Who Can Dance?

With the Deepnight Revelation at Tradeport, it was time to provide the players with a bit of an information dump. Last week they had been asking questions about the history of the region, so I added some Journal entries for them to have content to read through at their own pace.

I also added commentary from some of the ship’s crew, both to give a different perspective, and also to give the NPC crew a bit of a voice. Whilst trying to figure out how best to do this, I came across the Custom CSS module for foundry, which allowed me a bit more control over the look and feel of the journal content.

I also wanted to give the players some options in what they could do. There had been talk about using the starport for doing maintenance on the Deepnight. This was actually the ‘official’ plot line in the campaign – the Deepnight’s jump drives are starting to fail and need a major overhaul. However, the players had already done some preemptive maintenance work on the drives back on the other side of the Rift, so forcing a failure at this point seemed unwarranted.

So as part of the background material, I also included a number of requests that had come from people. It was up to the crew how they responded to them.

  • Earl Egrane has requested a meeting with representatives of the Deepnight. He has also sent a small boat carrying gifts in the form of local goods direct to the Deepnight as a gesture of welcome.
  • Marcus Fiesler wishes a meeting to discuss ways in which both groups can help each other. It’s likely to involve trading skills for materials and access to the shipyard.
  • Ebbing University is interested in hosting some presentations by any scientists aboard the Deepnight. Their students are most interested in hearing talks by experts, especially in STEM fields.
  • Clayton has been talking to several traders, who are willing to bring in raw materials or supplies for the Deepnight. This includes unusual food stuffs from various worlds, though there is a good market here for ‘unicorn’.

The ‘fruit basket’ from Earl Egrane was patiently waiting outside the Deepnight Revelation aboard the Earl’s personal craft, where it was patiently awaiting permission to dock and deliver the presents. Earl Egrane was a representative of the Empire of Envais, and given what they’d heard about that polity they were expecting him to be evil and up to no good. So there was a lot of paranoid scanning before the ship was allowed aboard and the goods delivered.

It turned out that the presents were of high quality. Foods from his homeworld and some of the nearby ones, some of which was obviously very high quality. There were some art goods as well, including an actual oil painting of the capital city of his world. There was one item which confused everyone though – a rectangular piece of pulped wood which ‘enveloped’ another sheet of pulped wood. There was writing on the outside – the name of the ship’s captain, written by hand. This was a “letter”, a form of message delivery so archaic many of the crew hadn’t come across it before.

Within the letter was an invitation to a ball.

So the Empire of Envais are the bad guys, but this doesn’t need to mean that they have to be uncultured bad guys. Though I hadn’t initially intended to, over the course of the session it seemed fun to play the Earl up as pretty cultured and charming. Of course, whether that’s just a veneer surrounding a toxic centre of greed and betrayal is something to figure out in future sessions.

As well as the offers, there were also some rumours that the crew had picked up from the starport personnel.

  • There are rural settlements on the world at Wildwood/1322, which is mostly based around agriculture and logging. They have had problems with people vanishing in the woods near the settlement of Entolere, and there are rumours of strange humanoid creatures being seen.
  • There has recently been a war between Muhe Major/0726 and Uqot/0626. Nuclear weapons were used against both the starports there, and trade has all but ceased.
  • Grit/1222 is a mining colony, and most of the population lives either on large mobile ‘cities’ which scoure the rocky surface of the world for heavy metals, or beneath the surface in huge mining complexes. Trade goods from here have dropped drastically over the last few months.
  • Nothing has been heard from Abyrezuky/0130 for over a year now. Missions sent there have not returned.
  • The Commonwealth has been poking around in Atlantis sector a bit more heavily recently. Nobody is quite certain whether they are looking for military expansion, or have something else in mind.
  • Many of the high tech polities along the Rimward edge of Atlantis sector have been unfriendly of late. There is talk that either the Commonwealth or the Republic have been paying them to restrict trade in the region, in order to weaken the border states.
  • There are ancient ruins on the world of Opadajo/1434. They date back some 300,000 years, giant buildings towering above the desert sands.

The two hooks that really interested the players were Abyrezuky and Opadajo. These are on the way Rimward, so won’t greatly take them out of their way. Locally, they had been planning on spending some time doing maintenance here, but now they’re having second thoughts about that. There are some botanical gardens down on the planet that they want to visit (well, the biology team wants to visit. The capital city of Fenling also has a Droyne Administrative Commune, which might contain a useful information about what happened here 300,000 years ago.

The big question that needs to be answered, is who is going to the ball? The Captain has been directly invited, but they’ll need some other crew members as well – hopefully some who can behave themselves in polite company. It is probably sensible to take some people who can handle themselves if things go south, but who out of the security team actually know how to dance?

Samuel Penn

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