Monday 28 January 2019

Frozen Skies Session 15: My Heart Will G-...Oh

After escaping the icebound wrecked skyship and Alex cementing his position as captain, the crew set about completing the second of Andrei's tasks. This entailed the crew indulging in a bit of sky piracy, though with almost disastrous results. Other highlights include a character dispatching their hated foe and a new member to the crew.

"Shiny. Lets be bad guys."

Following on from their tragedy tainted adventure in the wrecked skyship and meeting up with Andrei to hand over the recovered artefact, Alex got the crew busy with preparations for the airship heist. Reginald was tasked with crafting a radio jammer, the idea being to inhabit the target airship from calling for help. The others were charged with gathering various items for the crew to use as disguises, whilst Alex gave them all code names to use during the heist (which turned out to be the names of members of a certain gang).

It was decided to intercept the airship out over the ocean, if anything to help minimize the chances of somebody coming to the airship's aid. At first it seemed the heavy cloud cover would aid the crew, though the target airship spotted them first. The crew had their radio jammer active, though whilst it meant it was difficult for the target airship to communicate with its fighter escorts the same was true for the crew to talk to their own fighters. It meant all the fighters were operating on their own and unable to co-ordinate efforts, it also meant that only one of the escort fighters of the target spotted a signal lamp message for it to go investigate the appearance of the Stormrider.

Having concluded that it was about to come under attack from sky pirates, the victim airship opened up with its MG turrets at long range. One of the Stormrider's own outflyers got hit and suffered damage to its controls but stayed airborne, though Sebastian manage to take the gunner out with an incredibly lucky sniper shot at extreme range. The Stormrider and its outflyers closed the distance, the fighters taking it in turns to shoot out the engines of the victim airship. The damaged outflyer's pilot, perhaps smarting from the damage his plane had taken, proved to be overzealous with his shooting and raked along the side of airship with his guns. An explosion signalled a catastrophic loss of Aerothium and the airship began to drop down towards the ocean, though the crew managed to patch things enough to do a 'controlled' crash landing upon the water as one of its two escorts got shot down as well.

With their target floudering, Alex switched off the radio jammer long to broadcast the following message; "You've been attacked by the Burning Knives, surrender now and no further harm will come to toy."

Unsurprisingly, the crew of the target airship meekly surrendered and the Stormrider's crew quickly boarded her in search of loot. Alex made his way to the bridge to ensure that the crew complied with his demands, identifying himself as Peter Wisdom as he did so. Whilst Alex was on the bridge, a bounty hunter came who Alex knew but the man didn't recognize Alex in return (Alex was using one of Reginald's devices to make him look like the real Peter Wisdom). Luckily Alex managed to convince the bounty hunter, a man called Jacob, that he was an associate of somebody Jacob knew. In turn, Jacob revealed he'd come for the keys to the brig so that he could fetch a prisoner he was transporting and was going to need a lift.

Meanwhile Sebastian headed to a cabin indicated by Andrei to have a safe containing what the crew had come for, only to run into a Shackleton as he rounded a corner. Seeing the man go for his gun, Sebastian tried to intimidate him but only succeeded in making the man momentarily puzzled and confused as to whether Sebastian was being serious. Taking advantage of the man's hesitation, Sebastian shot him with pistol. The Shackleton fired back with his machine pistol, almost mortally wounding Sebastian in the process. As he waited for the Shackleton to deliver the killing blow, Sebastian closed his eyes as the end...never came.

A tidal wave of water smashed a door into the Shackleton and, in turn, smashed him against the wall of the corridor with enough force to ensure he wasn't getting up anything soon. Shocked at his sudden and unexpected reprieved, Sebastian soon quickly realized that he was severely injured and that the airship he was on was beginning to sink. Fortunately it wasn't long before some of the others came to his aid and retrieved the contents of the safe. Before leaving, Sebastian checked the Shackleton for anything of value and discovered a contract for bodyguard duties for a Lord Bellington (the same Lord who'd put a bounty on Sebastian).

Meeting up back on the Stormrider, it turned out that Jacob also knew Herbert and (to a lesser degree) Reginald. Jacob also found out who Alex really was and that he'd been using a device to alter his appearance. It was also discovered that Lord Bellington had been on the airship and, with Jacob's help, Sebastian spotted the man in one of the lifeboats. A single rifle shot rang out and His Lordship disappeared over the side of the boat, thus dealing with least one of Sebastian's enemies. Alex ordered one final ruthless act against the survivors of the airship, then transmitted the following message; "With the regards of the Burning Knives."

There was also another resolution before everything was wrapped up, some detective work by Herbert to discover who had left a bottle of fine wine on his bunk. After conferring with Alex, Herbert soon figured out the likely culprit. He then went and confronted Reginald, who pleaded complete innocence in the affair. Though Herbert saw that the nobleman had, badly, lied and punched him in the face leaving a nasty black eye. Some of the others quickly arrived and prevented things getting more heated, plus Alex gave Reginald a dressing down and warned of possible consequences if Reginald did it again.


The loss of Tag doesn't seem to have held the crew back as Alex is proving to be a strong captain, least in the sense of personality and getting people to follow orders. The airship heist had been something the crew was hesitant to do when Tag was still in charge, but Alex's 'don't care' attitude and his plan of action saw the crew finally pull it off. I have to give credit to Alex's player for coming up with a plan that framed his enemies, the Burning Knives gang, so that the retribution falls upon them rather than the crew of the Stormrider. Though it'll be a while before the fallout from the airship heist happens, so it'll be curious what else Alex does to bring about the Burning Knives' downfall.

Now that the crew has dabbled in sky piracy it opens up some opportunities and there is still plot with Broken Spires that still needs to be resolved.

Monday 21 January 2019

Rogue's Gallery SWADE-ified

For those who have been following on social media, you'll be aware that I'm currently working on getting Frozen Skies updated to the new Adventure Edition of Savage Worlds. A draft of the update document (dubbed 'Black Ice') has also been shared and covers rules and gear, etc. The biggest task is updating the various NPCs due to changes to skills, Hindrances and Edges. Decided to redo a character previously posted on the blog, partially as some practice and partially to showcase differences.

Meet Kaelin Madigan...Again

The character I decided to redo was the Genchi femme fatal Kaelin Madigan, particularly as I thought some of the new Social Edges may work for her. It was done using the character generator on the most awesome site (though its not completely without its bugs).

Kaelin Madigan

Female Genchi
Rank: Legendary (24 advancements)
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Pace: 6, Parry: 7, Toughness: 4, Size: -1
Skills: Athletics: d8, Common Knowledge: d6, Fighting: d8, Gambling: d8, Intimidation: d6, Notice: d8+2, Performance: d8, Persuasion: d10+1, Repair: d6, Shooting: d6, Stealth: d8, Taunt: d8+2, Thievery: d8
Hindrances: Greedy (minor), Ruthless (minor), Small, Wanted (minor) Edges: Alertness, Attractive, Block, Charismatic, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Extraction, Feint, Humiliate, Level Headed, Martial Artist, Quick, Retort, Streetwise, Strong Willed Weapons: Unarmed (Natural Attack, Str+d4)
Wealth: £75
Language: Gwentian (Native)
  • Attribute Increase (Agility; SWADE p18): During character creation, the species increases a particular attribute (Agility, Smarts, Spirit, Strength, or Vigor) one die type. This increases the Trait’s maximum by one as well.
  • Hindrance (Outsider, major - SWADE p26; SWADE p20): The character doesn’t fit in to the local environment and subtracts 2 from Persuasion rolls.
  • Skill (d6) (SWADE p19): Repair d6
I've tried recreating her as closely as I could, for the most part her skills, Hindrances and Edges match her SWD incarnation. 

One of the changes with SWADE was Small being made a Minor Hindrance rather than a Major one that it was in Deluxe, meaning that Kaelin only had three Minor Hindrances. After some consideration decided to take Ruthless as a Minor, felt that it fitted with her character as somebody who'd take people out but only if they got in her way.

Next up was skills, something else that has seen changes. Some of the skills from Deluxe have been combine, there is now a bunch of 'core' skills everyone gets at d4 and theres one or two new skills. With less skill points to spend at character creation, found a little tricky trying to match her skills early on and ended up spending a whole load of Advances trying to get certain skills up to where they met Edge requirements. Performance is a new skill that I gave Kaelin because I felt it work quite well with her character concept, likewise Common Knowledge (which is a Core skill) I increased to d6 to show that she has a finger on current affairs. 

With regards to Edges, she's only missing Very Attractive but has four new Edges. A good chunk of the new Social Edges seem to revolve around Support rolls, but Humiliate, Streetwise and Retort were ones that work for a 'lone wolf' character that I envision Kaelin being. Feint I decided to take partially because of Kaelin's lone wolf aspect, partially because I envision her being a tricksy sort of fighter. She seems a pretty capable character, though I could give her extra Edges like Very Attractive and Martial Warrior to improve her potency. Regardless, she should be an interesting character to run.

Monday 14 January 2019

Frozen Skies Session 14: The Expendables

After a break due to Christmas and New Years, the group met up again to continue the campaign...though we were short a couple of players. We picked things up from where we'd left off, the immediate aftermath of Tag's death and the surviving crew needing to escape the wrecked skyship. It was a chance to use the Chase Rules from SWADE, which I'll give my thoughts on later, and the crew then made their next move.


Alex, Herbert and Sebastian reached the cargo hold of the wrecked aero-vessel just as Tag finally perished after killing the last Ghost Hound. Whilst Sebastian stood guard, Herbert quickly check Tag's body and confirmed that he was beyond saving, Alex, hearing the howls of the other beasts onboard, quickly grabbed some items from Tag's corpse (including the artefact they'd come for) before suggesting that they make their way back to the Stormrider with all due haste.

During the flight through the icy corridors and passageways of the wreck, the crew found themselves being pursued by a pack of four Ghost Hounds. Due to the head-start the crew had, only one of the beasts managed to get close enough to get a mouthful of Sebastian's coat. The good doctor and the sharpshooter managed to deal with the beasts with well placed rifle shots, Alex was focused on getting to safety.

The Tyranny of  Captain Alex

Having made it back to the safety of the Stormrider, Alex immediately ordered two crewmen (the two who had restrained him when things became heated previously) to head out to the wreck to start salvaging it. Alex then proceeded to release Reginald from the brig and got him to 'test' the Stormrider's main guns in the direction of the skyship wreck, smashing the ice round it and trapping the two crewmen in a tomb of metal and ice. With that act of petty vengeance concluded, Alex then cemented his captaincy and introduced a new set of rules for the airship ratings to follow.

Having established himself as the new captain, Alex then ordered a course be made for Broken Spires despite the crew's original plan of avoiding the pirate haven. Though with Alex being the only one giving orders and a general lack of other ideas, Broken Spires it was. Approaching the canyons that were the natural gates to the ramshackle town, another airship was spotted ahead of them making for the settlement as well. This airship bore the name 'Ogman's Hand' below a large picture of a hand of playing decks, though the airship made no move towards the Stormrider and came into one of the aero-docks.

After docking the Stormrider, Alex's plan started to become clear as he sent some ratings out for supplies before taking Sebastian with him to go visit Natasha Rogan and her outfit of female sky pirates. Meeting with the leader of the Banshees, Alex informed her of Tag's death and of the supposed Commonwealth plot against Broken Spires. Tash took both pieces of information with a stoic calmness, then listened to Alex's offer of perhaps using the latter to possibly take out a rival gang. After explaining about the 'politics' of Broken Spires and how it was governed by an uneasy alliance of the most powerful captains, Tash said that she would consider the offer. When Alex asked about a certain broker of secrets that Tag had dealings with, Tash said she would see about getting word to them.

The crew stayed in Broken Spires for a couple of days until they were approached by a smartly dressed gentleman, who identified himself as an agent of Andrei. The man first stated that Andrei had requested the crew's presence in Gravenburgh for a meeting, also stated that Andrei now owned both the Stormrider and the front company that Alex had setup. Needless to say, preparations were made for a hasty departure to Gravenburgh.

Ah, Andrei I Presume?

The crew arrived in Gravenburgh at the meeting point, a warehouse district close to the airfield that was strangely deserted despite it being the middle of the day. Sebastian set himself up with his rifle on top of a nearby warehouse to give him a good vantage in case of trouble and he confirmed that the immediate area was quiet. There was a sole limbo with a uniformed driver waiting patiently, though only Alex was allowed into the passenger compartment whilst the driver remained outside.

Waiting inside the limbo was Andrei, who greeted Alex and offered condolences with regards to Tag's death. The two then proceeded to talk business, chiefly the two job offers that Andrei had previously discussed with Tag. Alex agreed to hand over the box from the skyship wreck that resulted in Tag's death, he also agreed to do the airship heist job that the crew had been reluctant to do. After payment was agreed upon and Andrei handed over the necessary information, the crew set about preparing themselves.


As mentioned, we got to use the Chase rules from SWADE.

We went for the 9 Chase Card setup recommended in the rulebook, a pack of 4 Ghost Hounds on Card 1 with the PCs on Card 3 to represent a head-start. There seemed to be a little bit of confusion between Actions and Free Actions, though things still went fairly smoothly as everyone was mainly focused on keeping ahead of the beasts and 'escaping' from the skyship wreck. It proved to be pretty short, lasting only two rounds before the players managed to defeat the Ghost Hounds. The beasts, for that part, failed to catch up and only got lucky when they went before a player. For melee only characters, it seems they need to start closer to their opponents during setup or ensure they get higher ranked Action Cards.

I really really like the SWADE Chase Rules over their Deluxe ancestor, though I need to try them out more so my group gets used to using them.

As for the campaign itself, despite my fear of a setup with Tag's death it appears we're still on track with regards to plot. Though the players have managed to trigger some stuff early and thats open up a few opportunities for me to advance the plot.

Monday 7 January 2019

The Commonwealth Revisited

Welcome to 2019!

Currently working on getting Frozen Skies updated to SWADE, going through and changing rules where needed so that they're in-line with the newest edition of Savage Worlds. Though its got me thinking about the setting more, in particular its background and world history with the view of tightening it up and making things clearer. There are a few areas of the fluff that I'd like to improve and develop upon, make things more coherent in their details. The Commonwealth is something I wish to take another look at and incorporate some ideas and changes.

The Commonwealth: An Alternative Take

I've posted previously about the Commonwealth, mainly to get a few solid details down and set in stone as I developed the rest of the world beyond Alyeska. People have probably noticed a strong British feel for the Commonwealth, this is partially deliberate but something that I wish to tone down. As an alternative I wish to develop a general Celtic feel to the Commonwealth, an aspect of which already exists in the setting (the sky goddess Taran is a nod to Taranis).

How the Commonwealth is governed is going to remain largely unchanged; there is still a monarch and a parliament to rule over the country. The monarch may have different or alternative titles, perhaps one in 'English' (for the reader) and a title in the actual language of the the Commonwealth. The government will have a similar thing with its title, though its structure is likely to be a little bit different.

Though I am looking at including a new body between the monarch and the government called the Provost Council. The Council is a formal body of advisers to the monarch made up of his/her's representatives at the provincial and county levels, they are known as Lord Provosts and Provosts respectively. They are generally appointed by the monarch on the advise of the provincial governments. It basically functions like a privy council, though it does have the power to make decisions in the monarch's absence.

There is a sort of national law enforcement agency called the Garda (after the Irish Garda), though this functions along similar lines to the FBI or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Garda would generally be tasked to deal with so-called 'high crimes' or cases that effect the national interests of the Commonwealth. There would be more traditional police forces at the provincial and city level, though considering calling these town and city watches.

Mulling the idea of making the Commonwealth a clan based society. The idea being is that each clan is made up of a core family after which the clan is named, plus a number of affiliated families who are linked to the core family but have different surnames. Additionally, each clan maintains its own militia forces mainly protect the clan's interests as well as to help defend the Commonwealth should the need arise. 

To resolve internal disputes and help keep the clan's legal affairs in order, each clan will appoint an official known as a Justiciar. In addition to handling internal clan disputes, the Clan Justiciar also the official that deals with marriages, death certificates, etc. A Lord High Justiciar is appointed by the Crown and is charged with ensuring with keeping the peace between the various clans. Each also has a recognised speaker or representative called a Ravener, who acts in the Clan Chief's stead. The title is used to reflect the use of ravens as messenger birds and that the post holder acts as a messenger for the Clan.

Thats some ideas I have at the moment, though if they prove to be a big hit with people I'll see about developing them further.