughness: 14 (2); Crew: 5; Climb: 15; Handling: -1; Size: 8 (Large)
Weapons: 2x Linked .30-cal Medium MGs (Pintle-Mounted Front), 2x Linked .30-cal Medium MGs (Turret, top)

Characters' goal is to outrun the Sky Pirates, whilst the Sky Pirate have to stop them.

Monday, 16 December 2019

Operation Thule: After Action Report

Recently got to run my Operation Thule adventure that I released for SWAG, a Weird Wars style adventure set in the early '80s. It was also my first proper adventure that I've run under SWADE, which despite the changes from SWD felt like coming back to an old friend. Certainly made a nice change from the Rogue Trader game I've been running for the past few months.


The South Atlantic Conflict

Our adventure begins on the 22nd May 1982, not long after the British Taskforce managed to put troops ashore at San Carlos. The characters get called together by a Colonel Mcguire who explains that an enemy commando team has been spotted some miles to the east and intel suggests that this team may be looking for something, London fears it may be a weapon like mustard gas. The characters were given the chance to ask questions, assigned a Land Rover and told to prepare their kit before heading out.

The Squad

'Jock' - The 'not quite' Scottish sniper.

'Jones 79' - Mild mannered Welsh machine gunner.

'Lofty' - The short Cockney scout.

'Sparky' - The Royal Engineer sapper from the Midlands (though didn't come into play until later).

'Wings' - The commander with childhood dreams of being a pilot.

As the characters prepared to head out, they were interrupted by an air raid as a couple of enemy jets come in low overhead. Thankfully the jets were more interested in the ships off-shore and brave the hail of gunfire from the ground to do a couple of passes before withdrawing to the west. Once things had quietened down, the characters set off but they only had a couple of hours of daylight left and the sun was already quite low to the horizon.

The boggy and rocky terrain made the going slow, often forcing them to drive little more than five miles per hour. Though they ended up making better time than expected and civilians in a lone farmhouse gave the characters some pointers on what route to take along with some intel on enemy forces. Cheerfully sent on their way by the civilians, the characters reached the Wickham Heights mountain range not long after nightfall and set up a biovuac in a crevice in the rockface to use it to provide some shelter from the worsening weather conditions. Wings detailed a watch rota and they then settled down for the night.

 Wings and Jock took first watch, though had an uneventful few hours until they warily handed over to Jones 79 and Lofty. An hour or so later Lofty spots a creature moving around like a kangaroo and growling, though the noise sounded unlike a dog and no predators were known to be on the islands. Lofty informed Jones that he'd spotted something and that he was going to investigate, leaving Jones to rouse the others. The Cockney scout soon found some strange looking tracks, but had difficulty trying to actually spot the creature which slipped through the darkness unseen.

Suddenly Loft found himself being barrelled over by a creature only slightly smaller than he was, but was ferocious as any wild animal as it madly trashed and clawed at him. Hearing Lofty call out, Jones told the other two and hurried out to find his comrade with torch in hand. Seeing Lofty on the ground wrestling with some...creature, the Welshman calmly sets up his Bren Gun and blasts the creature off the Cockney with a hail of gunfire. Despite being dead, the creature was a disconcerting sight from what they could see from the light of their torches. Daylight didn't bring any reassurances and the squad decided to load the creature into the back of their Land Rover for specialists to take a look at.

After a new day had dawned, the characters set off again and only managed to travel a couple of miles down the track until a rock slide blocked their path. Wings ordered the squad to proceed on foot with Lofty scouting ahead, the scout soon topped a rise and spotted a couple of civilian looking Land Rovers along with a couple of enemy commandos outside of a cave entrance. Quietly slipping back, Lofty informed the rest of the squad what he'd seen. The squad moved up with Jock taking up an over-watch position on the rise whilst the others tried sneaking closer to the cave, though the enemy spotted them and opened fire. Wings was cut down in a blast of gunfire, though Jock got some revenge by taking down one of the enemy with a headshot. The second soldier was cut down with a hail of machine gun fire from Jones whilst Lofty tried taking out the Land Rovers with a grenade.

More enemy soldiers charged out of the cave, though a sergeant was downed by Jock who scored another headshot. Jones' Bren counted for some more enemy soldiers, whilst Sparky (played the person who'd been playing Wings) counted for another. There were two soldiers left in the entrance of the cave, Lofty tried throwing a grenade at them but was shot and killed for his efforts even as the grenade flew true and took out the two soldiers. With Jock remaining outside, Sparky and an injured Jones charged into the cave. Jones got cut down by a burst of gunfire from an enemy officer who'd been in the cave, though Sparky took the officer out with a shot from his SLR. Then a German, who'd been leading the enemy team, attacked by throwing a ball of energy at Sparky which narrowly missed. Realising the intelligence value, Sparky acted quickly and knocked the German out with the stock of his SLR.

All that was left was for the two survivors, Jock and Sparky, to stock of their situation, secure their prisoner and gather their dead comrades before radioing for an evac via helicopter. Inside the cave was a stone idol, one that curiously resembled a squid....

Monday, 9 December 2019

The Iron Collective Revisited

This week it is the turn of the Iron Collective to receive the 'Revisited' treatment. Again this is another nation that I'm largely happy with how it currently stands, save perhaps for tweaks and refinements here and there. Though I do have an idea for a possibly big addition to the lore of the Iron Collective.


Mind Over Matter

The Order of the Great Machine has virtual control over all aspects of life within the Iron Collective, having completely rebuilt Sodkan society after assuming power in the wake of the Holy Sodkan Empire's collapse. The radical changes made by the Order are unheard of in other nations and strangely the Collective's citizens seemingly accepted them without question soon after the Collective was formed.

How, and why?

The secret of the Order's total control pre-dates the founding of the Collective, technically even the Great Darmonican War and possibly even the founding of the Holy Sodkan Empire. At some point in the Order's early existence one its members stumbled across data about the Ancient Terrans' methods of maintaining control over its slave labour force, something that was brought to the attention of the Order's hierarchy. It was revealed that the Ancients used a special chemical in the labourers' food coupled with a combination of radio signal based mind control and subliminal messaging.

It took a series of experiment before the Order managed to replicate the Ancients' technique and a plan was hatched to put the technique into action. By this point the Holy Sodkan Empire was embroiled in the Great Darmonican War and rationing was widespread, being particularly harsh for the Empire's working classes. The Order decided to take advantage of this situation by opening up soup kitchens in various towns and cities, the special control chemical being implanted in the food given out by the kitchens. Once the Order was confident enough that even people had eaten the tainted food, the next phase of the plan was put into action.

Radio transmitters and broadcasts were set up by the Order, gradually increasing in coverage as the soup kitchens were expanded. Soon enough those who'd eaten the tainted food were slowly being brainwashed by the Order, this was helped by widespread disgruntlement of the way the war was going and was something seized upon by the Order. Fuelled by the Order's efforts, unrest began to grow across the Empire as the Order sought to weaken the Imperial Government before seizing control.

The Blast and resultant death of Empress Polinia Serlov came as a surprise to the Order, though it wasted no time in taking over. With much of the citizenry under its control, the Order quickly instituted the Classification system to help realise its ambitions. Though it became apparent that some people were resistant to the Order's mind control techniques, prompting them being called the Unclassified. Whilst those who end up being Declassified stop receiving the tainted food that aids the Order's control over the person in question, usually resulting in people slowly been 'weaned' and thus breaking free of the Order's control. This is typically why the Declassified are either killed on sight or deported to a prison camp to prevent them from openly rebelling against the system.

Even foreigners eating the food within the Collective and staying within range of the many control transmitters are at risk of falling victim to the Order's control, giving rise to a number of so-called 'converts' within the past few years. There are rumours that the Order may be expanding its control outside of the Collective's borders, quietly subverting the populace of neighbouring countries.

Monday, 2 December 2019

New Aircraft: Iolar Light Bomber

Another new aircraft, though this week I set myself bit of a challenge to recreate the de Havilland Mosquito or get as close as possible. Though its ended up being a slightly faster version of the Argentine I.Ae.24 Calquin Light Bomber, apparently an aircraft patterned after and is a 'look-alike' for the Mosquito.

I.Ae.24 Calquin

The Iolar 'Eagle' Light Bomber

The Iolar, or 'Eagle', Light Bomber came about as part of a Royal Aero-Fleet requirement for a fast, light bomber to conduct strike raids against enemy targets. It has a speed to match most fighters and decent armaments, though it has a pitiful payload by bomber standards. As a result the Eagle tends to be used for pinpoint strike missions in flights of at least four to six aircraft.

There is a degree of discontentment amongst the Air Ministry over the future of the aircraft; it entered service just over a decade or so before the Great Darmonican War and thus is still seen as an 'untried' aircraft despite its 20 years of service. There are those who thus consider it to be a worthless aircraft and are trying to have it scrapped without a replacement, though there are others who are championing the aircraft and are pushing for a more modern version.

Top Speed: 300 MPH; Toughness: 14 (2); Crew: 2; Climb: 15; Handling: -1; Size: 8 (Large)
Weapons: 4x Linked .50-cal Heavy MGs (Fixed Front)
1x pair of rockets, or
Bombs (8x Small or, 4x Medium or, 2x Large)

Monday, 25 November 2019

Keep The Home Fires Burning: Mortuary Troubles

This week we dip back into Keep The Home Fires Burning, a setting that we've only infrequently looked at. Trying my hand at an adventure in the KTHFB setting, something thats been kicking around in my head for a while. The basis overview is that the characters have been sent to a hospital where corpses have been stolen from the hospital's morgue, though the truth behind the thief is more horrible than the characters realise.


A Grave Matter

The characters are tasked by their superiors at the Home Office to investigate a spite of thievery of bodies from the Albion Hospital on Burke Street in London's East End. The Metropolitan Police has had little luck in solving the case and the authorities, fearing dark means being involved, dispatch the characters to try and get to the bottom of things.

At the hospital the morgue attendant, a teenage lad by the name of Robert O'Hare who'd lucked on being conscripted by turning 18 as the war ended. O'Hare appears to be nervous round the characters, he'll claim his anxiety is due to fear of losing his job and that his family had originally come from Dublin. His uncle is a respected surgeon at the hospital and had gotten Robert the position of morgue attendant in hopes of giving the lad some practical experience and encouragement to enter medical school. Robert is also the one who raised the alarm about the missing bodies, something which is confirmed by the police report.

The hospital is short staffed due to a mixture of wartime conscription and the flu epidemic causing the hospital to loose staff. What staff remain are overworked dealing with flu victims, whilst O'Hare is the sole morgue attendant but has to help out the other staff. The police suspected that the bodies may have illegally be taken for use as cadavers, but thus far enquiries at medical schools in the London area failed to support this claim. Though the police remain suspicious of O'Hare.

When the characters investigate the morgue, they won't find much unless they look real closely. Either by spotting wheel marks on the floor (possibly via a raise on a Notice roll) or exploring the rest of the basement area in which the morgue is located, the characters will find morgue trolleys being left in another part of the basement. O'Hare, if questioned, will state that these trolleys are broken and he'd put them there until they could be fixed or replaced. Investigating further will reveal no report has been made about these trolleys being broken and there doesn't seem to be an actual fault with any of them.

Searching the room with the trolleys will reveal some curious marks on the floor leading to a false floor covering a hole leading down to an unlit tunnel. The tunnel appears to be very old, perhaps medieval or even Roman in origin. The tunnel is also partially collapsed and cramped, barely big enough for a single person to crawl along. After a few hundred feet the tunnel opens up into a large cavern, here an overpowering rotten smell greets the characters. As they quickly discover, the cavern is home to a warren of ghouls along with what remains of the bodies they took from the morgue.

The ghouls had been stealing from the morgue for some time, though they were caught in the act by O'Hare one night. The lad, scared out of his wits by the encounter, pleaded for his life and managed to strike a deal where he would leave bodies by the false floor where the ghouls could get to them without fear of getting caught. Somebody higher up got suspicious when bodies started going unaccounted for, something O'Hare pass off as a simple matter of thievery but he is now scared of being found out.

Adventure Rules

Refer to the Setting Rules for KTHFB, count the morgue and basement area of the hospital as being Infection Rating 4. The characters' Immunity bonus (+1 per Rank) and a Germ Mask (+2) will help off-set the worse of the penalty on the Contraction Roll.

Weapons wise, it is suggested that the characters have access to pistols, revolvers and small melee weapons suitable for the period. Weird War One is highly recommended for weapon stats.

No full stats for O'Hare, though he's considered to have d6 for Attributes and Core Skills.

A Fear Check at -1 will be needed when the characters encounter the ghouls, likewise there will be 1d4+1 ghouls per character.

Ghoul

Ghouls are vile scavengers, feasting off carrion and unfortunate victims who cross their path.
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Athletics d8, Fighting d6, Intimidation d8, Notice d8, Survival d8, Stealth d10
Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 8
Special Abilities
• Claws: Str+d4.
• Infravision: Ghouls halve penalties (round down) for bad lighting when attacking living targets.
• Keen Senses (Smell): Ghouls get +2 to Notice and Tracking rolls against living targets.
• Paralysis: Victims of a ghoul's claw attacks must make a Vigor roll at -2 or be paralyzed for 1d6 rounds.
• Undead: +2 Toughness; +2 to recover from being Shaken; No additional damage from called shots; Immune to disease and poison.

Thanks to Richard Woolcock for the Ghoul stats.

Monday, 18 November 2019

The Airman's Gazetteer: Colony of Orduesh

Little bit of a chance of pace, a return to the Airman's Gazetteer series to expand the world of Darmonica. This week is a look at something that has been mentioned previously; the Commonwealth Colony of Orduesh. This desert outpost is surrounded by hostile lands and border skirmishes are a way of life, yet the Commonwealth still holds onto it.

Source: RAF Museum

Desert Days

The Colony of Orduesh is centered round the city of the same name, originally part of the Holy Sodkan Empire but later acquired via treaty by the Commonwealth following a past conflict. It lies at the eastern end of the Mammut Sea, the Commonwealth's only port on that body of water. With the sea to the west, it is bordered on its three other sides by the desolute deserts of the Sultanate of Taramate has grown increasingly hostile to the Commonwealth in recent years.

So why does the Commonwealth maintains this outpost?

The answer is complex.

First and foremost is that Orduesh is a major source of Aerothium for the Commonwealth, providing lift gas for the aero-vessels of the Royal Aero-Fleet and Commonwealth aligned trade consortiums. There are a number of mines were the raw mineral is extracted before being shipped to the refinery in Orduesh City and processed into its gas form. Since it is of such a great strategic importance, elements of the Commonwealth's military guard both related facilities and shipments.

Orduesh is also strategically located, not only on the eastern end of the Mammut Sea but also for its proximity to the Union of Sodkan Republics. This enables the Commonwealth to better maintain relations and even trade with the Republics, in addition to providing a route for Commonwealth agents to get in and out of the Iron Collective. Though it does make the colony vulnerable to sky pirates operating out of the Republics.

Use In Games

Orduesh could provide an interesting alternative to Alyeska, there are more major factions at play and their respective interests clash with one another. There is conflict between the Commonwealth and Taramate, as well as occasional clashes with the Republics and sky pirates. There is also the chance of doing dangerous, but highly profitable, smuggling runs into both the Sultanate and the Iron Collective. Orduesh could also serve as the base for a campaign revolving round Commonwealth operatives taking action against the Collective or getting involved in the politics of the Republics.

Monday, 11 November 2019

New Aircraft: The Raven Fighter

Another week where I've found myself short on time to do a longer post, so instead its another new aircraft. This is suppose to be on the other end of the scale to the Trodaí Fighter that got featured last week, a new design in the setting that hasn't even reached the production stage. Hopefully it represents a more radical design that fits firmly in the Dieselpunk theme.

Source: Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces

The Raven


With the end of the Great Darmonican War there were many who saw an opportunity to try out radical new designs over tried and tested ones, though many of these valiant attempts were shot down with the drastically reduced post-war budgets available. The Raven was destined to suffer a similar fate, at least until the appointment of a certain Cathal Mulcahy to a senior position within the Air Ministry. Clan Mucahy had a controlling interest in the company developing the Raven, namely Whytemoor Aero-Engineering, and with one of their scions in the right position they were able to thus influence the Commonwealth's aircraft development and acquisition programmes.

Now suddenly made a priority and benefiting from increased funding, the Raven has reached the prototype stage with a number of models built for flight testing by the Aero-Fleet. Though the Commonwealth hasn't publicized its latest fighter design, others have most certainly gotten wind of it and have tried to get their hands on it. There are rumours of at least one model being stolen whilst in transit.

The Raven is a pusher-prop design with a pair of nose mounted 30mm autocannons. It packs a higher punch than the Hornet and is faster than the Kestrel, something that Whytemoor Aero-Engineering hopes will see the Raven being adopted as the Commonwealth's main fighter.

Top Speed: 300 MPH; Toughness: 11 (2); Crew: 1; Climb: 20; Handling: +2; Size: 6 (Large)
Weapons: 2x Linked 30mm Autocannons (Fixed Front)

Monday, 4 November 2019

New Aircraft: The Trodaí Fighter

Bit of a short post and a minor treat this week, though little bit of a challenge for myself. So this week's post features a new aircraft, one that sits between the Hornet and Kestral in terms of capability. This is deliberately intended to be an 'inferior' aircraft, a design long since chucked onto the scrap heap and thus more likely to be found in the hands of sky pirates than the Commonwealth's frontline fighters.

Source: World of Warplanes - Bristol Type 133

The Trodaí 'Warrior' Fighter


The Trodaí, or Warrior, Fighter is a Commonwealth design that pre-dates the Great Darmonican War and has long since been withdrawn from service as newer and better designs were introduced. Many ended up in scrapyards where they were sold to, or stolen by, private groups such as merc outfits or sky pirates. The Warrior appeals to many a small outfit as it is a simpler design compared to modern fighters and it was built in large numbers, thus spare parts are still easy to come by.

Top Speed: 320 MPH; Toughness: 11 (2); Crew: 1; Climb: 15; Handling: +1; Size: 6 (Large)
Weapons: 4x Linked Medium MGs (Fixed Front)
Notes: Improved Gunsight

Monday, 28 October 2019

Frozen Skies Update

This week is an update on the current status of Frozen Skies and its update to SWADE. Been posting ideas about some changes to the setting, haven't haven't covered the mechanics side of things all that much. So taking the opportunity to bring everyone up to speed on how things currently sit.





Status Report


Progress has been a bit on the slow side; a combination of SWADE finally being released, stuff going on with family life and the dayjob means updating Frozen Skies has ended up sliding onto the backburner. Though writing blog posts has helped to get some ideas down, least I forget them. Presently I can only say that the SWADE version of Frozen Skies will be out some point next year.

Either way, here is the current version of the updates though these will still change; https://drive.google.com/file/d/1H3Hrg-YoFCNUOTmNwmuWy36gRyySpM4h/view?usp=sharing

On a related note here, the Frozen Skies Jumpstart for SWADE will be updated soon as changes were needed to update some stats to bring them in line with the release version of SWADE.

What Else?


So folk should, hopefully, be aware that I've been going over and revising aspects of the setting. Changes include updating some Edges in addition to removing others and adding new ones. The Wulftouched Hindrance has been completely overhauled and now functions similarly to the Harrowed in Deadlands, which should make it more interesting to take.

Another big change is going to be Weird Science, chiefly how Ancient Tech devices will work now. Somebody suggested to run them like Ultra Tech in the SciFi Companion; effectively a -2 penalty for minor devices and -4 for major ones along with completely redoing related Edges. It got me thinking whether to include some sort of card based system to determine what sort of Ancient device the players come across, like Spades for Weapons, Hearts for Protection and so forth. This should help GMs create Ancient devices on the fly and make things exciting with the random factor and chance.

Least thats a few ideas I have, but I'm welcome to suggestions.

Monday, 21 October 2019

Tyland Revisited

By now most folk should be aware that part of my efforts to get Frozen Skies updated to SWADE is going through and revisiting some of the lore of the world. This has included tightening things up a little or completely overhauling and revising others. This week is the turn of the Tyland Free State.




For Freedom And Past Glories!


On the whole, I'm pretty happy with Tyland's history and current situation. There is little I wish to change about a once proud nation that has fallen so low and suffers the humiliation of occupation by a foreign power. I'll delve deeper into Tylanish culture, though that is not the subject of this week's post.

There is a change that I do wish to make to the situation in Tyland, well technically two changes. The first of these is play up a civil war aspect with various factions vying for power with frequent skirmishes. The second change ties in alot with the first, make this civil war a proxy war between the Commonwealth and Artian Confederation as the two former wartime allies have different views concerning the future of Tyland.

Both powers covertly support different functions, usually to undermine the other and also the Provisional Government. Those in authority consider a war between the two nations quite likely, so they seek to influence and dominate what is effectively a buffer state. There are strategic implications that are taken into consideration, especially as the Free State would give the Artians air bases much closer to the Commonwealth's Home Isles from which to launch raids.

So where does this leave Player Characters?

Well they could get directly involved in things as agents working for either the Artians, the Commonwealth, the Free State or one of the militant groups. Heck, they could form their own group and fight for whatever cause they want in what could be an interesting mix of war and politics. The more nefarious could simply partake in activities of questionable legality by smuggling in supplies or even trying to sell arms to one or more of the militants. They could also exploit the chaos for their own ends in other ways by looting banks and mansions.

Hopefully this will all make the Tyland Free State more interesting and provide some fodder for games.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Darkwatch: Savage Threats

In which we returnth to the war-ruined city of Ravenscroft and brave its darkened streets with the men and women of the Darkwatch. This week we take a look at some of the threats and foes that the Darkwatch faces and the ways and means that the Darkwatch has come up with to counter said threats.

Source: Defoe - 2000AD


The Savage Dark


Reeks

One of the biggest left behind by the city's former occupiers is the Reeks, though also called 'stiffs', 'walking corpses' and the 'animated dead' (zombies by another name). They are a constant problem lurking in the ruins and tunnels of the city, a danger to the unwary and a tiresome foe for the Darkwatch.

The dark forces that previously held sway over the city weren't content with leaving a few dozen reeks to plague the city's new occupiers, they sent a step further and created a number of booby-traps using the reeks. The most favoured booby-trap tactic is devices dubbed 'Necro Bombs' which have been placed in graveyards or so-called 'reek pits'. These devices are either triggered by an array of conditions or are set to a timer, though they do detonate they unleash a wave of necromantic energy that resurrects the corpses in the immediate area and raise them as reeks.

So counter this, the Darkwatch sets up incendiary devices, called 'coffin mines', triggered by trip wires round a site suspected to contain a necro bomb. Usually a flare is rigged up, the intention is for the flare to alert local Darkwatch forces.

Shades

There is a big question over who or what the Shades are, but it is generally agreed that they serve as the assassins and infiltrators of the dark forces that only recently occupied Ravenscroft. They are able to move unseen from shadow to shadow, hence their name, and the first a person knows of their presence is the sharp edge of a dagger. They have been associated with unexplained deaths and mysterious 'accidents' that have plagued Ravenscroft's contribution to the continuing war effort.

To date, the only real effective of trying to combat the Shades is the use of guard hounds who can at least warn of a possible Shade in the area.

Remants

Left behind by the dark forces as their armies abandoned the city, the Remants are the dark forces foot soldiers who've taken to guerilla warfare to contest control of the city. They are split into cells who seemingly operate independently of one another, but appear to co-ordinate their efforts. They're reliant on supplies smuggled into the city, something that the Darkwatch has struggled to deal with, and raiding the new supply warehouses for the armies now being staged through the city.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Landships!

Little bit of a short post this week, working overtime at the day-job and thus I have less free time. This is an idea that I've had brewing for a while and a question on the Unofficial Savage Worlds Discord prompted me to finally post it. Hopefully this will give people more options and ideas for their Frozen Skies whilst expanding the availability of land vehicles.

Source - Keith Thompson

Iron Beasts


Landships are another weapon of war that found themselves being made surplus to requirements following the end of the Great Darmonican War. Many of the Landship fleets of the various nations were drastically reduced as armies adapted to peacetime budgets, so many machines being scrapped or sold off. Much like war surplus aircraft, many landships were snapped up by private ventures and merc outfits.

Alyeska's Wulver problem has proven to be a renaissance for landships far as the Commonwealth is concerned, their armoured hulls able to turn the claws of the fiercest Wulver. Ex-military landships have been in great demand, they're rugged and easier to maintain compared to aircraft. A few enterprising persons have looked at the possibly of constructing purpose-built civilian models.

Landship

Size: 9 (Huge)
Handling: -2
Top Speed (MPH): 25
Toughness: 24 (8)
Crew: 4 (2+10 if transport variant)
Notes: Heavy Armor, Tracked
Weapons: Varies; Any combination of turret-mounted cannon up to 76mm, Medium and Heavy machine guns on pintle mounts.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Rogue's Gallery: The Kenworth Street Runners

Oh hey, something else that hasn't been done in a while.

This week's post showcases potential allies or foes for the player characters when they've attracted the attention of the authorities. It is also a powerful group that's not to be trifled with, similar in some respects to the Agents and Rangers from Deadlands.


The Commonwealth's Long Arm


The Kenworth Street Runners are a detachment of the Garda's Special Branch, stationed in the Alyeskan capital of Morrdun. They are independent from Alyeska's Air Guard, something that sometimes puts the two groups at odds especially as the Runners rank above the lawmen of Alyeska. Another cause of disgruntlement from the Air Guard is that its own force of detectives are restricted to investigating crime, whereas the Runners deal with matters of national security and conducts investigations to protect the Commonwealth from perceived threats of subversion.

As Alyeska's own lawmen are considered a colonial force, the Runners can ride roughshod over the Air Guard's investigations if the Runners believe it would affect the interests of the Commonwealth. As the Runners are part of the Commonwealth Garda, they have the backing of the Home Isles and by extension are answerable to the Queen of the Commonwealth rather than the High Lord of Alyeska. Again, this helps strokes tensions.

On a normal day-to-day basis, the two forces keep their distance. The Runners only interfere with the Air Guard if a case crops up that concerns the national interests or the Air Guard arrests suspect who is on the Runners' watch list. The High Lord may request the Runners take over an Air Guard investigation, though the Runners aren't obliged to honour the request and will take on the case just to be polite.

Use In Games


As stated above, the Runners are meant to be used when the player characters attract the attention of the authorities. Generally this would be if the PCs get caught up in a spy ring, get their hands on a state secret somehow or get accused of treason. They're not a group to cross lightly and can cause a heap of trouble for the PCs. On the other hand, the Runners could be potent allies for the PCs if an opportunity arose with the influence alone that the Runners are able to bring to bear.

Kenworth Street Runner (Human, Detective)

Rank: Legendary (24 advancements)
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Athletics: d6, Common Knowledge: d6, Driving: d6, Fighting: d8, Intimidation: d6+2, Notice: d8+2, Persuasion: d6, Research: d8, Shooting: d10, Stealth: d8, Taunt: d6, Thievery: d6+1
Pace: 6, Parry: 7, Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Driven (minor), Ruthless (minor), Stubborn, Vow (minor)
Edges: Alertness, Block, Calculating, Charismatic, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Double Tap, Investigator, Killer Instinct, Level Headed, Marksman, Menacing, Rabble-Rouser, Scholar, Streetwise, Strong Willed, Thief
Weapons: Revolver (2d6+1, 12/24/48, RoF 1, AP 1, Shots 6)

Monday, 23 September 2019

Alyeskan Gazetteer: The Wulf Coast

Been a while since I've done a Gazetteer post, but wished to return to this series and further explore the untamed wilds of Alyeska. Hopefully this end will provide plenty of fodder for people's games and perhaps even spawn an interesting campaign or two. Either way, tis an excellent opportunity to expand the 'map' as it were.


The Wulf Coast


The area known as the Wulf Coast is part of the Alyeskan coastline that runs roughly southwards. It is where a mountain range known as the Shackles meets the sea with towering cliffs and is seperated by the southern end of the Dragonspine Mountains by a coastal plain called the Dunfalk Gap. On the landward side it is surrounded, and thus cut-off from the rest of Alyeska, by the Wulflands.

Even before the creation of the Wulflands, it was a sparsely populated area with only a handful of independent mining outfits and stubborn fisherfolk. The ragged terrain also provided a haven for sea borne pirates, knowing how difficult it would be for the the Commonwealth authorities to dislodge them. Following the Wulver Wars the are became completely cut-off and the pirates faded into obscurity with the rise of their aerial counterparts.

These days the only inhabitants are those who were too stubborn to leave, eking out a bleak existence amidst an unforgiving and ragged terrain. Small, abandoned towns and mining camps are infrequent sights along with roads that have decayed after a decade of neglect. The only true way to get around is on foot, air travel is another option but some areas remain inaccessible.

Use In Games


The Wulf Coast is off the beaten track for normal Frozen Skies games, but there are a few reasons for visiting it.

*It is a relative safe-haven and has drawn some Wulfland survivors in search of some place else to live and has less danger from the bestial Wulvers. They still need supplies and have scavenged items to trade.

*It is a smugglers' haven, ignored by the Commonwealth and gives access to a risky but rewarding route across the Wulflands and over the Dragonspine Mountains.

*Those seeking to escape the notice of the authorities, it is a great place to setup a base even if its taking over one of the abandoned settlements.

*There is rumours of an abandoned military base in the area, one that was setup during the Great Darmonican War. Though, who by? Did they leave anything? Why was it abandoned?

Monday, 16 September 2019

Frozen Skies: A Proposal

In what seems to now be part of an ongoing series, I now present the latest instalment in the Phantom Skyskip Saga. This week's entry is a communique from the commander of the Aero-Fleet's Alyeska Command to the High Lord of Alyeska, whom we covered last week. Here the Royal Aero-Fleet approaches the viceroy of Alyeska with a proposal regarding the mysterious airship.

Troop Carrier - Ian McQue
Your Grace,

I have the honour to refer to the so-called 'Phantom Skyship' that has been frequently sighted on the western fringes.

You have been forwarded the relevant reports concerning the matter, along with the conclusions of my staff. We strongly suspect that the aero-vessel belongs to a foreign power that is largely unknown to us, though further investigation is required to confirm this theory.

To this end I humbly submit a proposal to mount an expedition beyond the Mallett's Rift in order to determine the true origins of the craft in question. Such an expedition would require a sizeable amount of personnel and resources and potentially weaken our standing forces in Alyeska, but it is felt that the benefits would more than outweigh this cost.

An outpost would be required to be established in the Mallett's Rift region, a necessity to allow an expedition force to maintain contact with the civilised world. Even if the expedition proves to be fruitless, the outpost would allow us room for expansion and perhaps eve contain the Wulvers.

The area beyond the Mallett's Rift is largely uncharted, thus giving rise to the possibility of untapped resources that could be claimed by the Commonwealth. In conjunction with the aforementioned outpost, it could increase Alyeska's importance and make it extremely valuable in the Commonwealth's eyes.

Potential benefits aside, I must underline the danger that the unknown skyship poses to our position in Alyeska. If a foreign power is found to have established itself in the western reaches, our defences are extremely venerable if that power proves to be hostile. If anything, its important that we stake the flag in the west to show that the land belongs to us.

I have the honour to be,
Your Grace,
Your obedient servant,
Air Vice-Admiral,
Air Officer Commanding Alyeska Command,


T.D.H. Cunningham

Monday, 9 September 2019

The Man Who Would Be King

Already mentioned that part of the process of updating Frozen Skies to SWADE is making some changes and revisions to the setting, the intent to tighten up and make clearer the background lore. This has included giving the Commonwealth more of an Irish/Celtic feel by making some changes to how it is structured and providing Gaelic based names for different titles and organisations. This week we turn to Alyeska and a complete overhaul of the Lord-Governor.


Viktor Cathmore, Ard Tiarna of Alyeska


The biggest thing people will notice is that both the title and person holding it have been changed.

Ard Tiarna translates as 'high lord', in Frozen Skies it is a position held by a clsoe family member of the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth and is appointed to that role. The High Lord of Alyeska is effectively a viceroy, who runs the territory in the name of and as a representative of the Commonwealth monarch. As the monarch's representative, the High Lord performs the ceremonial and constitutional functions of a head of state and holds executive power over Alyeska's own parliament. The High Lord also serves as the commander-in-chief of Alyeska's armed forces, making the post as much a military appointment as a civil one.

The current High Lord of Alyeska is Viktor Cathmore, the uncle of the reigning Queen Lothwyn and was appointed to the position by her father during his own reign. The fact that the Queen lacks any siblings was a big influence in Viktor remaining in the role when Lothwyn ascended to the throne, thus giving raise to a situation where the de facto 'king' of Alyeska has ruled longer than the actual sovereign of the Commonwealth. The extra time Viktor has had in the role has allowed him to cement his position and many suspect that he will not easily step down if Lothwyn chooses to replace him.

As Lothwyn has yet to take a husband and bear any children, Viktor is currently the heir presumptive and stands to inherit the Commonwealth throne when Lothwyn passes unless she ends up having children. This potentially sets Viktor up as one of the most powerful men in the Commonwealth and somebody who has much to gain if anything...unfortunate happens to his niece.

Viktor is known to be a stern man and is widely suspected to have built up a circle of supporters in both Alyeska and the Home Isles. He is also a skilled fighter and practices with the blade daily.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Frozen Skies: A Classified Report

Last week's post of some in-setting fluff proved to be a big hit, so here is a sequel of a sorts. If this proves to be as popular I'll certainly see about doing some more along similar lines. There is potential to do newspaper articles, letters, extracts from books and other pieces.

So if you want to see more of this, then please let me and in particular the sort of stuff you want to see.






CLASSIFIED TOP SECRET

AIR MINISTRY EYES ONLY


RE: UNIDENTIFIED SKYSHIP

YOUR LORDSHIPS,

AS PER YOUR RECENT REQUEST I HAVE COMPILED TOGETHER THE VARIOUS REPORTS MADE OF AN UNIDENTIFIED SKYSHIP SIGHTED ON THE WESTERN FRONTIER OF ALYESKA IN RECENT MONTHS. I HAVE DRAWN UPON SOURCES RANGING FROM AERO-FLEET PERSONNEL THROUGH TO CIVILIAN FRONTIERSMEN, MAKING NOTE OF THE DETAILS THEY HAVE ALL PROVIDED IN ORDER TO WRITE MY REPORT ON THE MATTER.

I HAVE NOT SUCCEEDED IN POSITIVELY IDENTIFYING THE ORIGINS OF THE MYSTERIOUS SKYSHIP. INSTEAD I HAVE THREE THEORIES, THOUGH I FEAR THEY WILL RAISE MORE QUESTIONS THAN PROVIDE ANY ANSWERS. EACH THEORY HAS ITS PROS AND CONS THAT I SHALL ENDEAVOUR TO COVER, THOUGH I MUST STRESS THEY ARE ONLY THEORIES.

1. THE PREVAILING THEORY IS THAT THE CRAFT IS ANCIENT TERRAN IN ORIGIN, SOMETHING THAT WOULD ACCOUNT FOR ITS DESIGN. THOUGH MOST ANCIENT AERO-CRAFT ENCOUNTERED TO DATE HAVE BEEN HALF-BURIED, RUSTY HULKS THAT WOULD REQUIRE CONSIDERABLE RESOURCES TO MAKE AIRWORTHY. EVEN IF SUCH A FEAT WAS ACHIEVED, OUR KNOWLEDGE OF ANCIENT TECHNOLOGY IS STILL PITIFUL AND I DOUBT SUCH A CRAFT COULD BE MADE OPERATIONAL WITH OUR CURRENT UNDERSTANDING.

FURTHER MORE, DESCRIPTION OF THE CRAFT DOES NOT SUGGEST SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN SALVAGED AND PATCHED TOGETHER. THE CONDITION REPORTED APPEARS THE CRAFT IS A MUCH MORE RECENT BUILD, SO THIS IS A THEORY THAT I WOULD DISCOUNT.

2. THE IRON COLLECTIVE IS A STRONG CANDIDATE, THOUGH DUE TO ITS ISOLATIONIST NATURE WE ONLY HEAR RUMOURS OF ITS MILITARY AND TECHNOLOGICAL CAPABILITIES. THUS DUE TO OUR LIMITED KNOWLEDGE AND INTELLIGENCE, IT IS ENTIRELY PLAUSIBLE THAT THE COLLECTIVE HAS MANAGED TO DESIGN AND BUILD NEW DESIGNS OF AERO-VESSELS WITHOUT OUR KNOWLEDGE.

WHERE THIS THEORY FALLS DOWN IS THAT AT THE END OF THE LAST WAR, WITH THE SKYWRIGHTS GUILD'S BLESSING, THE RAF LAUNCHED STRIKES AGAINST SKYSHIP FACILITIES WITHIN THE THEN FLEDGING COLLECTIVE. INTELLIGENCE REPORTS AT THE TIME ESTIMATED 5 TO 10 YEARS BEFORE THE COLLECTIVE'S FACILITIES TO MAINTAIN AND CONSTRUCT NEW SKYSHIPS WERE FULLY RESTORED. BASED ON CONSERVATIVE ESTIMATES, IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE COLLECTIVE WOULD NOT INTRODUCE NEW DESIGNS FOR ANOTHER FIVE YEARS.

IF THE COLLECTIVE HAS MANAGED TO NOT ONLY MAKE FULLY OPERATIONAL ITS SKYSHIP FACILITIES BUT CONSTRUCT AND COMMISSION NEW DESIGNS, IT SHOWS THAT WE HAVE SEVERELY UNDERESTIMATED THE CAPABILITIES OF THAT STATE.

ADDITIONALLY, IF IRON COLLECTIVE VESSELS ARE NOW ROAMING THE WESTERN REACHES OF ALYESKA IT SHOWS THAT THEY ARE ABLE TO DANGEROUSLY OUTFLANK US. IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THIS FEAR WE HAVE TO PRESUME THAT THE COLLECTIVE HAS MANAGED TO NAVIGATE THE POLAR REGIONS, THUS GIVING THEM THE OPPORTUNITY TO STRIKE AT THE TRADITIONALLY UNDER-DEFENDED NORTHERN AND WESTERN REGIONS OF THE HOME ISLES. THIS PROSPECT ALONE SHOULD BE THE RAF'S PRIMARY CONCERN GOING FORWARDS REGARDLESS OF OTHER FACTORS.

3. THE FINAL THEORY IS THAT AN UNKNOWN POWER FAR TO THE WEST OF ALYESKA HAS STARTED EXPANDING EASTWARD.

THIS THEORY HAS SOME CREDENCE AS ANOTHER EMPIRE IS BELIEVE TO EXIST BEYOND THE EASTERN FRONTIERS OF WHAT IS NOW THE IRON COLLECTIVE. BEFORE THE WAR THERE WERE REPORTS OF PERSONS WHO CLAIMED TO BE FROM THE DISTANT EAST AND SPOKE OF A VAST EMPIRE. OTHER DETAILS ARE SOMEWHAT SCARCE, THUS LEAVING US TO ONLY GUESS AT THIS UNKNOWN EMPIRE'S TECHNOLOGICAL PROWESS AND CAPABILITIES.

I CONSIDER THIS THEORY TO BE THE MOST LIKEST OF THE THREE, THOUGH IT IS HEAVILY RELIANT ON THE UNKNOWN. AS HIGHLIGHTED ABOVE, THERE IS SOME EVIDENCE THAT SUGGESTS THAT SUCH AN EMPIRE EXIST BUT IT IS IN PART OF A WORLD THAT WE KNOW SO LITTLE ABOUT. LIKEWISE, THAT IS STILL SO MUCH OF ALYESKA BEYOND THE WULFLANDS THAT REMAIN UNEXPLORED.

IN CONCLUSION

AS STATED, THESE ARE JUST THEORIES AND ONLY OFFER POSSIBLE ANSWERS RATHER THAN ANYTHING CONCRETE. THOUGH IT IS UP TO THE AIR MINISTRY AS TO THE COURSE OF ACTION TO TAKE, IT IS MY STRONG RECOMMENDATION THAT AN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE IS DESPATCHED BEYOND THE MALLETT'S RIFT REGION WITH THE VIEW OF ESTABLISHING AN OUTPOST IN THAT AREA. SUCH AN OUTPOST WOULD ALLOW US TO HAVE A PRESENCE IN THE AREA IN QUESTION, INCREASE OUR CHANCES OF INTERCEPTION THE MYSTERIOUS SKYSHIP AND POSSIBLY EVEN AID WITH THE RECLAMATION OF THE WULFLANDS.


SQN LDR F. SCANLAN
R.A.F. INTELLIGENCE

Monday, 26 August 2019

Frozen Skies: The Phantom Skyship

OK, something a little different this week.

This is a piece of in-setting fluff, usable as an adventure hook or a red herring in a campaign. It may or may not be used to fuel the plot of the Frozen Skies setting. Depending on how well it is received, I may do more like it.


FROM: HMAS MACHA, PERSONAL FROM W/C O'MALLORY
TO: VICE AIR ADMIRAL CUNNINGHAM, HQ RAF ALYESKA COMMAND
REF NO: 5035, 14 MALDUN 1836

SIR,

AS PER YOUR ORDERS, TOOK THE MACHA ON AN EXTENDED PATROL ACROSS THE WULFLANDS TO THE MALLETT'S RIFT REGION. SUPPLEMENTARY TO YOUR ORDERS, WE PUT IN GOODWILL VISITS TO A NUMBER OF WULFLANDER SETTLEMENTS, THE RELEVANT DETAILS ARE INCLUDED IN THE ATTACHED REPORT.

WE REACHED THE MALLETT'S RIFT AREA ON THE FIFTH DAY SINCE LEAVING CALHALLOW, I SET THE CREW ABOUT SPOTTING WULVER MIGRATION ROUTES TO AID OPERATIONS ELSEWHERE AGAINST THE BEASTS.

IT WAS A QUARTER WAY THROUGH THE FIRST DOG WATCH WHEN PORTSIDE LOOKOUTS REPORTED AN AERIAL OBJECT DUE WEST OF THE MACHA. THE OFFICER OF THE WATCH SOUNDED ACTION STATIONS AND I WAS SUMMONED TO THE BRIDGE. THE OBJECT WAS IDENTIFIED AS AN AERIAL CRAFT, THOUGH ORIGINS UNKNOWN. ATTEMPTS TO HAIL THE CRAFT VIA RADIO AND SIGNAL LAMPS WERE TO NO AVAIL.

THE CRAFT CLOSED TO WITHIN HALF MILE OF THE MACHA, BUT MADE NO HOSTILE MOVES AND FLEW PARALLEL WITH US FOR SOME TIME. WE WERE ABLE TO GET A GOOD LOOK AT THE STRANGE CRAFT, CERTAINLY A DESIGN THAT I DID NOT RECOGNIZE. WE DID NOT SPOT ANY WEAPONS, NOR ANY OBVIOUS MEANS OF PROPULSION.

WITHOUT WARNING, THE CRAFT ABRUPTLY CHANGED COURSE HEADING WESTWARDS. THE CRAFT EASILY OUT-RANGED THE MACHA, EVEN AT A SPEED OF THIRTY-TWO KNOTS. THE CRAFT ALSO PROVED TO BE EXCEPTIONALLY AGILE, SEEMINGLY RAPIDLY ABLE TO COME TO A NEW HEADING WITHOUT DIFFICULTY.

THE WULFLANDERS WE QUIZZED AFTERWARDS REPORTED THAT THE CRAFT, AND MANY LIKE IT, HAVE BEEN SPOTTED IN THE MALLETT'S RIFT REGION OVER THE PREVIOUS FEW MONTHS. ATTEMPTS TO ESTABLISH CONTACT WITH THE CRAFT HAVE REPORTEDLY BEEN UNSUCCESSFUL.

SEAN O'MALLORY
CAPTAIN
O/C HMAS MACHA

Monday, 19 August 2019

Frozen Skies: The Gardaí Aeir (Air Guard)

I've mentioned a few times already, part of the process of updating Frozen Skies to SWADE is making some revisions to the setting's lore. I've already revisited the Commonwealth with the intention of giving it a more Irish/Celtic flair, including having a national police force called the Garda. This week sees some changes to Alyeska, chiefly renaming the Royal Alyeskan Air Police to the Gardaí Aeir Alyeska.

Guardians of the Air


Compared to the Garda in the Commonwealth's Home Isles, the Air Guard of Alyeska is very much a colonial force. The Air Guard has more of a military feel, its officers being routinely armed in addition to being able to pilot an aircraft. Air Guard officers are expected to fly a wide range of aircraft, from scout aircraft to patrol remote areas to fully fledge fighter squadrons to help defend larger settlements.

The Air Guard divides Alyeska into Regions for command purposes, each Region roughly matching an geographical region. Regions are typically under the charge of Assistant Commissioners.

Directly subordinate to the Assistant Commissioners are Chief Superintendents, most of whom supervise what are called Divisions. Each Division contains a number of Districts, each commanded by a Superintendent assisted by a team of Inspectors. Each District contains a number of Detachments, which are usually commanded by Sergeants.

Typically each Detachments contains only one Garda station. A different number of Gardaí are based at each station depending on its importance. Most of these stations employ the basic rank of Garda, the smallest station consisting of only three men.

Ranks



  • Commissioner.
  • Deputy Commissioner.
  • Assistant Commissioner.
  • Chief Superintendent.
  • Superintendent.
  • Inspector.
  • Air Sergeant.
  • Garda/Airman.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Frozen Skies: Mariners of the Air

Aaand we're back to Frozen Skies.

This is an idea that I've been considering for some time, mainly as an alternative way to managing NPC crewmen in the Frozen Skies campaign that I ran but struggle to come up with something at the time. Currently preparing to run a game in a different setting and system, one that involves spaceships and a degree of crew management. This other game prompted a train of thought and I've think I've come up with something that'll work for Frozen Skies.


Mariners of the Air


This is intended to be an optional set of rules that builds upon the Wealth Rules in SWADE, targetted at hose who like a little bit of bookkeeping and wish to have airships with sizeable crews. These rules come in two parts; Wealth Pool and Crew.

The Wealth Pool is a Wealth roll for the character's airship and works in a similar fashion. It starts at d4 but the characters can increase it by 'investing' in the collective wealth pool by transferring a die of their own Wealth to the Wealth Pool. In gameplay the characters can use the Wealth Pool instead of their own Wealth for trying to buy items, though the Wealth Pool is also used to make a once a month Upkeep roll for the airship. This roll represents the general upkeep of the airship, buying spare parts, fuel and supplies for the crew and works the same way when buying things. Though if the Wealth Pool goes 'broke', then the characters must transfer a die each of their own Wealth to avoid a mutiny by the crew.

Crew is, unsurprisingly, the crew of the airship. They start with a collective trait die of d6 for the relevant trait rolls they may be required to make (Shooting, Piloting, Repair, etc). This trait die (or Crew Rating) can be increased one step by reducing the die of the Wealth Pool by one, like downgrading the Crew Rating can increase the Wealth Pool as a lesser crew cost less in wages. The lowest Crew Rating will impose a -1 penalty on the Upkeep roll that will build up over successive months to a maximum of -4 if the Crew Rating stays at this level, representing the increased upkeep costs with a poorly trained crew.

Crew Rating

Incompetent - d4 - Upkeep rolls incur a -1 penalty that increased by -1 per month (to a max of -4) that the crew remains at this rating.

Competent - d6

Crack - d8

Veteran - d10

Elite - d12

Monday, 5 August 2019

The Gwentshire Chronicles: Crostwick Combe

A third Gwentshire related in a row? What madness is this?!

On little bit of a roll with ideas for the Gwentshire Chronicles setting, this week it is a location. Since Gwentshire is meant to be roughly located where North Somerset is, it shares some geographical features with its real life counterpart. One of those features is a combe, effectively a small valley through which a watercourse does not run. In Gwentshire there are many combes, the most notorious of which is Crostwick Combe.


Crostwick Combe


Officially, Crostwick Combe does not exist.

It isn't marked on any maps and the scientific refuses to accept that it exist as no proof of its existence has ever been found. It is suppose to be located in the Weston Hills in sight of the Iron Age hill fort near the hamlet of Medbury, but many have searched and have found no trace of the combe. The locals, the older folk in particular, have stated; "To find the combe, let the light of the night be your guide."

Many have gone searching at night with little success, only a handful of people have claimed to have found the combe but have never been able to find it again. The only to actually find the combe is to use the light of the full moon and follow a path highlighted by the moon's glow. In the combe lies a pond up against a cliff, with a inscribed stone on the far side of the pond at the base of the cliff. What is actually written on the stone is unknown as nobody has been able to get close enough to read it and it is also partially obscured by plant growth.

The pond is said to be the residing place of the Old Wise Woman of Crostwick, called a mystic by some and a witch by others. Nobody knows who, or what, she is and it is stated that she's claimed to have been in the combe since "long before the Eagle marched across these lands."

Regardless of the truth behind the Old Wise Woman, many seek her out for answers to their questions. Answers she gives, though despite being truthful they are open to interpretation. She will only answer one question from a person and an ancient ritual is required to summon her in the first place.

Using Crostwick Combe


The only real reason that the player characters would have for visiting the Combe is to see the Old Wise Woman, though finding it and summoning the Woman would be an adventure in itself. Only allow one question per character, though the Woman's answers are a little vague but they will have a ring of truth about them. This can be a way to give big clues to the characters regarding other adventures or villainous NPCs.

Monday, 29 July 2019

The Gwentshire Chronicles: The Rolfe Sisters

Back after spending a week in the West Riding of Yorkshire, more accurately in Brontë Country. There was certainly plenty to see and do in the area, also plenty of inspiration for various settings that I am working on. In particular the Brontë Sisters provide a source of inspiration for the Gwentshire Chronicles, namely in the form of the Rolfe Sisters.


The Three Sisters of Lombe


The Rolfe Sisters were a trio of female writers and siblings who resided in the Weston Hills near the village of Lombe during the early 1800s; Enda, Gwen and Rowan. The sisters have very few books written between them and all three died before they reached their 30th birthday. Dark rumours abound that the sisters discovered that things didn't lie well in Gwentshire and wrote their books to try to warn others, ultimately doing so ended up dooming them.

It is believed that the sisters developed a keen interest in the Weston Hills from a young age, spending many hours exploring every nook and cranny of the limestone hills. However, it isn't known precisely when they first stumbled upon the secret truth of the nature of Gwentshire especially as they didn't start writing until their late teens. The girls were fortunate in that their father, Bayden Rolfe, was the local village vicar and could afford to have the girls educated.

Again, it is uncertain when the girls agreed to write a novel but a local printers was contracted to print a very limited run of five books in 1842. Further small print runs were ordered over the next few years for a few more books, the last seeing the light of day in 1849. A mere two weeks after the last book was printed the youngest of the sisters, Gwen, was found dead aged 26. Six months later the oldest, Enda at 29, was also found dead. The last of the sisters, Rowan, was last reported heading into the Weston Hills some time later where she vanished without a trace.

After the loss of the sisters, their books also disappeared with the odd rare copy surfacing every so often only to be brought by a mysterious stranger for a staggering amount of money. Curiously, a previously unknown book titled the Rolfe Memoirs appeared in 1949, its handwritten pages confirmed to match the handwritings of each of the sisters. Bizarrely, the Rolfe Memoirs have a publishing date of 1859 but no record was ever found concerning this. Before anyone could get to the bottom of the mystery, the book vanished despite being in the secure archives of the Gwentshire County Museum.

Never achieving fame or wide-spread acknowledgement, the Rolfe Sisters passed into relative obscurity with their books becoming sought after prizes in certain, select circles. Today the only reminder of the girls existence in Gwentshire is the Rofle Waterfall, a tributary of the River Gwent, some miles south-west of Lombe.

Using the Rolfe Sisters


For a game set during during the 1830s/40s period, the sisters could directly feature either as the sources of information or possible adventures. A -4 Common Knowledge is needed to find out about the sisters, after that Persuasion is need to determine how forthcoming they are about information.

The Rolfe books themselves require a -4 Research roll to use, each success and raise grants a +1 bonus to Occult rolls to a maximum of +4. Of course the book themselves can be the focal point of an adventure.

Monday, 15 July 2019

The Gwentshire Chronicles: Setting Rules

As mentioned previously, the forthcoming new edition of Savage Worlds gives me an excuse to revisit some of my other setting ideas. This week is the turn of The Gwentshire Chronicles, a supernatural horror set in a fictional county in the West Country of England during different time periods. This post will have some setting rules and Edges, plus a side note on Gear.

PSA: Due to a family vacation, there will be no post next week.


Setting Rules


The Mists

The Mists of Gwentshire are a curious thing, a common occurrence regardless of the time of year as they seemingly creep in to engulf the countryside at night. Thats not to say that they do not ebb and flow; some nights will be completely clear, other nights the mists will become so thick that they muffle all sights and sounds. There are even times when folk find themselves turned around in the mist, even if they were using a compass or following a road or a fence.

Thats not to mention the things sometimes glimpsed.

The Mists can become so thick and cloying, even more so than normal fog. In these instances, the Mists impose a -2 penalty on Notice rolls, Survival rolls made to track or to navigate, and ranged attack rolls. This penalty stacks with Dim or Dark lighting, but has no effect in Pitch Black conditions.

Also, the Mists increase the Fear rating of monsters by +1.

As the Mists seem to play with travellers and lead them astray, navigating when the Mists are out requires a Survival roll (with the penalty mentioned above) regardless of the mode of transportation. A successful roll lets the traveller and his group reach their destination in more or less the expected amount of time, a raise gets them there in half the time. A failure uses up the default amount of travel time, followed by a new roll. A critical failure leaves the traveller some place other than their destination.

Edges


Ancestral Ties
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Spirit d6+

The Veil that separates our world from the spirit world is thinner than usual in Gwentshire, this allows some people to call upon the spirits of their ancestors for aid.

Whenever a character wishes aid from beyond the Veil they have to make a Spirit, this has a -2 penalty if they are seeking general help or a -4 penalty if they are seeking the aid of a specific ancestor (ie "my great great grandfather fought werewolves"). A successful roll grants basic information or a +1 bonus to certain skills at the GM's discretion, a raise provides more detailed information or a +2 bonus.

Failure on this roll means the character receives vague or even misleading information as they are able to get a clear message or hint (ie "vampires hate smelly socks"). A critical failure results in an ancestor spirit, or even something else, trying to take over the character's body. In this instance, an opposed Spirit roll is made with the invader's Spirit being one die higher than the character's. If the character succeeds, they are fine but Shaken. If the invader wins, they take control for 1d6 hours. After this time, the invader can choose to leave or make another opposed Spirit roll to stay.

Improved Ancestral Ties
Requirements: Seasoned, Ancestral Ties, Strong Willed

The character has strengthened their willpower and gains a +2 bonus on rolls to contact ancestor spirits or to resist invaders.

Note on Gear & Skills


The Gwentshire Chronicles is intended to be set in different time periods, which is going to be a huge factor on the gear and skills available to the characters.

Driving and Electronics are going to be obvious skills that instantly come to mind, both of those aren't suitable for a game set before the 20th Century (or even the 1950s with the latter skill). Medicine is going to be something else to consider as the level and service of healthcare changed and improved over time, especially after WW2 and the creation of the National Health Service.

Weapons is another thing to consider, especially firearms. The right to keep and bear arms had originated in England during the reign of Henry II with the 1181 Assize of Arms, and developed as part of common law. This changed with the 1689 Bill of Rights where it become the right to bear arms "...as allowed by law."

The first serious attempts to restrict weapons (melee weapons as well as firearms) began in the 1700s after the Jacobite rebellions and continued throughout the 19th Century. Typically after major conflicts saw increased controls over weapons due to fears of weapons being brought back by returning soldiers. A permit wasn't required until the Gun Licence Act 1870, which was created to raise revenue and required a person intending to carry a gun off their property to obtain a licence over the counter at their local Post Office.

Firearm controls became more restrictive in the 20th Century with the Pistol Act of 1903 which saw the first restrictions on the sale of firearms. The Firearms Act 1920 saw obtaining a certificate hinging on the police and placed restrictions on ammunition, though 'self-defence' was still a valid reason for owning a firearm. 1937 saw another Act that extended controls over a wider range of firearms and their sale, in addition to self-defence now ruled as no longer being a suitable reason for obtaining a firearm.

This was only a basic overview, more details can be found here; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firearms_policy_in_the_United_Kingdom

Monday, 8 July 2019

The Wulftouched Overhauled

So mentioned last week that I was taking another look at the Wulftouched, mainly because I wanted to change how they work in the rules. Had some feedback on my initial ideas and some time to think over it, certainly looking like basing the Wulftouched's mechanics on the Harrowed from Deadlands is something worth perusing. So this week is an attempt at getting some rules down for the Wulftouched and a few Edges.





A Dog's Life

As I said above, looking to base the Wulftouched on the Harrowed from Deadlands. This seems my best option to expand the Wulftouched.

Wulftouched 

Remains a Major Hindrance, though it works similarly to the Harrowed Edge from Deadlands but without any of the benefits. It also unlocks a series of Edges.

Fury

Fury works similarly to the Harrowed's Dominion, though this is a right up Trait roll rather than an opposed one. A character begins with a Fury of 0, though this changes based on the success or failure of the character's Fury roll (see below). The GM will generally call for a Fury when they feel the situation is right, this is typically when the character is under a great deal of stress. Make a Spirit roll for Fury when the GM calls for it, using the character's current Fury score as a modifier. Fury can never go below -4 or above +4.

Fury Table

Success: The Wulftouched retains control and gains 1 of Fury, or 2 with a raise.

Failure: Your character loses a point of Fury and is Shaken, though doesn't 'wolf out'.

Critical Failure: The beast is let loose as the character loses 2 points of Fury and transform into a Wulver. The character remains in this state for 1d6 hours before changing back, though possibly with an uncomfortable taste in their mouths.

Wulftouched Edges

 

Bestial Features
Requirements: Wulftouched, Menacing

The character's bonus to Intimidation increases to +4.

Beast's Hands
Requirements: Novice, Wulftouched

The character gains Claws that do Str+d4 damage in combat and count as Natural Weapons.

Fight the Beast
Requirements: Seasoned, Strong Willed, Wulftouched

Gains one free re-roll on Fury rolls.

Nose of the Wulf
Requirements: Novice, Wulftouched, Survival d6+

Gains +2 to Survival rolls made for Tracking.

Tame the Beast
Requirements: Fight the Beast

Can make a Spirit to change into a Wulver. Success means the character retains control and acts normally, able to use Edges at the GM's discretion. Failure means the character loses control as they turn.

Monday, 1 July 2019

The Wulftouched Revisited

Updating Frozen Skies to a new version of Savage Worlds has made me consider various things in the setting that need revising or expanded upon. One of those things that have recently crossed my mind was the Wulftouched; aside from a Hindrance they haven’t really been touched upon in the setting that much. So this week is a few ideas I’ve had to expand on the Wulftouched, hopefully to try and make it more appealing beyond just a Hindrance.



Touch of the Wulf

To recap; Wulftouched are the offspring of pregnant women who got bitten by a Wulver, the bite contains some sort of retro-virus that remains dormant until puberty. After puberty, the person runs the risk of turning into a Wulver if they encounter a stressful enough situation. Before the Wulver War this was an uncommon occurrence, but not completely unknown. Course, that conflict brought about something of a boom in the number of the Wulftouched…especially as most of them are about to effectively become walking time-bombs as they hit puberty.

Now there is the very real risk of the player losing their character, so I can understand people’s reluctance at taking the Hindrance. So I’ve been thinking of ways of making it more worthwhile, but at the same time retaining an element of risk. Suppose I could make the Wulftouched a bit like the Harrowed in Deadlands, basically having the character go Wulver only for a short period but I’m in two minds about making them into effectively werewolves.

Though an idea that I probably will explore is a series of new Edges that require the Wulftouched Hindrance to unlock them. In particular I’m thinking these Edges grant a temporary boost to the character, be it to Strength or to Tracking rolls. Certainly flavour wise, they could be described as the Wulftouched character trying to master their inner Wulf.

Finally there is the idea of something called Rage tokens; haven’t fully decided how they work but they could be considered like an extra pool of Bennies. At the moment I’m thinking one Rage token per rank with Edges granting more. They’ll probably be situational, perhaps buying an extra melee attack for example. Using them will incur a cumulative -1 penalty on the character’s Spirit rolls to resist the Wulf and keep control, so making them little bit of a gamble to use.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Rogue's Gallery: Andrei Dunlyfe

The world of Darmonica has a wide cast of characters who call it home, some are mere specks by the wayside whilst others exert influence far beyond the reckoning of most folk. Of the latter most are diplomats or heads of states, others work from the shadows to subtly nudge events in a particular direction. Andrei Dunlyfe is a man accustomed to working in the shadows, though currently a so-called 'Broker of Secrets' he was formerly a spymaster of the Kingdom of Tyland.


The Tylanish Shadow

Befitting a man of shadows, Andrei's life is largely unknown. It is generally known that he enetered Tyland's Royal Military College as an officer cadet, completing the infantry officer's course before specialising in military intelligence. He was recruited by the Central Intelligence Bureau, Tyland's external military intelligence agency, and soon proved his worth as he rose up the ranks. Andrei frustrated the efforts of the Commonwealth's intelligence service during the Great Darmonican War and quickly got called the 'Tylanish Shadow'.

After the war had ended, Andrei travelled to Alyeska where he set himself up as a broker of secrets. He trades in information with anyone who has enough coin, though will pick freelancers to give 'free' titbits but otherwise remains strictly neutral. Some do have to question what his motivations and ambitions are, especially since it is known that he has no love for the Commonwealth.

Those who have met him have stated the constant sound of ticking that comes from a supposed clockwork arm, least Andrei stresses that its clockwork but doesn't go into further detail.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Athletics d6, Common Knowledge d8, Fighting d8, Intimidation d8, Language (Sodkan) d6, Language (Gwentian) d6, Language (Artian) d6, Notice d8+2, Persuasion d8, Research d8, Shooting d8, Stealth d8, Thievery d8+1
Pace: 6, Parry: 8, Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Code of Honor, Curious
Edges: Alertness, Ambidextrous, Assassin, Block, Combat Reflexes, Extraction, Feint, Improved Block, Improved Extraction, Level Headed, Quick, Streetwise, Strong Willed, Thief
Gear: Revolver, Mechanical Arm (+1 Str die & Armor +2 on arm), Short Sword (mounted on mechanical arm, kept retracted until needed).
Languages: Tylanis (Native), Sodkan (d6), Gwentian (d6), Artian (d6)

Monday, 17 June 2019

More Aircraft For SWADE

Getting a blog post done this week has proven to be a struggle, though still wanted to produce something. Ended up opting to update some other aircraft to SWADE, the aircraft in question were extra cargo planes written over a couple of years ago. Hoping next week to have something more substantial.


Crown Aircraft Co. 'Beagle'

The Beagle is a twin-engined, all-metal cargo plane that saw service in large numbers in the latter years of the Great Darmonican War. A few remain in military service a decade after the conflict, many more can be seen flying in civilian hands.

Top Speed: 260 MPH; Toughness: 12 (2); Crew: 2-4; Climb: 10;  Handling: -1; Size: 8 (Huge)
Notes: Cargo Space x7, Extra Fuel Tanks, Increased Torque

Crown Aircraft Co. 'Wolfhound'

A larger counterpart of the Beagle is the four-engined Wolfhound, which has tricycle landing gear that also helps to set it apart from the tail-dragging Beagle.

Top Speed: 200 MPH; Toughness: 14 (2); Crew: 4; Climb: 10;  Handling: -1; Size: 10 (Huge)
Notes: Cargo Space x12, Increased Torque, Wind Adjustments

Monday, 10 June 2019

Keep The Home Fires Burning: Setting Rules

Its been a while since I've posted anything for Keep The Home Fires Burning, though I've had a few ideas on how I want various Setting Rules to work. The Adventure Edition of Savage Worlds also provides a good excuse to look again at this setting idea. Once Frozen Skies has been updated for SWADE and an updated book released, I hope to come back to this setting in hopes of producing either a Jumpstart or Mini-Setting for it.


The Flu

The Spanish Flu forms a huge backdrop to the setting; in addition to being the catalyst for all the critters crawling out of the woodwork it is also going to have an affect on the player characters. So this calls for a couple of special rules; Contraction Rolls and Infection Rating.

Contraction Roll 

A Contraction Roll is a Vigor roll made every four hours of game time or when the character moves into an area with a higher Infection Rating. Each character has a stat called Immunity, this is grants a +1 bonus per Rank to the Contraction roll. Though, the character suffers a penalty equal to the Infection Rating of the area that they are in. Germ masks provide a +2 bonus and the roll can be modified by Edges and Hindrances.

Optional Rule: -1 penalty for every infected character in the group.

Refer to the Disease rules in SWADE and consult the table below when making the roll.

Critical Failure - Lethal, make Vigor roll every four hours.

Failure - Chronic, no additional effects.

Success - Deilitating

Raise - Perfectly healthy, no ill effects.

Infection Ratings

Infection Rating 0 - Negligible chances of contracting the flu, though only tends to be sparsely inhabited countryside or isolated islands.

Infection Rating 1 - Villages and other small settlements that have semi-regular contact with nearby towns or other settlements. Also large parks within towns and cities.

Infection Rating 2 - Large villages with regular contact with other settlements or small towns, plus the wealthier neighbourhoods of large cities.

Infection Rating 3 - Most towns or where there is a regular gathering of people.

Infection Rating 4 - Cities and other areas with large gathering of people such as public transport or military bases.

Infection Rating 5 - Hospitals and the slum areas of cities; fair number of people packed into a small area means infections tend to spread like wildfire.