Hrostor The Eight Limbed
Previously in our Deepnight Revelation campaign, a crashed alien spacecraft and a transmitter had been found around one of the worlds in the Ghitany system (Offside/1520), which was broadcasting a signal towards Leryr Ito two parsecs away. Intrigued, the crew decided to jump to Leryr Ito and try and find out what was there.
Having arrived at Leryr Ito, and it was time to begin the investigation. The players made heavy use of the NPCs in this session – not particular named NPCs, but just the crew in general.
Scouts were sent to investigate the fourth planet, which was populated with a Tech Level 4 civilization. There were three principle societies, including a democracy which was beginning investigations into heavier than air flight.
The inhabitants were humanoid, but not human. Under the light of the red sun they were albinos, for there was little UV light to darken their skin. A scout craft settled down near one of the rural settlements in the north, which was part of a theocratic civilization. Grabbing a local (a local woodsman), they discovered that the genetics were not Terran in origin at all, and the skeletal structure was not one that had evolved from apes. The mission team managed to subtly kidnap the woodsman with the use of tranq darts, perform their investigations and put him back where they’d found him without messing anything up.
They set up audio receivers around the local village to record conversations and feed it into their translators to try and understand the language. Over the following days they started to pick things up.
Translation software seems to be pretty powerful in Traveller, and it doesn’t serve much purpose making it difficult beyond initial first contact. So allowing them to understand the alien language with only a few days work seemed reasonable.
Over the next few days, further investigations showed that the genetics of the local animals and plants wasn’t related to the humanoids, so the latter had obviously come from elsewhere. The central building in the village was also some form of church. It was eight sided, and above the doorway was the symbol of what looked like an octopus – though it had an eye at the end of each limb and five on its head.
One of the biologists, Dr Derek Gakazi, ran some comparisons of the genetics between the humanoids and the large herd beasts that they’d discovered at Ghitany. They were unrelated – though there were some markers in both sets of genomes that had similarities. It indicated that some genetic engineering had been done on both using the same technology. The genetics of the herd beasts was very resilient and not very prone to errors, and hence would evolve very slowly.
As they picked up more information about the cultures here, the crew identified three principle civilisations. The northern nation was Atried, which was a theocracy dedicated to Hrostor the Eight Limbed. It was run out of the capital of Metanon. The priesthood controlled all aspects of life, and seemed dedicated in their pursuit of both growing the population and also educating everyone in science and engineering.
To the south of Atried was Barnos, of which about 20% of the population were slaves. From the capital of Kaskorloff a group of techno-oligarchs tried to control their nation through corporate interests.
The third nation was Xasondi, which was a democracy. It was the smallest of the three nations, with most power residing with the land owners (who got the votes). From the city of Xasondi, they wielded a lot of soft power throughout the world since they were the most devoted to spreading external trade.
Whilst their scouts were gathering social information, the Deepnight performed a full scan of the world, looking for any signs of past civilisations. None were found, but in the glacial ice to the south of Metanon they picked up something buried there. They also detected a short, faint signal burst from the capital city.
First on the agenda was to investigate the signal. It had only been a short burst, and they didn’t have a precise location other than ‘somewhere around the city’, but soon decided to investigate the primary temple of Hrostor. The top of all the temples sported a metal spire. In most cases it wasn’t connected to anything, but in the main temple there was wiring that went down into the building and into the lower levels.
It was time for Shinzaro to demonstrate her skills at piloting remote drones. They used a small micro-drone which hopefully would be mistaken for a large insect if it was seen. The Hooded Priests who administered at the temple spotted it on the first attempt, and shooed it out with a broom. They had no idea of what it actually was though, so the next night she tried again.
Beneath the temple were other chambers, closed to the public. There was also a slightly raised level of radioactivity and a locked metal door which the drone couldn’t get past. The radioactivity around the door was higher still.
Dr Nekuna volunteered to try and connect into the possible transmitter, so they left him doing that whilst Shinzaro, Zanobia, Khadashi and others went to investigate what was in the glacier.
More detailed scans indicated that it was another spacecraft, similar in style to the one they found at Ghitany, but in the 10,000 to 20,000 tonne range. There was a small farming village down at the base of the glacier, so they tried to be subtle in digging it up.
One of the crew members turned out to have a background in mining, so they were drafted in to help. They soon melted their way down to the wreck, which seemed to be some form of colonisation ship. There were climbing frames inside again – and Zanobia realised that these would be useful for an eight-limbed being to climb around in and use as seating, especially in a low gravity environment.
There were lots of low berths, designed for humanoids rather than octomorphs. A long dead and mummified humanoid was found in one, which bore very similar resemblance to those that now inhabited the planet.
Zanobia also identified an apparatus which was some form of psionic enhancement device. The teachings of Hrostor said that the priests sometimes heard the voice of their god – so maybe the god was still around and using psionics to communicate with their priesthood. There was suggestive evidence that the priesthood was hereditary, and since psionic ability was genetic, it was possible the priests had some psionic ability.
Eventually, the nearby villagers noticed the strange lights and noises coming from up the glacier and got up the courage to go and investigate. It would take a day though for them to get there, so the crew had time to clear up after themselves and leave. By this point they had most of the information that they needed.
It was also around now that alarms were raised at the main temple. Dr Nekuna had managed to send a signal down to whatever was on the other end of the wires and got a response. Apparently the holy artefacts hidden behind the locked door had started to make a noise.
This was good, because it meant that they were now planning to bring it out for people to marvel at the holy objects.
It was a crystal tetrahedron with a golden base. Within was a metallic cylinder which gave off warmth and light. Guesses included some form of RTG power source, a radio communicator and a psionic amplifier. It was possibly all three.
Since the Priesthood were into education, the next step for the Deepnight’s investigation would involve raiding some of the city libraries to try and find out more about what they knew of their past. Though there had been some discussion in the city about strange noises and lights coming from the sky, so far the locals didn’t know enough to realise they were being investigated by aliens from another world.