Triad Institute of Technology; Acquisitions Service

jedion357's picture
June 6, 2011 - 11:10pm
Campaign/ Adventure concept:

PC's are hired to work for TIT & AS on Triad, Cassidine system.

What is Triad Institute of Tech? think Smithsonian- Museum and research under one roof. Funded by grants from CDC, the UPF, PGC and etc....(needs a logo)

Techs, pilot, astrogator, and some military skills needed.

TIT & AS is currently small but the PC's mission will be to travel around the Frontier and obtain specimens for the museum. This of course leads to serialized adventures.

Adventure 1: During the Battle of Volturnus the members of the Volturnus Survey Expedition II, under the command of Col. Louis V. Jamison (Volturnus Survey Expedition I) used a small pirate vessel captured from the Red Devil pirates to attack the sathar troop ships in orbit while the the joint Space Fleet and Pale militia fleet engaged the sathar main battle fleet for control of the system. This ship, the Lucky Devil, has been reportedly found rusting out in a junk yard on Volturnus. TIT & AS is dispatching a team to recover this important piece of history for the museum.

Arriving on Volturnus: competitors try to delay the PCs (mook enounter or role play encounter)
Locating the Lucky Devil- Competitor is already closing the deal for the ship (cant just shoot a seemingly law abiding citizen for beating you to the purchase of a ship) research into the competitor will turn up evidence that he is wanted by star law which will let the PCs move in for the purchase or after the arrangement is made and the competitor gets access to the ship, its discovered by the junk dealer that the credit vouchers are forged/fraudulent and that the competitor has disappeared and left the ship after crawling over it with some techs.

Competitor is an original member of the Red Devil Pirates and when he heard that the Lucky Devil turned up he came looking for a "treasure map" on here that would reveal where the Red Devil had been stockpiling loot. PCs can simply take the ship back to Cassidine for a payday and 1 EXP or pursue the mysterious MR X and track down the treasure for an even bigger payday and lots more EXP.

Adventure should lead to a dormant volcanoe on Volturnus and an abandoned pirate hide out. (I smell a big finish at this location) ultimately you need a big finish here and what could be more fun than a massive battle in a dormant volcanoe that decides to not be so dormant any more. Recovering artifacts from the lost Red Devil hideout will be a plus and should garner the PCs a bonus.

Other half baked adventure ideas: travel and meet with mechanons to negotiate for blue prints of the mechanon fightercraft that also engaged the sathar troop ships in the Battle of Volturnus. The Museum desires to install a mock up/reproduction of a mechanon fighter but only has low quality scans and holo-images of them.

Another Idea: A priority message reaches TIT from an archaeological dig on Zdikit, Madderly's Star. The dig was looking into the history of the Free World rebellion and discovered evidence that TIT should see: The CMS Black Hawk, one of the Royal Marine ships that responded to the crisis, thought destroyed on has been found on Zdikit. Perhaps the history of what happened to the Black Hawk has been obscured by the government of Zdikit- it now looks like the downed Royal Marines held off overwhelming numbers while protecting vrusk refugees. Implications are that the family of the current President of Zdikit could be implicated in a war crime.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
June 7, 2011 - 5:33am
I suppose with the acrostic being used here the NPC in charge of the PCs will have to be a smoking hot human female- might as well "surrender to the metaphor" as it were.

TIT will of course have money but budget issues will always come into play, unless the find is so big and so important the the Board of Directors hand a blank check to the Acquisitions Service to get it.
However, you can expect that most times the team will travel by "public transportation"- journey class berths on star liners and freighters. If they do aquire something large then a freighter can be chartered to transport it. If they aquires something small and not so important then it can be packaged and shipped throught Trans Travel, arriving within a week of the PCs return to Cassidine.

Major NPCs would be the Head of the Aquisitions Service the above mentioned smoking hot human female.

The AS's chief researcher slightly absent minded professor type- perhaps one of the other core 4 races- dralasite could be good. This NPC does the pre mission briefing- where the referee reads a short bullet point list of back story items: What the acquisition is, Why its important, where it might be found, problems and complications that could crop up etc then he entertains question.

The Bean Counter: the npc that issues them a credit draft authorizing just enough money to get the job done but only just enough if everything goes right- of course everything is not going to go right. This NPC could be a vrusk

The Conservator: TIT technition that is a skilled environmentalist and tasked with preserving and conserving the aquisitions of TIT. This one could be another human- the image of the Female lead in The Mummy, particularly when she's in the library, sticks in my head.

On any given adventure the Researcher, the Conservator or even possibly the Bean Counter could accompany the PCs if circumstances warrent it.

The Player Characters will need to be technitions, driver/pilot, and science skills will be a plus, Negotiation skills could play a huge role so a dralasite's lie detection and a vrusk's comprehension ability could be important or even crucial. Then the ubiquitous fighting skills will come into play of course. A character with contacts in the black market or even antiquities smuggling would get some story share.

I hadn't planned this but I guess Indiana Jones is a good bit of inspiration for this campaign concept also the TV series Bones is a good model too.
some positives for this format is that it allows for some people to not show up to game one week- they're just off on another assignment. there is no military rank structure, which is harder to game in a rpg IMO. There is a consistent rationale for the adventure being just a series of treasure hunts.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Captain Rags's picture
Captain Rags
June 7, 2011 - 8:01am
Really liking the concept, although TIT & AS could be reduced to an easier T&A. I like T&A. Heck, I'd sign up for T&A even if it didn't pay very much.Money mouth

My SF website izz:

TerlObar's picture
June 7, 2011 - 8:47am
Funny you should mention an old hidden Star Devil base on Volturnus.  I have a map of just such a base sitting around on my shelf.  And there is definitely something hidden in the base to be worth going after.
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Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
June 7, 2011 - 1:31pm
An antagonist group could be introduced. 
Either trying to thwart the parties plans/discoveries or a friendly competition between the groups. 
Perhaps at some point they need to team up to accomplish a mission.
Or a rescue attempt.

There is no hidden SD base on Volturnus. Tabloid gossip is all that is.

jacobsar's picture
June 7, 2011 - 5:24pm
Great idea...I'm not sure how publishable with the acronym though.Embarassed
Reasonable men adapt to the world around them; unreasonable men make the world adapt to them. The world is changed by unreasonable men.
Edwin Louis Cole

jedion357's picture
June 7, 2011 - 7:38pm
@ w00t: I think each module/adventure will need a cast of opposition that will start with a big fish that very well could wipe out the PC party, with a handful of serious opponents and then a dozen or more mooks. Not everyone needs to be fought but the cast is there for plugging into the encounters.

I understand the idea behind a re-accuring evil group like SMERSH and SPECTOR but I'm unsure that is the way to go as it can lock you in but then it doesn't have to be the baddie every time out and bringing it back once or twice could be very effective- especially if the players feel that there is unfinished business.

@ jacobsar:yeah it can be problematic and I did it just to have fun and because I thought it'd get a chuckle for some of you , However, as for publishing it I think that will only happen this site or in the SFman due to IP and legal considerations.

One thing is certian this adventure concept works if its tied into the history of the Frontier, You'll need some bullet points as to why a particular acquisition is important and that importance will need to be historic for it to make sense to the campaign concept. This gets into creating fluff and back story. Some of that is needed for the "set up" of the adventure but also some of it will be needed if the PCs do some homework and consult data bases looking for clues. That said this adventure concept actually needs to be tied into the Frontier setting which limits its publication to this site and the SFman.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
June 16, 2011 - 2:42am
A misjumped freighter radios back to the Frontier that it found a beacon/transponder from a 20-50 year old missing ship. The ship in question was an early proto type to the venerable assault scout.

TIT is interested since its a famous ship and hopes to, at the very least, get accurate scans of it and collect some artifacts from it for the museum. The records of the prototypes are sketchy at best so we know very little of the developement of the assault scout and if the UPF Comet still exists this is a priceless oppertunity for TIT to fill in some wholes in our knowledge of an important era in aero-space engineering.

The institute is scrambling the team as it is assumed that the freighter captain is attempting to salvage the Comet himself, having realized its value. As the team travels from Cassidine thru several systems to the jumping off point for the system that the freighter discovered concern is raised as the freighter can no longer be raised by subspace radio.

The reason that the Comet's crew never returned to the Frontier and that the freighter has stopped communicating with the Frontier is that there was klikk depot on the planet and both crews disturbed the automated defense systems. When the TIT team reaches the system they will find the freighter in orbit with its crew dead and an amok running klikk warbot. Entering the freighter is a straight up "bug hunt." There is blood and bodies everywhere plus a alien constructed search and destroy warbot. If the PCs are low level characters the freighter should be destroyed in the battle with the warbot. If they are veteran characters then they should have the chance to slavage the freighter and recieve a hefty payout from the insurance underwriter- or would the Institute get the reward since its their dime funding this little mission?

The frieghter had one weather satellite that they placed in orbit to get a look down on the beacon of the UPFS Comet. Because its a weather sat it doesn't have very good resolution for the role of planetary mapping and the images it provided are not great, they're just better than nothing. In addition, if the freighter was destroyed and the PCs got off of it via escape pods or lifeboats- default settings in these will home in on the Comet's beacon and land in close proximity to that craft.

there are some graves near the comet but not enough to account for all of her crew, time and weathering have taken their toll on the comet and she'll not fly under her own power again. So after the excitement of combat and a ship exploding the Comet encounter is an investigation with perhaps a n encounter with locale wildlife. Info at the ship can lead the PCs further on in the adventure.

So after investigating the Comet clues (they manage to power up the compter through wiring in a SEU clip or power blet and discover a log entry or if they dont do they a hard copy journal can be found that will do the same thing) lead them to an ancient alien supply depot. Traps and automated defenses await with death holding the coats. If the PCs survive they could learn something interesting about the clikk that could lead to further adventure. Perhaps there is a star chart with an icon on this planet and the same icon on Starmist. Does this mean that Starmist has a depot too? could be.

The star chart further suggest a direction to the clikk's home space.

Rewards? An at-a-boy, slap on the back and their standard paycheck, plus veilled comments about wishing that they had not gotten the freighter blown up as well as triggering the self-destruct of the weapons depot because the Comet is now covered in radiation and not worth recovering now.

A hefty payout by the insurance under writer- enough to buy their own small ship.

A clikk artifact that does something?

EDIT: Break down of opposition for this adventure:
1 warbot on the freighter level 5 or 6 equiv.
wild beastie encounter on the planet
More security robots for the klikk depot plus other traps
Boss encounter: Mech sized klikk robot that is well able to kickk some posterior.

That gives a total of 2 regular combats, 1 mook combat, 1 boss combat, plus a couple of skill challenges to get info out of the frieghter's computer system as well as resurecting the data files from the UPFS Comet.

For a role play encounter the UPFS's engineer has survived all this time by scavenging solar panels from the klikk facility and powering an autodoc with them. he programed the autodoc to freeze field him till rescue. The location that the engineer holed up at could function as a safe haven for the PCs to rest up.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
June 18, 2011 - 5:22am
Laying bed this morning, not wanting to get up, it occured to me that the TIT & AS team needed opposition in the form corporate sponsored teams. In the Mummy there was the other team of raiders/archaeologist. I'f the coffee was brewed yet and I'd had a cup I'm sure I could think of more examples.

The reasons for having a competing team are:
1. bad things can happen to a member of this team to illustrate a particular danger that needs to be overcome in the adventure without the referee having to arbirtarily kill a member of the PCs team whether its a PC or an NPC that you sent along with the PCs with the label of "red shirt" on his back.
2. Competitor raise the stakes and there should be a real possibility that the PCs could lose to them.
3. They can fill the role of re-accuring foil; developed right and they could be antagonist the players love to hate.
4. They represent an opportunity for combat with modern opponents that are equipped every bit as good as the PCs or better, since they have corporate backing. Though the combat should not be to the death and is really about incapcitating the PCs or driving them off.

In the David Cook "Encounters" article from Polygon #9 the pre-generated PC was a member of the PGC Artifact Research and Developement Team (ARDT) so this would be a natural place to start. It brings in a greedy corporation into the picture which is a SF staple. The competing team dosen't have as cool a name as the PC's team: ARDT and they're a pain as their always trying to get a what TIT & AS has. I'm guessing that the ARDT team could be 2-3 well defined NPCs and a bunch of mooks and stooges. Very easy to include a Galactic Taskforce mercenary in a PGC sponsored team on any given mission, he's there for security but its obvious he's muscle.

At least once by "module" someone from the ARDT team will try to screw with the institute team. Whether its getting the captain drunk of the ship the institute team just contracted for tranport, the captain has a serious character flaw in that he's a drunk and cant hold his yazirian ale. This would be a referee fiat move that could not be prevented.

OR one of the well defined ARDT NPCs will attempt to sneak into the PCs camp and steel their cache of 20 SEU clips. This would require the NPC to roll on his stealth and etc and the appropriate PC would need to roll on their abilities. it gives the PCs a chance of preventing it. However, the well defined NPC doing this should have high ability scores and skills giving him a good chance of success. If he's caught it will lead to a role play encounter and threat of violence. He could be detected but manages to run away as well.

I dont think that the ARDT's screwing with the PCs should be lethal, like booby trapped grenades on a trip wire on the path the PCs are travelling. The ARCT team should be presented as rivals but with a bit of a good natured edge, they dont want to outright kill their fellow archaeologist, just beat them and then rub it in a little.

Also on a rare occassion you could set up bad things happening that are so bad that the 2 teams will be forced to work together for survival. I could see dusting off the xenomorph aliens from SFman issue 5 or 6?
for that and allow for a real chance of a total party kill.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
June 18, 2011 - 8:34pm
Does the Triad Institute of Technology set too many limits on the types adventure possible?  Doing a recovery of cultural artifacts would seem out of place. Though research and conservation of historic turning points in technology would be in as TIT is also a museum. So getting a copy of the first ever fully autonomous walking vrusk robot would be in, sonic sculptures by the famous dralasite artist Foolon would be good too. Neither of those things sound terribly exciting but I'm thinking that each adventure can start off "in media res" on one of these minor acquisitions when the news comes in that sends the team haring off across the Frontier sector and beyond

Also need an institute logo, preference is a circular patch with the institutes name along the outer rim on top and Acquistion Service on the outer rim along the bottum. Anyone have ideas what would make a good insignia for the institute?

Chatting with Larry we came up with a triangle in a circle, the areas outside the triangle but still in the circle are each a different color to represent hard sciences like Physics, chemistry, and ______?_____; The 3 points of the triangle represent biology, earth science and astronomy. Within the triangle and touching all three sides is a toothed gear which represents engineering in what ever form. Around the upper edge is "Triad Institute of Technology" and around the bottum edge is "Artifact Recovery Team"
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!