The Battle of Dari-Alkin
The Deepnight Revelation had arrived at the world of Alikaia-ala with the rescued colonists, including the all important breeders, in tow. They had been welcomed enthusiastically, both as rescuers and as ambassadors of an advanced star faring culture with a technology far beyond what the Alikaia could manage. A celebration was being planned for a few days time, and the VIPs amongst the crew were being invited down to the planet to meet at the large city of Dari-Alkin.
There seemed to be one faction though that was behaving differently. They seemed to have cut themselves off from the rest of society. There had been mention of breeder-queens, and the players were guessing that intelligent breeders had evolved who were directing things. The breeder caste of the species were otherwise animal-like in their intelligence.
Zanobia tried to explain thisto Akranika, their friendly castaway they’d rescued from Ofoke. It took time for him to grasp the idea, since the concept of multiple Alikaia cities working together was completely alien to him. Sufficient flow charts and power point presentations eventually got the point across. It seems no-one else on the planet had noticed this.
As the Deepnight and the Alikaia got acquainted with each other, there was an exchange of guests. Some of the Deepnight crew were invited across to look at some of the Alikaia ships. The jump drive technology was very much in a prototype stage, and much larger than an equivalent Imperium jump drive. The power plants had also been haphazardly constructed. There had apparently been no communication between the group building the drive and the group building the power plants, so the original power plant had been greatly under powered. The ship had three separate plants, not for redundancy but because of bad planning.
A party of Alikaia came across to the Deepnight, and were amazed at the technology. A couple of them seemed more observant than the others, and were asking questions about the military capability of the ship. They tried to obfuscate their questions, but weren’t very good at it. These two were from the different faction.
They invited the crew down to a private meeting with their First Speaker, Irldzin. They claimed to be the future of their world, and Zanobia spoke to them a bit about what she thought they were doing. They appeared shifty when asked if they were planning anything during the upcoming celebrations.
During the tours, a small battle was detected down on the surface between a couple of the cities. One had launched an attack against some agricultural stores of another, but the planning was laughable. It took fifty minutes before a force was sent out to secure the supplies after the initial attack, and once they got there they then had to request transport to take the supplies back. But that was okay, because the defensive response was just as badly organised. The Alikaia seemed to lack joined-up strategic thinking, though the new faction seemed to be showing signs of having realised that they needed to do it.
It was decided to send Shiiguma Shashbag, Imelda Thatchet and their telepathic Vargr Alfred Bester down to the planet to meet with the First Speaker. It’s just occurred to be now that neither Shiiguma or Imelda were aware that Alfred was a telepath (only the original crew of the Sex Thing know this). They both took advantage of the intelligence he gained though, so I guess they probably do now.
Imelda got an exceptional success with her diplomacy check to persuade the Alikaia guards to let her and the others keep their ‘purely ceremonial’ swords and stun sticks.
This city was much like the others – haphazardly designed, but outside of it were some newer looking factories that appeared to be planned.
They were taken in to talk to First Speaker Irldzin, where a constructive conversation was had. Irldzin explained more about their plans to improve their society, and the Imperials seemed to agree with it. Once everyone was feeling comfortable with each other, another Alikaia (accompanied by a large honour guard of warrior caste) met with them. She was a breeder – but as the Imperials had guessed, was intelligent.
Under her, and also her daughters who had inherited her traits, the Alikaia were figuring out long term strategy and organisation.
The way the adventure had been written pretty much assumed that the players would side with the rest of the world, and would help defend against the attempted take over by the ‘aggressor’ faction. The possibility of the PCs siding with the aggressors is mentioned, but it’s one box compared to half a dozen pages. I decided to play the aggressors as intelligent and reasonable – they just wanted to forcibly take over the planet because they honestly believed that it was the best thing for their species.
It wasn’t a surprise to me that the players felt more sympathy for these aggressors, who seemed more capable and didn’t have the baggage of ‘dumb breeders’.
So an agreement was reached. The new faction wouldn’t make any moves until the end of the celebrations when the Deepnight crew were safely away. In return, they provided help with the planning of the aggressors’ take over of the world and world make an announcement that they supported the new faction.
Within a week, the change in management had been completed, and most cities where under the control of the intelligent breeders. It hadn’t been completely bloodless, but with help from actual Imperial strategists the coup had been a lot quicker and more efficient than it would have been otherwise. With a stable world, the Deepnight felt safe enough to start repairs on their jump drive and put in some for much needed R&R for the crew.
This brings us to the end of the Riftside Transit chapter of the Deepnight Revelation campaign. This is the first of the extra 6 chapters, but we’re probably about a third to half way through the campaign. The next chapter should go relatively quickly, and then it’ll be covering the crossing across the Great Rift.
We’re going to have a few weeks break, but should start up again in early January.
Wow. I would not have guessed the players would react that way. IIRC as written the insurgent breeders are less reasonable than in your campaign, and better described as sentient as opposed to actually intelligent.
A great read as always.
I think this variation was probably more interesting for my players, and given the way the PCs were very open to what the Aggressors were saying it seemed sensible for them to try and be as reasonable as possible towards the Deepnight crew.
Intelligent breeders are described as ‘less intelligent than a Thinker’. Given that Thinkers get +3 to INT, I’d read that as human level intelligence. The main trait I gave them was long term planning, which I played the Alikaia as not having much of.
I had also already done a planet of unreasonably aggressive aliens recently (failure to think ahead on my part there), and wanted a chance to avoid that this time.
Great read. Could this be Gunboat Diplomacy? It’s obvious you put in lots of work to allow the adventure multiple options. My players always surprise me! I look forward to how your Travellers negotiate their next challenge. Thanks for posting these. The blog inspires me with my campaign.