The Zurraquor of Formad One

iggy's picture
October 2, 2011 - 11:12am
In the 30th anniversary module thread we are discussing what to make a module about. We want it to be and alpha Dawn module and my idea is more of a Knight Hawks module so I am posting it here to grow and not be lost.  Here are the notes from the thread and my latest thoughts.

Formad Cluster exploration finds zurraquor there.  Zurraquor activity looks like a plot againt the Frontier.  Zurraquor leads to the Sathar.  The module would then establish the relationship of zurraquor to sathar and allow the PCs to fight zurraquor in person, not ship to ship as in the Ares article.

jedion357 wrote:
@iggy: so the scope is a threat to the Rim and frontier. Presumably the Z's are building a weapon/ship or death star. Logically the best things the PCs could do is big out and bring back a battle fleet so what would be the hook to transition the PCs from arriving in a ship to being in an AD style adventure

As for what the zurraquor are doing I would definitely NOT make it a death star.  Too much like SW Ep 3.  How about a meteor cannon, massing of ships, or the starship construction yard that was mentioned elsewhere in the forums.  The construction yard theme could give the game setting the reward of a tech boost as a reward for finishing the module.  Maybe the zurraquor has developed variable jump speed engines.  Or longer jump distance astrogation.

jedion357 wrote:
The way I see it this would play out as scout ship jumps into system begins scouting, you'd almost have to run a KHs encounter that damages the ship and prevents it from leaving and or calling for the Flight or CFM which would force the action into AD style of play. Fairly straight forward ad encounters to 1. Blow the station and 2. Escape with a working ship. Followed by a chase out of the system.

Been thinking about the Zurraquor Formad adventure. I think the best line is that there are rogue zurraquor at Formad One.  We have established that the zurraquor are a subjugate race to the sathar.  This group has built a secret station in the Formad One system.  The station is full of zurraquor eggs in stasis.  A minimal crew man the station.  There are no transmission too or from the station and stealth precautions have been taken to the extreme.  It's as if the zurraquor don't want to be found.  The players must decide are the zurraquor planning an invasion or is there some other thing afoot.  The real motivation is to raise a colony free from the Sathar and use them to fight back.  At the end of the adventure the sathar figure this out, show up, an destroy the station.

jedion357's picture
October 2, 2011 - 1:56pm
Rogue Z's are interesting. But what do you mean by rogue? Rebelling from the sathar? Interesting. So PCs show up and find a asteroid ship base and investigate only to encounter Z's on the ship/base. Some combat but Z's contain their ship and PCs are forced to talk and make friends. Because turning a group of Z's to help the frontier would be a big boon. However, almost inevitably sathar show up and the queen Z decides to turn the PCs over to the worms to divert attention from her questionable activities. PCs discover this through a Z technician who wants to defect to the frontier. There's a fight through the Z ship to reach the scoutship and escape. Lord Sathdar suspects treachery on the part of the queen Z and plans to leave behind on her ship/station a permanent security detachment. As the Pcs are boarding their ship a fight between the Z's and the Imperial Worms breaks out and the PCs must escape in the middle of one mother of a space battle.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

iggy's picture
October 2, 2011 - 3:43pm
Yes rebelling from the sathar.  But, I like the genocide angle.  The sathar destroy the station rather than let a colony of zurraquor exist that was created without their control.  Your mention of a queen on the station is in line with thoughts I was having too.  The queen is the ultimate rogue.  The control the sathar have on the zurraquor is through their queens.  This queen's eggs are considered dangerous to the sathar because they will obey only their queen.  Kill just the queen and they will be unguided and dangerous, maybe a tad better, but still not in their control.  So, they must all be destroyed.  This should be a big news item in the Frontier, "Thousands of Helpless Zurraquor Eggs Destroyed by The Sathar".  The Vrusk will likely be greatly revolted by this.

I figure this queen left her home-world long ago and hid here in the Formad One system.  An asteroid station works fine for stealth.  She has been putting the majority of her eggs into stasis to keep life support needs down and allow her time to build a massive invasion army to free her home-world.

Another thought, for the players to show up just before the sathar show up and destroy decades of work implies that the two arrivals should be linked.
  1. The players entering the system could clue the sathar in that something is happening there.  The come to investigate and get lucky discovering a rebellion in the making.
  2. The players and sathar both observe a signal from Formad One that clue them in that something big is happening in Formad One.  The sathar are tracking down rumors of a rogue zurraquor queen.  The players are curious about the source of the unknown signal.
  3. The company the players work for sent a probe into the system.  What it was doing/looking for does not matter.  The probe discovers the zurraquor station in the asteroid and send telemetry and footage back.  The company wants to investigate this alien tech, maybe get some tetrearch tech.  They don't know anyone is there due to the stealth.  The zurraquor disable the probe to protect their hidden base.  The company thinks the probe just broke down.  The signal sent back is intercepted/obtained by the sathar, maybe there is a sathar agent in the company.  Maybe the sathar agent even joins the crew to confirm the nature of the base before calling in the sathar.  Maybe the agent even goes unnoticed until after the adventurers escape and he tries to sabotage the ship to keep the entire series of event a mystery.
Ideas, ideas, ideas.

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
October 2, 2011 - 3:58pm
  • Does this queen have knowledge of the sathar home systems or other sathar controlled areas. 
  • The agent is caught alerting his superiors while the party is in transit. A UPF task force is assembled to assist the party in the final battle (they are days to weeks behind the party's ship)
  • How does the queen and party become allies? Perhaps one of the abilities of a queen is a type of mind read, one of the party (a vrusk?) could have visions or dreams of communicating with the queen - the party medic works on placing the character in a deep sleep.
  • The party crafts a decoy for the sathar to attack giving reinforcements time to arrive.
  • The sathar want information more than destruction (at this point). The party must fight off waves of sathar, their minions or their attack monsters. The Z technology rivals the S allowing the party to use things like the hover tank from Sundown on Starmist.

jedion357's picture
October 2, 2011 - 4:08pm
1. Sathar can speak Pan Gal but their language is unknown in the Frontier so I would assume the Zs have at least a polyvox with pan gal on it.

2. have the sathar coming in suspicious but unsure of whats going down with the queen, this lets the situation develop and evolve some.

3. You only need a station map for this adventure; a big one for sure but realy on the one map unless there is inhabitable real estate. but I dont think you need an inhabitable planet for this one.

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

Karxan's picture
August 13, 2012 - 2:31am
I have been thinking about this idea. The Eorna have an egg ship, why not the Zuraqqor? An egg facility hidden away is a great idea. We are given a good backdrop for Zuraqqor society in the Dragon article "The Zuraqqor Strike Back". I think it would be a Technician group that is leading the rebellion against the sathar. They would have a queen sequestered away, maybe a king, lots of workers, and a small group of warriors for protection. You could include something similar to the Juggarnaut from "Day of the Juggarnaut" article from another issue of Dragon. The zuraqqor are building a large ship with a small fleet of fighters for protection A shipyard would be essential for the rouge Z's to fight back from.

jedion357's picture
August 13, 2012 - 4:17am
I think a huge hive for a station and they are building a hive ship to get their progeny away from the sathar. they are not sure if they can trust the Frontier races either and this is a huge issue for them

the climax could be taking down the sathar so the egg ship can get away clean even though it will mean the desruction of the hive station.

This then would be the crux of why the Zs would not blow the PC's ship out of the vacuum as they are looking to save their eggs and are considering the Frontier.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
August 13, 2013 - 6:33pm
As iggy stated earlier the arrival of a UPF team and the sathar should be linked somehow and not just dumb luck.

So a robotic probe like the one sent by the Pale Exploration service that was sent to volturnus was also sent to Formad Cluster and by chance ended up in the system the rogue zuraquore were hiding in. The Zuraquor of course destroyed it but it did radio home some telemetry and images before that.

Whether it was via subspace or via snail mail normal radio messages is up to the GM. I think that we should be able to calculate the time a radio message would reach various systems in the Frontier from the Formad Cluster and this would allow GMs to work this into their campaign easier since they have a table that would say X number of years ago a probe reach the cluster and beamed back a message at system A before going off line, Y number of years for system B, Z # for system C. Of course the Gm could go with it being a recent probe and the message was via subspace but the point is that there would be options for a gm to start this adventure in his campaign.

Now the message is recieved by lets just say the Truane's Star Military Exploration Force (or whatever it was that Jamison was a member of) but a GM could tweak this to be a corporation, Space fleet, Royal Marines or some other civil service organization. Something in the images triggers interest in that something odd is apparently in the cluster but in the case of one viewer it triggers a hypnotic suggestion which activates a sathar sleeper agent. He sneds a message up the line to his handler but also organizes a scouting mission and has himself assigned to it. Now we get the reason for the UPF and the sathar arriving in the same time frame.

In fact while the UPF team is there the sub space radio is used to send a strange message and then its sabotaged so no one else can use it. This can become a point of investigation- who sent the message, what was sent and where. This will lead to the sathar mole but since the message is in code it takes a zuraquor to tell the PCs its a sathar code. The Zs can blame the UPF for revealing their position to the sathar.this may or may not set up a situation for the PCs to be guilt tripped into helping the rogue Zs. In fact a KHs battle with Zuraquor fighters and the PCs ship vs a sathar destroyer could be in order.

Simple the rogue queen is overseeing a genetic engineering program to genetically engineer a hypnotism immune zuraquor. They have a tubed sathar brain that candidates are sent to convers with to see if they succomb to hypnotism. Most fail and are purged. This is a eugenics program but not the cliche of super humans who are a threat to the human race.

now the sathar are breathing down their necks and the program is not ready yet.

Various outcomes could happen, PCs could bring a new ally against the sathar to the Frontier or the rogue Zs could be burned in the sathar's vengeance and wiped out but the pcs could get away with data on the sathar codes which would be valuable, data on the location of the zuraquor home world or the location of one or more sathar worlds which would be of huge interest to Space Fleet to take the battle to the enemy and potentially neutralize a threat. the point being that Gms could allow for various outcomes as per what he desires for his setting. You could get a happy TV ending of the rogue Zs prospering and helping the UPF and Rim or the tragic ending of them being wiped out but the PCs still manage to bring something of value back to the UPF. Could even allow for zuraquor technician ending up as an adventure companion to the PCs after the destruction of his rogue hive (he certainly cant go back to the sathar dominated portion of his species).
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

TerlObar's picture
August 13, 2013 - 8:30pm
Since radio is light, the travel time is one light year per year for the regular radio signals Smile.

Subspace radio make a little more sense in that the signal would be stronger at the destination but it would be beamed, only hitting one target system.  Traditional radio could be broadcast generally but you'd need an impossibly powerful transmitter for the signal to have any strength at the receiving end as an omni directional broadcast's power falls off as 1/r^2.  Even beamed it would be almost impossibly faint that if you weren't specifically looking for it, you'd probably never see it in the noise.  However a beamed regular radio transmission isn't out of the question.
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jedion357's picture
August 14, 2013 - 5:19am
Notes from chat with iggy last night

1. Rogue Zs have an asteroid ship that they used to escape sathar domination and have been building and adding onto it in hap-hazard manor for generations. This will match the image in this picture:

2. we're leaning toward it hovering above a gas giant with

3. internal rotating section for simulated gravity.

4. there should or could be a race write up for rogue zuraquor, at least covering the diferences in the cultures between the sathar dominated Zs and the rogue Zs.

5. set up potentially competing agendas UPF, sathar, rogue Zs, CFM etc everyone has something they are after which may or may not line up with other peoples agendas. In this case the rogue Zs fear exchanging one overlord for another and thus are suspicous of the UPF though willing to use them as a cats paw. i like a borg queen feel for the rogue Z queen.

6. major NPC character we call Z of 9 (7 of 9 from star trek voyager) basically a Z technitian the pcs would/could rescue from a wreck they find when they first go poking into a system of the Fromad Cluster- if the Pcs make friends with him he will lead them to the hive ship one system away and an audience with the queen. play him as an ermgent personality like a borg developing personhood and potential for him to become an adventure companion to the PCs especially if the adventure doesn't end well for the rogue Zs, which is a real possibility IMO. Emergent personality could be mimicry for the sake of survival designed to put the PCs at ease but from time to time there could be reversions to old ways.

7. Work on playing the insect mind at odds to that of most races.

8. going to have a series of KHs encounters: enemy of my enemy is my friend- PCs intervene in combat between sathar ship and zuraquor ship. rescue Z of 9 from wreckage. eventually there will be a sathar destroyer to deal with then the arrival of an armada.

9. Sathar mole in PC party could become a long running foil. if say the rogue Zs had other sathar equipment like a scout fighter that the mole can escape in, or he can be killed by PCs or the Zs

10 part of the rogue queen's agenda is to use the UPF team to deploy and use a super weapon against the sathar. reason why? she wants the sathar to think it was the UPF? or perhaps this weapon is terrible in the way bio-weapons are terrible and she doesn't really want her fellow Zs to think it was her.

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

Jaxon's picture
August 20, 2013 - 6:26am
What about the Juggernaut?

The Sathar had built only one Juggernaut <Dragon - NOV1984>

Karxan's picture
September 8, 2013 - 2:14pm
Your right Jaxon as there was only one. Then again there was only one Death Star supposedly in the first SW. So maybe there is another Juggernaut hiding in the cluster with the rouge Z? That would be a good twist to the tail.