Monday 30 July 2018

The Gwentshire Chronicles: Ald Jack

With Frozen Skies out I can relax a little and turn my attention to other setting ideas, something that I intend to do every so often. This time its the turn of the Gwentshire Chronicles, chiefly a look at another of the key characters in the setting; Ald Jack

A Hound of Blackest Night

Common in English folklore are so-called black dogs, regarded as demonic entities by some and benign beings by others. One of the more well-known of the black dogs is Black Shuck, which roams the East of England and is said to have inspired the Sherlock Holmes story ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’.  Shuck, as he is sometimes known, is said to protect souls as much as he causes them harm.

Needless to say, Gwentshire was going to have its own black dog in the form of Ald Jack.

When I originally pitched the setting idea, he was going to be called ‘Grim Jack’. But the Old English word for ‘old’ seems a better fit and helps define Gwentshire’s relationship with the hound. Jack is agnostic, a little like the legendary Black Shuck, in that he’s just as likely to be a foe for the characters as he is an ally. He’s also just as likely to ignore the characters and purpose his own agenda.

Just like the Mist-Bound, the origins of Ald Jack are uncertain. It is believed that he has been around since Pre-Roman times, archaeological evidence found throughout Gwentshire would seem to support this. Surviving historical texts held in the archives of the Gwentford Shire Hall include a number of references to Ald Jack over the centuries and at least one brewery has used his name for a beverage.

To use Ald Jack, use the stats for a Hellhound from the Horror Companion. Add the Champion Edge and Tracking d6.

Monday 23 July 2018

Brokers of Secrets

This particular post was going to be another installment of the Frozen Skies campaign I'm running. However, half the group wasn't able to make and so the session got cancelled. Hopefully in two weeks time it'll be the next bit of the campaign.

In the meantime, I've had to think of a different topic for this week's post...

Brokers of Secrets

As has frequently been stated before, Alyeska is home to a wide range of individuals from different backgrounds and of different professions. Among these there are a handful of secretive persons known as Brokers of Secrets.

These independent individuals make it their business to know any and all information of value, if they worked for a country they would be called spymasters. They collect information and then sell that information to the highest bidder, preferring to remain neutral by accepting coin from those willing to pay. They'll sell critical information to a client, though at the same time they'll happy sellout that client if the client's enemies pay well enough.

The Brokers are the source of high profile jobs, so they tend to be selective with whom they do business with. Though typical Brokers charge a fair amount for their fee, which functions a sort of passive filtering by discouraging bandits and ruffians. Occasionally they do contract so-called 'small fry' for jobs on behalf of clients, normally jobs that require effective nobodies to complete.

Brokers are often regarded as eccentrics, though they are wise enough to surround themselves with bodyguards. They amass a fortune, thus allowing them to fund a small army of bodyguards and maintain their own private compound. To further aid in defending their persons they acquire a few tricks and gadgets only known to them.

Monday 16 July 2018

Rogue's Gallery: The Tundra Wolves

There are many sky pirate outfits in Alyeska, ranging from little more than bandits with a couple of planes through to successful gangs with their own airships. A group known as the Banshees have already been covered and have even made an appearance in the Frozen Skies campaign that I'm currently running. Another gang that has featured in the campaign and have only been mentioned previously; The Tundra Wolves

Honour Among Cutthroats

At first glance the Tundra Wolves seem like just another gang of sky pirates, though closer inspection reveal some surprising facts.

Firstly they are the only known all-Sodkan sky pirate that exist in Alyeska; its members having come from either Sodkan families who'd settled in Alyeska prior to the Great Darmonican War or fled their homeland when the Holy Sodkan Empire collapsed. This Sodkans-only policy sets them apart from the other gangs, almost to the point of making them outsiders. But the Wolves' leader, Andrei Skirov, wouldn't have it any other way.

Thanks to their association with Petro Broklaw, the Wolves utilize a range of weird science gizmos which gives them an edge over other sky pirates. These gizmos help the gang sneak up on and then rob airships, something which the Wolves have specialized in doing. Among the gizmos that Broklaw is said to given the Wolves are darklight goggles, targeting scopes for their planes with unparalleled range and a device rumoured to be called a 'transdislocator'.

The Wolves exclusively target airships known to be carrying valuable cargo such as gold bullion or Ancient artefacts. Unusually they give some of their profits to the various downtrodden Sodkan communities in Alyeska, something that further steps them apart from other gangs and makes them also folk heroes.


Use the Sky Pirate stats from Frozen Skies, but change Smarts to d6 and then add the Weird Science skill at d6. Additionally, they also have the Loyal Hindrance.

Andrei Skirov has Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d8. He also has Fighting d8, Piloting d8, Shooting d8 and Weird Science d8 as well as the Ace, Command and Command Presence Edges.

The Tundra Wulves are equipped similarly to Sky Pirates, but they have darksight goggles and transdislocator harnesses (teleport). Andrei also has a glimmer gun.

Monday 9 July 2018

Frozen Skies Session 4: Unexpected Allies And Likely Foes

Go Forth With Session Four!

A full house again as Tag's player joined us after having to miss the last session, thus enabling much advancement and development of plot. These past couple of sessions have proven that great flexibility as a GM is required as what I had planned to happen and what ended up happening because of circumstance were two different things. Though managed to get things pretty close to being back on track in this last session, so feeling a little bit of a sense of achievement with that.


Last session saw most of the crew fall down a hole and enjoy an adventure of their own, Tag (mainly because his player wasn't there) didn't fall down the hole and so the start of the session was going through what he got up to. Seeing that he wasn't able to help the others, Tag opted to go and hire a new crew. He visited one of the nearby taverns, after spotting the female sky pirates from earlier enter it, and he spoke to the bartender about where to look for a new crew. Bartender informed him that most folk tended to gravitate towards one of the big established outfits, though there are still plenty of loners down by the air-docks who could be convinced to join.

Tag headed back to where the Waylander was berthed, found a crate to stand on and started a showman routine to attract potential recruits. Though he didn't have the Persuasion skill and thus had to roll it unskilled, I let him have a +2 bonus as he role-played his recruitment pitch. I then said a success on the roll would give him two new recruits and each raise would give him another recruit; he managed to get a couple of raises on the roll and so gained four new recruits. He got the new recruits billeted away on the airship and then set about drawing up plans for tackling the poachers.

One of the female sky pirates from earlier was spotted loitering around outside the airship, so Tag went over and spoke to her. The sky pirate informed Tag that her 'boss' would like very much to speak to him and asked him to follow her back to their own airship. Enroute, the sky pirate pointed out the skyship the crew had spotted when they first arrived in Broken Spires. She then pointed out an airship near to it as belonging to her outfit, then said that the skyship belonged to one of the local crime lords who've dubbed themselves 'Sky Captains'. She also told Tag that the Sky Captains were not people to be messed with and it was generally a good idea to steer clear of them.

Eventually Tag was led to the Banshees' own airship, the Raven, and taken aboard. Among the things Tag noticed were; a hanger fitted with 12 fighters that seemed to have some sort of box underneath their noses, the airship seemed to be maintained to near enough military standards and the crew appeared to be well disciplined in addition to wearing roughly the same basic uniform. He was finally taken to the quarters of the Banshees' leader who identified herself as 'Captain Rogan'. Having introduced herself, Captain Rogan said she'd heard about the misfortune of Tag's crew and that she had a proposition for Tag; She would help Tag in exchange for an undisclosed favour to be called in at a later date.

But first she wanted to know why Tag and his crew were in Broken Spires to begin with, which Tag told her was to do with a gang of poachers led by a certain Travis Perkins. Rogan admitted that she was aware of the gang, that they were independent and that she was more than happy to help take the poachers down. With support from the Banshees agreed, Tag was escorted out but he took the opportunity to take in as much details as he could about the Banshees' airship. Tag then did a recce on the poachers' compound and began hatching a plan.

An Unexpected Rescue

Out in the wilderness, the rest of the gang spotted a pair of aircraft that turned out to belong to the Banshees. The pilots informed the gang that they'd been ordered to look for them, this was part of the 'help' that Rogan offered. The gang were given a lift back to Broken Spires, though cramped and uncomfortable which required Vigor roll to avoid a level of Fatigue from Bumps and Bruises.

Tag and the gang were reunited, though the meeting was tinged with a pinch of awkwardness as Tag was prepping the new crew for the upcoming attack on the compound. Tag quickly filled them in on the plan, though it was clear that Herbert had a head injury (from the previous session) and so had to sit this one out (his player played one of the new NPC crewmembers).

The Raid

The first part of the attack on the poacher's compound was the Banshees' airship conducting a bombing run against three of the four guardtowers of the compound. The first tower was damaged and its occupants killed, the second tower was completely obliterated whilst the third tower was largely unaffected as the bombs went wide and hit the building Sebastian and a crewman were sniping from. Sebastian and the crewman sniped the fourth guard tower, managing to down one of the two guys within it and resulted in a drawn-out sniper duel for the rest of the battle.

The rest of the gang commandeered a truck and crash their way in through the gates of the compound, George manned a heavy machine gun fitted to the back of the truck and mowed down everyone in the courtyard. The others dismount and take cover by the trucks parked in the compound, all took potshots as Tag's other crew and a squad of the Banshees charged in behind the gang. George raked the loading bay of the sole building within the compound, gradually counting for a good number of the poachers. Tag's other crew supported the gang as they moved up to the center of the loading bay, the Banshees flanked round to either end of the building. Alex attempted an Intimidation roll which seemed to have marginal effects.

By this point Alex had taken a wound (guts on the Injury Table), plus Sebastian and his crewman companion were in a sniper duel with the survivors of the third tower. It was the Banshees who stormed the building and mowed down the surviving poachers, thus allowing for the gang to move in and help secure the building. When he entered the building, Tag called out for Travis to show himself and got a hail of bullets as a reply which did two wounds (again, guts result on the table). Tag then ordered everyone to open fire on Travis, it was the crewman controlled by Herbert's player who managed the 'killing blow' by acing his damage roll and brought the poacher low.

Travis managed to pass a Vigor and though he took an injury to the guts, it was only temporary. Tag ordered the crew to load what they could onto the trucks, which included five dragonhawk eggs. Travis' fate was to be brought before Captain Rogan who had him thrown into the brig to stew until she decides what to do with him.

The crew of the Waylander then made preparations to leave Broken Spires, though they were already forming plans to sell one of the eggs....


As I said earlier, things happened differently to what I had planned. Ultimately things got back onto track and the adventure is pretty close to being wrapped up as planned.

I had expected the group to seek to sell some of the eggs, especially when they learnt the value of the eggs on the black market. It looks like they'll try to sell at least one of the eggs and hand the others to the windryders. Least it seems that they'll get some interaction with the windryders.

Tag's player wishes to acquire a bigger airship and go more independent (they're currently working for a logging company), though the legality of his and the groups' future adventures remain to be seen. They do have a job from Ardan Gowan waiting for them.

Monday 2 July 2018

Challenge Accepted

Recently Utherwald Press reached over a 100 likes on Facebook.

To celebrate this achievement I offered to either an adventure, location, item or NPC based upon a one or two word prompt. I was expecting some interesting responses and I wasn't disappointed, though they were surprising all the same. So...

Organic Spacecraft

An interesting one, though not all that surprising given who posted it (you know who you are!).

Spacecraft automatically means we're looking at the SciFi Companion for this one. Decided to build it like a normal spaceship to begin with, though picking stuff that would make sense. Then to better reflect its organic nature, added in some special rules.

Drokzi Hive Ship

Gargantuan Starship: Size 24, Acc/TS 25/20, Climb -2, Toughness 67(25), Crew 3000
Notes: Artificial Intelligence, Armour x6, Electromagnetic Shielding, Garage/Hanger x6, Sensor Suite (Planetary), Torpedo Tubes x8, Targeting System
Weapons: Heavy Torpedo x112
Special Abilities
*Living Ship: Instead of a Repair roll to fix or 'heal' wounds, the ship uses the Healing skill to do so. It is assumed to have d6 for the purpose of this roll.
*Sentient Vehicle: See SciFi Companion p.92
*Regeneration: The ship can make a natural Healing roll once per day.

Cargo Cults

This was the other response, a particularly curious one. I have to admit that this one cause a bit of head scratching until I hit upon the idea of a religious order devoted to the safe transportation of goods.

The Conveyors of the Way, or simply the Conveyors, is an organisation that traces its origins back to the wars that once ravaged the lands that now form the Artian Confederation. The many wars waged between Tyland and the Holy Sodkan Empire saw trade disrupted within the Artian states and many towns and villages left upon the brink of starvation. Many concerned church leaders branded together and got tact approval from the commanders of the warring armies to run convoys through to the affected villages, though it still left the problem of bandits and highwaymen. A call went out to the faithful who processed skill at arms and they were taken on as effectively caravan guards, though they proved themselves more than capable fending off ruffians and seeing that the convoys got through.

The Conveyors have evolved a bit since then, attracting former soldiers and specializing in safeguarding certain goods. Though whilst there are certain factions they won't work and certain goods that they won't escort, the Conveyors do only ask for a modest fee. Once they've been charged with escorting a cargo, a Conveyor will guard it with religious devotion until it reaches its destination. There have been many stories of Conveyors giving their very lives to ensure the safety of the cargo that they were charged with protecting.


Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Notice d8, Repair d6, Shooting d6, Taunt d6
Charisma: -2; Pace: 6; Parry: 7; Toughness: 8 (3)
Hindrances: Code of Honor, Loyal, Vow (Minor)
Edges: Alertness, Block, Combat Reflexes, Counterattack, Dodge, First Strike, Quick, Quick Draw, Steady Hands, Two-Fisted
Gear: Revolver (12/24/48, 2d6, RoF 1, Revolver), sword (Str+d6), plate corselet