|Primary||Savria 1022||M1 V||Magnitude 8.64|
|0||Alpha||Large Gas Giant|
|1||Alpha Ay||YR00000-0||heavy ring|
|2||Alpha Bee||YR00000-0||heavy ring|
|3||Alpha See||YR00000-0||heavy ring|
|4||Alpha Dee||E9A5000-0||* beacon *|
|1||Beta||Large Gas Giant|
|2||Gamma||Small Gas Giant|
|Companion||M1 D||Primary orbit 10|
|2||Gamma||Small Gas Giant|
Ssrar circles a large gas giant just outside a surprisingly broad gas giant ring. The ring is also extremely dense with material, possessing almost no features such as the expected ring divisions. A character with Planetology skill will know the ring was the result of an unnatural break up of at least one major satellite no later than a million years ago.
Elsewhere in the system, and circling Ssrar itself, is a substantial amount of artificial debris. Without making a special search, all of it will appear to have been destroyed. Many of the objects are quite large, originally begin part of orbital docks and space habitats.
The ruins of several metropolitan centers are detectable by ship sensors. Craters dominate the center of many, suggesting they were destroyed by nuclear attack. There is no indication of a surviving civilization anywhere on the planet.
Yet another beacon transmits from the world's surface. Examining the sensor information, its looks as though the site was once a spaceport of alien design. However, climate changes have submerged most of it under about a meter of water. The rubble and structures, characteristic of what was seen on the previous worlds, protrude above the water. Wild vegetation grows over the areas the water does not reach.
The expedition commander, Captain Shechstebr, will order the second pinnace and crew to descend and explore first. The rationale is that the first pinnace was usually first the last times, and its time to reverse the order. But, whatever the referee does, he should carefully manipulate events such that player characters are not on the second pinnace when it leaves the world's surface, since its fated to be destroyed.
A Droyne squad, unobtrusively stationed on the world, is aware of the Zhodani and has attacked the non-player character landing party. Communication is lost with them as the Droyne beacon becomes a radio jammer. The team is unconscious in the building and require rescue.
Telepathy, employed from the Vishhiquay, will reveal all characters belonging to the landing party are alive but unconscious. Clairvoyance will show their prone and scattered bodies, but will not readily show the Droyne elsewhere in the building. Assume the range is planetary unless the characters take the time to adjust the orbit bringing the ship into better range.
Note that although the typical task duration is about 10 minutes, the ship's orbit might not have brought the sensors in range of the site. Roll 2D-2 and multiply by 10. The result is how long the sensor operator must wait until the sensors can be brought to bear.
The departure of the Vishhiquay Two is unusually ceremonious. All three consuls are present to see the party off. Aveliashav gives a short speech ostensibly commemorating the homeworld landing as a historical event. The consuls extend honors to each member of the non-player character landing party as they board.
The landing of the Vishhiquay Two is uneventful. Since most of the clear areas are now covered with water, the pinnace lands on a blocky, flat topped building evidently designed to accommodate flying vehicles. The familiar Droyne beacon also sits atop it near a corner.
A lift is discovered in the center of the roof, the only above water entrance into the building. After scouts tested its operation, Lt Cmdr Ezsho, the commander of the Vishhiquay Two, leads the party down, leaving behind one man with the pinnace. The first two levels are empty. However, all communication is lost with the landing party while they explore the third. The last signal from Ezsho is, "Vishhiquay! We're in trouble! Some ..."
Up to this point, the player group in the mothership can have full knowledge of what the landing party knows. The pinnace and the explorers carry video cameras. The Vishhiquay keeps contact with them through communication relay satellites in high orbit. So as to give the players some involvement, they can advise or perhaps even control an exploration dumbot until communication is broken.
The truth of the matter is that the landing party has fallen into a trap. The Droyne understand the operation of the building. And when the group started exploring the third level down, they switched on ultrasonic projectors at their highest intensity, knocking them out.
Immediately after, the beacon on the top of the building was remotely switched to operate as a jammer. The radio signal that was transmitted to the beacon by the Droyne might be detected. However, the transmission was too brief to determine its specific location.
Within a few minutes of from when the jamming began, the crewman still aboard the pinnace, Advanced Spacer Iayapa, realized the beacon was the source. He left the pinnace to disable the antenna, but was hit by fire from an overlooking building. He is unconscious and dying.
Dreams and other states of consciousness were a very important aspect of Hhkar life. The building the pinnace landed on was a center Hhkar visited to lounge in social groups. The chambers would differ in lighting, sounds, scents, temperature, atmospheric content, and even background electrostatic and magnetic fields. These helped promote different kinds of dream states in Hhkar.
Each level of the building is equipped with a slightly different array of features. The third level down from the roof also has concealed ultrasonic projectors, currently at maximum intensity. All characters on that level, other than in the lift chamber, take 4 hits of temporary damage per round. This is reduced by 1 hit for every 5 points of armor rounded down. Damage after unconsciousness is ignored. After 3D minutes, each character returns to consciousness and recovers his original hits value.
Nine large chambers are found on each level, along with four smaller chambers. These, and the corridors, are remarkably similar in design to those found in the pyramid at Kraahk and can be administered the same. The larger chambers also feature 20 "stone beds" each spread out arbitrarily. These have slightly rounded tops, rather than flat, and feel as if made of stone. However, the material deforms slightly over time. A heavy object, like a weapon, will leave a temporary impression.
All levels are virtually identical in arrangement, except the fourth level down, the basement. The only real difference is four subterranean entrances from each of the four cardinal points of the compass. All are closed off by metal doors, like those on Kraahk.
The northeast chamber contains all of the master controls for the building. The northwest chamber is the environmental center, which includes heating, cooling, atmospheric filtration and additives. External power also arrives here and is distributed through the building. The operation of the building can be shutdown from either center. Again, these have very similar equipment and controls as was found at Kraahk.
The first landing party is on the next level up. Four characters lie in the north central chamber. Seven lie in the northeast chamber, among them being Lt Cmdr Ezsho. They will remain unconscious until they are no longer under the influence of the ultrasonic projectors. They can be rescued by either turning the projectors off at either of the two centers on the basement level, or through the local controls in the small chamber in the northeast quadrant of the third level. However, to do so from the small chamber, a character must move 15 meters from the lift chamber and operate the controls while being subjected to the ultrasonic projectors.
The atmosphere still has sulfur compounds, but not at such toxic levels as was on Kraahk. A suit breach is not as serious a matter here. Repairs can be delayed for as long as 1 minute. Thereafter, however, the character will begin to choke. All tasks are one level more difficult. Unconsciousness comes in 1D minutes plus the character's endurance divided by 5 rounded down. Because, the atmosphere also contains oxygen, the character can survive for as long as 1D hours before respiratory failure.
| | | | .- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -| |- - - - - - - - - - -- - - -. : | | : : ^ | | : : ----- N -- -- ----- : : / \ / \ / \ : : / \ / \ / \ : : |Environment|_____| |_____| Main | : : | Processing _____ _____ Control | : : | & Power | | | | Center | : : \ / \ / \ / : : \ / \ / \ / : : -- -- ___ ---- _____ -- -- : : | | / \ | |___/ \ | | : : | | | | | ___ | | | : : | | | | | | \_____/ | | : : -- -- \ / -- -- -- -- : : / \ | | / \ / \ : : / \ | | / _ \ / \ : ___:______| |_||_| / \ |_____| |______:___ ___ ______ _____ : : __ __ ______ ___ : | | | \ _ / | | | | | : : \ / \ / | | \ / : : \ / \ / | | \ / : : -- -- _____ -- -- / \ -- -- : : | | / \___| | | | | | : : | | | ___ | | | | | : : | | \_____/ | | \___/ | | : : -- -- -- -- -- -- : : / \ / \ / \ : : / \ / \ / \ : : | |_____| |_____| | : : | _____ _____ | : : | | | | | | : : \ / \ / - \ / : : \ / \ / \ / : : ----- -- -- 6m ----- : : | | _ : : | | : - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -| |- - - - - - - - - - - - -- - | | | |
On Ssrar is a squad on Droyne consisting of six warriors and three scouts supported by several Droyne of other castes. They are on station to watch for visitors to the planet. The intelligence they collect is stored in a computer at a well-hidden subterranean base where are found the technicians, workers, and drone.
The Droyne will also attack visitors if they can. Even if they do not destroy those that land there, the combat will probably yield useful information. Attacks will be staged from a wheeled ATV equipped with a continental range radio communicator, regional range maser communicator, and a 3cm auto cannon.
|Rds||Pen/Attn||Dmg||Max Rng||Auto Tgts||Dngr Spc||Sig||ROF|
|3cm Auto Cannon||---||3000||5/3||4||VLong(3.5km)||4||---||Med||200|
Below are basic stats for the Droyne the characters are likely to encounter. All warrior and all scouts can be assumed to be the same for game purposes. However, the referee is encouraged to use the Droyne section of MegaTraveller Aliens Vol 3, The Psionic Races: Zhodani and Droyne to develop the characters more fully. The warriors could also be psionic as well. In addition, the race has psionic abilities specific to the Droyne that can make the encounter more interesting.
A specific ability all Droyne have, even those untrained, is invisibility. Characters within 400 meters of a Droyne using this power cannot see it. This is negated, however, by artificial or natural psionic shielding, or a means of indirect electronic imaging, such as an IR scope. They also all have mind shields as a natural ability. This prevents their being sensed through the Telepathic skill, Life Detection.
|(Droyne Warrior)||666332||Age 20||2 Terms||Hits 3/4|
|ACR-2, Hvy Wpns-1, Unarm Cbt-1, Vacc Suit-1, [skill]|
|Combat armor-11, ACR (7mm), RAM-11 (4cm; 6 rnds), 2 Hand Grenade-11|
|Referee: The unnamed skill can be selected as desired. Possible skills are Tactics, Reconnaissance, Weapon-2, or Demolition.|
|(Droyne Scout)||433665||Age 32||5 Terms||Hits 2/2|
|Handgun-2, Unarm Cbt-1, Recon-1, Flying-1, Vacc Suit-1, Jack-o-T-1, Demolition-1, Psi-6, Telepathy-6, [Psi-skill]|
|Vacc Suit-11, Powered Wings, Autopistol (7mm), 2 Hand Grenade-11|
|Referee: The unnamed psionic skill may be Clairvoyance, Telekinesis, or Awareness. Each of the three scouts has a different power. The powered wings are an early application of technology leading to battle dress. Droyne with Flying may fly indefinitely without rest at speeds of 50 kph.|
|Upsso (Droyne Leader)||333A96||Age 40||7 Terms||Hits 2/2|
|Tactics-3, Leader-2, Handgun-2, Hvy Wpns-1, Unarmed Cbt-1, Liaison-1, Vacc Suit-1, Appeal-1, Psi-9, Telepathy-9, Clairvoyance-9, Telekinesis-9, Awareness-9, Teleportation-9|
|Vacc Suit-11, Autopistol (7mm), Wheeled ATV, Psi Drugs|
|Starport A, Small, Standard, Wet World, Mod Pop, Ext Law, Avg Stellar|
|Referee: Upsso is a military leader in a pure sense. The Zhodani are treated as an enemy race. He will see to it that intelligence is collected of their arrival, and will engage them in combat. Upsso will not make peaceful contact with the Zhodani unless he is forced to negotiate. However, he will sooner withdraw from conflict to assure the protection of gathered information, which is his primary objective.|
A steamy, white haze lies over the city of blocky and angular buildings. The shadows they cast are visible as lines through the air. Bat winged aviforms fly among the pyramidical structures, and sometimes swoop to the jungle below. Others skim over the shallow lake that once was the spaceport. An animal scream echoes from the distance.
Suddenly, you are hammered by an explosion adjacent to you.
The characters land the Vishhiquay One with a consul on board. They must attempt to rescue the wounded man on the roof, while contending with a Droyne sniper.
Only if characters expressly state they are examining other directions as well, allow them to roll this task a second time. If they succeed, reveal they've spotted an airborne object among the buildings at distant range. It flies using wing beats, like the aviforms, but is larger and has an artificial aspect.
An additional roll, using a scope or binoculars, will identify the object as a Droyne using powered wings. He is coming closer, using buildings as cover where he can. The scout will eventually land on a protective perch at long range.
Chitsiashav is aboard the pinnace on this trip, overruling the objections of his fellow consuls. He has with him a hand computer and holorecorder, both of Imperial make. The holocrystal he is particularly studying contains Imperial travel literature. Characters that know Galanglic can read the label which says, "Sakuun, Lar. WONDER PYRAMIDS OF THE MARCHES. Starshield Books (Rhylanor: 1107)". If asked why he came along on this trip, he will say he wants to check on an idea he had about the race himself, but does not want to announce his theory as yet. Chitsiashav plans to remain aboard the Vishhiquay One until the other landing team is rescued.
The wounded character laying near the beacon, Advanced Spacer Iayapa, has physical stats of 77A when uninjured. If the player characters waste little time in flying down to aid the first team, they will find him at minor wounds with injured stats of 306. If they delay, such as to do a sensor scan from orbit, Iayapa will be at major wounds with injured stats of 003. Because of a high penetration suit breach, he is breathing the atmosphere which was keeping him unconscious.
Characters emerging from Vishhiquay One will have to contend with a sniper firing HEAP RAM grenades from an overlooking building. The signature is medium and the warrior is at long range. He has 5 HEAP rounds remaining. When he has spent 3, he will withdraw to take up a new firing position and wait to support a scout's attack (see next event). Once all grenade rounds are spent, he will enter the building via subterranean tunnels.
The lift slides gracefully downward. There are no vibrations at all as you descend slowly through a tube 9 meters in diameter. The iris valve overhead closes off the daylight, leaving you in darkness for several moments until the platform breaks into a chamber illuminated with a dull light.
Unexpectantly, there is again daylight as the roof panels above open once more. A small object, massing about 1 kilogram, drops onto the platform amongst you with a metallic thud.
A Droyne drops a HEAP hand grenade-11 onto the party as they descend the building's lift.
The characters already know how to use the lift controls as a result of experimentation conducted by the first team. Their operation is virtually identical to a conventional elevator. The control to summon the lift from the roof is beside the lift opening, flush with the roof top. It only includes a small display indicating the current level the lift is on and a push pad.
When the characters arrive, the lift platform is on the third level down and an iris valve covers the opening. It will open automatically as the lift approaches. The iris valve also has separate controls, allowing it to be opened without the lift being present.
The lift is an impressive example of magnetic technology. As it descends, it makes no contact with the sides, being fully supported by magnetic forces. When it stops, mechanical breaks engage to lock it in place. Its essentially a platform some 9 meters in diameter. Spars extend downward from it forming a stabilizing structure some 12 meters long. Characters clinging to this are treated as having cover. The separation of each building level is 18 meters.
At an opportune time, a Droyne scout will make a hit-and-run attack. As an example of what it could do, it could fly in from a blind direction as the iris value closes over the descending party, land, open the iris valve, drop a hand grenade, and fly off. This assumes characters with the pinnace cannot respond in time. The referee is free to create a variation to this as the situation dictates. For instance, if a character is simply standing in the shelter of the open airlock, the Droyne might toss the grenade in from atop the pinnace.
Assuming the characters are on the lift, and the players have not specified their location as on a lift template, have the players roll 2D for each character. On 9+, a character is close enough to attempt to throw himself onto the grenade. (He is also in the danger space of the grenade.) On 12+, the character is in the target square. He can either try dropping onto the grenade or kicking it off the platform. Once possible actions are resolved, complete the grenade attack normally.
When the characters arrive at the second level down, they will find a knife obviously of alien manufacture. The object is in plain site, and would have been discovered by the first party had it been there before. This was actually dropped by one of the warriors and is a hint that the characters should be on their guard.
Four Droyne warriors and the leader will initially be in the building when the characters arrive. One warrior is in the main control center with Upsso. Another is in the environment/power center. Two more will be on the second level, one in the west corridor, the other in the south. If the snipper is in the building, his post is the room between the two centers. A Droyne scout will remain at the ATV hidden a little under 500 meters away. The sixth warrior, a technician, and worker, will also be there.
The actual events that unfold will dictate what actions the Droyne take. This is difficult to predict, especially where psionics are involved. However, some suggested actions to the referee follow.
If the characters come down the lift shaft, the warriors will keep out of sight until characters are on the third level. Then they will attack to best effect. If the characters manage to neutralize the ultrasonic projectors, Upsso, in the main control center, will know from the displays there. His skills, however, will not allow him to attempt to override anything from the center.
Instead, he will attempt to summon the lift. Once its on the lower level, he will shut off the power to the building. The warriors will then fire up at any non-Droyne attempting to climb up or down the shaft.
If the characters try to enter through the subterranean passages from other buildings, they will find the entrance blocked by metal doors. They can be forced open by a combined strength of 13+. The warriors on the second level will descend to the basement level, by lift or rope, to join the combat.
Communication among the Droyne will be very limited. However, when combat begins, Upsso will telepathically order those in the ATV to silence the beacon from jamming. No further radio signal will come from the ATV so as to avoid detection. Thereafter, the Droyne in the building will break radio silence. The leader will add his Tactics skill to the Droyne tactical points pool.
Upsso, however, will not risk himself in combat. If forced to do so, he will Teleport to the ATV. He is not cowardly, but is aware he is the only Droyne leader on the world and will not risk himself needlessly.
Chitsiashav greets you as you reboard the pinnace. The consul smiles, but his eyes reflect something other than joy. He says to you, "The race that sprang from this world may yet be alive. I found pictures of ruins in Imperial travel literature. There is no doubt they once had a colony on a world called Yorbund, almost 200 parsecs away. If they travelled that far, there might yet be survivors that escaped the massacres."
Chitsiashav begins to seal his vacc suit. "I will go back up to the mothership with the comrades you rescued. But, I'll leave my equipment here in your trust. See to it that no harm comes to it. You've all done well today. The Consulate stands in appreciation of your efforts. And never for a moment should believe that what you did here was in vain". The consul enters the airlock without saying anything more. He walks to the other pinnace with measured steps and boards.
Minutes later, it rises into the hazy white skies and accelerates for space, leaving a trail of condensation behind. But, that graceful line is disrupted at the head by a flash and billowing white clouds. The Vishhiquay Two has exploded.
As was fated by the images through the Ancient map projector, the second pinnace is destroyed. However, the consul, Chitsiashav, willingly sacrificed himself in the disaster as a gesture to fortify the Zhodani will in its commitment to reach the galactic core.
The consuls know that 12 people will be aboard the pinnace when it is destroyed (although some may already be dead when it explodes). If there are already 12 when Chitsiashav boards the Vishhiquay Two, he will send a character back to the first pinnace, taking his place. He will first select a player character if there are any, then Advanced Spacemen Iayapa if he still lives, then any living character except one required to operate the pinnace.
The Vishhiquay Two may be destroyed by a demo charge planted at a critical location on the pinnace by the Droyne, before the arrival of the player characters. If the charge is discovered, assume the pinnace is instead destroyed by an energy blast from the ground, The original starport was equipped with defensive weapons the Droyne learned to operate. Each is equivalent to a particle accelerator with a UCP of 3 and computer model 6.
All of you stand in dress uniforms in the main ceremonial hall before an audience of hundreds. Aveliashav is at the podium delivering an account of the mission you just returned from and the death of Chitsiashav.
"Chitsiashav left a message behind that I will read publicly for the first time. In it he says, 'Comrades. I feel as you do that we must reach the galactic core. That is unswervingly the Zhodani destiny. But if those that build the path for us ever believe the way is callously being paved with their blood alone, our will as a people shall fail, and the goal will remain forever out of our grasp. By this gesture, I mean to demonstrate to our people that we of the Qlomdlabr know well the price of what we do. But we remain firm to the commitment and call on all Zhodani to do the same.'"
"I will take these words back to Zhdant and petition the Qlomdlabr to erect a memorial in his honor so that his sacrifice will never be forgotten."
Each character that has earned the active cooperation of a consul receives +1 on his next roll for promotion, and +3 for total cooperation. Similarly, if the character has earned a reaction from a consul that is actively uncooperative, the roll suffers a penalty of -1, and -2 for hostility. The bonuses and penalties are summed from those earned by the character from among all these consuls. This includes Chitsiashav who left much documentation of the mission for his subordinates.
Chitsiashav will go down as a Zhodani hero. The Qlomdlabr will direct that the main flagship for the Eight Core Expedition be named after him.
Many options for additional adventures are still open to the Vishhiquay crew. They can even return to Ssurabrek Subsector to further explore the ruins left by the Hhkar, or attempt to make peaceful contact with the Droyne at one of their systems. The civil populace is not necessarily actively hostile toward aliens, although the military forces always are.
For an extended campaign, the Vishhiquay can be assigned to search the Vargr Extents for a surviving colony of Hhkar.
Return to the Introduction section (Part 1) of this adventure.
Return to the Kraahk section (Part 2) of this adventure.
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