WHO LIVES BY THE SWORD
This is an example adventure that can work well as your group’s first Star Wreck session. It’s written with the assumption that the PCs are the Bridge Crew on a P-Fleet starship, but with a little modification you can make it fit any other spacefaring group just as well.
The adventure focuses on interaction between the characters and the NPCs, but has all the important sci-fi elements in it: space battles, away teams, ground battles, and strange alien beings.
The Player Characters’ Ship is contacted by Admiral Tse-Tung on the Bridge’s main telly.
“Good morning, Captain. I’ll get right to the point, if you don’t mind. The P-Fleet has received a distress signal from the inhabitants of Lapponia VII in the Neutral Zone. Although the P-Fleet has had some diplomatic contact with the Lapponians, no one has ever met one. The planet has extremely valuable minerals in plentiful supply, and the Plingons are naturally also interested in it.
“You are ordered to penetrate the Neutral Zone without being seen, help the Lapponians in any way possible, and avoid any direct contact with the Plingons. Remember, we are at peace with the Plingons, and penetrating the Neutral Zone can be seen as an act of war. If you do get into contact with the Plingons, avoid conflict at all costs!
“We are very aware of your past performance, but unfortunately no other ship is available. Admiral Tse-Tung out!”
The Lapponia System
When the characters enter the Lapponia System, the Ship’s scanners will show there are three starships in orbit of Lapponia VII. There are nine other planets in the system, none of them habitable, and no other ships.
The PCs will then be hailed by Ship Master K’Dos. K’Dos is a young, mild-mannered Plingon, and will try to reason with the PCs.
“Plingon Buzzard Forshak to the P-Fleet starship! This is Ship Master K’Dos, son of K’Sher. You are in violation of the Neutral Zone. Turn back at once.” K’Dos might make a few half-hearted threats, but as his ship is also in violation of the Neutral Zone, his position is not very strong.
If the characters overcome their Obliviousness (with a -2 to the roll), they can notice that K’Dos’s ship is under attack even as he speaks. If the characters overcome their Repulsiveness (with a -4 to the Roll), they might realize K’Dos is afraid.
When the characters reach Lapponia VII, they will notice that K’Dos’s ship is under attack by two Romuclan War Turkeys. Remnants of two other Plingon ships orbit Lapponia VII.
Any character who overcomes her Stupidity can tell that although Romuclans are already at war with the Plingons, this is an act of war against the P-Republic, as well!
The Ops or the Science Officer can tell (by overcoming their Stupidity) that while one of the Romuclan ships is in a bad condition, too, it’s clear the Plingon ship won’t last much longer. It’s also clear that the PCs’ ship could turn the course of the battle around by attacking the Romuclans.
Hailing the Romuclans is almost impossible, but if the communicating officer overcomes her Repulsiveness (with a -5 to the roll), they will pick up. “Go away, P-Fleet scum! This doesn’t concern you!” If the Captain tries to persuade them to back off instead, she will need to overcome her Repulsiveness with a -8 to the roll. Otherwise they’ll hang up.
Most likely the PCs will attack the Romuclans, and win. When one Romuclan ship is destroyed, the other will engage its Stashing Gadget, and withdraw from battle. The big question is whether the PCs are able to save the Plingon ship Forshak.
If the PCs manage to save Forshak, K’Dos is not very thankful. “You’ve ruined everything! This was an excellent day for me to die! Thanks a lot, stupid humans!”
Romuclan War Turkey 1 (in bad shape)
Romuclan War Turkey 2 (in good shape)
Forshak (Plingon Buzzard)
Lapponia VIIScanning the planet reveals only very few intelligent lifeforms. There are plenty of other lifeforms, but they are animals, plants and such. There are no starships or buildings on the planet. There doesn’t seem to be any trace of the supposedly great Lapponian civilization. However, there are lots of valuable minerals in the planet’s soil and atmosphere.
If the Science Officer overcomes her Obliviousness, she will realize there are fifteen Plingons and eight Romuclans on the planet’s surface. The Plingons are all standing in place in an open area, while the Romuclans are running in the surrounding forests, separate. Anyone who makes a successful Stupidity test (-3 to roll) will realize that there might be a Stashed Romuclan or Plingon Ship on the planet or in orbit.
Since the characters have orders to investigate the planet, they will probably beam down at some point. The scenario assumes they beam near the Plingons. If the characters decide to beam near one of the Romuclans, she will attack. If they don’t know which group is which, simply have them roll dice. 1-2: Plingons, 3-6, one of the Romuclans.
The first thing one notices on the planet is a disgusting stench. All characters must make a Weakness test, and those failing it, will throw up. With a Drycoder, and a successful Obliviousness test, the Science Officer can deduce that the smell comes from the slimy, yellow mushrooms that cover most of the ground.
Once on the planet, the PCs will probably eventually find their way to the Plingons. The Plingon Governor K’Sher, daughter of K’Klux, is a formidable woman with a booming voice, and no love for humans. She will instinctively like all Plingons, Psychotic Loud-mouths, and anyone who overcomes their Repulsiveness (-3 to roll). All others she instinctively hates, and will verbally abuse them any chance she gets.
If the PCs have saved K’Dos’s life, K’Sher will be furious. “You have prevented my whiny son from dying in battle! I had waited for this day all my life, but now it is ruined. My life has no purpose!” She will then try to kill herself, which the other Plingons will prevent.
If the PCs have fought alongside K’Dos, and let K’Dos die, K’Sher will welcome them with open arms. “I salute you, for you have fought well beside my son! He is now in the Halls of Emperor Kickass, but you have lived to die another day!” She then goes to one of the characters she likes, if there is one, and adopts him or her as her new son or daughter.
If the PCs inquire K’Sher about her presence on the planet, she’ll give the same excuse the PCs have: “The Plingon Empire received a call for help, and ordered me here to fight for the Lapponian people. But alas, I see I’ve come too late! I have failed myself, the Plingon Empire, and the Lapponians!” She will then try to kill herself again, which the other Plingons will stop.
Her lieutenant Pahtk will then explain: “Do not be offended, humans. This infernal stench is giving us a head-ache.” She then shoots at a nearby patch of mushrooms with her Disturber pistol. The other Plingons join in the fun. When the smoke clears, the smell is slightly more tolerable.
The Plingons are not interested in co-operating, but overcoming Repulsiveness (-4 to the roll) or Obliviousness (-4 to the roll) will reveal they don’t know what the Lapponians look like either, or what happened to them. They also don’t know there are Romuclans on the planet.
It’s a monster!
At some point the Romuclans (three soldiers and five volunteers) will run towards the Plingons and the PCs, begging for help. They can be fought, or helped. They are afraid of the Giant Land Octopus that is chasing them.
In any case, the Land Octopus will attack the PCs and the Plingons. Lots of mushrooms will get trampled to pieces during the battle. The Romuclans will be hiding, and emerge only after the fight. (In fact, they will run into their Stashed War Turkey, which anyone watching them can notice if they overcome their Obliviousness.)
3 Romuclan Soldiers
4 Plingon Warriors
1 Plingon Officer, K’Sher
When the Land Octopus lies dead, the Romuclans, led by Subcommande Piknik, will try to convince the PCs they are there on friendly terms, and, indeed, have not committed acts of war against the P-Fleet. They’ll soon realize they are friends of friends to all the PCs. The five Romuclan Volunteers all died in the Land Octopus attack.
The Romuclans have been communicating with the Lapponians, and don’t know the PCs don’t know what the Lapponians look like. The Romuclans have made an agreement with the Lapponians for mining rights to Lapponia VII. A successful Stupidity test will tell the PCs this would be an illegal treaty, since the Lapponians have recognized the Neutral Zone. If they succeed by more than 4, they can deduce that since the Lapponians sent a distress call, they were probably under attack from the Romuclans.
If the Romuclans fail at their attempts in persuading the PCs, they will un-Stash their nearby War Turkey, and fly away.
The PCs might find out the identity of the Lapponians from the Romuclans. Or, once she knows the Lapponians still exist, the Science Officer might use her Drycoder (with a -3 to the Roll), and find it out. Otherwise, the Lapponians will contact them on their Communicators.
The truth is, the foul-smelling yellow mushrooms are the Lapponians. The smell is their way of communicating, and they have been very upset that the PCs haven’t replied with their own smells. They are even more cross with the pointless slaughter of thousands of Lapponians.
The Lapponians denounce all diplomatic contact with the P-Fleet and the Plingons, and inform that they will now sell their minerals to the Lardassians. (Only if the Captain can overcome her Repulsiveness with a -6 to the Roll, can this be reversed.)
As the PCs return from the Lapponia System, the Captain is expected to contact Admiral Tse-Tung, and give a report on the events. At this point the Admiral will already have received a short message from the Lapponians explaining their side of the story.
If the PCs have somehow managed to avoid starting a war, and have retained the mining rights, Tse-Tung is mildly surprised, and comments about there being some hope yet for your Crew. ”I shall postpone your eventual demotion this once, Captain.”
If the PCs have failed, Tse-Tung will act as if this was exactly what he expected giving the mission to such a inept Crew. ”Too bad I’m too busy to do the paperwork of actually getting you demoted, Captain.”
Admiral Tse-Tung. An old and bored pencil-pusher. He is very interested in protocol and bureaucracy, and thinks everything should be done by the book, preferably a very long and detailed book. Tse-Tung despises pretty much everybody out there doing something, but especially the PCs.
Ship Master K’Dos, son of K’Sher. Whiny and not very brave, but desperate to die in battle, even more so than other Plingons. He’s convinced that although this isn’t an excellent day to die, it’s the best he’s about to get. “By Kickass, how can you say I wasn’t cut out for this?”
Governor K’Sher, daughter of K’Klux. K’Sher is a formidable woman full of strong emotions. She is completely unreasonable, and tends to over-react operatically to the slightest disappointment, especially regarding K’Dos. “Then I have no son!” “No! I would rather blow up myself and everyone on this planet than let the news of my shame reach the Plingon Empire!”
Ship Master Pahtk, daughter of Mak’dar. K’Sher’s lieutenant, and the captain of the ship that brought her on the planet. Pahtk is rather beautiful and eloquent for a Plingon, always honorable, and willing to fight and die for others. Her primary objective is to stop K’Sher from killing herself or blowing up the planet.
Subcommander Piknik: The leader of the Romuclan Away Team, a slimy man with slicked-back hair, and several rings on his fingers. He acts smoothly, and tries to befriend all the women and hit on all the men. He will try to sway the PCs’ and the Plingons’ friendship by offering them cigars, candy, or sips of Romuclan Ale. The other Romuclans are very loyal to Piknik, will back him up on his compliments, and will readily eat his candy and drink his ale to show they aren’t poisoned. Piknik will claim to be “special friends” with all the men the PCs mention, including K’Dos. K’Sher dislikes Piknik immensely, but Piknik pretends they are the best of friends.