Monday, April 2, 2012
War raged throughout the sector, as it had off and on for 800 years. The descendants of the Philosopher Kings looked ahead, and saw only war leading to the end of interstellar civilization. To keep avoid sharing that fate, they devised Plan Alpha. They spent years searching for the perfect hideaway, and found it in the Melyn 32 star system. Settled by the Elekeen right after the First Survey of the Imperium in Exile, Arden was the site of the first planet-buster dropped in the Exile Galaxy, and it was still recorded as a Red Travel Zone, with working beacons in orbit. Phase one of Plan Alpha involved wiping out the native life on Arden, and reseeding it with a carefully designed package of plants and animals to ensure that life would be easy without high technology. Phase two involved the creation and storage of stepped technology packages that would allow a people with the knowledge to rebuild a technological society starting with the tools to build the tools needed. Alpha Base was constructed from a large asteroid, and filled with the necessary packages, then hidden in the outer asteroid belt of the Melyn 32 system and powered down. A trio of 400 ton subsidized merchants were hidden in the inner asteroid belt. Finally, as they colonized Arden, they made sure the Red Travel Zone beacon was still active, and preserved one 50 ton cutter in the basement of an enormous wooden structure in the capital city. Knowledge was preserved in several libraries, and necessary skills retained by craftsmen who would be able to work with the technology packages to begin the restoration. The use of technology would be kept below TL5 to avoid attracting the attention of any visitors ignoring travel zone beacons.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Between our last game and this one, the characters have stayed in the town with the library. Twenty-three days have passed, and the characters spent the majority of the time training with their weapons, while they awaited further orders from King Ossian or Clanchief Artemis. During this time, rudimentary radios, batteries and solar panels have been constructed by the townsfolk, who continue to hone their skills. Much of what has been produced so far have been produced by hand, and finely crafted with wooden cases and containers. Metal is in short supply, so is used sparingly only when it is completely necessary.
As the party prepares to go speak to the Librarian, the Radio they found near the third impact site crackles to life.
When they respond, First Contact asks, "I’m detecting many transmitters on the surface, where did you get them?"
They explained that they've made them, and are working develop other technologies as well. First Contact continues to milk them for information, and they go to the Library to learn more. It is only there the Librarian reminds them they were told by Ossian and Artemis not to give it any more infomration.
While they're discussing it, Delphi receives a telepathic message from Clanchief Artemis, "Tell the Librarian to implement Plan Alpha." Upon hearing this, the Librarian excuses himself and disappears into the back. Upon his return 10 minutes later, he hands the party a large stack of plans, and, as before, says to take them to the silversmith. When they return to the library to ask about Plan Alpha, he tells them it is their plan to rebuild their spacefaring civilization either when it is safe to do so, or necessary due to some threat. He then sends a runner with a radio to their capital city, to spread the news about Plan Alpha.
Zaccheus, Dara, Cinnia, Gildas, Delphi, Tiernan, Blaine and Lykaios are taken into the basement of the library, while Lairgnen and Alec return to the Inn. In the library, the party is led to a small room with chairs facing a blank wall. They spend the next three weeks there, ten hours a day, watching ancient videos on space travel, learning the rudiments of piloting a spacecraft and how to use a vacc suit. After their training is complete, they're sent to the capital, where they find a large wooden building with it's roof torn off. Sitting in a now-exposed basement is a preserved 50-ton cutter! They party is told they are to fly it to the outer asteroid belt and locate Alpha Base, drop off 5 scientists whose job will be to bring the base back up to full capability, and return to Arden with cargo from the base for Plan Alpha. They manage to take off successfully, and the trip to the belt takes 15 days.
At the outer belt, they transmit special codes to hail Alpha Base, and manage to locate it. Alpha base is a huge asteroid, hollowed out and turned into a space station. They land on the surface, and locate an airlock large enough for the cutter. Zaccheus manages to fly the ship into the airlock, and then into the station, where they find 49 additional cutters berthed! The next morning, the party checks additional cutters, and after finding five that work, begin the journey back to Arden. Zaccheus, Dara, Gildas, Delphi and Cinnia each take one cutter for journey, which only takes 4 days, as the cutters are in much better shape and are capable of sustained 4g acceleration rather than just 1g. Upon landing on Arden, Cinnia manages to damage the drives of her cutter; but the party is welcomed back as heroes anyway.
For three days, they party and rest, and then are sent back to Alpha Base in a single cutter to resupply it with food and five more scientists. At Alpha Base the newer crew of scientists tells them they are to just take the one cutter, and head to the inner asteroid belt in order to locate a trio of subsidized merchant vessels that are hidden there. They make the inner belt in three days, and manage to find the merchant vessels almost immediately. Zaccheus manages to land the cutter in the cargo deck of one of the merchant vessels, and they secure it in place. Zaccheus then manages to fly the merchant vessel back to Arden and land it successfully, where they are again hailed as heroes! On the ship, the party was able to call up a subsector map; and when they show it to the Librarian for assistance in reading it, he tells them the ship's computer must be malfunctioning, and the data clearly mixes maps from various eras! It shows both the First Survey and Second Survey borders, but only pre-First Survey data about the systems shown.
Right after visiting with the Librarian, Tiernan is handed a radio. King Ossian now has a radio as well, and he tells the party the Highsmeet has ended, and ended badly. Rather than being welcomed back into Uruki society, the Kingdoms of the Valley of Arden have again been banished; in fact, the Uruki of the Great Central Plain have vowed to conquer them instead. Per custom, Ossian and the rest were allowed to leave the Highsmeet peacefully, but the Uruki of the Plain are already massing for war. Ossian believes a pacification campaign may well be necessary. The party is instructed to return home; and after picking up Lairgnen and Alec, are given a wagon, now modified with an electric motor, to drive back to the Valley. All ten return to the Valley to rest and prepare for whatever comes next!
After camping out for the night, the party spent several hours in the morning hunting and relaxing. Prior to their departure from the Valley, they were joined by Dara, Blaine and Delphi, bringing the party to ten!
Dara is a female Uruki noble from the Valley of Arden. UPP: B5B86C/3, Streetwise-1, Leader-1, Bribery-1, Military Crossbow-1; has Clairvoyance and Telekinesis, level 3, Age 30. Her grandsire is wed to the youngest sister of Tevin, Chieftain of Clan Wyghmore.
Blaine is a male Uruki from the Great Central Plain. UPP: A6A986, Bribery-2, Carousing-1, Revolver-1, Streetwise-1, Age 26. Another recently exiled family, they too were adopted into clan Ludlow by Madden, the Chieftain when they reached the Valley of Arden.
Delphi is a famale Gnome rogue from the Valley of Arden. UPP: A987A2/6, Brawling-1, Medical-1, Broadsword-1, Jack-o-Trades-1; has Teleportation, Awareness and Clairvoyance, level 6. Her family serves under Artemis, Chieftain of Clan Maragos.
After introductions were made, the party set off into the Grey Hills. The road gradually narrowed, becoming a meter wide path winding up into the hills and then mountains. About 20 km south on the path, the party came to a split, with a small open place for camping. One branch of the trail went south, the other due west, toward the Grey Hills.
The party camped for the night. In the morning, using psionics, they attempted to determine which route to take... extending their awareness in both directions. They decided to go south.
The path sloped up steeply, to a small peak, and from the top, the party was able to see several burned areas about a day’s travel south. Continuing south, the party stopped once, where Zaccheus decided it was more important to get to the Highsmeet, and he left he party to head back north. The rest of the party continued on, and by mid-afternoon, could smell smoke. A few hours later, they reached the first impact site, finding a roughly circular patch a kilometer in diameter, centered on the path. While the party cautiously approached the center of the burn, Lairgnen noticed The Watcher on the opposite side, standing just inside the line of felled, burned trees. He attempted to get to him, but The Watcher turned, and headed into to trees. Lairgnen was unable to locate him.
In the center of the burn, the party found a deep depression with scorched earth. Using their psionics, they attempted to determine what was there. After much effort, they found a rocky meteorite about half a meter in diameter, weighing about 75 kgs. Not sure what to make of it, they continued south toward the next burn site.
Two km further south, they found the second site about about a third of a kilometer east of the trail. The terrain was rockier here, and in the central depression of the site, they found a 7 kg lump of almsot pure iron. Tiernan brought the lump with him, and they continued to the third site.
The third site was less than 2 kilometers further south. It was a much larger burn area, almost 3 km in diameter, and the central pit held some sort of metallic wreckage! The party was unable to determine much about it, as it was twisted and bent, but the part exposed above ground was about 4 meters long, by 3 meters wide and 3 meters high.
They found padded chairs inside, but nothing to indicate anyone had been in them when it crashed. Looking around for tracks, in case someone had been inside, they found a small box with three buttons on it, sitting upside down just beyond the central pit. After fiddling with the buttons, they were surprised to hear a voice, asking a question in an alien language! Further experimentation allowed them to figure out that one of the buttons was a "push-to-talk" button, and after speaking into the box, the voice responded in their language!
The team asked several questions of the voice, and were told he was a space traveller with a warning for them. He identified himself only as First Contact, and explained that the Red Zone Beacon in orbit had been turned off, and that therefore the protection afforded by it no longer existed. Of course, the party had no idea what any of this meant, so they sent word to King Ossian via psionics and asked for instructions. Word came back, via Zaccheus, who had now reached the split in the trail, that the King would send a team of porters to retrieve everything, and they were to head to the Highsmeet right away.
The party camped for the night, then headed north in the morning. After meeting up with Zaccheus, they spent several days trekking west to the site of the Highsmeet, and arrived with 3 days to spare. On the way, they contacted Ossian again, and were told he and his clan chiefs, and the other Kings would all come to the Highsmeet without waiting for their report.
They met up with several Uruki at the site early to set up for the Highsmeet, and were brushed off. They hung around until the Royal Contingent from Arden arrived in 5 horse-drawn wagons. At that point, they showed the radio to King Ossian and the Chiefs, and demonstrated it by talking to First Contact. Ossian immediately cut them off, and instructed them not to pass any more information to First Contact. At this point, Artemis revealed to Ossian and the party that while the Gnomes had given up industrial technology when they arrived on planet, they had retained the knowledge of high technology, preserved in Gnomish libraries. The Royal Contingent then conferred while the party waited outside.
Changing their plans, the Royal Contingent directed the party to leave the Highsmeet, and look for the Gnome Library. They were given only the information that it was south and east of the impact site. Artemis wrote a scroll and embossed it with her seal and instructed them to show it publicly in every Gnome village they passed until they found the Library. The scroll essentially said that with the Beacon down, it was time to start using technology again. The team was given a wagon and 2 horses, and began their journey.
Travelling faster now, it took them three days to get back to the impact sites, and just a few kilometers beyond, the path formed a "T"; one path went NE, the other SW. The team turned NE and travelled. The only problem they ran into was when the path dipped between two cliffs, forming a gully, and sheep blocked their way. After passing it, they continued, and found a village, where the mayor had a scribe copy the scroll for distribution away from the main path. The group passed through 11 more villages in the next two days; staying in the last overnight. In the morning, they were told the library was only half a day away, and just after lunch they arrived in the largest village they’d seen yet.
Lairgnen spoke to a passerby and was directed to the correct building. At the library, a small, nondescript building, they found an elderly man seated behind a counter. He asked their business and they showed him the scroll. After they described their mission, he excused himself, and disappeared through a door. He was gone for ten minutes, and returned with plans for a simple radio. He handed them the plans, and directed them to the silversmith, with the order to begin building. He asked what the party felt should be built next, and as they began brainstorming other items to ask about, the librarian told them to go to an inn, and come back in the morning with a specific list of requirements.