Friday 27 March 2015

State of the Press March 2015

OK, figured it was time for another update on things.


The Kickstarter preview has been posted a few weeks back, gotten some feedback but haven't done much more work on it. Still hoping to get it luanched towards the end of May just before UK Games Expo, though have the weekend off from the dayjob so plenty of time to work on (plus the girlfriend can act as taskmaster).


Diceni and UK Games Expo are still go, will be ordering stock for Diceni next week and other prep work.

The Lost Sodkan Mine game at UKGE is now fully booked, which is somewhat reassuring and so I just need to tweak and work on the adventure after its initial playtest.


*Frozen Skies:- Still working on this, have been looking at producing a setting primer to tide people over until the actual book is done. From feedback I've gained from putting the idea out there it is likely to contain setting details and gear, perhaps one or two game mechanics.

Will post a playtest version before I see about turning it into a proper PDF, it will ultimately go on RPGNow listed as a Pay What You Want product.


Also looking at perhaps trying to do a series of articles on different subjects, the Brimstone one could be considered an example of this. The idea is to try and do one location and maybe a creature feature/faction post a month.

Thursday 19 March 2015

Alyeskan Gazetteer: Brimstone

Nestled amongst the Bastion Peaks in northern New Gwentia lies, in the shadow of a semi-active volcano, an abandoned ski resort known commonly as Brimstone.

Once it was the holiday destination of the well-to-do, now it is little more than ruins...


What became Brimstone was the brainchild of one man, Kirwin Gladstone.

Gladstone was an enterprising businessman keen to amiss a fortune in Alyeska, but also at the same time attempt to make it more civilized. He had spent a number of years and considerable amount of coin building up a small empire of hotels that catered to the upper reaches of society in New Gwentia. The Crown Hotel in Morrdun is the single greatest monument to Gladstone's efforts as well as the surviving villas and hunting lodges that still dot the New Gwentian wilderness. Prior to the Great Darmonican War the wealthy were keen to travel to exotic destinations and Gladstone was eager to cash in on this trend.

Gladstone mounted a few survey expeditions throughout the Bastion Peaks until he settled upon a small valley nestled beneath a peak that he dubbed, in a spite of vanity, Mount Gladstone. He then built a resort around a lodged named, unsurprisingly, after the nearby mountain that he'd bestowed his name upon. Gladstone then set about an aggressive advertising campaign to draw well heeled, and more importantly their coin, to his luxurious all-year 'ski resort' masterpiece. It proved to be a big hit for a while.

But the mountain had other ideas.

The mountain that Gladstone had named after himself was a dormant volcano, a fact that it let be known only a couple of years after the resort had opened. Volcanic gases were spewed out by the mountain, causing the resort to be hastily evacuated and abandoned. The incident broke Gladstone both mentally and financially, on the verge of bankruptcy he left Alyeska never to return. His hotel empire was broken up and run by others with varying degrees of success, the Crown Hotel had a decent turnover until the Commonwealth Army commandeered it to use as its Alyeskan headquarters.

Of Gladstone himself, no one ever heard from him again whilst Mount Gladstone lived on in local legend as Brimstone.

Present State

Volcanic gases still spew to this day from the mountain, making the location highly toxic for those without a gas mask. The surviving buildings are coated in sulphur and, to a degree, offer some protection from the toxic air but are not suitable as long term refuge. The resort is plagued by other hazards such as frequent ash fall and small earthquake as the mountain slowly rumbles.

Plot Hooks

*The resort's last guests are wealthy people, though in their haste to leave some valuables were left behind. A fair amount of coin is offered either by the families themselves or other interested parties to retrieve the items.

*Mount Gladstone, due to the volcanic activity, isn't a place where people typically go. Because of this it is a favoured waypoint for criminals such as smugglers to stash goods for others to pick up.

Thursday 12 March 2015

Kickstarter Redux Preview

Started work on the second attempt with Kickstarter to try and get Frozen Skies funded, hoping learning my lessons from the last attempt I'm getting feedback as I build the campaign in order to make it the best I can before it goes live.

So feel free to have a look, offer feedback, etc. At the moment its just barebones as I get the basics in place before tackling the pledge rewards.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Buried In Snow And Ice

At the weekend the local university games society ran their annual 24 Hour event, having attended regularly for the past few year I went with the intention of running a Frozen Skies based adventure.

It was the Lost Sodkan Mine adventure that I'd been working on and been intending to eventually publish. Ended up having to run it a few hours later than planned and with four players, though I was kinda hoping for one or two more....admittedly it was pretty late at night.

The crew (pilot, marksman, mechanic and a rather strong woman called Helga) were 'volunteered' by the Royal Alyeskan Air Police to help investigate a series of raids against remote settlements by 'heavily armoured men'. The raiders were only interested in mechanical parts and devices, plus they did not harm anyone unless they were attacked first. In addition the RAAP had caught a distress call from the settlement of Ragnar Point who'd reported being under attacked by the strange raiders, a RAAP officer (played as an NPC) went with the crew to ensure that the investigation got done.

They flew out to Ragnar Point and their first sight of the mining settlement was ominous columns of smoke rising into the snowy sky from a number of burnt buildings, plus there was no response to their radio calls. They landed and spread out to explore the place, noting a scene of devastation round the area of the actual minehead and signs of a gunfight. There was some miners still hiding whom the crew encountered and questioned, turns out the miners had used their own explosives on the raiders which accounted for the damage. The miners also stated that the raiders were completely enclosed in armour, Helga likened this to a knight in full armour. The crew also came across...pieces of the raiders, all mechanical with no signs of any flesh. The mechanic managed to find and pry open a torso piece that had wires connected to a cage that contained a (now smashed) crystal in the matter of a electrical battery. Meanwhile the marksman found tracks leading northwards from the settlement that seemed to match the raiders.

The pilot and RAAP officer mounted the plane and tookoff to act as an aerial spotter, the others found a Mule Tracked Cargo Carrier and set off across the snowfield. After a while they came across a shape in the snow which was one of the mechanical raiders, something that proved to be an old Sodkan 'Iron Man' Automaton as the mechanic had suspected and around seven feet in height. It had also collapsed, seemingly from damage sustained during the attack on Ragnar Point. Now charged with some idea of what they were up against, the crew pressed on northwards coming across a.) the northern coastline, b.) a frozen bay and c.) an island across said frozen bay with what seemed to be a compound of a sort. The pilot made a flybay of the island whilst the others crossed the ice in the Mule, close to the compound the pilot spotted a small airstrip that had a 'recently arrived' (as in the past few days) transport plane parked on it. Presuming that there people present on the island the pilot opted to land on the ice and report to the rest of the crew what he'd seen.

Now forewarned the crew checked out the plane and found that its engines had been disassembled and other parts had been taken, plus the body of what was presumably the plane's pilot who wore an Iron Collective uniform. There were other signs of fighting which suggested that the Sodkans didn't fare too well with the Automatons, though the Sodkans seemingly managed to fight their way into the mine as well as raiding the compound's armoury since it was a former Sodkan work camp/gulag. The crew made their way into the mine, finding more signs of combat and another dead Sodkan in addition to a rickety old life. Proceeding down to the lower level they found the surviving Sodkans fighting off Automatons in a large chamber, the crew opted to try and find another path which they did and found themselves face to face with a large machine much similar to a giant computer.

The machine seemingly watched them with some sort of optic device which one of the crew distracted so that the mechanic could sneak round to get a better look at things, course the crew then disabled the optic device and triggered an alarm. As the sound of Automatons grew nearer the mechanic found a large sphere covered in wires which he took to be the 'heart' of the machine, he called Helga to help him pry off a panel located beneath the sphere in order to get at its power core. The mechanic managed to gain access to the core as the others fought off Automatons, then sabotaged the core which silenced the alarm and halted the Automatons but produced some rather worrying sparks. Sensing that the place was about to become rather unhealthy to be and prompted the rest of the crew to consider making a hasty withdrawal, just as well since the Sodkans were now moving into the chamber after the Automatons had stopped attacking them.

Leaving the Sodkans to their fate, the crew ran hide for leather out of the mine and towards their own plane. Managing to get airborne and put some distance between them and the island before the compound was destroyed in a massive fireball. The RAAP were happy that the threat of the Iron Men had been neutralized, but were a bit concerned about the Sodkans' involvement.

~ ~ ~

After having run it and having some time to think I would probably consider making the following changes before I run it again at the UK Games Expo in May.

*Redo the Rangar Point part of the adventure and the interaction with the miners there, I wasn't particularly happy with how I ran it on the night. Probably an idea having the miners be hostile to begin with considering they'd recently been attacked and all.

*On the island I would probably introduce the surviving Sodkans earlier, perhaps holed up in the compound after being stranded due to the Iron Men knocking their plane out of action. Could lead to the possibility of an uneasy alliance.

*Completely fill out character sheets, I had partially done this with some pre-gen characters to ensure the basics were down but filling out the rest took a large amount of time that could've been spent playing. I'll fully stat out pre-gen characters in future.

Still the Iron Men Automatons worked pretty damn well, then again they were modified versions of the Automatons from Deadlands Noir.

Thursday 5 March 2015

State of the Press, Part Deux

Bit of a follow-on and update to last week's post.

UK Games Expo

My Frozen Skies game got approved and therefore will be taking place at 8pm on the Saturday evening, not exactly sure where yet but we'll find out closer to the event.

It is called The Lost Sodkan Mine and involves the players being shanghaied by the Royal Alyeskan Air Police to help investigate after a series of raids against remote settlements by 'heavily armoured men'. No one was harmed unless they attacked the strange men, also the raiders seemed more interested in mechanical parts and devices than anything else.

Last I checked only a couple of spaces were left, so tis proving to be a positive sign.

Details, etc here;

Kickstarter...Part Deux

Mentioned that I was looking at giving Kickstarter another shot to help get Frozen Skies funded, decided that I'll probably will go with this. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I'll be able to get the campaign setup and the preview linked to get feedback so I can improve things before going live, ultimately I'd like to have it started just before the UK Games Expo in May.