Monday 29 October 2018

Frozen Skies Episode 10: Venture Edition

Last week, the crew of the Waylander headed to the Commonwealth's Home Isles to answer the summons of Reginald's father. The family reunion proved to be short and bitter sweet as Reginald found himself being disowned by his family in addition to their lodgings being burned down under somewhat hazy circumstances. It was finally decided to take care of some outstanding business and head back to Alyeska to get Herbert's court martial out of the way.

Back to the Frozen Skies

After the cottage fire saw the crew loose their accommodation for the night, and despite the offer of being put up at the local village inn, the crew decided to head back to their airship despite it being a two hour drive in the middle of the night. Upon arrival back at the Waylander, Tag announced that he wanted an early started and that everyone was to be up at 0700 Hours even though it meant every was going to get precious little sleep.

Scant few hours the crew are up again, groggy from the lack of sleep and drinking coffee like its going out of fashion. They contact the nearby military barracks via telephone and arrange for Herbert to be brought to the airship along with his provost escort. Final preparations are made before they get underway and attempt to cross the storm-wracked skies over the Great Ocean to Alyeska. Increasingly foul weather dogs the crew for three days until something is spotted in the clouds ahead, though the clouds part enough to reveal another airship directly in the Waylander's path. Tag managed to steer the Waylander and avoided a collision with the other airship, then circled back round so that they could get a better look at the unexpected company.

The other airship looked like it had taken a fair amount of damage; some of her engines had been blown off, her gasbags were ripped and signs of being shot up by aircraft. No name could be seen as it was obscured by the damage and there was no answer when the crew tried hailing the mysterious airship over the radio. Tag made the decision to have the other airship lashed to the Waylander so that they could board it, if anything to see what was worth salvaging.

Reginald went to check out the airship's electrical systems and generators in her engine room, only to discover that her electricals were all shorted out and the generators dead. With no electrical current to manipulate the Lift Gas, there was a bit of confusion over how the airship was still in the sky until it was realized that the Lift Gas was probably reacting to the electrical charge of the storm.If they took the airship out of the storm it would most likely fall out of the sky as the residual charge from the storm wore off, so getting the electrics back up and running was a priority. Initially Reginald had problems effecting repairs, though by the time Tag came to see what the matter was the problem had been dealt with by Sebastian stumbling across a storage cupboard marked 'Electrical Spares'.

After giving Reginald a chewing out, Tag headed back towards the crew area and the bridge to check up on how well Alex had gotten on. For his part Alex had been checking out the crew quarters and increasingly coming to the opinion that the airship had been attacked by raiders. He also found and disarmed a number of traps, though nothing of value. Alex also came to the rescue when Reginald found explosives in one of the electrical generators when he did his final checks before starting them back up. Having done all they could and, most importantly, got the power back on the crew were able to take the airship under tow.

Arriving in Gravenburg, Tag managed to secure an air dock for the airship by presenting a sealed letter from Lord Spitsworth and making a donation to the Widows and Orphans Fund. Alex spotted somebody who seemed to recognize him before hurrying off, Alex followed the man to a nearby warehouse used by a gang he'd worked with for a time before parting ways. Alex confronted the man, who was surprised to see Alex was alive (but wasn't aware of his new name) and gave the impression that the gang wasn't going to be happy about this state of affairs. Alex then showed the man the explosives he'd acquire earlier and convinced the man to keep their mouth shut until Alex had had a good head start.

Without further delay, it was off to Calharrow and Herbert's date with military justice.

Tag went with Herbert as his defence lawyer, also wore his air force officer's uniform and seemed to know at least one of the officers presiding as part of the judge's panel. The charges of absent without leave and desertion were read out, then the official version of events that Herbert's patrol had been attacked by Wulvers during which he went missing and was presumed dead. Herbert challenged this, claiming that his patrol had deliberately left him behind when they broke camp and that there had been difficulties between him and his comrades. Herbert also cited problems with his superior officer and Tag presented the court with a pile of evidence such as telephone logs that help collaborate Herbert's story. When asked why he didn't report in when he returned to civilisation, Herbert stated it was because he didn't trust the military and feared for his life if his survival was made known.The panel of officers asked a few more questions before they were satisfied, then gave their verdict.

"Not guilty!"

Herbert was cleared of any wrongdoing, given an honourable discharge with back pay and made exempt from further military service. A free man once more, the good doctor was able to join the crew in getting into further trouble...


It was little bit of an interesting game, we started incorporating elements from the new edition of Savage Worlds such as no XP and Bennies being able to do much more. The group also decided to stick with their characters as they currently are, which will limit what of the new rules we can use. The stuff we have included seemed to go down a hit and I'm trying to get into the habit of awarding Bennies.

So yeah, the crew have a potential new airship. I need to finish updating Frozen Skies for SWADE, though some of that will extend into doing some more airship stats.

As for Herbert's trail, part of why it went so well is that the players RPed it well and partially because of my bad dice rolling. We did it as a Social Conflict with three opposed rolls, I pretty much got a 1 on two of those rolls but decided not to spend a bennie to re-roll as I thought it was being RPed really well.

Monday 22 October 2018

The Skywrights Guild

Since it featured in the most recent session of the Frozen Skies campaign has has already been mentioned a few times on the blog, figured its time to detail the Skywrights Guild. It is a powerful organisation, able to build and maintain a fleet of airships, and wields a fair amount of influence. Whilst it dominates the airship market, it isn't without rivals.

An Aerial Monopoly

The Skywrights Guild is recognized as the largest builder of air- and skyships in Darmonica, having control of aero-shipyards in various countries either directly or through front companies. Outside of national militarizes and trade consortiums, the Guild is also Darmonica's biggest user of skyships and has a network of facilities and support infrastructure to maintain them.

The Guild has its origins not long after the first appearance of airships in Darmonica, a group of inventors and merchants banded together to promote the airship as the future of shipping and trade. Over time they worked up their business and brought out competitors, though they received a huge boost in the fortunes when the skyship first came about. They mainly focused on civilian models, though they took on a large number of military contracts during the Great Darmonican War as the various combatants sought to rapidly build up their aero-fleets.

In the present day the Guild's focus is on skyships, though it still has a hand in the airship market as it licences designs to small companies to build. The Guild does have a second monopoly on Lift Gas, a vitally important component of making airships soar through the skies. The Guild has made sure its virtually the sole supplier of Lift Gas, typically by buying out the mines and refineries needed for its production. The Guild's monopoly on Lift Gas has resulted in a black market for it, though usually of Lift Gas that has been siphoned from someplace and typically of questionable quality.

There are currently attempts by the powers of Darmonica to try and break the Guild's monopolies, none of them are happy with the idea of a transnational entity holding the strings on their precious aero-fleets. The Commonwealth's own Royal Aero-Works is a prime example; a state corporation that builds and maintains the Commonwealth's military airships and skyships has recently started producing civilian models. These civilian air-vessels are primarily being built for the state-owned airline Commonwealth Airways, though there are plans to start offering airships to smaller operators. The biggest problem, however, is going to be breaking the Guild's stranglehold on Lift Gas.

Monday 15 October 2018

Frozen Skies Episode 9: Home (Isles) Bound

After their tussle with the Dark Claws, the crew of the Waylander opt to head to the Commonwealth's Home Isles to answer the summons of Reginald's father. Did mean that Herbert's court martial was postponed again for another session, this was a necessity as one of the players was out of the country and had asked to be present for the court martial. Though it did mean that the players got to visit and learn more about the world outside of Alyeska.

Across the Great Ocean

The ocean that separates Alyeska from the 'Core' states of Darmonica has been racked by storms since the end of the Great Darmonican War, highly theorized to be part of the fallout from the event known as the 'Blast'. It means that travel across the ocean is difficult, possibly even resulting in damage to the aircraft attempting the trip. Normally the crew would have its Ace pilot Tag, though his player was the one who was absent and as GM I made his piloting rolls as required.I had to spend a couple of bennies right at the start of the game to stop the crew running afoul of certain doom.

So things were off to a good start already.

Thankfully the journey across the ocean proved to be eventual and after a couple of days the mist shrouded hills of the Home Isles came into sight. The crew were also confronted with considerable more shipping, both maritime and aerial, than they'd ever seen in Alyeska. As their airship drew near they soon more plenty of aircraft, ranging from light aeroplanes through to gigantic skyships. They were directed to the main aerodrome that served the Home Isles' capital, Lindun, and as they drifted down into their mooring berth they could see a noticeable military presence in the form of anti-aircraft guns and armed soldiers. Though Herbert also noted that there was a much greater civilian presence compared to when he'd last visited the aerodrome some years earlier.

A military jeep pulled up and a pair of provosts climbed out before approaching the airship, though they did introduce themselves and explained that Herbert was being put under house arrest at a nearby barracks for the duration of the crew's stay in the Home Isles. So, without any real objections from the crew, Herbert went with the provosts and found himself being put in an officer's quarters rather than a barrack block (because 'security'). Herbert received two visitors, the first was from the Army Service Corps to take his measurements for a new uniform to be worn at the court martial. The second visitor was a Lt. Williams from the Judge Advocate General's office to provide consul for the aforementioned court martial.

Lt, Williams explained how the proceedings of the court martial will work, then asked for Herbert's version of events prior to him being absent without leave. Herbert admitted that due to his big mouth he wasn't well liked by his fellow soldiers, plus may have incurred the wrath of a superior officer by talking about said officer's wife whilst within earshot of said officer. He also went onto explain that whilst out in the Wulflands on a patrol he woke up one morning feeling extremely groggy (he swore blindly that he hadn't had a drop of alcohol whilst on patrol) and that the rest of his patrol was gone. Lt. Williams explained that the official version of events was that the patrol had come under attack by wulvers and that Herbert had gone missing in the confusion, later to be listed as missing in action. Lt. Williams also explained that since Herbert was absent from his unit for more than 30 days he'll be tried as a deserter, so strongly suggested sticking to the official version of events in hope of gaining a favourable verdict.


The rest of the crew were picked up by a limbo and driven out of the city, noticing the scars still lingering from the war and the reconstruction effort. The city and its new suburbs gave away to the open countryside and after a couple of hours the car drew up in front of a large manor house. Servants ushered them inside to what was called the 'Cream Room' and told them to wait until his Lordship was ready, though a servant remained in the room to keep an eye on the crew. After half an hour, Reginald was called through to speak to his father in the room next door. Alex got close as he could to the door in an attempt to eavesdrop whilst Sebastian discreetly spoke to the house servant about answering the call of nature in order to get a tour of the house.

Reginald's father, Lord Charleston Spitsworth, effectively disowned his eldest child and had changed his will so that Reginald's younger brother Edmund would inherit the family fortune. Additionally, Reginald's access to the family's bank accounts had been blocked and various bank managers made aware of this development. Meanwhile Sebastian ran into and got talking to the youngest if the Spitsworth siblings, Reginald's sister Elisa (who got the Love Interest adventure card played on her). Elisa mentioned that she was going to diplomacy, mainly as a way of escaping house and seeing the world, plus she also mentioned about current tensions between the Commonwealth and the Artian Confederation.

Sebastian rejoined the others, with a silk item showing in the breast pocket of his jacket, just as Reginald comes out from speaking with his father. Tag then gets called into the other room with a letter of introduction, returning a short while later saying that he'd gotten them a job. The crew were then informed that they would not be spending the night in the house as lodgings had been made available elsewhere on the estate. This time they were given a lift in a different car driven by one of the groundsmen and taken to a cottage on the other side of the estate, though the cottage had been untouched for a number of years after its previous occupant died. The crew tidied up the place best they could and picked which room each of them were going to have.

Alex and Sebastian had decided to try and sneak back into the main house later that night, though for completely different reasons. Some night after it'd gotten dark, the pair of them tried sneaking out but were spotted by Reginald who decided to challenge them. Alex tried to persuade Reginald that he and Sebastian were just going out for some fresh air and perhaps a smoke, though Reginald remained unconvinced. Out of frustration, Alex went back into the cottage and set alight to the room that Reginald had claimed before managing to sneak back out of the cottage unnoticed. With Reginald distracted with trying to save his belongings, Alex and Sebastian made for the main house.

Alex went for Lord Spitsworth's office, specifically after any interesting paperwork (the Reveal adventure card was played here). Among the things Alex found was correspondence between Lord Spitsworth and another member of parliament about seeking justification for a military campaign against the pirate haven of Broken Spires. Also, since Lord Spitsworth has strong ties to them, there are papers and deeds relating to the Skywrights Guild. Sensing an opportunity, Alex pockets a couple of blank skyship deeds before sneaking back out the window.

Sebastian, on the other hand, sneaked into the main house in order to see Elisa once more. Alex, now back outside, starts raising the alarm about the fire at the cottage and rouses the entire household. Sebastian uses the commotion to sneak out of the house, then rejoins the others a while later back at the cottage which is now well and truly ablaze despite the efforts of the estate staff tackle the flames. The reunion coincides with the arrival of the local fire engine and Alex convincing the estate staff that the fire was probably caused by an oil lantern being blown over by a gust of wind or knocked over by Reginald's carelessness.

With the crew's lodgings having, quite literally, gone up in smoke arrangements were made for them to be put up for them to be put up for the night at the local village inn. One of the groundsmen was to give them a lift in another car which most of the crew accepted, though Reginald kicked up a fuss.


Admittedly, the opportunity for the characters to travel beyond the boundaries of Alyeska was always there....they took it a bit sooner than expected.

It was a role-play heavy session with no combat, certainly an interesting change of pace. Least I manage to tease some plot, hopefully the players will make a note of it so that it'll come in useful later when that plotline develops. But things are being setup quite nicely by the characters' own actions and in a better way than I'd originally planned.

Hopefully next session the whole group will be present so that we can get Herbert's court martial done and out of the way. Actually spent some time doing some research on court martials, including the old British tradition of using swords. Herbert will be tried as a deserter since he was absent from his unit for more than 30 days, though it'll be interesting to see whether he does as Lt. Williams said and go along with the official story or tries to get evidence that there was a conspiracy to have him killed.

Monday 8 October 2018

Frozen Skies: SWADE Edition

So a new edition of Savage Worlds recently got announced, mostly consisting of tweaks here and there with new rules. Like a lot of people I've closely been following the previews that have been seen so far, but nothing that seems to majorly effect Frozen Skies. Though ultimately we'll have to wait until the release of the new rules after the Kickstarter later this month.

Frozen Skies: BLACK ICE

BLACK ICE is the codename I'm using for the SWADE update for Frozen Skies, a nod to how the edition was called 'Savage Worlds Black' for a while. Black Ice will be a PDF that will probably be released some point after the SWADE Kickstarter, least when I've had the chance to read through the new rules and see how they effect Frozen Skies. Whilst I cannot say for sure what will be changed, from the previews shown so far there are a couple of things;

*Re-done weapon stats.

*Reworked NPCs.

There may be other changes like, for example, to vehicle combat, etc. It depends what is featured in the new edition, though Black Ice may contain new content and errata for Frozen Skies.

Adventurer's Guild

Pinnacle's other recent announcement was the Savage Worlds Adventurer's Guild (SWAG), a program that will allow people to create and then sell their own Savage Worlds creations through the likes of DriveThruRPG without going through Pinnacle's normal official licensing program. SWAG is a platform for new creators to sell their work.

At present I can't really say much about it until Pinnacle releases more details, though Melior Via has already expressed interest for people to release content for Accursed as part of SWAG. Whilst it would be neat for that to happen with Frozen Skies I would rather wait until SWAG has been running for some quite and I've established more of the setting's framework before opening it up for SWAG.

Regardless, exciting times ahead for Savage Worlds!

Monday 1 October 2018

Frozen Skies Episode 8: Tussle With The Dark Claws

The adventures of the Airship Waylander continue!

Last time the crew of the Waylander had been contracted by the Royal Alyeskan Air Police to transport a prisoner from the remote town of Prospector's Reach for trial in Gravenburgh. Things had gone well, too well for the characters' liking, least until they came under attack from some sky pirates. The scoundrels of the sky were fended off, though the characters' own fighters were almost wrecked.

This week we tried something a little different and used paper tokens for the aerial combat.

Riding The Clouds

After their previous encounter with the ruffians of the airways, the crew of the Waylander warily flew on southwards with one eye kept on the wild blue yonder. Reggie set to work patching up the airship's two escort fighters, though with assistance from a crewman that ended up being more of a hindrance than a help. Thankfully, Reggie just managed to fix the plane when a lookout called out...

A pair of pirate planes were rapidly closing on the Waylander, opening fire at long range for negligible effect. The Banshee plane was hastily launched and the pilot flew to the port (left) of the airship with the intention of circling around over the airship to take on the pirates. Return fire from the airship managed to hit one of the pirate planes, though with little perceived effect. Though nuisance fire from rifle armed crewmen did seem to give at leat one of the pirates pause for thought.

The pirates attempted to do a strafing run along the Waylander's starboard side to try to knock out her engines, but only seemed to succeed in putting a few holes in the airship's gasbag.Tag managed to swing the airship round so that the pirates received fire from both sides of the airship, in particular from the crew served 50-cal. machine guns that gave a good account of themselves. Both pirates ended up in twisted metal coffins half buried in the snow, at least one appeared to have took damage to their plane's control as they failed to pull out of a spiral.

In The Clear?

With the two pirate plane dealt with, the crew spoke to the police officers escorting the prisoner to find out who might've been attacking them. Turned out that the prisoner was one of the lieutenants for a rather bloodthirsty outfit of sky pirates known as the Dark Claws. This band of cold-blooded killers is known to be particularly ruthless, leaving very few survivors from their attacks and not taking any prisoners.

They had but a few minutes for this to sink before the lookout cried out again, "More bandits!"

The enemy airship opened up at long range with its forward turret, but again for negligible effect. The enemy fighters, on the other hand, shot forward and inflicted solid hits on the Waylander's own escorts. Tag gave orders for the escorts to re-dock with the Waylander before he took the airship down to tree-top level and opened the throttles on the engines with the intention of conducting a tactical withdrawal. Though the Waylander made one final and very impressive parting shot; the rear turret landed some very good hits on one of the pirate fighters and literally made its cockpit explode.

Eventually they reached Alyeska's southern coastline and swung round to approach Gravenburgh from the sea, mainly to reduce the chances of further ambushes. They managed to land without further trouble and were met by the police, who took the prisoner and handed over payment with a little extra on top. They also received a message from Andrei, the broker of secrets that Tag had met previously, that there were a few parties interested in the glimmer rock deposit the crew found and he wanted to know whether Tag had a price in mind or wished for a bidding contest. The crew also made plans to travel to the Commonwealth's Home Isles to resolve the summons from Reggie's father, thus postponing Herbert's court martial.


The paper tokens certainly helped make aerial combat easier as everyone could see what was happening rather than relying on guesswork. Will probably use them again in the future, though have included more pics below. 

Though whilst there wasn't much in the way or airship-to-airship combat, I've been mulling ideas for possible improvements and to add more depth. Airship construction is likely to be a combination of the old Pulp Gear Tookit and the Bombers & Zeppelin supplement for FASA's old Crimson Skies miniatures game. Also considering whether or not to adapt the Altitude system that existed in previous versions of Savage Worlds, it might add something to aerial combat or it might not.

With potential revisions (least far as airships are concerned), ideas for new gear and a new version of Savage Worlds on the horizon I may end up doing a Frozen Skies Companion to cover all of this.