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Desslok

ADVENTURE: my re-write of Lost Knowledge

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Since the Beta forums are about to vanish like a fart in a windstorm, I thought I'd save my  overhaul of the Beta Adventure and repost it here forever and ever and ever. It's a hi-bred of the Doctor Who Episode Planet of Evil, Forbidden Planet and Lost Knowledge, and while I set it during the KotOR era, you can easily transplant it elsewhere.

 

I've spoilered it not for spoilers, but because the fool thing is long!

 

MEANWHILE -

Open on a dark and distant world on the very edge of civilized space. A man in a repoublic uniform steps out of a small prefab-building, crosses a small courtyard of other prefab buildings to a small mound of dirt and plants a sign, the name and date of death. Meanwhile, all around him Unearthly howls echo out of the distance. He points a rifle warily at his surroundings before returning to the base.

 

Meanwhile elsewhere on the planet, another archeologist finds several artifacts near the ruins of a stone wall. He hands them over to Professor Sorenson, urging that it’s nearly night and they should get back to camp straight away. Sorenson refuses, the other heads back, only to be murdered by something hideous and unseen.

 

THE JOB OFFER -

Through their assorted contacts, they hear about a job - an art collector looking to hire a ship and an experienced crew to help with some field work. If they say "Sure, sent them our way", the contact says that he will forward along their contact information to the client.

 

The next morning, a Sith Pureblood walks up to the ship (or place of PC residence), confidant, red, dangly bits, lightsaber, taint of the Darkside - the whole nine yards. If the crew has a Jedi in the team, they are the one the darksider approaches. Once someone peels the Jedi off the ceiling, she introduces herself as Lord Tayvia and asks for the captain (or researcher on the team).

 

It might take some posturing between the two parties - "I don't discuss my business with the doorman" and the like, but eventually she gets to explain why she is there: She is looking for a guide/archeologist to help her follow up a rumor of lost artwork in an old archeological dig on the planet Athiss. Why does she need help? She's a very urban Sith and not very good at the outdoors stuff.

 

Undoubtedly they'll have a "Hell no!" reaction to working with a Sith. She rolls her eyes "Oh yes, I'm nothing more than a monster from hell that's looking to murder you all at the first opportunity and enslave your souls while I eat a baby. Please, if I wanted to start trouble, I'd hardly be standing here talking to you after coming in through the front door, would I?"

 

Strangely, she seems on the up-and-up. The team's Jedi is not picking up any deception, her body language seems straight forward - if this is a wind up, she's very good. Given all that, hopefully they'll hear her out. "I collect artwork. There are rumors that there are some lost sculptures of Menzoti the blind in the temple that I would very much like to acquire."

 

If they balk, she says "If I am indeed up to something nefarious, isn't it in your best interest to take the job and keep as close an eye on me as possible? That way you can thwart me and my insidious schemes?" If that line of reasoning doesn't work, she offers to just hire them and she'll stay behind. It's not as desirable as going herself, but if that's the only way to acquire the statues, then so be it.

 

The team can do some research on the planet and on the tomb to find out more, if Tayvia is on the up and up - the ruins have been there for millennia, a day or so delay will not cause problems. Hitting the books, they find that a millennium ago the planet Athiss was a Sith sanctuary that held the inner sanctum of Darth Orguss, a powerful Sith Lord of the day. Orguss was a powerful, ambitious - and utterly mad. His followers turned against him, cast him down and destroyed his power base. Since then? Relative obscurity and probably a whole lot of tomb looters.

 

But it seems like a reasonably straight forward job. Dangerous, but that means they can charge Tayvia all kinds of hazard pay. . . .

 

WELCOME TO ATHISS -

The players arrive out of hyperspace, in orbit above Athiss, a rocky, jungle covered planet. Tayvia only vaguely knows where the ruins are, so they’ll have to do a high level scan, plus a couple of lower level sweeps to narrow it down some - about an hour in all.

 

While they don't find the ruins, they do pick up a moderate sized camp of some sort. There's some energy signatures from the prefab buildings, but there's no response to their hails and no signs of activity or signs of life (although that's not necessarily a indicator one way or the other) - just a deserted camp. The camp does have a clearing just a few moments walk away for them to land in.

 

Touching down and investigating, they find the camp is indeed deserted. They also find a series of four crude, hastily dug graves off to one side. Lastly, they find a mummified body in the command center that's been there several years - at least. The problem is, the power is still ticking away on power cells that wouldn’t last more than six months without maintenance, tops. Something did that to him.

 

It's getting onto night by this time, so best to find somewhere to bunk down. They could stay on the ship - the safer option - or they could stay in the camp - which will allow them to dig through the camp's records and see if they had any leads on the dig.

 

WHAT THE CAMP FOUND -

There's nothing conclusive yet. A bunch of old artifacts, some talismans, some icons and totems, some more mundane finds like pots, tools and implements, a datacrystal long dead and the like. The notes, laid out by professor Sorenson are reasonably well kept, even if they have an underlying tone of obsession about them.

 

More telling - Sorenson's notes start strong and well reasoned before becoming more cluttered and disorganized. It could be something as simple as being rushed to complete his journal entries or that he was cutting back on his sleep . . . or it could be a slow decent into the madness of the dark side.

 

RESCUE ARRIVES -

In the middle of the night, there's the sound of a sizeable ship coming in for a landing - about corellian corvette sized, roughly 40 or so crew on-board. The ship touches down, the main ramp rolls out and a squad of armed men deploy to the camp and begin searching the area, calling out for (presumably) members of the archeology team. Unless they take steps to hide, the armed men find the PCs in short order and take them to their commander. The commander demands to know who they are, what they were doing here and what they've done with the team.

 

Unless they've taken steps to hide Tayvia, they'll find her too - and things start to go downhill from there. The rescue team freaks out when they find out that there's a Sith in the neighborhood, and assume that the PCs and the Sith are all in cahoots and responsible for the missing archeologists.

 

Tayvia shrugs and gives them a "Do we fight?" glance (probably not) before the not too inconsiderable guards take all weapons and lock them in a barracks while the rescue teams searches the area and continues their investigations. No organic guards them, just a security droid stands watch over them.

 

Eventually, the rescue team finds Sorenson staggering back in from the jungle. He's in good health, although acting a bit strangely. Sorenson assures the COMMANDER that he is all right and he is on the edge of a major breakthrough COMMANDER asks about the other members of his expedition. Sorenson is out of sorts concedes they have lost some people - but the important thing is that the find is a success.

 

Not under heavy guard, the PCs should probably take the initiative and escape. The camp is running on low power, so the magnetic seal on the window should be easy enough to force and just one droid should be easy enough to overcome, even for unarmed escapees. If the want their stuff back, they'll have to crack open the camp's security safe first.

 

As they make their way out of the camp, either into the jungle or back to the ship, they come up short of a security man standing guard. However before they can engage him, there is a disturbance in the nearby forest - one of the hideous semi-invisible dark side monsters descends upon the guard. As the electrical aura engulfs him, there is a spike in the dark side. Within seconds, it's eaten his very life essence, leaving a mummified corpse behind.

 

Responding to the screams of distress, the republic team arrives on the scene, most likely finding the PC's over the new mummy. Of course they're instantly suspicious of the PCs until they figure out that the corpse is wearing the uniform of one of COMMANDER's men - it's physically impossible for the players to have done this.

 

The commander decides that a weapon of this caliber needs to be in republic hands and dispatches several probots to scout the area for the temple. Weaponizing this is a terrible idea, and when your sith companion thinks so, you know it's bad. They do have an advantage - the Force. They can more or less home in on the direction of the tomb while the troopers have to do it he old fashion way.

 

Tayvia suggests the simple solution - killing the troops. While effective, this ideal will almost be certainly vetoed. Still, it does require getting away (assuming that they didnt slip away while the rescue team was examining the latest corpse.

 

THE DARKEST JUNGLE -

The force gives them a rough bearing, but not precise directions - so it's a several day hike through the jungle, trying to stay ahead of the Republic men and dodging the creatures. (for extra fun, have Darth Orguss start doing his best Freddy Kruger, visting the PC's in their dreams).

 

However it wouldn't be any fun if we didn't have a Monster Encounter. The party is attacked by a swarm of disembodied heads, dripping of ichor, that cling to the trees with long spindly spider legs.

 

They initially attack the darkest character of the party - Tayvia. Striking with uncanny speed, they quickly incapacitate her and then turn to the rest of the party. While they engage the others, another monster drags Tayvia away - back to their nest.

 

It'll be a close, rough battle - and if they don't keep an eye on their unconscious Sith companion, they'll have additional problems in the form of a rescue. The up side is that the head crab monsters aren't very subtle and are easy to track. If they move quickly, they can catch them on the trail. Any delays and they'll have to assault the nest - Tavia webbed up in an alcove and in bad shape

 

Or they could abandon her. She is a Sith, after all - a bad guy. No love lost there. However, saving her and patching her up will earn them some good will from her in the future. She does pay back her debts, after all. But that's the future.

 

Insert the Deranged crew encounter from the Beta, as more or less published.

 

THE ANCIENT SITH TOMB -

After several days of hiking and all kinds of fun encounters, they find the Ancient Tomb of Darth Orguss. It's a massive, sprawling complex of smaller stone buildings in a semi-circle around a huge overgrown ziggurat. The ruins are set into a small valley surrounded on three sides - it would have been hard to spot it from the air.

 

Narisa is so far beyond A Bad Feeling About This, its not funny. "They are tampering with vast forces far beyond anything their puny understandings can begin to comprehend." Worse, if the Archeologists and leave with whatever they've found, the planet will stop them. "The ancient Sith guard their secrets ferociously."

 

This is so far beyond anything they were anticipating to find. So now what?

 

* Investigate the tomb and find the center of power and destroy it.

* Confront the republic agents and convince them to leave

* Kill the team

* Sneak back to the ship, get away and let the forces in the tomb grant them their fate

 

After getting attacked by the head spiders, Tayvia is not in any shape to explore. She's much better finding a outlying building to hide in while the others head into the tomb. Even worse, their time to explore is limited, since the Republic team is not all that far behind.

 

INSIDE THE TOMB -

The opening trap -

Start off with a bog standard corridor covered in tiles that set off poison darts when you step on them. The non-tile parts of the floor are safe - well, until half-way across. That's when the tiles become safe and the non-tiles turn into a thin layer of plaster over a 40 foot fall.

 

Faceless horror -

They're walking carefully down the corridor when something brushes up against their face, much like how you walk through a spider web - except that it's cold and clammy. Turning their full attention to it - it's a face. The Sith (or one of his disciples) peeled off a person's face, cut it into several large pieces, and then hung it from meathooks. Oh - and it’s still alive. Thousands of years old, life extended by the blackest of Sith alchemy, the eyes of the damned pleading at the characters.

 

Watch Your Step -

While rushing up a flight of stairs, roll perception against <><>and a red. A character who misses it (or gets a bad roll) sets foot upon a false section of stair. The step gives way, allowing their foot to pass through, becoming ensnared in the barbs below. While the foot will probably pass into the step without suffering excessive damage (a couple of strain). . . . pulling it out is another story all together.

 

With some time, they'd be able to extract their foot no problem. Mind you, they're being chased by head crabs at the time. . . .

 

Gruesome Babysitter

A first person prospective vision - large, rough hands fastening the clamps that are holding their young little heads . . . . so tight. Putting his lips to their ear, as he whispers "Please. . .  don't fight. I promise I'll let you go home, if you swear not to tell a soul!" He reaches down to the wrist clamps "Well, I'll just untie these - oh, I'm kidding! Now where is my Lightsaber?"

 

Fade to black.

 

The False Pit Trap

The players come across a pit that's an easy jump - a mere six feet across and as wide as the corridor itself. They can walk to the edge, look down and see the bottom of the pit some 30 feet down, full of sharp spikes, making the pit something to be avoided - but who can't make a 6 foot jump?

 

The stinger comes in that the other side of the pit was false, a ledge built up of flimsy wood and plaster. It's strong enough for coins and rocks to land on, but weak enough to collapse under the full weight of someone landing on it. Below the false lip is a 45 degree angle slop, leading back to the pit, studded with hooks. After a brief slide, they are dumped 18 feet to the bottom of the pit. Ouch.

 

THE CENTER OF THE TOMB -

From here, the game plays out as published. . . .

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