Dead Suns, Session 17

Watch the entire session on YouTube at https://youtu.be/hOHqdfU_4GA.

​Cypher and Nuil retrieved a map of the Star Eater’s Spine from the computer terminal controlling the facility’s lights, environmental controls, and security systems.​

The Star Eater's Spine

​Cypher decided to scan for lifeforms so he and Nuil reconfigured the computer system to use the base’s sensors.

​Meanwhile, the rest of the crew searched the bodies and the room. Wesley examined the laser grid and discerned they were mining grade lasers originally which were rigged for the trap. Ryder identified a Corpse Fleet uniform on one of the corpses. He recalled a bit of info about the Corpse Fleet and shared it with the crew. In fact, he finds a Corpse Fleet Insignia as well.

The Corpse Fleet is an exiled offshoot of the Eoxian Navy that’s made up of powerful admirals and captains who roam the universe in starships forged from bone and steel. Officially, the government of Eox condemns this rogue organization.

The Corpse Fleet formed when powerful and disgruntled members of the Eoxian Navy could not stomach their world’s adoption of the Absalom Pact. These naval officers deeply believed in the same sort of Eoxian superiority that once led the planet to destroy civilizations that refused to acknowledge Eox’s power—including the worlds known as the Twins, the shattered remnants of which now form the Diaspora.

Although Eox’s government and ambassadors to the Pact Worlds make a grandiose show of denouncing the Corpse Fleet, rumors claim that some of the powerful Eoxian rulers known as bone sages still clandestinely communicate with the exiles, and perhaps even secretly aid them with their work to promote Eoxian supremacy. The general population on Eox seems largely ambivalent—perhaps suspiciously so—toward the exiled fleet.​

Corpse Fleet Insignia

​By then they had completed the lifeform scan and excluding themselves the only lifeform detected was in the facility’s mainframe room. Thinking there may be Eoxians about, Ryder asked if Cypher could scan for the undead. Cypher attempted to reconfigure the system but jacked it up. Fortunately, Nuil was able to fix his mistakes and they began scanning for undead.

Further examination of the corpses reveals a second is also a member of the Corpse Fleet who was killed when the trap was first activated. The other two corpses actually belong to two cultists who appear to have been sacrificed and they died much earlier than the others, perhaps days. Wesley noticed the ripe smell in the air.

The second scan completed and did not pick up any undead. Before they set out, Cypher reconfigured the system again so he could keep tabs on the single lifeform they had picked up.

After a short debate, the crew decided to “split the party” so they could pincer the lifeform from both sides. Yeah, they totally did that!

In the hallway which circled the inner chamber, they spotted a peculiar object. Lying in the corner was a skull inlaid with strange cybernetics. Wesley examined the skull and determined the cybernetics were actually necrografts.

“The Business of Necrografts”
Besides being infamous for its almost entirely undead population, Eox is also well known among the Pact Worlds for its pioneering of necrografts. Neither cybernetic nor biotech, necrografts are augmentations crafted from undead tissue. Necrografts can be implanted into an individual’s body to enhance it in some way, whether to restore lost functionality due to illness or injury, augment natural systems, or provide a magical boost to the user’s abilities. The selling and installation of necrografts account for a large percentage of the economy of Orphys, and the seeking of necrografts is one of the primary reasons a living creature might visit the undead planet. The business of necrografts is booming on Eox and in Orphys in particular, where enormous factories churn out this technology practically day and night.

Along the north side of the Spine… Ryder and Nuil find a kitchen and dining room. Most of the foodstuff looks like it is in good condition.

Along the south side of the Spine… Cypher and Wesley find an awful mess and are overcome by the smell. Both of them became “sickened” for 10 minutes. Despite their condition, they pressed on to investigate the mainframe. In the kitchen on the south side, they also found the remains of a butchered corpse ready to cook. We won’t mention that Ryder ‘almost’ ate some of the meat he found in the north kitchen. Damn it, I mentioned it!

The crew stealthed around the mainframe and spotted a reddish lizard with an exoskeleton and black smoke seeping from its eyes. Nuil realized they were facing a veolisk but accidentally made a noise before she could alert the rest of the crew. The beast moved slowly to the north. Roll for initiative!

The crew took shots at the lizard from both sides. As soon as she could, Nuil warned the crew to avert their gaze but failed to avoid its eyes. She was overcome with “confusion” and began smashing her own head against the wall. During the battle, Wesley also succumbed to the veolisk’s gaze and began smashing himself in the face with his pistol. The fight was being drawn out when Drez and Switch appeared from the rear and launched a final attack to take down the creature.​

17.2

​Finally, the crew had access to the mainframe and the slicers began working their magic. These modules were more difficult to hack than most of the systems they had encountered before but they managed to get the job done with losing any of the data.

Activities Data Module
This module states the mission of this sect of the Cult of the Devourer in no uncertain terms.

The denizens of the Star-Eater’s Spine were devoted to poring through the prophecies in a sacred but cryptic tome called The Entropy of Existence and Glorious Rise of the Void. The data contains the cult’s analysis of some of these divinations, including one prophecy flagged as high-priority. This high priority prophecy is not stored in this data module, but a link points to its location in another secure data module labelled “Sacred Lore”.

The cultists focused on this one prophecy in particular because they thought it the most likely candidate for them to bring to fruition. From the data, it appears the cultists interpreted the prophecy as referring to some sort of weapon—one powerful enough to serve as a “key” to untold destruction—but they have deciphered little else. In addition to the cultists’ obsessive work to understand more of this prophecy’s latent instructions, this module details the terrible, ritualistic tortures the cult enacted to try to pull further clues from those lines.

Sacred Lore Data Module
It contains reams of information about the cult’s profane belief in the Devourer, the assured entropy of the universe, and the cultists’ unholy roles in bringing about the end of existence for the glory of their dark religion. In addition to general religious dogma and near-mad ramblings, the data module also details the Star-Eater’s Spine cult’s fascination with an ancient elven soothsayer named Nyara, outlining her history. The data even includes a computer-generated hologram of Nyara recounting some of her most enigmatic prognostications, as recorded in her most infamous book, The Entropy of Existence and Glorious Rise of the Void, which the cultists of the Star-Eater’s Spine treat as gospel. One of these predictions is flagged as high-priority; if that prediction is accessed, the hologram of Nyara recites, “In the maw of the Twelve lies the Key. Forsooth, shall all be undone. When the knee meets the gorge, so far. The widening gyre implodes—magnificently.” An annotation on the file points to the cult’s study of this prophecy stored in the mainframe’s Activities data module.

Intelligence Data Module
The Intelligence data module contains records of all of the communications between the Star-Eater’s Spine and the Devourer cult on Castrovel. Although it appears that the cultists tried to erase this data before they deserted the base, by successfully hacking this module, you also recover most of the communication logs for the base’s comm unit. These captioned recordings document the Castrovelian cult leader Tahomen’s boastful crowing about his cult’s activities at the Temple of the Twelve, including a premature (and ultimately untrue) claim of the cult’s humiliating defeat of the PCs. The last communication log, however, takes on a triumphantly gleeful tone. In it, Tahomen reports that information in the temple’s inner sanctum has revealed the location of the “key” emphasized in Nyara’s prophecy. In the final line of the recording, Tahomen jubilantly states, “Our future awaits, far beyond the confines of the Star-Eater’s Spine! You must fly, my sisters and brothers! Fly to (garbled static), where the Key awaits…” The recording then ends.

The name of the location the cultists fled to was deliberately deleted and then meticulously scrubbed from the system. The electronic signature of the hacker who performed these tasks is unlike any of the digital footprints left in either this mainframe or the computer terminal in area B2. However, there are clear signs that this data was deleted just a few days ago—sometime after the cultists abandoned the Star-Eater’s Spine.

Meanwhile, Ryder scouted ahead to see what else he could find. Mwuhahahaha!

17.3

​Ryder wandered into the room at the northeast corner of the facility and stumbled into a trio of active patrol class security robots. The three robots attacked as Ryder yelled for help and the rest of the crew rushed to his aid. Both sides used the long series of rooms along the north half of the facility to keep under cover while exchanging fire. The robots were not up to the challenge (and the GM forgot to use their strongest ability) but I did manage to give Ryder and Switch a good “shock,” hehe. Get it? Shock, as in electricity damage? Don’t worry, you’ll laugh later.

With the robots dispatched the crew found a plethora of awesome armor and armor upgrades left behind. Wesley had to fix them up but all in all, most of them enjoyed a good upgrade.

They began searching the southern half of the facility and found a datapad with an interesting video on it. It depicted a gnome cultist being instructed on one of the mantras of the cult which repeated emphatically, “Nyara knows! Nayara knows!”

They spotted a jury-rigged trap left behind in one of the dressers and disarmed it. Wesley claimed the trap and began dreaming of what he could do with it.

Meanwhile, the crew found another trio of robots in the southeastern room… But these robots had been damaged and were not operational. The crew began looting the room while Wesley scrapped the robots for parts.

A great deal of loot was found. In a way, the last module in the Dead Suns series starved the group a bit for equipment. It made sense. These armories allowed me to catch them up in some of the areas they had fallen behind and I dropped a few wish list items into the mix as well.

The crew felt they had all the information they could find and decided to leave asteroid K9204. They weren’t sure where to go next but they decided it was a good time to contact Chiskisk with what they had learned.

END OF SESSION​

Dead Suns Logo

Dead Suns, Session 16

Watch the entire session on YouTube at https://youtu.be/6fturwSknCI.

Retreating to the Raza, the crew mulled over what to produce with the 10 units of cold iron they had collected. In the end, they decided Wesley should craft a set of cold iron tin foil hats (+2 to saves vs mind-affecting abilities used by fey, fiends, and undead) and some weapon treatments (2 clips of projectile ammo and 1 melee weapon treatment). He handcrafted each tin foil hat for each person and added his Starcrusher logo as well. Seeing the Disney-style mouse ears Wesley had crafted for Cypher, the operative opted not to wear one. Switch opted to have the cold iron worked into the biomechanical flesh around his head. With improved weaponry in hand the crew return to their exploration of the asteroid’s surface.

Before heading back out to further explore, they decided to run some scans from the ship. They hoped to find more cold iron on the asteroid but that search proved fruitless. However, they did locate several deposits of silver ore which could prove quite lucrative. Wesley quickly grabbed his blanket and emblazoned it with the Starcrusher logo. He ran outside and planted the flag. Drez let him down gently, informing him asteroid couldn’t be claimed that way anymore. He quickly detailed the forms Wesley would need to fill out. Wesley returned to the ship dejected but still, he had a plan in mind.

A message arrived for Cypher from Clara-247 (see below).​

Message for Cypher from Clara-247

The message does not bode well although Nuil is skeptical of the bounty hunter’s motives. Ryder is a little less so. Either way, the group decides they should keep their eyes open with a new contract on their heads. They decide when they get back to civilization (or a drift beacon) Cypher will check to see if he can learn more about the bounty.

In a brief moment of drama, Wesley brings memories of his lost parents to the forefront and Cypher is reminded he still has not told his young ward what he had learned in the Starfinder Headquarters on Absalom Station.

The crew inventoried their weapons in preparation for the hunt of the Skreesire. Ryder took a clip of cold iron projectile for his tactical automatic pistol. Nuil and Cypher split the 5 cold iron frag grenades between them. The last cold iron treatment was applied to Drez’s tactical pike.​

16.1

​The crew leaves the ship and returns to exploration. After a bit of debate, they decide to check out the green pool (just as Billy came online and was able to bolster the group).

As they traversed the asteroid they were ambushed by three skreeling, offspring of the skreesire. The creatures landed a few lucky hits and their resistances protected them somewhat but the crew were too much for the skreesire’s children.

While the group recovered, Nuil climbed into the alcove from which the skreeling had emerged (A2). There she found more of the silvery ash and two large humanoid corpses. Nuil identified the humanoids as sarcesian, like Yex. Each of them was armed with Advanced Diasporan Sniper Rifle. They were killed by the skreeling.

Nuil began to wonder what so many people had been doing on this asteroid.

They also find a third medium humanoid corpse hidden in the drift of ash. After some examination, Nuil is able to identify the corpse as a damayan lashunta. A patch on the body identifies it as an employee of a company called Imura Excavations. Drez remembers the company as a small team of miners from the Hardscrabble Collective from Castrovel. They had disappeared decades ago and were last reported to be heading to the Diaspora on a hot tip about a heavy source of silver ore. They were never heard from again. Carefully laid behind the corpse are 4 bars of silver ore (worth 4,800 credits). Perhaps there was more to that hot tip than anyone realized.

Nuil changed her mind and decided she wanted to keep looking for bodies. This was proving quite lucrative. Wesley leaps into the next pile of ash and comes up empty handed. This was not Wesley’s day to shine (especially covered in ash).

The group approached the green pool but I crit the stealth check for the skreesire hidden south of the pool. The result was a total of 43.

“Ominously propped” became a thing. 🙂

Drez “poked” around with his pike and strikes something metal. But before he can investigate further the skreesire reveals itself and attacks!​ Surprise round.

​The skreesire invaded the mind of Drez and took control of him. The vesk was consumed by the overwhelming urge to attack his former allies. Switch realized Drez was under the skreesire’s control so he charged the beast and slashed it with his carbon steel curve blade. He immediately realized the creature is resistant to his attack. Wesley yelled, “Damn son, save some for us!”

Skreesire

Drez turned on Switch and slashed into his ally with his tactical pike. The rest of the crew was confused by the attack (and Drez failed his Will save to throw off the skreesire’s control).

Wesley tossed a grenade at the skreesire but failed to account for Switch’s proximity to the monster. Both the monster and the soldier threw themselves clear of the grenade blast (half damage). Under Wesley’s command, TIM-X hosed down Drez. The mechanic hoped it might snap Drez out of whatever was controlling him but it had no effect.

Cypher quickly drew his azimuth laser pistol and opened fire on the monster. CRIT! He blasted the skreesire for 26 points of damage (after resistance) and set the beast on fire. Cypher remarked, “Now THAT’s how it’s done!” Then he promptly retreated to a safe distance on the other side of the crew from the skreesire.

Nuil cast Inject Nanobots on one of her cold iron frag grenades.

Ryder saw the group’s opportunity and rallied them with some encouraging words and fired his pistol as well (but missed). As always, the group greatly benefited from his buffs.

Suddenly, the group spotted two swarms (swarms as in quantity, not the swarm rules) attacking from behind. Nuil recognized them as juvenile skreeling. Four of them surrounded Wesley and TIM-X and began biting at the pair.

​The other swarm surrounded Cypher but his armor protected him from all but 1 point of piercing damage.

On the other side of the battlefield, Switch continued his tactic to free Drez (by killing the skreesire) and swung at it wildly. One of his attack struck true and the skreesire’s blood flew wide.

There was a bit of banter about whether Switch could cleave or not. We decided he could not according to the rules which is fortunate for Drez.

Drez struck Switch again with his tactical pike and seeing his friend come to harm, he managed to throw off the skreesire’s mental control.

The skreesire began to wonder if it has possessed the wrong soldier and it reached out to Switch’s mind. Unfortunately, the beast could understand the android’s mind and could not take control of them. Switch was not happy someone tried to take control of him.

Wesley stepped forward (drawing several attacks of opportunity from the juvenile skreeling) and drew the liquidator disintegrator pistol he had scavenged from Tahomen on Castrovel. A cone of dark energy emitted from the pistol and the thin air of the asteroid was filled with the sound of screaming voices. When the energy faded it left a faint howling on the wind. Startled, Wesley dropped the pistol and ordered TIM-X to open fire on the juvenile skreeling. The combat drone began to blast the critters, turning them into space goo.

Cypher activated his hologram clone ability and rolled a 1 on a 1d4. Only a single clone was created. NARUTO BATTLE MUSIC! Shadow Clone Jutsu! Cypher and his clone charged into battle and the juvenile skreeling attacked but they were tricked by the hologram and attacked it. The clone was hit and popped but it had served its purpose. Cypher readied for his next opportunity to strike!

Learning from Wesley’s toss of the grenade, Nuil tossed her grenade perfectly into the corner to protect her allies from damage. The skreesire could not dodge the blast and the nanobots swarmed into his wounds. The creature made its saving throw and took half damage from the spell but overall, it was a devastating attack.

Ryder recognized the skreesire was flatfooted and unloaded with his pistol (full round attack). One of the shots flew wide and the other bounced off the skreesire’s side. Not to be deterred, he rallied the crew again for another round. “Get ’em!”

The juvenile skreeling which had been hounding Cypher rushed forward and attacked Nuil and Drez. Both took damage.

Switch hopped and slashed through the head of the skreesire and killed it. Then he quickly maneuvered around the edge of the crew and slashed through one of the juvenile skreeling.

The remaining juvenile skreeling did not pose much of a threat and the crew quickly dispatched them.

Immediately after the battle, Drez and Switch got in each other’s faces. Their exchange of blows had not been forgotten. Mucho machismo! Nuil dismissed the both of them and then set about searching the area for anything of value. She has the loot bug!

The corpse by the pool was wearing torn black robes and on it they found an amulet. Nuil identified it as the Symbol of the Devourer, confirming the cult had been here at some point. They also found a satchel full of coins from Old Golarion worth 1,200 credits. Buried in the satchel was also a unique pistol which Wesley identified as a Red Star Plasma Pistol.

Returning to the metal object Drez had located in the ash drift they discover it is a hatch. Before opening the port, they decide to examine the green pool and find it is a potent acid. Nuil takes a sample for study (or perhaps as an improvised weapon).

Ryder then led the group to the mound of corpses they had spotted from a distance and after a disgusting search of the pile, they find a pair of magical Gloves of Storing, an onyx and ruby ankle bracelet worth 1,150 credits, and 3 credsticks with 800 credits on them.

Ryder “greeded” the plasma pistol. Wesley took one of the gloves and Ryder took the other.

After some time, Wesley finally reclaimed his nerve and retrieved the disintegrator pistol from where he dropped it.

Finally, the group returned to the hatch and searched for any security measures but found none. They opened the hatch and saw a tube which led down to a larger room. Drez dropped down and found himself in a circular chamber with another door leading to a long hallway. He realized he was standing in an airlock. The rest of the group followed and they closed the hatch. They spot a datapad on the wall. Cypher, Wesley, and Nuil quickly hack it and identify the pad had last been used a few days ago to unlock the inner door but whoever did so, did not restore the atmosphere.

Wesley took a moment to add an obnoxiously long banner to the datapad which will force future visitors to sit through the long banner before they could use it. 🙂

16.2

They opened the inner door and went down the long tunnel. There was no light in the tunnel and at the end, they found a wide, sliding door. Wesley pressed his ear up against the door and set off a trap. Drez and Wesley are attacked by mind-affecting spores (both failed their Will saving throws) and suffer a -4 to Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma (checks, skills, etc) for 1 hour. While this barely affected Drez, Wesley was devastated by his stunted intellect.

Cypher disabled the trap and opened the door. Beyond it they found a long chamber with strange stone structures, murals along the back wall, and a computer terminal in the center of the wider part of the chamber.

Drez, Ryder, Switch and Wesley moved across the room while Cypher and Nuil examined the computers. Suddenly, a laser grid sprung to life and scorched Wesley and Ryder. It quickly began to move westward down the chamber, driving the former group towards the mural. Cypher and Nuil leapt into action and began slicing the system while the laser grid advanced. The four PCs in peril moved to the far side of the room and began shooting at the emitters generating the laser grid. Fortunately, Cypher and Nuil skillfully hacked the system and managed to disable the trap.

While Nuil tended to Wesley’s wounds, Cypher took a moment to work through the computer terminal and realized he could control the structure’s environmentals, unlock doors, and control the two traps they had encountered.

END OF SESSION​

Dead Suns Logo