In Search of Volturnus; a prequell

jedion357's picture
April 18, 2011 - 11:11am
Had ideas for a prequell and a post quell to the Volturnus series while driving today.

1. First off, information on New Pale in the Dragon mag article "Volturnus Connection" is considered cannon for this. Namely that New Pale is a lush world with dangerous dinosaur like creatures despite the Lt population working its agricultural economy.

2. Ideas I developed for a "Granger" adventure (that never saw the light of day due to my unhappiness with my ending) are in and some of that is extrapolated from the above mentioned article.

The Republic of Pale is the proud owner of the astro route for void jumping to Zebulon system and desires to expand and exploit the rich mineral deposites detected there but the Republic of Pale has problems:
1. its economy is only now just recovering from its occupation during the 1st Sathar War and while the last pockets of sathar infantry seem to have been erradicated, hunter teams are still neccessary to track down the accursed sathar attack monsters that have been released into the environment.
2. The Streel corporation is well on its way to becoming a megacorp and its been purchasing influence in the government at many levels almost to the point of owning the Republic outright.
3. Despite the turn around in the economy many of the returning refugees from the war are still out of work and food riots have become common place.
4. Independent minded farmers on the other inhabited body in the system, the nineth moon of the gas giant Cygnus Omicron, are protesting the corporate (STreel) and government (Pale) sponsered farms as violations of their soverignty. Political & terrorist groups have sprung up there and imperilled some of the food shipments to Pale.
5. The money just isn't there to pursue exploration and extra-system development as the government is faced with needing to raise Peace Keeper Battalions. While the aid from the Council of Worlds will not need to be paid back, Streel and PGC are not so forgiving of the loans they've extended to the Republic of Pale and just servicing the debt is a significant part of the Gross Planetary Product (GPP).

Hilo Headrow, CEO of Streel, is an ambitious yazirian. Even as the UPF was drawing up plans to land troops to deal with the sathar occupiers on Laco and Pale, he concieved a plan to transform his corporate bank into the next mega-corp of the Frontier. Streel underwrote loans for emergency military expeditures to the Council of Worlds, and local planetary governments across the board, sold off much of its industrial production copacity to PGC, and shrewdly aquired banks and financial institutions across the Frontier.

He moved his corporate headquarters to Point True, Pale and generously assisted in the rebuilding of the planet and its economy. Before anyone knew it most of the politicians were beholden to Streel for campaign funds and Hilo Headrow had virtually rewritten all banking regulations himself through elected proxies. He is virtually THE power behind the Pale government.

Unfortunately, the food riots have disrupted business a little and since the government is feeding the returning refugees Hilo decided to buy up property on Cygnus Omicron IX with an eye toward lending the republic the money to buy food and then selling the republic that food. His banks have aggressively pushed foreclosures on the ag colony while Streel has bought up all the realestate available there as well.

The Ag Colony On Cygnus Omicron IX
Independently minded and stubborn, the farmers of CO 9 look on Streel's activities with a dim eye. A political organization, the Grange, has sprung up with the platform of passing laws to disallow corporate farming in the colony. Some members of the Grange have turned to terrorism, believing a proactive course of action against Streel is neccessary.

The xeno-phobic terrorist group HUSP has joined in with targeting Streel property in the ag colony because Headrow is a yazirian. They hoping that their attacks on Streel will win more adherents to their Human Superiority philosophy and allow their group to emergy from the margins of society.

Streel has assutely used the terrorist attacks on its property to inflate the crisis over food on Pale (even intentionally delaying shipments and allowing shipped food to spoil while blaming the "terrorist famers") and Streel's politicians have proposed that the new Peace Keeper Battalions might need to be employed on CO 9 to keep the peace for the good of refugees.

In the middle of all this Hilo Headrow has an offer for the government of Pale; he'll send a 2nd survey expedition to Volturnus to look for the missing 1st expedition and complete the geological survey and forgive the loans to the government in exchange for the exclusive rights to develop the new planet.....
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
April 18, 2011 - 11:31am
Player Character set up

PCs are all native to Cygnus Omicron IX or recent immigrants.
They have family or are themselves sympathetic to the Grange movement.
They are all out of work for one reason or another- the worked for a farmer who's farm was foreclosed on by Streel- the business they worked for was bombed, if their non human- a HUSP action group left them for dead and destroyed their farm-they wont be able to make the morgage payment and Streel will end up owning it.

There are very few opportunities for gainful employment other than with Streel.
If a player has opted to have a character that is part of the Grange movement or the PC's family is in the Grange movement then that PC will be contacted by radicals from the Grange with the proposition that he should join Streel and become a mole for them.
Others can hear about the jobs available at the new Streel own shuttle port.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
April 18, 2011 - 12:16pm
As a prequell adventure the Volturnus Series is suppose to be the main event.

Thus the encounter for this adventure are suppose to be small in scope, though they can illustrate the sweeping changes and societal pressures at play in the Truane's Star system.

Having one or more PCs being tasked with becoming moles within Streel can be a useful tool to drive adventure now and latter upon return from Volturnus. The whole PC party can be a cell for the radical "Sons of Cygnus Omicron" the radical Grangers who want Pale and Streel out of their colony and its soverignty respected.

That said i think the opening for the adventure is in a sleepy little farming community kilometers from the closest shuttle port. All the PCs are out of work and must figure out what they will do for work. This will require some role play and interaction with NPCs around the trading post.

1. There is an undercover agent of the Sons of Cygnus Omicron who is looking to insert a mole into Streel or even a cell. The S of CO will not be paying the PC as they are looking for believers who will do their patriotic duty to the colony.

2. Stiles of Stiles Stage Coach is looking to hire a "shot gun" rider for his stage coach, an explorer, for the run to Port Constance, where he'll pick up his cousin who is his usual "shot gun" rider. He's only paying for a hired gun for a few days. The trip is overland and the moon is populated with dangerous dinosaur like animals so he needs someone to ride atop the explorer and man the heavy weapon (the weapon can change according to what the PC's skills are but basically a hvy machinegun or hvy laser)

3. There's an ad for jobs with Streel, enquire at Port Constance

4. The trading post owner will recommend looking for work at Port Constance.

Basic idea is a trip to Port Constance. at a rest break their will be a dino attack on the stage coach- just to introduce a little action. Now the PCs have fought along side each other and have a little "brother at arms" comradrie going on. an NPC should get eaten.

When reaching Port Constance, the "shot gun" rider is paid and discharged. Anyone who has been hired by Streel will be billeted at the local hotel and told their orientation will start tomarrow. Anyone not employed by Streel will need to seek accomodations somewhere but only the local hotel is available.

Next day will see a terrorist attack by HUSP on Streel holdings at Port Constance. Since its a HUSP attack any PC who is a part of S of CO will need not worry about shooting terrorist. The supervisor from Streel will cancel orientation and ask his new hires to help stop the attack while saying out loud and to himself that he wished their were more people available. This will be a chance for a new hire to suggest the other PCs. the Supervisor will ask if they are trustworthy or reliable in a fight. He'll accept the PC vouching for them on the basis of the dino attack.

They need to report to the head of security who has the key to the arms locker at the office but will find his dead body on the way to the office. They can recover the key to the locker and proceed there to arm themselves while the supervisor secures the computer files.

This will be a rolling combat with terrorist running around to plant explosives and stuff at the streel compound blowing up. the PCs gain exp rewards based on how many terrorist they stop (not how many building dont get blowed up). In the aftermath of the attack which turns out to have been a larger operation then what they saw Streel is temporarily pulling out till the Peace Keeper Battalions can come in. This means that all material and personell that can be evacuated will be.

The PCs oversee the security and loading of the shuttle, an unarmed mob turns up to throw rocks and must be dispersed without killing anyone- especially if they are natives to the colony.

The party will be sent to Pale to a corporate owned training center at Point True.
In the after math they're in limbo for a little while the company tries to figure out what to do with them. At one point their sent to investigate the death of a company employee at a site outside of Point True. On that mission they discover that a quickdeath is in the area and they have to put it down. For which the government pays a bounty for killing quickdeaths, which they get to split.

Purpose of the quickdeath encounter is to introduce the PCs to the consequences of sathar occupation which will play into events in the Volturnus modules.

At this point the company decides that this team might be just be the thing to go off to Volturnus and look for the missing expedition and establish a base of operations there.

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
April 18, 2011 - 3:14pm
Note to self:
1. write a table of rumors for this adventure. from background material and the details of the adventure

2. write suggested player backgrounds: just to give players ideas or they can use
     A. Farmer- farm was reposessed by Streel
     B. Farm Hand- but employer put out of business.
     C. Tramp frieghter crewman but put a shore after stolen item found in your quarters (you didn't do it) file away the ship and captian's name for latter use down the road.
     D. Former employee of MINER that ended up with posession of a company hover truck when the company was sold off to pay creditors used it to run a small shipping business for the past 1.5 years till a dino attack wrecked the truck and you lost your business.
     E. Family is formerly of Madderly's Star and lost everything when they decided to protect some vrusk during the Free World Rebellion moved to this ag colony to start over, All this time latter the HUSP, who would have cheered the Free World Rebellion have caught wind of your family's history and caused trouble
     F. Militia/ Land Fleet veteran that joined late in the mop up operations on Pale and never saw real action but discharged and tried hand at farming on New Pale- not a very good farmer; probably should stick to military career. Planet of origin can be anywhere.

3. write news reports (also function as rumors), few short news reports can be used to impart setting background material
     A. 12-15 month old news articles on MINER and its failled bid to exploit Zebulon with the kidnapping and murder of its CEO
     B. News Report on the First Volturnus Survey Expedition and a 2nd report on its failure to report back
     C. a burried report on Captain Zebulon's selling of the astro route to Pale.
     D. Piracy news story that will only turn up if PCs do a search on the first expedition's ships name, story suggests that with the rise of ships going missing mysteriously, and lists all the ships, that piracy could be the explanation.
     E. Expose on Streel's "buying" of Pale government
     F. Coverage on whats happening on New Pale.

4. Create suggested NPC contacts: NPC they can talk to for help or info as the case may be
     A. News reporter back on Pale
     B. Sheriff of Port Constance
     C. Ensign abourd the PMS Space Witch (thats Pale Militia Ship though she is refered to by her crew as the Space B______ but just not in the captain's hearing)
     D.  Players option to create an NPC contact
     E. Undercover terrorist (means the terrorist think the PC is loyal to them)
5. Create computer data searches on the previous expedition and the history surrounding the discovery of Zebulon system in case the Players do their homework on the mission.
     A. System brief on Volturnus
     B. brief on the previous expedition.
     C. Mission objectives for their mission

6. create a series of dino creatures to inhabit New Pale.
     A. T-Rex analog
     B. Brontosaurus analog
     C. Petrodon analog
     D. Velociraptor analog
     E. Triceritops or Anklyasaurus analog
7. NPC neccessary to adventure
      A. Trading post: Owner, A farmer, Stiles, terrorist agent (looks like farmer), bar keeper, local technician/blacksmith, 1-2 others
     B. Port Constance: Streel Supervisor.
     C. Point True: reuse the Streel Supervisor
8. Locations to map out
     A. a small regional map of New Pale where the module's action takes place
     B. Farming Outpost
     C. Rest stop and dino attack
     D. a 1/2 Port loren sized map of Streel compound at Port Constance
     E. 1 site on Pale for the quickdeath encounter
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
April 18, 2011 - 12:28pm
Changes to the Volturnus Campaign- The exploration ship that didn't come back is a wreck in the desert. This is not the Wreck in the desert encounter I submitted to the SFman before.

This encounter will be an HS3 government owned scout ship that landed but was shot up by the pirates. Clues are there to be found out about what's happened. there will be log to be recovered from the computers. there's some graves, a chance of salvage and improvised equipment.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
April 18, 2011 - 12:36pm
If the PCs survive the volturnus campaign and were resonably successful they will return to Truane's Star as heros.

 While they were on Volturnus
Pale has occupied Cygnus Omicron IX with Peace Keepers

Due to Streels instigation their is an vote before Congress to anex Cygnus Omicron IX as New Pale.

Streel is looking for a new mission for its returning heros and due to their familiarity with CO 9 its thought may be they could be used to serve a warrent on behalf of the government to arrest someone that Streel wants out of the way in the coming elections on CO 9 as Streel has managed to buy key politicians on that planet and has engineered a vote for CO 9 to seek anexation by Pale as well. The person to be arrested is a Grange Candidate who may just derail that vote.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!