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Voyages of the Magellan...


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[This is reposted from the Lone Star forum...]

My Fellow Travellers,

This last Sunday, I ran the first session of my T20 campaign, and we had a blast. Essentially, the players are crew members aboard an exploration cruiser, the CSS Magellan, and are heading to the frontier to begin exploring uncharted space in my ATU. For my first adventure, I ran a loose T20 translation of the first of the Chamax double adventures, modified to fit the background milieu. Here's a quick synopsis:

[Warning: Spoilers for the Chamax adventures can be found herein, as the basic plot is the same. While I doubt that there's anyone out there that hasn't at least read the adventure, if not played it, I'm including this warning as a friendly reminder, just in case. Hope this helps, Flynn.]

En route to the frontier, the ship enters the Sirius system. Sensor scans reveal a small ship flying away from an outsystem world, a Red Zone world interdicted officially for carrying a virulent plague, but is actually the site of an interstellar society that died out 10,000 years ago. Checking in with the system's Starport Authority, the Magellan is requested to investigate, so they take off in pursuit of the runaway craft. As they get closer to the vessel, some concern over a possible situation on Canis (a secret scientific research party hadn't reported in three days, which is consistent with the flight time of the ship) prompts the Commander to okay the Security Officer's request to send a small team to Canis aboard the Aztec, the modular cutter onboard the Magellan.

Closing on the vessel, the Magellan determines that it is a 40-ton pinnace. The Science Officer uses his innate telepathic abilities to detect life aboard, and determines that there is only one person aboard, on the bridge of the smallcraft. Using telempathy, the SciOff finds that the person is maniacal, and forces a soothing calm on the person. This pulls the individual out of shock, and he collapses into slumber. Security acutally board the pinnace to investigate and retrieve the sole passenger, to find the main passenger area devastated with chemical burns. They break into the bridge, and find the person hidden behind an electronics panel, obviously malnourished and passed out.

Bringing the man onboard the Magellan, the Commander orders the ship to change course to investigate what happened on the interdicted world, Canis. The Aztec, in the meantime had arrived at Canis, and began doing sensor scans of the research site. No indications of life were found, so the Aztec did a few fly-bys to gain a visual confirmation. Aside from similar signs of devastation on the portable base and the Intrepid, a subsidized merchant vessel being used as a covert research vessel, the site looked abandoned. The astute Flight Officer noticed that the launch was missing from the Intrepid, and received permission from the Magellan to begin sensor sweeps for the launch as the Magellan moved to orbit Canis.

By the time the Aztec and the Magellan reunited in orbit over Canis, the sensor sweeps had found the launch abandoned at a northern site, with similar signs of destruction upon it, though snowfall covered a lot of it. (As an outworld, Canis is very cold. Now, entering the summer season, temperatures barely crept above zero Celsius by day, and still dropped significantly at night.) The team decided to investigate the launch site first, discovering small furry balls in the snow near then launch. Life, on a world previously reported as lifeless... The SciOff decided he had to investigate, and so brought one of the creatures into the launch itself. As the temperature aboard the launch rose above freezing, the ball unfolded to reveal a large, tarantula-like creature about a foot across. The SciOff tried to communicate with the creature, and offered food, but the creature attacked him. Thinking quickly, the Flight Officer piloting the launch maneuvered the ship on it's end, dropped the inertial compensators, and the creature fell out the airlock before things got vicious.

The crew members detected some radio signal interference on the vid channels during the creature's awakening and activity, so commenced to do a full sweep of radio frequencies. They detected some strong local emmissions on the vid channels (that were apparently just static), as well as a dim frequency on the personal comm channels. Fixing on the dim signal, they determined that survivors from whatever attacked the launch had fled to nearby glaciers. Quickly, they rescued the survivors, and learned some of what had occurred. In investigating the northern site (based on information found at the Intrepid site), they uncovered a small furry ball that opened and began reacting to the scientists. It attacked and killed a security trooper, as others poured forth from the depths of the ruins. The new ones descended on the body of the trooper, so a second trooper emptied a clip into one of the creatures at close range. It exploded in a cloud of acid, causing the others to explode as well, and the resulting spew of acid took out the second trooper. More poured forth, and the survivors ran for the hills. As it got colder, the creatures moved slower and slower, finally curling up into their spherical hibernative state. The survivors have been too afraid to return, for fear of meeting active creatures, and so had been stuck in the glaciers for the last few days.

The Magellan crew members brought the survivors back to the Magellan, and discussed numerous theories. In the end, they sent down two survey probes to investigate the Intrepid site in detail, only to discover that the Intrepid was swarming with the furry creatures, larger than at the northern site. In addition, a huge swollen tubular creature occupied the forward cargo hold of the vessel. The Scientists immediately related that creature to the queen of insect hives, and decides that this was a bad situation. However, in order to meet their orders, the Magellan determined that they needed the log records of the ship itself.

Following a daring plan, the Security team raided the various labs aboard the Magellan to come up with the supplies needed to make a 60kg shaped charge, intending to penetrate the hull of the Intrepid near the bridge. Operating in the early hours of the morning, while the temperature was still below freezing, the team planted the charge, blew a hole into the bridge via a weapon's turret mount, and slipped in long enough to copy the appropriate information from the ship's computer. Then they slipped out of the ship before the creatures became aware of their presence, and headed back up to the Magellan.

In short, it was a great game, a scientific mystery with a very Alien-esque feel to it. The party came up with a great number of creative thoughts and actions, and we had a blast working through the various scenes, figuring out what had happened and then what the creatures were capable of. We ended the night's gaming with a request for official reports to be filed, and the ship heading back toward Sirius Major Starport, to deliver the survivors. The party helped recover a lot of significant information about the lost civilization and about the creatures that the Confed will explore while the Magellan is away on its mission. Once that mission is complete, this should be a great source for further adventures, as we get to explore the ramifications of what was discovered here.

Anyway, I thought you guys might appreciate a peek into my first T20 session. I've really enjoyed hearing about others, and so thought to return the favor. I'll post more next month, when we go through our next session, and the party actually enters uncharted space.