This adventure was release two days ago to my Patrons who will be getting a cleaned up version at the end of January along side a map for the adventure.
Thirty years ago during the Confederation Wars the MSS Yu-Ti vanished during the Battle of Nerif. Now the Confederation Space Corps has put together an expedition to the ice world of Nerif to locate the Yu-Ti and discover why the Mandarin controlled ship disappeared. Doctor Iris Contran believes that the Yu-Ti may hold secrets that will help the Confederation in the never-ending war with the alien Bugs and their strange Masters.
The Sword of Hathor has been dispatched to Nerif, the remains of the Mandarin archive loaded into it systems. It was hoped that the unique transmission codes of the Yu-Ti could be found using the archive. Three days ago a weak signal matching that of the Yu-Ti was located in the northern hemisphere of Nerif, buried under tons of ice and snow. A team has been assembled to accompany Doctor Contran to the remains of the Yu-Ti to recover any secrets the ship may hold.
Scene One - Research Camp
Read or Paraphrase the Following:
The heat from the laser drill slowly melts away the snow and ice that has long stood on the slopes of the unnamed mountains in the far north of the ice world of Nerif. The few tents set in regular, standard marine formation are little shelter from the blistering cold. You and your team are standing watch, little use as it may be on a dead world, as Doctor Contran and her small team oversee the drilling.
“We’re through, Doctor!” A young female engineer yells from a bank of computers near the drill. The ground shakes and the ice splitters, releasing ancient gases long trapped in the ice. As the Doctor’s team begins to assemble a scream issues up from the engineer’s station. From the cracks strange figures emerge … strange yet all too familiar: Bugs!
The team is assembled at the edge of the research camp, the female engineer is already dead, impaled on a Bug leg. The rest of the scientists are scrambling away as a total of six Ice Spiders climb out of the cracks.
<Sidebar>Ice Spider: 1-2: Sickle Legs, 3-4 Fangs, Ice Web, Armor.
Ice Spiders are distant relatives to the unnatural Bugs. While rarely encountered the ice spider share some of the genetic code that make up the Bugs normally faced by the MSC. When engaged, the Ice Spider will attempt to catch its target in an Ice Web (if available), before attacking and potentially devouring the target. Ice Spiders are pack animals and typically are found in colonies of hundreds and ruled over by a semi-intelligent Alpha Queen and possibly three lesser Beta Queens who, while also semi-intelligent are subservient to the Alpha Queen
Sample Ice Spider: Sickle Legs 2 (dm 1, rng 1); Fangs 1 (dm 2, rng 1); Ice Web 3* (dm 0, rng throw)
*Ice Webs holds target immobile for a number of combat rounds equal to its rating.
After the battle Contran is the only member of the research team left, but with a storm on the horizon the old woman insists on moving down the tunnel into the remains of the Yu-Ti. The tunnel slopes downward at a steady grade, allowing easy travel. The hull of the Yu-Ti awaits at bottom of the tunnel, ripped asunder by something unknown.
Scene Two - The Yu-Ti
The tunnel created by the drill leads down a steep slope ending in a small cavern. Near the rear of the cavern is the wreckage of the Yu-Ti. The cave is warm enough to make the characters sweat under all the arctic gear. A technology scan by a Scientist of Simple or higher success roll (SR) will reveal that the Yu-Ti’s engines are still functioning. Any investigation of the area will also reveal large crystalline sacs suspended between the “barrels” of the engines and a large hole ripped out of the ship’s hull leading to the interior.
Enemies - 4 Ice Spiders
The cave, and in particular the Engine barrels are being used as a birthing cave for the ice spiders.
The crystalline sacs (obviously egg sacs) are considered to be “mortal” and one successful attack against it will result in its destruction. If any player should happen to be using a flamethrower a +2 bonus is given to his or her attack roll.
<Side Bar> Optional Events within the Yu-Ti
- Destruction of the Yu-Ti: If the Game Master so wishes the Power Cores of the Yu-Ti can go critical at any point during the mission making escape or mission completion a time sensitive matter. While the amount of time given before the destruction of the Yu-Ti is the realm of the Game Master he or she should consider the following as aspects of the event. Once the meltdown begins the Yu-Ti should become an environmental adversary. Systems should be exploding, plasma piping should be venting and the ship should rock and move as the meltdown gets closer to its final, explosive, fate. Also during the meltdown the amount of Ice Spiders (especially Fodder) should increase and random encounters in the corridors should start to happen.
- Attack on the Research Team: After Engineering is explored and the Queen is either killed or driven off the players receive a frantic radio comm. from Contran. The research team is under attack by a hoard of Ice-Spiders (no less than 50, the majority Fodder Enemies) and are begging the player team to save them. Contran will at first be very demanding and attempt to threaten and command the player team to intervene. Should the player team ignore the radio comm. Contran will eventually begin in beg and borrow. Should the players not intervene until Contran begins to beg they will find Contran and one other still alive.
- Mandarin Shadow-Op: The Mandarin government, despite being part of the Confederation, does not want something on the ship discovered by the player team and has sent a Shadow Operative to either remove what they don’t want found or eliminate the player-team. The Operative is equipped with a Mandarin Tech camo-unit that allows her to stay hidden from all but Heroic Checks. The Camo units can remain active for 45 minutes before requiring a 24 hours recharge. The Operative should be stated like a Company Man.
Area 1 - Attack Wing Bay 1
The Yu-Ti was a small carrier ship, responsible for the transport and movement of small one-man attack ships that were essentially manned missiles. Each carrier held a complement of around 100 of these style of attack ships that were berthed in two ready bays on the port and aft sides of the carrier. The hole in the Yu-Ti’s hull opens up to the aft berth. Thirty or so of these ancient mandarin vessels are still housed in the berth suggesting that the ship went down before it could reach full deployment.
The dim red glow of the emergency lighting cast the berth in deep shadows and cut visibility, causing a -2 to all investigations or research in this area. While the berth still holds a nearly a full complement of the attack ships they no long rest in neat rows but have instead been rudely thrown about and piled against the starboard and forward walls of the berth. A large double width door on the port wall opens to a standard hallway. An Average or higher SR Investigation or a Simple or Higher Technician/Technology roll will reveal that all systems on the Yu-Ti are operational but have been re-routed to the ship’s bridge.
Once the berth is determined to be safe Doctor Contran will insist on setting up base in the berth and asks the player team to investigate the rest of the ship and, if possible, locate the bridge.
<sidebar> Possible Optional side-treks:
- One of Contran’s surviving team members was gravely injured during one of the Ice Spider attacks and needs medical attention soon. Most of the medical supplies were lost in the first attack. Contran believes the ship’s medical bay may still have viable supplies and asks the player team to recover supplies to aid the injured research team member.
- The CO of the Sword of Hathor believes that the Mandarin worlds are still maintaining an active if hidden fleet and are just waiting for the Bug War to end before attempting succession from the Confederacy. During the war, the Mandarin ships had an “ionization” system that absorbed and lessened any damage their ships were to take. As part of the Confederate Constitution no former autonomous nation would be forced to give up technological secrets. The CO wants any information on the ionization technology or if possible the actually technology. (If in the Engineering Bay a Hard or higher Technician/Technology SR will locate the unit. On the Bridge an Average or Higher Technology SR will locate some fragmented schematics of the technology.)
- While accessing what limited information they could in the Attack Wing Berth the research crew noticed a system update manually entered from the bridge two years prior to the research mission. Doctor Contran is curious at the possibility of any of the Yu-Ti’s crew still being alive and asks the players to secure any surviving crew they come upon in the hopes of learning about the fate or the Yu-Ti and possible Mandarin tech secrets. (There is one person alive on the Yu-Ti, a 15 year old girl, named Xi’wang, who is the offspring of the last surviving crewmembers. She moves through the ship in the vent systems and can be found either on the Bridge or in the Hydroponics Bay. See NPCs at the back of the adventure for more information.)
Area 2 - Maintenance
This area once housed mechanical supplies for the Attack Wing ships. Now most of the parts are two old and no longer operational.
Enemies - 1 Ice Spider
Gear - A Technician's Kit (+1 to any Technician SRs involving repairs/2 uses), 40 blaster rnds.
Area 3 - Supply
This area once housed crew supply, now all that is left are a few thermal blankets and empty shelves. A Hard of higher Investigation SR will reveal several shelves that are free of dust, as if they had seen recent use.
Area 4 - TEC/Secret Hydroponics Bay
The door to this area has been mag-locked and requires an Average or higher Technician or Hard or higher technology SR to disengage the mag-lock and enter the area.
While the standardized blueprints for the Yu-Ti show this area as the TEC someone has converted it to a small hydroponics bay. The air is heavy with humidity and the smell of plants and ripping fruits and vegetables fills the air. An investigation of the room reveals no other points of entry to the room save for an open air vent on the room’s ceiling. If the players should happen to investigate the air vents they will find a system of air tunnels that travel through the entire ship except for the Attack WIng Berths.
Enemies - 4 Ice Spiders patrol the halls near this area and will attack once the players gain entry to the area.
Area 5 - Medical Bay
The Medical Bay is a quiet and dark place, the low red emergency lighting casting long and deep shadows. Along the port wall are rows of shallow blinking green lights. A Scientist would know that these are freezer bays for corpse transport, the blinking green lights tell that the units are occupied and working. In all there are nearly 50 units in operation.
Gear - There are six medical kits behind a mag-locked security door in the head doctor’s small ready office. A Simple or higher technician SR will unlock the unit. Each Medical Kit can heal up to three ranks of damage.
Area 6 - Engineering
The dual entry into this area has been coated over with heavy layers of crystalline web. On the walls near the door, etched roughly into the walls is a message reading “DEAD END! DEAD AHEAD!”
The web is strong and would take two successful attack contests to break through. Inside the Engineering bay is an alien world of egg sacs, and small scampering hordes of Ice Spiders. The Yu-Ti’s power cores (based on Old Earth fusion technology) are operational. An Average or higher Technician SR will reveal that the power cores are in a critical meltdown and can no longer be shut down safely. Depending on the success level of the Technician SR the final meltdown will occur within the next three days to the next six hours.
The Engineering bay has also been converted by the Ice Spiders to the throne room and breed pit of their queen. Unlike the average Ice Spider the Queen is intelligent and can speak Mandarin through a form of telepathy.
Enemies - Ice Spiders (6), Queen - Mandibles (+2 to Hit, Dmg 2), Telepathy (DM 1, Successful opposed contest -1 to next roll, Queen uses Telepathy whenever she attempts to “speak”), Armor 4.
Gear - 3 Technician’s Kits
Area 7 - Attack Wing Bay 2
The door to this area refuses to open, this area is completely blocked from entry. Should a way be found, it will be revealed that there is nothing but a wall of ice on the other side of the door.
Area 8 - Cyrobay
This area was once the cryogenic bay that housed the majority of the crew during FTL. Over two-hundred cyro-pods line the wall in vertical rows that reach to the ceiling of the bay. In the bay’s center is a single command platform shaped like a horseshoe. The glowing lights of the touch interface still glow in the dim light given off by the emergency system. Standing behind the platform is “Tex” a third generation Mandarin Government reploid or artificial human.
<sidebar> Reploids & Tex
Reploids were artificially created humans developed solely by the Mandarin Government during the Confederation Wars. These beings were identical to normal humans of eurasian descent, however, their nervous systems and minds were formed of nanotechnology. Fast grown in laboratories these reploids were trained and conditioned for simple duties to free normal humans to more complex duties and fighting. At the end of the war the Mandarin Government destroyed all remaining reploids to keep the technology from the Confederation.
Tex is third generation reploid who should have expired years ago. He is quiet and pays the players no mind. He keeps his focus on the panels but will address any questions in a soft, twangy voice. His purpose here is the care and maintenance of the only active cyro-pod. THe occupant of the pod is the mother to Xi’wang who was critically injured during an altercation with the Ice Spiders several years previously. It was Tex who aided Xi’wang in the creation of the hydroponics bay. He will not leave the room and if the players attempt to remove the injured woman from her pod, without Xii’wang present, he will attack with a M41a hidden behind the command platform.
Tex - Rifle 1, Technician 2; First Aid 1; Equipment M41a with 40 rounds
Gear - 1 Medkit
Area 9 - Mess
This area was the crew mess hall. Along one wall is the serving area long since fallen into disrepair. The benches and tables are hard welded into the floor and remain where they had always been. There are several ice spiders in this area.
Enemies - Ice Spiders (4)
Area 10 - Crew Quarters
The Mandarin Space Navy was not known for creature comforts. Ladders built into the walls of this room lead to “coffin” bunks that are little more than 6’ deep holes in the walls just big enough for a crew member to sleep. The crew quarters has over two-hundred of this bunks. The main floor of the room was routinely used for drills and PT and various lines and other symbols have been painted on floor to denoted such things. A third of the “Coffin” bunks are covered in the crystalline webbing of the Ice Spiders.
Enemies - Ice Spider Fodder (20), Ice Spiders (4)
Gear - Neoplast Armor  (2 Armor)
<Side Note> Fodder Enemies
Fodder enemies are designed as a normal enemy but with several alterations. Whenever “Armor” is landed on the Fodder enemy rolls again for another skill and fodder enemies roll half the number of dice as a normal enemy. Finally, Fodder enemies start life at the “Mortal” level of health and are easily killed. For this reason they typically attack in waves.
Area 11 - Officers Quarters
Walking into the Officers’ Quarter is like stepping back in time a few centuries. The walls are all wallpaper and etched wood. A thick, Afghan carpet covers the floor, and well aged oak dressers are pressed against the wall. The two double bunks (of rich design but still spartan) are the only tell that this place was for the officers. Books, good old-fashion hardbacks and a few paperbacks cover the floor as if they had been ripped through and left to die. A single terminal glows in stand-by on a desk to the side of the room.
A Hard or Higher Technology SR will allow access to the terminal's files. Of note is the Captain’s final video-log which still sits in draft-mode.
Weaponization of Ion Shielding was a failure. There has been catastrophic failure to the reactor’s and internal dampening has been compromised. We have attempted to launch the Attack Wings but Ion Shielding will not disengage … same goes for the life boats. If this message makes it back to Prime please understand that we accept our dishonor. The technology should have worked so the failure is on … There is the sound of an explosion in the background and video log goes black.
A deeper search (requiring another successful Hard or Higher Technology SR) will locate blueprints and other technical material for a weaponed Ion Shield.
Area 12 A & B - Escape Boats
These are small escape shuttles that can hold fifty people each. Both are locked to the ship and appear completely dead.
Gear - Each Escape Pod has 2 Medical Kits and two cases of 50 rounds.
Area 13 - The Bridge
The door to the Bridge has been locked down tightly and requires a Hard or Higher Technician SR to unlock. Once inside the players will see that the bridge has been turned into a home. A Hammock rest suspended between the forward screen and the Captain’s “deck”. The twin pilot stations have been ripped out and in there place is a ramshackle but pleasant looking seating area arranged with the salvaged remains of the pillows and blankets of the crew bay. A small cat (An Average or higher Medical SR will notice it is a long-life clone cat) perches on the weapons’ console. Inspection of the tags on the animal reveal that it is named “Ripley”.
Inspection of the bridge reveals that all but the Engineering console have been either shutdown or cannibalized for parts and are not operational. The Engineering console has seen severe damage for what appears to be a massive surge but the console can still retrieve heavily fragmented information. Other things discovered are several Ice Spider mandibles that have been fashioned into sword-like weapons and a slightly disturbing collection of Ice Spider skulls.
Gear: Technician's Kit.
Scene Three - Mission Debriefing.
Depending on the decisions of the Party and the GM there are many different possible outcomes to this adventure. For the most part this is to be left up to the GM to suit the play-style and excitement level of his players. That being said here are some suggestions.
- Xi’Wang will not leave the Yu-Ti unless her mother is also evacuated. In this situation a massive assault on the Cryo-Bay should happen. During this Tex should fall defending his “daughter” and “wife” showing that the Ryploid has grown to have emotion and processes the capacity for self sacrifice.
- Should the Mandarin Black Op Agent be involved his final encounter should occur in the Attack Bay with an assault on the Research Team ending just the players arrive. If the destruction of the Yu-Ti is also being used rocking explosions and hordes of escaping Fodder should be added into the mix.
- Should the players retrieve either the actual Ion drive or the fragmented blueprints the Confederacy will begin work on replicating the technology and outfitting their fleets with the technology. This will cause the players to make enemies of the Mandarin Block possibly causing trouble for them down the line.
Again there are many possibilities for how this adventure should end. It is recommended that the GM has fun with it and remembers what made the books and movies in this genre so exciting!