Saturday, February 16, 2013

Space Opera: Silence Falls

Introduction
Silence was Humanity's greatest accomplishment, a peaceful and prosperous colony world as beautiful as any in the whole of the known space. Something has gone wrong in paradise.

Overview
This is the first adventure in a campaign dealing with an ancient alien threat. This adventure is a bit linear, so be prepared for that. The adventure starts with the character's receiving a distress call from the colony world of Silence. Upon investigating they find that the colony is under attack by an unknown menace, apparently robots. They are systematically searching the colony world for something, killing all in their way. These beings are being led by an ex-task force member who has gone rogue in a big way. Can you discover what these hostiles want? Will you be able to stop them? Can you convince the rogue agent to turn back to the side of angels?

Scenes
The Terran Majority has received word of a discovery on Silence. They found something buried deep during a mine expansion. It is a piece of technology, ancient and of unknown design. The Majority, seeking to gain favor, has brought this news to the Charter of Allied Worlds(Space UN, thanks +Storm Bringer  for that). The Charter has sent you, members of Shadow Legion(Special task force dealing with information and threat prevention), to investigate this piece of technology.

As you drop through the space gate warning klaxons blare, and the crew begins rushing about to battle stations. Upon investigation, the sensors show a massive ship in orbit of the planet and many small landing craft raining down upon the planet. There is a communications block upon the planet and the surrounding area. You are the only ship in range and the massive ship is of unknown origin. It is far larger than any ship in the Charter's fleet.

At this point there are several reasons for the players to want to go in and help/investigate. There is an unknown enemy attacking a Charter world. They could try and protect people. Try and shut down the jamming device to get word out to the rest of the Charter. They could try to gain information of many kinds about this new threat. Also the technology found in the mine could be in danger.

This is also a good time to create advantages and gain information to help in the coming scenes. A sensor check of Good(+3) or better will find the location on the planet they are attacking. they are attacking the capitol city, Serenity a mining town built at the base of a vast mountain range.

If there is a character of a piloting bent, they can make a piloting roll vs a difficulty of Great(+4). Succeed with style and the ship can drop you on the planet with no damage. Success means the ship has a mild consequence, if you tie you take a major and a mild consequence, if you fail the ship crashes but you are alright. If no one wishes to pilot the ship then the landing is made with as much or as little difficulty as deemed appropriate for the method of entry the players have chosen.

Beyond theGates
Upon making landing the players are now in a battle for life and death to seek out what this threat is and why they are attacking. depending on how well hidden the landing was, the characters could be attacked within moments of their arrival. the scenes of the city are all of fire and burning and bloody massacre. These aliens have, for some barbarous reason placed heads on tall spikes all around the city. When the players first find the aliens they are robotic looking hexapods, running on six legs for speed two legs for attack. When they are in groups there is a constant high pitched keening sound that comes from them, this is how they communicate. These are the Sukar an ancient and malevolent race. they are seeking the artifact and they are methodically killing everyone in the city.

Discovering what they are after is fairly easy. An Average(+1) Investigation roll will reveal that the Sukar are moving toward the mines steadily. A Good(+3) technology check on aSukar corpse will also reveal this. Also an Education roll versus a difficulty of Fair(+2) will show that these are not robots at all, but a cybernetic alien race.

A few scenes you can add in here:

A family on the run from a pack of Sukar. Make this as desperate and crazy as you can. This could be a combat scene, but then the Sukar will cut the family down. If the players would rather save the people rather than kill Sukar, it becomes a contest. Success means that the family gets clear, for every Sukar success in the contest one of the family members dies.

There are some people trapped in a collapsed building. Should the players wish to help them it is a Challenge scene. Some of the rolls that may be used to defeat this challenge are presented. A Fair(+2) Physique roll will clear some rubble. A Good(+3) Technology roll will free the stuck door. A Great(+4) Rapport roll will calm the people inside so they do not injure themselves in their hurry to leave. A Good(+3) Security roll will allow you to get into tight spots and find the best path out. there may be others as well, who knows how a player's mind may work.

A pack of Sukar set upon the characters. that is all there is to this scene. Just a fight. Use interesting zones and such.

The Tower
The Jamming device. It is a well guarded Tower setup on the outskirts of town. It is heavily guarded(at least triple the characters number in Sukar). There are many ways to try and take it out, as it is a fixed position. Should the players destroy it, there will be many distress calls going out, and the players will have access to their communication with the ship. Taking out the jamming Tower is the only way to let the ship know to come pick up the player characters. basically the adventure can't end until this tower is taken out.

The leader of the attack party is here as well. D'shavi Tu'rao, a former member of the Shadow Legion seems to be leading the Sukar into combat. If the characters have already seen the artifact then they will know that the Sukar hate all other sentient life in the galaxy, so this is a bit odd. If they get a chance to talk with him alone, they may find out much. He found them a while ago and they captured and interrogated him. He told them everything he knows of galactic civilization, he wants to live. they were about to kill him when they heard of the Artifact found on Silence. the technology resonated with certain scanners they have set up throughout the galaxy. he managed to convince them he would serve better as the leader of the attack party on Silence. He would do whatever they say so long as they didn't kill him. Somehow he convinced them.

The Artifact
At the heart of the city lies in the entrance to the mines. These are the most advanced mines in all of human space. it is a maze of giant tunnels seventy feet around. Great boring machines and haulers are parked near the entrance. the Sukar have taken complete control of the mines. the players will have to sneak by or fight there way in. Once inside it is a maze of tunnels, but it is orderly so if they have a map or are willing to roll Reconnoiter vs a difficulty of fair(+2) the characters can make there way to the new areas of the mine in short order. If they have any advantages relating to the mine system or the Technological artifact they can use them here. Have as many combat scenes or stealth scenes as you think appropriate down here. Awesome consequences for battle here is tunnel collapse, methane buildup and other underground dangers. eventually the characters will find themselves in the Artifact chamber.

That Noise in My Mind
the artifact is a large dome with dim lights glowing in moving patterns accross its surface. When the players get near to it it reacts. Any of the players with Esp can roll defense against it, otherwise the players are each given a mild consequence(Terrible foreboding) as they are forced to witness the death of a whole species.

The Artifact was known to its builders as the Archive. It was the collected knowledge of the entire race, known as the Nesseme. They were fighting a great enemy known as the Sukar. In th final days of the conflict they hid the Archive away, so that future races would not face the same fate as they did. Knowledge of the war and how it ended floods the characters minds. this is what causes the damage. Minds were not meant to process data this quickly.

Once that is over the Archive melts down. It is very old and fragile. the players got too close and it tried to transmit its data. It overloaded itself.

NPCs
D'shavi Tu'rao: A Gura of great renown as a galactic peacekeeper. He is one of the best fighters in the galaxy. He is self serving and logical. He tries to remove all emotion from his decisions. he believes in nothing but survival. It has given him the reputation of a bully.
Stats: Make him big enough to be challenging to your party, he will also have a high Deciet, he was able to convince the Sukar to believe him.
Aspect: Cowardly Genius Mercenary
Aspect: Love of self
Aspect: True Gura in heart and in mind
Aspect: Dead Men tell no tales
Aspect: Logical Brutality


The Sukar: a race that genetically engineered itself to near perfection(in its own view) they removed all emotions save for hate and a sense of racial superiority. They reached the limits of biology and began to augment them selves mechanically. Now they are as much as machine as a living thing. Powerful and enigmatic they destroy all suficiently advanced technological civilzations, as they might become a threat to the Sukar. Now the upon Silence an artifact was found, and archive of one of the Sukar's first enemies. They fear the information that might be discovered and have started the purge early.
Aspect: You are not one of us
Aspect: Control, Channel, Eliminate