Achernar – solo hero

Ok, now let’s create Achernar. I’ve already decided that currently he’s an Exchange enforcer based on Pavonis. I’m going to leave some unanswered questions to act as leads / Threads

ACHERNAR

Class: Warrior    Level 1 / XP: 0 HP 8 Fray d8

STR         12/+0                    AB         +1

INT         15/+1                    PE           12

WIS        5/-1                        ME         15

DEX        14/+1                    ES           14

CON       9/+0                       TS           16

CHA       14/+1                    LS            13

Increased Dex to 14 to fit Class.

As per Stellar Heroes, Achernar gets maximum HP and a Fray die of d8

 

Background: Let’s try a random roll – Con Artist. This could fit well. He grew on the streets, running with local gangs and gaining valuable contacts and skills.

Questions

Did he do anything significant during this time?

How did he end up working for the Exchange?

Training: Exchange Enforcer

He was recruited into the Exchange as a trouble shooter / freelance operative. The Exchange keeps its ear to the ground in regards to any shady deals; not all are intercepted or stopped, but the Exchange does like to know everything about what’s going on. That’s where Achernar steps in.

Questions

What is his cover?

                He runs a small charter firm, operating one helicopter out of Medina City. The firm caters to the tourism industry, flying sightseeing tours and undertaking charter work. It goes by the name “Inguria Airtours”. This gives him the perfect cover to fly around anywhere

Achernar doesn’t start with a vehicle skill so I’ll state that the Exchange trained him enough to cover the role.

 

Has anything significant happened to him?

 

Skills

Culture/Criminal, Culture/World (Pavonis), Persuasion 1, Stealth, Business, Combat/Projectile, Culture/Traveller, Security, Tactics, Vehicle/Air

Credits: 200

Gear:

SA pistol (Hit +2, 1d6+1, 30/100, #12, T3)

Ammo #20

2 x Lazarus patch

Metatool

Survival Kit

Knife (Hit +2, 1d4, 6/9)

Several sets of clothes, casual, street and smart.

Inguria Airtours pilots coveralls

Helicopter

Episode 7 – Raven goes Exploring

Due to the Savage Gamers starting college and other distractions, the regular club didn’t meet. Instead, Raven went off exploring Kularni.

Kularni is a large building constructed of sandstone. A typical caravanserai; there is one entrance leading to an inner yard. Rooms and chambers are built into the surrounding walls. The gate entrance wall has niches for market traders facing outwards; these are free to occupy but under do not come under the cities protection. The inner yard is usually crowded with stalls and vendors and people.

Raven was surprised to meet with Abn Qua the moneylender, as she didn’t owe him anything. Instead, he asked for advice and information. He recently lent a large sum of money to Captain Rokas and is concerned that he will be unable to repay. Normally he would set his boys on him, but offending the Captain of the Guard is something else. He offers a map and a bag of silver to find out what Rokas wanted the money for. Raven didn’t take the money, but offered to keep an eye open.

The following day she wished she had taken the money up front. A proclamation was posted at the town gates and the governor’s house, accompanied by the sounding of a trumpet.

“Due to damage caused to the town,

all non-residents must pay a

Repair Tax of 5 Moons per day

until further notice, effective immediately”

Raven was there when Geoff the Mighty had a little too much to drink and smashed up the taverna. Now everyone has to pay for the fool’s actions. She visited the Temple of the True Faith to see if anyone was hiring guards; there were no positions vacant; although native bearers were readily available.

Back in the marketplace she was screamed at by a stallholder for stealing a piece of fruit, a patently absurd accusation. The reason became clear when Max Ernst stepped forward. A protagonist and professional bastard; he had set the whole thing up as an excuse to start a fight.

Max taunted Raven – “She is only a woman – see she can barely lift a sword”. The taunt failed; Raven pulled her sword and struck a sweeping blow at Max. Max drew his sword and, with a bored expression, struck a leisurely blow in Raven’s direction. He lost his complacent smile when Raven dodged the blow and riposted, her sword striking Max on the upper arm. Although the blade did not penetrate the armour, Max glanced towards it, distracted. He re-focussed on Raven, coming at him with her blade held high. “Don’t make me get serious, girlie. You fight well, but you’re not the best.” Raven attacked and missed, there was a flurry of swords from Max and Raven felt the tip of the blade enter her side. She fell to her knees, Max moved to stand over her. “I enjoyed that. We’ll meet again”, he said; then struck deep into her body. As she lapsed into unconsciousness, she heard the crowd roar. It was like being back in the arena.

She awoke in a darkened room that smelt strongly of incense. She winced as a sharp stab of pain went through her ribs.

“I was unable to heal that wound; my skills as a healer are limited”. The speaker was a stooped man wearing a blue robe and a blue turban. Raven recognised him as Khasis the Scribe. “I watched you fight; I have need of your services in that regard.”

“I am in your debt”, replied Raven. “What would you have me do?”

Khasis did not answer immediately; instead he looked through the door into the outer shop then pulled the inner door shut.

“I have seen and read omens in the sky”, he said in a low voice. “These omens bode ill for me over the next three nights of the full moon. I shall stay in here, surrounded by protective charms and runes. The inner and outer door will be locked; I wish for you to stand guard outside the outer door. Rouse me on the morning of the fourth day. A bag of seventy silver will be waiting for you.”

Raven spent the next day in the markets; a young thief tried to lift her purse but she caught him in the act; however he wriggled free and ran off. At dusk she went to Khasis’ house; as expected the outer door was locked. She settled down to her vigil. As the moon rose over the eastern roof, a brawl broke out in a taverna and spilled out into the square. Somehow Raven got involved and enthusiastically began throwing punches. The brawl eventually broke up; Raven checked the door but it was still locked.

The second night passed uneventfully, although the night air was considerably colder, presaging the onset of Storm Season (Embarking). She made a note to wear something warmer the following night. As dawn broke she checked the door, it was still locked. She pressed her ear to it, but no sound came from within.

She spent the day catching up on sleep and keeping an ear open for gossip. Her earliest memories are being in the dungeons beneath the Iron Tower in Ekul. She does not know where she comes from, or who her parents are.

“By Hordan’s tits”, she thought. “Someone must know the answer as to who I am. Maybe the answer lies in Ekul?”

Restless and unable to rest, she bought a wool jerkin and hooded cloak; then took up station outside Khasis’ door. She tried the door, it was still locked. She yawned.

“If the door is locked, how am I supposed to rouse him tomorrow? Oh well, I can always knock loudly”.

She yawned again; then settled down against the wall next to the door.

She awoke with a kick to the ribs. It was dawn and she had fallen asleep! A man stood over her, screaming at her to wake up. She rolled out of the way as he kicked at her again.

“You! He trusted you! And now he is dead. A fine guard you are. I will have the Governor’s Law heaped upon you. You will be stoned; then a diseased camel will drag your broken body into the desert for the jackals to feast upon!”

The door to Khasis’ house opened and two other men came out. Both looked visibly pale. Raven recognised one of them, it was Aurelianus, the Syranthian scholar who Raven travelled with to get here (Narrator: Episode 2: The Road to Kularni).

The man screamed at her again.

“You were supposed to be guarding him; yet he is dead, having died a most terrible death. What say you to that?”

TO BE CONTINUED

Episode 6 – A Tale of Fire and Brimstone

                Previously in “Under a Raging Moon”. Galadiir, Drogo, Geoff and Spark, along with N’Dula, attempted to gain an item from a strange sorcerous caravan. They succeeded in liberating two boxes of Khav; then pressed on to find the Eye of Cissirrus. Two days later, they entered a cavern that smelt strongly of brimstone. In a chamber containing a “swimming pool” they were attacked by six female acolytes who used the tactic of stripping naked to distract the male fighters whilst their companion stabbed them. Eventually they disposed of all of them. From one of the tunnels came the glow of firelight…

The PC’s headed towards the glow, the archway led onto a cliff ledge overlooking a gulf. Ahead was a gap in the ledge, next to it a river of burning lava plunged down into the smoke-filled depths. The gap was spanned by a blackened wooden bridge. Drogo went across first, as he reached the far side there was a ‘snap!’ and an arrow struck him. He looked for an ambush but concluded that it was a spring-loaded trap of some kind. The others all crossed the bridge safely, although Spark and Geoff felt the intense heat from the lava.

Descending several rough-hewn sets of steps cut into the rock, they came into a square chamber. Two large metal armoured figures, the eye slits dripping molten lava, moved to attack with Great Swords. Drogo was in the lead and took a mighty blow that surely should have cleaved him asunder, however, his iron constitution and background showed though and he survived with only a single Wound.

(GM: Drogo actually took Six Wounds! He opted to try and Soak them, first by using his Loincloth Hero Edge. He Soaked two Wounds from this and opted to try to Soak the others as usual by spending a Benny. He Soaked another three, leaving him with one Wound. I was so impressed by the way the Gods had smiled upon him that I gave him the Benny back).**

Galadiir cast his “Vein Drain” (Draining Touch) spell and attempted to touch the Doomguard in front of him, he did so but the spell did nothing (Doomguard are Constructs and are immune to Fatigue). Drogo recovered from being Shaken and struck the Doomguard that had hurt him, the thing collapsed in a shower of sparks and hot metal. Geoff and N’Dula took down the second one before it could do a sweep attack on them.

First Galadiir, then Spark, tried their healing skills on Drogo and he was healed of his remaining Wound. Venturing down a short tunnel, they emerged into another square chamber with steps leading down and a door in one wall. Geoff listened at the door; then gently eased it open. Without warning the door snapped backwards on a spring, pulling him forwards; at the same time the section of floor he was standing on tilted forward. He threw himself back just in time; the trap door led to a deep pit from which smoke and dull orange flames issued.

More steps and a short tunnel led to a cross-passage, to the right was a large fire-lit hall, to the left the passage plunged down more steps. Checking out the hall, Galadiir stole up to the entrance.

He saw a large hall, with a priestess sitting on a stone throne. Around her feet were a group of orange-robed female acolytes, they were all chanting a mantra of some kind. Around the hall were red-robed female acolytes, doing various tasks. In the centre of the hall was a square bubbling lava pool, to the left, against the wall, was a winch arrangement supporting a large blackened iron plate. His eyes widened as he saw two Doomguard statues behind the throne.

After a (very) brief council of war, they decided to attack and take one or two prisoners (maybe). They burst in through the entrance, the priestess rose and called

“Who defiles the sanctum of the Eye of Cissirrus?” She had a stylised eye branded on her forehead.

Galadiir responded with a “Roses Thorns” that took down two of the acolytes whilst the others ran forwards. The priestess raised her hands and chanted an invocation, brief bursts of flame erupted around the PC’s, causing some of them to be Shaken. The acolytes pressed their attack and the Doomguard lumbered forward. Geoff took down one of the Doomguard; Galadiir summoned his “Army of the Dead” (two Caldeian soldiers). At a gesture from the priestess, an acolyte released the iron plate down into the ground; there was a brief splash of lava as it fell. Drogo (the bastard), pushed one of the acolytes into the lava pit; to his surprise she mouthed “thank you” even as she burned. Galadiir took out the second Doomguard; at this the priestess howled “now you will experience true terror”, ran across the floor and leapt into the lava; the flames surging up to meet her.

Confused, the PC’s hesitated, giving the surviving acolytes chance to retreat to the far side of the chamber.

“Something’s happening”, said Geoff. “Look, the lava in the pool is higher than it was”.

The lava in the pool surged upwards, forming into a large humanoid figure of living flame. It turned towards Spark, N’Dula and one of the Caldeians and belched huge gout of white-hot flame over them. Spark leapt clear, N’Dula was Shaken and the soldier died (was dispelled). Drogo ran forwards and stabbed at it with his buffalo spear, to his dismay the spear simply burnt up without causing any damage. Spark ran for the exit, followed by Geoff, the Lava Demon belched again; this time Spark was badly burned and went down. The others ran as well, Drogo noticed that the lava in the pool was now beginning to overflow the edge. Galadiir played his trump card; he had learnt a secret rune in his early days that allowed him to attack the Demon and hurt it. His last “Roses Thorns” hurt the creature and allowed him to escape.

(GM: This was the use of an Adventure Card that Galadiir had gained for his interlude in Episode 2)

Back on the upper level, they checked out the passage from the “swimming pool”. It led to a chapel or shrine. An altar, which things had been burnt on; above was a fresco depicting a figure bursting into flames. Drogo fiddled with the top of the altar; it opened to reveal a treasure trove of silver Moons. They were busy grabbing handfuls when a brightening of the firelight heralded the arrival of the Lava Demon. They ran out of the entrance, followed by final gout of flame.

They headed into the woods and took stock. Spark was Wounded and badly burned, also N’Dula was beginning to show signs of Khav withdrawal. Counting the treasure they had grabbed, they had 400 Moons.

===============================================================================================

GM: I’m not sure about the Adventure Cards. I rewarded Matt with one because of his interlude; however having now read all of them, they can potentially be game breakers. In this case, Ben attacked before Matt played the card, and the Demon is not immune to magic. Having said that, when I gave Matt the card, the Eye of Cissirrus had not been written (and I’d forgotten he’d got it anyway).

What does everyone else think?

** Umberto pointed out that I’d interpreted the Loincloth Hero Edge incorrectly, it does not give a free roll IN ADDITION to a normal Soak roll

Episode 5 – Of Green Smoke and Sorcery

Mid-Sojourn, Year of the Wolf

Two days had passed since Geoff the Mighty and Raven had freed N’Dula from the strange black caravan parked some distance outside Kularni. They had been searching for a supply of Khav for N’Dula, and also keeping a wary eye out for Sergeant Vilir. It was some relief that Geoff saw Drogo, Galadiir and Spark enter through the main gates.

After they sought out Gallmus and handed over a good part of their earnings from the caravan job to him. Geoff told them what had happened and introduced N’Dula. N’Dula and Drogo eyed each other up and decided that they were allies. N’Dula was visibly beginning to suffer as they had been unable to find a source of Khav in the town; it was outlawed by Kerim Shah the Governor. They decided to raid the caravan; Galadiir was interested in obtaining anything sorcerous.

Drogo announced that he had a plan and they rode out to the caravan. It was as Geoff remembered, six black wood wagons drawn by chained slaves, surrounding a seventh wagon. Drogo rode Deneris to the edge of the circle and on through, up to the centre wagon. He knocked on the door.

“Wake up! I, Khal Drogo, wish to make a trade. A box of your finest Khav in return for this man, Geoff the Mighty”

“WHAT!” yelled Geoff! “What sort of plan is that?”

A small grille opened in the door of the wagon and a deep voice said, “The trade is acceptable. Put the man with the slaves and move back beyond the ring of wagons.” Drogo did so, “I hope you know what you’re doing”, muttered Geoff. The door opened and a black-robed figure placed a box on the ground, and then returned to the wagon, throwing up into the air a globe of the green smoke. The smoke expanded into a ring.

“Now!” yelled Drogo and spurred Deneris forward, scooping up the box. Alas, Geoff failed to react in time and the green smoke engulfed him, causing him to fall fast asleep (perhaps it would have helped if Drogo had indicated to Geoff exactly what the plan was). However, the ring of smoke now surrounded the caravan, Drogo was trapped inside, Geoff was asleep in the smoke and the others were outside the ring.

The chimney of the centre wagon belched out two of the Smoke Snakes; Drogo used his net to snare Geoff and pull him into the centre. Galadiir cast his “Wall of the Dead” (Barrier), consisting of the souls of everyone he has ever killed, to block the chimney.

One of the Smoke Snakes attacked Drogo and Deneris, the other attacked the group outside the ring of smoke. It went for Galadiir, who summoned his Army of the Dead (Summon Ally), which is the two Caldeian soldiers he killed earlier.

Finding that the wood of the wagon was very resistant to damage, Drogo used Deneris to try and push the wagon over. A brilliant burst of green light from inside the wagon shattered the Barrier spell on the chimney. The Snakes belched their green gas but no-one was affected, although there were a few close calls. They realised that blunt weapons were needed to kill the Snakes; Galadiir cast another “Wall of the Dead” to block the chimney again to stop them being reinforced, then a flurry of attacks took out both Snakes.

The door to the centre wagon was locked and there was no answer. Galadiir picked the lock and the door opened. Inside was a single room, lit by three green lanterns on each wall. In the ceiling was a chimney; in the centre of the floor was a copper bowl with carvings round the rim. The bowl was filled with a green mist. Galadiir recognised the script as being Aklo, a language that was old when the Keronian Empire flourished. As Drogo entered, a black-robed figure at the far end spoke.

“Why did you attack me? Was our trade not sufficient?”

Being totally at a loss for words to this, Drogo responded by throwing his net at the figure. The net clattered against the far wall of the wagon. The figure had gone. Searching the wagon, they found a handful of green gems and another box of six doses of Khav. Drogo, with Galadiir’s help, found a secret compartment under the bowl. Inside was a skeleton, clad in mouldering black robes. A cry came from outside. Slowly, and without fuss, the slaves were rising to their feet and pulling the wagons out to the west. They let them go, being unsure what to do.

The following day, having rested, they headed north into the hills, looking for the Eye of Cissirrus. N’Dula was full of high spirits and walked with Drogo. Drogo checked the box of Khav, one dose was missing. Drogo vowed to do something about curing his addiction.

Dawn of the following day saw them looking down on a lush wooded area. Far off in the distance they could see a ridge. They reached the ridge by midday, in the cliff was cut an archway. There was a faint smell of brimstone. They tied the horse up outside, Deneris was left to wander as Drogo knew she would come when called.

Inside, a sloping passage led to a large, rough-hewn chamber that smelt strongly of brimstone. A dark archway was to the right; ahead another archway glowed with the reflected light of a fire. In the centre of the chamber was a rectangular pool of water, like a swimming pool. Geoff and Galadiir moved to go round the pool; a chorus of screams broke out and six young women, clad in short orange tunics, burst into the chamber. Two ran at Geoff and two at Galadiir. Geoff stared goggle-eyed as one of them disrobed, leaving herself totally naked. He was so distracted that he failed to see the other woman pull a wavy-bladed dagger. He only noticed when she plunged it deep into his side, causing a Wound. The other pair tried the same tactic on Galadiir, he was not so affected and the blade missed. He threw himself backwards, avoiding the sweeping blade and cast “Rose’s Thorns” on the other two women, who went down. Drogo decided to use the same tactic in reverse and, dropping his loincloth, ran at the woman attacking Geoff, readying his weapon as he did so. The woman just snorted in derision and struck at Geoff again. Spark attacked the woman who was trying to get to Galadiir and killed her, Galadiir cast ‘Rose’s Thorns” and took down another two, Drogo, smarting at the comments made, swung at the last woman. To his surprise, she made no attempt to defend herself and died, her body falling into the water of the pool.

Galadiir used his Healing skill on Geoff and healed his Wound.

To be continued…

=============================

The Currents of Space – Pavonis

Achernar is going to start off on Pavonis, working as a agent for the Exchange. These are the stats for the Pavonis system; I’ve added in more details from my own stuff.

PAVONIS (0406)

Political: Trade Consulate

Links to: Neu Regari (0405), Hellas Worlds (0308), Proxyon (0506)

A yellow star with one gas giant and two significant planets.

Pavonis I: Orbit 4 (Habitable zone). Size 12800 km diameter, 10 Environs Prime culture: Italian / Mediterranean

Atmosphere Breathable Temp Temperate Bio Miscible Pop 1,000,000 Tech 4+ Port B
Hydro Moderate Rings None Moons 6: 3 x Tiny, 3 x Small

Tags: Exchange Consulate, Trade Hub

Enemies: Corrupt Exchange Official, Thieving Dockworker, Cheating Merchant

Friends: Hardscrabble Free Trader (Bellatrix), Exchange Diplomat, Consul in need of off-world help

Compl.    A powerful debtor refuses to pay; Saboteurs seek to blow up a rival’s warehouses, An outworlder faction schemes to seize the Trade Hub

Things:   Wealth hidden to conceal it from a bankruptcy judgement, Exchange Vault codes, Insider trading information

Places:    Elegant restaurant, Spaceport teeming with activity, Orbital station

ENVIRONS Northern Hemisphere

  1. LV-FL 1 x 500,000 (Spaceport), 1X 100,000
  2. WD-HL
  3. LV-FL 1X 50,000
  4. LV-FL
  5. FO-HL

Southern Hemisphere

  1. WD-HL 1X 100,000, 1X 100,000
  2. LV-FL
  3. BA-FL
  4. LV-FL 1x 100,000, 1X 50,000
  5. LV-FL

Locations: The “Double Helix” bar, run by Ryk Storm (blinded by flesh-eating bugs on Khefir) ====================================================

Gas Giant: Orbit 7 (Outer Habitable) Rings: Yes Moons: 8 ====================================================

Pavonis II: Orbit 9 (Far Outer zone). Size 11200 km diameter, 8 Environs Research outpost administered from Pavonis I

Atmosphere Thin Temp Cold Bio Immiscible Pop Outpost Tech 3* Port E
Hydro Moderate Rings None Moons 1: 1xTiny

Tags:      Alien Ruins

Enemies: Customs inspector

Friends: Interstellar smuggler, Henders Neale the avaricious local resident

Compl. Paranoid customs officials   

Things:   Untranslated alien texts, Remains of previous expedition, Energy beam into Gas Giant

Places:    Perfectly preserved alien building

ENVIRONS Northern Hemisphere

  1. WD-FL
  2. JU-HL Outpost (8000)
  3. LV-FL
  4. DE-FL Alien ruins. 3x Research Bases (200)

Southern Hemisphere

  1. LV-FL
  2. LV-FL
  3. LV-FL
  4. MA-FL

Notes: Transit time from Pavonis I to Pavonis II is 60 hours (3 days Terran Mandate Calendar)

===========================================================

GM: Notes: The Environ types are taken from SPI’s Universe rpg; I don’t usually bother with drawing a map; just use a random roll to see where a given site is and record it for the future. I’ll assign names to places when it becomes relevant.

The Currents of Space

PEMZANN SECTOR GAZETTEER

The sector is named for the Pemzann Nebula; lit by several proto stars it is visible throughout the sector.

Before the Scream, all traffic came in via the Jump Gate at Proxyon. For reasons now long forgotten the sector was seen as the place where the misfits and malcontents came to; blown by the currents of space from the all-embracing Terran Mandate. Surviving records do not detail exactly when the various cultures came into being.

The Scream perhaps had a lesser effect on the sector. Yes, it is true that many psychics died and that the Gate was closed, but the major polities had retained their spike drive ships and technology.

NOW

The major polities are:-

HELLAS WORLDS

Settled by the Koln Institute; devoted to physical perfection in the human body. The Hellas Worlds comprise three worlds; Thrace, a hot inner biosphere world, Corinth, a temperate world and seat of government and Sparta, a cold outer biosphere world. The Hellas Worlds are ruled via a caste system based on the fittest; all of the population are trained from birth to survive the Triple Tests. The Testing begins at puberty and involves a series of trials on all three planets. Those who pass the Testing become full citizens. Those who fail become the Low, the lowest caste of indentured workers and servants, with no rights. A citizen may then progress to the Primarch tests; to become one of the elite, perhaps to become one of the Triarch rulers. As in all of the Tests, there is no compromise; even to a favoured candidate, failure usually results in death or disablement. As disablement makes someone a Low; this promotes a degree of fanaticism amongst the Hellas; especially in the ranks of the military.

TRADE CONSULATE

Based around the Exchange Consulate on Pavonis, the Trade Consulate is a mutual trade agreement between the systems of Pavonis, Proxyon and Neu Regari. The Consulate is a series of trading rules; allowing traders from all systems free access to the spaceport. Beyond the spaceport, local laws apply.

THE BRIGHT EMPIRE

The Empire states that it has lasted for two thousand years; this may be true if it was founded by a sleeper ship from Earth. The Empire controls five systems; ruled by the Omnipresent Jade Emperor from the Palace of a Thousand Windows on Wu Xiulan.

SYROS

A totalitarian state characterised by its extreme paranoia. Controlled by a Political Council, Syros has a very efficient espionage network. It is a good (if somewhat dangerous) place to source information.

Hex        Name                                    Polity                     Notes

0205       Khefin                                   Ind.                        Jungle/swamp, Bolgan Corporation

0207       Naxos                                   Ind.                        Under military occupation from Corinth

0304       Jamison’s World                   Ind.                        Water world, domed cities, severe weather

0308       Hellas Worlds                     Hellas                    Corinth, Sparta, Thrace

0405       Neu Regari                          Consulate            Thick atmosphere, Aerostats

0406       Pavonis                               Consulate

0504       Syros                                     Syros                     Totalitarian state, espionage network

0506       Proxyon                               Consulate            Remains of Jump Gate (Gateway Station)

0606-0607                                            Pemzann Nebula

0705       Qipeng                                 Empire

0707       Xian                                      Empire                  Garden worlds

0708       Seranis Seranon                  Ind.                        Sectarian differences between Blessed Ser and Divine Ser

0803       Luzhou                                 Empire                  Industrial, Imperial work camps

0805       Wu Xiulan                            Empire                  Imperial capital

0806       Tan Gansu                           Empire

Ok – so the map didn’t post. Grab a Traveller subsector and map it yourself until I’ve figured it out!

This is the initial set-up so far. I’ve deliberately limited it to 14 systems; in the past I’ve drawn up a hex sheet of 25+ systems and then decided I didn’t really need them. I’ve left plenty of room for expansion and exploration; already I’ve got an idea for what’s off the map to… no, stop dammit!

Nebula / Gas Clouds prevent reliable spike drive operation, at present there is no foreseeable way of drilling from the Trade Consulate directly to Xian or Seranis Seranon.

There are several areas of interest; the Trade Consulate is a trading federation like the Mediterranean cities around the 14th Century under Lex Mercatoria.

The Hellas Worlds are expansionist and aggressive; the annexation of Naxos was done under an orchestrated plot and counter-plot, with the Corinthian forces there as peacekeepers by ‘invitation’ of the lawful government.

Syros is a totalitarian state exhibiting extreme paranoia. Its espionage network and methods are second to none and the state generates income through information brokerage. Caveat Emptor! There is always a price to be paid.

The Bright Empire simply seeks to expand; to bring enlightenment to all other known systems. They are slow and subtle; however those who refuse to be enlightened are re-educated until they see the light.

I’ve got some ideas for characters; the solo Game will be run using a mish-mash of Mythic GME, Story Cubes and my own stuff.

ACHERNAR – An agent for the Exchange of Light based on Pavonis. His role is to protect the interests of the Consulate; Pavonis in particular.

BELLATRIX – Pilot, ex-Nakamura Lines of Proxyon. She has her own ship and is currently a blockade runner, running supplies to the Sodality Freedom Fighters on Naxos. Her ship is a modified freighter called “Capellan Winds”.

CAPELLA 701 – The AI of Bellatrix’s ship “Capellan Winds”.

The first episodes will probably be scene-setting and introducing the SPC’s.

Episode Four – The Price of Freedom Part I & II

The Price of Freedom Part I & II

It was the Ides of Sojourn, in the Year of the Wolf. Geoff the Mighty had stayed behind in Kularni to carry out a job he had promised to do for Sergeant Vilir, in return for being released from prison. The job was easy, a caravan was due to arrive from the east within a few days; Geoff was to search the caravan and retrieve a black lacquered box belonging to Vilir.

Geoff did some asking around in Kularni; he learnt that the caravan usually consisted of five to seven wagons and camped outside the caravanserai. It was not allowed in as the caravan master – Algol the Terrible, was reputed to be a dread sorcerer. He was said to deal in slaves and the forbidden flower of the Black Lotus. Usually he stopped overnight to purchase supplies.

That evening the caravan arrived, seven six-wheeled wagons made of black wood, with pointed roofs. Each wagon was drawn by four chained slaves from the Ivory Savannah tribes. The caravan made camp a quarter of a mile away from the town. Normally, townsfolk would flock to sell foodstuffs and trade goods to any passing travellers; Geoff noticed that the traders made no move to approach the black caravan.

The following day, three dark-robed men wearing veils that obscured all but their eyes, strode through the main gate of Kularni and headed towards the shop of Khasis the scribe. Geoff watched them from across the courtyard and moved across to eavesdrop.

“Translate this scroll. 100 Moons will be your reward”

Khasis unrolled the scroll and glanced at it. “Not until the night of the full moon, in three days,” he answered in his quiet voice. “The Ancients hid their secrets well.”

“We will wait”. As one, the men wheeled round and left the shop.

Checking his gear, Geoff decided to go that night. Waiting until dusk had fell, he stole from the city and headed out to the caravan. Crouched in the cover of some scrub furze bushes, he observed his target. There were six wagons arranged in a circle around the seventh. The slaves pulling each wagon were lying on the ground between the yokes, apparently sleeping. Geoff looked for where the guards were posted; he frowned when he didn’t see any.

“Why do the slaves not just wander off then?” he thought.

His eye was caught by a flicker of green light coming from the centre wagon; the light flickered again behind a curtained window and a puff of green smoke escaped from a small chimney set in the roof.

He crept closer and realised that he didn’t really know where to start looking. Standing in the shadow of the nearest wagon, he remarked that it was made of wood, showing a greenish tinge in the moonlight. He sniffed the air, the wood smelt faintly of decay

Without warning, the ground next to him shuddered and churned and a Sand Lizard erupted out of the ground and clamped its jaws onto his leg! He managed to leap back just in time and drew and swung his sword, cleaving through the creatures neck. He sensed movement behind him and threw himself to one side as a second lizard attacked from behind. Geoff swung backhandedly and hewed off one of the creature’s legs, then jumped on its back and plunged his sword deep.

He glimpsed a figure standing in the shadows, the gleam of a blade showing. Geoff leapt forward, raising his sword; at the last minute he recognised Raven!

“By Hordan’s tits,” she hissed. “What are you doing here?”

“Looking for a black box,” Geoff replied. “You?”

“Looking for someone, an old friend”

A deep voice came from the front of the caravan, from the slaves. A large black man, with a shaven head, was regarding them keenly. His teeth were startlingly white against the blackness of his skin, but his eyes had a faint purple sheen to them.

“Old friend, am I, Raven Gallowglass? You have come to collect your gold.”

“I did not betray you at Akoit, N’Dula”, replied Raven.

“Tell that to the six hundred of my braves left to rot on the plain outside that accursed city.” He looked at Geoff. “I am N’Dula, once chief of the Nkosi tribe. Set me free and I will serve you for one year and a Sojourn.”

Geoff looked and saw that N’Dula was shackled to the yokes of the cart by iron shackles. He lifted them experimentally.

“N’Dula,” said Raven. “I swear by the Divine Couple that I did not betray you. The battle was lost before it began. It was sheer madness to start the attack before the main Kyrosian army was with us, but General Tunamos was adamant that we could carry the day. When it was obvious that all was lost, I tried to bargain safe passage for us, but was struck down buy one of our own archers before I could reach the city walls.”

N’Dula grinned. “One of my best shots.” Raven stared at him for a long moment; then a broad smile spread across her face. “You old bastard. Now, let’s get you out of here.”

At that moment, the door to the centre wagon opened and a green glow spilled out. Silhouetted against it was one of the robed men. With a gesture, he cast a glowing green cloud of smoke up into the air, where it hung over the caravan; lighting up the area with a sickly green light.

Geoff turned his attentions to the iron shackles holding N’Dula to the wagon. Try as he might, he was unable to break them using his strength. N’Dula chuckled. “I cannot break them, and I am far stronger than you. You must find the key. Also…”, and he gripped Geoff’s arm, “when you find the black box; bring it with you.”

Raven was looking at N’Dula, for the first time she registered his eyes. “You are taking Khav,” she cried.

N’Dula turned a terrible smile upon her.

“Yes. Oh yes. And it is very liberating.”

To be continued…

GM’s notes

Hmm. That didn’t go at all like I was expecting. As Harry (Geoff) is on holiday, I ran him through my solo system to keep him up to date, (which is a complicated mish-mash of Mythic, my own stuff, 9Q’s and Rory’s Story Cubes). The original caravan was a merchant who was indulging in a little Khav dealing on the side. Now it is the haunt of weird sorcery and Khav-addicted slaves who pull the wagons. ATM, I don’t know what the weird green glowing cloud is.

Part II

The green globe of cloud expanded into a ring, encompassing the camp. It settled to the ground and began to contract. Geoff grabbed a bronze dagger off Raven and began picking at the shackles holding N’Dula to the yoke of the wagon. The cloud was almost upon them when the last pin popped free and they rolled into the shadow of the wagon. The cloud settled over the slaves; they all fell into a deep slumber. Periodically, from the centre wagon’s chimney came a puff of green smoke that joined the circling ring.

“What’s happening”, whispered Geoff. “I don’t know,” replied Raven, “but that green smoke has us trapped here.”

“I need a club”, grinned N’Dula. “A good stout club for crushing heads.” After some scouting around, he found one; a stout length of wood.

They continued looking for the black box, but found nothing. Investigating the wagons more closely; Geoff found that they had no doors or obvious ways inside. Raven confirmed that the same was with the other wagons. Only the centre wagon appeared to have a door in it,

N’Dula stumbled over a tree root and fell into the green smoke. He started to fall asleep, but Raven grabbed his foot and dragged him out.

“That’s what it is,” exclaimed Raven. “The smoke is to make sure that the slaves sleep; to counter the effect of the Khav.”

“What do you mean, Raven?” said N’Dula, hefting his club. “I am ready to take on the world.” Raven merely pointed at the nearest wagon. “You have been pulling that all day, yet you do not feel tired?”

“For someone of my strength?” laughed N’Dula. “Unthinkable. I could pull something like that all day.”

Suddenly, from the chimney of the central wagon, belched a large green cloud that formed itself into a pale-green serpent shape with a huge maw; undulating through the air. Without warning it launched itself at the group and breathed out a cloud of pale green gas, engulfing all of them. Taken by surprise, they were helpless to act as the worm belched a cloud of green gas over them. Raven desperately fought off waves of fatigue, around her Geoff and N’Dula crumpled to the ground. She ran forward and hacked at the thing with her sword, she struck but it was if her blade passed through a rubbery jelly. Her backstroke missed and the worm surged forward, enveloping her head. She felt a terrible sensation of drowning and desperately threw herself backwards out of the grip of the thing. She dived back, swinging wildly and her sword bit deep into the worm. It recoiled and squirmed before her eyes.

“Hordan’s tits, what is this thing?” thought Raven desperately. “That blow should have killed anything remotely mortal.” She cast a glance at Geoff and N’Dula; they both were asleep. She kicked Geoff in the ribs. “Wake up; this is no time to be sleeping”. Geoff woke up; the worm was still undulating in the air. He rolled to his feet and struck with his great sword, the worm splashed apart and dissipated into the air.

They rested for a time and N’Dula woke up, raring to go. Geoff looked closer at the nearest wagon; it had no door or obvious way in! Only the centre wagon had a door.

“The box is obviously not easy to find. Raven, I suggest you and N’Dula come back to Kularni with me. When my companions return from Caldeia we can come back”

“What about Sergeant Vilir? He will be expecting his delivery. More importantly, we need to get past that green cloud.”

“What cloud?” said Geoff and pointed. The cloud had gone and there were no more puffs of smoke from the wagon chimney.

“Run!” urged Raven.

Sometime later, in Kularni, Geoff, Raven and N’Dula were sitting in the taverna.

“Geoff, you are my brother,” said N’Dula. “I will serve you until the next of the following Sojourn. Where you go, I will be at your side, and my life is yours. Now, where do we get Khav around here?”

GM’s notes

Geoff has gained N’Dula as a Sidekick (instead of XP for this adventure). N’Dula is a Right Hand (and yes, he is the major NPC from GREEN WORLD.) Just have to hope the PC’s don’t get him killed.