Monday 18 December 2017

The Airman's Gazetteer: The Coalition

The Airman's Gazetteer series continues with a look at the Coalition, a nation ruled over by merchants and corporate entities.

This is also the final blog post of 2017; with the next two weeks being Christmas and New Years respectively normal service will resume on Monday 8th Jan. A two week long break will hopefully mean fair progress will be made on the Kickstarter related content. In the mean time, Happy Holidays for whatever you celebrate at this time of the year.

The Coalition

The Coalition was once the United Provinces and lies to the west and south of the Tyland Free State. Like alot of other nations, the Coalition is a radically different nation to what it was when the Great Darmonican War started. The United Provinces was a nation who's lifeblood was trade and coin flowed freely, drawing traders and mercenaries alike. Mercenaries in particular did well on United Provinces contracts guarding trade convoys, especially when the war broke out.

The United Provinces' last ruler, King Francis IV, constantly worried about his nation being dragged into the conflict and placed restrictions on the export of war materials. The King reasoned long as his nation sold basic foodstuffs and some luxury goods to the various warring factions then he couldn't be accused of favouring any particular side. Problem was that a number of rich merchants and big businesses, whom effectively controlled the United Provinces Council (the nation's legislative body), didn't see it that way. The Council passed a Motion of No Confidence in the King and effectively exiled him. The Council also removed the King's restrictions on exports and some business regulations to improve the profit margins of the business interests that backed the Council.

These days the Coalition is a highly capitalistic nation where all the power resides in the various corporations that still hold sway over the Council. Factories and worker's tenant blocks, plastered with corporate posters, dominate the various towns and cities. Rural areas tend to be filled with either corporation own farms or the country estates of high ranking managers. Small businesses exist, though are connected to the big corporations one way or another. The more independent entities tends to be shopkeepers, though even they have to do business on the corporations' terms.

Each corporation has its own militia and agents to protect its interests, especially interests that lie outside of the Coalition. There are a few 'national' organisations such as the police and military. The Coalition Police perform the same job as their counterparts in other nations, though cases and/or crimes that affect a corporation tends to be handled by that corporation. The military is split into three branches; army, navy and air force. It is tasked with defending the Coalition, though some corporations think that extends to safeguarding their assets and some even have high ranking officers on their payroll. Other organisations of note include the External Audit Department which acts as a national intelligence service and the Assets Retention Bureau that recovers stolen Coalition property.

Every day life in the Coalition is comparable to other nations, though money and, to a degree, skill plays a part in your standing in society. There is a basic education system designed to ensure that the lower classes/workers are able to read, write and follow instructions. For those from the lower classes that prove to be gifted there are colleges where they can learn more technical skills for specialist trades. Children of management level citizens receive a much higher standard of education which includes preparing them for leadership roles, they also have guaranteed places for universities. Those from less well off background can still go to university, though typically it requires getting a scholarship.

Sunday 10 December 2017

The Airman's Gazetteer: Union of Sodkan Republics

After looking at the Iron Collective last week, we now head south to the Union of Sodkan Republics; a loose alliance of small nations paranoid both by their big neighbour to the north and each other. They argue to be the successors to the Holy Sodkan Empire, something the rest of Darmonica is happy to accept. Though, many doubt how well the Union will stand when the Iron Guard march south.

Union of Sodkan Republics

As stated above, the Union is a loose alliance of small nations that have branded together out of fear of their large neighbour to the north; the Iron Collective.

These same nations were once part of the Holy Sodkan Empire and claim to be the successors to it, which the Iron Collective has yet to contest. Though they distrust each other as much as they do their big neighbour, which makes co-operation difficult at best. For the most part the Empire kept them in line, but with that authority now gone they are prone to infighting and border skirmishes aren't uncommon.

They are relatively poor, all have suffered economically since the Empire's collapse and they have a limited chance when it comes to foreign trade since the Artian Confederation sits on or close to their major trade route. The Union had a strong mining industry, though that was directed towards feeding the old Empire's need for resources. It does process a light industrial base with a handful of factories, something the Union is seeking to address in addition to reorganizing its rail network. Both projects suffer from the bickering of the various republics and little progress has been made on either.

Each republic has its government and each send representatives to the Assembly, the joint decision making body of the Union. Each republic also maintains its own military, though thankfully these were originally equipped and organised by the Empire so they generally follow the same standard. The Assembly has little control over the republics and their respective armies, its really a chamber where the republics can agree on a general course of action and hope everyone goes along with it. The Assembly has no power to deal with the disputes that arise between the republics and often result in border skirmishes, the overriding fear of the Iron Collective is probably the only thing that stops these border skirmishes from escalating.

Recently the skyships of the Iron Fleet (the Iron Collective's air force) have been making incursions into the Union, the republics only have gasbag style airships and obsolete aircraft to counter these incursions. Many are fearful that these incursions are the prelude to invasion, especially since units of the Iron Guard have been reported in certain remote areas. Though these Iron Guard units don't stay long and their activity suggests that they're looking for something.

Sunday 3 December 2017

The Airman's Gazetteer: The Iron Collective

This week we return to the Airman's Gazetteer with a look at a nation that's already been extensively covered; the Iron Collective.

This isolationist, technological theocracy is viewed with a great deal of wariness by the other nations of Darmonica. It has refused to maintain any diplomatic relation. Its goals and motives are unknown, the regime refuses to let any of its citizens be exposed to any external influence. All everyone can do is keep a close eye on the Iron Collective.

The Iron Collective

Every aspect of life within the Iron Collective is dominated by the Order of the Great Machine, originally an offshoot of the Cult of the Great Maker. The Order views society as being one, gigantic machine with every man, woman and child forming an intricate part of that machine by having their own particular roles to play. To achieve this end, the Order has completely rebuilt Sodkan society from the ground up. Families no longer exist, instead the State pairs people up and gives them a quota of children to produce. The pairings and quotas are dependent on various factors such as local population, required traits, etc. All this is administrated under the State Bureau of Social Affairs and Development, which also collects genetic samples from every citizen to analyse and to keep on record.

Children typically stay with their parents until they turn five years old, at which point they are taken and placed in a state academy. They complete their 'Primary Phase' education which ensures that they're educated to a reasonable standard in addition to being continuously assessed. These assessments come into play when the child turns 13 and starts their 'Secondary Phase' of education, this is when they receive their Classification and directed towards a certain trade. The trade chosen is based on the Primary Phase assessments and is considered to be what the particular will be best suited for. They will then be sent to specialized academies for the chosen trade to do their Secondary Phase education. The trade, and Classification, is permanent and isn't normally allowed to be changed. Though before starting Secondary Phase education a person can petition for a certain trade, but must complete a more vigorous assessment to prove that trade is suitable for them.

Crime is punished by Declassification, effectively a revoking of a person's rights as a citizen. They cannot collect their state rations, cannot receive healthcare and cannot get what is considered to be a 'legal' job. The Declassified tend to wind up either in state labour camps or forced to seek refuge in the fringes of society. There are also what is known as the Unclassified which are spilt into two broad categories. The first category is those who fail their Primary Phase, basically their assessments were too inconclusive to assign a trade. The other category is 'non-citizens', basically those who aren't in the system. Their status is similar to the Declassified, but they do have a greater freedom of movement within the Collective and can apply for state 'work for benefits' programmes to gain access to basic rations and healthcare. Both groups tend to form the Iron Collective's criminal underworld, they are also the ones that are more likely to deal with outsiders.

The Collective has no currency, people work assigned jobs to receive rations and other state benefits. Though bartering does occur, but that tends to be in areas away from the central authority. Despite it being illegal, some people do trade with other nations but they have to use that nation's currency in order to do so. Non-Classified citizens have an easier time of this than their Classified cousins, the Unclassified in particular who can move around more freely and tend to form the bulk of the traders who operate out of the Collective. The Iron Guard, the state's combined military and police force, does try to clamp down on the cross-border trading but border duties tend to be fulfilled by the Unclassified who sign on as auxiliaries and are more willing to turn a blind eye. The central authority has slowly been expanding its reach and important border settlements now have a detachment of Regulators, the Collective's secret police.

The biggest shock to outsiders entering the Collective is the efforts being remade to rebuild the entire country on a so-called 'grid pattern'. Settlements have been razed and then rebuilt on a grid layout with future expansion planned to keep inline with this. Roads, railways and even rivers have been rerouted to form straight lines. This gets more noticeable as you travel deep into the heart of the Collective, but even the border regions aren't completely immune from this. The stated reason is 'too improve efficiency', but many fear a much more darker reason.

Sunday 26 November 2017

Things Never Go Smooth

Remember last week when I said I'd be running a Frozen Skies one shot at the local university's games society?

Unfortunately it ended up being cancelled, though with the prospect of being rescheduled at a later date. My plan was originally going to be writing up the post-game session report for this week's blog post, instead I'll be writing up what I'd intended to run. So sit back, relax and enjoy!

Things Never Go Smooth

What I had planned to run was the adventure of the same name as this post, though I was going to cheat a little to make things interesting. I decided to go with two or three complications that the players would've had to deal with in turn. The idea being to show off both Frozen Skies and the Savage Worlds system since I was expecting players who'd never played or perhaps even heard of Savage Worlds before.

The plan was to run with 2-6 players, which I created 7 pre-gen characters listed below (will provide full character stats if theres enough interest);

The Brick

They would've had a cargo plane built round a light bomber chassis and fitted with a pair of turrets, giving them reasonable protection as I was going to include a little bit of aerial combat (either critters or sky pirates). Once through their aerial gauntlet they would arrive in town to find their contact in jail (Complication No.1), having the option of busting him out or just gleaming what info they could. They would then learn that the goods were in the hands of a rival gang (Complication No.2), meaning that they would have to recover them somehow.

Going a bit of investigative work would reveal that the goods had been stashed in a cave outside of town (Complication No.3). Trooping out to the cave would've seen the characters possibly fighting of animal attacks before dealing with the rival gang members guarding the cave. This would be ground based and I'd encouraged the players to consider getting some sort of vehicle, particularly since some of the characters had the driving skill. Again they had options here, either stealth or brute force. Then possibly a Chase as they raced back to their aircraft with the goods in hand.

Hopefully I'll still get to run this, though its fodder for somebody else to use if they so wished (though please please let me know how it goes).

Sunday 19 November 2017

November 2017 Update

Right, Update Time!

Bit of a break from the Airman's Gazetteer series, though that will return in a couple of weeks. The Kickstarter ended successfully, though we just scraped in over the target. So now work carries on behind the scenes getting more artwork done, sorting out extra content and doing a bit of spit and polish to get Frozen Skies ready for release. So quick round up of how things stand, some game news and an extra treat.


As stated above, the Kickstarter ended successfully even if we just scraped past the target goal. Huge thank you to Applied Vectors and the backers for making it happen.

The first Kickstarter draft PDF of Frozen Skies has been released via a Backers Only update, this is effectively a beta version for people to try out and give feedback. Though theres some stuff still missing (artwork especially), but that'll be sorted out over time. Next on the list is a revised and expanded version of Alyeskan Tales, a fiction companion for Frozen Skies, that'll first be released as a PDF for Kickstarter backers. The files on DriveThru will be updated, changes include a rewrite of The Alyeskan Job and a new story. Then there will be a few adventures to sort out as well.

Hopefully all this will be done by the end of the first quarter of the new year, though possible delays with artwork and getting files sorted. We'll keep folk posted how things pan out.

After all the Kickstarter rewards have been sorted and Frozen Skies given its general release there will be work on either the Skies of Crimson supplement for Frozen Skies or the beginnings of a new product line called Cold War Skirmishes.


Monday 20th November I'll hopefully be running a Frozen Skies one shot at the local university's games society (UEA Gamessoc). Sign-ups have been and gone for this and have generally been limited to society members, but it has been part of a series of RP one-shot evenings over the past couple of months. Next week's post will be a session write-up. CANCELLED.

I've allowed myself to be convinced into running a forum based game of Frozen Skies, though we're currently settling upon campaign theme. Possible I may do monthly updates on how this goes.

And Finally...

Been tweaking the Aircraft Creation rules, opening up options.

Created this little beaut based on the Fairchild Brigand from Crimson Skies.

Blackforge Marauder

The Blackforge Consortium has its hands in a great many pies, not all are exactly legal. Aircraft is one of its more legitimate ventures, even if its customers tend to lean towards being a tad fuzzy with how they regard the law. The Marauder is an aircraft marketed generally towards sky pirates, though some company militias have brought some.

It is a medium fighter, notable for having a bomber style turret at the rear of the aircraft. It looks like an gainly aircraft but it packs a punch and a few have been retrofitted to carry rockets for anti-airship attacks, though these fittings do have a negative impact on the aircraft's handling.

Acc/TS: 20/140; Toughness: 12 (3); Crew: 2; Climb: 1; Handling: 0; Notes: Medium Chassis, Turret, Airship Hook, Armor x1

2x 50-cal MGs (50/100/200, 2d10, RoF 4, Bursts 14, AP 3)
2x 30-cal MGs (30/60/120, 2d8, RoF 3, Bursts 20, AP 2, Turret)
2x Rockets HE (50/100/200, 3d8, RoF 1, AP 8, SBT, Retro-fitting*)

*Rocket mountings retro-fitted to aircraft, -1 to Handling when carrying rockets.

Monday 13 November 2017

The Airman's Gazetteer: The Artian Confederation

Continuing the Airman's Gazetteer series is the Artian Confederation, a victor of the Great Darmonican War that now has little opportunity to enjoy the spoils of war. It has troops tied down on either occupation duties or keeping a wary eye on its eastern frontiers, what more relations with its wartime ally the Commonwealth have been growing increasingly tense. It has a very militant culture and outlook, though that could cause trouble in the near future.

Confederation of Artia

Prior to the Tyland-Artian War in 1741 AF, what became the Confederation was a loose alliance of city states that branded together out of mutual defence during the to-and-fro wars between the Kingdom of Tyland and the Holy Sodkan Empire. The Confederation's birth can be traced to the Siege of Utherheim where the first Artian Archchancellor, Viktor Wilstein, managed to inflict a crushing defeat on the Tylanders from which they never truly recovered. The ultimate Tylander defeat in that war sowed the seeds of the Great Darmonican War half a century later.

These days the Confederation is a very militant country, even more so than the other nations of Darmonica. Troops are everywhere, either in transit or marching through the streets whilst the airships of the Luftmarine ('Air Navy') can be seen floating across the skies. All Artian police officers are armed, though it seems only differences in uniform sets them apart from the army. There is a sense of military efficiency throughout the Confederation, especially in the heartland area which has recovered the quickest from the war. Frontier areas with the Tyland Free State and the Iron Collective still feel as though they're on a war footing.

The Tyland Occupation Zone forms the Confederation's western border with the Tyland Free State, averaging five miles wide in most places. It consists of old trenches, barracks, fortified outposts and checkpoints. Nobody can move through it without the military's permission, though Tylander resistance fighters are extremely active in and around this area. Even throughout the western border states of the Confederation there is a heavy presence of troops, mostly infantry due to the ongoing threat of Tylander resistance fighters.

The Confederation's eastern border also has a heavy military presence, though this is more artillery and armoured units as well as a long fortified wall. Artian troops are deployed in a well maintained defensive line, countering any possible threats from the Iron Collective. The River Thule forms the lower half of the border, though the Thule Line (as the fortifications are called) bulge round to the west where the 'Gloomlands' (area devastated by the Blast at the end of the war) sprawls across the Thule before it empties out into the Crater Sea. Where the Crater Sea meets the larger Mammut Sea there is a narrow straits that forms the border with the Union of Sodkan Republics. Artian troops used to conduct patrols into the Gloomlands, though these have tailed off after many of them failed to return.

Forming the Confederation's southern border is the small nation of Pamdinia, it managed to stay neutral during the war and benefited from a mountainous border. Pamdinia's main interest is maritime, it has a broad coastline along the Mammut Sea and is one of the trading routes with the Sultante of Taramate. It has a small border with the Tyland Free State in the west and many use it as an alternative land route to the Union of Sodkan Republics. The Confederation has been applying pressure to ensure that Pamdinia clamps down on gun runners, something that the Pamdinians have tried to address by deploying additional customs officials.

Monday 6 November 2017

The Airman's Gazetteer: The Free State

Currently our series, which covers the various nations of Darmonica in a greater detail, we take a look at the Tyland Free State. Formerly the Kingdom of Tyland, it now little more than a sad rump of a nation still struggling with the aftermath of defeat. It also faces an uncertain future as parts of its territory remain occupied by powers that may possibly clash with one another before long.

The Tyland Free State

Compared to the Commonwealth, the Free State is a nation teeming with problems. There is deep seated anger at Tyland's defeat a decade earlier and at Tylander territory being in 'enemy' hands. The Provisional Government, based in Midraige, is considered weak and ineffective (mostly true) and has to rely on a small army to enforce martial law in order to achieve anything approaching stability. As per the Conditions of Surrender (otherwise known as 'the Conditions) that were imposed upon Tyland, a small council of ministers leads the Free State rather than a single head of state. These ministers are stuck between keeping the Artians happy and trying to fix the sighted injustice that the Tylander people feel has been done to them, it is a fine balance that the Provisional Government has struggled to make work.

The Free State has been even slower than the Commonwealth with repairing war damage, rubble choked streets and burnt out farmsteads are still a common sight. Though not all of the damage was caused by the war, some of it has occurred much more recently. There are frequent clashes between the Free State Army and anti-government forces, plus the fallout of clashes between Tylander resistance groups and Artian forces. This has resulted in martial law being imposed and the Free State becoming a grim and downtrodden country. There are shortages of everything and thus strict rationing, which in turns sparks more unrest and protests against the government.

Foreigners aren't entirely welcomed, though the Tylanders reserve their hatred for the Artians especially. As per the Conditions, the Artians are allowed to send their troops into the Free State at any time and arrest persons suspected of aiding the resistance groups. Artian troops are also exempt from prosecution under Free State laws, which gives them an almost free reign to do what they please. Even though the Commonwealth, for its troops based in the Treaty Ports, can apply for the same protections under the Conditions it elected not to do so. The Commonwealth has been pretty big on the conduct of its troops and building up a cordial relation with the Free State ahead of the Treaty Ports being handed over.

The Treaty Ports were a series of ports on the Straits coast of Tyland that came under Commonwealth control at the end of the war, under the Conditions the Commonwealth is allowed to retain those ports for a ten year period and then renew (if it wishes) every five years. The Treaty Ports are the most stable part of the Free State and the Commonwealth has invested some money in them. Only one or two ports are expected to be retained by the Commonwealth, they happen to be the best defended and many believe this decision is perhaps influenced by the Commonwealth and the Artians currently being 'uneasy allies'.

Monday 30 October 2017

The Airman's Gazetteer: The Commonwealth

One of the Q&As I've done in relation to the Kickstarter had people asking about the rest of the world of Darmonica beyond the shores of Alyeska. I've covered the various nations of the world to a limited degree, but nothing in depth. The most obvious one to start with is the Commonwealth (which I've posted about before) since that is the nation that currently has the most influence over Alyeska. Gradually I'll cover the other nations in turn should this mini-series proves to be popular, but hopefully it'll prove useful for those who wish to take their games of Frozen Skies beyond Alyeska and explore the rest of the world of Darmonica.

The Commonwealth of Gwentia

The Commonwealth of Gwentia is based in a cluster of islands known as the Home Isles, separated from the coastline of Tyland by a channel of water several miles wide called the 'Gwent Straits'. It has a monarch as its head of state, presently Queen Lothwyn Boudica Cathmore II. There is also a First Minister, Edmund Vermillion, who is the head of Government and answers to the Queen as well as Parliament. The Commonwealth's capital is the metropolis of Lindun, a vast industrial city that still bears scars from the Great Darmonican War.

Its laws aren't that much different from those in Alyeska, but the Home Isles are more heavily populated and thus have a much greater urban area. Rationing is still in force but has steadily eased off in the decade since the war ended, though all the cities and major towns still have bomb damage with reconstruction efforts being slow to gather pace. Like wartime air raid shelters are still in use and air-aircraft batteries can be found scattered across the length and breath of the Home Isles. With the war ending in an armistice, there is an uneasy peace and there is the ever present threat of sky pirate raids. The three Services of the Commonwealth Armed Forces (Army, Air Force and Navy) have a noticeable presence, especially since conscription in the form of a two year long term of 'National Service' for males when they turn 18 years of age.

Outside of the towns and cities there is still plenty of countryside, alot of it is made of small villages and farmland with some wilderness areas where wild forests still hold sway. Transport is mostly rail based, but motor vehicles have started making their presence felt as well as aircraft that can reach the few remote areas (particularly float-planes). The Commonwealth Air Force conducts regular air patrols and the Home Isles boost a decent sized and capable police, though the latter is split up into territorial forces for the various regions.

The Home Isles are linked to Alyeska via a twice weekly skyship service, though crossing the Great Ocean is difficult thanks to the storms collectively known as Taran's Tempest. Maritime vessels are commonly, especially since the Commonwealth holds former Tylander ports on the other side of the Straits. There are also a few air routes, but most of these are routed via Artian controlled territory with few direct flights to the Tyland Free State.

On the whole, people in the Home Isles enjoy a more comfortable standard of living than their Alyeskan cousins despite the war damage the Isles have suffered. Electricity, telephones and radios are both more reliable and in widespread use. Likewise, aircraft can take advantage of wartime CAF bases that have now been opened up to civilian use. You have to search very hard to find anything close to the frontier feel of Alyeska, even the smallest town boosts a well maintained airfield. Generally the Home Isles have a more civilized feel to them, but a comparable amount of crime thats geared more towards smuggling and the black market. Though there is a greater restriction on weapons with firearms requiring a license to own and use.

Sunday 22 October 2017

October 2017 Update

Right, update time.

We're getting towards the end of the year and Frozen Skies is getting pretty darn close to being released, though it is still a case of "so close yet so far". The news is mainly going to be about the Kickstarter, though I do have a couple of other things to talk about.


All-in-all things have gone pretty decently, got off to a extremely good start but things were rocky for a while before we finally hit the target. As time of writing its pretty much at £3,000 and 107% funded, still a week to go and theres a comfortable margin. But we're still £1,000 short of the first stretch goal, would be awesome if we got it before the campaign finishes.

Anyhow, a few links.


Wild Die Podcast:-

RPGNet Q&A:-

Alyeskan Tales

Looking at revamping and updating the Alyeskan Tales fiction companion, this will involve adding a new story and partial rewrite of one of the other stories. Hopefully it'll be relaunched in the next couple of months, though Kickstarter backers will get a free PDF of it.


Already stated that I'll be doing a Frozen Skies campaign in the near future, though looks like I'll also be running a One Shot in November. Gaming society at the local university is running a series of One Shot Nights for RPGs, I've signed up and will hopefully be running the Things Never Go Smooth adventure on 20th November. After Action Report will probably go up the following Monday.

Monday 16 October 2017

Rogue's Gallery: The Banshees

There are many sky pirate outfits that operate across the face of Darmonica, Alyeska is no exception given that it is home to the notorious pirate haven of Broken Spires. One outfit known as the Tundra Wolves has already been mentioned, though this week I want to take a look at an another outfit; The all-female outfit known as the Banshees.

Warrior Women of the Skies

The Sky Band - The Phantom (1996 film)
The Banshees owe their existence to a woman called Natasha 'Tash' Rogan, who learnt to fly from a young age. Natasha's father was a courier pilot before the Great Darmonican War in what is now the Wulflands, back then the area was known as Western Alyeska and home to numerous settlements. Her father taught her everything he knew about flying and when he was eventually called up for war service, Natasha was able to take his courier job. A double tragedy befell the young Natasha; her father was killed in action whilst Wulvers overran the territory and Natasha was forced to flee. She developed a grudge against the Commonwealth (for the death of her father and the loss of her home), but as a young woman on her own she still needed to survive.

The answer came in an unlikely form.

Natasha had ended up at a remote trading post, one where a sky pirate outfit (the Dragonspine Marauders) was laying up after a recent job and blowing off steam with the aid of women and alcohol. She managed to fend off a number of approaches by the drunken members of the outfit, but she decided to stay and watch the sky pirates. Her decision proved to be a mixed blessing as before dawn the following morning a rival sky pirate outfit attacked the trading post.Given that most of the Marauders were nursing hangovers, Natasha took matters into her own hands and jumped into one of the Marauders' planes.

Natasha's quick thinking saved the Marauders' hide as she managed to stall the rival outfit long enough for more of the Marauders' own planes to take-off and join the fray. Two of the rival sky pirates were shot down before the rest fled, though Natasha realized that she'd better face the music as she was unsure how the Marauders would react to somebody taking one of their planes. Much to her surprise the Marauders' leader hired her on the spot, she had made a good enough impression and they were down a pilot or two. She was only with the Marauders for a short time, the attitude of her other pilots and unwanted attention force her to leave but not before she learnt the finer points of aerial combat.

Natasha wandered for a while and managed to track down a few female pilots like herself, all who wanted to prove that they weren't just 'pretty things' and were just as capable of being sky pirates as their male counterparts. Soon they were in the news after robbing a train carrying gold south of Tay River, but their capture of a zeppelin (the first time it had been attempted) earned them worldwide fame...and a bounty on their heads. It was a newspaper reported who coined the name 'Banshees' after the sirens the gang had fitted on their planes at Natasha's orders, a scare tactic to reduce casualties by sapping the enemy's will to fight that quickly became known as the Banshees' Cry.

Banshee Sky Pirate

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Driving d4, Fighting d6, Intimidation d6, Piloting d8, Shooting d6, Streetwise d6, Taunt d6
Charisma: +2; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Greedy, Loyal, Wanted (Major)
Edges: Ace, Alertness, Attractive
Gear: Knives, clubs, pistols or SMGs.

Natasha's Agility, Smarts and Piloting all increase one die. In addition she gains the Command and Quick edges.

Banshee Plane

Acc/TS: 20/10; Toughness: 12 (3); Crew: 1; Climb: 1; Handling: +1; Notes: Medium Chassis, Armor x1, Increased Handling x1, Improved Gunsight, Extra Ammo x1
Weapons: x2 50-cal MG (50/100/200, 2d10, RoF 4, Bursts 28, AP 3)
Special - Banshees' Cry: When diving down on an enemy aircraft, the enemy pilot must make a Spirit roll at -2 or become Shaken.
Cost: £2,500+

Monday 9 October 2017

Northern Ghosts

One of the things I wanted to do with Frozen Skies is maintain Alyeska's frontier feel; it is sparsely populated with a scattering of settlements rather than grand cities. Man has tried to tame this land but the land has pushed back in various different ways, leaving abandoned remnants of broken hopes and dreams. These are various ghost towns that can be found across Alyeska, any of which can be worked into an adventure.

On a side note, just (at time of writing) £400 left to go on the Frozen Skies Kickstarter.

Northern Ghosts

There are various abandoned outposts and so-called ghost towns scattered across Alyeska, most were established with high hopes and expectations that didn't pan out. Others were abandoned either due to disaster or for other more mysterious reasons.

Forsaken Islands

Off the Alyeskan coastline there are many islands, some have been inhabited at various different times. There are some like the infamous Roth Island which are considered to be cursed places where no sane man ought to go. Other islands contain rusting old whaling stations, relics of a industry decimated by the Great Darmonican War and one that has never recovered. In the far north are various weather and research stations, only a handful now remain due to the war or a volcanic eruption that devastated Black Island in 1829 AF.

A Dead-end Rail Town

The town of Mcguire Pass sits in the mountain pass of the same name roughly north of Morrdun in the Dragonspine Mountains. It was where one attempt to build a railway line across the Dragonspine was made, and the township was established originally as a camp for the workers and then later as a rail depot to refuel or swap over locomotives for trains crossing over the mountains. Both the rail depot and the railway line had been completed when disaster struck of a major landslide that blocked one end of the pass. Considering it too expensive and difficult to clear, the company simply abandoned the line and the town. Only the line between Gravenburgh and Tay Rivers exists as the sole railway that cross the mountains, Mcguire pass has been forgotten about as its population has dwindled to nothing. A few derelict buildings, the abandoned depot and rusting tracks are all that remain to mark its existence.

A Cursed Mining Town

Kirkton is one of a number of mining towns that have been established in Alyeska over the years, though aside from a lone watchman it has laid abandoned since before the Great Darmonican War. The town and its associated mines were owned by the Robson family, one of Alyeska's richest families until the late 1700s AF when their fortunes suddenly turned. One after another the mines ran dry or started being plagued by accidents, causing many of the miners to quit and seek work elsewhere. Then the entirety of the Robson family vanished, with nobody certain of their final fate. With the family gone, Kirkton became another ghost town as no other mining company was interested.

Today only the foresaid watchman remains, an old fellow who stays on behalf of his 'employers'.

The Wulflands

There are countless ghost towns and abandoned homesteads across the Wulflands, will abandoned in haste when the Wulver overran the area. Many still have rich pickings for scavengers willing to brave both the Wulvers and any inhabitant who was too stubborn to leave. Some of them are used by the Alyeskan Outriders as a night-time safe-haven, preferably the ones with two-story buildings.

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Forsaken Space

Up a day later than planned, Man Flu will kinda do that to a guy's schedule.

Recently found myself thinking about a setting idea I posted about early last year, basically fleshing it out a bit more. The core idea remains unchanged, just thought of a few addition to better round out the idea and make it more interesting. Also settled upon the name of 'Fosaken Space' for the setting.

Frozen Skies Kickstarter next Monday (2nd October), 5pm Brit time (12 noon US East Coast).

Space Wreck - EVE Online

Forsaken Space

Interstellar Travel - Probably one of the defining features of the setting, especially I I end up expanding it, is having interstellar travel be done via naturally occurring wormholes. Though these wormholes are only open for varying periods of time, bit like Space: Above And Beyond. It does mean that space travel isn't a simple case of travelling from A to B, you may end up going through multiple different systems before you reach your intended destination. Timing would also be a factor, so you may have to hang around sometimes for the best route to open up.

It can also mean that the system, which is the main setting for Forsaken Space, is frequently cut off by a wormhole that is only open for a short period every 2-3 months.

The Corporation - Though I still have to think of a proper name for it, I picture a large corporation having exclusive rights to the system. With only one, known, wormhole its not hard for the corporation to have complete control. Though the corporation will hire freelancers, officially called 'Prospectors', to do all the salvaging work on the various wrecks. These Prospectors are normally hired on six month long contracts, something that doesn't coincide with the wormhole being open and is deliberate as the Prospectors will have to either spend their creds whilst they wait or sign on for another tour.

Gateway Station - The main base of operations in the system and is located close to the wormhole. All cargo and personnel pass through this station that also serves as the corporation's local HQ.

Gaunts - Once the Human crews of some of the wrecks, these creatures are now a dangerous hazard to Prospectors working the hulks in the cold hard vacuum of space. For this reason Prospector crews are authorised to carry weapons for defence.

Hazards & Situational Rules - Forsaken Space is going to make use of rules for radiation and varying degrees of gravity due to the condition of the various wrecks and, quite possibly, the different planets.

Monday 18 September 2017

Frozen Skies: The Campaign

Mentioned previously that my group is gearing up to do a Frozen Skies campaign, one that I hope to post a bit about as the group progresses through it. A bit of prep work is still required, though thanks to the players I have a framework to begin with (more on that below). Not sure as to when the campaign will actually start, I'm currently running a Fallout New Vegas based Savage Worlds game and to take a break from being GM for a little bit whilst somebody else runs a campaign.

These Are The Tall Tales And Exploits...

Airship Norge, The Arctic, 1926

First thing I did was give my group a list of keywords and told them to pick one or as many as they liked, what they picked would determined the campaign and thus related adventures. The list (and a tally for the choices) is below, though it does look a little bit like Firefly...

Airship I
Aircraft I
Air Racing
Broken Spires - Pirate Haven I
Bounty Hunting
Crime I
Commerce I
Logging (Timber) I
Privateer II
Social (parties, social events, etc) I
Sky Pirate
Smuggling I
Treasure I
Windryders II

First off it looks like they'll have a mobile base of operations in the form of an airship, probably a blimp or small zeppelin in size. So I'll have to come up with airship creation rules, or at least some stats, over the coming weeks. Aircraft was picked as well, whether its an escort fighter for the airship or a sort of air-shuttle/roundabout. Features are dependent on what the players pick.

Briefly going over the other choices it does look like the players may get involved with sky pirates in some form of another. Likewise, looks like they'll probably operate on either side of the law, again its looking alot like Firefly. Logging/Timber is an interesting choice, possible starting off point of the group working for a logging company venturing into the Alyeskan interior. In addition a visit to Broken Spires might be in order, though one that may or may not be connected to Treasure.

Windryders seem to be a favourite choice, so looks like a fair bit of involvement with them. Working with the logging company the players could quite easily come into contact with a Windryder tribe, possibly Social coming into play as the players attempt to broker a deal. Certainly the Windryders could send the players to Broken Spires in search of a stolen Dragonhawk egg, plus they might have a thing or two to say about the Treasure.

Privateer is another favourite choice, though would the players be for or against the Commonwealth? What if a foreign power had been taking the Dragonhawk eggs? If so, why? That last thing could open up an avenue to the rest of Darmonica.

Monday 11 September 2017

September 2017 Update

Many things afoot....

A few things to cover this week including change of schedule, Kickstarter news and a new Facebook group for Frozen Skies. In addition some details about a Frozen Skies campaign that I should be running soon as well as a few one shots.

Wait, a Monday?!

Regular readers may notice a big change in that this blog post has gone up a couple of days early. This is due to a change in my personal schedule (such as going back to college part-time) as well as other factors, hopefully it'll work really well.


We've got our launch date for the Kickstarter; Monday 2nd October 2017

Still some work left to do but hoping to put up a preview link soon, mainly to get some feedback and make improvements if needed before it goes live. So please, feel free to share far and wide.

Frozen Skies 

Aside from a few edits and some more artwork (hopefully funded through the Kickstarter) Frozen Skies is virtually done, how soon it comes out depends on factors presently out of my hands. If the Kickstarter is successful and we get a quick turnaround on the extra artwork it is possible that it'll be out before the end of the year, or at least early next year. If the Kickstarter doesn't go well then obviously it'll either be quite some time before I can self-fund anything more, other option is release Frozen Skies in an artwork-lite form and maybe gave crowdfunding another shot later on.

Thats pretty much where Frozen Skies is setting right now.

New Facebook Group

We now have a dedicated group for Frozen Skies over on Facebook, it'll run concurrent with the existing Utherwald Press page but only feature Frozen Skies related blog posts. Check it out *HERE*

Actual Plays

Hoping to be starting a Frozen Skies campaign soon, likely to post some details about it next week. In addition I'm also hoping to run a few one shots for Frozen Skies, just waiting to hear back whether I'll actually get to do this. Least with the campaign you can expect write-ups of each session, this will probably be every other week since my group meets once a fortnight. But as I said, details will probably be posted next week.

Wednesday 6 September 2017

Alyeskan Tales: A Dragonhawk In Hand

Some time ago I posted about both the Windryders and their Dragonhawk mounts, both have evolved a little since I originally post about them but that isn't going to be the subject of this week's blog post. I'm going to be running a Frozen Skies campaign some in the next few months and my players have expressed some interest in the Windryders and I've been thinking of ways to use them. So an Alyeskan Tales post fits best as a series of adventure hooks, some which may make their way into the campaign but otherwise all are free to use for anyone who wishes.

Ryders of the Wind

Flyers, Alpha Shade - Inspiration for the Dragonhawks

There are a few ways that you can work Windryders and/or Dragonhawks into your campaign.

*The party is looking to hire a Windryder scout, but they must complete some task before the scout signs-on.

*Certain parties (rich businessman, crime lord, etc) is interested in acquiring a Dragonhawk egg and will pay good money for it.

*A Windryder tribe is looking for help in tracking down and dealing with poachers who have been stealing Dragonhawk eggs.

*Raiders using Dragonhawks have been attacking remote settlements, could they be a Windryder tribe on the warpath or actually bandits?

*A Dragonhawk reared by an unsavoury party for illegal pit fighting has escaped and the players must help capture. Or they might be the ones who let it loose...

Wednesday 30 August 2017

A Surprise Announcement!

Mentioned that I'm hoping to release Frozen Skies soon-ish, especially since the writing and layout work is pretty much done. No word on an actual release date as of yet, mainly because I don't want to commit to something unless I'm pretty certain that it'll be met. However, I do have bit of a surprise announcement to make....


Yep, you read that right.

There'll be a Kickstarter for Frozen Skies starting in late October (date to be confirmed) and run by Applied Vectors. The main objective is to help pay for more artwork and cover some of the final costs to get Frozen Skies released. The stretch goals (if it gets that far) will cover the Skies of Crimson supplement for Frozen Skies that'll focus on the sky pirates of the setting and introduce new content.

Will probably post a preview link and confirm launch date when the campaign is close to being ready.

Until then, heres a preview of Frozen Skies' layout work.

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Cold War Skirmishes: Odd Angry Shot

So last week we took a look at a few ideas I had for Skies of Crimson, this week we return to Cold War Skirmishes and delve deep into the jungles of Vietnam with the ANZACs. Odd Angry Shot is the name of this book, covering the Australians and New Zealanders in a conflict that was dominated by the Americans. This should hopefully form a good starting off point for the Cold War Skirmishes line.

The Odd Angry Shot

Thankfully theres a decent amount of material available that I can draw upon regarding the Australian and New Zealand forces in the Vietnam War. Both tended to use more or less the same pieces of equipment standard throughout the British Commonwealth in addition to gear acquired from the Americans. There was some differences between the two such as organisation, though most of these were minor and will probably be covered if they're considered important.

*Timeline of ANZAC involvement in the Vietnam War from the first training advisers through to final withdrawal of forces.

*Brief history of the ANZACs.

*Organisation and operational methods, pretty much patrol structure and how they conducted patrols.

*Gear & Equipment.

*List of ANZAC units that served in Vietnam.

*Adventure/campaign ideas.

*Further Interest, list of books and films that would be considered useful.

Again, open to ideas and suggestions.

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Skies of Crimson Brainstorm

With Frozen Skies currently in layout and a (hopeful) release of some point in the next 2-3 months, its time to take a look at a future project. Skies of Crimson is one of those future project and is a supplement for Frozen Skies that focuses mainly on the sky pirates aspect of the setting. This week's post is more of a brainstorm/list of initial ideas of stuff that I'd like to include in the book, course theres no telling what may end up in the final product.

Skies of Crimson

The focus of the book is on the sky piracy that exists in the world of Darmonica, so obviously alot of it is going to be focused on sky pirates. But I do intend for some more general stuff that can be used in almost any type of game for Frozen Skies.

*Airship/Skyship Rules:- Covering blimps, zeppelins and of course Darmonica's Skyships. Uncertain on whether there'll be construction rules or just different examples given and how to handle them in combat.

*More Aircraft:- Yeah, this was probably a given. Probably try to do some non-Commonwealth planes.

*More Gear:- Stuff like aircraft weapons in the form of aerial torpedoes and specialist gear for boarding actions.

*Base Building/Airfield Rules:- Partially inspired by the Lodge rules in Rippers and the campaign rules from the Zeppelins & Bombers supplement for the old Crimson Skies game.

*Broken Spires:- A chapter on Frozen Skies' sky pirate haven wouldn't go amiss.

*NPCs & Beasts:- Sky pirates is an obvious one here, plus notable characters in Broken Spires.

Thats my initial thoughts on possible content, though I'm sure there be some great suggestions offered.

Wednesday 26 July 2017

Rogue's Gallery: Petro Broklaw

Alyeska is home to many who are on the run from their past, either seeking to start over or just keep a step ahead of whoever is after them. The Great Darmonican War and its aftermath saw something of a surge in such persons, each one forced into exile for one reason or another. Petro Broklaw is one of many Sodkans who have settled in Alyeska, especially after the rise of the Iron Collective in their old homeland.

Quick PSA: No new blog posts until 16th August since I'm taking bit of a break.

Declassified and Exiled

Source: Crimson Skies (PC, 2000)
Petro Broklaw was born during the early years of the Great Darmonican War, his father was one of the top scientists of the Holy Sodkan Empire. From a young age Petro showed a strong technical aptitude, managing to excel in engineering based subjects at school and completing a course at his local Technical College with honours. He then applied for and was accepted at the Imperial Academy of Engineering where he choose to specialize in aeronautics, quickly acquiring sponsorship from the Imperial Sodkan Air Force.

Initially Petro was involved in improving existing aircraft designs as a junior engineer, his first job was helping to introduce the design improvements onto the production lines. Gradually he took on more of the design and testing work, eventually working on prototypes before the end of the war. He was introduced to the Order of the Great Machine by a colleague and Petro believed the Order was going to help bring about technological enlightenment, prompting him to become an early supporter of the Order. It was thanks to the Order that Petro started delving into the principles of Weird Science, some of which he incorporated into his aircraft designs.

When the Order seized power it didn't bring about the technological enlightenment that Petro was expecting and he became increasingly critical of the new government. He started to refuse to work on military related projects, opting instead to develop more utility based designs. Naturally this didn't go down too well with his superiors, it wasn't long before Petro was declared Declassified (effectively an enemy of the state). Having received some forewarning, Petro had already made arrangements in the form of chartering a small transport plane under the cover of visiting various factories. By the time the authorities had realized what had happened Petro had already fled the country, bound for Alyeska where he figured he'd be beyond the Iron Collective's reach.

Once in Alyeska he set himself up as an aircraft mechanic, managing to live comfortably until he was approached by a sky pirate outfit known as the Tundra Wolves. The Wolves mainly went after high value cargo such as gold bullion or rare artefacts, preferring to avoid needless killing where possible. They approached Petro because their last mechanic had died (a combination of alcohol and ice) and they needed an edge against other, more ruthless outfit. Petro agreed to work for the Wolves and started out fixing their planes before gradually modifying them and then building brand new designs. The Wolves for their part paid well and some time later Petro went independent and setup his own workshop in Broken Spires, but he remains as a retainer for the Wolves who are his top customers and enjoy a special discount.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Knowledge (Science) d18, Knowledge (Aeronautics) d8, Notice d8, Piloting d4, Repair d8, Shooting d6, Weird Science d10
Charisma: -; Pace: 6; Parry: 2; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Cautious, Pacifist (Minor), Wanted (Major)
Edges: Arcane Background (Weird Science), Gadgeteer, Mr Fix It, New Powers, Rapid Recharge, Scholar
Gear: Machine Pistol (12/24/48, 2d6-1, RoF: 3, AP1 Auto)
Powers: Darksight (goggles), deflection (belt), farsight (goggles) obscure (harness), teleport (harness)

Wednesday 19 July 2017

Cold War Skirmishes: The EM-2 Rifle

Short post this week given I'm a bit pressed for time.

We take a look at the British EM-2 Rifle, an experimental assault rifle designed in the late 1940s to replace the Lee-Enfield. It proved to be short lived due to the politics of the time and the SA80 is considered its spiritual successor due to their similar appearances.

The Cold War Rifle That Never Was

The EM-2 was born out of a desire by Britain, like many other countries, to develop their own assault rifles in the aftermath of WW2. The British Army had actually wanted to replace the .303 round before the First World War, but were forced to keep it for another 30 years due to time and financial constraints. With these constraints finally removed they were free to develop the .280 round and a rifle to use it, in addition to a new machine gun (the Taden gun).

Belgium company Fabrique Nationale expressed considerable interest in the round, and started development of their own rifles based upon it. The Canadian Army also expressed interest in the new round, both to maintain commonality with the British and to modernize their forces. Two similar rifles, the EM-1 and EM-2, were developed. Both were bullpup-style weapons with the magazine and chamber placed behind the pistol grip and trigger. The two rifles did differ internally and only shared the same sight, but ultimately the EM-2 was selected as the better of the two and adopted by the British Army in 1951 as the Rifle, Automatic, Calibre .280, Number 9.

Though the EM-2's service would be short lived as NATO was seeking to standardize on weapons and ammunitions, so weapon designs had to be met with the approval of at least two governments in order to have any hope of adoption by the organisation as a whole. The US put forth several of their own designs that used the 7.62×51mm NATO round, particularly in the prototype T25 and T44 rifles. A shoot-off in 1951 (which saw a Belgium .280 FN FAL being tested) saw the US claiming the British round was underpowered, and the British claiming the US round was too powerful to be used in a rifle in full-automatic mode. Canada make things awkward by declaring that it would only adopt the British .280 round if the US did, though the US had settled on the 7.62x51mm round and selected the T44 to go into service as the M14.

British designers tried adapting the EM-2 to the larger US round but it quickly became clear that it wasn't going to work, plus Winston Churchill had recently returned as Prime Minister and opted for NATO standardisation and had the British Forces adopt the 7.62x51mm round. However, the FN FAL proved to be easily adaptive to the bigger round and the British adopted that rifle as the L1A1 SLR. Though the British would be vindicated when the 7.62x51mm round proved to be powerful to be controllable in automatic mode, resulting in NATO later adopting the 5.56x45mm round after the US adopted the M16 in the mid-1960s.

More info on the EM-2 can be found here;

EM-2 (30/60/120, 2d8+1, RoF 3, 20 shots, Min Str d6, Notes: AP2, Auto)

Wednesday 12 July 2017

Arctic Airmen

To many the image of a dashing fighter pilot is what they conjure up when they hear the words; 'military airman'. Less glamorous as the bomber and transport pilots who are just as important but receive less coverage in the press. Almost completely overlooked is those who fly the long range patrol aircraft, often for hours on end in some of the remote places of the world. In Alyeska this is the men of No.210 Squadron who are tasked with wide ranging patrols off Alyeska's coastline.

Arctic Airmen

No.210 Squadron flies the Vigilant, a variant of the Valiant bomber that had its bomb-bay modified to carry an airborne lifeboat and extra fuel tanks installed. The Vigilant is a long-range maritime patrol aircraft normally used to patrol vast stretches of ocean and help provide an air-sea rescue capability. There are nine such aircraft on the squadron's book, which are also the only aircraft of this type stationed in Alyeska.

The squadron's job is to fly out over the ocean and patrol tens of miles off the Alyeskan coastline, mainly to keep an eye out for anything that could be considered a threat or come to the aid of ships in distress. Thanks to a powerful radio set on each aircraft, the squadron can also have a scramble order sent through to nearby fighter squadrons in case of a sky pirate attack. Though given that the squadron has a great many hundreds of miles to cover it is split into three 'flights' of three aircraft each, each flight is based at certain points along the Alyeskan coastline to maximise the coverage of their patrols.

Probably the most obvious way that the characters can expect to encounter No.210 Squadron is in the form of one of the squadron's Vigilant patrol aircraft, either one on patrol or coming to the characters' rescue if they have been forced to ditch into the ocean. If the characters are part of a sky pirate outfit then they probably will encounter a Vigilant directing fighters to their location if the characters take on maritime shipping.

If part of a military campaign, or the characters just want their own one, the Vigilant is pretty much the same as the Valiant but without a bomb load (the lifeboat takes its place) and a second pair of Extra Fuel Tanks.

Wednesday 5 July 2017

July 2016 Update

We're over halfway through the year now and pretty much on the verge of finally getting Frozen Skies released. So really this week its a case of a quick round up of how things currently stand. Also a quick PSA; There will be no posts on the 2nd and 9th of August since I'll be taking a much needed break.

Frozen Skies

All thats really left is the last bit of editing and some weapons/gear artwork.

The map is done and things are looking good for a mid-August release, just before GenCon. There will be an announcement of its via the Savage Worlds Licencee seminar, but actually going to GenCon is currently prohibitively expensive for me (maybe next year if I get a windfall).

The map artist has already showcased the map, but I'm including it here for completeness.

Frozen Skies will be initially released as PDF, hopefully quickly followed by Print-On-Demand, through RPGNow and DriveThruRPG. I'll also be looking at distribution to get it into game stores, but we'll see how that goes.

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Armed Rovers Redux

A couple of years back I posted a little about the Alyeskan Outriders, though I didn't post much in the way of details back then. Recent work on a remotely related project and related research means that I am able to present the Outriders in a more organised format. Consider this an update of the original post on the Outriders.

Structure of the Alyeskan Outriders

Commanding Officer: Lt.Colonel Patrick Wade
Strength: Total: 309 (18 officers, 291 other ranks)

HQ Squadron - Calharrow
-Field Workshop
-Heavy Section (supply)
-Medical Section
-Survey Section
-Signals Section

A Squadron
-No.1 Patrol
-No.2 Patrol
-No.3 Patrol

B Squadron
-No.4 Patrol
-No.5 Patrol
-No.6 Patrol

C Squadron
-No.7 Patrol
-No.8 Patrol
-No.9 Patrol 

Patrol Makeup

Strength; 1 officer, 14 enlisted men
Vehicles; 5x Trucks

Truck No.1 - C/O

Truck No.2 - Signals & navigation

Truck No.3 - Patrol Sergeant

Truck No.4 - Medical Orderly

Truck No.5 -Mechanic

Wednesday 21 June 2017

Cold War Skirmishes: The Gurkhas

The British Army has contained many famous units throughout its long history, ranging from the 95th Rifles of the Napoleonic era through to the SAS. Counted amongst them is the Gurkhas, Nepalese soldiers who have fought alongside the British forces since the first Gurkha unit was raised in 1815 following the Anglo-Nepalese War. This week we'll be covering the British Army's Gurkha units during the Cold War period, featuring an brief overview of their history, training and some role play material.

Pre-Cold War

Prior to the Cold War the Gurkhas had been loyally serving in the British Indian Army for over a hundred years, primarily in the Far East and on the North West Frontier of British India. They also served in both World Wars, but this required a special dispensation known as Pani Patiya. It is believed that crossing the sea means that Gurkhas forfeit their privileges of caste and rights, failing to obtain the dispensation results in heavy punishment. Others who may have unwittingly taken food and water with the transgressor are also placed under the same ban.

The First World War saw some 200,000 Gurkahs fight on the Western Front and throughout the Middle East from the Suez Canal to Syria. The Gurkhas won 26 Victoria Crosses during the conflict but lost twenty thousand men, this includes a battalion of the 8th Gurkhas that fought to the last man during the Battle of Loos by hurling themselves time after time against the weight of the German defences. After the war the Gurkhas went back to being peace-time soldiers on the frontiers of India, though they still took part in many conflicts such as the Third Afghan War and the Waziristan Campaign.

Went the Second World War broke out the Gurkhas once again sailed across the sea to fight for Britain. They fought from Syria through the Western Desert through to Italy and Greece. In the Far East they fought in Malaya, Singapore, the retreat from Siam and throughout the Burma campaign. At war's end they were involved in various peace-keeping missions including Vietnam after the Japanese surrender until the French returned. They had been in the thick of the fighting against the Japanese in Burma, yet when they arrived in Vietnam they found that the Japanese had been allowed to keep their weapons and eventually the two former enemies fought alongside one another against the Vietnamese nationalists.


By 1947 there were ten Gurkha regiments (some twenty battalions) in the 'old' Indian Army, with the Partition of India these were divided between the 'new' Indian Army and the British Army. Six regiments (twelve battalions) were transferred to the 'new' Indian Army whilst the remaining four regiments (eight battalions) were integrated into the British Army as the Brigade of Gurkhas. The Brigade also consists of The King's/Queen's Gurkha Engineers, The King's/Queen's Gurkha Signals and the Gurkha Transport Regiment.

The Brigade of Gurkhas would see service throughout the twelve years of the Malayan Emergency and later in Brunei and Borneo during the Indonesian Confrontation. Their HQ and main training base was later established in Hong Kong where the Gurkhas were deployed on security duties that included patrolling the border checking for illegal immigrants entering the territory. They were never allowed to be deployed to Northern Ireland nor they were ever assigned to the British Forces in Germany, but they did take part in the Falklands War. The Gurkhas' reputation preceded them in this conflict in 1982 as the Argentines surrendered rather than fight when confronted by the Gurkhas, even if the Argentines were entrenched in strong positions!

Selection and Training

During the Cold War period the British Army needed 400 recruits a year for the Gurkhas, every year there were 8,000 young men eager to join. Old soldiers were sent into the hills to do the preliminary selection and whittled it down to 800 potential recruits who were sent to the depots at Dharan and Pokhra for medical and selection. Most of the Gurkha recruits were subsistence farmers scratching out a living at around 7,000 feet, often travelling barefoot for many miles up and down mountains whilst carrying heavy loads. As a result the Gurkhas all have immensely powerful legs, but they are prone to tuberculosis and one of the first tests they have to pass is a chest X-ray. Living in the mountains, thus away from the population and noise of cities, also means that they have excellent eyesight and hearing.

Though whilst to Western eyes the Gurkhas may all look alike, the Gurkhas belong to a tribal or clan system which has different dialects and differing physical traits. This often meant that the individual Gurkha regiments recruited from specific areas of Nepal. The small, quick-witted Rais and the taller, slower-speaking Limbus from Central East Nepal formed the recruitment pool of the 7th and 10th Gurkha Rifles; on the other hand the 2nd and 6th took Gurungs and Magars from Central West. Though the stated difference between the two was that the Gurungs had finer features.

Those who were accepted were sent via aircraft for ten months training at the Brigade's main base in Hong Kong, something that was often a culture shock for the young Nepalese men. They had to be taught how to live in the modern world and learn English in addition to basic soldiering. The training was tough and maintained a discipline long out of fashion with British regiments. Their accommodation consisted of large wooden huts that were so out of date that for a time the Royal Marines kept one at the Commando Training Centre just to show recruits how rough life was in the old army. Yet the Gurkhas lapped it up and considered it an insult if their training was softened for any reason.


Historically there were two types of officers in the Gurkhas; regular British officers and the King's/Queen's Gurkha Officers (K/QGOs).

The British officers (of which there were only 17 to a Gurkha battalion) had to attend the two-month Nepalese Language Qualification Course at the Hong Kong training depot and was expected to immerse himself in Gurkha culture and tradition. He was told to never shout at a Gurkha as that would only lower his prestige in the eyes of the Gurkha and he had the responsibility to maintain his own standards, thus develop a mutual relationship of trust with his men. If a Gurkha lost faith in his officer that officer was finished, but once trust is established the Gurkha would follow him to hell and back. The British officers also looked after their men, even going as far as keeping an eye on the men's gambling (which was only allowed during the religious festive of Diwali).

Queen's Gurkha Officer sat somewhere between warrant officers and full commissions, meaning they had no authority over British troops and were technically subordinate to any British officer regardless of rank. Most QGOs were typically old hands who had come up through the ranks and served as either platoon commanders or as deputy commanders of companies. A scheme started in the 1950s introduced Gurkha officers commissioned from the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy who were on par with British officers and had greater promotion prospects (one Gurkha became a Lieutenant-Colonel).

Service and Duty

The main base for the Gurkhas was at Hong Kong, where they were primarily employed on internal security duty (typically picking up fugitives from Communist China), there were other postings and the battalions had a rotation system for these postings. Each battalion spent two years in the UK followed by four years in Hong Kong, two in Brunei and then back in Hong Kong for a further two years before they started the sequence all over again.

There were other postings: to the Jungle School in Brunei, to the Demonstration Company at Sandhurst or the Demonstration Company at the NCO Training Wing at Brecon and four-month long postings to Korea where a large platoon of Gurkhas formed the United Nations Honour Guard. Additionally there was something like a thousand Gurkha soldiers in Nepal at any one time, either working at the Dharan base or travelling to and from their homes on leave.

More details can be found here:

Gaming the Gurkhas

Probably the easiest way to use the Gurkhas in Savage Worlds is a bridge campaign between Weird War 2 and Tour of Darkness, covering the post-WW2 period in Vietnam before the French re-occupation and First Indochina War. This would only cover the 1945-46 period but would feature a number of clashes with the Viet Minh, but plenty of Weird Wars elements be can thrown in. For example this would involve trying to beat the Viet Minh to a secret Japanese (or Vichy French) research base located deep in the jungle.

A mash-up of Weird War 2 and Tour of Darkness can, to a degree, also be used to cover the Mayalan Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation. The former saw the use of alot of old WW2 era equipment, though the latter would require some conversions from Tour of Darkness. A Falklands War based game would be a little trickier since the Gurkhas never got to see much action (for reasons listed earlier), but the conflict took place over a large part of the South Atlantic and a forgotten Nazi base in the far south could come into play.

Equipment wise the Gurkha used standard issue British weapons such as the L1A1 SLR and General Purpose Machine Gun (use M60 stats), though they were also issued with the American M16 depending on the mission requirements. Every Gurkha also carried a kukri, a knife that is similar to a machete and is used as both a tool and weapon in Nepal.

Suggest using the following stats for the kukri: Str+d6

Particularly in the Far East the Gurkhas wore Tropical DPM fatigues, this gives them a +1 bonus to their Stealth rolls whilst in a jungle environment.

Below is the suggested stats for a Gurkha soldier;

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d8, Notice d6+2, Stealth d6, Shooting d6, Survival d8, Tracking d8
Charisma: -2; Pace: 5; Parry: 6; Toughness: 4
Hindrances: Bloodthirsty, Loyal, Small
Edges: Alertness, Marksman, Woodsman