Monday, 5 April 2021

April 2021: Forsaken Revisited

 For a while I've had ideas for other settings beside Frozen Skies, settings that I've posted about time and time again. One of these has been a Dark SciFi that I'd dubbed Forsaken Space, which revolved around a single system where wrecked spaceships seem to be drawn to. Though I'm mulling going into a different direction with it, hence this post.


Welcome to Forsaken

I want to take a similar approach to that I've taken with Frozen Skies, start with a location and then build upon it from there. In this instance it'll be a planet, possibly named Forsaken though that might change, either way it's a heavily industrialised world with millions living in so-called hab-clusters. In some respects these hab-clusters are similar to the hive cities of 40K.

The world itself is under the nominal control of the galaxy spanning Terran Imperial Conglomerate (TIC), but I'm 50/50 between it being our own galaxy or another. My train of thought was that Humanity was finally able to spread across the stars after discovering naturally occurring wormholes, though these wormholes each operate on their own open/close cycle which makes interstellar that much more complex. There could be some wormholes that are open for a very long period and thus form part of regular trade routes, others are only open for a brief time prompting a sort of 'gold rush' when they do finally open.

This of course means that travelling from A to B could potentially involve pin-balling halfway round the galaxy depending on how good your timing is. You've probably realised the limitations with this method of interstellar travel, particularly how it hampers fleet movements, etc. To this end I'm toying with an idea of an experiment with FTL travel that went disastrously and tore a hole in the walls of reality, prompting invasions by other-wordly entities in what is known in setting as the Rift Wars. A combination of all of the above means most worlds are effectively isolated, a lone candle against the black.

Of course all this is subject to change, some elements may get altered as I develop the setting further. But I'd welcome thoughts and comments so far. 

Monday, 1 March 2021

March 2021: Bravo November

 This week is bit of a break from Frozen Skies, instead we're focusing on one of my various other setting ideas. In this instance it's the turn of Cold War Skirmishes, a project that covers the Cold War period between 1945 and 1991. The aim is to cover various nations and conflicts, particularly the lesser well-known ones. This particular post is something I've planned to do for a while and concerns a Chinook helicopter in British service; Bravo November.


Bravo November

Bravo November was one of thirty Boeing CH-47 Chinooks ordered for the RAF in 1978, the actual helicopter (military serial ZA718) being received by the RAF in February 1982. In April 1982 Bravo November (from her radio code BN) was loaded onto the MV Atlantic Conveyor in response to the outbreak of the Falklands Conflict. Bravo November happened to to be airborne when the Atlantic Conveyor was tragically sunk, taking much of the task force's helicopter support with it, but Bravo November managed to land on the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes.

Bravo November ended up being the only serviceable heavy-lift helicopter for British forces during the duration of the conflict, whoever there was no spares, service manuals, lubricants or even tools for the helicopter. Even so, it was able to carry some 1,500 troops, 95 casualties, 650 POWs and 550 tons of cargo. 

The first of four Distinguished Flying Crosses for pilots flying the helicopter was awarded during the Falklands Conflict. Piloted by Squadron Leader Langworth on a night mission, the helicopter landed in the sea at around 100 knots. Spray from the impact flooded the engine intakes, but Langworth and his co-pilot managed to get the aircraft airborne once again. However, Bravo November suffered some fuselage damage along with a lost antenna and even the co-pilot's door when the crew considered bailing out of the ditched aircraft. Loss of the door meant the crew weren't able to navigate or communicate with ground forces, yet keep flying until the end of the conflict and received a replacement door from a captured Argentine Chinook.

The second DFC awarded was earned during the Iraq War, the aircraft being the first British helicopter to land Royal Marines ashore to size oil-pumping facilities before they could be destroyed by Iraq froces. Bravo November was flown by Squadron Leader Carr, who had to fly at 100ft or less with restricted visibility due to the dust kicked up by American armoured forces.

Third and fourth DFCs were awarded during the Afghanistan conflict. The first by Flight Lieutenant Wilson who remained on duty for a 24 hour period making frequent flights to ferry both reinforcements and wounded troops. Final DFC was awarded to Flight Lieutenant Fortune who received a head injury from a ricocheting bullet whilst attempting to land in a 'hot zone' whilst attempting to rescue wounded troops, the helicopter also received numerous hits. Fortune managed to stay in control of the aircraft and fly the injured soldiers back to base, though following day mechanics found that Bravo November's hydraulics had completely seized up.

Bravo November remains in service to this day and was the subject of an exhibit at the RAF Museum London. More info can be found *here*.

Stats

Size: 12; Handling: -2; Top Speed (MPH): 180; Toughness: 20 (2); Crew: 4+55
Notes: Helicopter; Weapons: 2x Med MGs (Fixed Left or Right), 1x Med MG (Fixed Rear)

Lucky: Bravo November has two Bennies for it's crew to use for any Piloting roll or to Soak Wounds against the aircraft.

Monday, 1 February 2021

February 2021: Frozen Skies Thoughts

There are times when the inspiration particle strikes and hit upon an idea whether something would work in a RPG project of mine, be it Frozen Skies or something else. In this instance it's a couple of things from Deadlands Lost Colony that I'd like to adapt for Frozen Skies. Whether I'll be able to include them in Frozen Skies remains to be seen, though I'll go over what they are regardless.


Gear & Availability

One of the things that I wish to do with the SWADE update for Frozen Skies is to reinforce the frontier feeling of the setting, part of which I feel can be addressed by adjusting prices of various pieces of gear. Revamping the currency and prices is on my list of changes to make, if anything to make it easier to adapt from other SW settings.

Something Lost Colony does is have gear rated for availability ranging from Common through to Very Rare. A Networking roll is used to find a particular item, this roll is modified by the item's availability and the modifier of the population size in a particular area. This means a Common item would be easy to find in one of the big and well-trafficked settlements, whilst a Very Rare item would be extremely difficult to track down in a remote mining camp. 

In Frozen Skies this would mean stuff like bolt-actions would tend to be rated as Common, whilst stuff like machine guns, etc would be edging more towards Rare territory. Would be interesting to see how this works in practice, though I'll see about releasing a stand-alone document with the availability added in for various items for folk to try out.

Adventure Generator

Frozen Skies' own Adventure Generator as it stands is something I'm not happy with, it certainly feels like it could do with a major overhaul. The one in Lost Colony would probably be what I'd go with, looking like it's more simpler to use and more efficient with how it generates an adventure.

You have three categories; Objective, Obstacle and Complication. You draw an Action Card for each one, the card's value determines the result whilst the suit could how the characters are drawn in or influence behind the Obstacle. Certainly heck of alot less in the way of tables and rolls than what currently exists for Frozen Skies.

EXAMPLE;

Objective: Ace of Diamonds - The characters find themselves in the middle of a battle whilst trying to make some money to keep their craft going and food on the table.

Obstacle: Seven of Hearts - The characters are competing against a rival group as a disease, or other health-related issue, come into play.

Complication: Six of Diamonds - Only non-lethal means are allowed either due to weapon laws or some hazard, though if the characters are willing to part with some hard-earned cash they may be able to resolve their troubles.

That certainly took alot less effort to do, the only real hard work is to string this into an adventure that works. Taking the above example this could be the characters running into a rival group in a bar where weapons aren't allowed and a brawl breaking out. Where's the bar? Perhaps in some mining settlement that the characters were delivering the medicine to, the brawl could've been started by a sick miner wanting to skip the queue or accidentally provoked somebody. Needing to replace some broken down parts, the crew had to take the job despite the outbreak but some of the payment could be loss being given as a bribe to appease the local authorities in the brawl's aftermath.

A few ideas, some of which could be expanded upon to round out the adventure even more. Certainly thinking this could be the way to go, though question remains whether I'll be able to adapt this for Frozen Skies.

What do you guys think?

Monday, 4 January 2021

January 2021: Through The Looking Glass

 New Year, new post.

Hopefully bit of an interesting read to start off 2021, namely some alternative takes on the setting of Frozen Skies. Some of these stem from ideas I've had over the years as I developed the setting, others were suggestions offered by folk who had come up with their own interpretations. All of these are pretty fair game for folk to use for their own version of Frozen Skies, though if there is overwhelming interest in a particular one I may see about developing it further.


Islands In The Smog

One of the very very early ideas (pre-2010) I had for what eventually ended up becoming Frozen Skies was floating islands in a void similar to Outland in World of Warcraft but alot more Steampunk in nature. Sundered Skies for Savage Worlds covers this niche pretty well, as does the Warbirds RPG, so it's gonna be tricky to be original here.

That said, if I was to do a version of Frozen Skies based on this concept it would be to have the world slowly drowning in a toxic smog. The survivors would be forced to build new settlements on the tops of mountains to try and stay above the smog, making air travel necessary as the sole means of getting about. Could work as an alternative history version where the Blast created the smog which has been getting larger ever since.

The Kurg

This stems from another early idea, probably right back when I first started designing my own RPG setting. It was basically this horde-like army called the Kurg that was overrunning large parts of the world, proving to be difficult to stop. I had envisioned the Kurg being from a militant society, possibly their own empire, that was set on world conquest. Ultimately this idea got shelved as the setting underwent various revisions until what became Darmonica finally emerged.

If I did the Kurg today in Frozen Skies I'd probably have them be an subterranean species (think something like the Locust Horde in Gears of War) who have captured parts of the surface world, again requiring a dependence on air travel for the surface dwellers. The focus would probably be more combatting the Kurg, attempting to re-claim the surface and perhaps even striking back against their subterranean lairs.

Then again I have teased another power in Darmonica residing in what is considered to be 'uncharted lands', could be the Kurg....

Alternative History

This is something that I've had folk suggest, either as how they've run their own games or comments on how 'real' I've made the world. Basic idea is an alternative version of North America, granted Alyeska is the old Russian name for Alaska so there is some merit. Could do this as either Alaska merging with Canada rather than joining the US or North America being under British control similar to Harry Turtledove's The Two Georges novel.

Real question would be what changed from our own world and timeline?

Downside would be alot of elements I've included in Frozen Skies wouldn't work and I feel this idea would be more restrictive creativity wise as it simply wouldn't be a blank canvas. Whilst alternative history is interesting, I feel there's only so much room you've got to work with.

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Well, thats the different ideas I had. Let me know what you think.