The War Years 1: Madhouse

I think this is an adventure where I realize I was repeating myself.  I had developed a fascination with asylums (thanks to Call of Cthulhu) but this was all to similar to Conildra Tatil.  I started to fade out of SF by this time because I was running out of original ideas.


BASICS

Year 198 FY. The Wars have already started but only on the rim sectors.  In the central regions, there are only rumors of wars with the Kzin, Kalia and Saurons.  The Security Council has not yet released the official reports of war to the public.  There has been  little activity from the Saurons, and the battle lines with the Kzin are holding.  The Khalian battle lines have not yet formed due to their erratic tactics.  But the wars look like they are going to be long and hard, and the Alliance needs every edge they can get.

THE BRIEFING: The PCs are anywhere in the Frontier or Sovereignty sectors.  They are called to a briefing by Land Fleet Intelligence Division (LFID), located in the local office.  They are instructed to use the codename “Madmen.”   Enroute, they may figure out that they are followed by an unmarked vehicle, probably belonging to LFID.  They have been drafted.

The PCs are to get on board a commercial freighter that will take off in 8 hours.  The craft will take them to Ceti Sigma 826 aka Gnarl where a small military training base has been set up.  One Gnarl, the PCs are to go through a full month of basic training.  After training, they will be taken to a planet called Hannibal.

After training, they will be told there are two parts to the mission: (1) Recover the source of intel – Balrom Ilder – Human historian and (2) Obtain and assess the intel he is in possession of.  Act on it is possible.

Balrom Ilder  – Species: Human.  Place of Birth: Unknown.  Time of Birth: Unknown (age around 50 standard years.)  Profession: Historian. Employment Record: 165 fy to 182 fy, University of Zebulon.  Medical Record: Declared mentally and incurably insane by the Zebulon University department of Psychology on 182.5.25 fy.  – Paranoid delusions and slight xenophobia.  No known prior medical problems of this nature.

Balrom Ilder is to be interrogated by LFID and the information obtained to be investigated.  He is on a planet called Hannibal on the Lector system.  This planet was first colonized by Star Law Penal division to be used as a prison colony for special cases – incurably and unexplainably insane cases.  During 155 fy, the project  was opened and it lasted until the money ran out in 187 fy.  During those 26 years, Dr Ilder was sent there by the Zebulon University with all the proper documentation proving he was incurably insane.

After 181 fy, the project was halted and the colony all-but-abandoned.  A small staff was left behind with a smaller group of security.  It was kept on a low budget and minimal supplies were sent to the planet.  The colony was nearly self sufficient anyway.  They just left the inmates to eventually die.  Recent attempts to contact the colony have failed and the worst is assumed. Satellite surveillance has shown that there are changed on the surface, but nothing identifiable or conclusive.  Dr. Balrom Ilder must be found and taken off planet alive.  If he is dead, the PCs are instructed to return to the rendezvous point and the mission will be considered a failure.  However, Land Fleet has reason to believe he is still alive.

Planet: Hannibal (Lector System)  aka Hanny

Gravity: 0.93 G.  Climate: Normal.  Star:  Red dwarf (Red Dragon). Atmosphere: Normal.  Distance from Star:  1.1 AU.  Rotation: 36 hour day.

Climate Description:  Normally very wet and cold in the habitable zones, with long thick fog banks common.  Occasionally, strong thunder storms can pop up.  During these storms, EM activity tends to interfere communication as well as sensors (including CAS, Visors, etc).

Indigenous Creatures:  The animal kingdom of Hanny is not very noteworthy except for two major predators:  Elder Fish (water born shark-like creatures with tentacles) and Zefron beasts (bipedal land creatures similar to T-rex but about Cow size).  Xeno-biologists believe that the Zefron beasts are an alien life from implanted on Hanny.

PULL

Location: Ceti Sigma 826 aka Gnarl

While in training, the facility is invaded/raided by Khalia.  The characters will have to round up the crew and get to the transport during a  full scale invasion.  They will have to scramble to get off planet and find their way to Hannibal.

Training:  Two teams are in training – Strike Team Alpha (PCs) and Beta (NPCs).  Beta is made up of five large-sized humans (they claim to be from a High G world in the [Sovereignty of Man]), a [Halogai’] and a [Torani]. Interaction between the two teams is competitive but friendly.   The truth is that the five humans are actually Sauron agents.  Sauron High Command has an interest in Ilder and has infiltrated Land Fleet.  (See Gimmick)  Their mission is to find and kill Ilder and anyone that gets in their way.  Unfortunately, the two other members of Beta will be the first to die.

The Saurons won’t reveal who they are until absolutely necessary.  They will in fact help the PCs during the Khalia invasion.  Both teams will find a way off planet and set course for Hannibal.

PUSH

Location: Hannibal (Lector System)  aka Hanny

The PCs will set down outside of Station Four Asylum, where Ilder was said to be (they will unknowingly be outside the ‘Strator’s sector of town).

Kzinti Strike Force – A Kzin strike force (Grol-Marrik team) will arrive on Hannibal a day before the PCs.  Their job is to kill Ilder as well.  There are 3 Kzin Warriors on Hanny.  The PCs will not know it until they get on the trail to Ilder.  Signs and clues will indicate that they are being hunted by the Kzin.  (some clues could be a battleground with inmates thrown about, savagely beaten and torn by claws and blades; a pack of dead Zefron beast killed in the same manner.)

Encounter: Kzin Attack – Team Alpha and Beta (assuming the Saurons have no revealed themselves yet) will engage the Kzin strike team.  This may be where the Saurons reveal themselves. as they will turn on everyone at once.

Encounter: Captured by the Sadies – Clues will lead the party to the Sadies who currently hold Ilder and several other Archists prisoner in cages just outside the Castle.  The surviving Kzin and/or Saurons will attack the camp.  In the chaos, the PCs should try to save Ilder.

GIMMICK

Station Four Asylum

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Factions

The Strators – “Big Bad Wolf” Psychopaths.  This is the psychotic group that idolizes the powers of authority to a point that they mimic any authority figure they encounter.  However, they utilize their (perceived) power to feed their psychotic need to kill.  This particular faction have taken on the personas of the former staff.  The PCs may in fact mistake them as the actual staff.

The Strators will approach the PCs as if they are the staff and administrators of the Asylum.  The PCs will be fed whatever false information they need to provide to get the PCs to trust them.  However, the decaying bodies can still be found in their offices still.  The security have also been replaced by a group of Strators called the Sentinels.  The armory has been stripped and all Strators are armed in some way.

The ‘Archists – (Dock Area) – This faction represents utter chaos and anarchy (thus the name).  They are uncontrollable psychopaths, cannibals, and catatonics that roam the streets.  They are well contained by the other factions for this reason.  Any that wonder out are immediately killed.  One of the favorite things the Archist like to do to those that wander into their area is cut them badly, then throw them into the river and watch as the Elder Fish devour them.  Cleptomaniacs hide in shadows looking to steal anything from their victims.  Zombie-like catatonic cannibals roam around seeking flash to devour. Some times the Sadies bannish one of their own that might be seen as “too crazy.”

The Sathnids – Sailing the river and lake area is a completely different form of pirate raider – the Sathnids.  A group of catatonic inmates stumbled upon the wreckage of an old Sathar assault scout half in the water.  This caused several of them to snap (perhaps they were veterans of the last Sathar War) and believe they were Sathars.  Recruiting others and convincing them the same, they converted the assault scout to a sailing vessel and sail the river like they are Sathar pirates.  They even able to re-ignite the ship’s reactor enough to power the weapons.

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The Sadies – Enforcers sometimes mentally crack and snap and become dangerously unstable.  Some of these PTSD victims are sent to Hanny.  A very special kind of crazy developed among these types that developed into what is now called the Sadies.  They are dangerously psychotic individuals that get their release from causing pain to others.  After the escape, a megalomaniac inmate known as Magnon Colb banded the Sadies together and settled in the hills south easy of the asylum.  He called all the sadist types under one battle cry – “to Fill the Enemy with fear and pain!”    The Sadies are not content with just staying where they are, however. Magnon is close to executing a plan to conquer Station Four and beyond.

Castle Colb is under construction by the Sadies in honor of the leader.  In front of the castle was supposed to be a statue of Colb but he could not find a sculptor, so right now there is just a man-sized stone that he calls his statue.  The dungeons of Castle Colb are a nightmare of torture and pain. Colb Patrols are groups of Sadies that travel throughout the asylum seeking new victims for the dungeons of Castle Colb.  They have a saying in the Dungeons of Colb – “No one comes out, but no one dies” – victims live a long and painful life in the hell that is the Dungeons of Colb.

Castle Colb is a chaotic conglomeration of construction that looks like it was built by maniacs.  The construction is also horrific in many ways, reminding you that not only are they maniacs but savage and psychotics maniacs as well.  For example, victims were buried alive in the walls with the heads or arms or legs left sticking out, permanently cemented in the painful positions. At the tops of the tower walls, victims were cemented to their heads.  These victims are kept alive  for a time, fed by slaves, creating a horrific moans as they hope for death.  These are called the Wailing Towers.

The Sadies are as armed as the Strators because they found another hidden armory in their area.  The strongest rival are the Stators , whom the battle with often in a specific region between their two territories – which is aptly named the Battleground.  The fighting has slowly increased in violence and savagery to the point that many fear an all out war.

The ‘Quisitors – Religion, it seems, is always going to be part of any society.  To some, it effects in very good ways while in others, it corrupts and destroys.  To those that fit in the latter category, the Quisitors are home.  Religious fanatics, zealots and psychopathic believers, the Quisitors takes them all in.  Over time, the common elements of all the religious merged into one single pantheon and theology that all could follow.  Very fundamental and conservative, member of this faction follow a strict code of conduct.  Upon escaping, these inmates organized a “pilgrammage” to the cliffs to get close to heaven.  Estra Milan was their leader at the time; a mentalist of sorts.  He granted himself the Master Quistor and want off to the hills alone, never to return.  He was later found dead from some kind of epileptic seizure.   The new leader – Malrug Cram, a yazirian – enforces his own kind of doctrine with an iron fist.  His High Guard – in their blood read robes – act as his enforcers and serve him loyally.  Punishment is sacrifice to their deity.

The cult is secretly controlled by s psionically powerful alien that lives in the cliffs.  The Quisitors call it their god’s angel – Selt.  He is actually an alien criminal banished by the Morad.  His race is called the Eltretchi.  They feed on the psionic energies of “lesser sentients” and the best way to do that is through their worship of him.  Eventually, they die from the feeding.

The Psychers – One of the factions that occupy the old asylum site is a group of psionic powered inmates that have no control over their powers.  They have uncontrollable fits of mental power lashing out and the only way they can keep control of it is through meditation and silence.  They do not speak and spend many hours meditating inside the old asylum.  They try to have no contact with others, because when they do, they could lose control.

The Dwellers – Another group that occupies the old asylum site is called the Dwellers – a group of depressive psychotics that roam the underground tunnels and isolation levels of the asylum.  They like the darkness and love to gloom.  They also have a total lack of basic hygiene and cleanliness.

The Independents – There are also many independent inmates (and staffers posing as inmates) running around, raiding, killing, and stealing in their own demented way. Many Independents hide in the old mag lev trains.  Others on the outskirts of the asylum.

Colony Transportaion

Mag-lev  – The two mag-lev trains are operational, although the tracks have many dangerous breaks in them.  One is stopped over the iver northeast of the asylum and the other is stationary over the lake about a kilometer out.

Other means – There are ground and er vehicles through out the asyulm colony.  The Archist used to have access to many boats and a few cars, but those have since been destroyed or stolen.  The Sadies have an impressive fleet of ground/hover cars.

Balrom Ilder 

Dr. Ilder is alive on Hanny but the entire asylum (Station Four Asylum) has been overrun by the inmates.  Security has totally broken down and they took over, killing or captured the rest of the staff.  They have split off into their own twisted societies, banding together according to their psychosis.  Each society has taken over a section of the colony, forming their own territories.   Ilder has left a trail leading from his cell on one end of town to the other.

The doctor has been afraid for his life ever since he first encountered the Kzin.  Ilder is actually from a world called Alpha Dawn – an Earth like planet where the first Frontier humans are said to have originated from.  Alpha Dawn is still a thriving colony but has long been forgotten by those in the Frontier.  It has developed into a strong tyrannical governed world, ruled by a fanatical ruler who leads with a iron first.  Some would say it is almost fascist.  It is a strong isolationist world now, as well as highly xenophobic.  The current government refuses to recognize the existence or the authority of multi-species alliances or coalitions.

Ilder escaped the tyranny of Alpha Dawn, breaking many of the government’s laws in the process.  Ilder was a historian on Alpha Dawn.  He wanted to get to the Frontier (knowledge of which is proscribed on Alpha Dawn) and warn them of the Khalia, the Kzin and the Saurons.  He holds a wealth of information from the Alpha Dawn archives about each of those races and the wars they waged against the Earth humans (which they are directly descended from).  It is all memorized in his photographic memory.  All the mistakes made by the Terran Empire, lessons learned, and most effective tactics. He also knows the Starwolves were created to help fight these enemies and where they reside in known space.

Ilder is perfectly sane.  He was misjudged by many of his colleagues.  After he saw reports of Kzin encounters, he went into a rage of fear.  This ended with him being shipped off to Hanny where now he hides, feeding off what he can scavenge. He started in the area where the Dwellers now reside.  When they settled in, Ilder moved on to the Strators region.  However, the viscous encounter with the Kzin strike team has moved him into the hands of the Sadies.

Ilder’s path

1 year ago – Escape from Cell – Dwellers

6 months ago – ‘Strators

1 day ago – Through the ‘Archists

1 day ago – Captured by the Sadies

The Adventure should go 

Present – PCs rescued, but he escapes in fear into the hands of the ‘Quisitors

Present – PCs rescued, but he escapes in fear into the hands of the Sathnids

Present – PCs rescued, but he escapes on the Mag Lev

Present – Escape Asylum

The PCs will find him captured by the Sadies but by now, Ilder is paranoid of everyone – enough so that they PCs may think him insane.  He will make multiple attempts to escape.  He is a very resourceful man.

FINAL SCENE

Someone the PCs will reach a subpace radio (Beta team may have one, or there is one in the old asylum).

Message 1 ” Madmen, medmen, this is Madhouse.  Your area has become too hot for extractions.  Way too hot.  Planetary invasion is impending.  Two forces – repeat two forces – are inbound with harmful intend.  Await further instructions.

The PCs can see dots of light in the sky moving and dropping more points of light into the atmosphere.

Moments later, second message “There is a body of water near you.  Rendezvous with pick up on island at the following coordinates XX-XX-XX by XX-XX-XX.  Verify, Madmen.”  Once they verify.  “Pick up will be there when you get there.  It is deemed as the least hot place in this situation.  No other choice. How you get there is up to you.

They will have to acquire a form of transportation.  Hopefully they have seen the Sathnid boat but if not, Ilder will know it. They should see that as the easiest route to the island.

The Island was the “dumping ground” for Star Law’s Division of Dangerous Unregistered Xenomorphs (DDUX).  The facility holds hundreds of dangerous illegal xenomorphic beings in stasis.  It consists of one large wall and three above ground buildings.

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