The Deepnight Revelation has reached Maw sector, arriving at the system of Gamma Vunaf/1803 on the 263rd day of 1115. This campaign has now been running for over 10 years in-game. Normally only my Ars Magica campaigns have had this much time pass within the game.

The next destination is Ghowatari/1808, a system of three gas giants. However, this is 5 parsecs away, so the Deepnight is going to need to build a fuel cache one parsec from Gamma Vunaf, before making a four parsec jump to Ghowatari. Two parsecs away there is the ‘system’ of Rihansa/1705, which is a rogue planet. This is within reach of one of the scout crafts, so the plan is to jump to the rogue planet and explore it, then meet up at the fuel cache with the Deepnight. Though the scout only has a Jump-2 drive, it carries four parsecs of fuel, so can jump there and back without needing to refuel. This will give the science team more information about rogue planets, in order to determine whether they can be used as refuelling stations.

The away team decides to take the Princess Starfire, with Shiiguma piloting it, along with Dr Nekuma, Khadashi, Vania Ervine and the Eriline scout Ekita. So again they are splitting the party, but this is good from my perspective since it allows the players to find out a bit about rogue planets, before they are force to use them for fuel.

What I did discover in this session is that a quick way to show NPC character sheets to players would be really useful in Foundry. I did start working on an ID card type of view, which is what you’d see if you don’t have full permissions to the character. I couldn’t find a way of resizing the character sheet window though (id cards are much smaller than full character sheets), but if I could do it as a pop out window instead, that the GM could open up and show to players that might be a better way of doing it.

WIP for character ID card

The reason for this was that the players were wanting to select which crew members to take with them, so being able to show an NPCs skills would have been useful as I suggested them.

Anyway, the Princess Starfire made the jump to Rihansa, coming out 100 diameters from the rogue planet. It was a dark world, cloaked in a thick atmosphere of mostly Helium. For the preparation for these sessions, I’ve been creating journal entries for each system, along with renders. I’ve also figured out a nice way of doing atmospheres now using volumetrics in Blender.

Rihansa is a rogue planet, a member of the Planemo Group. It is an Endothermic / Hauhetean type, which means it is still radiating heat left over from its creation. This normally points to either it being very young, or more probably high in radioactive material and heavy metals.

Such worlds tend to have high density atmospheres, mostly of Helium, but Hydrogen and Water Vapour can also be present in varying quantities. The atmospheres are generally a deep blue, obscuring the hellish surface from orbit.

Type: Kauketean (Planemo)
Habitability: VI (Rigid Suit)
Radius: 11,185 km
Sidereal Day: 2 days 10 hours 50 minutes
Gravity: 17.0ms-2 (Ve = 19.5kms-1)
Atmosphere: 23 x Std Inert Gases
Temperature: 379 K (106 °C)
Hydrographics: 37%

This rogue planet, despite being light years from any star, is a hot hell world with a thick atmosphere. Running a scan, they discover that there is water down on the surface, though it is high in heavy metal pollutants. There are water clouds high in the atmosphere, where the temperature and pressure is actually quite survivable – if you don’t mind five atmospheres or so. At this level, there is also something odd – the life sensors are detecting something, though Vania isn’t quite sure what. She names them “Vanians”, and requests that a probe is sent down to take a look.

Down amongst the clouds, what they find are a sort of transparent, elongated pancakes. It’s a form of animal life, living in the water clouds of this world. There is no sign of intelligence. They manage to get some plastered across the surface of the probe when they (literally) run into some, which allows them to bring samples back up to the ship for study. Vania makes a Biology check to determine whether they are safe to bring onboard, and fails utterly, so declares that they are. As it turns out, they are safe, so that’s not a problem.

After some discussion, they decide not to try to refuel. Refuelling would have required some difficult Piloting checks to succeed at, though the risk of something bad happening would be low. Failure would mostly mean it taking longer, and maybe some minor damage to the fuel intakes which would need cleaning eventually. I had a discussion with the players about this, and I think I made it clear that I’m not going to screw them over if they try refuelling from polluted sources of hydrogen. Doing it a lot will cause long term damage to the ship, but as they as they get a chance to clean out all the filters afterwards and don’t do it too often, the worst it will do is void the warranty.

Having finished their exploration, they jump back to the fuel cache and wait for the Deepnight to return. From there, they jump to Ghowatari where they refuel at the gas giants.

The next target is one of the three yellow systems. All them seem to have life, so the question is which one to go for. In the end, they jump to the nearest (Wysosnyx/2010), with a plan to do a one parsec hop to the next one along (Bisuxe/2111) ready for the jump-4 journey to the next destination. They also send off a scout ship (with a group of NPCs) to the third system (Utinofej/2011) as soon as they come out of jump, with a plan to meet up at the next world. This is something that the mission team argued for – they want to know if all three systems share similar types of life.

If the NPCs find anything interesting, then I’ll allow the players to take over playing them. Of course, I already know what’s each world, so I know whether that will be needed or not.

The Deepnight comes out of jump around Wysosnyx III, which is the most watery of the planets in the system, but their sensors soon pick up signs of life at planet II as well, including what might be intelligent life. Scouts are dispatched, and discover that there is a civilisation of humanoid hunter gatherers. There only appear to be a few thousand of them though.

Zanobia and several other scientists head to the second planet to investigate, arriving in their pinnaces and start a careful study of the culture here. It appears to be stone age, but the people here are definitely sophonts. Whilst tracking one of the hunting parties, one of the Pinnaces – callsign Zodiac – drops off the radar not far from where Zanobia’s craft is flying. Heading to investigate, they seem the wrecked and smoking remains of the Pinnace nose first in the ground.

The front has been destroyed – it must have hit the ground at some speed, and there is no sign of any surviving crew members. There are a couple of local hunting parties in the region which are heading to see what has happened, so Zanobia and a security guard land, and head there quickly on foot. A couple of bodies are found, and the black box is retrieved, but there is no sign of what caused the crash.

What happened was I had another low roll to see how well things went, so came up with a little situation for players to deal with. What caused the crash? Was it an accident, or was the pinnace attacked? That is something for the players to try and figure out next session.

We ended the session with one of the hunting parties approaching, and dropping down to their knees at the sight of two figures in hardened vacc suits next to something which has obviously fallen from the sky in smoke and flames.

Samuel Penn

3 Responses

  1. Depends on the size of the cache and how far away it is. They have the hardware for it, so it’s a case of inflating large bladders and filling them with fuel. That takes a few hours, maybe a day at most.
    The difficult bit is getting the fuel to the cache. The Deepnight can store four parsecs of fuel, and make a four parsec jump. For a five parsec jump, you need to do the following:
    1) Jump one parsec and dump one parsec of fuel into the cache.
    2) Jump back to the first system and refuel.
    3) Jump to the fuel cache and refuel back up to four parsecs.
    4) Jump four parsecs to the destination.

    So about four weeks plus a bit to travel five parsecs.

    For a six parsec jump, it gets harder. The Deepnight could jump two parsecs, but then doesn’t have any spare fuel to get back, so can’t build a cache.

    So they’d have to build a cache at one parsec, and use that to build a cache at two parsecs. That requires a lot more back and forth over many weeks.