The Crossing

After a month’s break, we are back to our weekly Traveller campaign of Deepnight Revelation. We have come to the end of the second expansion adventure The Near Side of Yonder, and are starting the third adventure, The Crossing. As part of this session, I gave the players another edition of the Into The Deep magazine as a handout, to bring them up to speed on what was going on aboard the ship. I’ve split that out into a separate post, since this one was getting long enough already.

I have already varied things quite a bit, since there were some parts of The Crossing that I didn’t like, but the overall theme of this section is going to be the same – finding a way across the Great Rift. As the photon flies, there are a couple of sectors to cross, but since they are limited to Jump-4 the route they will need to use is going to be a bit more complicated.

Map of the Great Rift

The Deepnight starts the session in Last Prospect sector, and needs to head down to Maw. From there, they plan to head Trailing towards Crossing sector, which should take them across to the other side of the Rift.

There are a couple of points were fuel caches will need to be setup, and at least one point where it’s not known whether passage is even going to be possible.

I have my own sector mapping tool, which displays only what the players know. This means that there are gaps in their knowledge around some systems. In some cases they know that there is a star systems in the right location, but they don’t know if it has any planets. Sometimes they are aware of planets, but only very rough indications as to the type of the planet. Gas giants are much easier to spot, but what terrestrial worlds which could be used for resupply are much harder to see from dozens of light years away.

Our session opened though at the star system of Ytedu / Last Prospect 1731. At the end of the previous session, the crew had discovered a Droyne monument deep down in the atmosphere of a gas giant. The base of the monument covered in carvings representing Droyne and various star systems and planets. My players were very inquisitive about what exactly the carvings represented, so I had to come up with a number of examples.

Some of them were maps of planets, possibly those that the Droyne expedition had visited in their travels. Two of the planets matched those that the Deepnight had found, which added weight to that idea.

Back on the ship, Shinzaro (who had turned out to be sensitive to the Droyne monuments some years back) falls over and starts rambling on in Oynprith (the Droyne language). When she finally recovers, she talks about having had visions about what the Droyne had done here. They had met stone age versions of the Erline, and also run some tests on a nearby world to see if they could wipe out the Entity. They thought they had succeeded, but it seemed to be the world that the Erline had picked up the infection from, so presumable the Droyne tests had actually been a failure. They had built a monument here though, as a marker to the expedition that they were expecting to follow them, and also as a celebration of how far they had come.

Meanwhile, Alfred used his Psi clairvoyance to try and view the monument, getting more information about it. There were carvings of each of the crew members, as well as some details about some of the systems they were expecting to use during their own crossing of the Rift. This included:

  • A proto-planetary disk with a binary star system.
  • Three close stars with Earth-like worlds.
  • A star with two burning worlds in orbit, along with space based life forms.

The ship spent some time trying radio scans of the monument from orbit, and the players gave a reasonable argument for why they should be able to do that. My own thought was that it would be too hard to see through that much of a dense atmosphere (about 60,000km deep) even with radio, but a decent argument was made as to why it should be possible, so I allowed it and gave them a bit more information.

The same player who argued that it should be possible looked up some web sites, and realised that actually I was right, and that it wouldn’t actually be possible. But they had the information – and the Deepnight has TL 15 sensors, so probably has other ways of doing this.

After spending some time here, the ship refuels and moves on.

The next system is a binary star systems surrounded by a disc of gas and dust. It is probably the proto-planetary system the Droyne were planning on using.

The Deepnight would have to refuel from the rather tenuous gas cloud. This is something that had been proven to work previously according to Imperium records, and indeed with some effort they began to collect hydrogen fuel.

They started picking up objects moving in the cloud though – there were about half a dozen bogies tracking them, moving slightly faster than the Deepnight. Beaming intense radio pulses at them caused one to back off, but three of the others started closing in. They had similar properties to the space whales, but were smaller and sleeker. They may be the predator types that the crew had seen signs off, but never met.

There was an argument about whether to shoot them with the spinal mount, or try to communicate with them. The creatures ignored communication attempts, and in the end the ship fired a drone at the largest creature. It tried biting the drone, destroying it, but decided that whatever this big metal object was it wasn’t particularly tasty. So the creatures backed off, allowing the Deepnight to continue refuelling.

From there, the ship jumped to Stodi Prime at 1937, then Joyahi at 1940. Both these systems were relatively boring, and the next jump took them to the system of Gamma Vunaf at 1803 in Maw Sector.

This concluded the Deepnight’s journey across Last Prospect sector, and they were now well on their way to starting their cross of the Great Rift. The next system, Ghowatrai, was 5 parsecs away, so they will need to prepare a fuel cache just beyond Gamma Vunaf, which will take a few weeks.

Two parsecs away is a rogue planet, which they don’t have much information on. So a plan is made to send one of the scouts there to research the place whilst the fuel cache is being prepared. This would give them more information about rogue planets, which might come in useful later.

To cross from Maw sector to Crossing sector requires a jump from Thiyu 2914 to either Unonbi 0214 or Rytewutus 0314. Unonbi is only a 5 parsec jump, but is just a rogue planet. Rytewutus is a better candidate, but it’s not known what type of planets it has yet (if any). A better scan needs to be done as the Deepnight approaches.

Phatahadu 3217 is another candidate, but the sensors indicate that the two gas giants there are both Junic worlds – hot gas giants with silicate atmospheres. These are rarely suitable candidates for refuelling from, so unless there are smaller icy worlds in the system it’s not a good route.

Some time was spent by the players plotting their possible route – which I was quite happy with. Though I’m mostly having the NPC navigators plan the route, it’s good for the players to get involved. It’s especially important at this point, because there are real choices to be made, and not all of them are right. They could get into serious trouble if they aren’t careful. I don’t expect it to come to this (since my players are generally very careful when it comes to planning), but the risk is there.

Next session they will get a chance to explore a rogue planet, and also build the first of the fuel caches they will need to continue their way across.

Samuel Penn

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