Monday, 25 March 2019

Frozen Skies Episode 19: The Spitsworth Redemption, Part I

Last time saw the crew hit the casinos in search of a bounty, efforts that were nearly ruined by a certain doctor who sometimes let his mouth run off when it really shouldn't. Fortunately one character had one heck of a beginner's luck at the tables and they managed to capture the bounty. Though there is a looming vendetta from a taxi driver's union.

This week saw the crew put a plan into action to put a character back in their family's good standing...well last man standing far as the will is concerned.


A Not So Good Night

After winning big at the tables, Sebastian took advantage of the casino's offer of one of their premier suites for the night whilst the rest of the crew headed back to the airship. Most of them had left before the police arrived, Jacob being the one who handed the bounty over before making his own way back. Jacob's attempts to hail a taxi was met with evil looks from the drivers who all refused to stop, though the hotel had its own chauffeur service.

Sebastian had settled down for the night, only to have a knock on his hotel door a short while later. At first it appeared to be one of the hotel staff, but turned out to be a trio of attackers armed with tasers. Sebastian got knocked out and woke up a little while later in a well furnished, but different room. He was greeted by a gentleman, who apologised for the manner in which Sebastian was brought there and then explained why. The gentleman and his associates noticed that Sebastian was an effective nobody who won big, so they were naturally concerned for the security of his winnings. So the gentleman offered that his associates would safely look after some, ideally most, of Sebastian's winnings in exchange for Sebastian doing a job. Sebastian meekly accepted and was taken back to the hotel without further harm, quickly grabbed his things and ran back to the airship.

Hey, I Know A Guy...

It came up that the crew could do with another capable fighter, particularly if the crew were going to get heavily involved in questionable activities. Jacob mentioned that he knew a bounty hunter by the name of Gren that he used to run with, though they were able to track Gren down to Morrdun and went to recruit him. Gren also proved to be a competent planner once the crew had filled him in their intentions regarding Reginald's brother. Sebastian, after arriving back on the airship, hid up and meekly answered calls over the intercom as the crew prepared to cross over the great ocean to the Commonwealth's Home Isles.

Welcome to Tarcastle

The crew headed to the northern industrial city of Tarcastle, home to a major Skywrights Guild shipyard where Reginald's brother worked as a manager. After making some minor repairs of damage sustained during the ocean crossing, Reginald used a public phone box to call his brother to arrange meeting up with him. Reginald's brother, Edmund, was hesitated to meet-up and came up with excuses such as he was busy that night, etc. Eventually and reluctantly Edmund agreed to meet-up the following night at a gentleman's club.

The crew decided to put their plan into action that night.

First Sebastian set himself up on the nearest, tallest building to the shipyard so he could keep an eye on things on overwatch. Jacob found that Edmund's limo had a lady driver, so stuck up conversation with her. Alex, Herbert and new guy Gren got hold of workmen's clothing and managed to sneak into the shipyard during the evening shift-change. Reginald went up the main gate, announced who he was and asked to see his brother. Reginald got taken to a reception area to wait, being told that his brother was finishing some paperwork with the aid of his secretary. Alex proceed to discreetly plant some explosives by the main entrance of the building, then retreated to a safer part of the building to wait the signal.

Eventually Edmund's secretary come out of his office and went to collect some things from her office, Reginald was then called in. On overwatch, Sebastian saw Reginald move and tapped on his mic to alert Alex who in turn detonated the explosives. Alarms started going off as the shipyard started evacuating, Gren told Herbert to go outside and tend to the wounded whilst the others made their move to kidnap Edmund. Reginald got Edmund to come down the stairs, then Alex directed them out another exit to the limo now driven by Jacob. They then drove off back to the airship before Edmund realised what was happening, though Jacob came back to pick up Sebastian and Herbert before the crew left town and flew their airship out to sea.

Jacob proceeded to rough up Edmund a bit (Reginald as well but to a lesser degree), then took photos of the two Spitsworth brothers with the intent sending them along with a ransom note to their father Lord Charleston Spitsworth. The crew then made plans to pick up Elisa Spitsworth, though at his point Sebastian spoke up about what had happened at the hotel. After explaining everything to Jacob and Alex it was decided that the crew would speak to Andrei when they returned to Alyeska, then play along with the gentleman's offer long enough to get paid before taking him out (hope being he was a rival of Andrei).

Thoughts

Looks like the group dynamic will shift with the new character Gren, since he's proven to be a capable planner it'll be interesting to see how the various roles will line up.

Other than that it was great to see the characters creating and driving their own plot forward.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Commonwealth Revisited: The Royal Aero-Fleet

Part of an ongoing mini-series where I take a look at the fluff of the wider world of Frozen Skies and possibly revise it. As the main power in Alyeska, it made sense to start with the Commonwealth particularly as there were some parts of it that I wasn’t fully happy with. The next step was looking at the Commonwealth’s military and making changes where I had new ideas, in this instance a complete revision of the Commonwealth’s air forces.



The Royal Aero-Fleet

The Royal Aero-Fleet, RAF for short, is the air arm of the Commonwealth’s military. It has under its command skyships, airships and aircraft of various different types from fighters through to bombers and transport craft. It is organized into a number of different ‘commands’ such as Fleet Command, Fighter Command, Bomber Command, Transport Command, etc. Below the various Commands in descending order there is Fleets or Groups (dependent on aero-vessels or aircraft), Wings, Squadrons and Flights. In addition there are a number of air bases called stations that either come under the control of a specific Command or host units from different Commands. These stations are typically named after the nearest settlement of note, for example Royal Aero-Fleet Station Corbhen (RAF Corbhen for short) is named after the nearby town of Corbhen.

Squadrons of aircraft range from 12 aircraft for a fighter squadron through to nine for a bomber or transport squadron, though they are usually further broken down into flights. Two to three aircraft squadrons typically make up a wing, in turn at least two wings form a group. A wing is normally the largest grouping of aircraft found on an aero-carrier, though groups of multiple wings from different aero-carriers may be formed on a temporary basis for specific missions. Likewise, a wing is also the largest formation that can be found at a RAF station with a number of stations coming under the command of a permanent group HQ.

Overall command of the Royal Aero-Fleet is the Air Ministry, headed by the Lord Air Admiral who is the professional head of the Royal Aero-Fleet. The Lord Air Admiral is a position held by the highest ranking officer in the RAF.

Ranks of the Royal Aero-Fleet

Like any military force, the Royal Aero-Fleet boasts a number of ranks ranging from enlisted ratings through to commission officers.

RAF Officer Ranks

Admiral of the Aero-Fleet – Usually held only by a single person and generally only during wartime.
Air Admiral
Vice Air Admiral
Rear Air Admiral
Air Commodore
Air Captain
Wing Commander
Squadron Leader
Flight Lieutenant
Flight Officer
Pilot Officer

RAF Enlisted Ranks

Warrant Officer
Flight Sergeant
Sergeant
Senior Aircrafthand
Leading Aircrafthand
Aircrafthand

The enlisted ranks will also have a ‘rating’ denoting their specialization such as Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class for example.

The Royal Aero-Marines

The Royal Aero-Marines, nicknamed the 'Rams',serve as the infantry troops of the Royal Aero-Fleet and serve in a wide range of roles. They serve onboard skyships either to maintain security onboard, take part in boarding actions and even man some of the aero-vessel's weapons. On the ground they protect RAF bases and installations, either by helping to maintain the security of the base or actively defending it by manning anti-aircraft weapons. The Rams are part of the Royal Aero-Fleet, though they use traditional army ranks instead of the RAF's own rank structure. Only differences in ranks is that the Rams use Gunner for the rank of private and Flight Sergeant for its Staff/Colour Sergeants.


The Assault Carbine

Relatively new weapon introduced by the Commonwealth following experiences during the Great Darmonican War, it is used by both the Rams and the Wolfbane Commandos as well as other specialist units. It is effectively a bullpup assault rifle, having a shorter overall length whilst maintaining a full length barrel. It is a compact weapon ideal for the close-quarters that the Rams fight in during boarding actions.

Range: 24/48/96; Damage: 2d8; AP: 2; RoF: 3; Weight: 8; Shots: 20; Min Str: d6

Monday, 11 March 2019

Frozen Skies Episode 18: Casino Royale

Following on from the train heist, the crew ended up in a casino....though not for another heist. This was the crew's first shot at bounty hunting, which they managed to successfully pull off. It proved to be Beginner's Luck and the Jackpot for one of the characters, whilst another may have brought the wrath of the local taxi drivers' union down upon the crew.


Along Came A Bounty

Jacob had sought out some bounties for the crew to try an attempt, managing to get six potential targets to go after.

The Glimmer Rats - Gang specializing on stealing gizmos.

'Hawk' - A serial killer at large in the Alyeskan Outlands.

Kaelin Madigan - Fraudster and thief.

The Crows - Gang of kidnappers.

Dust Raiders - Tomb robbers.

The Black Talons - Windryder raiders who'd been attacking settlements.

Kaelin had been reported to recently have been in Gravenburgh, she was considered an 'easy' target and a good one for Sebastian to gain some bounty hunting experience to go with his newly acquired licence. The crew decided to split into two teams; Team 1 consisted of Alex and Sebastian whilst Team 2 was made up of Herbert, Jacob and Reginald. Alex used his underworld connections and found out how Kaelin operated, that she tended to target older men with more money than sense with a fondness for both drink and the pretty ladies. So the crew suited up and headed out for a night on the town, with the teams each going to different casinos.


Team Two went to one casino, though whilst it had the right sort of 'marks' that Kaelin would go for there was a distinct lack of female company present. Herbert decided to go and try to speak to one of the gamblers, but only took a couple of steps before Jacob yanked him back. In no uncertain terms, the bounty hunter told Herbert to keep his mouth shut and eyes open. Reginald also got ordered to make sure that the good doctor stayed out of trouble and was given a set of knuckledusters to aid with this task. Jacob then discreetly talked to the casino stuff in hopes of getting a lead on the genchi con artist.

Meanwhile, Alex and Sebastian were checking out their assigned casino. This one proved to be more livelier with a stage show and plenty of men with female companions. Sebastian headed over to the bar and brought one of the more expensive drinks, effectively making himself bait to draw out Kaelin, then made his way over to the gambling tables. Alex worked the room and made a mental note on the security arrangements, plus the nucleus of plans for a later date. Sebastian’s first round proved to be a case of beginner’s luck, though he didn’t fare too well in his next couple of games.

It was at this point that Alex had managed to swipe round £100 of chips, then threw them in the air to cause a distraction. Alex’s intention was to see the response from the casino’s security, use the opportunity to grab a deck of cards from an unmanned table and then finally see if it drew Kaelin’s attention. For his efforts, Alex was rewarded with a deck of cards marked with the casino’s logo and a glimpse of a woman nearby. This woman had a feather fan obscuring her face, though she lowered it just enough for her to glance round and for Alex to spot the green pointed ears that marked the woman as being a genchi. Alex then had a telephone call put through to Team 2 at the other casino and alerted them that Kaelin may have been found.

Team 2 then piled into a taxi, its driver giving then estimate of half an hour for the journey. A stern look and some carefully chosen words from Jacob had this estimate revised down to 10 minutes, in addition to half fare no fare. Team 2 arrived at the second casino to meet up with Alex and Sebastian, though Herbert decided to head back to the airship and got back into the same taxi that Team 2 had arrived in. Once again the driver quoted half hour for the journey, but Herbert felt like ranting and told the driver everything that the crew had gotten up to. Everything.

Five minutes later, Herbert was back at the airship after another free taxi ride.

The rest of the crew, blissfully aware of a potential future meeting with the Gravenburgh Taxi Driver’s Union, set about forming their trap for Kaelin. Sebastian went back to the tables, having received some advice. His next game went well, then he decided to raise the stake that caused couple of the players to quit and have their places taken by Kaelin and Jacob. Two rounds later, Sebastian had amassed over £20,000 in winnings and offered one of the casino’s primer suites for the night. Sebastian then watched some of the stage show before heading up to his suite, though noted Kaelin watching him the entire time.

Alex and Jacob kept a close on Sebastian as he headed upstairs, though they had a harder time tracking Kaelin as she vanished into the crowds a couple of times. Sebastian, aware that he was being followed, acted drunk and ‘stumbled’ his way to his room. Fortunately, he was able to catch a glimpse of Kaelin and carried on acting drunk. On reaching the door to his room, Sebastian pretended to fumble with the key and cursed out loud. Kaelin came over, smiled and said. “Honey, you put the key in like this and turn it.”

Quickly dropping his fa├žade of drunkenness, Sebastian grappled Kaelin by grabbing her arm. The genchi was agile enough to get her arm free, though Sebastian landed a blow that made her stagger back. Unnoticed, Alex then whacked Kaelin round the head with his cane and knocked her clean out for a couple of hours. Jacob produced some handcuffs and then carried the unconscious genchi into the room where he used the hotel phone to call the police. Alex and Reginald made their exits, though Jacob stayed long enough to hand Kaelin over when the police arrived.

Having been offered the suite by the casino, Sebastian opted to stay for the night.

Thoughts

Oh boy, what a game.

First Herbert’s Big Mouth Hindrance comes into play a couple of times and then BOTH Alex and Sebastian drew Jokers for the confrontation with Kaelin. Tactical use of Adventure Cards by Alex’s player meant that he was effectively able to ‘one shot’ Kaelin to ensure that she went down. Though, aside from breaking free from Sebastian’s grapple, Kaelin never got to act but her high Parry did cause some problems for the characters.

I also now have a few plot ideas to work with, though the players expressed a wish to head back to the Home Isles to pursue their own plot to do with Reginald’s family.