This is part of my version of the Zebulon campaign, run in the Savage Worlds system. I am using some of the originally published material, and combining it with stuff from the Star*Drive setting as well as some Fading Suns influence. Additionally, I am using the guidelines/re-writes written by Chris Putnam as found on StarFrontiers.us. Mr. Putnam changed much of the origin stories to the aliens species encountered in Volturnus, which I especially liked.
In the original material, the players meet the Ul-mor, and befriend them. In doing, they form an alliance which must be done through a challenge, which would then signify they have joined the tribe. In the original adventure, it was written in kind of a hokey and childish contrived challenge against a quickdeath. I am saving the quickdeath for something later. But I wanted to keep the “..join tribe…” challenge but make it more interesting.
Like many of my ideas these days, it started with a craft idea. I found a “collectors item” Black edition Star Wars dewback on the clearance shelf at Walmart. I would not have done this if this was not on clearance. To 25/28mm scale, that dewback was huge. I bought it with the full intention of creating something out of it. Collectors would cringe.
I pictured a massive sand pit, where two teams ride these huge beasts on platforms mounted on their backs. The dewback has a hole on its back for the saddle. I cut up some foam core board and used hot glue to form an insert for that hole. Than I placed it on a platform I made out of craft sticks. The two teams are competing against each other. The challenge is to grab as many “scales” off the back of the sand sharks lurking the sand pit. Don’t fall off!
I could not come up with a name for it, but since it’s alien, I decided to call it something strange. The word they aliens call it is unpronounceable but the translators they have will say something like “scale hunt teeth death grinder pit” or something like that.
Rules of the Game
The playing field is the Pit. It’s a large circular area of sand [in truth a nuclear bomb blast crater]. In this field, bait is set out to attract Sand Sharks. Like water sharks, the are various breeds of sand sharks. The average sand shark is large. The game is consider epic of they can attract larger than average sharks. THe best games attract “The Beast” – the largest of all sand sharks.
Two teams of 4 to 8 riding Desert Behemoths enter the Pit. They are supplied with the following:
- 8 scale spears
- Loper-leather armor with helmet
The game is played in 8 periods, 8 minutes each. In that time, the teams are to chase down surfacing sand sharks, attracting them in whatever way they can. The team must retrieve as many of the scales of the sand sharks as possible in each period.
The catch is that this game is perfectly adapted to the Ul-mor physiology. The octopus-like aliens can connect tentacle to tentacle and stretch like bungee cords to retrieve the scales. Players will only realize when they get into the pit. A dralasite will help to some degree but it will need help.
Savage Worlds Mechanics
What’s needed: Deck of Cards, something to represent the field, something represent the behemoth and the players (miniatures preferred but not necessary). The miniatures are only used to act out the complications.
Each period is run like a Drama Task, with 8 cards each period. Each card, the players have a chance to get a number of scales. Using whatever skill they think will work, they can devise a plan to reach out and grab a scale.
Each round, the players roll the appropriate Trait test. A success gains them 1d2 scales. Each Raise adds an additional 1d4.
The Opponents (Ul-Mor) roll a base Trait of 1d6. A success gains them 1d4 scales. Each raise adds 1d4).
Clubs represent a complication. A complication can be anything from a life threatening line breaking at the worst time to a simple stumble a loss of a chance to get a scale.