Why is the High Peaks Sanitarium Where It's At?

JCab747's picture
JCab747
July 17, 2016 - 11:15am
I would argue that the "Dark Side of the Moon" module is one of the best Star Frontiers adventures out there, at least from the aspect of playing up the tensions of the UPF society without needing to resort to Sathar hiding under every rock. It really brings out he potential and real conflicts that can happen between Humans and Vrusk... and you would think there would have been early trouble between the Humans and the warrior Yazarians before the First Sathar War or at least before the Pan Galactic Corporation helped smooth over relations between the Core Four races.

One neat sci fi thing about the Dark Side module is the High Peaks Sanitarium, which is a resort/hospital. I think an analogy -- for those who would want to look into it -- was the Battle Creek (MI) Sanitorium that was run in the late 19th to mid-20th centuries by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. That would be the brother of W.K. Kellogg of Kellogg's fame -- such as Frosted Flakes and Tony the Tiger, Rice Krispies and Snap! Crackle! and Pop!, Raisin Bran and Sunny... but I digress.

The one problem I have is why on Krataar is the High Peaks Sanitarium located where it is?

Granted it has a kind of James Bond-like character. The super villian hangout at the extreme edge of civilization. But, I have some doubts about why it would have been located where it's at in the adventure.

If you look at the map provided in the module, the HPS is located some six hexes away from the city of Qu'azzt on the planet Kraatar. Each hex is 300 kilometers. So, with all the twists and turns of the road, that's at least 1,800 kilometers away, well beyond the range of normal vehicles and up in the mountains where the air is way to thin to breath.

Can we assume that there are mining camps along the way where the characters can get a recharge? It's not mentioned in the module.

Do the characters have to get an extra special long-range explorer with several extra parabatteries to make sure they can get there and back? Again, not mentioned in the module.

Why is this facility built so far away from a city? Do the Vrusk like star gazing without the twinkling effect of an atmosphere? Did David Dever and Jack Lagrange build it or is it based on an old mining colony or did someone else build it an the Kraatar Liberation Corps coopted it?

Anyone have any thoughts?  
Joe Cabadas
Comments:

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
July 17, 2016 - 7:02pm
In universe or out?

In universe: security.  Remote locations with few or no nosey neighbors poking around.

Out of universe: Interesting that you keyed in on the Bond aspect.  I've thought for years that DSOTM was modeled off of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The core plot is strikingly similar: bad guy with a mountain-top fortress/lab/spa wants to start a global crisis using mind-controlled proxies using a virus.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 17, 2016 - 7:29pm
No idea but welcome the conversation.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

JCab747's picture
JCab747
July 18, 2016 - 6:11am
ChrisDonovan wrote:
In universe or out?

In universe: security.  Remote locations with few or no nosey neighbors poking around.

Out of universe: Interesting that you keyed in on the Bond aspect.  I've thought for years that DSOTM was modeled off of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The core plot is strikingly similar: bad guy with a mountain-top fortress/lab/spa wants to start a global crisis using mind-controlled proxies using a virus.


Oh, yes, I understand about the need for security. But remember, although the sanitarium is supposed to be a cover for Dever's and Legrange's sinister plot, the facility still had to act as a commercial enterprise for a while that specifically catered to weary Vrusk executives.

Why would a weary Vrusk executive travel to the other end of the planet and then trek some 1,800 or more kilometers to get to High Peaks?

I'll throw out some conjectures...

Despite their sinister plot, Dever has to provide a high level of service to attract the Vrusk to come to him... Or maybe the sanitarium's reputation got started under someone else whom Dever and Legrange eliminated some how.

They came for the views... since Vrusk don't like swimming, there's no Turkish mudbaths for them to enjoy, so they must come for the spectacular views ouf to the Sanitarium's windows. Maybe the windows are made of the scintillating Kraatarian glass -- the modules say the Vrusk like this.

Maybe too, Dever has one of the best private collections of Kraatarian glass on the planet.

How do the exhausted Vrusk executives get to High Peaks? Do they slog over twisty, turny mountainous roads?

The shuttle to the planet's moon is supposed to be a secret, but the fastest way to shuttle people from the nearest city, Qu'azzt, would be by air. Normal aircars couldn't make the journey, because the air is way too thin in the mountains, so that leaves the shuttle or some kind of hybrid aircar/space plane as an option.

Any other thoughts?
Joe Cabadas

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
July 18, 2016 - 8:51am
Quote:
Why would a weary Vrusk executive travel to the other end of the planet and then trek some 1,800 or more kilometers to get to High Peaks?


Why do weary Human executives (and others) travel across the planet and then trek long distances to go up the Amazon?  Or walk the Appalacian Trails?  Or into the wilds of Alaska?

Because it literally is "getting away from it all".  Yes, you can take time off, or even vacations closer to home, but you're still in the same environment with neighbors and pressures all around.  Some people feel the need to be more fully alone than that.

JCab747's picture
JCab747
July 18, 2016 - 3:07pm
ChrisDonovan wrote:
Quote:
Why would a weary Vrusk executive travel to the other end of the planet and then trek some 1,800 or more kilometers to get to High Peaks?


Why do weary Human executives (and others) travel across the planet and then trek long distances to go up the Amazon?  Or walk the Appalacian Trails?  Or into the wilds of Alaska?

Because it literally is "getting away from it all".  Yes, you can take time off, or even vacations closer to home, but you're still in the same environment with neighbors and pressures all around.  Some people feel the need to be more fully alone than that.


That isn't bad rationale... though aren't Vrusk supposed to be more analytical than Humans? I suppose I am over thinking the situation with an adventure module meant for 14 year olds, but as an adult, I think about the logistics of the situation -- i.e. the lo-o-o-ong distance that someone has to travel overland, well beyond the normal range of a ground car or explorer without the module mentioning how the characters get a recharge.

The module does mention what may happen if the characters go off roading -- landslides and stuff -- and possible encounters with KLC terrorist cells, but nothing about other things that should be along the normal route from Qu'azzt to the High Peaks.

How about this, maybe the sanitarium has a luxury tour bus. It would be just the thing to shuttle weary Vrusk too and fro from the facility. That could keep the shuttle to the moon a secret.

If something like that existed, it might give a Vrusk character a way to "sneak in" to the sanitarium as a patient... granted, that may turn out to be a bad decision.
Joe Cabadas

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
July 18, 2016 - 6:21pm
Vrusk may be more stress-tolerant than humans, etc but even they must have limits.

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
July 19, 2016 - 5:28am
Here's a take. The Vrusk were based on the Japanese Corporate mentality of the 80s. Far away mountain top retreats where one could go for rest and comtempletion was one of the things Westerners thought of

Now whether the writer of the module actually thought the numbers through or not we can ony guess at. I am thinking not.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

JCab747's picture
JCab747
July 19, 2016 - 6:26am
rattraveller wrote:
Here's a take. The Vrusk were based on the Japanese Corporate mentality of the 80s. Far away mountain top retreats where one could go for rest and comtempletion was one of the things Westerners thought of

Now whether the writer of the module actually thought the numbers through or not we can ony guess at. I am thinking not.


That's a reasonable explanation too. We could throw in the Kraatarian glass angle, since it is part of the module.
Joe Cabadas

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 22, 2016 - 6:59am
I think the real answer to why is writer fiat. That the writer was rolling in the tradition of pulp adventure writers and simply going with what sounded good and not bothering to bog down with asking questions like why. 

This discussion is good though as it will likely lead to coloring in a new corner of Frontier society. 

So building off of the Japanese corporate angle:

1. Why would a Japanese corporate exec go to a retreat? Is there a biological issue? Does it have to be a cultural issue of getting away? It is called a sanitarium.



2. Could the cadre the Zenk be involved? (Vrusk mafia)

3. The art/artistic angle probably should be explored. Maybe busy busy vrusk execs get away for the chance to nurture their inner artist? They've been so tied up with business the retreat is the first real chance for them in decades (vrusk calendar not GST) to really focus on art without distraction.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 22, 2016 - 7:05am
A vrusk CEO of a real estate trade house named kd'nn'ld Tr'mp wrote a book called The Artist of the Deal, which influenced a generation vrusk executives to nurture their inner artist. 


I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
July 22, 2016 - 11:09am
Japanese corporate culture is so high-pressure that they have a word (karoshi) which literally means "death from overwork".  Counting "face time" with the boss in after-work get togethers and other culturally mandated activities, it isn't uncommon for japanese workers to be "on the job" 16 hours a day, sometimes 7 days a week.

That kind of sustained abuse of their bodies takes a toll.  I mean burnout not in the "oh, I've done too much and I need a break", I mean literal burnout as in "drop dead on the spot".

Which sheds new light on the conflict between Humans and Vrusk on the planet.  Imagine how the Humans, used to putting in a few hours' chores and being done for the day suddenly being forced into the position of being required to put in 16 hours (or however many hours, you get the point).

This is similar to Victorian England at the start of the Industrial Revolution.  Formerly self-sufficient people being drug into the industrial machine (at pittance wages).  The amount of effort demanded from them skyrockets even as their standard of living plummets.  And it isn't even something they did to themselves, it is done to them by "outsiders".

Any wonder why the KLC got started?

JCab747's picture
JCab747
July 22, 2016 - 5:34pm
ChrisDonovan wrote:
Japanese corporate culture is so high-pressure that they have a word (karoshi) which literally means "death from overwork".  Counting "face time" with the boss in after-work get togethers and other culturally mandated activities, it isn't uncommon for japanese workers to be "on the job" 16 hours a day, sometimes 7 days a week.

That kind of sustained abuse of their bodies takes a toll.  I mean burnout not in the "oh, I've done too much and I need a break", I mean literal burnout as in "drop dead on the spot".

Which sheds new light on the conflict between Humans and Vrusk on the planet.  Imagine how the Humans, used to putting in a few hours' chores and being done for the day suddenly being forced into the position of being required to put in 16 hours (or however many hours, you get the point).

This is similar to Victorian England at the start of the Industrial Revolution.  Formerly self-sufficient people being drug into the industrial machine (at pittance wages).  The amount of effort demanded from them skyrockets even as their standard of living plummets.  And it isn't even something they did to themselves, it is done to them by "outsiders".

Any wonder why the KLC got started?


Very good points. You and Jedion.

But, to clarify, I'm not saying that the High Peaks Sanitarium doesn't have a purpose.

I just question why it's located so far in the Kraatarian mountains where there's no air to breathe.

Security reasons for the KLC to keep unwanteds from sniffing around? Yes.

I think I'll try to come up with a background story for it. It's probably at the terminus of some old mining roads and probably was the site of an old mine.

Kraatar may not have all the abundant rare earth metals that early prospectors hoped for, but it probably had some. Maybe the southern hemisphere had more than the northern hemisphere.

Next, the planet probably has your typical normal resources like iron, aluminum, maybe some magnesium, diamonds, etc. So there are probably active mines in the region, hence a road, and probably places to recharge one's parabattery and get fresh air.

Oh, well, I'll do some more musings -- half-baked ideas if you will -- after finishing some RL (real life) projects...
Joe Cabadas

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
July 22, 2016 - 5:41pm
Jed and Chris are on point. The Japanese Corporate culture was the inheretors of the Samurai culture. Total dedication was required even to the point of dying for the company.

For this "retreat" anyone remember the beginning of the movie "Gung Ho" where the Japanese exec was sent to a special place to learn how to rededicate himself to his company and those wonderful ribbons of shame?

I'd go there with this so called retreat.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

JCab747's picture
JCab747
July 22, 2016 - 5:46pm
rattraveller wrote:
Jed and Chris are on point. The Japanese Corporate culture was the inheretors of the Samurai culture. Total dedication was required even to the point of dying for the company.

For this "retreat" anyone remember the beginning of the movie "Gung Ho" where the Japanese exec was sent to a special place to learn how to rededicate himself to his company and those wonderful ribbons of shame?

I'd go there with this so called retreat.


I agree! I agree!

The only thing I questioned is why is it located so far off... well, then again, this is a science fiction game. They have moon colonies. Whirling space stations over head. Maybe I'm just trying to think of it from a "practical" sense... I still think a back story is needed to understand why its there
Joe Cabadas

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 23, 2016 - 4:56am
Maybe the back story is that it was a failed business- resort/ hotel (why does "The Shinning" suddenly float at the edge of my conscious mind?) It's owners had hoped to sell out to Star Play and retire to Prengular. Star Play easily saw the impracticality of the location and passed. 

The resort closed and fell into disuse. The owners never sold and became impoverished and eventually died. The location was then inherited by Nephew/son (whatever familial relationship works best) Jack LaGrange. As part of his master plan he's restored it and targeted the business at vrusk corporate culture. Naturally he blames the vrusk for the impoverishment of his family and thus the original failure of the resort is in his mind to be blamed on the vrusk as well. No doubt he has childhood memories in this place. 

Perhaps, a male family member went nuts from the isolation, painted the walls with blood "red rum" and killed everyone but 8 year old Jack survived. He was rescued by vrusk - a vrusk business shuttle heard his calling for help over the radio. In a convoluted psychobabble way Jack associates vrusk with this horrible event.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

JCab747's picture
JCab747
July 23, 2016 - 9:52am
jedion357 wrote:
Maybe the back story is that it was a failed business- resort/ hotel (why does "The Shinning" suddenly float at the edge of my conscious mind?) It's owners had hoped to sell out to Star Play and retire to Prengular. Star Play easily saw the impracticality of the location and passed. 

The resort closed and fell into disuse. The owners never sold and became impoverished and eventually died. The location was then inherited by Nephew/son (whatever familial relationship works best) Jack LaGrange. As part of his master plan he's restored it and targeted the business at vrusk corporate culture. Naturally he blames the vrusk for the impoverishment of his family and thus the original failure of the resort is in his mind to be blamed on the vrusk as well. No doubt he has childhood memories in this place. 

Perhaps, a male family member went nuts from the isolation, painted the walls with blood "red rum" and killed everyone but 8 year old Jack survived. He was rescued by vrusk - a vrusk business shuttle heard his calling for help over the radio. In a convoluted psychobabble way Jack associates vrusk with this horrible event.


All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy...

Yes, I kind of got that idea too... though it has more of a James Bond feel to it.
Joe Cabadas

iggy's picture
iggy
July 23, 2016 - 10:29pm
I wonder if there is some natural feature there that apeals to vrusk but humans don't get excited about.  Thinking along these lines rules out a cavern of crystals, high mountain lakes, pilars of stone that whistle in the wind, and all that sort of stuff.  Vrusk like geometry, the perfect hive structure, order, etc.  The idea that just poped into my mind is that maybe this place is natural volcanic honeycomb structure and vrusk like to use the honeycomb voids as meditation rooms.

There is a place in Yellowstone National Park where the rock is made of pilars of hexagons all formed together.  It is not perfect hexagon pilars, some are misshapen and others have crumbled.  Something volcanic formed it.  It reminds me of V'ger's chamber in Star Trek the Motion Picture.  What if the rock in this high mountain is made of hexagon pilars that are holow and the resort rooms and halls are carved through them.
-iggy

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
July 24, 2016 - 5:36am
The Vrusk love art and order so the hive structure could work but we need not assume hexagons. They do have ten limbs.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

JCab747's picture
JCab747
July 24, 2016 - 7:07am
iggy wrote:
I wonder if there is some natural feature there that apeals to vrusk but humans don't get excited about.  Thinking along these lines rules out a cavern of crystals, high mountain lakes, pilars of stone that whistle in the wind, and all that sort of stuff.  Vrusk like geometry, the perfect hive structure, order, etc.  The idea that just poped into my mind is that maybe this place is natural volcanic honeycomb structure and vrusk like to use the honeycomb voids as meditation rooms.

There is a place in Yellowstone National Park where the rock is made of pilars of hexagons all formed together.  It is not perfect hexagon pilars, some are misshapen and others have crumbled.  Something volcanic formed it.  It reminds me of V'ger's chamber in Star Trek the Motion Picture.  What if the rock in this high mountain is made of hexagon pilars that are holow and the resort rooms and halls are carved through them.


Now that's another good idea.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
July 24, 2016 - 7:08am
rattraveller wrote:
The Vrusk love art and order so the hive structure could work but we need not assume hexagons. They do have ten limbs.


And another good point
Joe Cabadas

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
July 24, 2016 - 7:23am
Yes, but you don't typically get natural 10-sided formations.  Hexagons are a natural crystal lattice shape and occur all the time.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

iggy's picture
iggy
July 24, 2016 - 9:42am
TerlObar wrote:
Yes, but you don't typically get natural 10-sided formations.  Hexagons are a natural crystal lattice shape and occur all the time.
Exactly why I was using hexagons.  I have seen them naturally formed in real life.
-iggy

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
July 24, 2016 - 1:15pm
Yes what was I thinking. We need natural structures in a game about giant insectoids, immense amoebas, flying squirrels and non human humans flying through space shooting lasers at hypnotic worms.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 24, 2016 - 5:22pm
I've seen pics of this natural hexagon volcanic formation - interesting.




https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devils_Postpile_National_Monument
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
July 25, 2016 - 3:58pm
JCab747 wrote:
ChrisDonovan wrote:
Next, the planet probably has your typical normal resources like iron, aluminum, maybe some magnesium, diamonds, etc. So there are probably active mines in the region, hence a road, and probably places to recharge one's parabattery and get fresh air.


Actually, per the History mentioned in the module, the planet was very metals poor:  "...only a few iron and copper mines were established." - DSOTM Pull-Out Sheet 1 Kraatar SystemBrief/History of Kraatar

The colonists couldn't even mine enough iron to maintain their machinery.  The real "minables" are in the desert sands (high-quality silica) and dissolved in the oceans, and those wouldn't be anywhere near the Sanitorium.

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
July 25, 2016 - 4:08pm
jedion357 wrote:
I've seen pics of this natural hexagon volcanic formation - interesting.




https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devils_Postpile_National_Monument


Apparently it crops up a lot where conditions are right.

http://www.sierrapotomac.org/W_Needham/ColumnarJointing_041212.htm

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/09/pictures/120905-supervolcano-hong-kong-hexagonal-rocks-science/

http://blogs.agu.org/mountainbeltway/2011/11/21/compton-peak-columns/

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
August 1, 2016 - 5:49am
Or mabye the metal poor nature of the planet may be why it is where it is.  This could have been one of the few places where they found easily accessible metals and it was worth the effort to go the distance to mine them until it played out.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
August 1, 2016 - 11:06am
We might just be over thinking this. I have never understood skiing. Go somewhere cold and wet to go up and down fast when there are nice warm ways to go fast. But in order to get to what are considered the good places you have to go to out of the way places.

Why else would anyone go to Aspen?

Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

JCab747's picture
JCab747
August 1, 2016 - 11:19am
rattraveller wrote:
We might just be over thinking this. I have never understood skiing. Go somewhere cold and wet to go up and down fast when there are nice warm ways to go fast. But in order to get to what are considered the good places you have to go to out of the way places.

Why else would anyone go to Aspen?



I don't want to overthink it. I just thought it was located in a very fa-a-a-a-ar away place from civilization for a facility that is supposed to (as its cover story) care for exhausted Vrusk executives. But, as others have pointed out, maybe that's the point. Maybe the modern Vrusk, despite their hive-like, trade house dominated society, as individuals need a sabatical.

Though, again, it's many, many hundreds -- nearly 2,000 -- kilometers from the nearest population center... but, again, it's a sci-fi game with space stations and such, so, yeah, I'm probably overthinking it...
Joe Cabadas

iggy's picture
iggy
August 1, 2016 - 8:17pm
2,000km, this is like New York to Miami or Seattle to Los Angeles, about a 3 hour flight by current airlines.  So, I would think that SF air cars should be able to make a comparable journey.
-iggy