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CT Short Adventure: A Planet is Born


This was inspired by a discussion in the Ringworld thread.

Sorry about the weird format for success rolls, but the posting program keeps trying to parse greater than and less than symbols as HTML tag delimiters.

A Planet is Born!

The characters are contracted to find out what happened to Galen Keplerer, a notable and rich Astrophysicist who mounted his own expedition to a nearby, newly-formed star system. Keplerer’s yacht, the Galileo, departed this system 5 weeks ago and is now a week overdue. His flight plan is on file with the university and available to the PCs upon request.

The Gallileo is a custom vessel:

USP EX-1131431-030000-10000-0 MCr 103.4 120 Tons TL C

Tonnage : 120 Tons, 1,680 cubic metres (needle/wedge configuration)
Crew: 2 (Pilot, Gunner)
Performance: J-3, 1-G, 45.6 T Fuel (3 parsecs jump and 56 days endurance)
Electronics: 1 Model 3 computer
Hardpoints: 1
Armaments: 1 triple turret with 2 beam lasers
Defenses: 1 sandcaster in the triple turret
Craft: None
Cost: MCr 103.4 + Architects Fee of MCr 1.034
Cargo: 6.800 Fuel: 45.600 EP: 4.800 Agility: 1 Pulse Lasers
Fuel Treatment: Fuel Scoops and On Board Fuel Purification
Architects Fee: MCr 1.034 Cost in Quantity: MCr 82.722

In addition to her standard crew, the Galileo carries Keplerer and his research assistant as well as an engineer.

The characters will be offered 2d6x KCr10 for success with an additional KCr25 if they are able to bring back Keplerer alive or recover his research.

The proto-system is a GV star, similar to the early Sol system. The proto-“main world” (X6C7000-0) is a Terran-sized planet whose atmosphere is insidious due to its composition and a high level of volcanism.

There are 3 gas giants insystem.

Upon jump, the PCs discover the following:

1-2 Keplerer’s ship has been disabled by a solar flare. The yacht had completed her survey work and was headed for the 100D limit when a solar flare struck, disabling her computer. She was subsequently struck by a meteor, which then knocked out her M-drive. She’s been in a decaying orbit ever since and her life support systems are beginning to fail. She will crash on the proto-planet in 2d6 hours. If the characters board her, they will find all crew alive, but malnourished and the air quality onboard is poor. Her computer may be repaired if Computer + 2d6 = 8+ and the repair will take 1d6 hours. Her M-drive may be repaired if Engineering + 2d6=9+ , and this will also take 1d6 hours.

The crew will be unable to assist due to their physical deterioration. Adequate vacc suits are onboard to evacuate everyone.

Every hour, roll for the following encounters:

1-2 Another solar flare strikes. The PCs’ ship will have their computer knocked out. It can be repaired as above. The solar flare will completely interrupt any repair attempts being made on the Gallileo. Those attempts must be re-rolled and re-started.

3. A meteorite strikes the PCs’ ship, causing 1 hit of damage.

4 As above but the meteorite strikes the Yacht, compromising hull integrity. The ship will completely decompress in 2d6 turns. All unprotected crew will then die. Crew members will require assistance to don vacc suits, though they can be stuffed into rescue balls in less time

5-6 Pirates (see below) will assault the PCs ship and attempt to capture it. They can be detected in advance if anyone is monitoring the bridge and rolls 8+.

3-4 As a result of the damage mentioned above, Keplerer's ship has crashed on the proto-planet. The PCs can locate it via its distress beacon. It has grounded near an area of intense volcanic activity. PCs will be unable to reach the ship via radio, their only option will be to attempt to land near it. The proto-planet’s atmosphere is insidious and will defeat personal protection in 6 hours. Ship hulls will be breached in 2d6 days.

Have the pilot roll to make a successful landing: 2d6 - Pilot = 8- to avoid mishap. On 9, the ship is unable to land successfully, must climb for altitude and may then reattempt. On 10+, the ship crashes, suffering 1d6 hits.

When the PCs reach the downed yacht, they will encounter the following:

1-2 Keplerer and his crew are dead. Their bodies are in an advanced state of decomposition from exposure to the insidious atmosphere. PCs may pick up identifying items and return to their ship. Keplerer’s research files and log may be recovered from the ship’s computer on Computer + 2d6 = 9+, and this will take 1d6 hours.

3-4 Keplerer and his crew are still alive but unconscious as life support has been stretched to its limit. They will be unable to assist in their own rescue. The ship has sufficient, undamaged vacc suits and rescue balls for the entire crew. Research files and ship’s logs may be recovered as above.

5-6 Keplerer and his assistant are alive in a forward compartment, but the rest of his crew were killed while attempting to repair the yacht’s drive. Keplerer will not abandon ship without retrieving his research files from the damaged computer. Attempt recovery as 1-2, above.

For each hour on the surface roll for the following:

1-2 A nearby volcano erupts, causing an earthquake. All conscious characters must roll their Dex or less on 2d6 to avoid 1d6 falling damage.

3-4 As above. In addition, ejectus strikes the PCs ship for 1 hit of damage.

5-6 As 1-2, but the ejectus strikes the Yacht. Her hull will fail in 1d6 turns, exposing the interior to the planet’s insidious atmosphere. Any unprotected characters will be killed instantly.

While characters are attempting to depart the planet, have the pilot roll 2d6-Pilot=9- to take off successfully. Failure results in a crash, which causes 1d6 hits to the ship.

5-6 A pirate crew, in a 200T Far Trader has been using this system as a base for their activities. They have established a cache of supplies including a beat-up Type-S, on a planetoid orbiting around the system’s nearest gas giant. They detected the Gallileo as she jumped in, observed her for two weeks and then jumped her as she was about to depart the system. There a 6 pirates, with various non-military small arms, and vacc suits.

The players will detect both the pirate ship and the Gallileo docked at the 100D limit of the proto-planet. As they approach the situation will resolve as follows:

1-2 The pirate crew is completely aboard the yacht. The yacht is nearly destroyed and the pirates are salvaging what they can. The Far Trader is undefended. Keplerer and his crew are dead.

3. As above, but the pirates have finished looting the yacht and are departing for their planetoid base. If the PCs attempt to shadow the pirates, roll 8+/hour for counter detection. If the pirates notice the PCs, they will attack.

The yacht is a gutted hulk. Everything of value has been stripped, including the computer’s memory cores.

4 Half the pirates are aboard the yacht which, though her jump drive is damaged, is still space worthy. The pirates will detect the PCs’ ship on 8+. Keplerer and half his crew are still alive and imprisoned on the Far Trader. Upon detection, the pirates will detatch from the yacht and attack the PCs.

5 As above but Keplerer’s entire crew is alive, having been captured through a ruse on the part of the pirate crew. Keplerer’s people are imprisoned on the Far Trader and both ships are crewed by pirates. If they detect the PCs (2 attempts, detect on 8+) both ships will attack.

6 The yacht’s man-drive has been damaged by the pirates but she managed to kill the Far Trader’s bridge with a lucky hit as the pirates closed to board. Galileo’s engineer is dead but the rest of her crew, including Keplerer, are alive. Half the pirates were killed when their bridge decompressed. One gunner remains onboard, while two others have donned vacc suits and are attempting to assault the yacht, armed with laser rifles and small explosives. The Far Trader cannot manoeuvre, and cannot detect the PCs but her turrets are still active, though they fire at DM-3. The pirate away team will force open the Galileo’s airlock in 1d6 turns, at which point any unprotected crew will be killed by decompression. The Galileo’s remaining crew will be in their vacc suits in 1d6 turns. They will resist the pirates as long as possible, with their limited arms on board. The pirates will be cautious because they need to capture the Gallileo relatively intact.

If the PCs succeed in eliminating the pirate threat, they can repair the Gallileo’s man-drive with onboard spare parts in 2d6-Engineering hours. Keplerer is quite rich and will be very grateful for this rescue. In addition, the PCs can claim salvage for the pirate ship and, if they go looking for it, any of the loot stashed at the planetoid base (1d6 weeks of searching to locate it).
^ Excellent!

I have a very similar adventure but instead of a noted academic, the yacht belongs to a playboy shipping magnate and the system is a binary with a red giant streaming plasma to a companion neutron star that's about to go nova! This sets them up with a nice patron for a while.

Whatever you do, make sure they feel every second tick away!