Last week, the crew of the Deepnight Revelation investigated the world of Leryr Ito, where people worshipped octopod gods. The way that I’ve planned to run this part of the Deepnight campaign is to skip over most worlds, and just introduce a few places of interest.
Leryr Ito is one such place, and originally I’d planned for it to take up a single session, but we’ve now done two sessions on it, and are heading into a third. Though I’ve got a high level idea of what has happened (and is happening) on the world, a lot of the details I’m making up as players ask questions. There is a history here, involving ancient star faring civilisations. How much the players discover (and how much I discover) will depend on what they do.
The plan at the end of last session was to break into one of the libraries and copy some books, in order to get a better idea of the history and religion of the local culture. A night time raid was planned, using grav belts to fly down to the roof of one of the large city libraries, and break in through the skylights. Given the technology level, artificial lighting would be minimal and the library would be mostly deserted, so it was a task that shouldn’t be too hard to complete.
Whilst we were talking, I tried using Midjourney to generate an image of a suitable library. Something in the middle of an 18th century city, with gardens out front. I guess it got the architecture about right, and the gardens, but failed on the cityscape. Generating it, getting it into Foundry and showing it to the players took just a couple of minutes. Maybe slightly better than the results I’d get by doing a Google image search for a similar set of keywords.
The main thing was it give me and the players a consistent visualisation.
Taking a leaf out of Blades in the Dark, I had the players roll a D6 to see how well things went – they got a 6. That meant that luck was with them and things would go initially in their favour. A quick Mechanics check by Shiiguma got the skylight open, and they snuck inside. The library was empty of people except for a lone night watchman sitting at a desk down near the front entrance. He was mostly dozing, so there was little risk of the Travellers getting caught.
Khadashi and Shiiguma set up some IR lights and cameras, stuck books in front of them, and recorded them turning the pages. It took a few hours, but they managed to copy quite a few books in that way.
There was a disturbance about half way through the night, as the night watchmen performed a shift change, but the second shift was not more more enthusiastic than the first (another good die roll on the part of the players). Unless they tried to take some risks, or did badly on skill checks, they were relatively safe from being caught.
As they were leaving, Khadashi noticed that the upper dome was encircled with the statue of a large octopus. There was an eye at the end of each limb, and five eyes on the head. Beneath was a painting of aquatic depths, with humanoids coming up out of the water, venerating the octopus god.
Khadashi and Shiiguma finished up what they were doing and left, flying back up to their waiting ship using their grav belts. Having access to advanced technology on a low tech world gives the Travellers a huge advantage, but I’m okay with that. Traveller isn’t all about balancing encounters so that everything is a challenge. Sometimes the PCs will have an easy run of things. Sometimes they’ll get in over their heads.
Whilst they’d been scouring the fourth world, some of the rest of the science team had been investigating world three. This was a world with no surface life. Sometime in the last 100,000 years it had been hit by a solar flare, or maybe even a coronal mass ejection. All life had been scoured from the surface, and also marine surface life had been wiped out.
The oceans were still populated by marine life, but the upper layers of the oceans were dominated by creatures which used to live lower down. The principle predators were jellies. Red dwarf stars have a reputation of being unstable.
Whilst the PCs rested from their excursion, the mission team worked on the information from the books.
- Civilisation originally arose in the south near what is now the city of Kaskorloff. There was an ancient civilisation that built pyramids as tombs. There was the Great Warming period, which causd the collapse of the civilisation. A lot of sea life also died at this time.
- It was followed by the extinction of the herd beasts which were similar to those found in the Ghitany system. The extinction was blamed on hunting.
- The first Cult of Hrostor arose in a fishing village near Rolnon in the north. The religion spread across the north, then took after after the first of the Prophets was given a Holy Relic by Hrostor. That was near the glacier where the crashed ship had been found.
- Since then the religion has taken over the north. Though many priests hear the voice of their god, and this seems to be a hereditary ability, there are Prophets who have a much stronger connection.
- The Prophets are sealed away in Chapels away from civilisation, where they are looked after by monks, and allowed to spend their time communing.
- The people believe that they were brought here to this world by their god. From descriptions, their previous world seems to have been larger and had a different coloured sun.
- Depictions of Hrostor having 13 eyes seems to be recent. Earlier texts mention ‘many eyes’, or sometimes half a dozen. Each of the eyes at the end of the limbs seem to have religious significance, and may be a later invention.
So the plan is to steal a prophet. A suitable chapel is located, not too large and in the middle of nowhere. Most of the chapels are located near the coast – often on rocky promontories. This time, Khadashi, Shiiguma and Alfred were the away team. Again they got a ‘6’ for how well things went initially. Flying in from the sea, they located a locked door which was easy enough to get past, and headed down into the depths of the chapel where the prophets lived.
A time of night had been chosen when most of the chapel was asleep, so finding a prophet without being detected was relatively easy. The first prophet they found was sitting in a cell, mumbling words in a different language. This was why Alfred had been brought along – the Vargr reached out and took a peek inside the prophet’s mind. What he got was a jumble of thoughts and feelings.
- The prophet seemed to be having a conversation with someone – thoughts were coming in from elsewhere. Though Alfred couldn’t follow where the thoughts were coming from, he could see them in the prophet’s head.
- Whatever was communicating with the prophet seemed to speak from a deep, dark place. They were hiding from those that would kill them.
- Hiding from those who had displayed them from their position in the universe.
- They must go back. Back to the stars. Begin the wars again, but this time to win.
- We are their servants. We are their soldiers/
- There are eyes in the cold darkness, slimy things in the depths.
The prophet seemed to notice Alfred, so the Travellers quickly departed. As Shiiguma was trying to lock the door, they heard footsteps coming from round the corner. Deciding to try and finish locking the door first, Shiiguma failed her Mechanics check. They were confronted by a very surprised monk. The monk was confronted by three figures in armoured suits, one of which was obviously non-human.
There was screaming and running, and as the Travellers fled away, they heard the ringing of bells behind them. The following day, word was spreading within the priesthood about “invaders who were enemies of Hrostor”. However, it was just rumour and speculation, so nobody was seriously looking into it.
The next plan on the Traveller’s list was to search in the oceans for any signs of the aliens. A deep scan by the Deepnight showed a general lack of large marine animals, but there were some possible creatures down in the depths. On this world, the ‘depths’ was only a couple of kilometres, and given the low gravity the pressure was going to be within the tolerance for their hostile environment suits. Zanobia also suggested trying to search for genetic traces in the sea. Since it was a good idea, they found evidence of something that was different to native life (both the humanoids, and the real native life).
So the plan for next week is a deep dive into the oceans. I didn’t expect this investigation to go on for as long as it has, but that’s fine – as long as the players are interested in continuing to explore, I’m happy to provide them with more clues as to the history of this world.
I have more details that will need fleshing out before next session, but I now have a reasonable idea of what did actually happen here, and what sort of things there are to find on other worlds.
I’ve also fleshed out a character sheet for Yip, their pet alien bird. I’d generated an image for her, so figured I might as well make the whole character. I’ve still got other NPCs I need to migrate from Roll20, though I’ve unfortunately lost all the tokens and portraits I had for them. Cancelling my Roll20 subscription meant I was over the free Roll20 storage limit by a factor of ten or so. Uploading a new character image for my Ars Magica character meant deleting everything else to make room. I’ve possibly got images kicking around locally somewhere, but I don’t remember where I filed them. I really need a better filing system.