Wednesday 27 January 2016

Setting Idea: Forsaken

Third instalment of the 'Settings That I'd Love To Do...Some Day' series.

This one is bit of a break from the mostly Dieselpunk-ish theme that Utherwald has gone with thus far, namely delving more into Fantasy. At the same time I intend it to have elements of horror and be set set in a semi-ruined city, though at the same time it has to stand out somehow. Perhaps a sort of Clockpunk setting?

Regardless, heres my initial thoughts on it in the same format as the others.

Setting Name: Forsaken

Elevator Pitch: Musket toting fantasy adventures in a ruined, ghost ridden city.

Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Ghosts, Clockpunk.

Inspiration: Ravenloft, Mordheim, Warhammer Fantasy, Sharpe, Brothers Grimm, Brotherhood of the Wolf and Ruins of Arnor from Lord of the Rings.

Overview: Forsaken, like the other setting ideas, is still very fluid with very little set in stone besides the core ideas. Its fantasy, its horror and its set in a cursed city. Admittedly that idea has been used a few times now and has almost become a trope, hopefully I've come up with an interesting twist on things to make it stand out.

The basic idea and sort of backstory is that the city suffered an invasion and occupation by some dark force, but was later liberated. Though the dark force trapped the city's palace/fortress so that when the liberators entered it the structure (along with said liberators) were destroyed in a large explosion. In addition the dark forces left a few other nasty surprises such as mundane ones like traps and...other things.

In short, it is a place where its a very good idea to bolt the doors and windows at night.

I have considered rolling Deepwatch into this setting, possibly going with the name 'Darkwatch' and having it as part-city/part-subterranean. The players having to comb through the forsakened ruins of the cities as well as the tunnels beneath to combat all the horrors that were left behind by the dark forces. The Lurkers could be some of resistance left by the dark forces, basically to harass the city's liberators.

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Setting Idea: Weird Wars: Home Front

The second in a series of setting ideas on the 'Would Like To Do Someday' list.

Admittedly this one has changed a bit from the initial idea, though the core aspect of a British supernatural horror setting remains. Regardless it'll follow the same format as last week's post.

Setting Name: Weird Wars: Home Front

Elevator Pitch: Supernatural horror amidst the Blitzed towns and countryside of WW2 Britain.

Genre: Weird Wars, Horror, Supernatural and WW2.

Inspiration: Weird War Two, Secrets of the Third Reich wargame, Foyle's War, Dad's Army, The Woman in Black 2 Angel of Death, various Doctor Who episodes, London's Dark graphic novel and The Ghost Train (1941 film).

Overview: This idea originally started out as a modern day setting, effectively a British version of The Thin Blue Line. Though there was a suggestion made to go for what was effectively Foyle's War with supernatural elements thrown in, basically covering the British Home Front in PEG's Weird War Two setting.

The basic idea is that during the First World War there was some outbreak of supernatural activity in Britain as a result of the conflict, partially due to the Thule Society and partially due to the widespread fear due to zeppelin raids. The government of the day managed to keep a lid on things, thanks to the outbreaks being pretty minor and keeping the public's attention on the war being fought on the Western Front and other places. For a decade following WW1 things quietened down until the Great Depression hit, after that occult activity steadily rose during the 1930s with incidents making it into the news (such as Borley Rectory). As the clouds of war started to gather in the late 1930s the British Government was keenly aware how much of a threat the occult could be to the British Isles.

At the outbreak of the Second World War and the Phony War period that defined the first few months of the conflict, the government's fears proved to be unfounded. With the Battle of Britain and then The Blitz, the government started receiving a number of alarming reports and it was decided that something needed to be done. The Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, had been arranging for the creation of the Office of Special Investigation with the Americans. But there are many within the British Government who were against the idea of 'American cowboys running wild round the English countryside'. After some wrangling an organisation charged with combating the supernatural within the British Isles was formed and dubbed Section Q.

From the beginning Section Q was wary of the OSI, initially with what was perceived as the 'poaching' of Section Q agents by the latter. From 1942 onwards there was clashes between the two as the OSI claimed jurisdiction over American forces stationed in the UK, though after D-Day the OSI became more focused on the European Continent. In addition Section Q faced problems from some elements of the British Government as it found itself in a curious position seated between the Home Office, the War Office and MI5 experiencing varying degrees of hostility from all three whilst at the same time being answerable to them. On top of these problems Section Q doesn't quite have the same clout as the OSI does and thus a trickier time when it comes to resources, more often than not it has to rely on Home Guard units rather than the British Army.

Section Q is based out of Scotland Yard, its members generally serving as detectives in the Metropolitan Police's Special Branch or Criminal Investigation Department (CID). There are regional offices such as York to cover the northern half of England, Bristol to cover the south-west, Cardiff to cover Wales, Edinburgh (with a branch in Glasgow) to cover Scotland and Belfast to cover Northern Ireland. Known 'hot spots' may even have a local office, though again the agents there would normally be detectives belonging to the local Special Branch or CID (same goes for the regional offices). Section Q agents are considered 'part time', they still serve as detectives in their respective police forces and thus still have their normal duties to perform in addition to any Section Q cases that get passed to their desks. There is also a small support staff of civilians such as clerks at Scotland Yard and a Research section.

In the field since Section Q agents would normally be police detectives they would have access to local police constables to secure locations, though heavier support can be gained from local Home Guard units and occasionally the Army. In more serious situations Section Q can, somewhat reluctantly, call upon help from the OSI.

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Setting Idea: Deepwatch

Right, little bit of a new mini-series.

Last week mentioned about a few setting ideas I had plans to work on after Frozen Skies, the 'Deepwatch' one proved to be the most popular one and so it gets showcased first.

Setting Name: Deepwatch

Elevator Pitch: Underground soldiers defending tunnels against the horrors that lurk beneath the ground.

Genre: Subterranean, Horror, possibly Fantasy or Steampunk or Dieselpunk or Post-Apocalypse (still trying to decide).

Inspiration: In no particular order; The Hot War RPG, the Fallout series, film Beneath Hill 60, the Edinburgh Vaults, the Seattle Tunnels, the (Victorian part of the) London Underground, Gibraltar War Tunnels, the British Central Government War HQ, Metro 2033 and Necromunda.

Overview: Deepwatch is something that was born out of my interest in man made subterranean structures, typically tunnels or so-called 'undercities' with it being a case of the older the better.

The general idea is that the Deepwatch is the name of a paramilitary group who's job it is to patrol a network of tunnels, deter outlaws and defeat whatever lurks in the shadows. In some ways the Deepwatch could be seen as being similar to the Rangers in Metro 2033, yet at the same time very different despite sharing effectively the same roles. Regardless of the actual setting, the core is militant group patrolling dark and lonely tunnels seemingly only a few steps away from danger.

For the setting itself I'm considering of using Darmonica, the world of Frozen Skies, to basically explore and develop another part of that world. So rather than the icy frontier of the Alyeskan wilderness it'll be in the mazes of tunnels beneath one of Darmonica's great cities. The Deepwatch thus answering to the city's Department of Public Safety, though of the time largely ignored by the authorities unless an incident causes too much attention 'Up Above'. This would mean a mixture of subway tunnels, sewers, utilities tunnels, catacombs, buried streets and ancient passages. Probably a handful of underground settlements as well, though more akin to shanty towns or slums where the worse off in society are forced to live.

One idea I've had for the Deepwatch concerns their method of communications, I imagine that radios would be somewhat hampered underground and thus an alternative might be more useful. The idea is that telephone cables are run throughout most of the tunnels, though something akin to a field telephone would be needed which can be plugged into a socket. There would be 'hubs' or waystations that would have a permanent telephone connection, able to connect the other waystations directly or even HQ if needed.

Wednesday 6 January 2016

New Year, Same Goals

Welcome to 2016 folks!

The overriding goal for this year is to get the main Frozen Skies book produced and released, something that I am hopeful will be achieved.

Once the Frozen Skies book is done I'll be looking at producing a few more adventures, perhaps a campaign as well. Will also be looking at producing a city book on the pirate haven of Broken Spires, after that it'll be a case of seeing what feedback I get to determine what else to do with the setting.

There is some non-Frozen Skies stuff that I'd like to do which includes a British based modern supernatural setting, though that may initially take the form of a series of articles on this blog. I also have ideas for something thats subterranean based and presently has the title 'Deepwatch', mostly revolves round a militant group defending an underground settlement from the....Things that lurk deep beneath the group. I cannot say what form Deepwatch will take with regards to it being fantasy, steampunk or science fiction/post-apocalypse.

I've been helping out on a setting called Gloomlight. The general gist is that it is set in the not too distant future where the various major trade agreements currently in the news go ahead and allow big corporations to do away with legislation that they as 'harmful' to their profit margins. The result is the Earth becoming so polluted and smog ridden that there ends up being little difference between night and day, thus allowing things that previously lurked in the shadows to come out to play.

I've stated previously that Utherwald isn't going to have much of a presence at conventions this year due to the pending arrival of my first-born child in about a month or so. Depending how things go, my posting schedule may be affected but I'll keep you guys informed.