After returning from the Acreon and it’s drift rock, our would-be heroes return to Absalom Station to find their antics have been the most watched video feed over the last 24 hours. Thank you Gevelarsk Nor!
There are alot of things to cover with this session but let’s start from the top.
In his infinite wisdom, Chiskisk decided that the strange, computerised interior of the drift rock could have contained sensitive information. Whilst the language and the device’s purpose is vastly unknown there are concerns that if someone does know what it all means it’s information that could fall into the wrong hands. For the time being, the group were to remain incognito and were to return for a full debrief at the Lorespire immediately foregoing any opportunity to speak to the dozens of fans and reporters awaiting their return.
Met by the strong and silent, Kurtes in a disused docking bay, the group were escorted through a series of maintenance corridors and back alleys back to Chiskisk. The Shirren, upset that the Starfinders had unknowingly been recorded was not best pleased and seemed further agitated after running the strange glyphs of the drift rock through an analysis program.
The glyphs came back as being a possible match to a language called Kishalee. A long forgotten, even mythical species who was once dwelled on Castrovel… If you believe the legends. The source of this translation however came from disgraced “researcher” Halkueem Zan who published a number of papers under the guise of being academic but were little more than poorly written adventure novels where he painted himself as an intergalactic hero. On top of that, Halkueem was also imprisoned for venturing into the land of Ukulam, a continent on Castrovel which has been preserved and off-limits to almost everyone.
After arranging a contact at Castrovel’s Qabarat University, the group were to travel to the tropical planet to find out all they could about the strange language from experts in the field.
Before that though, they had a bone (haha!) To pick with the Eoxian Ambassador, Gevelarsk Nor.
Gevelarsk, as arrogant as always, downplayed the importance of broadcasting the group’s exploits and it was only after some pushing that he agreed to up his reward for the group. As things started to become heated, Gevelarsk revealed the contents of the cargo he had the group retrieve. A defector of the Corpse Fleet, a splinter of Eoxians who still hold on to the old mentality that all life in the galaxy should be eradicated. He lauded praise on the group for returning the officer and apologized for the secrecy but assured them it was for their best interest. If the information that can be harnessed from this defector is reliable it would aid the Pact Worlds’ defense against any upcoming Corpse Fleet attacks. The broadcast he said was to eliminate any possible accusations that it was tampered with, though he did go on to admit that some parts were emitted in the interest of fairness.
The Maiden got them to Castrovel safely and the group looked on awestruck as the planetary approach revealed expansive tropical jungles with large seas and oceans between. Here and there cities of glass and chrome rose up from these jungles in stark contrast to the area around them. The heat was stifling and the group soon met with their contact, Whaloss along with a brief passing moment with Shodorah’s father, who was returning to Absalom to consult on a meeting with Astral Extractions.
Making their way to Qabarat University, the Starfinders found it overrun with reporters and protestors. A lecturer had given a scathing and insensitive seminar about the eradication of the Formians – an ant like race that the Lashunta had warred with for centuries but had enjoyed recent peace with thanks to a treaty. Fears that this treaty may be at breaking point the crowd called for the lecturer’s resignstion whilst the rest of the university was on lock down.
The entire university played out as a detective mystery as the group had to find one missing lecturer whilst trying to smooth over the issues made by another. With some back and forth diplomacy and piecing together clues both found on the missing lecturer’s computer and in physical form the group manages to connect the dots and had their next lead. A run down, seedy tavern in the docking quadrant of the city named Five Arches.
This gave the group some real room for imaginative problem solving, a few unlucky rolls lead to some moments falling flat – such as Boock threatening the crowd with a grenade but all in all some quick wits got them through.
The tavern allowed the group to further their detective skills as they tried to find out who was shady. A hard task when everyone looks like they’re about to kill you. Shodorah and her feminine wiles caught the eye of a man who promised he could transport anything on or off of the planet undetected. He even bragged about smuggling a lecturer out of a university recently … Suddenly the group had their man and a shoot out erupted.
Over before it really began our heroes took out the three smugglers and discovered that missing Dr. Solstarni was smuggled through a nearby Elf Gate by a group posing as explorers. Luckily for our heroes, their contact was able to pull some strings and get them the relevant paperwork required to follow suit and they too made the leap into the unknown as they stepped through the Aiudara gate the Ukulam.
The jungle was hot and humid and the kidnappers with Dr. Solstarni had a head start. After being briefed by a researcher stationed at an old military outpost the group were driven 10 miles in-land and dropped off at a checkpoint. The rest of the journey would have to be made on foot and with only Halkueem Zan’s notes to guide them all the group really knew were that the kidnappers had headed to the north west.
This portion of the adventure is a real old school style hex crawl. The players have to be ever mindful of the heat and humidity, making fortitude rolls every hour, taking damage when they fail. Alternatively they can use their suit’s environmental protection but each suit is limited to a precious number of hours! So, decisions. On top of that a survival check has to be made on the morning of each day to determine how well the group are going to be able to follow the trail. Failed checks involve spending more time wandering in the jungle and more hours used up on their environmental protection or damage taken.
Ontop of all of this on the evening of the second day the group stumbled upon a herd of grazing Yaruk’s which are large rhino like creatures. So long as they stayed quiet they’d be able to sneak past them using the long grasses as cover, unfortunately however someone else had other ideas as a sniper in the distance began firing at the Yaruk’s causing a stampede. There was a whole mini-game for this with it’s own rules which worked really well for a narrative encounter. The party had to reach 12 successful actions to end the encounter but all the while they’re dodging and avoiding this rampaging behemoths. Good times.
With the sight of a large stone obelisk in the distance the group felt as though they were at least on the right track but who was the sniper? Had the kidnappers been tipped off? Had they left someone behind to ambush them? Lot’s of questions!
All in all, I really enjoyed the session and the introduction of a few new mechanics really painted the scene. Bring on the next game!