Dead Suns Unlimited, Session 4

Klaatu barada nikto
– Klaatu (The Day the Earth Stood Still)

As we began our session, the crew decided the best course of action would be to scan the Acreon and the Drift Rock. They detected low levels of radiation on the Acreon and could detect no life signs. Scans of the Drift Rock were inconclusive so the crew decided to investigate the ship first. Switch deftly maneuvered the Hippocampus to dock with the aft airlock of the Acreon and the crew boarded the larger ship.


They entered the Acreon’s engineering bay (C4) but before they could begin their investigation they spotted movement in the shadows. Two bluish and tentacled beasts climbed down out of the mechanicals running along the walls and attacked.


As the crew moved to defend themselves, their Geiger Counters reported low radiation levels in the port and starboard sections of the room. Fortunately, the radiation levels were low enough the crew were protected by their armor. Nuil identified the creatures as akata, aberrations which lived in the void of space and procreated by biting victims to infect them with a disease called Void Death. She also noted their one weakness, salt water.

Switch and TIM-X formed the front line as the rest of the crew rained blaster fire down on the akata. They made quick work of the creatures but not before one of the beats bit Switch and infected him with Void Death.

GM’s Note: I missed the note indicating Void Death did not have a latent stage on the Affliction track. The players got to enjoy the rest of the session without their characters being sickened and fatigued.

Once the akata were killed, the crew investigated the radiation while Cypher worked to see if he could restore power the Acreon’s power and life support. They learned the radiation was coming from rocks which were the akata’s cocoons. The cocoons were made of noqual, a valuable mineral, and they collected all they found in radiation sealed crates (also found in the engineering bay). Cypher realized he could not restore the ship’s systems until the power core was realigned and brought back online. The crew moved to the reactor room and realigned the system and brought it back online. Great teamwork! Cypher brought the systems back online and established a wireless connection to the ship’s controls. Through the link, Cypher brought online a diagram of the ship so they could explore it systematically.

Hebiza EskolarIn the main hallway (C2), the crew found the body of a dead goblin. The corpse was infected with Void Death so they bound it (in case it decided to get up and attack them). A single akata tried to sneak up on them but they noticed it and quickly killed it.

Continuing the search, they also found Gevalarsk Nor’s cargo in the port cargo bay (C5). His cargo was a large crate marked with the logo of the Eoxian Embassy. Unable to resist, they opened the crate to see what was inside. In the crate was a glass coffin with a female elebrian inside, wearing a military uniform. She opened her eyes as the coffin opened, introduced herself as Hebiza Eskolar, and began to question where she was.

The crew explained she was on the Acreon and about the circumstances of the quarantine. Hebiza was somewhat confused by the situation but when the crew assured her they would deliver her to the embassy, she was appeased. She climbed back into the crate and settled in for the remainder of her journey. The crew moved the crate to the Hippocampus for safe keeping.

Continuing their search, they found two more akata in the starboard cargo bay (C3) and used the doorway to bring the creatures in where they could focus fire and protect their flanks and rear. The akata were quickly dealt with. In the cargo bay, the crew found additional cocoon remains. These were collected and added to the collection in the engineering bay.

They quickly searched the crew quarters and when they found the galley, they stopped to give Starcrusher some time to build a high-powered water gun and mix salt water from the supplies in the galley. Starcrusher crit the role to create the weapon, so I increased the damage he would inflict to the akata with it by 1 die type (d8, instead of d6).

Space Goblin

In one of the crew quarters (C7a), they found a pair of space goblins who freaked out when the crew broke down their door. Ryder quickly calmed the goblins down and learned they were scavengers who came to the Acreon when they learned about the quarantine. Onboard, the space goblins ran into the akata and were chased into the crew quarters where they barricaded themselves in. They were part of a larger team and when the space goblins learned their ship was not present, they felt abandoned. The crew advised them to stay in the crew quarters while they continued securing the ship.

Checking out the crew storage (C8), Switch stumbled into a jury-rigged laser blast trap and was almost killed. It seemed the crew had left the trap behind for the akata but none had entered the room. Once the trap was secured, they scoured the room for supplies finding some med-patches and a disruption fusion seal (5th). Right about this time, they heard the sound of the Hippocampus disengaging from the Acreon and speeding away. Cypher established comms with the Hippocampus and found someone else was in control. He quickly radioed Absalom Station Air Traffic Control and learned they were the ones who had recalled the shuttle. The crew was aggravated by this turn of events but the air traffic controller insisted this was standard protocol in a quarantine situation. Cypher found this highly dubious.

When the crew breached the bridge, they found themselves surrounded by three akata. The radiation fields from their cocoons overlapped in the center of the room created an area of medium radiation which penetrated Switch and Ryder’s armor. Switch was able to resist the radiation but Ryder succumbed to radiation sickness. The crew made short work of the akata and collected their cocoons, making the bridge safe.

Cypher hacked the ship’s control systems and then bypassed a firewall keeping him away from the secure ship’s logs. Within the logs, they found a message from the captain recounting how they found the Drift Rock during their scouting. On the rock, they found 7 chunks of noqual and brought them onboard. They didn’t realize the rocks were actually cocooned akata and the Acreon’s crew was attacked. They tried to vent the ship but the akata were not affected by the lack of atmosphere so the captain set the Acreon to Drift jump back to Absalom Station while he and the crew retreated to the Drift Rock. He hoped the Stewards would send someone to investigate, someone better equipped to handle the akata.

This concluded our sessions. We had a lot of fun and we are growing more comfortable with the mechanics of a Starfinder game. Next session, the crew plans to space walk to the Drift Rock to hopefully find the lost crew of the Acreon and bring this mission to an end.

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Dead Suns Unlimited, Session 3

There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.
– Robert A. Heinlein (Starship Troopers)

The crew was afforded a few days time before their appointed meeting with His Excellency Gevalarsk Nor and Magistrate Howl to discuss the mediation of the dispute between Astral Excavations and the Hardscrabble Collective. They made the most of their time, sorting the gear they plundered from the Downside Kings and tinkering with upgrades to their own equipment and TIM-X. Cypher recalled and informed the crew Gevlarsk Nor is the elebrian ambassador of Eox, a planet inhabited mostly by undead creatures who are considered equal citizens of the Pact World.

Meeting with Gevalarsk Nor

With preparations completed, the crew traveled to the Eoxian embassy in Absalom Station’s wealthy Parkside neighborhood in the Eye of the space station. They were escorted to a meeting room by a pair of skeletal servants and left to wait with refreshments (which were rather tasteless and hard to consume). Cypher occupied his time accessing the holoterminal and changing graphics to pinup ysoki.

Gevalarsk Nor arrived and introduced him politely. His appearance was frightening and offputting but the crew managed to maintain decorum. The ambassador apologized for Magistrate Howl’s absence. He then went on to explain he had volunteered his services as the mediator of the dispute between Astral Excavations and the Hardscrabble Collective. He had been granted permission to send a team to investigate the fate of the Acreon. While researching the situation, Gevalarsk had taken note of the PC’s involvement and decided they were best suited to serve as his agents in this endeavor, if they agreed to undertake this task. He promised the crew a 1,000 credit retainer fee (each) for completing the job. After some deliberation, the crew decided to accept the ambassador’s offer. Sensing a small bit of trust with the crew, Gevalarsk also revealed he had a personal stake in the matter. Before the Acreon left Absalom Station, he had commissioned the crew to pick up some of his personal cargo from Eox. That cargo was now trapped inside the quarantine with the Acreon and the Drift Rock. He offered an additional 500 credits each if the cargo could be located and returned to him.

To facilitate this effort, Gevalarsk had made an arrangement with the Stewards of Absalom Station to borrow one of their shuttles to transport the crew to the Acreon for their investigation. Unfortunately, the standard Ringworks Wanderer shuttlecraft utilized by the Stewards did not meet Gevalarsk’s standards as a well-armed and protected vessel so he funded numerous upgrades which would take a couple more days to complete.


The ambassador also provided them with a small case containing 5 (or 6, if Billy is able to join us next session) witness drones (seen above). These tiny, floating drones would record the activities of the crew to provide Gevalarsk with all the information he requires to properly mediate the legal dispute of the Acreon. Within moments, ideas began to swirl in the minds of the crew and some let slip the idea of fiddling with the witnesses. Gevalarsk found this amusing and offered they could use the witnesses as they saw fit to accomplish their mission, as long as they did not tamper with the recordings. The crew agreed (with fingers crossed).

With two more days to kill, the crew began prepping for their mission to the Acreon. Cypher tampered with the witnesses and reprogrammed them so he could control them from his mini-comp (including controlling their recording features). The rest of the crew shopped for armor modules to protect themselves from potential radiation sickness as well as Geiger counters. Star Crusher fused his sensor to one of the witnesses and painted it yellow (dubbing it “The Canary”). While they had no idea what happened to the crew of the Acreon, they planned to be ready for anything.

While making their preparations, Ryder was contacted by a woman named Ms. Joss who claimed she represented Astral Excavations interests and she requested an opportunity to speak with the crew to detail their position in the dispute. The crew rejected her offer to meet with her in Bluerise Tower, Astral Excavation’s headquarters and negotiated to meet with her at a small restaurant called Sunrise Cafe on Level 12. Considering Astral Excavation’s efforts to kill Duravor Kreel and dealings with the Downside Kings, their caution was well founded.


The next day, the crew met with Ms. Joss (and her two bodyguards) at Sunrise Cafe. The young professional immediately launched into a well-planned presentation which highlighted the contributions of Astral Excavations to Absalom Station and the community. The crew wasn’t having any of it and cut her off. Cypher let her know in no uncertain terms she, and her company, should keep their distance and would not be receiving any favors from the crew. Ms. Joss was put off by the rebuttal but made her final offer before departing in a huff. Astral Excavations was a very lucrative company who hired a wide range of troubleshooters for all kinds of “jobs.” The shady offer did not go over well with the crew and Ms. Joss excused herself.

With their own preparations completed and the unsavory meeting with Ms. Joss stills on their minds, Nuil suggested the crew go to oversee the modifications to the Ringworks Wanderer. With all the trouble going around, the crew decided it best to supervise the work. When they arrived at the private docking bay of the small fleet of Steward’s ships which protected Absalom Station, they performed a thorough inspection of the shuttle they would be borrowing, the Hippocampus. Finding nothing out of order, the techs performing the upgrades continued their world.


The next day, Gevalarsk Nor found the crew overseeing the last of the modifications to the Hippocampus. He wished them well on their mission and with little further ado, they were on their way. From the command deck of the Hippocampus, the crew got their first good look at the incredible Armada of ships orbiting around Absalom Station. The quarantined Acreon was a couple hours away from the outskirts of the Armada and the shuttle was flying on auto-pilot so the crew began acquainting themselves with the individual systems of the shuttle (in case they were needed). Of course, they were right.

Proximity alarms revealed they were not the only ship in the quarantine zone. Closing on them quickly was a tiny interceptor. A quick scan revealed it to be an Eoxian Death’s Head Necroglider called the Stilleto. Ryder opened hailing frequencies and attempted to use the crew’s position of authority to coerce the approaching interceptor to turn back. A woman who did not identify herself laughed at Ryder and said she had been paid a lot of money to be here and she wasn’t going to back down.

Roll for initiative!

Hippocampus vs Stiletto

The crew had never actually flown a ship together (let alone engaged in combat). Ryder assumed control of the ship as its Captain while Switch jumped into the piloting chair. Star Crusher naturally assumed the role of the ship’s engineer and likewise, Nuil decided to serve as science officer and began scanning the attacking ship.

GM’s Note: Comparing skill ranks, it was immediately apparent most of the crew could serve in almost any position (excluding Captain, which Ryder was particularly apt at). While each of them had their strengths, each of them could assume almost any role which will be a boon to them in the future.

While Ryder began by encouraging the crew, Nuil crit a scan of the attacking vessel. This provided them with all of the statistics of the Death’s Head Necroglider and the crew began to worry. They were outgunned in almost every way against the superior ship. Ryder decided to try another tactic and began taunting the pilot of the Stilleto which worked amazingly well. He crushed the roll as well as the 1d4 (he rolled a 4) for the duration (in rounds) of the -4 penalty to all die rolls. This crippled several of the Stilleto’s successful attacks during the battle.

Switch quickly warmed up as the pilot and worked hard to keep the Hippocampus positioned so the crew could use all of their weapons against the Stilleto. The shuttle had poor maneuverability which made this quick difficult but he was successful at keeping all guns trained on their enemy for about half of the battle.

Star Crusher opted to route extra power to the shields, knowing they were going to take a beating from the Stiletto. During Switch’s flip and burn maneuver, Star Crusher was accidentally thrown from his station and he was knocked unconscious. OOC, Star Crusher’s player was not feeling well and needed to dip out for the rest of the session. As Switch learned how to best keep the faster moving interceptor in their gunnery sights, Nuil jumped into the engineering station and rerouted power from the shields to the ship’s guns.

Throughout the battle, Cypher kept the Hippocampus’ coilgun (mounted on the shuttle turret) trained on the Stilleto and continued to whittle away at the Necroglider’s shields and hull. Switch also attempted to hit the Stiletto with the Hippocampus’ forward light laser cannon (minor action Snap Shots) but the smaller vessel was too quick to hit. He did manage to wear the Stiletto down and the two ships bore down on each other for their final attacks. Cypher unleashed the fury of the coilgun and crit the Stiletto, blasting through the interceptor’s engines. As the Stiletto careened out of control and crashed into the Drift Rock, the woman’s voice cut across the void, screaming that the engine’s heat inhibitors had been shattered. It was the last thing heard before the interceptor exploded against the Drift Rock.

Amazingly, the Hippocampus was not hit once. A combination of Ryder’s taunting and Switch’s evasive maneuvers (-4 penalties to the Stiletto’s attacks in addition to +2 bonuses to the Hippocampus’ AC and TL at key moments) ensured the crew’s ship did not suffer a single scratch. Very impressive teamwork, especially for a new crew.

This was the end of our session and I awarded the crew by advancing them to Level 2!

When next we play, the crew will finally get to investigate the Acreon (and potentially procure Gevalarsk Nor’s personal cargo, if they find it) and explore the mystery of the Drift Rock.

GM’s Lessons Learned: I think we had a lot of fun with the starship combat system but there are some things I can do in prep to make it run much smoother next time. A lot of netizens have suggested providing the players with Starship Combat Cheat Sheets and I now see the wisdom of that suggestion. There are a lot of good cheat sheets out there and I will be providing copies to my players. I also plan to add these cheat sheets to the Journal section of Roll20 for easy access. I also plan to pre-build starship weapon systems on the crew’s character sheets in the attack section (for regular attacks as well as Snap Shots). Doing that math on the fly was sloppy and time-consuming which took away from the action of the scene. I would rather the players spend more time describing their attacks, maneuvers, and actions than working the numbers of a Gunnery action (which incorporate a fairly large number of factors).

Great session! I will see you all next time.

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