Monday, 4 May 2020

May 2020: Call Ye The Faithful

Kinda befitting that I'm writing this on Beltane (the Gaelic May Day festival), particularly since this month I'm writing about the Celtic inspirations for the Commonwealth's culture and society in Frozen Skies. Been thinking about religion with regards to the Commonwealth and I've had some ideas kicking around in my head. It draws on Celtic polyteism but it incorporates some ideas I've had about how it could've evolved.

Gods by the Bushel! Gods by the Pound! 

The religion of the Commonwealth I'm basing heavily upon the Irish gods and goddesses, I'll go into more details on the Frozen Skies versions in a future post.

Just like with the real life Celtic deities, the Commonwealth counts a fair number of different deities who tend to be invoked for specific things. For example one deity may commonly get invoked by doctors and those seeking good health whilst another may get invoked by farmers. Whilst these deities have strong associations with certain matters, there remains a degree of overlaps between them.

Whilst tradesman and the like may lean towards specific deities (like the examples above), on the whole people tend to invoke a number of different deities depending on the situation and their needs. During a typical day any number of deities could get invoked depending on what the person is doing, it may be for good fortune with regards to business or a game of chance. Or it could be an aviator hoping for good weather and a safe flight.

Worship has changed over the centuries, changing and adapting as society has evolved. Originally, worship revolved round rituals at stone circles or druidic groves. With urbanisation and industrialization, things have changed. Chapels have been adopted, mainly out of convenience, and people even have shrines in their homes or places of work. Whilst shrines could be devoted to a specific deity, chapels tend to lean towards being multi-purpose. Groves haven't gone completely out of fashion, they'd been retained for special events and most towns and cities boast at least one in a major park.

There is a priesthood of a sort known as the Keepers of the Faith (Gaelic: CoimeƔdaithe an Chreidimh). These Keepers effectively act like priests, though they generally lead services rituals to all of the Commonwealth's deities. The exact number and which ones depends heavily on the occasion, it could be a single deity or a dozen. The Keepers tend to the chapels and groves, ensuring their upkeep and being on hand for when a member of the public requires it. Though some Keepers do specialize; those with an inclination towards a deity of healing go in for medical training and help out in hospitals, whereas those who lean towards a war deity serve as chaplains/padres in the military.

That's the basic idea, hopefully it helps fleshes out the Commonwealth more as well as the overall setting.

Monday, 6 April 2020

April 2020: Airships Ahoy!

With the release of the new Vehicle Guide from Pinnacle I was able to go through and adjust vehicle stats in Frozen Skies where needed. More interestingly, the Vehicle Guide had stats for airships which has enabled me to update airship and skyship stats for Frozen Skies. So this month features updated stats and some more thoughts regarding air combat.

Levitations of the Sky

Not only do they have updated stats, there are also new rules for airships and skyships.

Airship: This category covers lighter-than-air craft that gain their lift via use of a lifting gas, but are typically unarmored. Non-Heavy Weapons reduce their damage die by one when attacking these type of craft.

Skyship: These more heavily armored craft are akin to flying warships, as such they have the Heavy Armor characteristic. However, skyships are vulnerable to attacks from above and thus these sort of attacks increase the weapon's damage dice by one.

And now, some stats;
B-class Frigate

Top Speed: 40 MPH; Toughness: 32 (8); Crew: 10; Climb: 10; Handling: -3; Size: 16 (Gargantuan)
Weapons: 1x 57mm Deck Gun (Front Pintle Mount), 1x Heavy MG (Top Pintle Mount); Notes: Skyship

Bayleaf-class Freighter

Top Speed: 30 MPH; Toughness: 28 (3); Crew: 70; Climb: 10; Handling: -4; Size: 20 (Gargantuan)
Weapons: 4x Heavy MGs (Fixed Left), 4x Heavy MGs (Fixed Right); Notes: Skyship

Rover-class Scout Airship

Top Speed: 40 MPH; Toughness: 21 (1); Crew: 10; Climb: 10; Handling: -3; Size: 15 (Gargantuan)
Weapons: 2x Linked Heavy MGs (Turret Front), 2x Linked Heavy MGs (Turret Rear); Notes: Airship

Regal-class Light Cruiser Skyship

Top Speed: 35 MPH; Toughness: 45 (14); Crew: 570; Climb: 5; Handling: -3; Size: 19 (Gargantuan)
Weapons: 4x Turrets – 2x front & 2x rear – 2x 6” guns in each turret (Range in miles 6/12/18; 6d10; LBT, AP 10, Heavy Weapon)

4x 40mm Quad-linked Cannons (2x Fixed Left, 2x Fixed Right) in open mounts

1x Linked 40mm Cannons (Pintle mount on top of No.2 Turret)

2x 20mm Cannons (1x Fixed Left, 1x Fixed Right)

Notes: Catapult launcher, Scout plane, Skyship

Scout Plane

Top Speed: 110 MPH; Toughness: 11 (2); Crew: 2; Climb: 10; Handling: 0 (-2 when loaded); Size: 5 (Large); Weapons: 1x Medium MG (Fixed Front), 1x Medium MG (Pintle Mount – Rear), Bombs

Notes: Flotation Gear, Zeppelin Hook

Zephyr-class Armed Merchant Cruiser

Top Speed: 30 MPH; Toughness: 21 (1); Crew: ~50; Climb: 10; Handling: -3; Size: 17 (Gargantuan); Weapons: 6x 6-inch cannons (Fixed Left), 6x 6-inch cannons (Fixed Right); Notes: Capacity for 3 light or medium sized aircraft (1 air deck + 2 launch ramps), Airship

More Thoughts on Aerial Combat

Follow-on from last month's post, been giving some thought to aerial combat in Frozen Skies. Still looking like a hex grid may be the best way to go, offering a more tactical style for those who want it but at the same time it still has to be balanced towards the Fast, Furious, Fun ethos of Savage Worlds.

Basically need to strike a balance between being simple but having a bit of meat to them.

Thinking with Immanuel Turn of having an aircraft move half it's Top Speed in a straight line before turning round 180 degrees. Could also factor in an aircraft's Climb value as some sort of bonus here.

Something interesting that somebody proposed was adapting the Vehicle Fatigue rules from Savage Rifts. Could work I suppose, though it will have to be something to try out with a playtest.

Friday, 20 March 2020

2020 Spring PWYW Sale

All Utherwald Press products are now Pay What You Want (though you'll still need to cover printing and postage for print products) through to 1st May.

Happy gaming folks!

Monday, 2 March 2020

March 2020: Airborne Musings

New month, new post.

Stated last month that I was looking at the air combat system for Frozen Skies, part of the overall process of updating it for SWADE. This month is my thoughts I've had regarding this over the previous month. Also, stay tuned for news of the next event Utherwald is attending this year.

Expanded Air Combat Thoughts

On the whole, what I've previously written for Aerial HEXfight largely still stands. Though there are some changes and additions since I originally wrote that post.

  • Dropping the Evasion stat, modifiers within SWADE combined with using a hex grid make it difficult enough for attacks on aircraft to actually hit.
  • Each hex grid equals 30', keeps things nice and simple in addition to working quite nicely with how weapon ranges scale.
  • Climb has been retained as a stat for aircraft in Frozen Skies and provides a +1 bonus to the aircraft with the higher value in opposed Piloting rolls, +2 bonus if the value is doubled of the other aircraft.
  • To help speed up combat, aircraft flown by Extras are considered to only have one wound and thus follow the normal rules for Extras in SWADE. Aircraft flown by Wild Cards still have the full amount of wounds based upon the Size category of the aircraft.

Maneuvers still need some thought, though Immelmann I'm thinking of increasing it to 3 or 4 hexes.

Also looking at different ammo and rocket types to spice things up a little.

Plus, heres a new Setting Rule;

Hazardous Flying Weather

One of the risks of flying the northern skies is that of ice forming on the wings of aircraft, which can be dangerous enough to cause an airplane to fall out of the sky. At the GM's choice or part of an Obstacle Travel Encounter, run a challenging Dramatic Task (four successes over three rounds).

Overall Success: You make it through without issues.

Overall Failure: You make it through at the cost of your aircraft suffering 1 Wound and 1 Critical Hit (treat Crew result as Chassis instead).

Failure during Complication: Piloting roll with all penalties or the aircraft crashes and Wrecks immediately.

Weather modifiers range from -1 for clear but extremely cold weather through to -4 for a full-blown blizzard. For combat it is suggested that you only use the weather modifiers.


Now able to confirm that Utherwald will be attending Diceni 2020 in Norwich on Sunday 3rd May, see you all there.

Monday, 3 February 2020

State of the Press: February 2020

So here we are, now getting into February as the year marches onwards to spring. This also means a new post from Utherwald Press as part of the monthly schedule it's now operating on. This month I have a couple of things to talk about, so stay tuned.

Like this new monthly format? Got suggestions? Please comment!

Frozen Skies

I'm still hopeful that Frozen Skies will get updated and released for SWADE later this year, though progress on that front have admittedly been slow due to reasons highlighted in my last post.

That said, recently managed to get some playtesting in.

Granted it was almost last minute as there was a tiny turnout for my regular gaming group, but useful all the same. It was a chance to try out aerial combat with a hex grid, something that seemed to help alot with the position of planes and the players seemed to like it. It worked, though there is still room for improvement.

*For ranges I went with dividing them by 50 to determine the number of hexes, though this seems too short and so I'm considering changing this. At present I'm trying to decide whether the ranges should be divided by 25 or 30, leaning towards the latter as it would fit in better with ranges in Savage Worlds.

*Manoeuvrers is something that needs to be expanded upon and tidied up a little, also ties in with movement. What I have is functional, but could be better.

*I'm seriously considering dropping the Evasion stat for aircraft, penalties in Savage Worlds (recoil, movement, range, etc) already make aircraft difficult enough to hit as it is.

Positioning and facing are going to be pretty important with this version, so this is going to be an area that will need some focus. Still a step in the right direction and it seems to work, which is good enough for me.

CON-tingency 2020

This was a local convention that I attended for the first time, though only as a trader and I 'commuted' from home for each of the four days I attended.

It was a very friendly convention with a strong focus on games, probably amongst the smallest and slowest 'trade hall' I've experienced at a convention. Other than food and fuel for the car, it was straight up profit and so I can't complain. Do plan to attend next year, bit better organised and perhaps get some gaming in including running some Frozen Skies.

Some positives is that I've now invested in a card reader to help boost sales and I may be able to get Frozen Skies picked up by Leisure Games here in the UK.

Going Forward

Really just a general checklist for whats planned/wish to achieve this year.

*More playtesting.

*Finish updating Frozen Skies.

*Attend Diceni in Norwich in May.

Monday, 6 January 2020

State of the Press 2020

Its the beginning of a new year, and decade, so time to reveal how things currently stand with Utherwald Press. There are some changes ahead, though I'm going to have to be a little personal here in order to give context and explain my decisions behind the changes. Though I will also be setting out my goals for what I want to achieve this year, something which I am hopeful I will achieve.

Less Is More

OK, lets start with the change.

From this point forward I'll be reducing my post rate on the blog down to once a month.

Part of this stems from a burnout and part of it stems from more personal reasons, both kinda overlap with one another. I feel that the writing of my blog posts have suffered over the past few months, some of this has been down to bit of a burnout as I've increasingly struggled to think of stuff to write and accordingly my posts have suffered.

There have also been changes to my personal circumstances in the past few months, less than ideal changes. Others already know alot of the details, though I'm only going to briefly summarize here; Recently gained the tenancy of where I live from a relative, this has brought a sudden increase in my monthly outgoings and has resulted in having to claim state benefits to help cover the rent and bills (with all the 'joy' that entails).

Never been flushed with cash, even working a 36+ hours a week retail job, and so my available funds for Utherwald related projects have effectively dwindled to nothing. So this is a less than ideal situation I find myself in, thankfully I do have a plan to improve things; I've currently started doing a bookkeeping course in an attempt to change careers and get a job with better hours and pay. If I can do this it'll mean more time and thus funds to put towards getting my various RPG stuff done.

So the burnout couple with needing to get this course done has resulted in me deciding to cut down on the blog posts. This would give me plenty of time to work on the course and hopefully get it down quicker, additionally it may help me improve the quality of my posts as I'll have more time to think them over and work on them.

Hopefully that gives people a clear idea of what is currently happening and why I've decided to make changes.


Right at the start of the blog post I mentioned there are some goals planned for this year, I have a couple.

My main goal is to finish getting Frozen Skies updated for SWADE and thus a new version released, lack of funds here means this one is going to be delayed and I'm in two minds in trying to crowd fund what I need. That said, things are set up ready for when I've finished the updates and rewrites in addition to having the cash needed to get it done....just very dependent on that last bit.

My second, more modest, goal is getting the blog updated and rethinking my approach to both Social Media and Patreon.

So thank you all for your support and I wish everyone good fortunes in the year/decade ahead!