After the Pan-Galactic Security Breach...

ExileInParadise's picture
ExileInParadise
January 12, 2017 - 9:59am
From the Star Frontiers Basic Game Rules...

The trivid screen grows hazy and then a hideous worm-like creature appears, its segments glistening with slime.

You hear its hissing whisper congratulating the raiders for infiltrating Security.

Then it describes the raiders' next mission.

They are to fly to a top secret military asteroid where research is underway on a special weapon that can reduce entire populations to mass hysteria.

They are to meet other agents who have already infiltrated the base and steal the device.

Cold chills run up and down your spine as you eye each other silently.

This case is more diabolical and far-reaching than you first thought; the raiders are working for the Sathar!


So, the Sathar had raiders infiltrating PGC security and stealing things from numerous PGC sites around the Frontier.

That raiding activity was preliminary to a raid on this asteroid research area.

In addition to PGC security raiders, the asteroid base was already infiltrated.

My guess here is that a military asteroid subcontracted a number of compartmentalized components from the likes of PGC, Cassidine DevCo, Streel etc... for shipping to this military asteroid for assembly and testing.

Now the Sathar are after it and were 2 steps ahead... until the PCs broke up the PGC security raiding.

So, this one text paragraph brings up a pretty cool sounding adventure possibility, and a number of questions:

1. Which military is developing this mass hysteria device?
2. Why are they developing it?
3. What does it really do?

I can assume the base is military in design, and parts in zero gee and parts with spin gravity of some sort, either gravity wheels or the entire asteroid spinning.

It would be some sort of "military base" - but in space! So, it would have administrative offices, a research area, some workshops for site maintenance and assembly, a docking area, a mess hall, a PX, etc.

The Sathar agents aboard might be some of the scientists, or site security, or even just administrative types.

So, my idea of a hook is that Star Law would temporarily deputize the team, since they already were involved  with the Sathar agents, and the team goes into the military asteroid.

This sort of assumes that this military asteroid is in the Prenglar system since the basic game hasn't gotten too much into spacecraft and travel.

And there's a couple of ways in - overt, or covert.
An overt Star Law raid is one possibility - cops kick in the asteroid base door as it were - so the team goes in with Star Law support.
A covert approach would be longer and probably with less support from "known star law"

Overt sounds like a Basic Game Rules friendly approach.
Covert sounds more like an Extended Rules approach.

Thoughts on fittting a mission like this after PGC Security Breach and before Alien Creature on the loose?
Comments:

ExileInParadise's picture
ExileInParadise
January 12, 2017 - 10:49am
Upon further thought - In My Star Frontiers - the military (a militia or UPF) would not be developing such a thing as a mass hysteria device.

Instead, I would make it out to be an entrapment scheme for Sathar agents.

No such device is being built, but the security files that were stolen, and what the low level administrators and research assistants spying for the Sathar has seen were all clever Sathar enticing bait.

Now the PCs are going in to help Star Law round up the rest now that Sathar involvement has been confirmed, linking the raiders to the asteroid base people which Star Law only suspected before.

I was reminded of how the U.S. used scientific missions as cover for the development of high resolution surveillance satellites for project Corona.

Anytime anyone not fully briefed was around, the payloads for the missions were mice and stuff, but when it was time for a real mission, the mice mazes were replaced with the secret camera in development.

Discovery Channel "Secret Satellite" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwmX4FRptpk

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 12, 2017 - 1:43pm
I like the red herring/ Entrapment idea about the mass hysteria device. Save from changing the setting to include one device that, code name Cthulu, that drives whole populations mad. 

What if we reinterpret the military asteroid as a corporate/mercenary run facility: PGC/ Galactic Taskforce facility. 

Or what if it's one of the Frontier's asteroid penal colonies? Cause you need to test the device and the sathar are motivated to move on this figuring this liberation of captured agents is a plus.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 12, 2017 - 2:10pm
In fact this whole adventure should have Call of Cthulu code named. Asteroid is Arkham Asylum - was that the name? Never actually played CoC. Code named for key NPCs could be the names of archtypical CoC PCs: the professor and etc. Cthulhu could be the code name for the actual sathar contact/handler.

I can also see a sathar destroyer or a pair of destroyers showing up at the asteroid after the adventure there developed a little. Because it's an Entrapment scheme Space Fleet or militia assault scouts will be close by and laying low but the destroyer will have time to land a shuttle or two of troops and the PCs have a Space Hulk style encounter to try to stay ahead of the worms and make it two an objective.

Edit: Mind Flayer could be a sathar code name. An upper caste sathar that will board the station with Canon fodder. Hysteria device is still code named Cthulu.

Adventure could be called Operation Mindflayer.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

ExileInParadise's picture
ExileInParadise
January 12, 2017 - 2:31pm
Given Star Frontiers was just before "cyberpunk" and the popularization of "evil corporate blah blah blah", I was thinking that PGC was also being suckered.
They didn't know they were doing compartmentalized work... and the military asteroid angle is surprise/news to PGC once they saw the circle of compromized facilities around PGC.

I like the idea of some sci-fi horror mix for the project name etc, but rather than dipping into some mythos that may have never existed in the Frontier (much like how Volturnus could be named for a Greek mythos figure, when Greek mythology should have never existed in the Frontier setting).

It might be fun to think up some sort of Dralasite or Vrusk horror mythos figures instead?
I kind of think that the Dralasite might be less prone to the supernatural horror, but maybe the Vrusk have some horrific myths from their deeper past before organizing into hive trade houses.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 12, 2017 - 2:44pm
Call of Cthulhu is recognizable to the players who won't really identify with made up vrusk horror troupes. Not that I'm against you making up dralasite & vrusk horror troupes I was just rifting off the idea of a hysteria device when I came up with Code Name Cthulu. I think you might be better off with names the players will instantly recognizable. And play around with the sathar hypnotism ability in the adventure- NPCs doing thing they shouldn't but do because of the hypnotism.

I don't consider the mythos issue all that big a deal- as far as I'm concerned earth exists but is unreachable.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

ExileInParadise's picture
ExileInParadise
January 12, 2017 - 3:01pm
Good point about writing for player recognizability - you may be right on how much that might help set the stage easily.

One thing I have been considering about the Star Frontiers setting is that nothing I've seen in the basic game rules out that it could be the Milky Way, just that the humans are slightly different.

But we also get the "Milky Way" reference in the artwork in the basic game, and the Earth mythos name for Volturnus... so, I think there is a little wiggle room for the argument that humans in the Frontier may have originated from Earth long ago, or vice versa.

If I was going to setup Star Frontiers in the Milky Way, I would set the Frontier somewhere in the middle of the far 3kpc arm on the other side of the long bar and the galactic bar.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way#/media/File:Artist%27s_impression_of_the_Milky_Way_(updated_-_annotated).jpg

So, maybe a little Cthulhu mythos flavoring could work, but it may be missing opportunity to expand the Frontier setting in its own way.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 12, 2017 - 3:06pm
Minotaur, Voltunus lots of things as far as I'm concerned suggest Earth mythos. But that is a discussion held else where and everyone does their own thing with it. 

PS: Doesn't"Operation Mindflayer" have a certain ring to it? 
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 13, 2017 - 7:47am
In my revised Port Loren Raiders game ( http://www.starfrontiers.us/node/1473 ) I was working on a follow up scenario where the players would board a PGC scout ship to pursue the raiders' contacts and find out where the agent/sathar outpost was. I was playtesting some of the plot points in my online game at SF.com before the intrerest waned and the game died, much as it does with any play by post game. The second attempt here didn't even make it halfway to capturing the raiders...so the sequel remains as hastily scribbled plot notes buried somewhere in my stack of gaming stuff.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 13, 2017 - 8:01am
jedion357 wrote:
Asteroid is Arkham Asylum - was that the name? 

I never played CoC, but if that was a name they used then it was lifted from Jack Napier's home away from home (Joker from the Batman books).
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 13, 2017 - 8:22am
PA-13, Penal Asteroid 13, also called The Rock by inmates. And code named the Asylum in records involving the plot/mission. 
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

parriah's picture
parriah
January 19, 2017 - 8:42am
Inside cover of basic rules. "Near the center of a great spiral galaxy,where the stars are much closer together than earth's sun and it's neighbors a human race developed. They were not identical to the humans of earth, but they were not very different either."
FIAWOL TANSTAAFL!!

parriah's picture
parriah
January 19, 2017 - 8:47am
That does not, specificaly exclude the Milky Way, but does exclude earth descent. I believe the clasic myth references are, as above, for a familiar "feel".
FIAWOL TANSTAAFL!!

parriah's picture
parriah
January 19, 2017 - 8:48am
That does not, specificaly exclude the Milky Way, but does exclude earth descent. I believe the clasic myth references are, as above, for a familiar "feel".
FIAWOL TANSTAAFL!!

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
January 30, 2017 - 1:53am
Or it's a Hodgkin's Universe.