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.
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.
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.
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!
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