Wednesday 30 March 2016

Alyeskan Gazetteer: Roth Island

The Gazetteer returns and ventures out into the wilds of the northern tundra, a mysterious and wildly inhospitable place where death and the biting cold are the only certainties.

The focus this week is on the cursed Roth Island and its abandoned outpost, though maybe not quite as abandoned as first thought...

The Roth Island Mystery

Roth Island was named after the famous Commonwealth explorer Admiral Francis Roth who one of the first expeditions to map the Alyeskan coastline. A meteorological station was established on Roth Island prior to the Great Darmonican War, the buildings of which remain to this day.

Throughout the War the Roth Island Station dutifully radioed its daily weather reports, least until one day when it simply stopped transmitting altogether. At first it was thought that the station's radio transmitter had been knocked out of action by bad weather, after week off silence a small military expedition was sent to investigate and found the station abandoned with no sign of the men assigned there or what had happened to them. The only clue was the commander's journal that mentioned a stranger that staggered over the ice sea to the north, delirious with tales of some sort of ruined city far to the north. Further questioning by the station commander found that the man claimed to be the sole survivor of some expedition, but he wouldn't give any more details beyond that.

The last entry in the journal mentioned about one of the station's staff going missing, but all the entries after that had been torn out. Thanks to the combination of the then still raging War and the invasion by the resurgent Wulvers no further investigation into Roth Island took place and it simply got filed away in the archives. The Commonwealth decided to leave Roth Island completely abandoned, due to a mixture of fears at what had happened and a lack of resources. After the War a small weather station was established at Prospector's Reach.

Roth Island Today

Today the Roth Island Station remains in the same state as it was found in after the mysterious disappearance of its men, only the journal of the station commander and some sensitive material were removed by the Commonwealth. The various buildings have survived largely intact, though admittedly with decay and damage from the elements in places but they are still able to provide shelter if need be. The Station consists of the 'main' building, a series of interconnected wooden huts and a couple of other buildings such as a hanger and a separate building for storing fuel.

These days the only visitors tend to be Aerial Corps patrols (though only a flyover) or those seeking an isolated meeting place, the hanger as certainly shown sign of occasional use since the Station was abandoned. Of greater concern to the Commonwealth is the occasional radio transmissions that the Station broadcasts, particularly since the Station's radio equipment was removed and the generator disconnected. Even more disconcerting is that fact that the transmissions claim to be from the men who vanished....

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Weird Wars: Home Front

I've previously posted about my Home Front setting idea for Savage Worlds' Weird Wars, basically the British Home Front of WW2 in the Weird Wars setting. Recently I had a few more ideas prompted by the release of World War Cthulhu London by Crucible 7 Entertainment, part of their own World War Cthulhu which is similar to Actung Cthulhu but it is more expanded to include other 20th Century conflicts.

So this week is the ideas I've had and some adventure seeds.

Section Q

Dunno whether to keep the organisation as Section Q or rename it the Special Investigation Group, though either way agents of this organisation would officially be known as Home Office Auxiliaries. The connection to the Home Office would mainly serve as a cover of a sort, mainly as a passive way of making sure not too many questions are asked. Though they exist in a sort of grey area when it comes to authority, particularly when dealing with other government departments such as the War Office.

Home Office Auxiliaries would be mainly civilians who've had brushes with the supernatural; ideally policemen, Home Guardsmen and scholars. A police constable in particular would already have some authority thanks to his warrant card, a Home Guardsmen would have access to weapons and similarly a scholar having academic resources to pull on. On the flip side civilians from certain trades such as sewer workers or staff on the London Underground would be able to bring their own set of skills and expertise, the same could be said of petty criminals.

Though depending on the day job the players' access to firearms could be difficult as the UK had strict controls on firearms since the early 20th Century. The 1920 Firearms Act restricted access to handguns and long guns due to fears of working class unrest, by 1937 the restrictions included most shotguns as well. It was still legal to own firearms if one acquired a license, though it depended on the local chief constable who's verdict was final and whether it was deemed there was a 'good cause' for the license to be issued (target shooting, bank courier or a farmer). With the outbreak of war the restrictions were enforced more rigorously, but it was possible to get a firearm on the black market but availability was limited and ammo rare. Anyone caught with a firearm without good reason faced 14 years in prison and could be suspected as being a spy.

Adventure Seeds & Real Life Weirdness

An adventure seed I had was the players being drawn in to investigate a series of disappearances from air raid shelters and of tube workers. The cause being a warren of Ghouls (use Ghuls from Weird War II) who have been snatching lone persons as food, though said Ghouls won't be too happy when their dinner is interrupted by uninvited guests.

Other adventure ideas can be taken from actual events that happened during WW2 in Britain;

*Two women during the war were tried and convicted under the 1735 Witchcraft Act (replaced by the Fraudulent Mediums Act of 1951 partially as a result of these infamous cases). Granted the 1735 Act considered witchcraft as a fraudulent activity with those charged under it being punished as vagrants and con artists. Though who's to say that a REAL witch couldn't be tried under the 1735 Act?

*There were several reports of people surviving direct hits from bombs on their homes, being pulled unharmed from the rubble afterwards. What if the reason they survived was something more than luck?

*In 1942 a British soldier billeted in a manor near Norwich ordered a book from a London bookseller, his army camp only identified by a mailing code and therefore unknown to the average civilian. After receiving the book a postcard fell out as the soldier opened it, the postcard turned out to be photograph from 1913 of the exact window where the soldier was stood. Surely this was just a coincidence?

*In May 1940 the Polish engineer Richard Lewinski who'd built a replica Enigma machine for British Intelligence vanished from his London apartment where he'd been kept under constant police guard. The investigation found that it was impossible that he left the apartment without the guards knowing and that he made no attempt to contact anyone in the Polish community or the Polish embassy. In addition he knew very little English and did not hold a British passport, therefore he was unable to leave the country. His fate remains unknown to this day.

*During the Blitz many RAF pilots reported strange sightings in the sky, particularly of WW1 biplanes (including the triplane of the Red Baron) that managed to outrun their Spitfire or Hurricane and disappeared into a rain-cloud over the channel. There was also reports of a Allied WW1 biplane that dived attack German bombers, on one occasion causing two bombers to swerve and collide with one another.

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Revised Aircraft Thoughts

Recently gotten hold of the Pulp Gear Toolkit and it has prompted some thought on the air combat rules I've been developing for Frozen Skies.

So this week its a basic run-through of the Frozen Skies air combat rules with updates where needed.


The basic idea for a Parry like stat called 'Evasion' remains, though it is now calculated a little bit differently now;

Half Piloting skill + 2 + Aircraft's Handling (Maneuverability if using Weird Wars aircraft) = Evasion

Still works the same way as Vehicular Combat does in the SWD rulebook, just with the addition of Evasion in place of the normal TN for Shooting. Basically the TN factors in the pilot's skill and the agility of the aircraft that they're flying. This is still intended as an alternative to the current Dogfight rules, really something thats a bit more simpler in the spirit of Fast, Furious, Fun!

Also the change also mean that aircraft from Weird Wars can be used in Frozen Skies with virtually no changes or adaptations needed.


I really really like the aircraft creation rules in the Pulp Gear Toolkit, primarily because of the wider range of aircraft that it covers. If I can get permission to adapt and update those rules I'm hoping to be able to work in some of the Crimson Skies Savage Worlds rules, though I do recommend getting hold of the Toolkit.

So with a different approach in mind I've decided to ditch Agility as a stat and just use Evasion as detailed above, basically trimming some of the fat as it were since Agility is now redundant. The Climb stat will still be listed, though as presented in the SWD rulebook if anyone wishes to use the Chase Rules for Frozen Skies. With the above changes it means a wider selection of aircraft can be used from other SW settings if people so desire.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Rogue's Gallery: Sky Captain Patrick Wade

Tis been a while since I last did a Rogue's Gallery entry and so figured it was high time that I made a new entry.

With a recent entry about Skyships this character seemed the perfect choice for this week's post. One that could be a key ally, ruthless rival or fearsome foe depending on the players' actions in your game of Frozen Skies.

So I present to you, Alyeska's self-styled premier pirate hunter....

Sky Captain Patrick Wade

There is one name that sky pirates and other outlaws of the wild blue yonder curse more than most; Sky Captain Wade.

Wade was once an Aerial Corps officer, though he was effectively a privateer as he commanded an airship commerce raider during the Great Darmonican War. He was highly prolific as the commander of the B-class Skyship Frigate Brazen, including a daring night-time sneak attack on an enemy convoy which he credited to 'exceptional cloud conditions'. After the War he retried from the Service, though in the span of a handful of months he'd grown restless and petitioned the Aerial Corps to be instated as a freelancer.

Given his war record, the request was quickly granted.

However the military wasn't about to hand over a Skyship to anyone, war hero or not, and so Wade was given the Prydwen-class rigid airship Excalibur. The Excalibur was an old war veteran, having seen service on long-range maritime patrols and was equipped with a hanger to house a small squadron of aircraft. Though she received a refit devised by Wade himself, chiefly to improve her defences and converting her to use Lift Gas in her gasbags in order to give her a greater carrying capacity so she could be fitted with a degree of armour for extra protection. The airship's hanger was expanded and improve, including having a new aircraft handling system fitted so that two aircraft could be launched at the same time.

Within a year he'd established himself as a pirate hunter and a fair number of sky pirates who tangled with him ended up in twisted metal coffins in the icy tundra. Wade used his experience as a commerce raider to good use, having once been a de facto pirate he knew the tactics that his new foes were likely to use. He has since become the bane of Alyeska's sky pirates and if he ever steps foot in Broken Spires he is likely to be greeted with a hail of lead despite that pirate haven traditionally being neutral territory far as sky pirates are concerned.

 Thanks to the sky pirates notoriously being a disorganized rabble most of the time, Wade has yet to meet a serious challenge and so some say that he is more confident than he should be. His overconfident is further inflated by his successful war career, though more often than not his stubborn streak saw him take on more than he could chew but somehow luck saw him through...but not without a few scars.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d4
Skills: Fighting d6, Knowledge (Battle) d10, Notice d8, Piloting d6, Shooting d8,
Charisma: -2; Pace: 5; Parry: 5; Toughness: 4
Hindrances: Overconfident, Stubborn, Ugly
Edges: Command, Command Presence, Connections (Aerial Corps), Luck, Natural Leader, Tactician
Gear: Revolver (12/24/48, 2d6, RoF 1, Revolver), Officer's Sword (Str+d6)

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Skyships: Bayleaf-class Freighter

And so we return to Frozen Skies, which I'll be the first to admit has fallen to the wayside a bit due to new job, Chirstmas, training courses and most recently a new baby. Over the next few months things should settle down a bit and I'll be able to devote more time to Frozen Skies beyond the weekly blog posts (though those posts have helped somewhat).

Skyships haven't been fleshed out that much and thus far we've only had one example, but little else. This week I seek to address that a little bit...

Bayleaf-class Freighter

Known as "flying bricks", the Bayleaf-class Freighters were designed and built with the sole purpose of transporting cargo in bulk. They are the great giants of the sky, typically only found in the service of either the Skywrights Guild or a trade consortium. Only a handful exist in Alyeska due to the facilities required to operate them, so they are more commonly used to ship freight across the Mhór Farraige rather than the Alyeskan interior. 

They are also slow moving targets and more than one sky pirate has tried his luck trying to capture a Bayleaf, so these Skyships usually are armed with eight heavy machines and carry a number of aero-marines in their crews.

Acc/TS: 2/5, Toughness: 15 (0), Crew: 70, Cargo: 20
Notes: Heavy Armour
Weapons: Eight .50 cal machine guns