12.5 – The Volturnus Saga: Session 1 through 12 Review

The Beginning

The campaign started on New Pale (Truane’s Star System, Frontier), a world recovering from war of extreme racial tension between pro-human supremacists and a multi-cultural military state.

Hired by a secret coalition of mega-corporations and the planetary government of Truane’s Star, the job was to follow the footsteps of a missing mission team to investigate a recently discovered planet deep in the Xagyg Dust nebula.  The party was to board the exploration survery ship Serena Dawn that had an official mission to map out more of the nebula (to hide it from the UPF).  In truth, they were to follow (and perhaps find) the previous mission team via a secret route.  Along with finding the missing crew, they party was to complete their mission – survey the system and in particular the one habitable planet, named Volturnus.

The party soon learned that there is a mystery crime faction that seems to want this mission to fail, lead by a mysterious Diablo figure.  Rumored connections between this group and the pro-human faction – HUSPS –  on New Pale were never substantiated but there are suspicions.

The Nebula

The first challenge to the journey was navigating the the Xagyg Dust Nebula.  Many studies of this strange anomaly have been done but penetration this deep have proven difficult.  Only the Sathar’s were able to do it once, igniting the Sathar War several decades ago.

They boarded a survey transport Serena Dawn to investigate a previously unknown route into the Nebula.  En route, signs of an infiltration and betrayal within the crew lead the party to battle with two agents of this mysterious group that wants to stop the mission.  Fortunately, the party was able to prevent the sabotage.

On their journey, they confirmed rumors of a kraken-like creature living in the Nebula as well as mysterious neutron-star like objects.

The System

Arriving in system, the first thing the Serena Dawn discovered is a strange crystalline structure that turned out to be a space station from a previous civilization that apparently existed here.  Investigating the station further, the following intelligence was gathered:

  • The previous civilization as made of a race called the Eorna
  • The Eorna were very tall reptilian-like creatures (see below).
  • The Eorna were invaded a thousand years ago by the Sathar and apparently wiped out.
  • Their homeworld Volturnus was devastated by Sathar weapons.
  • The station technology indicated the Eorna had a deep understanding of psionics and crystal technology – far more advanced than that of the Frontier.

On the station, the rescued a Yazirian that turned out to be a former member of the pirates who was left behind.  She had sealed herself in a Eorna tech stasis pod and was suffering from amnesia.

The Eorna

The Eorna

While the party was on the station, pirates attacked the Serena Dawn.  The crew and ship were lost.  The only thing they had was the ship’s shuttle with a minimal amount of fuel.  Fortunately, the pirate ship was also disabled.  The party took the shuttle and headed to the only refuge they had – the surface of the planet Volturnus.

The Planet

Landing close the the previous mission’s landing site, they found evidence of their presence – an abandoned camp with six shacks outfitted for various purposes – science, medical, living quarters and supplies.  Unfortunately most of the supplies were taken or destroyed.  The previous crew was nowhere to be found.

Their crash apparently drew some attention, because more pirates attacked their position from jetcopters.  Dispatching them fairly quickly, the group was able to conclude that there is already a presence on this planet originating from their region and they do mean the party well. These pirates were just a small part of a larger group that have considerable influence. The jetcopters clued them in that there was some kind of base nearby.  Perhaps it has a way to get off the planet.

The psychic with in the party did notice that there was a constant oppressive psionic energy, constantly trying to get him and everyone else to submit.  While he could detect it, he knew that it could affect everyone over time.

The Ruins and the Ul-Mor

Journeying further into the desert in the direction of where the jetcopters had come, they discovered many things – giant sand worms, sand sharks, herds of two-legged Lopers and killer trees.  It was like the world was designed to kill anything not from there.  Finding water and food was challenging.  With the meager survival supplies they had, the journey drew more and more difficult.  Along the way, they discovered ruins of an ancient city made of crystal – presumably an Eorna city.  In the ruins, they encountered a few things that illustrated the nature of this world.

First, either by nature or as a result of the war with the Sathars, the crystal deposits were sprouting all over the planet.  Either it was a natural resource of this world or something that grew here afterwards.  Either way, some outcroppings – rogue crystals –  seemed to have a mind of their own as they attacked anything that came close with energy bursts.

By this time, water had become an issue.  The desert was endless.  So when they heard water trickling at the bottom of a vast hole in one building, they jumped at it.  At the bottom of this hole, they found more than just water.  A seething psionic entity of pain, death and fury – a possessor – was trapped in the tunnels underneath the city.  Born of the destruction of this city and the deaths of millions of Eorna, their dying psionic essences must have been collected by the crystals and must have been formed a living psionic being seeking a host.

Once past the entity, they found two more buildings – one containing what appeared to be a crystalline super computer that might have run the city and the other was apparently a warehouse of crystalline-based robots.  The party split up between the two and something done in the first awakened the robots in the other building, who were apparently still stuck in war mode.

Within this supercomputer were a few records of what happened during the war.  The following was gathered from the supercomputer:

  • Invasion – The records confirmed that the Sathars were the invaders one thousand year ago and they assaulted the planet with devastating weapons.
  • The Templars – The records documented the beginning of the war up to a single point – The arrival of the Templars.  Records of the Templars described them as an illuminati-like myth of power psions that control major parts of Eorna society. Apparently they did reveal themselves to save try and save the Eorna.
  • The Sky Was Different – Images from the records showed that the sky was different at that time,  as if the nebula was not present at the time of the recordings.

Resting the night outside the ruins, the party woke up to the site of being surrounded by a new alien race – the Ul-mor.

 

The Ul-Mor were (apparently) indigenous species of cephalopod that live in the desert.  They were all at some level of another, psionically talented.  Their culture was nomadic and very ritual based.  They owned the desert.

The Rituals 

By this time, it had become the party’s mission to get to this outpost where the hope to find at least some supplies and vehicles to take from these pirates.  However, they had no intelligence on where they were going or exactly how to get there.  Indigenous and intelligent lifeforms may be a great help in gathering that intelligence so making friends with the Ul-Mor became important.

In order for them to trust the party, the Ul-Mor had several rituals that the party had to go through.  Eventually, this lead to the Ritual of Truth, the Game of Shark-Spikes and then the Ritual of Cleansing.  The Ul-mor proved to be useful but also a hindrance at the same time.

  • The Pirates – They consider the newcomers as enemies, as they hunt Ul-mor down regularly.  As part of their rituals, the party had to prove they were not with the newcomers.
  • The Backdoor – They explained they had information on a backdoor to the outpost that the party could use but were not completely forthcoming on its location or nature.  The outpost resided on a cliff that is very hard to access without flying machines, and it resides in some ancient ruins that the Ul-mor deems sacred.
  • Other Races – The Ul-mor indicated there are other races on this work – The Kurabanda and the Edestekai.
    • The Kurahanda were vicious polar opposites of the Ul-mor living in the jungles to the north
    • The Edestekai are apparently few but serve some kind of god figure and guide the select few Ul-mor to oneness
  • Ancient Weapon – On the final ritual – Ritual of Cleansing – the group discovered yet another Eorna ruin.  It appeared to be the remains of a planetary defense system utilizing hundreds of large mountain-sized crystalline nodes along the surface of the planet.  This apparently was in response to the on-coming onslaught of the Sathar that eventually befell them, but unfortunately it was not completed in time.

Finding information about the Backdoor took some work and the party was not too keen on the Ritual of Cleansing, so they got the location and escaped from the Ul-Mor as soon as they could.

Enroute to the location, the party was followed by a mysterious cloaked figure.  This figured turned out to be a surviving Eorna who was a very powerful psion.  The creature warned the party not to toy with the crystal technology.  He vanished quickly after that.

The Back Gate

The back door was actually an ancient teleportation gate embedded in the side of a mountain.  And it was “guarded” but two immense creatures called Quickdeaths.

Dispatching the quickdeaths (and their mother),  the party finagled their way into opening the gate and found themselves teleporting deep into a mountain they hoped was the right now.

The Catacombs

The catacombs proved to be vast.  Encountered first was a mad soldier and his enemy, the alien combat android.  Both had come through the gate ages ago and he has seen it his mission to keep the android from the gate (which was in fact broken beyond repair).  Little did they know that the android was a killing machine of incredible ability and guile but also damage – convinced he could not penetrate the simple wall built by the soldier.

After freeing the old soldier of his mission, the group stumbled across a strange chamber with crystalline deposits and outcroppings jutting up from strange water-like substance that glowed a strange hue.  The party quickly learned the chamber was filled with noxious gas that knocked them out but the water-like substance invigorated and healed them.  At one point, they realized the crystals with this chamber were different.  The psychic in the group made contact with some kind of entity and had to be rescued from the central outcropping.  They soon learned the entity was the fracture and insane mind of AI computer that once ran a vast facility under this mountain – facility that experimented with alien technology found on the planet.   This included gate technology as well as the crystal technology that the entire Eorna world was based on.

The AI warned the party that the catacombs is in a very delicate balance between two forces since the destructive war – forces represented by water and fire.  The were warned not to disturb it too much or dire consequences could unfold.

The Underground River

The next feature of the catacombs the party encountered was a massive underground river.  Building a raft, the group paddled into the unknown, not knowing where and when they would reach the other side. The river was filled with its own dangers – from giant jaw-fish to the even more dangerous kraken-like tentacle beasts, the party faced many challenges.

Part way across, they found an island.  Partially to take a rest but partially out of curiosity, they landed on the island.  The island was covered in heavy noxious fungus.  This fungus release spores that turned out to be poison.  However, something deep in the fungus-forest was something metallic – old but metallic and large.

The use rebreathers proved mildly  effective, although the spores did attempt to grow on any exposed skin.  Going deeper into the fungus-forest, they found an ancient tank, probably for the invasion era.  It was distinctly Sathar in design, but the pilot was not.  The pilot, its body oddly preserved by the spore, resembled an Ul-Mor.  Was that where they came from?  Were they soldiers of the Sathar war?  But what happened to them?

The party thought it diligent to burn the island of its poisonous foliage but in doing caused the ancient fuel in the old tank to explode.

The Zethra

Continuing their trek across the river, their raft was not hold together well and they were getting desperate.  As if hearing their prayers, a large multi-ored sailing vessel came of the haze of the darkness.   It pulled alongside their raft and allowed them to board.  Aboard, they found a number of different creatures, so animals while others primitive sapients as crew – all working together in one hive mind.

The captain was something wholly different.  it identified itself as a Zethra, a race of mentally powered slavers.  The entire crew was under it’s mental control.  However, he wished to add to his rew and was attempting to dominate the party.  However, despite dominating one, the others were able to broker a deal with him.  They would bring him new slaves to dominate.  He bound them to the deal mentally, and the Zethra allowed them to leave.

The Yernoids

Reaching the shore, the team felt heat emanating from the cave entrances into the catacombs.  Entering the catacombs, the next chamber they encountered had a massive Ul-Mor stone statue on a throne.  Surrounding the throne was the wreckage of some kind of control or research room, with console units jutting out of stone and rock.  The party was able to access some of its memory miraculously, and found more information about the catacombs and what it once was.

Contained within these records was the following:

  • The facility that was under this mountain at one time was here to study one of many alien starships that were found imbedded in the crust of the planet, crashing here millenia before the Eorna.  These alien spacecraft were all crystal-tech based.
  • This particular alien spacecraft was a prison ship that contained multiple extra-dimensional beings stored in pods.
  • These pods were stored in the lower levels of the facility.

The room suddenly filled with noxious gas and before they knew it, two members of their party was missing.  The remaining members were approached by small (perhaps devolved) versions of the Eorna.  They called themselves the Yernoids.  They lived in this catacombs.  However, their home has been invaded recently by “devils.”  “Devils must fight devils…”  Their translators seemed to mis-translate their strange language.  Devils and strangers must mean the same thing in their language.

What the party was convinced into fighting were mutated versions of the alien prisoners.  They were mutated by the molten crystal that seems to permeate everywhere on this side of the river.  THey also had the ability to mutate other things like tunnel worms, flying cave bat creatures and the Yernoids themselves.  Dealing with them and their much large boss, the party was rejoined and had a new ally – the Yernoids.

 


Characters

Jov’R Myardak

Yazirian Warrior, former Star Devil Pirate

Joining this group was the only choice she had but betraying them is still on the table.  However, the focus now is getting her memory back and revenge against whoever left here abandoned on the alien space station.

Additionally, these has been something gnawing at her since she returned.   Something related to why she was abandoned at the space station.  Something that jars he conscience even though she can’t remember what it is.

Khlith Taywon

Candrosian Explorer

This is what Khlith was born for – exploration into the deep unknown.   But this unknown has horrible secrets, tragic history and dangers everywhere.  And that makes it even better!  However, based on Khlith knowledge of the universe, there just seems something wrong with all that he has seen.  Something is not right about the lifeforms and the cultures formed here.

The rest of the party is a fascinating mix.  The kid seems out of place but has some pretty powerful mental powers when he needs them.  The wolf and the lizard are competent warriors.  The dralasite, although unnerving to watch at times, has many of the same goals as you except he seems dangerously curious and almost foolhardy with his experimentation with the crystals.

Telkis Naslux

Tor’Drani Female Ranger

The hunger has been the worst part of this mission.  There is not enough raw meat on this planet to satisfy her need to feed.

The mysterious guy named Bestin (probably Star Law agent) contacted Telkis on New Pale.  He informed her that a person codenamed Diablo was trying to cause trouble with the mission.  Bestin was very interested in Diablo and even implied a handsome reward for any information or help in apprehension of this man.  There was even a subtle hint that he was wanted dead or alive.

Talkis is indifferent about the party.  The annoying kid keeps trying to have relations with her and he does not understand how loathsome she sees him.  Furless!  How disgusting!  The rest serve their purpose but can be troublesome at times, especially the scientists.  This is no place for a scientists or explorer.  Everything wants to kill you.  The only one person she can relate to is the S’saran and he’s about as personable as a tree and always drinking.

Tselex “Nox” Nocx

Dralasite Tech

This world has everything he needs!  Ancient technology and secrets to explore, psionically powered crystal veins growing rampantly, and primitive cultures that do not have a clue what they have.  This crystal technology is fascinating.  Where did it come from?  How else did these Eorna use it?  How can Nox improve on it.  The strange Eorna survivor was concerning though.  “You know not what you toy with…”  he said.  What does that mean?

Vydiryss

S’saran Warrior, Templar of the Church

Escaping the politics of the Frontier was all that Vyd wanted. This was more than he bargained for. The kid is annoying and Vyd is always bailing him out of trouble.  The dralasite smells funny.  The big guy – the Candrosian – Vyd still can’t figure him out.  The wolf is the only being he can relate to, but he doesn’t like how she looks at him when she is hungry.

The planet concerns Vyd.  Too much to the Sathar legacy is here.  They ravaged many parts of the known world and some unknown.  What stopped them here?  What kept them from going any further one thousand years ago?

Another concern is the pirate outfit that seems to want to stop the group and has attempted to kill them.  Vyd does not take too kindly to that.  It’s a long time since Vyd ahs had a family and this is the closest thing he’s got right now.

William Andrew Robert Campbell IV, Vicount Argyll

Human Noble, Diplomat, Psionic

This sucks, dude!  That’s all William can say in his head.  It is hot, no girls, just a bunch of aliens.  But it’s better than being murdered by my step-mom, I guess.

William has always known that he had powers beyond normal stuff.  But his father encouraged him to keep it secret.  With the new regime taking over on New Pale, they would not take too kindly to humans have a leg up in their society.  William found out that the Truane’s Star Government was rounding up psionically talented humans and shipping them off somewhere.

However, this world is strange.   Between the psionic nature of the crystalline deposits and the constant oppressive psionic broadcast, this planet presents a level of mystery that scares a young teenagers but intrigues a growing psion.  Is this what maturing is like?

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