Adventure: Return to Starmist, Part 1
Blue Plague: I did not pay much attention to the Blue Plague mentioned in the Zebulon timeline, but that can play into this adventure however the GM sees fit.
Slaves of the Shri’ik
Part 1.1 Maximillian Malligigg’s Legacy
System: Gruna Garu
City: Tritiad, western continent.
The PCs are recruited by MEAR to help investigate something they found on Starmist. Due to an explosion (that occurred in the last adventure, when I ran it, see Sundown on Starmist, modified), another relic has been uncovered – an alien ship. It is nothing like anyone has ever seen. The company wants the PCs to help in the uncovering and investigation. They are to act as security and are given a full staff of security personnel to command.
TOTAL SECURITY PERSONNEL: 84. ARMAMENTS: MEAR 1001 Assault Rifle (1 each). MEAR-2190 Support Rifle (1 per squad). MEAR-49 Mortar (1 per squad). THERM-MEAR Grenades.
Briefing & Assassination: The PCs are given the above briefing in the presence of the Corporation’s president – Ratland Morlo. This is important enough that he chose to be present. Most of the recovery team leaders are here, including the ship pilots, project leads, security officers and others. Also present is Vice President Dolond Mortigge (a Bengradi) who has been a known opponent of the further exploration of Starmist. The briefing takes place on the upper level of the corporate HQ in Tritiad, a huge glass building.
During the briefing, towards the end, black clad terrorists will attack the building from aircars. Armed with special issue EMA weapons, they assault the briefing with HIgh Explosive rounds that sound like thunder. From several aircars, terrorists blast the windows and pour into the building, attacking security guards and spraying all the rooms. The briefing room is hit and many go down, including the president.
Shri’ik Assault Rifle (Federanium EMA) – High intensity magnetic field psionically linked to the user’s own bio-electric field. Fire HE AP Federanium rounds. Max Damage: 50, 200 max range. AP capabilities: Point Blank to short – automatic penetration. Medium to Long: Armor takes 1/8 of its normal penetration value. Extreme: Armor takes 1/4 its normal penetration value. Electro-Caltrops – nuisance weapons with a high power energy charge. RS or take damage of 10 and fall.
After the attack, the local Star Law arrive and shut down the building as a crime scene. They will tell the PCs to not investigate on their own, they prefer to handle it and do not appreciate vigilantes in this city. They request that all that were involved/survived must stay on planet until the investigation is complete. Unbeknownst to any of them, a Star Law agent is assigned to them to watch and investigate any suspicious activity, including the PCs.
The PCs may investigate the assassination on their own if they can lose their tailing agent. All the PCs have to act on is the nature of the gun used in the assassinations – Federanium rounds do not exist on the normal market. Checking out the black market and any contacts the PCs have will take time. As said, they will have to lose the Star Law agent following them first.
Who are the Black Clad Terrorists: If any are captured, they will take any opportunity they find to commit suicide. They are beings of various races (primarily human) with little to no background – nondescript people who otherwise would not have been noticed by the authorities as a danger. They are citizens from all over Hargut who have gone missing for several months.
Investigation & Warehouse Raid: The PCs somehow obtain a lead that a band of pirates and smugglers have obtained an unusually shipment of weapons. This band of pirates and smugglers are called the Kraken Corsairs and are lead by a [Skaniis] named Talindrik Mimpin. Tal’s men are smuggling a load of the weapons into an abandoned warehouse.
The PCs can investigate this warehouse. What they find is a number of nondescript individuals discretely armed, guarding a large old warehouse. Inside, are various crates but only a certain group of them are heavily guarded. At some point, the Silvertwin Star Law agents raid the warehouse.
The intent for this encounter is to have the PCs get caught in a firefight between the Silvertwin agents and the pirates. It would be a great opportunity for the PCs to dig deeper while the pirates are distracted. Of course, there is high risk in doing that, particular because the Silvertwin agents do not know the difference between the PCs and the pirates. I would be ill-advised, however, for any PC to kill a Silvertwin agent.
Evidence: The warehouse office contains computer and communication equipment. If the PCs attempt to infiltrate the office during the battle and inside their they can find evidence that points to the MEAR vice president as their primary buyer. It could be inventory records on the computer (very organized pirates) or video taken covertly by the pirates as insurance against their buyer or whatever the GM feels works.
Another Assassination: After escaping the warehouse raid, they may want to investigate the vice president. If they do not, they hear about his assassination via the local news or some other means. The vice president was assassinated at his penthouse home. If the PCs are present at the penthouse, they could be framed from the murder. In truth, the Shri’ik assassin performed the assassination himself (his slave hold on the VP was slipping). If the PCs are present, this represents the first contact with the Shri’ik, the alpha of the trianary species called the Shri’ikii.
The list of Suspects: Star Law have reason to believe that a single individual is behind all of this – manipulation of a terrorist group, turning the VP against the company and using the Krakan Corsairs as smuggles for weapons. The PCs can hack the Star Law computers or use contacts to find their list of suspects.
External Corporate Suspects
- Kalin Kral, President of CDC – MEAR competes with CDC on many levels, and it is not outside the realm of possibility that the corporation executive of CDC arranged for the assassination. Kral is not on planet however (CDC’s homeworld is Cassidine), and tracing the assassins back to him would be difficult.
- Crattor Jalt, president of Streel – MEAR competes with Streel on many levels, and it is not outside the realm of possibility that the corporation executive of Streel arranged for the assassination. Jalt is not on planet however (Streel ‘s homeworld is Pale), and tracing the assassins back to him would be difficult.
Internal Corporate Suspects
- Vice President of MEAR Doland Mortigge (deceased) – Motive would have been for more power but his assassination has thrown the Star Law off that line of investigation.
- Jerrett Maklan – local crime boss who wants to expand into Tritiad. MEAR has used its private security to insure that organize crime is at a minimal in Tritiad (Operation Clean Cut), behind Star Law’s back.
- Jason Lightsong – Mercenary leader of the Lightsong Syndicats. Morlo owes a considerable amount of money to Lightsong for some of his covert work in Operation Clean Cut (some of which was not entirely legal).
- Talindrik Mimpin, pirate leader – Talindrik opposes Operation Clean Cut as much as any other organized crime group, however, he also thinks he has a deal with the Vice President to get access to the alien ship on Starmist.
- Dilandra Morlo, president’s daughter – She is power hungry and is the heiress to his fortune. She has no love for her father.
- Mrs. Kiran Morlo, wife to Ratland – Cheating on her husband with chauffeur, Halman Hem.
- Admiral Dagar Ral, commander of the UFP fleet in the region. – his wife was having an affair with Ratland.
- Halman Hem, chauffeur for the Ratland – having an affair Mr. Morlo.
Getting involved in any of these will get the PCs wrapped up in the subplot mentioned. There may be means to which the PCs can gain allies – Lightsong and Maklan both can be persuaded to help if they think they are being framed for murder.
Targeted: The Shri’iik will eventually target the PCs and any ally they have gained. This can solidify the alliances they established with either the Maklan gang or the Lightsong syndicate.
Shri’ik Slave Master: A Shri’ik Master is mind controlling the black clad terrorist group that assassinated Morlo, the Kraken Corsairs smugglers, and Vice President’s Mortigge’s betrayal.
- The Black Clad Terrorists are individuals that the Shri’ik was able to kidnap and completely brainwash with his mind control ability. These people will never return to the way they were, as they were exposed to the most intense mind control treatment the Shri’ik performs. This group was to serve as a small army for his own purposes.
- Vice President Dolond Mortigge – Unlike the Black Clad Terrorists, Dolond Mortigge was only injected with enough mind control enzyme that the effect was going to be temporary. The Shri’ik knew this and planned to utilize the VP as a primary patsy for the murder of Morlo. With the VP’s power, the Shri’ik was able to arrange a shipment of weapons from a hidden stash.
- The Shri’ik had long infiltrated the Kraken Corsairs and was using them to hide some of his Shri’ik weapons.
His end goal was to dissuade enough of the MEAR executives away from investigating any further into Starmist and the crash site.
Star Law Incompetence and Corruption: Star Law has no clue who is doing all this, but sees an opportunity to frame so local players and take them out. Their investigation will steamroll right into framing either Maklan or Lightsong (or both). Upset over Operation Clean Cut, they want to put an end any doubts MEAR might have with their abilities to enforce the law on Hargut.
Operation Clean Cut: An overblown program of vigilantism, MEAR took it upon itself to clean up Tritiad since they did not feel Star Law was capable. In doing this, they created teams mercenary vigilantes, performed covert assassinations and raids, and crippled the organized crime elements within the city. Some factions are looking for payback.
A big battle at some remote location between the PCs and their allies, Star Law (instigating both sides to fight), the Black Clad terrorists and any other faction the Shri’ik has gained control of.
Part 1.2 Darkness
After the events in Part 1, Tritiad is under martial law, by order of Star Law. Between the protests and riots by the local Que’sha, the terrorists attacks on MEAR, and militant activity by known criminal groups (Maklan and Lightsong), the UPF gave Star Law permission to improse martial law. UPF troops with tanks and Star Law Rangers with armored vehicles along with local militia roam the streets in search of known insurgents and criminals.
Because of actions they performed in the last part of this adventure, the PCs are on the run and wanted for interference with Star Law investigation. The charges may include the following:
- Interference in a Star Law investigation
- Destruction of public property
- Destruction of corporate property
- Use of unregistered alien tech (the group may have used a Shri’ik weapon against it)
Star Law also do not appreciate any witnesses left of their plot to pit criminal organizations against each other.
The MEAR corporation facility in Tritiad is currently under lockdown by Star Law. No one in or out until all individuals are investigated. Murders and assassination have continued (preprogrammed Black Clad terrorists fulfilling their orders). Corporation after corporation have suspended activity within the city and threaten to leave. Media, trade and transportation throughout the city are strictly monitored by the Authorities.
The PCs still have a mission to Starmist, if MEAR corporation is still intact. They can not get off planet, because the Star Law is watching every port. The alien creature (the shri’ik) may still be after them as well. They may or may not know also that this creature seems to still have mental control of certain factions in the city. They do not know who to trust. The only friends they have at this point is anyone left at MEAR.
Through contacts, they learn that the MEAR executives have three specific locations they would retreat to if needed – The MEAR complex on the planet’s moon, a secret complex on the north pole of the planet, and a place called Darkness. Very little is known about Darkness other than it is underground, perhaps under Tritiad.
MEAR Plant Office: Initial investigations will find a small contingent of MEAR employees under light guard (local militia) in a small facility near the MEAR plant. They PCs may feel it is the only way to find out where the rest of MEAR is and complete the mission. The PCs need to dispose of the militia (hopefully without killing them, because they are only following orders). Once they complete this, the employees tell them what they know about Darkness – the underground facility located under the Hargut military base.
Shri’ik Attack: A Shri’ik assassin and a contingent of Clikk will attack the facility. They are after whatever information MEAR has about their ship and their Federanium secrets. The MEAR employees reveal that there are some artifacts kept in stasis stored in the plant. These artifacts could be of use of the PCs can get to them.
Getting to Darkness: The employees also reveal that they best way to get Darkness is either through the primary entrance in MEAR corporation HQ (currently under Star Law lockdown) or through the old colonial tunnels and sewers, of which there is an entrance to on the planet property (Sewer Shack). In the Shack are suits that the PCs will have to wear. The old sewers are no longer publically used but once were part of a network of tunnels used by the original Yazirian colonists. Part of the tunnels are linked to an old Yazirian dungeon, used during a series of inter-clan conflicts.
Since then, the old tunnels and sewers have been forgotten by most. In places, they have collapsed, in others they have been reconstructed as part of a new foundation. MEAR (as well as many other corporations) have used them as a dumping ground for waste and other “mistakes.”
Tunnels & Sewers: [I used the D&D 1e DMG Random Dungeon Generation Charts for the tunnels and sewers] Conditions within the tunnels are not pleasant. The air is filled with a noxious gas that can be flammable in places, while in others it is not. Gas mask are required (built into the suits) or the individual suffers from -2 CS on everything physical. It also tends to obscure vision and infrared visors are useless because of the heat and humidity in the tunnels. All tunnel hallways have at least 1 ft deep slime stream running through it. At random points, it might get deeper. Corroded pipes hang down and sometimes randomly spew out toxic sludge.
No employee will go with them but they will give them a map to the Darkness facility. Unbeknownst to them, the Shri’ik are already in the tunnels. The Shri’iik and their Clikk minions have been using them to get around the city. They will give chase to the players once they enter the tunnels. The MEAR employees stress that it is important to keep this route secret, especially from the alien threat.
1-2 Shri’ik Trap
3 -4 (1d6) 1-2 – Deep Slime (1d6 meters). 3-4 Slime flow from sides. 5-6 Slime flow from above.
5-6 Mutant (GEMMER)
7-8 Random creature
The Darkness is a secret facility that MEAR established jointly with the Hargut military, unbeknownst to the UPF. The players will have to fight off the last of the Shri’ik before reaching the secret entrance to Darkness. If they do not, then the Shri’ik will assault Darkness. Otherwise, the MEAR staff will welcome the group in once they figure out who they are. They have medical facilities as well as food and water. Once the party has healed up, the remaining execs will brief them on the mission to Starmist, telling them now more than ever, they need to know what is going on. The PCs are taken to a MEAR installation in the mountains, where they take a shuttle to an orbiting ship, which takes them to Starmist.