The Pirates of Voltunrus VC-3

jedion357's picture
December 18, 2011 - 7:46am
I would not be opposed to running the basic script from SF-1

A. stroming the pirate outpost and learning about what the pirates have been doing to the edestakai.

B. revealing the truth to the edestakai to win their support for the attack on the pirate town.

C. Clearing the pirate town.

D. Tracking Col. Jamison to the eorna.

E. Sathar obelisk and the big reveal that the sathar are coming.

The above works for me though D&E dont really fit the title, Unless the Star Devil had discovered a 900 year old and possibly malfuncting or out of repair sathar obelisk and had shut it down. and the final encounter E is storming the obelisk which is at a secret launch/landing pad and there is a big show down with the star devil himself. In the climax the star devil activates the obelisk. Its laser weapon attacks and damages the Star Devils HS 2 or 3 ship. PCs get a chance to kill the Star Devil in this big show down, though he could get away. They must also deactivate the obelisk and in the process learn that it signaled for the sathar to come. Under these circumstances, the fact that the obelisk was so old and that it was possibly malfunctioning or out of power when the star devil discovered it we have an explanation for why the device did not summon the sathar when the star devil's ships started entering and leaving the system.

Yeah I'm liking that script.
The PCs will get a ship but they cant just fly away since its been damage, thus they are forced, out of neccessity to go to the next module and its script. And is not a ship an appropriate reward for saving a planet and stopping the sathar invasion of the Frontier?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

OnceFarOff's picture
July 24, 2012 - 3:53pm
So if the Star Devil and/or his boyz were at the sathar artifact, do you think he would want to destroy the planet? What would be his motive to call the Sathar? I would think that pirates would be against governments and not opposed to killing civilians, etc. but would their nature extend to planetwide genocide and an invasion of the frontier by hostile aliens?

Perhaps the SD thinks it's some sort of internal defensive system that he activates when the battle goes bad? I guess that would explain his own ship being damaged. Pirates probably aren't the most scientifically capable people. Maybe he recently discovered the ruins, was checking it out for tech and stealable goodies and decided to set up an outpost there?

jedion357's picture
July 24, 2012 - 7:07pm
That was my thinking- he repowers the obelisk thinking to activate its defenses which kind of go crazy. I'm for letting the Star Devil get away.

He could also be just cutting his loses and knows that turning on the obelisk will cause the sathar brain to shoot up everything in the vicinity, including his ships landed nearby and he just doesn't care figuring that the crews for those ships failled and or betrayed him and therefore screw them. The Star Devil jumps down a floor hatch and runs down a tunnel, when the PCs try to follow they spot and obvious booby trap with a count down timer that reads 5, 4, 3... there is effectively just seconds to dive away from the hatch. the bomb goes off collapsing the tunnel and the SD lives to be a foil another day (of course an GM who wants can simply let the PCs fight it out with the SD as a boss encounter).

The obelisk is coming on and activating defenses and such and the PCs still get their boss encounter without the star devil. there speed in deactivating the obelisk and its over mind will determine the severity of the damage to the ship they'll get as a reward- ie how much the after the campaign cost will be to put the ship to rights. they just are not going to be able to fly away with it before the worms arrive.

another option might be that with eorna and mechanon help they managed to fix the ship and after winning the last encounter in the battle of Volkos they get to fly against the sathar escort ship and the frieghters and troop transports while the UPF and Pale militia ships are battling the sathar battle fleet further away from Volturnus- or make it a mother of all battles in close proximity to Volturnus.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
January 4, 2013 - 10:33am
Ok, I've been thinking about how the pirates got people aboard ship.  Partly because I'm playing in Sam Langdon's PBP game.

He had a goon squad of supposed government supplied marines on board in polyplate armor with assualt weapons and mono-molecular blades. They never took their helmets off the whole trip that we saw and close to planet fall they ran amok. To a degree I like that as I had figured that you needed an inside man and I had used the first officer previously myself.

In a table top game I had the 1st officer sabotage the radar to blind the ship to the approach of the pirate shuttles from the planet.

Another idea that just occured to me is that the pirates had an inside man and slipped people aboard the ship by getting them into the storage class berths. The berths were reprogramed to open at a particular time (just before planet fall) and this turned the pirates loose on the ship.

Another issue that I've thought on is the lack of real weapons among the pirates first encountered in the module (ie few guns) Sam changed this up and racheted the tension level right up to 10 with polyplate armor and assault weapons. I think the original module design was about starting the characters low and letting them build to a climax. Sam's change doesn't really change too much IMO as they get laser pistols and machetes in the emergency packs on the lifeboat anyway.
If the PCs get lucky though they might overpower one of these goons in isolation and appropriate his armor and weapons which could lead to the Serena Dawn encounter spinning out of referee control. I'm rather excited to see how this plays out as I have no idea what he's planning.

A new idea that I did have to explain the original module and actually the idea may have come from Shadow shacks Volturnus campaign run from the point of view of the pirates that he blogged about somewhere. The pirates shanghai some fooks and make them work as boarding parties but dont trust them with guns till they see if these new recruits can be trusted. Rounding up some homeless on Pale would be a good strategy for this and the threat of being sent to the mines at the pirate city or being killed or just never getting back to civilization might be enough to compel them to go along. It does open the door for some role play with these compelled pirates that an individual might turn a blind eye to the PCs giving them an openning to sneak by or to not be found out by pirates with actual guns.

Under this strategy I would cast "Captian Skrag" as an up and commer in the pirate organization and if he succeeds with the capture of the Serena Dawn he will be awarded the hvy lift shuttle as a ship (HS 2, atomic engine as a chemical rocket would be of limited utility for the expedition to Volturnus) He's not given much in the way of assets and thus he has a few trusted hands plus the inside member of the Serena Dawn's crew and a handful of shanghaied individuals that he slips into the storage class berths. Perhaps this is a test of him because he was the captian of the "wreck in the Volturnus Desert" encounter that I wrote for the SFman awhile back. So it succeed or die for him and he's forced to resort to shanghai tactics because the Star Devil is not happy with him and is not providing him much support. He's bribed a crew man of the Serena Dawn and slipped his party aboard in the storage class berths and got hired himself as a cargo handler for this run. he murders the crew member he bribed en route to keep him quiet- this gives the PCs something to think about on the trip out and they might inter act with Skrag during that time as well setting him up as a major NPC opponent (and why not he's the only named pirate in SF-0).

Naturally the Star Devil wants to add the Serena Dawn to his little fleet or to sell it but the explosives on the arms locker which were not about destroying the arms but about just blowing it open causes secondary explosions in the locker and that rips a whole into space slightly compromising the vessel. Add to that a fire fight by between some ships crew and pirates ignites or blows something else in engineering parts and the Serena Dawn loses all maneuvering control and is on a collision course with the planet- forcing the pirates to simply cut away the cargo containers and shuttle riding piggy back. Skrag gets a black mark for his failure here and this may figure in latter in the adventures with him having a motivation to win approval.

Thus you have a logical set of events that give you the original module and answer some of the nagging inconsistencies.

Note to self: actually playing the game is probably the best way to think through many of the parmutations of the sceneario. Kudos to Sam for suggesting we play the campaign.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
January 7, 2013 - 4:55am
Other ways off the Serena Dawn?

1. life boat

2. Escape pods: I would not make these a one person ride but I have allowed for 1-3 occupants but could allow for 6 I suppose. the only thing is that this is not a life boat and does not come with all those pretty emergency packs that the lifeboat has. What it might have is one modified emergency pack.

3. piggy backed shuttle could have emergency gear on board

4. drop building- cheap prefab that is attached to a KHs style freighter for transport. drops directly from orbit with a robotic attachment that has maneuvering rockets and some very big chutes. Probably a lvl 3 robot, guides the buildings to a predetermined LZ, robots land the buildings with some safety distance between them and then HVY duty robot and or jetcopter can be used to jockey them into a closer position. Riding in a drop building will require vacuum gear and will be a rough ride- chance of injury if a bolted down seat is available then the character should strap himself in- an explorer being dropped in this manner inside a garrage unit would be a good candidate for strapping in and having a lower chance of injury or perhaps just less injury.

5. Storage class containers- the cheap seats on a star liner- freeze field/stasis field tech used to put passengers into suspended animation. these could be considered to be a default escape pod that in an emergency fire out through the hull and act as an escape pod. This only makes sense as no one would want to go into a coffin that they would not wake up form if there was an emergency. I actually thought of this then saw the movie Pandorum.

6. Aboard the pirates shuttles- stow away or counter board and commandeer.

note some of these methods off the SD could radically change the adventure

Escape pods or storage class berths are not that likely to land very close so you get a scattered party which is fine as you could use the Ul-mor to bring them together. which actually mirrors the original material the one change I would institute is that the random encounters for the desert would just be divied up one to a PC with the sand storm affecting everyone after a few days.

Drop buildings- if the drop cycle was activated by the PC the pirates will come looking for it but not likely to find it for a few days- however if activated without a designated LZ locked in then the building lands in a random sport- referee fiat? This might mean the players get down in an explorer which will be nice for them and might mean changing the adventure significantly.

piggy backed shuttle- pirates will be pissed it got away and will come looking for it and will perhaps have taken a pot shot at it with a pod laser damaging it. if pirate vessels are in hot pursuit and shooting at it then the players will need to crash it- go to dessert or the kurabunga forest.

pirate shuttle as stow aways (not likely to succeed IMO) but the PCs will end up at the pirate launch facility which is diferent from the pirate town where they house their slaves and process ore for shipment. this is a radical change in game and perhaps works for 1-2 PCs

pirate shuttle commandeered- angain angry pirates come looking and the PCs will need to land somewhere. they might be so bold as to land at the pirate launch facility but the other pirate vessel or the SD's shuttle will be coming down there soon again this is a radical change in the adventure.

A referee will want to think about the stowed equipment for the expedition- food, supplies, weapons, com gear etc this stuff can be in play if the referee allows for alternate methods of evacuation form the SD before its destruction. and does the SD need to be destroyed? Perhaps the pirates have been waiting for a bulk freighter like the SD to ship their ore back to civilization. Perhaps the SD stooging in orbit is the trigger that activates the obelisk etc. Perhaps the eorna are angry with folks from the Frontier in general and there will need to be a role play encounter with them. Perhaps its the eorna that meet the PCs first and sends them on the ABC quest to recruit the primitives for the battle? I kind of like the thunder dome element of the Great game and the hang glider hunt of the kurabunga.

EDIT: One final note about landing a shuttle- the PCs will be looking for any sort of LZ to land. any sort of shuttle expected to land on a planet without infrastructure for a space port is likely to be a tail first lander but the eorna civilization was quite advanced and the PCs might spot the ruins of an old highway from orbit and use it as a landing strip- for the sake of arguement lets assume the eorna used very durable materials and the highway is mostly intact after 900 years. so this could be in play but landing on it should be a crash with drifting sand catching a wheel and breaking the landing gear.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!