The players have landed heavily on an ice-covered world called Alexandria after their ship was hit by a meteoroid strike, forcing them to land and effect repairs. Both their jump and main drives are damaged and any secondary transport that the ship may host (such as an air-raft or shuttle) is currently disabled as well. The world they have landed on is experiencing a number of natural upheavals including small scale meteor strikes and volcanic eruptions.
Landing at a starport in the northern latitudes to try and repair the damage to their ship, the players encounter hurried activity by people trying to get away from the area, due to the increased number of landslides, volcanic activity and avalanches. Though the parts to repair their ship are available, they are going to cost quite a bit (referee makes the cost difficult for the players to swallow).
Whilst they are considering their options they are approached by Elrale Olrussang whose father Cluale, a scientist has been conducting research in a number of fields at an arctic base some distance from the starport. When the eruptions started, she lost contact with him and desperately needs help from someone (i.e. the players) to find out what has happened to her father.
The base can be reached by flying out to it as there is a small landing strip nearby the base. There is a small aircraft available to hire for a nominal cost, a twin-propeller eight-seater equipped with snow skids.
Elrale can cover a substantial part of the costs for the spares needed to fix the players ship, if they can successfully rescue her father in time and there may be a bonus if they can extract his research data at the same time. The aircraft has enough capacity for up to eight people (including pilot) or equivalent weight in equipment.
If the players accept the proposition, they had better get a move on; contact with the base was lost around 36 hours ago and this is not the sort of place to be injured or without equipment. Once reached, the landing strip is approximately two hundred and fifty feet away from the base, a dome with a single ground floor level and two underground levels. There are approximately ten rooms per level, with a set of stairs and an electrically operated lift which serves all three levels.
Cluale Olrussang was researching a native life form and has several contained within the research station. However the creature he was investigating (what he has named ‘Sklathill’) has revealed a dangerous and ferocious creature – far more dangerous than what the scientist could have imagined. An earthquake has caused some internal damage within the three levels of the research station and communications are down. Several of these creatures are now loose, ready to attack the players as they advance through the station.
By the time the PCs arrive, Cluale has been knocked unconscious and is relatively safe hidden in the lowest level of the station. As the players start to explore inside, a second earthquake causes another avalanche to bury the entire station in snow and ice. All methods of escape have been blocked and the players are trapped. The electrical supply is disrupted and lights are flickering off and on. Water is running everywhere and the whole atmosphere is cold and dank. Occasionally sparks burst from conduits and panels as water blows circuits and electronics.
The Players have some Objectives:
1. Find the scientist located in the most difficult-to-reach part of the station (obviously) in the lowest level.
2. Locate some means of getting themselves out of the buried station; the scientist will be able to tell the players where to find some explosives to blow a hole in the station wall and hence create an opening in the side of the buried station. Alternatively the players may be able to find these themselves during a thorough search.
3. Avoid getting killed by the half a dozen (more if there are more PCs) creatures that will hunt the PCs down.
4. The stations electrical supply is intermittent and it is getting colder very quickly. Parts of the station are filling with icy water which is coming in through breaches in the station at the lower levels. Dealing with the stations environmental systems may help to reduce the effects of being trapped (reducing oxygen, the cold – see below).
The Station Environment:
The internal atmosphere is gradually getting worse as oxygen is gradually being lost as there is no ventilation, so the players will start to feel tired and dizzy after a period of time. It is suggested -1 DM to hit after six hours and another cumulative -1 DM for every six hours after that. This can have a detrimental effect on their ability to fight off the creatures, who are more resilient to such effects and have no negative attack DMs.
When dealing with the cold, clothing will offer some protection unless it is waterproof in which case strength, endurance and dexterity will all reduce by one point for every two minutes that the player is in the icy water. In the water means that the player is at least 50% submerged. If a limb is submerged for two minutes or more, there is a chance of catching frostbite – roll 8+ to avoid frostbite, with -1DM for every extra minute the limb is under the water. Waterproof gear will protect, but not indefinitely – double the amount of time available that someone can remain submerged and apply the same roll and modifiers above.
The station is constructed so that there are plenty of metal gantries, walkways and gaps – excellent places to hide by creatures and the players alike. It is made up of a number of laboratories, store rooms, living quarters, communications and a medical centre. Its up to the referee to determine the exact layout to allow or impede the players progress down to the lowest level. Corridors do have lockable doors bulkheads, which can isolate different parts of the station. The research data can be extracted from the stations computers, though locating a working system to download from and how much data at once is entirely up to the referee.
The hunter-creature (Sklathill) is a native life form of the world; it is an amphibian that hunts the docile whale-like creatures in the arctic seas. It is approximately six feet long with three rows of spiky spines along its back, to its tail. It sports four legs, each armed with claws, the back legs a little bigger than the front. When submerged in the water it holds its claws together to increase its ability to propel itself through the water. It has a prehensile tail, with a large pointed hard spine at the end which it uses to strike its prey. Its head is long and pointed, with two rows of sharp teeth designed to easily rip its preys flesh. On land, it can move in a similar way to a Terran alligator, however with its claws it can climb quite easily – especially with the gantry and open metalwork nature of the station, this gives the Sklathill excellent opportunities to hide and track its prey.
Exiting the Adventure:
Should the players be successful in getting out if the station, with or without their objectives, they will find their aircraft covered in snow, but just lucky enough to have missed being damaged by the avalanche when it hit. They will be able to return to the starport where they can collect their earnings.