At the system of Epiyar, the gas giant they come out of Jump close to turns out to have a particularly strong magnetic field, which could exceed the ship’s safety tolerances. They decide to fly to the outer gas giant instead. On the way there, the first giant gives off a large burst of radiation – convincing the crew that they made the right decision.
At Sarzu the gas giant is a Poseidonic world – it has considerable water content in the atmosphere. The ship actually goes through a storm of water rain whilst refuelling.
At Nete, there is a plan to resupply since their supplies are getting low. The scouts are sent out to perform a quick survey of the system, but one of them runs into trouble. Whilst performing a pass through the upper atmosphere of Nete II, a particularly pleasant looking garden world, the manoeuvre drive suddenly gives an overheat warning and then shuts down.
The pilot manages to guide the boat down to the planet, performing a controlled crash landing on the surface. The crew are unharmed apart from some cuts and bruises, but the the boat is quite badly damaged. When the crew report that there are sophonts here approaching their wreck, the Sex Thing is scrambled to take down a rescue party.
They grab one of the engineers who knows how to fix manoeuvre drives, and with Siona, Shinzaro, Yip and Zanobia the It’s A Sex Thing heads down to the planet. By the time they reach there, the ship’s boat has been put onto wooden rollers, and taken to a village by a group of reptilian hexapods. They seem to have a bronze age level of culture, and despite having bows and spears seem relatively peaceful. At least they have made no attempt to destroy the boat by the time the Sex Thing arrives, and the boat’s crew have been able to stay safely in the boat.
And it arrives in style – in all it’s pink glory as described by the players, making heavy use of its holographic hull to draw attention to itself. Flying down through the atmosphere, it comes to a stop hovering above the village. Most of the villages fall to their knees, some are more wary and watch it carefully.
Zanobia steps into the airlock, in full battledress, and addresses the crowd below them. Over the last few days the boat’s external microphones have picked up enough of the conversation for their translation software to be able to make a good guess at the language. She does the usual presentation of coming in peace, and thanking the locals for rescuing their crashed ship.
Then Yip steps out of the airlock, spreads her wings, and plummets to the ground. The gravity was higher than she expected, and her flying skills lower, but she just about manages to perform a super hero landing without breaking her legs.
The crew come out of the boat, relieved to get some fresh air.
The rest of the day is spent in talk and feasting with the locals, whilst the engineers take a look over the boat. Going over its maintenance record, it seems that people had known there was a problem with the manoeuvre drive, but the engineer Shandra had taken it upon herself to give it a regular clean out that kept it running. Since she left the ship to stay behind on a world with her daughter and partner nobody else had been doing the required work.
The culture here had arisen after a previous one had destroyed itself. More detailed scans were picking up a slightly elevated level of background radiation, and there were signs of ruined cities hidden under forests and meadows. The locals spoke of the Builders who had come before them. They had destroyed themselves in a great fire, but not before building huge buildings and monuments. They were a different kind of people, though similar in some ways. It seems there had been a nuclear war here over 100,000 years ago, and that this species had arisen to take over from the previous one. It’s quite a short period of time for this to happen in.
The culture had Seekers, who sought out knowledge of the Builders. Some had been sent for from the city to the north when the boat had crashed, so the Sex Thing headed north to find them. Shinzaro fly low and fast, enjoying the chance to try her skills at flying close along the road to the city.
The Sex Thing came to a stop just before a couple of palanquins, which were carrying two well dressed Seekers. They were amazed by the flying ship, and apart from some of their retinue wanting to try and take it from the Travellers, the meeting was peaceful and constructive. The Seekers knew a little about the history of their world, from stories that had come down through the ages.
The original masters, the Builders, had been destroyed, and most of their works torn down. A few of their sites still existed though as ruins. Some of them caused sickness if you visited them for too long.
The Travellers discussed whether to share some of their knowledge with the people, but this was not a single world government. Giving knowledge to any one of the states would cause them to go to war with the others. Giving knowledge to all of them would be complicated, and probably still lead to wars as they all tried to gain dominance with their new found knowledge.
Exploring the slightly radioactive ancient cities had some evidence of the previous species, some of it in graves, some in surviving art works. The Builders had been a different but related species. They were smaller, more predatory looking than the current species. How the new species had risen so quickly from the ashes wasn’t clear, unless they already had intelligence of a sort when the war had happened.
After trading of artworks, and finishing their resupplies, it was time to leave. The boat was able to be repaired enough to limp back to the Deepnight, though it’s wings had been destroyed and the hull damaged.
The next system is Igase, which didn’t seem to have anything of interest at first. Whilst refuelling at the local gas giant, the Deepnight detected a high density swarm amongst the clouds. The ship was cautious at first, aborting its fuelling run. A massive swarm, kilometres across, of small metallic ‘things’ was rising above the clouds. They didn’t seem to be following weather patterns, so were assuming to be intelligent.
Eventually Dr Nekuna worked out that they were following magnetic field lines. Sending in a probe to gather samples, they discovered them to be simple organic organisms, a few millimetres across, laced with ferrous material. They were using the magnetic fields both for travel and energy. Somebody decided to name them Nekunamites, much to the Nukuna’s annoyance.
In the last week, I finally figured out how the CEI and DEI numbers should be used. The adventure campaign uses the crew abstraction rules from the Navy sourcebook. The quality of the crew is abstracted as Crew Efficiency Index (for the entire crew) and Department Efficiency Index (for individual departments). Due to the way that Mongoose split the rules up across the books, I’d never quite figured out how they were meant to be used. I’d probably read them originally, then when I came back to run things and looked up CEI, the resolution mechanic isn’t in that part of the rules. It’s far earlier in the campaign book.
Since the CEI numbers didn’t seem to make sense as an abstracted skill check, I gave up trying to use them. I’ve since discovered that they’re not a skill check – they have their own result table, but does make a lot more sense. I’ve hooked this into a FoundryVTT rollable table, and can now roll this quite easily to see how well things go for plotting navigation routes, refuelling stops or resupply missions.
The crew are quite skilled at this point, so for the most part things should go smoothly. But it adds a bit of randomness back into things.
I also want to make more use of the research rules, which I’ve mostly been winging due to lack of time to sit down and both figure out exactly how they work, and start tracking them.
The last part of the session was moving into the new sector of No Prospect. As usual, this provided the players with a journal entry to summarise what had happened, and what to expect next.
Routine maintenance is keeping the ship running smoothly. There are bits and pieces here and there which need replacing or fixing, but nothing that is causing long term problems.
There was a fuel leak in one of the pipes leading to the reactor. It was very minor, and was spotted by the automated monitoring during one of the recent jumps. It has been patched without any issues.
We are entering No Prospect sector, put it will only be a quick visit across the top, visiting no more than four systems.
One of the systems on the planned route has been discovered to have its gas giant too close to the parent star. The temperature will make it impossible to refuel there. A different route will need to be planned.
Long distance scans have picked up radio signals from the far side of Best Prospect sector. There isn’t enough information to decode anything yet. The signals do seem to come from multiple star systems.
There have been complaints about insects aboard the ship. Somebody was bitten by something, and had a minor allergic reaction. Others have reported seeing small flying insects in the corridors.
Daevin, one of the new crew members, has turned out to be really good at sports ball, and there is some argument going on over who’s team he should be in.
The engineer Exsa Mopharsi and the deck hand Jules Pettering have announced an engagement. They want to have a wedding ceremony on planet fall on the other side of the Reft.