|Primary||Savria 1528||K0 VI||Magnitude 0.117|
|1||Beta||Large Gas Giant|
|5||Kraahk (Beta Bee)||E7C8000-0||* beacon *|
|3||Delta||Small Gas Giant||no moons|
The sky is cloudless, but the pinnace has descended into a deep yellow haze. Circling, you can see the island is clearly covered in dense jungle with an occasional glimpse of stony rubble. The only intact structure is a pyramid whose faces are soiled a streaked by rain. A statue stands on the flat at its top. To the south-south-east of the pyramid is a rectangular clearing, 100m long by 50m wide. Fifty meters to the west of that is an irregular pond.
The site is no longer inhabited. A mural inside the pyramid can be analyzed to provide a map of the aliens' original domain of space and the location of the homeworld.
Most tasks seem safe since they only involve examination or thought. In fact, a mishap is possible in this hostile environment as a result of distraction from maintaining suit discipline. This possibility is identified in the text for tasks to which this applies. When called for, roll for successful suit discipline using the following task.
When a suit fails from prolonged exposure to the insidious atmosphere, this task is hazardous. It must be repeated at intervals of approximately 10 minutes (15 for the hostile environment suit) until the character dies or makes it back to a habitable environment.
The suits the characters wear are well designed for use in an insidious atmosphere. They will still fail in 2-12 hours, as with any other vacc suit. However, their maintainability is very good. After each use, they can be easily serviced to be made fully ready again. Regular suits are assumed to take superficial damage during the course of exposure and require reconditioning. Any suit that actually fails because of prolonged exposure to atmospheric corrosion is regarding as having minor damage.
Characters may optionally wear hostile environment suits, affording an additional 4 hours on the average to the duration of exposure. However, wearing such a suit adds an encumbrance to the wearers' dexterity of -2. They may also carry video cameras so that player characters not in the party may kibitz from the pinnace or ship.
It is important to keep careful track of the amount of time spent in the insidious environment. Secretly, roll in advance the duration of each character's suit, then keep a time ledger of their activities outside. Use the following as a guideline for the amounts of time spent:
|To move from one exterior encounter area to another||10 min|
|To circle either the pond or pyramid||10 min|
|To climb the pyramid||2-3 min|
|To move from one interior location to an adjacent location||2-3 min|
|To casually look into a location||2-3 min|
|To carefully search a location||10 min|
An encounter is rolled for, generally throwing 8+ on 2D, while the characters are in each area. When an encounter is indicated, refer to the table below. Throw 1D and apply the DM given in the referee details for each area.
|Die||Animal Type||Weight||Hits||Armor||Wounds & Weapons|
|0-||12 Amphibian Grazer||1kg||1/0||none||teeth-1||F8 A5 S2|
|1||8 Amphibian Grazer||3kg||1/1||jack||teeth-1||F7 A5 S2|
|2||24 Amphibian Grazer||3kg||2/0||jack||teeth+1||F6 A5 S2|
|3||Seismic Tremor - The entire complex begins to shake and vibrate. Any open door will change its condition on 7+.|
|4||4 Chasers||3kg||1/2||jack||claws||A8 F6 S3|
|5||12 Chasers||6kg||2/1||mesh||claws||A7 F9 S3|
|6||4 Flying Hunters||6kg||2/1||jack||teeth & claws||A4 F9 S4|
|7||8 Flying Hunters||12kg||2/0||jack||teeth & claws||A5 F8 S4|
|8+||4 Flying Hunters||12kg||3/0||jack||teeth & claws||A5 F5 S4|
The three animal types encountered appear to be distinct (though related) species; upon examination of specimen, they are discovered to be developmental stages in the life of a single species of animal. The amphibian grazer form hatches from eggs laid in the pools of fluid. The juveniles spend most of their time swimming, but venture out at intervals to feed upon the plant and fungal material of the type found in interior location 3. After an unknown period of growth (from the 3 cm hatching length to the full size of 75 to 100 cm) the juvenile locates a protected place in which to enter a period of suspended animation, during which it metamorphosizes into one of the two adult forms, either the four-legged male or larger winged female. At irregular intervals through the year, the two sexes return to the pools from which they hatched, where they produce large quantities of eggs. The adults are carnivorous and feed on the juvenile form.
The juvenile form reaches a maximum length of 75 to 100 cm, and a maximum of 1 to 3 kg before maturing. The young are covered with a thick scaly skin which serves to protect them from the ravages of the insidious atmosphere. The juvenile, unlike the adult life forms, is toothless, but is equipped with a number of serrated structures along the edges of the mouth to aid in biting off sections of the fibrous plant material upon which the juveniles feed.
The male reaches a maximum size of about 40 cm, weighing from 3 to 6 kg. Like the juveniles, the males are covered with scales, but in mature forms, these are finer and covered with a thin, tough outer layer of skin.
Females are usually about 60 cm in length, with a wingspan of 100 to 120 cm. They typically weigh from 6 to 12 kg. The wings are formed from the thin outer skin stretched over a framework of thin bones, in a manner similar to the terran bat or the macropan screamer- in-the-darkness. This form, like the male, feeds on the juvenile, making his organism the only known case of an animal feeding solely off its own young.
Quakes occur on the encounter table. Before such a quake occurs, the predictors (lights in the dais pattern, location 1) will activate. Tampering with the power plant (location 6) will cause tremors to occur at intervals of about 10 minutes automatically with greater than normal force (this is self correcting about a day).
As you leave the pinnace, you are greeted by a scream from the trees. Three bat-like aviforms drop from a high branch and fly away. Everything is still thereafter. The only sounds you hear come from the craft and your gear.
The pinnace sits in a large depression. Although mostly covered with dirt and debris, the surface is made of manufactured bricks. The area is surrounded by a retaining wall 1-2m high. Made of stacked rubble instead of brick, the slow corrosion of some of the material has fused it into a solid wall.
The pyramid is visible over the trees, but the haze gives it the illusion of an enormous volcano off in the distance.
The characters step out onto the surface and prepare to venture forward.
Characters are expected to take pictures and samples along the way, not unlike the lunar astronauts did. Most analysis will be done after returning to the Vishhiquay. However characters may try to formulate conclusions as they go along. An example appears here as a task.
Most of the lifeforms on this island were transplanted from the homeworld of the pyramid architects. The only animals above the level of minor insects are here.
The pond is dark and still, its bank is choked by vegetation. A thin mist lies just over its surface.
Occasionally you see eddies in the fluid, evidence that small animals living under the surface. A rod protrudes from the center of the pond, extending about 3 meters into the air.
The alien transmitter is found andrecovered. A bomb is discovered inside. The device is evidence that beings visited here perhaps less than 100 years ago. The booby trap is a suggestion that they may be hostile. Some internal components have indications they were made by Vargr.
The tasks to recover the transmitter should be formulated by the referee to suit the particular approach the player characters decide to take. The operation need not be overly difficult.
It is indeed a booby trap, installed by the xenophobic race that placed the transmitter. The charge is 5 kilograms of TL11 explosive. The referee should devise a short series of tasks to disarm/remove the bomb. However, the bomb will not go off except if a fumble is rolled at what the referee deems as the most critical step. Age or corrosion has caused it to fail, a fact that might completely escape notice.
Throw 8+ for a random animal encounter to occur while in this area. If so, throw 2D-2 on the encounter table.
Any character that enters the water will reduce the duration of his suit to corrosion by 1 hour.
The transmitter is a very simple design consisting of a submerged box with sloping faces, and an antenna. The whole affair weighs 25 kg, but is held under by stakes and cables to keep it from floating. It was not designed for operation in an insidious atmosphere. However, the brown pond scum growing over its entire surface provides a natural protective seal from corrosion.
The pyramid before you is a dingy gray, streaked with soil and the action of rain. Debris-littered stairs lead to the flattened top where stands a statue. The statue is almost 6 meters tall, but so badly eroded that it is impossible to determine the species.
The characters find a means of entering the pyramid. Entry is possible through a barred vent in the jungle, under the stairs, or under the statue.
Throw 8+ for a random animal encounter to occur while in this area. If so, throw 1D+4 on the encounter table.
There are three possible entrances into the pyramid (short of brute force):
While characters are descending the cable, throw 8+ for an animal encounter to occur in the shaft. If so, throw 1D+4 on the encounter table.
. - - - - - - - -___- - - - - - - - . : / \ : : ^ | | : : | | 3 | : : N \ / : : | | : : | | : : -- -- : : / \ : : _____ / _ \ _____ : : / \___| / \ |___/ \ : :| 4 ___ : 1 : ___ 2 |: : \_____/ | \ _ / | \_____/ : : /\5 / : : / /\ / : : / / -- -- : : ___ / / | | : : / / | | : : | 6 | | | : : | | | | : : \___/ | | : : | | : - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - -
A dais of stone, rubbed smooth from long use, dominates the center of this large hemispherical chamber. A pendulum weight slowly swings over it. Pinkish vapor wafts down from ceiling vents at the compass points of the room. It accumulates on the floor to exit through slots at the foot of the dais. Ceiling fixtures illuminate the chamber with a dull glow.
There are five obvious exits, passages north, east, south, and west, and a shaft through the ceiling to the top of the pyramid.
A thick knobby cable, suspending the pendulum weigh, extends up through the length of the ceiling shaft. The east/west passages are about 3 meters up the wall, reached by climbing up a set of raised stair rungs.
Referee's SynopsisAn infrared wall mural identifies the home star system. Lights in a pattern on the dais come on as a 2 minute warning before a quake. Minor alien artifacts are inside the dais.
Referee Details: This chamber is the area entered from the shaft leading down from the statue atop the pyramid. Throw 8+ for a random animal encounter to occur while in this area. If so, throw 1D+2 on the encounter table.
On a casual search, reveal there are doors at the end of the north, east, and west passages. Throw 9+ for each door to be open. The south passage ends at the concealed door in the exterior stairway. Also reveal that the dais top appears to have been rubbed smooth from long use. Inscribed on the center is a complicated pattern. The pendulum weight is a half meter in diameter and masses 200 kg. It passes only centimeters over the pattern.
A successful careful search of the dais will show the pattern is inscribed on movable panels that can be displaced. Beneath the panels are a series of eight pie shaped compartments. Numbers 1, 3, 4, 6, and 8 are empty. Number 2 contains a box (1 kg) and three small piles of dust. The inside of the box is contoured specifically for an object that looks very much like an fine smoking pipe. Number 5 is connected to drain pipes, and contains a flock of crawlers that will attack when exposed. Number 7 contains a flat metal fragment. The fragment can be deduced as a key (see Tasks).
A successful careful search of the chamber perimeter (which may be conducted simultaneously by other characters) will reveal paint brush strokes suggesting the walls are painted with complicated designs, at least one recognizable as a star symbol. However, the paint all seems of the same hue with no appreciable contrast.
This is actually a very striking mural, but visible only in infrared. The use of some sort of infrared imaging system, such as infrared goggles, will reveal it for what it really is immediately. The mural shows a decorative pattern of stars and worlds intermixed with images of creatures in various poses. The creatures are vaguely reptilian, but of a species never before encountered. Compared to the star systems in this region of space, it is possible to deduce from the mural what at least was the interstellar realm of the aliens.
A search of the chamber perimeter will also reveal automatically a door to a passage (location 5), concealed as part of the structure. Note that if they miss the concealed passage during their first visit to this chamber, an animal will lie at the base of it on the second visit. Reference the key to location 5 for details.
Ahead of you is a round corridor, much like a large pipe. There are ceiling plates that provide light, and a flat iron-like platform at the bottom that provides a pathway for individuals.
Throw 8+ for a random animal encounter to occur while in one of these areas. If so, throw 1D-3 on the encounter table.
The platform is suspended by magnetism several centimeters above the bottom of the corridor. Individuals stepping onto the platform will cause it to settle slightly, but never enough to touch the corridor wall. Liquified vapor settles to the bottom of the corridors, and accumulates below the platforms.
This hemispherical room has a metal floor. There is a gap, a few centimeters wide, between the floor and the wall. It travels the full circumference of the room. Set on the floor are stacks of boxes apparently made of a pressed board. All are collapsed and discolored from age.
A search of this room reveals alien artifacts. Most of the items are pieces to an alien hookah or water pipe. The organic components had turned to dust long ago. The other items (pots, a crucible, scoop, small tray), are associated with the pipe's use.
Disturbing the boxes will often cause them to break apart. A careful search can result in the discovery of a small collection of seemingly decorative metal and ceramic artifacts. Their function is not immediately obvious.
The room is more accurately described as spherical, rather than hemispherical. The floor plate is also suspended by magnetism and divides the top and bottom halves of the room. It is possible to access the space below the floor by having at least two characters stand on the extreme far edge of the plate. Their weight forcing that end down will cause the end near the door up, allowing a character to slip into that space.
Since the lower half is filled with the pinkish vapor, it is not possible to simply view the space below. A character must go down to search. Unfortunately, there is nothing there to find.
This spherical room has a high ceiling. The floor is covered with soil growing in which is a profusion of plants. They range in size, from the tiny knobs and balls at the perimeter to affairs with broad trunks and leafless branches in the center.
The characters have found a room of fungi cultivated by automation. This was originally placed here to provide food for the bred animals, and they still come here to feed.
As noted earlier, throw 9+ for the door to initially be open. Throw 7+ for a random animal encounter to occur while in this area. If so, throw 1D-3 on the encounter table.
This hemispherical room has a metal floor. There is a gap, a few centimeters wide, between the floor and the wall. It travels the full circumference of the room. The place is empty except for dirt and debris on the floor.
This room was set aside as space for breeding animals to lair in.
As noted earlier, throw 9+ for the door to initially be open. Throw 6+ for a random animal encounter to occur while exploring the top of the floor. An encounter is automatic below. When an encounter occurs, throw 1D-3 on the encounter table.
For careful search, reveal that the dirt and debris is animal spoor, and that the area under the floor is emitting noises as if there are animals down there.
The room is more accurately described as spherical, rather than hemispherical. The floor plate is also suspended by magnetism and divides the top and bottom halves of the room. Its possible to access the space below the floor by having at least two characters stand on the extreme far edge of the plate. Their weight forcing that end down will cause the end near the door up, allowing a character to slip into that space.
Since the lower half is filled with the pinkish vapor, it is not possible to simply view the space below. A character must go down to search. If a character manages to get below the floor, a set of animal lairs will become apparent.
This door is coated to look like the walls and is disguised as part of the structure. Some of the floor vapor can be seen to disappear under it. A small opening is visible in the wall beside the door.
This is a concealed passage to the power plant and a possible combat encounter with flyers.
|Die||Animal Type||Weight||Hits||Armor||Wounds & Weapons|
|7||8 Flying Hunters||12kg||2/0||jack||teeth & claws||A5 F8 S4|
This doorway is revealed by careful search of chamber 1. If not found, when they come through the chamber a second time, the presence of an animal could suggests its location.
Because the seals on the concealed door have failed, smaller animals (3- kg) are able to pass through. If the characters fail to find the door on the first visit, assume a snake-like grazer is on the floor in front of it. The animal will freeze to escape notice. If missed, assume the characters have walked too close to it, and being momentarily cornered, it will attack on 5+ with surprise. Otherwise, it will slip back under the door, which it will do in any case in the next round. If caught or killed, examination will show very recent claw and teeth marks on the animal. Traces of blood will lead back under the concealed door.
Flying hunters use the passage beyond the door as a lair. They can sense the sounds of activity from the characters in chamber 1 and will be disturbed them. When the doorway is open, throw 7+ for the flock (die roll 7 on the animal encounter table) to erupt and attack. On 6-, they evacuated the passage. If they attack, each individual in location 1 will be forced to fight (three combat rounds) before retreating to the safety of another part of the pyramid.
The passage from 5 leads on a slant down to the power plant (location 6). The floor is strewn with animal spoor. There is no light.
There is no light here other than your own beams playing around the room. Large pieces of machinery occupy most of this chamber with unfamiliar meters and controls everywhere. Pinkish vapor fills the room to a depth of 1 meter. More of it rolls down from vents and the sloping passage. The ceiling light fixtures overhead hang in ruins. There is a loud hum in this room that makes communication difficult without turning up your earphone volume.
The characters find the outlines of two residents of the pyramid along with two corroded gauss guns. There is also a coyn imprinted with the image of a Vargr.
TasksThese are a series of tasks to determine the nature of the power plant. This is actually a geothermal system.
|1||operate exterior door||16||lighting, power plant|
|2||operate door to room 2||17||lighting, room 2 corridor|
|3||operate door to room 3||18||lighting, room 3 corridor|
|4||operate door to room 4||19||lighting, room 4 corridor|
|5||operate concealed door||20||turn on/off pendulum kicker|
|6||operate statue atop pyramid||21||raise/lower pendulum|
|7-11||lighting, chamber 1||22||subsonic signal panicking all animals in the complex|
|12||lighting, room 2||23-24||quake detectors (which activate 2 min before a quake)|
|13||lighting, room 3||25-32||inoperable/unidentifiable|
|14||lighting, room 4|
|15||lighting, exterior door corridor.|
Throw 6+ for a random animal encounter to occur while in this area. If so, throw 1D on the encounter table.
Visibility through the vapor does not go any further than close range, even in infrared. Because of the danger of hidden animals, they might rather find a means of getting rid of the vapor. One possibility is to use jets of air from their oxygen tanks. This will allow them to complete a casual search at the expense of 20 minutes on their air supply. An alternative is to have the room system flush out the vapor, and indeed, the building ventilation system is centered here.
A casual search with the vapor out of the way will reveal a few things. First, at the east and west sides of the room, there are large black stains on the floor in the shape of the beings depicted on the walls of chamber 1. Near each is what at first looks like a tool, but on closer examination will prove to be a gauss pistol of alien design. Age makes the weapons impossible to resort.
Second, a small disk lays in the middle of the floor. It bears the full body image of a Vargr and is made of a yellowish metal (gold). The Vargr is in profile on one side, and is face front on the other.
This is actually a Droyne coyn, and Droyne are responsible for the death of the inhabitants. However, the referee's presentation, while giving the information accurately, should implicate the Vargr instead of the Droyne. Describing the object as, "a disk with a Vargr on it" could get players to conclude its a Vargr "death card" of sorts. Describing it as a "gold coin", however, more readily invites the thought, "Droyne coyn".
If the characters fail to find the infrared mural in chamber 1, later computer enhancement of the video images they took will reveal the presence of hidden designs, but not the details. This is important, otherwise the group will not know the location of the homeworld. Either the characters will have to return to investigate, or the NPC team in pinnace 2 will. If the coin in the power plant was not discovered, it may be better that the NPC team volunteers. This way, its discovery can be assured.
Analysis of the mural will allow the characters to map what systems the race colonized and invent from the labels names for each. The system at 1022 (Ssrar) is quite obviously the homeworld for the race.
Most of the overall construction of the transmitter follows a very unfamiliar design philosophy using uncustomary materials. However, some components have symbols that, under later analysis, are at least descendant of a Vargr alphabet. Others, however, are unidentifiably alien.
Analysis of the gold coyn will not be able to draw any conclusions about the "yellow disk". NPC scientists will do metal content tests, wear analyses, style classifications, and speculate about from what branch of the Vargr diaspora it could have come from. It will take a player character to clearly suggest that its a Droyne coyn of an unfamiliar style. Once on the right track, the truth of that will soon be confirmed.
As already explained above, analysis of the animals will show that all three types are in fact that same species in different developmental stages. They are the most advanced lifeforms on the planet, but are not indigenous and are confined to that one island. The prolific plant life is not indigenous either.
The subsector was originally occupied tens of thousands of years ago by a reptilian race called the Hhkar. They advanced to TL12, but without jump technology.
About 50,000 years ago, a race of Droyne in the subsector also rose to TL12. They did possess jump drive and began the systematic extermination of all Hhkar. The Droyne governments are xenophobic and will react with hostility toward visitors from outside the subsector.
Let the players examine the player star chart of the subsector. The star classifications are known from astronomical data, although system contents are unknown. The characters can search for gas giants out to interstellar range (2 parsecs).
Several routes back to the expedition corridor are possible. One of the most attractive of those routes happens to pass through the homeworld. The referee may let players examine the options for themselves. If the characters ask the consuls for advice, they will evade and not recommend anything. Yet, their interest in the homeworld will be obvious by their speculations in conversation over the returned information. And they speak nothing about anticipation of their return to a base. This should hint to the players the consuls are expecting the Vishhiquay will go to the homeworld.
If the characters decide to bypass the homeworld, the consuls will ultimately intervene. But they will delay their interference for as long as possible, stepping in directly only when the Vishhiquay is about the leave the subsector.
Once the route is decided, the referee should review the subsector information provided and create nuggets appropriate to the systems the characters visit. Basic nuggets for three systems they are likely to pass through follow. At other systems, its possible for them to encounter a substantial amount of space debris. The Hhkar were very active in space, perhaps leaving a reasonably intact space habitat to explore.
09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 21 . . . . 21 21_ . . 'B: ,C: _21 22 . . C: ;A: 22 SSURABREK SUBSECTOR 22_ E: X' . D: _22 23 . X' . ,B. 23 23_ X: E: . . _23 24 . . . ,E: 24 (') P Droyne Naval Base 24_ E: . . . _24 (,) Q Droyne Military Garrison 25 . X: . 'C: 25 (;) A Naval and Military Base 25_ X: . E. . _25 ( ) No Base 26 . . . . 26 26_ . . . . _26 (:) Gas Giant and Water Present 27 X' X' . . 27 (') Gas Giant Present, No Water 27_ E. . . . _27 (.) Water Present, No Gas Giant 28 . X' . E: 28 ( ) No Gas Giant, No Water 28_ . . . X. _28 29 . . E. . 29 29_ X: . . . _29 30 X' . . X. 30 30_ . . . X: _30 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 21 . . . . 21 21_ . . * * _21 22 . . * * 22 Players' Star Chart 22_ * * . * _22 23 . * . * 23 0927 M6 III 1322 F8 D M7 D 23_ * * . . _23 0930 F8 V 1329 M8 V M6 D 24 . . . * 24 1022 M1 V M1 D 1421 M3 D M7 D 24_ * . . . _24 1023 M0 V M6 D M5 D 1425 F8 D M4 D 25 . * . * 25 1024 G4 D M2 D 1522 F6 D M9 D 25_ * . * . _25 1025 F2 D M9 D 1523 F7 VI 26 . . . . 26 1027 F3 D 1524 K7 V M0 D 26_ . . . . _26 1029 M7 V M1 D 1525 F2 V 27 * * . . 27 1123 M1 V M2 VI 1528 K0 VI 27_ * . . . _27 1125 M3 D M2 D 1530 F9 VI M1 D 28 . * . * 28 1127 M6 V 1621 F9 VI M7 D 28_ . . . * _28 1128 G0 V 1622 F2 VI 29 . . * . 29 1222 M8 II 1628 F7 V 29_ * . . . _29 1223 F2 D 1630 F9 V 30 * . . * 30 30_ . . . * _30 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 0927 X000000-0 As Ba Lo Ni 024 -- M6 III 0930 X410000-0 Ba Lo Ni 004 -- F8 V Ssrar 1022 E9A5000-0 Ba Lo Ni Fl 024 Hk M1 V M1 D Hzkuuhk 1023 X321000-0 Ba Lo Ni Po 024 Hk M0 V M6D M5D Nhurgaah 1024 E353000-0 Ba Lo Ni 003 Hk G4 D M2 D Caaghukk 1025 X88A000-0 Ba Lo Ni Wa 024 Hk F2 D M9 D Zakuuhk 1027 E545000-0 Ba Lo Ni 020 Hk F3 D Passuzk 1029 X89A000-0 Ba Lo Ni Wa 003 Hk M7 V M1 D Aark'Brken 1123 X000000-0 As Ba Lo Ni 013 Hk M1 V M2 VI Ghoohk 1125 X77A000-0 Ba Lo Ni Wa 035 Hk M3 D M2 D 1127 X110000-0 Ba Lo Ni 023 -- M6 V 1128 X500000-0 Ba Lo Ni Va 013 -- G0 V 1222 X200000-0 Ba Lo Ni Va 023 -- M8 II Iirhkus 1223 E675000-0 Ba Lo Ni 003 Hk F2 D Twossay 1322 C6773X5-7 Lo Ni 624 Dr F8 D M7 D Yhrahr 1329 E9C9000-0 Ba Fl Lo Ni 000 Hk M8 V M6 D Moymuert 1421 B667676-B P Ni Ri 304 Dr M3 D M7 D Zaell (Urhku) 1425 E889000-0 Ba Lo Ni 020 Va F8 D M4 D Ixri 1522 A4677XB-C A Ag Cp 313 Dr F6 D M9 D Unoyem 1523 B6665X8-9 Q Ni 400 Dr F7 VI Apop 1524 E333166-B Q Lo Ni Po 804 Dr K7 V M0 D Sibnut 1525 C4432X7-B A Lo Ni Po 723 Dr F2 V Kraahk 1528 E7C8000-0 Ba Fl Lo Ni 002 Hk K0 VI 1530 X775000-0 Ba Lo Ni 000 -- F9 VI M1 D Vuayl 1621 C555366-8 Q Lo Ni 724 Dr F9 VI M7 D Dadroyay 1622 D454477-6 Ni 633 Dr F2 VI 1628 X535000-0 Ba Lo Ni 020 -- F7 V 1630 X245000-0 Ba Lo Ni 023 -- F9 V
Ruins, similar to those on Kraahk, are found scattered on this world. There are also ruins of a very different nature that prove to be Vargr.
The referee is encouraged to play out the events that occur while the landing party is on the surface. Alternatively, he can just reduce this to broad tasks if there is need to move on.
Another beacon will be detect on the world's surface. Examining the area from orbit will show the site to have been a starport. Although not Zhodani, the layout is familiar enough for it to easily be recognized. However, there are no structures still intact. The area is covered by a meter of seasonal snow.
A major Vargr colony established itself on this world 500 years ago. It prospered, but was attacked and became a captive world of the Droyne 400 years ago. The Droyne interest in the Vargr was to revitalize their own technology, which had grown stagnant and somewhat regressive after thousands of years. Once they had what the wanted, they destroyed the major centers of Vargr population with nuclear weapons. Droyne artillery and infantry mopped up the rest. Aided by psionics, the massacre was very thorough. If any Vargr survive on the planet, they'd be cautious to avoid detection, making their discovery by the player characters very difficult.
This system is occupied by a Droyne naval base and garrison. Scout ships will be sent to destroy the Vishhiquay if its detected.
Soon after emerging in this system, characters will detect communications suggestive of space traffic. And indeed there are about 20 ships in the neighborhood of the main world ranging from 100 to 1000 tons. Characters analyzing voiced signals can determine they are Droyne, although the language is not Oynprith, the common ceremonial language for that race.
If the characters are detected, four scouts ships will go out to engage them. The ships are 100 tons each, jump-2, 2-G, and armed with a triple laser turret. Attempts to communicate the Vishhiquay's peaceful intent will not be responded to. If the characters wish to withdraw, this should be made easy, perhaps by allowing the Vishhiquay enough time to refuel from a gas giant and jump out.
The ruins of a Hhkar metropolis are detected from orbit. A massive crater sits in the middle of it. However, exploration is made very difficult by seasonal storms.
As before, a beacon is at the outskirts of what was a city. However, the region is experiencing a season of storms. A landing will be risky in the buffetting winds, and the weather is likely to impede exploration. If characters do land, they are unlikely to discover anything new this visit without many days of somewhat risky exploration. There is no evidence of any kind of sophont activity.
From routine orbital studies, the characters will know the atmospheric taint is from sulfur compounds.
Two consuls are in the ship lounge in preparation for a conference. Aveliashav reviews documents on a display. Niarziashav sits with a beverage in his hand. Neither speak. Chitsiashav arrives and seats himself, giving the other two a customary greeting. Aveliashav returns the greeting stiffly. Niarziashav says nothing.
Chitziashav studies his peers for a moment. "Is there something wrong?"
Niarziashav puts the glass down heavily and says, "The Qlomdlabr does not commit murder!" Aveliashav turns the display to Chitsiashav. "Your words, Chitziashav." Phrases in the document stand out, highlighted in glowing red. You are not close enough to read them.
The remainder of the conversation goes on in silence. Emotions play across their faces as evidence of the telepathic exchange. After a while, Aveliashav musters his calm and dismisses you from the room.
The three consuls have advanced knowledge of what is fated to occur at Ssrar through an Ancient map projector. The second pinnace will be destroyed, killing all 12 people aboard, and the consuls are in strong disagreement over the treatment of the situation.
This occurs at any point during the flight from Kraahk to Ssrar with player characters in the capacity of stewards.
The Zhodani Consulate is committed to an almost religious quest to reach the galactic core with the guidance of the Ancient map projectors. The projectors, however, also reveal future events. Conventional wisdom is that the images visualized are destined to occur and cannot be altered.
Rather than resist the images, the Qlomdlabr decided long ago to actively work to make what was visualized come about. Although the belief was that the events would occur anyway, actively promoting the events was seen as demonstration of the Zhodani commitment to reach the core guided as much by their own free will.
Chitsiashav, however, dared to question the morality of cooperating with the images. Out of compassion for the dozen aboard the second pinnace, he proposed it was the obligation of the Consulate to do everything in its power to interfere with that destiny, even if it were absolutely certain the crew would die anyway. By the same token, cooperation with that destiny was the same as being an accessory to their murder.
The reactions of Aveliashav and Niarziashav were to treat Chitsiashav's remarks as almost treasonous. The drive to reach the core was beyond question, something all consuls are in agreement with. Although whether or not to cooperate with the images was not the same thing, cooperation had become so tied to the Core Expeditions that it too rose above question.
Go to the Ssrar section (Part 3) of this adventure.
Return to the Introduction section (Part 1) of this adventure.