Whilst taking it easy at a starport bar on Paniig, the players notice a slightly nervous looking gentleman walking in and approaching the bar. Eventually gaining enough confidence to strike up a conversation with the group, he introduces himself as Newton Alder who works for the Paniig Institute of Archeology. Following a recent expedition to the jungles, he discovered some ruins which appeared to be a several thousand years old. Unfortunately, poor weather precluded any further exploration, and the expedition was abandoned and due to political infighting at the institute, Alder can’t get any further funding. However, just before he had to leave the site, he managed to extract an object that looks like something that is not of this world, which he furtively shows the players. The box-like object is made of a metal that has so far, defied analysis. He believes that the ruins are of alien origin; therefore, it is imperative that he gets back to the site. It is so important to him he is willing to pay for the expedition himself out of his own money – if the players are interested in joining in. They would be expected to transport the archeologist and his assistant (named Galen Cantor) plus some equipment to the site in the jungle on the uninhabited side of the planet, along with escort duties in case of any animal or unexpected encounters. He can pay Cr. 50,000 and Cr. 2,000 towards any equipment expenses that the party may have ahead of the expedition.
The site is located on the other large continent on the other side of Paniig; around three-quarters of the land mass is covered by dense jungle or forests, creating a steamy, humid atmosphere. Due to this, opportunities to land the players ship are limited and they’ll have to park around 10 km from the ruins at a clearing and travel the rest on foot. The trees are massive and don’t let much light in to the ground, due to the high foliage. Once they have secured their ship, the players will have to carry their equipment necessary to establish a forward operating base at the ruins, on foot.
The journey will be difficult for the players in that they will only be able to move as half normal walking speed, due to the dense undergrowth and humid atmosphere making strenuous activity tiring.
It will take a full day to reach the site; it’s suggested that the referee rolls three times to see if there are any animal encounters. A roll of a 6 will result in an animal encounter:
On arrival at the ruins, the party is presented with what looks like a small hill, covered in undergrowth. What made this distinctive to Alder (hence the site discovery) was three small prominences that are exactly 60 degrees in angle to each other, forming a perfect triangle. At the base of the one side of the hill is an entrance; Alder said this is where he found the alien object before the weather turned and the site was abandoned.
Inside the Ruins:
The damp tunnel slopes down at a gentle angle with roots and leaves scattered across the path. The tunnel is triangular and made from stone blocks in the same shape, which confirms that the construction is not natural. As the tunnel levels off the players are presented with two entrances on either side before it continues, straight on into the darkness.
Left Hand Side Room One:
The room has five sides to it and is scattered with undergrowth, roots, leaves and damp dirt. A search of the room reveals more of the objects similar to what Alder found, something with angled sides and flat top that could pass for a table, but not much else.
Left Hand Side Room Two:
A similar layout to Room One, this has metal beams scattered around the room leaning against the walls. This should make it difficult for the players to spot one of the creatures on the random encounter table, which will launch its attack on a random player with a free round. A further search does not reveal anything else of interest.
Right Hand Side Room Three:
An empty room, other than traces of animal habitation.
Right Hand Side Room Four:
The room is full of storage boxes or various shapes and sizes, scattered around the room. If the players perform a thorough search (Formidable 10+) they will find a rectangular object (with a triangular profile) which at the moment, doesn’t appear to do anything and is made from the same material as the first object Alder found.
When the players continue down the tunnel, the party is presented with an astonishing sight; a large room in which sits is quite obviously an alien spacecraft.
This appears to be some sort of hangar, though the ceiling has no obvious seal or door gap. Constructed of the same triangular blocks, the room is six sided in shape. At the opposite side of the room are three small triangular exits, 1.5 metres wide. As the players move around the room the fluttering of wings can be heard above, obviously some sort of flying creature. Torches aimed upwards reveals green foliage hanging from the ceiling.
The Alien Spacecraft:
The ship has six sides, with what looks like an exhaust vent at one end. All sides are angled in some sort of way with small windows dotted around the vehicle, some of which are broken. The hull has overlapping triangular panelling in shades of grey and green. At the middle of the one side is what looks like a partially open door. Of most concern however, is the four hexagon-shaped mountings: two underneath and two on top. On further investigation, it’s obvious that these are turrets with at least two laser weapons per turret. The ship appears to be the equivalent of a heavily armed 100-ton scout ship.
The referee should try to encourage as many players onto the ship as possible, however the referee sees fit. At the right moment, the referee should ‘wake up’ the alien ship – at this point all hell should break loose. When enough of the party are through the partially open door (to either get most of them on board, or split the party), the ship will start up with a whine of its engines and lights activating inside the ship. It is obviously preparing to take off as it ‘wobbles’ slightly hovering a few centimetres off the ground.
At this point, Cantor will reveal his true intent; grabbing the backpack off his back, he fiddles with several items in the backpack and then seals the backpack clips. He then shouts ‘death to all aliens’ and throws the backpack through one of the broken windows on the side of the ship. This is obviously an attempt to destroy it, Cantor has primed a number of demolition charges and thrown them onboard the ship, which have landed in a locked room inside the alien craft. Due to the chaos of the lift-off and urgency that Cantor tried to set the charges, it is up to the referee to impose a time limit on when these should go off, though if they do, they will almost certainly destroy the ship. Therefore, it is suggested that the referee uses the demolition charges as something else for the players to worry about and distract them from trying to do something about the ship lifting off.
Light suddenly floods in from a gap in the ceiling which increases in size, through the automatic activation of two doors. Debris falls from above, everything from foliage to boulders. Any players not inside the ship should roll against their DEX not to be hit by 2D damage worth of falling debris. Alder will be pleading with the players to help save the ship; if the ship manages to leave the hangar, who knows what havoc it will cause or who it will attack. This is a distinct threat to the populace of Paniig, so the players will have to decide how to save the ship and neutralise the threat to the general population. The more immediate threat are the ticking demolition charges, which are in a side room where the door is jammed shut. If the players want to try and break the door down, it will require a Formidable 10+ roll. The players will then need to make another roll (8+) roll to successfully throw the bag of demolition charges out the broken window. The point of is to increase tension in the players trying to get rid of the charges, even if the referee doesn’t intend to detonate them.
Gaining Control of the Alien Ship:
Alder will run to the front of the ship where it is assumed that the cockpit is located. He will call for help from anyone in the party who has some form of Pilot skill or is willing to help.
In order to bring the ship down to a successful landing, Alder and the players Pilot will need to combine their skills. The players will need to make successful Formidable 10+ rolls, with the following modifiers:
– Alder trying to translate the control panel DM +1
– Pilot skill DM skill level
– If the Skorr is nearby / attacking other players, DM -1 distraction
– If the referee rolls 4-6 on a D6 each turn, apply DM -1 for the ship out of control
– If the player holding the object from Room Four makes a successful INT roll, they realise the object fits into a recess on the control deck, which then displays simplified controls on screen. Apply a DM +1 if used.
If there are three consecutive failed rolls, the ship crash lands. Everyone receives 4D damage and the ship is destroyed.
If there are three failed rolls out of four, the ship crash lands with severe damage, everyone on board receives 3D damage.
If there are three consecutive successful rolls, the ship gradually loses height and lands with minimal damage.
The Hidden Skorr:
An additional problem for the players to deal with, a fearsome Skorr (a native hunter to Paniig, described as a cross between a giant wolf with the head of a Triceratops) has made a home aboard the alien ship and decided to show itself once the ship is airborne. It is vicious and will attack the players.
If the players successfully save the ship and land, the authorities won’t be far behind having detected the launch. They can either accept walking away with their lives as their reward (plus Alder’s payment), or if they kick up a fuss, they’ll be deported off world or threatened with a prison term. Either way, they’ll have to keep quiet as the authorities won’t take kindly to the players advertising that they’ve discovered evidence that a hostile alien race previously lived on the planet. If the ship crash lands, the players could be stranded for a period of time before rescue arrives.
Cepheus Light Statistics:
Newton Alder 978AA6 Archeologist
Admin-1 Computer-1 Gun Combat-1 Investigation-1 Medicine-1 Science-2 Survival-2
Cr. 60000 Carbine and Scope
Galen Cantor 898995 Archeologist’s Assistant (has an agenda to ensure that evidence of former alien life on the planet is not found)
Admin-1 Computer-1 Demolitions-1 Gun Combat-2 Science-1 Stealth-1 Survival-1
Cr. 12000 Autopistol, Carbine and Scope, 6 demolition charges equivalent to Incendiary Explosive, each is fitted with a timer.
Size 30 Kg
Hunter / Carnivore
Skills Survival-2 Instinct-2
Damage Teeth 1D6+1
Speed 5 m
Description: A giant snake with articulated plates for armour.
Size 60 kg
Hunter / Carnivore
Skills Survival-2 Instinct-2
Damage Claws / Teeth 2D6+1
Speed 12 m
Description: A large lizard similar to a crocodile with longer legs and a slightly shorter snout.
Size 120 kg
Chaser / Carnivore
Skills Athletics-1 Recon-2 Survival-1
Damage Claws / Teeth 2D6+2
Speed 24 m