Gogglez makes sure to maintain the ships mechanical components as best he can during drift travel. Occasionally he pulls out his drone and gives it a tune up. Other times he is building random chest high walls out of scrap metal in only three seconds and ducking behind them before tearing them down.
As some play cards during the week in the Drift, Korl seems to outplay everyone!
Having arrived, you seem to disregard the incoming message request, and start piling out of the vessel before the engines cool down.
You see that the outpost is a simple affair on the grassy shore of a broad river, with two dormitory buildings to the east, two science labs to the west, and between them a common room for the staff to relax.
All the buildings are white half-cylinders obviously assembled from prefabricated parts shipped to Vabaimus from the Pact Worlds.
A basic chain-link fence surrounds the compound, an improvised exercise track loops around the entire campus, and a pair of researchers in athletic clothes are jogging in the morning sun.
The mysterious plateau looms only a few miles away.
Within minutes, people start moving towards you, smiling and waving.
"Greetings! I am Dr. Mora Motressi", says a female human, "I am the lead scientist at the research station, here."
Mora seems like a friendly professional.
As she approaches and speaks to you, you can see a sloth-like creature clinging to her torso and playing with her ears.
The other scientists and assistants move up to help unload the vehicles and survey equipment from the containers you ferried.
Behind Mora, a young and curious girl follows closely, peeking at you.
Mora smiles: "Let me introduces my daughter, “Little Mina”. And, please, you must be tired, and wanting better food. Follow me to the common room, I can get you to your rooms, and showers, and when ready I can brief you on your mission."
Image in slides
The engines have not even cooled off before you get an incoming message request.
Ack, I didn't remember seeing the message about a message...
Baròleg steps forward and introduces himself, "I'm Lieutenant Baròleg Konstantu," he pauses as the group introduce themselves, "it's a pleasure to meet you Dr. Montressi and Mina. We'd appreciate the chance to stretch after being cooped up on the ship."
As the gear is unloaded and the team shakes off the ship-fever, "So, what can you tell us about the landmass and our task?"
I am Cashara A3ion she says with a half hearted android smile.
|Korl "Voidfist" Larst|
Pyksi is last to disembark, as she spends a few minutes going over the post-flight checklist. By the time she notices an incoming call, it’s gone. She figures she’ll loop back around to it: they’ll leave a voicemail if it’s important.
”Senior Airman Pyksi Syfer,” she says. ”I’ve spent longer in more cramped spaces eating worse food with poorer company... but if you’re offering your own food, I hope you’re aware of what you’re saying. Soldiers and Halflings have legendary appetites, and I happen to have the good fortune of being both.”
When Baròleg addressed Mina, the shy daughter hides behind her mother's legs.
Her voice peeps out when Korl speaks, "answering": "My favorite flavor is vanilla. But we don't have it often."
Mora smiles at Mina, nodding towards Pyksi: "See, it's important to have an appetite!"
Once you have all moved into the common room, after showering if you wish, and you are all gathered around the main table, with food and drinks, Mora activates a handheld control, and gestures to the holographic image that appears, representing an imposing, gray plateau.
“This is Big Mina."
A voice comes from under the table: "I'm Little Mina!"
"You probably saw it as you came down from orbit.
The plateau’s covered in a gray calcium compound, somewhat like a shell or a bony crest.
There’s nothing like it anywhere else on Vabaimus and, frankly, we’re not sure what to make of it.
But that’s where you and the equipment you’ve brought us come in.”
The image of the plateau rotates to a top-down perspective, and three circles of light appear.
“The survey equipment will allow us to construct three towers, one at each of the these locations: Forsaken Canyon, the Windy Cliffs, and this dry riverbed.
Once the scanners on the towers are calibrated to the computers we keep here at the station, we’ll perform a deep scan of the entire plateau, going down
thousands of feet.
We’ll have a three-dimensional map of Big Mina’s interior,"--
The little girl under the table interjects: "Puke! Disgusting!"
Mora just keeps on talking: --"we’ll know the chemical composition of the soil, and hopefully we’ll figure out whatever caused this formation to appear in the first place.
We have an office pool going, and right now the popular choice is some kind of magical accident, but my money is on an anomalous weather pattern.
She points over her shoulder with her thumb.
"Those enercycles and explorer buggies you brought will be handy to travel across the plateau, so use any combination of them you want.
We’re currently loading them up with the equipment you’ll need to raise the towers, plus some climbing gear just in case.
Once you arrive at each scan location, you’ll need to assemble the tower and calibrate the computer.
I can help you with that last bit from here.
We have twelve hours of daylight left, and while I’d love to knock this out in a day, you don’t need to be reckless.
You can bunk on these sofas for the night if you need."
The sofas look comfortable enough.
“There’s one other thing. It’s probably not important, but just in case—we found a small, abandoned starship a few months back.
It was centuries old and clearly kasathan in origin. It didn’t crash; we think its pilot landed safely But there’s no sign of what happened to them.
Whoever it was must be long dead.
So, I think that’s everything. Any questions?”
The voice from under the table immediately cuts in: "Did they bring ice cream?!"
|Korl "Voidfist" Larst|
Did we bring them ice cream?
Korl waves at Little Mina with just his finger tips as she hides. "Cute kid."
"Doc, any idea what the setup of these things takes? I'm not much for building things but I can help haul stuff around easily enough. Dibs on riding with the captain!" He shoots a glance back at Pyksi.
He yawns when the doctor mentions the sofas "You know, a nap does sound good..." He trails off for a second, "Wait, office pool? Room for contractors to get in on the action?"
Korl ignores the bit about the other ship. Doesn't seem important to him.
"It's easy to assemble all this. Basically you need a bit of mechanical skill for the towers, and then some software skill to get the analytics up and running."
Computers & Engineering
"The office pool... yes, I guess you guys can chip in! What would you put your money? The anomalous weather pattern winner, the low return magical accident... what?"
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Oh boy, so much catching up. I will not just ignore the epic game with Korl the 'honorable' Vesk who 'obviously' is not cheating ;) Given his roll I will just assume that Croaker is loosing.
First epic card game
Croaker sits eagerly feeling an easy game in which he would mop the floor with naive Vesk and any other potential player. After losing first game Croaker smiles and congratulates Korl. After second game Croaker stopped talking and focused on the game entirely. After the third game weird thing started to happen, some cards sometimes would fall out of player hand and landed in a way to reveal itself. From time to time the cards from the deck would stick really hard annoying everyone at the table.
The ones that are more perceptive could see that at those times Croaker seems to be focused, or duck under the table to pick something from the floor. After the set of lost games suddenly the cards would explode from the table just like someone would throw them up in the air. Croaker storms out of the common room saying
"We can't play in such a draft. That is preposterous!"
After being annoyed Croaker uses a token spell to mess with the players and cards.
Given the number of days Croaker keeps playing with other teammates knowing better to not trust the fairytales about honorable Vesks following the rules and always being straight with the others.
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When we arrive
Croaker leaves the ship holding his rifle in his paws and looking around cautiously. His snout moves as he inhales the air saying "A smell can tell you a lot about a place. But for now, I can't figure this place out."
Croaker greets politely saying to Little Mina:
"You are just a bit smaller than I am Mina. Let me show you a card trick."
In the common room, he shows Mina how to play 3 cards saying: "Trust me on this one little one, never play cards with that Korl over there."
After that Ysoki focus on presented information. Hearing about the ship he asks:
"Were there any hostile encounters on this planet so far? Dangerous animals? Weather anomalies? Did the ship contain travel log of some sort?"
Do my mystic experience tell me anything about such soil? Have I heard of any similar byproducts of magic experiments?
Mysticism if neede: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
"I have some engineering knowledge I can probably help with assembling the towers."
Cashara seems to pop up a smidge before going wait, do we know how much this organism has formed and if it may be sensitive to the sensors? she asks it is a creature of unknown origin, we do not know how it will react or if it can. This does give an increasing number of unknown probabilities concerning the scan and creature itself.
Agreeing to the question of any hostile encounters, she listens to this answer in particular as well, wanting to be ready for the probability of some kind of hostile encounter.
After the answer, something goes off in her head she feels she needs to voice. the derelekt Kasatha ship, what if the organism was transported on that she suggests
Mora answers: "Well, we’ve seen some native life in the canyon, resembling birds.
I don’t know how anything survives on the plateau, where there’s no plant life or water.
Maybe you can get a closer look at them when you’re setting up the scanning tower?
Give us some information on that fauna.
But nothing hostile seen so far.
Regarding the weather, the second site is along the cliff. The wind can get pretty intense up there, and it’s a long drop.
Finally, there’s the riverbed. We tried to set up a scanner there when we first arrived, but it stopped functioning after a few days, and we eventually found it knocked over and smashed up.
It looked like it had been hit by a meteor or something!
So beware space-rocks."
[smaller]"Can we play 3 cards when we eat ice-cream tonight?", Little Mina asks.
Mora pursues: "Oh, the vessel. Well, it is Kasathan, for sure, and it's been around for centuries.
A small scout-like explorer-type thing.
No remains. But I did find some relics if you're interested? I’ll be happy to show you. Maybe you can make more of it than we can.”
She rubs her daughters head: "Yes, you can teach me 3 cards."
She looks at Cashara: "We do not know about the formation. Be it geological or what. Seeing as it is some 85,000 square miles, I think it is a weather anomaly.
Put the towers up and we'll start getting info'!"
Addressing Dr. Montressi, "I'd be interested to hear more about the creatures present, we were lead to believe there was no life on the shell. Is it possible the bird-creatures damaged the tower, nesting behavior maybe? Are there other creatures living here, predators in particular? Meteor strikes, a shell formed by weather patterns... Is the weather here that aggressive, to cause such events?"
Baròleg kneels down to say hello to Mina, "What do you think the shell is? And who is that furry fellow with your mother?" He points to the creature climbing the doctor.
As the others get comfortable, Baròleg begins going through the artifacts Dr. Montressi brings from the Kasathan ship, "Interesting, from the size of the vessel how many passengers would have fit? Is the ship on the way to the tower sites?"
If there's anything to roll for clues from the Kasathan ship bits let me know.
As the team eats and rests, Baròleg reviews any manuals for assembling the towers and works with the scientists to gather any gear or kits that could help with the task.
Cashara gave a sigh, not getting anymore data about the 'anomaly' but know more of what dangers to expect she was a little better off now than before, but not by much.
Mina peeks at Baròleg, and then waves at him with just her finger tips, like Korl did.
"I think the shell is a giant ice cream cup..."
Then she perks up and speaks louder:
"That's Bud! Bud and his wife Beky are visitors from the northern toncinent... continent."
Mora smiles at her daughter: "Their species aren’t yet sapient, but they’re on their way. Right now, Bud’s pretty good at using a stick to get insects out of the ground, but eventually he and the rest of his species could be farming, building towns, or doing whatever else expresses their evolving culture.
We have avoided interfering with the species overall, but we do want to know more about them and maybe find a way to communicate, so we brought Bud and Beky here for a closer look. They’re easy to get along with, and my daughter likes them.”
Mina nods her head, smiling.
Mora pursues: "Regarding those avians, we have avoided interfering with all species overall. I have no knowledge of any predators.
And we know the weather can be harsh, and want those towers up to analyze.
As for the Kasathan vessel, it could fit two, but only one chair seems to have been used. It is on the plateau, but not in the direction of the towers, no."
Pyksi considers some information she heard earlier. "If we're placing bets, I'm guessing it's an alien life form in its own right," she says, as if she hadn't been expressly told that earlier.
No sense in being too confident about it and letting others change their bets. Kills the betting odds, and then there's hardly any winning.
16 posts! Looks like the most important thing right now is the towers and software that needs computers and engineering once we get to the appropriate locations?
Gogglez, not being one for much conversation, finds some of the land enercycles and buggies and begins prepping them for travel. "Yo, Pyski, which kind do you like more!? I'll give it all the custom mods and scrap, you know big gun here, 10 rocket boosters over in the back, maybe 2 on each side, you know, in case you need to do some rocket strafing, OH and maybe a cool spoiler..with a GRENADE LAUNCHER!" he says as he laughs and begins slapping on scrap metal to whichever Pyski picks.
engineering: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (10) + 11 = 21
"I like bets, I also put my money on alien life form. Given that I am eager to resolve the bet by setting up those towers. There seems to be no reason to delay it any further."
Says little Ysoki.
Pyksi considers. "If we're all solid enough with a vehicle, I'll take an enercycle and keep anything nasty off of your tailpipes. If people would rather ride, though, fix up a buggy for me."
Mora starts to giggle but then suppresses it, and winks at a couple of the scientists who are bringing in crates from the containers you ferried over from Absalom.
Sense Motives rolls could come in handy
"Alien life form it is!"
When Mora takes you outside, you see several explorer buggies and basic enercycles lined up.
"Well, Fitch sure was generous!"
She again stifles a giggle.
You can take any mix of explorer buggies - that can carry three passengers in addition to the driver, - and basic enercycles - that can carry one passenger in addition to the driver.
Statistics for these vehicles are in the Slides.
You can review the basics of vehicle combat on pages 278–281 of the Starfinder Core Rulebook if you wish.
Getting near the vehicles, you see they carry the following gearl: 100 feet of titanium alloy cable (1 bulk), an engineering kit (bulk L), a grappler (bulk L), and a handheld geological scanner (bulk L).
Mora tells you: "The scanners are specialized tools that can identify chemical compounds and parse geological phenomena."
Each enercycle has one set of each of these items, and each explorer buggy has two sets of each.
Neither type of vehicle has an autocontrol or autopilot system, nor grenade launchers-- until Gogglez gets going.
And, when Mora sees Gogglez starting to weld scrap metal on the brand new buggies, she gets upset: "What are you doing?!"
Now it is her daughter who giggles: "Someone's not getting ice cream tonight!"
OH YEAH YO, I'LL BUILD A SIDE CAR!" he says as he attaches scrap metal with wheels to the side of an enercycle. "THIS GOING TO BE GREAT! SOMEONE GET ME A HEAVY CANNON!" he says as he pantomimes firing a light reaction cannon from the side car.
|Korl "Voidfist" Larst|
Korl cuts into Croaker and Little Mina's conversation, "Careful little one, Croaker doesn't like losing, speaking of, I'll take the weather, doc." I don't expect Korl remembered the alien bit at all. He'll toss 10cr into the pot because level 1 and poor.
Listening to all the new info, he quickly blows through any concern "Alright, so there's a ship in the other direction but its empty and old anyway, right? Nothing hostile around, maybe some wind and a random meteor strike. Easy job, what are we waiting for?"
Mina claps as Mora chases Gogglez around the enercycle: "We just got those! Leave them alone, you maniac!"
Pyksi climbs onto an enercyle.
There is one spot left to ride behind her.
Korl is ready to get one board... whatever will take him.
Baròleg watches the exchanges carefully, and with a slight smile.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 1d6 + 5 ⇒ (18) + (3) + 5 = 26
"Gogglez, no mods unless the Doctor requests them please. These are her toys." He gives a slight wink to Mina and pats Bud on the head.
As he moves into one of the buggies, "I'm not much for driving, besides Pyksi is anyone else skilled? Four in a buggy and two on the bike, will that carry all of the equipment?" Reviewing the equipment, "Are there any maps we can load to our comms? To make sure we're placing the towers correctly."
"Aww man!" Gogglez says as he heads towards whichever one he needs to get in, though he prefers the enercycle with Pyksi.
Baròleg sees that Mora is holding back some secret. It seems like a joke, something amusing... but still a little serious.
She wants to speak up about it, but does not dare to do so.
Gogglez jumps on behind Pyksi on the bike.
The others can place themselves on Slide 4 (or 5?) when ready. Who is driving the buggy etc.
As everyone is packing and finishing prep Baròleg tries to catch Mora's eye and then reaches out telepathically, "We can speak privately here, something is concerning to you. Funny, but serious. What is it?" He'll nod once contact is made, and continues working as he waits for the response.
Assuming the answer is "no"
[b]"Well, you see... we... well, I, I thought we'd have a better chance of getting funding from the Wayfinders if we said there was some wild gigantic novel Alien here. It worked, but I don't want this to go overboard."
|Korl "Voidfist" Larst|
Korl starts over toward Pyksi's enercycle and see's Gogglez jump on.
"Aw...buggy it is. Guess I'll hop in the back." as he grabs the side and vaults into the passenger side rear seat.
I can drive if we need but yeah...not my strong suit.
Seeing the other group having trouble deciding who should drive, Gogglez hopes out and jumps in the driver seat of the buggy...with some textbooks to help him see over the wheel. "Don't worry yo, I'm an expert at this...well not as much as Pyksi is, but I got this! Sand dune jumps here we come!" he says as he revs the engine.
Just realized Gogglez has +7, which is probably second best yeah?
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Yes, join the crazy Ysoki's vehicle. What could go wrong?
Gogglez looks over from his drivers seat, "Hey Pyksi! Wanna race, yo!? 25 credits says we get to the first spot before you." he says with gleeful laughter.
|Korl "Voidfist" Larst|
Pyksi chuckles. "If you want to throw away 25 credits, just buy Little Mina an ice cream," she says, walking her cycle forward a few steps.
"Hold on to something," she says quietly to her passenger.
With Korl safely on the back of the cycle (and the controls adjusted for a halfling rider), Pyksi throttles hard, tilting and performing a quick, needlessly-showy donut before rocketing forward.
Gogglez and Cashara are tied at +7, so let's transform and roll out Autobots...
After buckling himself in securely, "I'm not much for gambling... But I don't mind a good race. Last one to the first site unloads the tower!" He claps Gogglez on the shoulder (and holds onto the buggy's frame).
Cashara just hops into the back of the buggy with rifle in hand.
race if you want guys, I want to save my credits for something more important she says as she too holds onto the frame with one hand
Cashara gives a flat laugh as she drives off with everyone else
As Cashara laughs, you all set out.
You check your datapads and the map coordinates you were given, and must decide which site to aim for first.
Since you have to go to all three, there is no real easier or faster route.
Pretty much the same time-wise, so it is up to you.
Forsaken Canyon, the Windy Cliffs, and the Dry Riverbed are your choices.
Baròleg is riding shotgun beside Gogglez who has the buggy in his
Behind, we have Spike and Cashara.
On the enercycle, driven by Pyksi, Korl towers over the Halfling.
He cannot hold her waist, since one of his hands encompasses that... so he grips the side of the bike.
You see that the tower sites are each about 50–75 miles away from one another, and reaching each point involves driving off-road over the bleak and challenging terrain of the Big Mina Plateau.
Dr. Motressi provided you with digital maps of the plateau, though this includes neither the means to track your global position nor any automated pathfinding function.
It’s up to the you to navigate.
Old school style.
At least one person acts as the party’s navigator, and others can help navigate.
One primary + possible aid anothers
If the pilot wishes to navigate or help do so, it distracts from driving.
–2 penalty on that PC’s Piloting checks while traveling overland
As you decide where to set out to, the pilots race off--
DC 12 Piloting check
--and the primary navigator tries to be a good co-pilot, with possible help.
DC 10 Piloting check
Cashara turns as she slings her gun and pulls out a pad, doing this she can better see up ahead and speak to the pilot.
I can navigate Cashara says as she gets to a secure position in the vehicle as to not fall out.
pilot navigator: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10 does operatives edge work with piloting? I do not know the extent of how it works other than it gives a +1 to skill checks
Operative’s Edge gives a + to all skill checks, if I’m not mistaken. I’m a big fan!
Also, my Piloting check is such that even if I rolled a 1 on both checks, I could still help with navigating and be fine.
Pyksi, comfortable as can be while she races across, almost instinctively swings wide of any obstacles as she angles the rear-view cam to read Korl’s datapad. ”Cashara, let me know if I can help.”
no time to navigate, full speed ahead!: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
Gogglez takes the buggy and tries to find natural ramps to jump off of, causing half of the trip to be a flight rather than a drive. "WOOHOO! CHECK THIS OUT YO, 360 NO HANDS SPIN!" he says ad he flies in the air once again, spins in his seat and grabs the wheel again.
I will she says dip in 20 meters this said as this dip rapidly approaches
|Korl "Voidfist" Larst|
As the two vehicles race along, Korl manages to hold his datapad out in front of Pyksi, temporarily blinding her--
--but the Halfking just ducks under the Vesk's arm, and, with her skills, manages to always drive well, and fast.
Besides, she is such a great pilot that she can both drive with her eyes behind a datapad, and keep another eye - does she have three?! - on navigating, using the landscape and the sun...
The sun is right up above you, at its zenith.
Being astute Starfinders, you call upon your years of street and smarts schooling, and realize it must be noon.
Anyhow, the enercycle is speeding along the plateau, navigating the landscape.
While, in the buggy, Cashara is helping Gogglez out, pointing to where the dips are, where the big rocks are.
She cannot help think that the goal of navigating is not just to announce what is coming, but for the driver to avoid the hindrances.
Cashara is about to speak up about that, when Gogglez drives right through the dip she just announced-- everybody is jostled around, and bounce against the side of the buggy, that takes some time slipping against the side of the dip to exit.
But, though Gogglez is not doing the best, by simply plowing straight ahead, disregarding the terrain, he is not driving badly, and so he progresses, though slower than the enercycle.
@Pyksi &Korl, do you wish to speed on ahead, or simply slow down now and then, so as to remain with the buggy and arrive at the same time at destination?
Though you do realize you have no idea where you are going, as you speed along the plateau, raising dust.
@all: where to? Forsaken Canyon, the Windy Cliffs, and the Dry Riverbed are your choices.
I am doing so since their rolls cannot change the outcome (Navigations both a success, one failed Piloting), and, in general, to keep the PbP pace up, I move the story on when that is the case.
Though: please feel free to RP and roll if you want, even "after" ; I will not do this when your rolls can effect the outcome in any way... and I do not mind, at all, always waiting for all to have posted during a 'scene', so tell me if you'd rather do it that way.
This goes for everyone, tell me if something bothers you in how I am running this, but I am mainly thinking of Spike, who has posted a lot less than the others:
I do not want you to feel left behind or not considered (this is not the case) just because you can post only 1/day or such.
Please tell me if that's the case, and I will wait all the time (like I would do if/when it is combat etc.).
1d24 ⇒ 12
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GM SFS thanks for the consideration. Don't you worry about me. I can post in a few hour window during the day so I am fine catching up the next day. Don't you worry I will retroactively RP to some scenes if I see value in it. Overall I saw here more RP happening than in some of the game through the whole duration so I am happy as a hippo.
Croaker looks at the race and enjoys being thrown in a buggy as any other Ysoki. "The forsaken canyon sounds cheerful so let's knock it off the list first when the sun is high. I don't trust this whole spiel: there are no predators or hostile encounters here."
Saying that he holds his paws on the laser rifle which he held on his laps.
Why do you think I have this? Cashara asks, indicating the sniper on her back.
pilot navigator: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
sharp rocks 12 o'clock in 35 meters she says before going back to the decision of were to go Stratigaly, going to the canyon at noon would offer the best lighting there. But is it the closest or farthest location? she checks her pad to see if she can find the 3 locations