Rumors of Volturnus

Background:Triad Institute of Technology's Acquisition Service

The following document will cover setting details, NPCs, and related information to assist the game referee in running a campaign centered on a group of adventurer scientists working for a major museum/research institute in the Frontier. Inspiration for this campaign is taken from action packed thrillers like Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, and The Mummy.
Triad Institute of Tech logo
Triad Institute of Technology (TIT) was established by decree of the Council of Worlds to be a research center independent of mega corp control. Its idyllic campus includes a beautiful mall and gardens spread over several city blocks in New Hope, the capitol of Triad. Triadians are immensely proud that Triad won out over Gran Quivera for the location of the institute.

The mandate that TIT is to be free of direct mega corp influence is aimed at the issue of control. Mega corporations direct research according to what is considered profitable. The institute, officially at least, directs research based on academic considerations. Being federally funded, TIT often must invest resources toward research for the benefit of Star Law, Space Fleet and Land Fleet. The upside is that the institute can occasionally call on these and other federal organizations for assistance in the pursuit of its aims.

Note: TIT gaining help from other federal organizations is not the same as a Star Law marshal commandeering a space ship in the pursuit of a criminal. The cross agency assistance usually requires written requests, bureaucratic review and time consuming coordination with said agency.

The fact that the institute is independent of the mega corps does not mean that the mega corps are not involved. Traid is the headquarters for Cassidine Development Corporation (CDC) and Nesmith Enterprises of Triad (NET), both with heavy investments in the high tech field. Surprisingly many mega corps have established grants and endowments, for the university, recognizing that highly trained researchers and scientist graduating yearly is a benefit to their research programs. CDC, NET, and even Streel have become significant patrons of the institute. Pan Galactic Corporation, which supported the bid for Gran Quivera to host the institute has not. In fact PGC's Artifact Research and Development Team has become a significant competitor of the Acquisition Service.

The Acquisition Service works directly for the museum portion of the Institute. They acquire and authenticate artifacts as well as negotiate for collections in private hands to be loaned to the institutes's museum. The service is made up of scientist, technicians, adventurers and what one might even call mercenaries. Their duties range from the mundane; investigating counterfeiters, to the exciting; discovering alien artifacts on strange new worlds.

The service has at its disposal the research capabilities of the institute as well as a modest inventory of equipment. For most assignments it contracts for interstellar transport on commercial vessels. If a mission is believed to be of significant importance a chartered vessel maybe provided. Rather than transport vehicles from Triad the service relies on locally rented vehicles unless travelling beyond the known Frontier.

Members of the Acquisition Service have the benefit of free training at the institute if its a skill that the referee rules is taught there. For example laser weapons marksmanship would not be while computer sciences would. In addition the service provides its teams with a credit line to cover mission expenses. Team members who are qualified (ie they have weapons skills) have a federally issued gun permit allowing them to possess and transport most pistols and rifles on interstellar transports. They still need to follow local laws and check proscribed weapons, like rifles on planets like Clarion. While it would be frowned upon for the team to walk around armed for razor tooths in settled areas it is recognized that security precautions need to be taken in wilderness and unexplored areas.

Rumors of Volturnus: Player Character Generation Notes

Follow standard character creation rules for starting characters but apply the following enhancements: 
1. Spend +15 Exp on ability scores, “racial” abilities, and skills (including raising an “in PSA” skill to 2nd level) 
2. In addition to standard beginning money, the player characters start with the standard equipment pack (Alpha Dawn Basic Game rules page 8), and a civilian Skeinsuit (Acquisition Service field uniform and logo). 
3. If the character has a weapons skill they get a pistol weapon appropriate to that skill and two clips. Although the has a policy of no weapons on campus, members of the service generally keep their weapons locked in their offices or concealed while on campus. 
4. All vrusk begin play with a polyvox.

Acquisition Service Personnel

The following non player characters are part of the administration and support structure of the Acquisition Service. Players will have opportunity to interact with them at the beginning of an adventure and possibly later on as communication links allow. They're provided as a cast for the referee to set the stage for the adventure and provide limited guidance.

A note on NPC stats- rather than detail lots of stats that may never get used each character is assigned a general level that represents the level of the NPCs principle skills and a general level for ability scores. Simply use the listed score for any dice roll that requires the actual ability score. If skills levels for secondary skills are required for these NPCs use 1/2 the stated character level. Each NPC can be considered to be carrying equipment that the referee needs them to carry.

Dajana Juranac; Director
Human Female, Level 5, Abilities 55%, Age 40
Bio: Dajana's family comes from Croatian stock that eventually settled on Lossend, Timeon to farm. Dajana was expected to acquiesce to a semi-arranged marriage but fled to Cassidine, working her passage on a freighter. She worked her way up to lower management within a subsidiary of the CDC before taking advantage of a corporate training program. She worked within a CDC research division for another 7 years before cashing in her profit sharing to attend Zebulon University.

She's attained her position with the institute on drive and ability but is not a neophyte in the area of academic politics and in-fighting, having seen it all before in the corporate world. She does not encourage too much familiarity with her subordinates and often presents a severe no nonsense persona. Despite that, she cares for everyone who works for her, returning loyalty for loyalty, and is unafraid to go to bat for them.

Vi-k'tr ("Victor"); Accountant
Vrusk male, Level 2, Abilities 40%, Age 25
Bio: The offspring of vrusk pirates, Vi-k'tr was raised by humans on Clarion, after the Royal Marines captured a vrusk pirate ship. With all the adult pirates killed and no out system vrusk trade house interested in taking the orphan, Vi-k'tr ended up a ward of the Crown and was fostered to a working class family. Never really fitting in he's long felt like a misfit. In recent years he's become interested in his vrusk roots and become an amateur historian of the vrusk hive period (treat as level 1 scholar on this period if needed). He's been building an impressive personal collection of hive period artifacts, art and literature.

At the institute he's found his place in the universe becoming extremely loyal to the board of directors. His loyalty to the institutes's board leads him to be very diligent and frugal with the institutes money. This can set him at logger heads with the action team of the Acquisition Service as he tries to only disburse just enough funds with little wiggle room to do the mission. He's also a bit anal about wanting a full account of expenses and equipment post mission.

Dr. Tollon of Terledrom; Professor/Researcher
Dralasite, neuter, Level 6, Abilities 40% (reduced due to age), Age: 221
Bio: Tollon attended universities on Terledrom, Gran Quivera, and the famous University of Zebulon. He has multiple doctorates and authored several books on a wide variety of subjects. Semi-Retired from teaching, Dr. Tollon has been assigned to the Acquisition Service with its less strenuous demands due to his age. He still fills in as a guest lecturer and substitute professor at the institute but his primary duty is as advisor the Acquisition Service.

At his age he's turned neuter and is anticipating his 222nd budding day. He's jolly and quick to laugh, often inordinately fascinated by the least little discovery. He has a habit of beginning any exposition with the corniest joke he can think of.

Sanlein Garu; Conservator
Yazirian female, Level 3, Abilities 45%, Age: 35
Bio: Born and raised on Hentz, Sanlein attended the Triad Institute for Technology for post graduate work. Relieved from the oppressive atmosphere of Hentz society she never returned. She's worked with a number of smaller museums, particularly with organizing and setting up new exhibits. When offered a position at the institue she jumped at the opportunity.

She's not vocal against the Family of One but has been dabbling in the alternative yazirian religion known as Bailorism. She's a technical expert  with a knack for understanding out of date computer code.

Triad Institute of Technology, the Campus

The campus of the Triad Institute of Technology covers several city blocks in New Hope and has its own mono rail station. The campus is partolled by agents of the RIK trade house (a vrusk trade house specializing in security). RIK maintains a security post on the campus.

The dominate feature of the campus is the Mall. The Mall is a large garden like grassy area in the center of the campus. Its routine to see knots of dralasites debating, humans relaxed and soaking up the sun, or vrusk students practicing a social solidarity song and dance routine. Every so often a token yazirian student can be see practicing with his zamra honor blade.

There are both single and mixed species dorms.

The lecture halls, library and student services are fairly typical of what you'd expect on a modern college campus.

The Museum is the pride of the institute. It's collection and exhibits grow yearly. This area of the campus is the home base of the Acquisition Service.

Acquisition Service Logo

The logo of the Triad Institute of Technology's Acquisition Servive is a circle with a triangle touching the circle's edge. Within the triangle is a toothed gear touching the edge of all three sides. Around the upper edge of the circle is "Triad Institute of Technology" and around the bottum of the circle is "Acquisition Service." The gear represents engineering while the three sides and angles of the triangle represent 6 of the classic hard science: Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Astronomy, Biology and Matematic.

There was some dispute over the inclussion of Mathematics in this list but the vrusk academics staunchly insisted on it.

TIT logo

Rumors of Volturnus: Mission Briefing

Director Juranac: passes out a still image of an octopoid creature riding a lizard type mount facing off with a human male. “We’re sending you to Laco’s World at Dixon’s Star. There are reports of an unidentified sapient alien spotted in the Devil's Basin region. Some sort of tool using octopoid-type creature riding a lizard-like therapod mount. The man in the picture is Raoul Debonham formerly in the employ of the Pan Galactic Artifact Research and Development Team. It seems, that the benevolent PGC attempted to forcefully capture the octopoid and Raoul interfered.” 

“Our information comes from a confidential informant through a corporate contact” (reading between the line the PCs should realize that the director is hinting at a corporate contact at CDC where she use to work and that the confidential informant is likely a CDC corporate espionage agent within PGC. “Our last information on Raoul is that he is at Point Glass on Laco. As you know we are not on good terms with PGC’s artifact team and PGC is currently attempting to assert a claim to the pyramid ruins on Laco so while we dont recognize their claim to Tetrarch ruins you are not there to unnecessarily antagonize the PGC folks, understood?” 

Dr. Tollon, an aged dralasite with a raspy voice says, “If this truly is a sapient alien tool user it would be a major achievement for the institute to be the academic institution to document this new species. The information passed to the institutes suggests that it is not from Laco so any information where it is from is of major importance. The institute will want to mount an expedition to study its civilization and document it. It is also claimed that this octopoid creature is a telepath and that is a major discovery if it is true.” 

“As for the planet Laco, it's arid, dusty, and hot; don't forget your water and vitasalt pills. There are some dangerous critters but the sand storms and dust devils can be just as dangerous.” 

Vi-k'tr the vrusk accountant, “I’ve chartered a vessel with Hepplewhite charters, the Hana, for three weeks but you can extend that if you have a lead on its planet of origin. You’ll have a rental voucher for a vehicle on Laco and a line of credit for mission expenses. Due to the importance of this mission, I will authorize 5000 credits. I will expect a full post-mission accounting with receipts, naturally.” 

Director Juranac sums up the mission: 
1. Locate and catalog the sapient alien and its mount 
2. Discover its planet of origin, if possible 
3. Confirm or disprove the rumor of telepathic ability 
4. Avoid antagonizing PGC, if possible. 

Any Questions?