Monday 29 July 2019

The Gwentshire Chronicles: The Rolfe Sisters

Back after spending a week in the West Riding of Yorkshire, more accurately in Brontë Country. There was certainly plenty to see and do in the area, also plenty of inspiration for various settings that I am working on. In particular the Brontë Sisters provide a source of inspiration for the Gwentshire Chronicles, namely in the form of the Rolfe Sisters.

The Three Sisters of Lombe

The Rolfe Sisters were a trio of female writers and siblings who resided in the Weston Hills near the village of Lombe during the early 1800s; Enda, Gwen and Rowan. The sisters have very few books written between them and all three died before they reached their 30th birthday. Dark rumours abound that the sisters discovered that things didn't lie well in Gwentshire and wrote their books to try to warn others, ultimately doing so ended up dooming them.

It is believed that the sisters developed a keen interest in the Weston Hills from a young age, spending many hours exploring every nook and cranny of the limestone hills. However, it isn't known precisely when they first stumbled upon the secret truth of the nature of Gwentshire especially as they didn't start writing until their late teens. The girls were fortunate in that their father, Bayden Rolfe, was the local village vicar and could afford to have the girls educated.

Again, it is uncertain when the girls agreed to write a novel but a local printers was contracted to print a very limited run of five books in 1842. Further small print runs were ordered over the next few years for a few more books, the last seeing the light of day in 1849. A mere two weeks after the last book was printed the youngest of the sisters, Gwen, was found dead aged 26. Six months later the oldest, Enda at 29, was also found dead. The last of the sisters, Rowan, was last reported heading into the Weston Hills some time later where she vanished without a trace.

After the loss of the sisters, their books also disappeared with the odd rare copy surfacing every so often only to be brought by a mysterious stranger for a staggering amount of money. Curiously, a previously unknown book titled the Rolfe Memoirs appeared in 1949, its handwritten pages confirmed to match the handwritings of each of the sisters. Bizarrely, the Rolfe Memoirs have a publishing date of 1859 but no record was ever found concerning this. Before anyone could get to the bottom of the mystery, the book vanished despite being in the secure archives of the Gwentshire County Museum.

Never achieving fame or wide-spread acknowledgement, the Rolfe Sisters passed into relative obscurity with their books becoming sought after prizes in certain, select circles. Today the only reminder of the girls existence in Gwentshire is the Rofle Waterfall, a tributary of the River Gwent, some miles south-west of Lombe.

Using the Rolfe Sisters

For a game set during during the 1830s/40s period, the sisters could directly feature either as the sources of information or possible adventures. A -4 Common Knowledge is needed to find out about the sisters, after that Persuasion is need to determine how forthcoming they are about information.

The Rolfe books themselves require a -4 Research roll to use, each success and raise grants a +1 bonus to Occult rolls to a maximum of +4. Of course the book themselves can be the focal point of an adventure.

Monday 15 July 2019

The Gwentshire Chronicles: Setting Rules

As mentioned previously, the forthcoming new edition of Savage Worlds gives me an excuse to revisit some of my other setting ideas. This week is the turn of The Gwentshire Chronicles, a supernatural horror set in a fictional county in the West Country of England during different time periods. This post will have some setting rules and Edges, plus a side note on Gear.

PSA: Due to a family vacation, there will be no post next week.

Setting Rules

The Mists

The Mists of Gwentshire are a curious thing, a common occurrence regardless of the time of year as they seemingly creep in to engulf the countryside at night. Thats not to say that they do not ebb and flow; some nights will be completely clear, other nights the mists will become so thick that they muffle all sights and sounds. There are even times when folk find themselves turned around in the mist, even if they were using a compass or following a road or a fence.

Thats not to mention the things sometimes glimpsed.

The Mists can become so thick and cloying, even more so than normal fog. In these instances, the Mists impose a -2 penalty on Notice rolls, Survival rolls made to track or to navigate, and ranged attack rolls. This penalty stacks with Dim or Dark lighting, but has no effect in Pitch Black conditions.

Also, the Mists increase the Fear rating of monsters by +1.

As the Mists seem to play with travellers and lead them astray, navigating when the Mists are out requires a Survival roll (with the penalty mentioned above) regardless of the mode of transportation. A successful roll lets the traveller and his group reach their destination in more or less the expected amount of time, a raise gets them there in half the time. A failure uses up the default amount of travel time, followed by a new roll. A critical failure leaves the traveller some place other than their destination.


Ancestral Ties
Requirements: Wild Card, Novice, Spirit d6+

The Veil that separates our world from the spirit world is thinner than usual in Gwentshire, this allows some people to call upon the spirits of their ancestors for aid.

Whenever a character wishes aid from beyond the Veil they have to make a Spirit, this has a -2 penalty if they are seeking general help or a -4 penalty if they are seeking the aid of a specific ancestor (ie "my great great grandfather fought werewolves"). A successful roll grants basic information or a +1 bonus to certain skills at the GM's discretion, a raise provides more detailed information or a +2 bonus.

Failure on this roll means the character receives vague or even misleading information as they are able to get a clear message or hint (ie "vampires hate smelly socks"). A critical failure results in an ancestor spirit, or even something else, trying to take over the character's body. In this instance, an opposed Spirit roll is made with the invader's Spirit being one die higher than the character's. If the character succeeds, they are fine but Shaken. If the invader wins, they take control for 1d6 hours. After this time, the invader can choose to leave or make another opposed Spirit roll to stay.

Improved Ancestral Ties
Requirements: Seasoned, Ancestral Ties, Strong Willed

The character has strengthened their willpower and gains a +2 bonus on rolls to contact ancestor spirits or to resist invaders.

Note on Gear & Skills

The Gwentshire Chronicles is intended to be set in different time periods, which is going to be a huge factor on the gear and skills available to the characters.

Driving and Electronics are going to be obvious skills that instantly come to mind, both of those aren't suitable for a game set before the 20th Century (or even the 1950s with the latter skill). Medicine is going to be something else to consider as the level and service of healthcare changed and improved over time, especially after WW2 and the creation of the National Health Service.

Weapons is another thing to consider, especially firearms. The right to keep and bear arms had originated in England during the reign of Henry II with the 1181 Assize of Arms, and developed as part of common law. This changed with the 1689 Bill of Rights where it become the right to bear arms " allowed by law."

The first serious attempts to restrict weapons (melee weapons as well as firearms) began in the 1700s after the Jacobite rebellions and continued throughout the 19th Century. Typically after major conflicts saw increased controls over weapons due to fears of weapons being brought back by returning soldiers. A permit wasn't required until the Gun Licence Act 1870, which was created to raise revenue and required a person intending to carry a gun off their property to obtain a licence over the counter at their local Post Office.

Firearm controls became more restrictive in the 20th Century with the Pistol Act of 1903 which saw the first restrictions on the sale of firearms. The Firearms Act 1920 saw obtaining a certificate hinging on the police and placed restrictions on ammunition, though 'self-defence' was still a valid reason for owning a firearm. 1937 saw another Act that extended controls over a wider range of firearms and their sale, in addition to self-defence now ruled as no longer being a suitable reason for obtaining a firearm.

This was only a basic overview, more details can be found here;

Monday 8 July 2019

The Wulftouched Overhauled

So mentioned last week that I was taking another look at the Wulftouched, mainly because I wanted to change how they work in the rules. Had some feedback on my initial ideas and some time to think over it, certainly looking like basing the Wulftouched's mechanics on the Harrowed from Deadlands is something worth perusing. So this week is an attempt at getting some rules down for the Wulftouched and a few Edges.

A Dog's Life

As I said above, looking to base the Wulftouched on the Harrowed from Deadlands. This seems my best option to expand the Wulftouched.


Remains a Major Hindrance, though it works similarly to the Harrowed Edge from Deadlands but without any of the benefits. It also unlocks a series of Edges.


Fury works similarly to the Harrowed's Dominion, though this is a right up Trait roll rather than an opposed one. A character begins with a Fury of 0, though this changes based on the success or failure of the character's Fury roll (see below). The GM will generally call for a Fury when they feel the situation is right, this is typically when the character is under a great deal of stress. Make a Spirit roll for Fury when the GM calls for it, using the character's current Fury score as a modifier. Fury can never go below -4 or above +4.

Fury Table

Success: The Wulftouched retains control and gains 1 of Fury, or 2 with a raise.

Failure: Your character loses a point of Fury and is Shaken, though doesn't 'wolf out'.

Critical Failure: The beast is let loose as the character loses 2 points of Fury and transform into a Wulver. The character remains in this state for 1d6 hours before changing back, though possibly with an uncomfortable taste in their mouths.

Wulftouched Edges


Bestial Features
Requirements: Wulftouched, Menacing

The character's bonus to Intimidation increases to +4.

Beast's Hands
Requirements: Novice, Wulftouched

The character gains Claws that do Str+d4 damage in combat and count as Natural Weapons.

Fight the Beast
Requirements: Seasoned, Strong Willed, Wulftouched

Gains one free re-roll on Fury rolls.

Nose of the Wulf
Requirements: Novice, Wulftouched, Survival d6+

Gains +2 to Survival rolls made for Tracking.

Tame the Beast
Requirements: Fight the Beast

Can make a Spirit to change into a Wulver. Success means the character retains control and acts normally, able to use Edges at the GM's discretion. Failure means the character loses control as they turn.

Monday 1 July 2019

The Wulftouched Revisited

Updating Frozen Skies to a new version of Savage Worlds has made me consider various things in the setting that need revising or expanded upon. One of those things that have recently crossed my mind was the Wulftouched; aside from a Hindrance they haven’t really been touched upon in the setting that much. So this week is a few ideas I’ve had to expand on the Wulftouched, hopefully to try and make it more appealing beyond just a Hindrance.

Touch of the Wulf

To recap; Wulftouched are the offspring of pregnant women who got bitten by a Wulver, the bite contains some sort of retro-virus that remains dormant until puberty. After puberty, the person runs the risk of turning into a Wulver if they encounter a stressful enough situation. Before the Wulver War this was an uncommon occurrence, but not completely unknown. Course, that conflict brought about something of a boom in the number of the Wulftouched…especially as most of them are about to effectively become walking time-bombs as they hit puberty.

Now there is the very real risk of the player losing their character, so I can understand people’s reluctance at taking the Hindrance. So I’ve been thinking of ways of making it more worthwhile, but at the same time retaining an element of risk. Suppose I could make the Wulftouched a bit like the Harrowed in Deadlands, basically having the character go Wulver only for a short period but I’m in two minds about making them into effectively werewolves.

Though an idea that I probably will explore is a series of new Edges that require the Wulftouched Hindrance to unlock them. In particular I’m thinking these Edges grant a temporary boost to the character, be it to Strength or to Tracking rolls. Certainly flavour wise, they could be described as the Wulftouched character trying to master their inner Wulf.

Finally there is the idea of something called Rage tokens; haven’t fully decided how they work but they could be considered like an extra pool of Bennies. At the moment I’m thinking one Rage token per rank with Edges granting more. They’ll probably be situational, perhaps buying an extra melee attack for example. Using them will incur a cumulative -1 penalty on the character’s Spirit rolls to resist the Wulf and keep control, so making them little bit of a gamble to use.