Hepplewhite Crash: Sample Adventure

This is the mini-adventure from the Alpha Dawn Expert rulebook.

Sample Adventure

Mission. A ship that has been missing for several days is believed to have crashed into the planet. The characters must locate the ship, rescue any survivors and find out why the ship crashed.

Start. An aerial search spotted a grove of barren trees that might have been burned in a fire started by the ship. The Ship could not be seen from the air. The characters are landed near the barren trees and given a homing device that can detect the ship's emergency beacon. The air car will return in 20 hours.

1. BarrenTree. The Trees in this area are bare and look as though they were burned. Smaller trees, low plants and shrubs are not damaged, however. The homer will pick up the ships beacon to the southeast where the characters can see something that looks like billowy clouds just above the trees.

2. Radio Beacon.
The ship's emergency beacon is snagged in a tree, 10 meters above ground. After the character find the beacon five strangler chutes will blow into the area and one will settle on the tree that holds the beacon. If any character fails to evade the chute's filaments, he is caught and must be freed by his companions. The wind is blowing from the southwest, so the beacon could have drifted from that direction.

3. Stream. this stream is 5 meters wide. Characters will noitice an oil slick on the opposite side, drifting down stream.

4. Mire and Slither. Large patches of oil are floating on top of the muddy water in this swamp. There are several dry mounds of land the characters can stand on, but one of them is a slither. The characters can see a flock of winged rippers over the trees to the west.

5. Bodies. The bodies of two Yazirians in Hepplewhite, Inc., work uniforms are lying here. They have been dead several days. Thirty winged wippers will attack if the characters approach the bodies. The Yazirian's medkit still contains three doses of biocort, two stimdoses and one dose of omnimycin.

6. The Spaceship Wreck. The wrecked ship is crashed into the side of a hill and buried beneath vines and plants. Oil and vapors are leaking from the exposed engines. The entry hatch is blown open, but is hidden beneath churned up plant vines.

The Hepplewhite Crash Site.

The Wrecked Spaceship

A. Entry Lock. The inner hatch is locked. Any tampering will activate a recording that says, "Only authorized Hepplewhite, Inc., employees are allowed past this point. Please enter your security code." The door has a level 1 security lock. It must either be opened by a technician or blown open with explosives.

B. The Cockpit. A short ladder leads up to the cockpit. The body of a human pilot is strapped into the seat. All of the instruments are scorched and ruined, but beneath the pilot's seat is a black box labeled "Flight Record" that seems undamaged. If the characters play the tape, they will hear a yazirian saying, "There's been an explosion! Dierba is dead. I'm sealing off the engine compartment. Has anyone seen Rinny?" There is a fire extinguisher on the wall and an odd, slimy trail on the floor.

C & D. Wrecked Cabins. The room to starboard is caved in and contains nothing of value. A black trail of slime covers the plastic floor in the port side room. There is a child's toy on one of the bunks. The crash weakended the floor, so anyone walking into the room must make a RS check or fall through the floor, taking 1d5+2 points of damage.

E. Storage. All three storage lockers on the right are open and empty. There is a fire extinguisher on the wall and many black slime trails on the floor.

F. Rear Hatch. If the characters open this hatch, they will find dangling wires that are throwing sparks. Touching the wires will cause 2d10 points of damageand stun the characters for 1d10 minutes. To enter this area, characters must use an insulated tool to move the wires out of the way. Two doors leading down to the cargo area are blown open. A ladder leads up to the engine pods, and the hatch is badly scorched. An access panel in the port wall is open. More slime trails criss-cross the floor.

G. Engine Pod. The body of a dead yazirian is slumped in a control chair.  The engines are cracked, and acid and oil are collecting in pools on the floor. There is a 10% chance each minute that a fire will start in this compartment. If a fire starts, characters will realize that the ship will explode in 2 minutes (20 turns). The fire extinguishers in the ship will not stop the fire, but each turn the fire is sprayed delays the explosion for one turn. The characters using the extinguisher takes 1 point of damage per turn.

H. Cargo Hold. Nothing is left here but wreckage and slime on the floor. The slime was left by a small omnivore, a slime bug, that is hiding in the wreckage (Move Slow; IM/RS 6/55; STA 35; ATT 55; Dm 2d10). It looks like a flat bug with razor sharg claws. Characters move at half speed in slime.

Any character with Demolitions skill can find enough evidence in the hold to prove that a bomb was planted in the cargo hold. Otherwise, the players must figure this out themselves.

I. Service Passage. The characters can hear the sound of crying from this passage, but wreckage blocks the the crawlway. A fire extinguisher will cool the wreckage so characters can get past.

J. Wheel Well. A small yazirian child, Rinny, is trapped in this landing wheel well. He is crying and scared, but unhurt.

Q? Q is labeled on the map 3 times in three different locations? Why?

A Simple Insurance Investigation

Player Background

You had been looking into a job listing for mercenaries but that listing seems to be closed or filled; the only open listing left on the net is a simple insurance investigation. Its not very glamorous but money is money and the offer seems to pay well: 60 Credits/day with first class skills certification and bonus for a demolitions expert? What's up with that? Maybe somebody detonated a bomb. You figure why not money is money and it beats unskilled labor postings at 20 credits a day.

You arrive at the CDC corporate enclave. CDC is big in insurance and your not surprised to land in the office of an insurance adjuster.

"Thank you for arriving promptly. A shuttle that CDC holds the policy on went down a couple days ago. An emergency beacon from it was only detected today and the area where the beacon is signaling form was overflown from orbit but there was no visual of the lost ship. The troubling issue with this ship is the last broadcast from it:"

The insurance adjuster lays a file table computer on the table and activates a recording, "There's been an explosion! Dierba is dead. I'm sealing off the engine compartment. Has anyone...." and the recording ends in static.

We also know that the owners were planning to sell the Hepplewhite Dream and purchase an interstellar craft so we're concerned with insurance fraud and that is where your come in. You will fly out to the area of the emergency beacon, locate the ship, determine the cause of the crash, rescue any survivors, recover any casualties and collect and preserve any evidence you find before reporting back here."

"CDC will provide an air car to fly you and it will return after 20 hours. You will also have a 300 Credit advance for supplies and will be paid for two days work with bonuses for successful investigation. You have an hour to obtain supplies before the rented air car and pilot are here. Any of you demolitions certified? If not we have an scanners keyed to dected the presence of explosive material."

A Simple Insurance Investigation (referee background)

The players missed on an a classic mercenary contract offered by Bio-Gen Inc., however this contract would have been less money (as low as 20 credits/day for a projectile sharpshooter) although it provided for more money for equipment and military hardware. Sucessful PER checks with NPCs while stocking up on supplies with the credit advance can reveal this.

The PCs can obtain the Stats on the Hepplewhite Dream from CDC if they ask:
[Insert KHs stats]

To obtain a crew and cargo manifest they will need to consult with Hepplewhite Cargo LLC. The company is currently being held together by a human secretary who tells everyone to call her Auntie Mae and somehow everyone wants to do just that. She's frantic to learn the fate of the Hepplewhite crew as the company is small and all employees are family.

Pilot: Hanson White
Astrogator: Carsic Hepple 
Purser: Gallen Hepple
Engineer: Diebra Sensa

Passenger: Rinny Sensa

Cargo Manifest
28 cannisters of samples from Bio-gen destined for Bio-gen headquarters Gran Quivera, Prengular. 

Rumor Table
If PCs do any inquiring around they can each learn one rumor: roll on table.

[Insert Rumor table]

Volturnus Brief (Post Discovery)

[Insert physical data on Volturnus here]

A UPF Territory

After the Battle of Volkos and the Battle of Zebulon by native and UPF forces against the sathar the UPF came to stay in the Zebulon system. Defense planners in Space Fleet quickly realized that Zebulon was the system through which the sathar invaded the Frontier during the First Sathar War and as such was too important to leave unguarded. This fact drove the push to annex the system as a territory more than the benevolent reason touted in the press of concern for the primitives.

In short order the UPF had appointed a governor, established a forward Space Fleet base and dispatched a large contingent of Star Law marshals to Volturnus all over the initial protest of the eorna. The governor has at his disposal a civilian police force, called the Volturnus Protective Agency, for maintaining general law and order. Space Fleet concerns itself with policing the system. Star Law concerns itself with largely with investigating sathar activity and interstellar crime. Thus the governor is responsible for diplomacy with the eorna, ensuring the primitives are not abused and monitoring corporate activity on Volturnus.

The Native Populations
The eornan civilization was destroyed nearly a millennium ago by the sathar and less then a few hundred individuals had survived until their discovery by the UPF. In the intervening millennium the eorna survivors embarked on a "Great Mission" to evolve a replacement species that would rise up and defeat the sathar when they were eventually gone. It seems that there was not a consensus on how to go about this great mission and thus three separate species were evolved to sapience: ul-mor, kurabunga, and edestakai. There is a fourth potentially sapient species, the mechanons. Apparently they evolved from eornan robots instructed to self-replicate and continue doing their missions. The eorna staunchly deny them the status of sapience. Some have theorized that the mechanons were no accident and are simply the engineered product of a dissenting eornan scientist believing a race of machines would be better suited to defeating the sathar.

The eorna have not fully relinquished their custodial relationship over the primitive races despite the proclamation of self-determination of all sapients by the Council of Worlds. Most of the early governors exercised tact concerning the primitives and the eorna as long as the eorna were not perceived to violate the civil liberties of the primitives by enforcing their bio-engineering programs on them.

The Mega Corporations
Due to the nature of the charter and the organization of the Zebulon territory all of the mega corps are allowed to exploit and develop resources in the system. Early governors interpreted their mandate to protect the primitives in ways that put some limits on mega corp activities and have forced them to maintain their corporate enclaves in a central location to better keep an eye on their activities. Concessions are awarded for resource development in out-lying areas that do not impact the natives.

Some mega corps buck the restrictions and play a semantic game of challenging the authority of the governor and claiming their trade enclave is actually attached to the eornan government which, which according them has sole discretion of awarding resources concessions. The eornans, being money, resource and manpower limited have played along taking some corporate payouts for concessions they judge to not impact the natives. To date none of the corporations that challenge the governor's authority have done so in too flagrant a manner but at some point the issue will come to a head.

Star Law on Volturnus
Star Law was busy in the months after the Battle of Volkos investigating the activities of the Star Devil pirates and attempting to confiscate all the abandoned sathar equipment. They have since taken over the old pirate town and established a training base and impound facility there. Some believe its also a secret lab for working on sathar equipment and bodies. A pair of marshals is also posted to the City of Volkos to monitor the mega corps and mercenaries there.

For the most part Star Law has downsized its contingent. At any given time there is 1-5 marshals plus support staff on Volturnus. The Volturnus post is consider very important despite its size or the overall population of the planet.

Space Fleet
Space Fleet has established a sizable forward base and supply depot on Volturnus. Without a station in orbit its shuttles are kept busy ferrying personnel and supplies back and forth from space.

City of Volkos: Background brief

The original eorna capitol, the City of Volkos has risen from the ashes after its destruction over 900 years ago. In reality the ruins of the original city remain as 900 years of entropy have ensured there is not much left to build upon. The resurrected city stands a kilometer from the ruins and the eornan sector is the most beautiful section of the city. The governor's quarter and the corporate enclaves are clean and utilitarian in their prefab lines but the Port District is easily the dirtiest and roughest section of the city.

Eornan Sector
This is the cradle of the reborn eornan civilization. There are still far too few eorna and they lack the political will to provide a unified front for dealing with the UPF and its citizens. The eorna are a race of individualist, dreamers and artist and may never reclaim control of their planet from the UPF.

This section of the city excels in beauty and architecture. It houses the Grand Eorna Council, and the native schools for educating the primitives. The eorna have also developed a thriving medical and bio-engineering industry that has helped greatly to fund their rebuilding efforts.

The Governor's Quarter
This section houses the governor's mansion and the headquarters of the Volturnus Protective Agency as well as housing for all civil service positions.

The Corporate Enclaves
Each corporate enclave is like a miniature city in its own right. Built as a company town designed to serve the needs of its employees with a self-contained housing arcology, security force, office block and other buildings as needed for business.

The Port District
The Port District is not really a port. It is the water front in Volkos and aside from a few corporate flagged ships engaged in under water exploration there is very little water borne shipping on Volturnus. The Port District is an independent section of town where out of work mercenaries, independent ship crews and mostly unsavory types congregate. Lodgings are cheap, illicit activity abounds and trouble is the major export with bar fights being a spectator sport.

The Star Port of Volkos