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.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Aerial HEXfight!

Organising a Play-By-Post game of Frozen Skies has prompted thought over how to handle aerial combat in this medium. Theatre of the mind's eye I feel wouldn't work as well as I feel things would get too confusing with positioning. So some sort of map seems the best option, but again that has it limitations. Fortunately I think I found a decent compromise for what I'm looking for.


The Basics

The Aerial HEXfight rules for Frozen Skies uses a hex grid for movement and combat.

Divide all speeds and ranges from Frozen Skies by 50, though round down. This means an aircraft with a Top Speed of 320 has a Hex Speed of 6, one with a Top Speed of 180 has a Hex Speed of 3. The Hex Speed (shortened to HS) represents how many Hexes an aircraft can travel, though the Hexes must be joined by a flat edge. An aircraft can move either in a Straight line or turn Left or Right. Harder turns are available, though these require a Piloting roll and are demonstrated in the picture below.


Combat

As mentioned above, divide ranges by 50 in order to get the number of Hexes. Normal combat rules of Ranges, RoF, Unstable Platform still apply as does the Evasion stat for aircraft from Frozen Skies.

However, aircraft can only make attacks along a straight row of Hexes like below with Fixed weapons.


Weapons with Arcs of fire, such as turrets, have a field of fire extending out from the aircraft.

Manoeuvrers

Manoeuvrers from Frozen Skies can work for the Aerial HEXfight rules, though some require some changes.

Immelmann (-2): Move Hex forward, but turn the aircraft around 180 degrees. Failure still means aircraft goes Out of Control.

Tail: Move into a valid tailing position (see below), at Medium range for weapons and attempt an opposed Piloting roll. If initiating pilot gets a raise they count as tailing the other aircraft and gains a +2 bonus to attack rolls. Tailing aircraft must remain in a valid tailing position behind the target aircraft within Medium range in order to maintain the tail.



Shake a Tail: Opposed Piloting roll, if successful the pilot attempting to shake a tail can make a Hard Left or Hard Right manoeuvrer. A raise means the pilot can reverse positions and tail the other aircraft.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Weird Science Update!

A recent conversion has prompted a look and some ideas how Weird Science works in Frozen Skies under the SWADE rules. How Power Points and Devices work now warranted a rethink for Frozen Skies. Hoping to preserve the differences between Glim-Tech and Ancient Terran devices, if anything to reflect their own style and theme.


She Blinded Me With (Weird) Science!

Weird Science in Frozen Skies works the same way as it does in SWADE, the normal rules work for Glim-Tech devices. Ancient Terran Artefacts are handled a little differently.

*Ancient Artefacts impose a -2 penalty to use due to how unfamiliar they are for people to use.

*The Unstable rule remains.

*Ancient Artefacts are treated as Arcane Devices under SWADE, though they come with their own pool of 5 Power Points (which can be added to).

*Ancient Artefacts cannot be created without the Ancient Terran Artificer Edge, though they can be found in the world and used.

Overdrive! Overcharge! Supercharge!

The changes also mean that some changes are needed for the Weird Science Edges in Frozen Skies.

Overcharge - Reduces the cost of Power Modifiers by 1.

Supercharge - Requires Overcharge, reduces the Power Modifier cost by an additional 1.

Glim-Tech Mastery - Grants +2 bonus to using Glim-Tech and Ancient devices.

Ancient Terran Novice (formerly Ancient Terran Mastery) - Reduces the penalty to use Ancient devices by 1, now a Novice ranked Edge.

Ancient Terran Associate (formerly AT Expert) - Removes the -2 penalty for using Ancient Artefacts, now a Seasoned Edge.

Ancient Terran Technician - Requires AT Associate, grants a re-roll to use Ancient Devices.

Ancient Terran Master - Veteran ranked Edge and requires AT Technician, removes the Unstable rule.

Ancient Terran Artificer - Now Heroic ranked Edge, grants the ability to craft new Ancient devices and increases the device's own pool of PPs to 1.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Update May 2019

So...its been a wee while since an update on things was posted.

The big thing most people are going to be interested in is what is currently happening with Frozen Skies, chiefly the update to SWADE. Also covered will be plans for the future, new products and potential events. There will also be a small announcement, so hang around for that.





Frozen Skies

Have already confirmed that Frozen Skies will be receiving an update to SWADE and it has been something that's been worked on. Can't currently give an ETA, but provisionally it'll be some point over the summer. Presently the Bestiary is the current section being worked, pretty much the various NPCs that need restating (Savaged.us has been a huge help here). Then it'll be the Adventures section, updating what is currently there and attempting to include an extra adventure or two.

You can check out the current version of the update *HERE*.

After the SWADE update is done I intend to start work on the next Frozen Skies book; Skies of Crimson.

This book will have a strong focus on sky pirates and a detailed look at the pirate haven of Broken Spires in addition to all the usual goodies. Certainly a few pirate gangs will feature along with stuff relating to aero-vessels.

Other Products

Other items in the pipeline include mini-settings of the various Setting Ideas that I've posted about previously and more content for Cold War Skirmishes (beyond Operation Thule). First proper entry for CWS is likely to be the ANZACs in Vietnam, allowing content to be used with Tour of Darkness.

Events

Recently did Diceni in Norwich, though personally I am not likely to be attending any more events this year. You may be able to find copies of Frozen Skies at other shows, possibly ones that have a presence from Indie Press Revolution.

Have a wishlist of shows that I'd like to do next year, but its too early to say anything at this stage.

Announcement

Frozen Skies has been submitted for this year's ENnie Awards, not sure how well it'll do be we'll see when nominations are announced in July.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Frozen Skies: Post-Campaign Thoughts

Certainly a few things that I could've done differently or better with my Frozen Skies campaign, things I'm sure that my players can pitch in on. So this week I'm taking the chance to address the things that come to mind for me and what, if possible, could've been changed. Will also post about ideas I have forming for my next Frozen Skies campaign, no matter the format that takes.


Reflections

First thing that comes to mind is the plot.

I had a couple of adventures pre-written before I started the campaign, though soon found that I needed greater motivation for the players (i.e. helping out Taran's Bluffs). Admittedly after that I played things a little loose, offering the players jobs to but letting them drive things forward. It did mean that the build-up to the planned Broken Spires plotline was slow and eventually sidelined, though the plot created and driven forward by the players themselves ended up being fun and interesting.

The issue here, to me, seems split between pacing and striking the balance between GM Railroading vs Player Freedom. I will also have to raise my hand and admit my guilt of a degree of GM laziness as well. It probably would've helped if the characters' backstories were more interlinked and the characters more established as a crew prior to the campaign, plus it much more clearer as to who the captain was (and being stronger in that role).

The Future

The ideas I have for my next Frozen Skies based campaign is based on a PBP RP I took part in where the characters were part of a squadron of commando pilots going on special ops and covert missions. Sort of similar to the video games Secret Weapons Over Normandy and Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII. It will be a military based campaign, so by its nature it will be more rigid with a chain of command so that its easier for somebody else to take over if the commander gets taken out.

My choices for running it could have it set during the Great Darmonican War or the present era, the latter would see more of a focus on fighting sky pirates and Cold War style black ops.

Probably more likely to run it with a different group in a Play-By-Post format, but we'll see.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Frozen Skies: The Broken Spires Conspiracy

There are a handful of plotlines I had planned for my Frozen Skies campaign, but never got the chance to do much with these. Big focus of some of these revolved around the sky pirate haven of Broken Spires; which got teased but no follow through. So this week we'll take a look at these and what could possibly had happened had the campaign continued.


The Conspiracy

The crew first learned about a possible Commonwealth campaign against Broken Spires on their first visit to Spitsworth Manor, though this was in the form of letters about seeking justification for a military operation. There was no confirmation that an attack would go ahead, but the crew took it as read that something would happen. They tipped off Natasha Rogan, leader of the Banshees gang, and the crew looked like they would take steps to prevent the attack...least until Tag's death.

Now heres the kicker.

The crew were going to be used to provide justification for the attack on Broken Spires, particularly after they'd dabbled in sky piracy and everything had been setup for the Conspiracy plotline to advance. Andrei, the Tylander broker of secrets they'd been working with, would have given them another airship heist job to pull off. Though this time it would've been stressed that there was a time limit for the job, so one that had to be done there and then rather than postponed. The job involved an airship named the Ogman's Hand flying out from Broken Spires, though they would discover Andrei's information was faulty as the airship had a far bigger escort than the crew was told.

When the crew started their attack, particularly when they tried shooting out the airship's engines, the Ogman's Hand would explode. Couple of the crew would realize that this was impossible, plus would of the airship's escorts would then try to escape (probably done as a Chase). Later, when the crew reached one of Alyeska's main settlements, they would learn that the Ogman's Hand was carrying none other than the prince consort.

Effectively they would now be wanted for treason by the Commonwealth.

Their options would be trying to expose the conspiracy, though that would require them gathering extra evidence to prove their case and thus a trip to the Home Isles. Other options would've been to defend Broken Spires against the attack or striking a course somewhere beyond the Commonwealth's reach.

The Power Play

Another Broken Spires related plot was a power play amongst the 'big shot' sky pirate captains to seize control of the pirate haven. This was something introduced by Natasha Rogan, though something the crew sat on for a while and Natasha was going to force the crew's hand with regards to it by making the crew enemies of one of the other sky pirate captains.

This one was more open ended, they could've picked a side or joined in for themselves.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Frozen Skies: The Spitsworth Family

What started as a background detail for a character morphed into a plotline that ended up driving a campaign forward. This week, as part of a series of posts related to my now finished campaign, will focus on the Spitsworth family. Included will be a brief description of its members, plus some extra details that’ll flesh out the family even more. 


Reginald – Status: Alive but dirt poor 
As one of the player characters, this Weird Scientist was the first member of the family that was encountered in the campaign. Already something of a black sheep, Reginald’s night in a police cell after kicking off against some police officers was the final straw and he ended up being disowned by the family. In order to regain access to his family’s fortune he had to work his way into his family’s good graces once more.

  I thought that, with his supposed character’s interest in Ancient tech, that Reginald would seek out and discover a previously unknown Ancient artefact which would make him famous and rich again. Certain I’d suggested it, but the Ancient tech avenue was barely touched. Instead, the crew went along with an elaborate kidnapping scheme that ended explosively and Reginald no better off (though his family was also a might bit poorer).

  Reginald was also the source of conflict within the crew and tended to make more enemies than he did friends.

  Lord Charleston – Status: Alive but furious

  Patriarch of the family, Lord Charleston is also a member of the Commonwealth’s parliament (Assembly Delegate being the proper title), government official and a high ranking member of the Skywrights Guild. The crew met his Lordship after Reginald was recalled home following his stint in a police cell (mentioned above), though he was more neutral to the rest of the crew and discussed with Tag the possibility of doing some work for his Lordship. Lord Charleston also suggested the thing about Ancient tech as a way of Reginald redeeming himself.

  It was through Lord Charleston, admittedly his personal letters and files, that the learned of a Commonwealth plot to take out Broken Spires. Initially the crew favoured Broken Spires, so that was probably a factor in their later plans when they intended to kill him in connection with the kidnapping scheme. Ironically killing Lord Charleston would’ve had no effect on the attack on Broken Spires, though more on that in another post.

  Lord Charleston was extremely rich, extremely paranoid and had a lot of friends in high places which allowed him to hire a company of mercs to defend his mansion. He also had the sense to be at a safehouse someplace else when the crew attacked. Right now he’s furious at the destruction of his mansion, the fact that the family’s bank accounts appear to have been raided and he’s lost both of his sons.

  Elisa – Status: Alive and expecting


  The crew met Elia, the youngest of the three Spitsworth siblings, round the same time as they met her father Lord Charleston. One of the crew got to intimidate know her, which led to trouble when the crew found out that she was engaged to be married. Though her fiancée died in a freak airship accident that involved no foul play what so ever…honest gov’nor!

  She was also at a safehouse elsewhere when the Spitsworth family home got destroyed, though her immediate future will be very interesting.

  Edmund – Status: Dead and crispy  

  The middle child of the Spitsworth siblings and was the most successful, being a manager at a major Skywright’s Guild shipyard in the northern industrial town of Tarcastle. He was kidnapped by the crew as part of their elaborate scheme and then interrogated, thus ended up giving away access to the family’s bank accounts. He was still onboard the Stormrider when it exploded.

  He left behind a wife and three children. 

   Expanding the Family  

   Going forward I’m going to run with the idea of the Spitsworth family being a pretty important independent family, but it harbours ambitions of achieving full clan status. They’ve got some rebuilding to do, both physically and financially, before that goal can be realised. This could form the basis of a Home Isles based campaign where the clan base society of the Commonwealth can be delved into along with visits to other places such as the Tyland Free State and the Artian Confederation. Possibly one that I may run at some point in the future.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Frozen Skies Episode 21: Endgame

So after a lunchtime shoot-out in a country pub, the crew prepared themselves for an assault on Spitsworth Manor. Expecting a recreation of the Forlorn Hope or the Charge of the Light Brigade, almost nobody could've expected the explosive finale. It was a night to remember, one filled with ferocious battle, fiery destruction and the fall of many a great name.


Assault on Precinct 13 Spitsworth Manor

Having previously scouted the manor grounds and spotted a company of guards present, thus learning the grim odds against them, the crew decided to go all out. The limo they'd acquired from Edmund Spitsworth was packed with explosives and driven towards the main gates with Gren at the wheel, though he managed to bail out but rolled badly and was left momentarily winded. The Rolls-Royce missile on four wheels hurtled towards the heavy gates,collided with them and then exploded taking one of the guards by the gate with it. Gren, now recovered but with a few aching bruises, sniped the other guard before Jacob ran through the gate before sliding along the wet grass mowing down guards with his pair of machine pistols.

Meanwhile, Sebastian and Herbert flew in on the latter's young dragonhawk to provide some aerial support before the crew's airship arrived. It was at this point that the crew discovered the manor was defended by anti-aircraft guns, primarily when one of the guns mysteriously exploded and killed its crew when it tried shooting at the dragonhawk. Sebastian then spotted a couple more AA guns and took one of them out by sniping its pile of ammo. Some of the ratings from the crew's airship then assaulted the main courtyard, only to be cut down to a man by the guards...leaving a chief petty officer called Mick McGuire as the last man standing and with the luck of the devil.

Being the coward that he was, Reginald used his gizmos to turn invisible and ran away.

The third and final AA gun got a shot off that injured the dragonhawk, though Herbert and Sebastian managed to stay on and keep the giant bird in the air. Sebastian sniped the gunner whilst Jacob and Gren took out the rest of the gun's crew in order to capture the gun. The AA gun was turned round to point at the house, the intention to blast a hole in the wall rather than trying to storm any of the doors. Also, the crew's airship arrived...

...only for an explosive fireball to rip through its innards and blast the aero-vessel apart. With the death groan of some great levitation of the sky, the flaming wreckage carried forward and downward towards the manor. With a thundering crash, the wrecked airship smashed into the building and completely destroyed it along with the crew's plans. It was then everyone realized that nobody had seen Alex since leaving the pub earlier and, knowing his character, put two and two together. 

Gren and Jacob vowed to hunt down Alex and have their vengeance on him, the rest decided to scatter to the four winds and strike their own paths.

Epilogue

"Ah, I've been expecting you gentlemen." Andrei smiled as the two men entered his study. "You come seeking information as to the current whereabouts of your...former...compatriot Mr Stondheim haven't you?"

"I thought as much." Replied the Tylander keeper of secrets. "But, I must ask, what do you offer by way of payment?"

* ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * 

He had alot of time to think, the sole walker down a lonely country lane with no real destination in mind. He had his pension from the Service after being demobbed, plus he'd put aside some of his wages from the logging company and then the crew. This was cash that he could draw upon for the essentials; food in his belly, a room for the night, new clothes and perhaps a ticket to wherever he wished. His real asset was his winnings from card games amongst the crew and some of the casino tables. Yes, it would be more than enough to buy himself an airship and get together a crew to fly it.

"Life as a free trader, Captain McGuire." Muttered Mick before he smiled. "I like the sound of that."

 * ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * 

It was a case that would puzzle the Commonwealth Garda, a crime had been committed...two in fact...but the Powers That Be were quite happy for the matter to be brushed under the rug. A lord, long thought to be a respectable member of the community, turned out to be an infamous crime boss who's influence spread far and wide before he was found dead. Understandably, the Establishment wanted the matter kept quiet and so it was. Though what was curious was that one of the man's offices had been broken into and quite clearly a pair of pistols had been stolen, yet the Garda was told in no uncertain terms that this thief never ever happened.

A short while later, the offices in question burned down.

Short while after that, a certain Elisa Spitsworth received a letter. A smile spread across her face as she read it and a hand rested on her belly.

* ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * 

They say in the Alyeskan Outlands there is a man, a supposed doctor, who rides a dragonhawk like a Windryder but is not of those people. He travels the wilderness from settlement to settlement, lending his skills as a medicine man before moving on again. Though they say he lacks in wisdom and his mouth, occasionally, has a habit of running off without him.

* ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * 

If you walk the streets of Lindun, or any other town or city in the Home Isles, you'll come across the Glimmer Man. He wears threadbare clothes, but holds with a manner that betrays an aristocratic background. Usually found on street corners trying to entertain passer-bys with displays of his gizmos cobbled together from pieces of scrap so that he could beg for the odd coin or two.

* ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * 

A figure, with quite clearly a gun in their hand, stepped into the alley ahead of him whilst another blocked the way behind him. The first figure spoke, a familiar voice echoing across the years and laden with dread. "Hello Alex...remember us?"

"We'd like a word or two..."

It was quite clear that at least one person was going to be leaving the alley in a wooden box. 

Thoughts

What, THAT was most certainly an explosive finale.

Despite all the characters surviving, it was decided by the group that it was a good enough moment to finish the campaign there. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed it and its almost a shame that its over, especially now I have to think extra hard if I wish to continue weekly blog posts. Though my next few posts are likely to be the various plotlines that I wanted to do but didn't get to.

Though a Frozen Skies game may be run on the RPG site SavageRifts at some point in the future.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Commonwealth Revisited: The Garda


Continuing the effort to take another look at the Commonwealth and make revisions where needed, we take a look at the Commonwealth’s national police force; the Garda.

We take a look at the Garda’s origins and how it became the force it is today. In addition, we’ll also take a look at the Garda’s current roles and some ideas for including the Garda in your games of Frozen Skies.

Keepers of the King’s Peace

The Commonwealth Garda has its origins as the Righ Garda, effectively the King’s Guards. To begin with the Garda were little more than bodyguards, though successive monarchs gradually expanded the role and duties of the Garda to help spread the monarch’s influence over what would become the Commonwealth. Charged with upholding the King’s Peace, the Garda was given much wider jurisdiction than the various town and city watches in addition to being ranked above them.

As power shifted from the monarch to the Commonwealth’s parliament, the role and responsibilities of the Garda were formalized. Over time the system of town watches proved to be inadequate and they ended up be gradually absorbed by the Garda until it became the Commonwealth’s main law enforcement agency.

Present Day

Today the Garda provides day-to-day local policing within the Home Isles, though it does have jurisdiction in other territories despite their own local police forces. The main public image of the Garda is of uniformed officers patrolling the streets or, less commonly, in patrol cars. On the whole the Garda is a largely unarmed force, certain units within the Garda do routinely carry firearms but generally the Garda likes to escalate things to the military in instances involving firearms.

The Garda has plain-clothes detectives organized into either the Detective Branch or Special Branch. The former deals with investigation and detective work concerning fighting crime. Special Branch, on the other hand, tends to focus its efforts on counter-intelligence and cases that effect the national interest and security. Unlike the Commonwealth’s intelligence services, Special Branch has the power to arrest spies and is frequently called upon to do so.

Though air security is generally in the hands of the Royal Aero-Fleet, the Garda does maintain its own Air Wing to combat aerial crime within the Home Isles. Blimps of the Garda Air Wing are a common sight over the towns and cities of the Home Isles, though the Air Wing also has a squadron or two of light fighters on its books stationed in the capital of Lindun. Air Wing officers are also placed on passenger airships as effectively sky marshals, particularly if there is an important passenger or valuable cargo onboard.

Use in Games

The most obvious way to use the Garda is as an opponent for the characters, though the Garda could also serve as a useful ally. If the characters go down the sky pirate route there is a good chance that they’ll have a run-in with the Garda sooner or later. Similarly, if the characters commit a high profile crime in the Home Isles they can expect the Garda to come after them. On the flip side, if the characters are working for the Commonwealth they can expect to find a valuable ally in the Garda.

The other way to include the Garda is to run a Garda base campaign with the characters being members of either the Detective Branch, Special Branch or the Air Wing. There is a degree of overlap in the work done by these departments, so it is possible for the characters to work alongside colleagues from other departments or form part of a multi-department team.