Tuesday 30 December 2014


The healthy glow of Christmas/Yuletide/Winterfest has given away to the limbo that exists before the turning of the year, though still time for a final Utherwald post of 2014.

Now I've already mentioned a couple of conflicts in the setting, the historical Great Darmonican War (a sort-of analog of our own First World War) and the 'current' Wulver War (probably better described as 'militarized pest control'). But I've been wondering whether to have a BIG conflict raging?

Thinking of perhaps drawing out the Great Darmonican War, little bit like how WW1 lasts for 50 years in the video game Iron Storm. This could make the War the central part of the setting, also provide opportunities for possible plot ideas. Though it does provide ideas for another nation or two.

The Coalition:- Formerly the United Provinces of Garrack, an alliance of companies and corporations effectively took over when the former neutral leaning government tried to restrict the sale of war materials. Now it is a country devoted to war profiteering, great factory towns work ceaselessly night and day to fuel the war efforts of the actual combatants whilst remaining far removed from the fighting.

Tyland Free State:- Originally the Kingdom of Tyland until its defeat in the Tyland-Artian War that predates the Great Darmonican War, the Free State rose from the ashes of the late Kingdom's collapse (and brief Artian occupation). Presently fighting for its very existence (and revenge) against the Artian Confederation, though as an alliance of a sorts with the Commonwealth.

Sultanate of Taramate:- A supposedly neutral realm located in the south, though has had border skirmishes with Artian, Commonwealth and Union of Sodkan Republics forces. The Commonwealth colony of Orduesh is located on the Sultanate's southern edge in a rather precarious position.

Pamayan Protectorate:- Former Tylander colony made of a cluster of islands, since occupied by Artian forces since the end of the Tyland-Artian War. Currently embroiled in a low-level conflict of its own as Tylander rebels try to free themselves from Artian rule and as the Commonwealth attempts to gain an island or two for its own ends, sometimes leading to a three-way battle.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thats all for now, though if folks have nay thoughts on the above then please feel free to post a comment.

Other than that, Happy New Year all!

Sunday 21 December 2014

Skyful Of Art

Newest piece of artwork for Frozen Skies is done and my does it look awesome.

You can find this piece and others as prints at; http://www.photoboxgallery.com/utherwald

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Cog In The Machine; The Iron Collective

I've mentioned the Holy Sodkan Empire and its main successor the Iron Collective a few times now, but I've never gone into much detail on either.

In this week's entry I hope to address that.

The Holy Sodkan Empire

A couple of centuries ago what was then the Sodkan city-states started openly warring against one another, though skirmishes between sellswords hired by the different city-states had been going on for generations. This time it was different as the guards of the city-states themselves took to the field and cities were directly attacked, though for the most part the guards were little better than militia more comfortable with patrolling the city streets than the battlefield. Though one man had put the effort into making sure that the forces at his disposal was a professional army, that man was Antov Serlov. With his city-state on the western Sodkan frontier Serlov needed a standing army to fend off against raids from the various Artian states, prior to their Confederation after the Tyland-Artian War a century later, so when he came up against other Sodkan forces he was able to beat them in a series of crushing defeats and declare himself ruler of all of the Sodkan lands.

Serlov was crowned Emperor and set about building himself an empire, adopting the Cult of the Great Maker as the new nation's religion. His heirs inherited the throne over the years until Polina Serlov became Empress shortly before the onset of the Great Darmonican War.

Changing Of The Guard

The War went badly for the Empire when it found itself being attacked directly by the Commonwealth, leaving the Sodkans unable to help their Tylander allies against the Artian Confederation. Worse still unrest was starting to undermine the Empire's war effort, spurred on by the radical religious sect the Order of the Great Machine. The Order made it difficult for the Empire to conduct any major military action as the Empire was forced to redeploy troops to deal with the unrest that was spreading like wildfire across the country.

Out of desperation Empress Polinia Serlov gave approval for militarized versions of the Sodkan 'Tin Men' to be produced, with a view of deploying them against the Order. The Empress visited the   Sodkans' main research base to view the first prototypes, however an accident occurred that caused an explosion that destroyed the base and devastated the surrounding area. It is widely presumed that the Empress perished along with the rest of the base's personnel on that fateful day.

Rise Of The Iron Collective

With the Empress gone the Order of the Great Machine quickly set about seizing power, they also withdrew Sodkan forces from the still raging Great Darmonican War which allowed the joint Commonwealth-Artian forces to crush Tylander forces and win the war. Cut-off by from the rest of the old Empire by the Blast and the devastated area now dubbed the 'Gloomlands', the southern Sodkan provinces formed the Union of Sodkan Republics out of mutual defence and shared paranoia. The bulk of the old Empire became the Iron Collective, ruled over by the Order who set about forming a technological theocracy that the rest of Darmonica views with a wary eye.

The Order imposed a new system where every man, woman and child was viewed as simply a cog in a great machine with each having its own role to play. The Collective's education system mainly focuses on determining a role that a person is best suited for and giving them the training needed for that role, the idea being that the role would be a job for life. The old social norms of family have been stamped out and replaced with a system of groupings that people are placed into, with people being matched to and paired together. Each couple are given a quota for the number of children that they are expected to produce, though the actual number depends on a variety of factors such as the pair themselves and local population levels. The resultant children stay with their parents until they turn five years old, at which point the state takes them into a 'academy' where they are tested to determine their future roles.

The Order has almost completely rebuilt Sodka, rebuilding many towns and cities to have more efficient road layouts. Roads and railways have been rerouted to make them more efficient to better serve the Collective's industries and to ensure the Collective's standing military, the Iron Guard, to be transported with ease. The Collective has very little contact with its neighbours with trade being limited to small traders that operate along the fringes of the Collective, though it is risky since external trade is largely illegal in the Collective.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Up Up And Away!

Its probably been noticed already that aircraft plays a big role in Frozen Skies, chiefly as the main way of getting around Alyeska and quite possibly as a mobile base for the players.

Conventional aircraft have been mentioned and even featured in the Alyeskan Tales short stories, but there are other aircraft besides this. Gyro-copters have been mentioned, the Wolfbane Commandos are known to use troop carrying versions. There is another type of aircraft that plays a role in the world of Darmonica.


Theses levitations of the sky are derived from Ancient Terran technology that has managed to survive the eons, though they have only returned in the last century as the capacity to rebuild was once again to hand. It is generally known that a reprocessed gas called Liftorium is used to give the skyships their lift, though only the Skywrights Guild knows the full secrets behind them. Skyships are also prohibitively expensive and saw are generally only found in the hands of trade consortiums rather than small outfits due to the costs involved in running them. The various military forces operate aircraft carrier versions with more conventional blimps as escorts, though these rarely venture far outside of a nation's borders. The biggest user of skyships remains the Skywrights Guild, they alone have the resources to maintain a fleet and have the capacity to build more, however there are various small ventures attempting to break the Guild's monopoly despite efforts by the Guild to stop them.

Even though the Guild won't openly admit, they do have a rival in the form of the Iron Collective. After the collapse of the Holy Sodkan Empire many of the Guild's facilities within the Empire fell into the hands of the then newly formed Collective, but thus far the Collective has only been interested in building up its air fleet rather than try to corner the market. But the Guild isn't alone in keeping a wary eye on the Collective's ambitions in the skies...

Monday 17 November 2014

Time And Time Again

Tis time to talk about, ugh, time.

Or more accurately Darmonica's calender.

The Calender (for the current lack of a more unique name) came into being following the Fall of the Ancient Terrans, with the Fall being used as the start of the current epoch. Before Fall and After Fall are therefore used to denote dates from either the Ancient Terran era or the current era, typically as an abbreviation placed after the year typically as BF and AF respectively. With this in mind Darmonica's current year is listed as 1836 AF.

A typical Darmonican year is split up into 13 months, each of which are comprised of 29 days. There are then weeks that are made up of eight days each, giving just over three and a half weeks in each month and 377 days in a Darmonican year. There are then 47 weeks in a year with one spare day, which means that for example the first day of each month is always on a different weekday to that of the last much like with our own calender.

The weekdays and months still have to be named, something that will be posted on this blog in the near future. Least with the former I have a couple of ideas like Kingsday and Queensday, which still leaves another six days to name. Months are a little trickier since I'm kicking about the idea of naming some of them after the deities of Darmonica, though as of yet only deity has been named and that is Taran the Goddess of the Sky. So maybe something like Tarblawan for a month famed for being very windy?

Friday 14 November 2014

Prints, Prints And More Prints!

Some of the Frozen Skies artwork is now up on DeviantART, the artist has given their full permission for the art pieces to be sold as prints. Money from each print sold will go towards funding Frozen Skies and getting the book completed.


Sunday 2 November 2014

The Ancient Terrans

Since the earliest drafts of what has evolved into Frozen Skies I've always been rather keen on having a fallen ancient civilization, partially because old ruins and artefacts always help provide a plot hook for adventures. The Ancient Terrans seemed a natural fit as a name for this lost civilization, if anything it helps muddy the waters as as history is concerned in the world of Darmonica.

The inspiration for the Ancient Terrans seems from the old PC game Arcanum: Of Steamworks And Magick Obscura, there was a ruined city called Vendigroth that had been the heart of a highly technological culture and had been destroyed. Certainly the part about its high technology being destroyed along with the city greatly appealed to me, especially the aspect of the world's technology level gradually recovering over time but still a far cry from what had existed. Also the fall of the Ancient Terrans would help with regards to working a calender and a timeline, a reference point for dates and stuff if you will.

In Frozen Skies there is the Monolith that stands as the most visual remnant of the Ancient Terrans, its ruined spire sitting forlornly in the heart of the impossibly flat and circular Chillwynd Marches. In addition there are various old ruins scattered throughout the continent of Alyeska and beyond, some of which have been adapted as the foundations for modern settlements or became snow-bound piles of rubble. I had envisioned Ancient Terran artefacts sparking a 'relic rush' when the well-monied started taking an interest in them to grace the display cabinets of their billiard rooms and later on curious inventors sought to unlock the mechanisms of some of the devices that the ice gave up. But not all of these artefacts are harmless.

Course I'm going with something that caused the downfall of what could be described as Darmonica's technological equivalent of our own world's Roman Empire, though for now I intend to keep that something vague and let players and their GMs determine what happened to the Anicent Terrans in their game.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Alyeskan Tales Print

The updated print version of Alyeskan Tales, the fiction companion for the Frozen Skies setting, is now ready. You can find it along with the PDF version at; http://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/124408/Alyeskan-Tales

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Mail and Cross-Promotions

Was waiting to post this but Royal Mail doesn't seem to be playing ball.

The overhauled PDF of Alyeskan Tales is now up, with layout and cover done by the very talented Ian Liddle. Just waiting for the proof of the print version to arrive before that goes live.

Now for a bit of cross-promotion; A friend of mine has recently stepped into the world of self-publishing with her own pantomime version of Sleeping Beauty, it is quite funny and so feel free to share and/or purchase.


Saturday 4 October 2014

October Update!

After an improv holiday it's time to state whats happening with the Press.

*Alyeskan Tales is currently in the process of being redone. This includes some minor edits, improved layout and a new cover. Both the PDF and Print-on-Demand versions will be updated with the new files in the next few weeks.

*City of the Wulf is a new project thats currently pending, it is intended to be a source book that covers the city of Point Fenris located in the Wulflands. It is a city under siege with the Wulvers at its gates and even more sinister forces lurking within.

Wednesday 24 September 2014


Either since they were unintentionally free from their rocky prison, the Wulvers have spread across Western Alyeska at an alarming rate. They hold sway over much of what is now dubbed the Wulflands, having either driven out or slain those who'd settled there. They are savage and feral creatures that can rip a man limb from limb, though it is their bite that is feared more. The Wulver's bite carries a curse, it is a infection that transforms noble men into one of the beasts and turns them against former comrades. Once bitten the unfortunate soul is doomed to become one of the Wulvers, there is no return and no cure.

Once you become a Wulver it is what you stay as.


Roaming across the Wulflands in large packs, Wulvers are a dangerous threat to anyone unlucky enough to be caught in their path.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d12+2, Vigor d10
Skills: Climbing d8, Fighting d12+2, Intimidation d10, Notice d12, Swimming d10, Stealth d10, Tracking d10
Pace: 8; Parry: 9, Toughness: 7
Special Abilities
* Bite: Str+d6
* Claws: Str+d8
* Infection: Anyone bitten by a wulver has a 50% chance of becoming a wulver themselves. The character involuntarily transforms within 1d6 hours, after which he permanently becomes a wulver.
* Infravision: Wulvers can see heat and halve penatlies for bad lighting when attacking living targets.


Wulver Alpha: Increase Smarts and Spirit to d8 respectively, then run as a Wild Card.

Wulver Stalker: Reduce Strength to d10 and Vigor to d8, increase Stealth to d12 and add Fleet-Footed: Wulver Stalkers roll a d8 when running instead of a d6.

Monday 22 September 2014

Frozen Skies Setting Rules v2.1

Chocs Away!

Version 2.1 of the Frozen Skies Setting Rules takes to the wild blue yonder with revised air combat rules and the addition of aircraft creation.


Friday 19 September 2014

Questions, Questions, Questions

Just a question this time; What else or more of the Frozen Skies that you'd like to be covered next?

Like theres something you're curious about that I haven't covered yet or you want me to expand upon something I have already posted.

Monday 8 September 2014

Savage Skies

Bit of a gap in posting, partially due to the day job and partially due to working away on the rules for the Frozen Skies setting. Been taking a crack at air combat rules, mainly adapted from the Crimson Skies based Savage Worlds rules produced by Clint Black (who's kindly given me permission to use them). Since the rules were written for the older version of Savage Worlds I'm going through updating them where they need updating, but I have come up with a few additions to the rules;

*Evasion:- This is a new stat for aircraft combat, works just like Parry does but for aircraft instead. Evasion is two plus half of the character's Piloting skill plus the aircraft's Agility (explained below). So for a character with d8 in their Piloting skill and flying an aircraft with an Agility of 1, their Evasion stat would be 7 (2+4+1) and therefore the TN for anyone trying to attack him. A less skilled pilot flying a lumbering behemoth of an aircraft would be easier to hit than an Ace pilot in an aircraft that turns on a penny.

*Agility:- Agility is how agile the aircraft is, which factors into a Pilot's Evasion stat as explained above. It is also an addition to the attributes that an aircraft has during aircraft creation in Clint's original rules, as a result the points you use to 'improve' the aircraft has been increased to 5. The ranks for Agility are as follows;

Poor -1; Average 0; Good 1; Excellent 2

There will be Glitches/Upgrades that effect an aircraft's Agility attributes.


Aerial combat in the Frozen Skies setting works the normal way it does for Vehicular Combat for aircraft as in the SWD, though with the addition of Evasion. This basically means to hit another aircraft a pilot has to make a Shooting roll against that aircraft's Evasion score, but damage works in the normal way.This is intended to be an alternative ruleset to use for aerial combat than the Chase rules in the SWD or the Dogfight rules in Weird Wars. Depending upon interest I may produce these rules as a standalone supplement.

Friday 29 August 2014

The Highlands

Couple of days later than planned, though bills have to be paid and so the dayjob has to come first.

This week we see the last of the Alyeskan Regional Guide entries in the form of the Alyeskan Highlands, a mountainous and largely unchartered region that forms the central and northern parts of the Continent.

The Highlands

The Highlands is a barren region, almost completely consisting of towering mountains and rocky crags. Few venture pass the outer mountain ranges commonly called the Bastion Peak, even fewer have any real reason to do so since it is very difficult to traverse the mountains either on foot or by air.

Aside from vast, untouched deposits of Glimmer Rock the Highlands is said to house an outlaw haven called Broken Spires. The settlement is rumoured to be located at the heart of the Highlands and requires one to cautiously pick their way through the canyons that surround it, though the canyons are said to be littered with the remains of those who weren't as careful as they should've been.

Though a curious note about the region is the existence of wooden walkways that run along the canyons and across the peaks, effectively creating a network of rackety paths. Problem is that they suffer from years of neglect and nobody is really sure who originally built them, regardless they do provide a relative safe way of getting about.

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Frozen Skies Setting Rules V1.2

Version 1.2 of the Frozen Skies Setting Rules has been uploaded, now includes starting cash and some weapons. For general gear it's suggested you use either Deadlands Noir (if you have it) or what would be appropriate for a 1930s era setting.


Sunday 17 August 2014

Much Ado About Lumenpetrium

Lumenpetrium is a corruption of Lumen Petra, which (if Google Translate is anything to go by) is Latin for 'glimmer rock'.

This is important because?

I have long envisioned there being a special mineral in the Frozen Skies setting that could be used for possible plot ideas (i.e. the 'spikes' mentioned in Alyeskan Tales) and to provide some justification for the Weird Science Arcane Background. Effectively think of it being Alyeska's counterpart of either Ghost Rock or Warpstones.

Now Lumenpetrium (or Glimmer Rock as it's commonly called due to how it sorta shines in the light) has some residual energy until 'charged' via an alchemical process. This process typically uses electricity to effectively create a battery to power Weird Science devices. The Sodkans (when they still had their great empire) discovered a large deposit of Glimmer Rock, which they kept a fiercely guarded secret, and an alternative of 'powering' the rocks; Souls.

The so-called 'Sodkan Method' (least to those who know of it) was discovered literally by accident when a lab experiment went disastrously wrong. A team of Sodkan scientists were trying to increase the power load of Glimmer Rock when an equipment malfunction resulted in a power overload and an explosion that killed most of the team and severely injured many others. Curiously the sample piece of Glimmer Rock was still intact and hadn't suffered any damage, though it now emitted a sickly green glow and faces of those who'd been killed in the accident could be seen in the rock. Many tests were run, using criminals who'd been sentenced to death, until the Sodkan Method of using souls was proven and then refined to be more efficient. Not long after this, the Sodkans greatly expanded their mining colony in Alyeska.

The onset of the Great Darmonican War greatly hampered the Sodkan Glimmer Rock Project, the condemned criminals it'd been using were instead being sent to the front lines to fight in penal battalions. In addition the Project had great demands placed upon it by the Sodkan Empress herself to produce weapons for the war effort, forcing the Project scientists to take drastic measures to keep up production of the 'Sodkan Refined Rocks'. Late in the war the Project did start to bear some fruit by producing the so-called 'Tin Men', mechanical automatons that were used to replace the Project's diminished work force of miners. Militarized versions were starting to reach the prototype stage a large explosion destroyed the Sodkans' main research base and devastated the surrounding area during a visit by the Sodkan Empress, the double blow effectively ended the Holy Empire's chances of winning the war and ultimately ended the War itself. In the aftermath the Holy Empire shattered, giving rise to the Union of Sodkan Republics and the Iron Collective. 

The Blast had other far-reaching effects; The area devastated by the explosion remains a dead zone that effectively separates the Iron Collective from the Union of Sodkan Republics. There are also the Spikes, where streams of Glimmer Rock have started building up energy on their won accord before discharging it in a burst of electricity. These discharges of energy have yet to inflict anything more than some minor damage, though they have been growing in regularity.

There are rumours that the Iron Collective may have restarted the old Sodkan Project, though this can only bring bad tidings for Darmonica's future.

Sunday 10 August 2014

Eastern Alyeska

Located on the continent's eastern edge is the Territory of Eastern Alyeska, though most local folk just call it Alyeska which tends to confuse outsiders. The Territory's capital and main settlement of Gravenburgh is wedged in between the eastern arm of the Dragonspine Mountains and the Jagged Coast, though it sits at the head of a large bay formed by the Dragonspine arcing from the south-west through to the chain of islands and rocks in the east called the Needles.

Most of the other settlements here are clustered round Wicked Antler Lake located tens of miles north-east of Gravenburgh and is ice free for much of the year. Aside from mining or logging camps the only real other settlement of note is Prospector's Reach which sits on the northern coast next to the eastern boundary of the Chillwynd Marches.

The Chillwynd Marches


The Chillwynd Marches is a large, completely flat circular plain that is located in the north-west corner of Eastern Alyeska and cuts into the Alyeskan Highlands. It is believed that it was carved long ago for some obscure reason, certainly great chunks of mountains have simply been cut away to form the almost perfect disc.

All along the boundary of the Marches are giant standing stones, all equal distance apart and positioned similarly to the marks on a clock used to denote seconds. At the dead center of the vast circular plain is a towering spire called the Monolith, it is effectively a ruined city carved out of a tall, thin mountain and is only partially explored. Strange glyphs have been found all over the walls of the interior, yet nobody has been able to translate them. One person has claimed to have reached the top of the Monolith, said that the spire contained a throne room filled with ancient treasure but then vanished after making this claim.

The Marches are also known for the eerily wind that blows almost ceaseless across the frost coated, stone plains and gave rise to the Chillwynd name. Many say that whispers can be heard upon the winds, usually that of lost loved ones or temptations. A great many have been driven and by these cursed winds, many others have simply vanished in the Marches and left behind their abandoned campsite.



Compared to Morrdun in New Gwentia, Eastern Alyeska's main settlement has alot more of a frontier feel to it. You'd struggle to find any building thats higher than a couple of stories, save perhaps for the Territory's seat of governance; Commonwealth House with it's clock tower.

The eastern leg of the Trans-Alyeskan Railway cuts through the northern district of Gravenburgh, containing on to the Needles with a line that runs north and across the Dragonspine Mountains to reach Tay River on the southern shore of Wicked Antler Lake.

The Needles


Forming the eastern most part of theentire Continent of Alyeska is the chain of towering rocks and small islands known as the Needles.

The Needles are largely inhospitable, the few settlements here are exposed to the fury of the northern seas and only the hardly seem to live here. In recent years the Commonwealth has started taking a keen interest in the Needles, plans have been proposed to use the Needles and a series of bridges to create a joint road-rail link between Alyeska and the home isles of the Commonwealth. Thus far only surveys and test drillings have been made, though if the project goes ahead then it could transform Eastern Alyeska.

The Lost Sodkan Mine


Prior to the last major conflict, the Great Darmonican War, there was a major nation known as the Holy Sodkan Empire and it had a mining colony somewhere on the northern coast of Eastern Alyeska. It it widely known that the mine used penal labour and was heavily guarded, but with the Empire's shock defeat and resultant collapse in the War the colony was effectively abandoned with its "residents" disappearing into Alyeskan society. The mining colony location has been forgotten, though a few have claimed to have found it over the years.

Recently the Iron Collective, argued to be the Empire's successor (other than the Union of Sodkan Republics), has developed a rather keen interest in locating the lost mine and chiefly finding out what was actually mined there. The Commonwealth and the rest of the Darmonican powers, such as the Artian Confederacy and the Tyland Free State, have also taken an interest as it is believed that the mine might be linked to the moment that ended the War and is also one of the War's greatest mysteries.

Monday 28 July 2014

Frozen Skies Setting Rules v1.0

A draft of some setting rules along with Hindrances, Edges and some vehicles for the Frozen Skies setting. Will be adding additional rules and making tweaks depending on feedback, feel free to have a look and try them out.


Wednesday 23 July 2014

New Gwentia

New Gwentia

New Gwentia is the main area of settlement and the heart of the Commonwealth on the Continent of Alyeska, it is where one can expect to find reasonably reliable telephones, electricity and radios in addition to a few luxury goods.

The southern part of New Gwentia feels like a well developed country, but the rest of the region gradually has more of a frontier feel depending on the direction you're heading in. There is a fairly extensive road and rail network linking the towns and a few of the larger villages, there are also fully furnished airfields with paved runways as opposed to a dirt airstrip and a few huts.


Morrdun is the largest settlement in Alyeska, its capital and only actual city. It is densely populated and feels very strongly like an industrial city with high rise tenant blocks and giant factories, it boosts at least two airfields and an urban railway network. Though despite seemingly being made up of slums and tall brick buildings, Morrdun does have a more grander side in the form of the Crown District home to mansions and of course Alyeska's Governor-General.

The city has a growing district simply known as the Military Ward, effectively a giant army camp and mini-city in it's own right. The Military Ward features warehouses, barracks, messes and a giant central parade ground. It sees hundreds of soldiers move through it every month as part of the ongoing conflict in the Wulflands.

The Wulfwall

Marking the western boundary of New Gwentia and separating it from the Wulflands is the fortified line known as the Wulfwall. It is a wide, twenty foot high wall with towers at regular intervals along its length. There is a single gate about halfway along the wall and it is heavily defended with machine posts. On the New Gwentia side there is barracks and artillery positions, supported by a narrow gauge railway line that runs the length and moves various supplies and munitions.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

The Wulflands

The Wulflands

The Wulflands is the region formerly called West Alyeska that made up the western part of the Continent of Alyeska (hence its originally unimaginative name). The main settlement of this region was from New Gwentia in the east and along the southern coastline, but gradually outposts and homesteads crept ever northwards. After a few years the region was recognized as the Territory of Western Alyeska and had its own Lieutenant-Governor appointed, subordinate to Alyeska's Governor-General. For a time it looked like Western Alyeska would become a prosperous region.

Then came the Wulvers.

The Wulvers 


Pair of charging Wulvers.
It is believed that the Wulvers existed long before Man first arrived on Alyeska's frozen shores, certainly the Windryders tell tales of the 'Beast in the West'. Though they weren't sighted during the first few years of the Colonial Era, they may never had been discovered had it not been for the curiosity of Man.

History does not record the names of those who stumbled across and inadvertently freed the Wulvers, though it may be for the best. Though it is generally known that a team of explorers, eager to map the extremes of the Alyeskan Continent, took an expedition into the wilderness of Western Alyeska close to where it met the Bastion Peaks of the Highlands. They came across a gorge that had been deliberately blocked, curious they cleared the boulders and pushed finding a valley on the other side of the gorge. According to the expedition's survivors, it wasn't long before the ran into the Wulvers which tore them limb from limb and chased those left from the valley. It didn't take long for the Wulvers to discover that their prison had been breached and they soon spilled out to ravage the unsuspecting homesteads.

It was a slaughter that went down in history as 'The Night of the Wulf'.

Western Alyeska soon became too dangerous a place to live and the Commonwealth was forced to evacuate those who remained and then construct the Wulfwall to protect New Gwentia. Though the Wulflands, as the region became known, wasn't entirely abandoned as the Commonwealth established military outposts to at least keep the Wulvers in check and formed two new units; the Wulfbane Commandos and the Alyeskan Outriders.

Wolfbane Commandos


Wulfbane Commandos in action.
Created as the direct response to the Wulvers once it was realized the scale of threat they posed, the Wulfbane Commandos is the Commonwealth's most blunt tool against the beast. The Wulfbanes' job is quite simply to hit the Wulvers and hit them hard, they were typically have a large amount of firepower backing them up.

The Wulfbanes typically man outposts in the Wulflands in company strength, though an entire battalion mans Fort Bainsbury on the far western coast of the Wulflands. There are of course other units stationed in New Gwentia and Eastern Alyeska, though all units rotate through all the regions of the Continent. They maintain a rapid response force thats ready to move at a moment's notice in response to a major Wulver threat, aircraft known as Gyro-carriers that can land and takeoff without needing a runway are used to move these units around. To date their only real major action has been the Defence of the Wulfwall when it suffered a major Wulver assault, for three days the beasts threw themselves at the 'wall but the Wulfbanes held firm.

Alyeskan Outriders


Outrider trucks at an Alyeskan airstrip.
In complete contrast to the Wulfbanes is the Outriders, relying move on stealth rather than brute force to complete their job. The Outrider's role is simply watch and report on the movements of the Wulvers, occasionally conducting hit and run attacks on small packs in their machine gun armed trucks. Though from time to time they have helped the Wulfbanes deal with larger packs.

Originally the Outriders rode on horseback, acting as the Commonwealth's scouts but they embraced the motor engine soon as it arrived to let them be more mobile and outrun irate Wulvers.

The Outriders do tend to conduct long patrols, often for weeks at a time where they do require resupply at rough airstrips in the Wulflands, Though extremely dangerous and tense affairs, the Aerial Corps does pay a fair bit to those who are willing to risk being ripped limb from limb to deliver rations and petrol to the odd patrol.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

The Commonwealth

Flag of the Commonwealth

The Commonwealth

The Commonwealth is the Darmonican nation that the Continent of Alyeska finds itself claimed by and forms part of. Though to most Alyeskans it is a distant thing that has very little effect on their day-to-day lives.

It is known that the Commonwealth is headed by a monarch, namely Queen Lothwyn Boudica Cathmore II, and its capital is called Lindun.

The Commonwealth in Alyeska

The Commonwealth's presence in Alyeska is split into three different groups.

The Commonwealth Military

Due to the Wulvers posing a huge threat in the western reaches of the continent, the Commonwealth has a very large military presence in Alyeska mainly located in and around the Wulflands. The Wulfbane Commandos and the Alyeskan Outriders are the most well known parts of the Commonwealth's military, though there are thousands of ordinary soldiers and also the Aerial Corps that forms the basis of air travel in the frozen north.

The Governor-General

The Governor-General, presently Sir Douglas Fredrick-Davenport, is the viceroy and thus Her Majesty's representative in Alyeska being empowered to act on behalf of the Monarch. Though the Governor-General actually wields very little power, he generally has a ceremonial role but does perform some constitutional duties such as appointing a new Alyeskan Premier. He is also allowed to use the title Commander-in-Chief of the Alyeskan Militia (Alyeska's own military force) in the name of the sovereign.

Fredrick-Davenport technically has three deputies in the form of the Lieutenant-Governors of each of the provinces that makes up the Continent who act as viceroys at the provincial level. Though the reality is there is only one in the form of Sir Broone Langworth who is the Lieutenant-Governor of Eastern Alyeska. Of the other two provinces Fredrick-Davenport chose to temporarily fill the role for New Gwentia after the previous post holder vanished, whilst Western Alyeska is under military control and so the position is instead a military governor and is currently filled by General William Bartlett.

The Royal Alyeskan Air Police

Coming into being after the arrival of the aircraft, the constables of the Royal Alyeskan Air Police have built a reputation for themselves in the short time they have existed. The Air Police has a presence in most settlements across the continent with Broken Spires and the Wulflands being the obvious exceptions. In minor settlements, this is typically in the form of a small garrison of a ten man section commanded by a Corporal. Larger towns tend to boast a platoon of three sections, with densely populated areas, such as Gravenburgh, having a battalion sized force patrolling its streets. It maintains a sizeable Air Wing manned by full-time pilots flying a number of fighters and transport planes, with scout planes are used to patrol the more remote areas of Alyeska.

The Air Police are very highly regarded, even by those on the wrong side of the law. Very few people have managed to outrun the Air Police for long, and those who have, usually either end up eventually turning themselves in or has their frozen corpse discovered during the spring thaw. To date, Ryland Flinch remains the only man to avoid arrest successfully, having been on the run now for over two years. Originally wanted by the Air Police for questioning over illegal hunting, Flinch opened fire upon the constables that came to question him and embarked upon a one man war against the law which has become a legend in its own right, its fame spreading throughout the Commonwealth. Flinch's story has most certainly been blown out of proportion and romanticized by overzealous reporters and writers, but spending two years on the run and surviving alone in the Alyeskan wilderness is still an impressive feat by itself.

Saturday 5 July 2014

Alyeska, A Regional Guide

Alyeska is the northern most continent of the world of Darmonica, due to its location it is often referred to as either the 'rooftop of the world' or 'Darmonica's Cap'. It is a land known for adventure, danger, mystery, vast untamed wilderness and prolonged winters.


There are four distinct regions that make up the continent, though there is still plenty of areas that remain largely unexplored.

Alyeskan Highlands

The northern and central most part of the continent, dominated by towering mountain peaks and largely unknown thanks to the presence of the semi-permanent storm known as the Maw. To date expeditions have only skirted the edge of this region and on it's eastern edge sits the eerily flat Chillwynd Marches that seemed to have been carved out of the mountains. 

It is rumoured that the outlaw haven of Broken Spires is located somewhere amongst the towering mountain peaks and twisting canyons.

Eastern Alyeska

Located on the continent's eastern edge is the Territory of Eastern Alyeska, though most local folk just call it Alyeska which tends to confuse outsiders. The Territory's capital and main settlement of Gravenburgh is wedged in between the eastern arm of the Dragonspine Mountains and the Jagged Coast, though it sits at the head of a large bay formed by the Dragonspine arcing from the south-west through to the chain of islands and rocks in the east called the Needles.

Most of the other settlements here are clustered round Wicked Antler Lake located tens of miles north-east of Gravenburgh and is ice free for much of the year. Aside from mining or logging camps the only real other settlement of note is Prospector's Reach which sits on the northern coast next to the eastern boundary of the Chillwynd Marches.

New Gwentia

Covering much of the southern part of the continent is the Territory of New Garrack, the main area of settlement and the center of the Commonwealth in the northern reaches of Darmonica. It is here where the First Settlement of Morrdun and New Gwentia's capital for all intents and purposes, the bulk of the Commonwealth's administrative functions in Alyeska are based here as well being the headquarters of the Commonwealth's military Alyeska Command.

The western part of the Territory has a very strong military presence due to the neighbouring Wulflands.

The Wulflands

Originally called 'Western Alyeska' during Alyeska's early Colonial Era, it quickly became dubbed 'The Wulflands' due to savage, wolf-like creatures called Wulvers. A few settlements were established here but they were overrun in only a handful of years, leaving only stubborn homesteaders, the military and of course the Wulvers.

The Wulflands are notable for being the main area of operations for two of the Commonwealth military's most elite units; the Wulfbane Commandos and the Alyeskan Outriders.

The Wulfbane Commandos is the Commonwealth's answer to large, roving packs of Wulvers that pose a serious threat. The Wulfbanes' job is very simple; Search and Destroy. They are usually very good at it.

In contrast the Outriders' role is more covert, they're only meant to observe and report on the Wulvers' movements by a mixture of patrols and static watches. On occasion they do conduct Hit-and-Run attacks on small to moderately sized packs, either to scatter them or keep them busy until the Wulfbanes arrive.

Saturday 21 June 2014

Evolution, Evolution, Evolution

It seems I get my best ideas when my brain suddenly decides to work working overtime when I have to be up early.

This is in addition to a lack of sleep.

One particular train of thought was making Alyeska into a continent in it's own right rather than just a region, a little like an Arctic Australia or more actually Northrend from World of Warcraft. This would expand the content in Frozen Skies and gave GMs and players more room to explore as well as more options for adventures.

Things are shaping up as follows;

*East Alyeska:- This would be the area I've already developed and begun sketching out a map for, though most folk would simply call it Alyeska as explained below.

*West Alyeska:- More commonly called the 'Wulf Lands' due to the fact its overrun by the wolf-like beasts called Wulvers. The only people in this area tend to be stubborn homesteaders, the LRDG style Alyeskan Outriders and the Wulfbane Commandos.

*New Gwentia:- The main area of settlement on the continent, as such the more civilized part in sense of having running water, electricity, radio and telephone communication that more often than not actually works. It is still stubbornly a frontier region, though one thats becoming more and more tamed with each passing year. It is also under siege by the Wulvers migrating from the Wulf Lands.

Now this would entail a rewrite of parts of the current draft of Frozen Skies, though ultimately if it helps improve the content then so be it.

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Post-Expo Report

For the past couple of years I've had a stand for my indie RPG company Utherwald Press at the Diceni show here in Norwich, genuinely had a positive result and so decided to up my game a bit to help get more exposure.

So I got a stand at this year's Expo.

Few things I learned from doing Diceni certainly helped, least in making sure that I was prepared as I was going to be. Certainly next year if I attend again I'll probably try and stay at the Hilton (to at least simplify carparking, etc) and try to have a few more things to sell than just Alyeskan Tales and a free adventure.

Yes there were problems with queues for the food court and the no show of usherettes, though this seems to have been a failure on the part of the hotel rather than the Expo organisers.

Still I got to meet people in person whom I've only spoken to online, made a few contacts, sold 11 copies of Alyeskan Tales, had only gods know how many copies of my free adventure go, and I've got 40 odd emails to send out that I've barely started doing.

All and all not a bad first time at the Games Expo, though next year I'll see about actually running a game and hopefully having Frozen Skies.

Wednesday 28 May 2014

(UK Games) Expo Ho!

Just a couple of days now until the UK Games Expo and the final preparations for Utherwald Press to be there are underway.

It'll be really exciting for Utherwald Press to attend its first big show, certainly expecting to do well and boost interest in Frozen Skies.

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Firewater & Ice Update

Had the draft PDF of our Frozen Skies one sheet adventure of Firewater & Ice off the most excellent guys over at Savage Mojo.

Tis really really awesome and I'm looking forwards to hopefully be putting it in peoples' mitts at the UK Games Expo in a week or so time.

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Post-Diceni Roundup

Finally done a post-Diceni stock count.

*Five copies of Alyeskan Tales sold, made money back on the cost of the stand at least.

*Shifted like 30 odd copies of the free Firewater & Ice one-sheet adventure for the Savage Worlds system.

*Spoke to dozens of people, gave out web details and have a possible invite for a book fair.

I call that a successful day.

Heres to the UK Games Expo.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

GoFundMe Update #3

Another small update, the project funded picture is nearing completion as you can see here. Further donations would help pay for further artwork to be done, though a big thank you to donors so far.

Monday 31 March 2014

Diceni 2014

Stock ordered and fees paid so that Utherwald can put in an appearance at this year's Diceni event. There will be copies of Alyeskan Tales available for purchase along with free copies of a Frozen Skies one sheet adventure for the Savage Worlds system.

Also a reminder about our GoFundMe campaign to help get Frozen Skies funded and thus released, feel free to check out or share gofundme.com/utherwald

Thursday 27 March 2014

GoFundMe Update #2

Small update, just mainly showing what all the donations will be spent on.

This is a Work In Progress picture of one of the many NPCs that will appear in Frozen Skies when it is completed.


Tuesday 25 March 2014

GoFundMe Update #1

Time to get the ball rolling properly.

Yes the GoFundMe campaign has been up for a week already as I figure out how everything works as part of a 'soft opening' as it were, but a big thank you to Steven Mortimore for his generous donation. But now I really need to push this if it is to go anywhere, so I ask that people at least share this even if they don't decide to donate.

Other than promote this heavily the plan is to have a new piece of artwork done for every £100 raised, mainly as a sign that everyone's help is nudging Frozen Skies ever closer to being finished. In the next week or so I hope to be able to have up either concept art or finished artwork.

Again, thanks for your time in at least reading this.


Thursday 6 March 2014

Alyeskan Tales Print Now For Sale!

The print version of Alyeskan Tales is now finally ready for purchase for £2.50 either by itself or with the PDF version, plus postage.


Tuesday 4 March 2014

To Crowdfund Or Not To Crowdfund...

Probably the only real major hurdle I'm facing with Frozen Skies is getting together the funds to complete it, whilst things have been steadily been improving it still remains difficult to get Frozen Skies funded and thus released.

Current goal is to see about getting an enterprise loan to get things rolling, though that requires stuff like drawing up business plans and sales forecast. Making some headway here but I'm concern that the awarding body may reject it due to them not being familiar with RPGs.

Crowdfunding is a possible option and the first Kickstarter I tried didn't do THAT badly, though there are many things that I could've done differently. But the issue I see with Kickstarter is that since I'm effectively an unknown entity I'm going to struggle against somebody who is more well known (as has been more with the more successful Kickstarter projects). Course things might do a bit better since I've been working on getting a presence out there and have Alyeskan Tales out as an example, but there is still a bit of uncertainty....though this year I am attending a couple of shows simply to get the exposure.

So what are people's thoughts on this? Do you have any suggestions or ideas that might help?

Thursday 30 January 2014

Off The Press

OK, time to state Utherwald's plans for the year ahead.

Alyeskan Tales is now released, effectively Utherwald Press' first official product that'll serve as a promotion for Frozen Skies when that product is released. Frozen Skies itself should be released later this year, alternative funding has been sort for it and there has been some positive signs here. Though things are in much better shape compared to a year ago, so some artwork could see the light of day over the coming months.

To tie in with Frozen Skies, a bunch of short adventures set in the frozen frontier of Alyeska will be produced and be put up on the OneBookShelf network of sites as Pay What You Want. Again these will help to promote Frozen Skies and also build Utherwald Press' presence.

Further details of the world of Darmonica, the greater setting of Frozen Skies, will be posted on the blog. Some of the material posted up as previews for the Kickstarter will be revised, updated and reposted as well. Also details of further books planned that cover the rest of the Darmonica setting will also be posted.

There are other products planned, but details will be released in the future.

Friday 17 January 2014

Alyeskan Tales - Print Version

The print version of Alyeskan Tales is a set closer to release having been submitted to DriveThruStuff's print-on-demand service, expecting to hear yay or nay within the next few days.

Sunday 12 January 2014

Alyeskan Tales

Alyeskan Tales is now out and listed as Pay What You Want, every bit of support we can get will help us grow and help get products like Frozen Skies out that little bit quicker.

The print version of Alyeskan Tales is still in the works, expect to see it in the next few weeks.