The Far Portal is an ancient and mysterious structure.
Visible on your starship’s view screens floating just below the edge of the sun’s corona, this massive metallic gateway is a vast ring. Contained within this ring is a massive magical portal, large enough to accommodate whole starships, leading to the Plane of Fire. To date, nothing from the Plane of Fire has emerged from the Far Portal, and few Material Plane expeditions have attempted to explore to the other side. Fewer still have returned.
"Attention resupply vessel: you are cleared to dock,” a lashunta voice crackles over your comms. The voice originates from a comparably smaller utilitarian spoke-and-wheel research facility, Far Portal Station. The facility is positioned close enough to the Far Portal to study its strange magical signatures and attempt to understand its unknown origins. ”Come on in.”
You initiate the docking codes at each of yours stations and relax as your starship docks with Far Portal Station. Another successful delivery.
Your comms come to life again. ”Just hang tight, we’ll have this all unloaded before you know it. Feel free to come aboard if you’d like to stretch your legs. It’s not called the Far Portal cause it’s close to anything, you know. Still, it’s got quite the view.”
Feel free to introduce yourselves to the group in-character and let me know what you’d like to do while your cargo is being unloaded!
|Kiztak "Kit" Basher|
"Wow!" the small figure exclaims, pulling his face away from the now-smudged viewing screen. "Lookit all that fire!" Kit slams closed the panel in which, until the giant ring of fire came on the screen, he had been doing something loud, and wipes his grubby hands on his even grubbier jumpsuit. "Ooh! Ooh! Lesgo 'board an' see the station!"
Vedrir spent most of his time experimenting with weird substances. Normally dressed in travel clothes of dark green color with red additions his four hands were busy using a computer or holding different liquids sometimes of foul smell. His long grey hairless head would tilt from time to time as that could help him think and come up with the right action. His mouth is constantly covered by the part of his armor providing tubes for breathing when the environmental protection is turned on.
Through the course of a flight, he injected into himself a number of 'restoratives' as he called them with different effect. Sometimes he seemed more agile, sometimes a bit slow and at one time he began to stink so badly that for a day he had to be separated from the crew.
He spent some time talking and bonding with others during which show interest in others past experiences as well as any scientific news.
Vedrir does not hide his enthusiasm as he observes the Far Portal, at some moment he even decides to use their ship scanners at it to see what it can tell.
When they docked he turns to Kit saying:
"Yeah, let us check the station, maybe we will learn something about the portal!"
The short and stocky lashunta stands on the bridge, gazing at the image of the sun on the ship's displays.
"It's so big. My family always talked about giving thanks to the sun, and how important it was, but it's astonishing to see it this close. And of course, I had no idea back then that people were living in it."
She shakes her head. "Well, it's nice to hear from another lashunta, anyway. I wonder if we can find the person talking to us."
Nomyra's solidly built armor is uniquely decorated, with dried plants and flowers set with resin over the exterior.
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A completely normal looking Lashunta
(Which only the careful observer or long standing party members know is actually wearing make-up to make the flexible horns on his forehead look more damaged antenna to explain the lack of telepathy like while wearing a dark hood to cast even more shade over them)
is standing by as each piece of cargo is unloaded from the <Awesome Cool Name>'s We really need to come up with a better name ;) cargo bays and checks each piece against the list on his datapad.
Slightly bored with the task - but taking his responsibilities of cargo master and negotiator - seriously he clicks on his comms and goes on the group channel.
"I estimate this will take another 10-15 minutes to unload. What do you guys say after that's done we lock up the <Awesome Cool Name> and go take a look around the station. I mean..I love each and every one of you guys..but after spending days locked up together I could use a break from our cramped crew quarters and stretch my legs somewhere other then one of our empty cargo holds."
before he continues
"..and maybe we can pick up a new cargo load here for our next transport. If we ever want to upgrade the ship to have a computer that has an actual voice interface - or the computer capacity bigger then the data pad I'm holding we need to find some way to pay for it"
He slightly tilts his head as he contemplates something
"I understand that people in bars often know the most interesting gossip and job opportunities...we might have enough in our budget to go visit a bar" he continues with a grin.
Wyrd then goes to a different tab on his datapad and hooks into the local infosphere to see if he can locate a suitable bar which seems like it would be populated by cargohaulers and merchants wanting to offer jobs to said haulers.
|Kiztak "Kit" Basher|
"Oh, ansome paint t'add the namea the ship on the side!" The excited goblin bounds toward the airlock, then pauses. "We picked Burney McBurnface, right?"
|Kiztak "Kit" Basher|
"Pipe down, Nofun!" he shouts. "S'the best name!" You're used to this by now, of course, Kit arguing with someone you can't hear. Whatever they're saying, you generally get the feeling they're probably right.
With that Culture check, _Wyrd_ does know a little bit more about Far Portal Station. The Station functions as a common area for a few different research institutes interested in studying the Far Portal. You recall one called the Deep Cultures Institute in particular, an organization dedicated to finding and contacting the theoretical deep cultures that might exist within the sun. Most in the regular scientific community view this pursuit with a dose of skepticism.
_Wyrd_ also knows that, being used almost entirely for research and with a relatively small cadre of scientists, you're unlikely to find any bars here. Your delivery contract paid well enough to dead head back to wherever you want to go next, but you currently don't have any cargo you need to pick up here.
Also, to clarify, the Far Portal is outside/"above" the "surface" of the sun. The original description was to say that from the perspective of your starship as it prepared to dock, the sun appeared to be "above" the Far Portal; the Far Portal is not inside the sun.
Also also, I know in Starfinder Society there are generally calls for Culture, Engineering, Perception, or whatever checks are applicable when they're appropriate in the scenario. Since we're "home gaming" this, would people still prefer I call out 'make a XYZ or ABC check now to learn more about the gadget' or would you prefer to do it a little bit more free from? I'm leaning more towards the latter but wouldn't want people to feel lost.
You'll all begin your trip into Far Portal Station tomorrow (Halloween pending) once everybody has checked in. I'm also fine with minor tweaks to characters once COM comes out.
Staring at the view screen, Puzzle watches their approach to the Far Portal with rapt fascination. The android's silvery-white shoulder-length hair frames a pale face with a youthfulness that makes determining their gender difficult. With only hints of circuitry glowing at temple and cheeks, Puzzle's resemblance to the organic humanoids influencing their design is strong.
"This is the <Awesome Cool Name>. Acknowledging clearance to dock." Puzzle replies in a flat tone to the lashunta's hail. "Initiating docking procedures." They pass on word to the crew to begin the docking process.
Once docking is complete, Puzzle readies to disembark with the rest of the crew. "This should prove to be quite unlike anything I have seen before."
Pausing, head cocked to one side, the android wonders, "Why must we enter the station to stretch our legs? Surely there is sufficient space aboard the <Awesome Cool Name> to do so. Perhaps the station employs a lesser gravitational system, reducing the compression of fluids and joints..." Puzzle continues their speculation about the turn of phrase as the party makes their way to the station.
With the familiar hiss of airlocks opening, you exit the <Awesome Cool Name> and make your way onto Far Portal Station, enter a small two-starship docking bay.
The floor is empty except for yourselves and a single human female wearing a maintenance worker's uniform and ear buds working on a datapad at the far end of other, vacant docking bay. She hasn't acknowledged you, if she even noticed you enter.
The corridors leading from the docking area are practical but drab, save for several wall-sized view screens showing the Far Portal and sun through various filters. A panel of elaborate instruments, which somebody with training in astrology or heiloseismology might recognize, is attached to one of the wall-sized view screens.
A digital display greets "visitors to the Far Portal Station" in common and provides a directory and map of the station. A quick scan of the available options includes a small restaraunt (Mataras's Meals), a downloadable file for a self-guided tour of the station, and directions to a room identified as "visitors' observatory" that's also included at the end of the self-guided tour.
Where would you like to go?
|Kiztak "Kit" Basher|
Kit runs over tot he panel of instruments and starts poking at them, trying to figure out what they do. After a moment he pauses, rolls his eyes, and begins to more gently examine them, muttering something to himself.
Wyrd stretches his muscles and arches his back to limber up a bit as he exits the Ship with the rest of the crew after making sure he'd checked this lis tof deliveries and notices the single human female maintenance worker and decides to instruct Alice to let everyone know if someone attempts to enter the ship without any crew member present.
Walking down the corridors he sees some fancy instruments
I assume a knowledge check here..but I have no clue what heiloseismology is..if it's not Mystiscm or Culture..Wyrd has no clue and after a cursory glance continues on his way.
Noticing a download option he pulls out his datapad and looks what it contains
"Mataras's Meals sounds like a good meeting point in case people want to split up. Meet back there in ..let's say an hour? I'm not sure about you guys but unless this download provides something interesting I think I'm heading for the visitor's observatory...which seems to be at the end of the tour anyway."
After receiving Wyrd's instructions to mind the ship while the...more mobile crew...is away on some R&R Alice boots up security protocol Alpha-Gamma-9 as she mentions
"Bring me back a souvenir while you're out there?"
Kasatha walks after Wyrd throwing to the A.L.I.C.E. on the way out:
"A.L.I.C.E., run the diagnostics of our engine. It felt a bit weird when we were approaching the station. It could have been some gravity anomaly but I just want to be sure that we have no major issues."
Then he walks out following to get his copy of the map. He quickly looks at the elaborate instruments wondering if he would recognize them
Physical Science, recall: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
"I would gladly do the tour through the station and see what do they
have to offer."
He is glad that he took his weapons with him. On the way here he saw too many horror movies about monsters on remote space stations.
"Running diagnostics Vedrir"
*Running* *Running* *Running* *Beep*
"Slight imbalance in fuel injector port of the left nacelle detected, scheduling a clean up sequence for next maintenance occurrence"
After Kit takes a moment to investigate the intstruments, which seem to adjust the visual and other filters for viewing the Far Portal and the sun, the party decides to take the self-guided tour. While most of the Far Portal Station is used operationally by scientists, the tour takes you to six different "stations" with visual holographic displays that serve to inform the listener about the sun, what the scientists at Far Portal Station do on a typical day, and some trivia about the Far Portal itself. While sparsely populated, you do get a few looks from scientists and lab technicians, for whom seeing new travelers on the station is probably a bit of an oddity.
After about 20 minutes, the tour culminates with a visit to the "observatory", which turns out to be a room set aside with comfortable seating and several large view screens of the sun and the Far Portal in various spectrums. This appears to be one of the busier parts of the station, and due to the spoke-and-wheel layout of Far Portal Station actually puts you back close to the docking bay. A group of humans, kasathas, and lashunta scientists are gathered at one end of the room, watching the screens.
Suddenly, shouts erupt from the group! As you watch the screens, the Far Portal shimmers and distends, ejecting an ornate starship that looks to be constructed from polished brass and black stone. It trails gasses and smoke, obviously damaged.
Members of the spectating group cheer or gasp in surprise, only to go silent as the images flicker and distort again. A new shape emerges from the portal and keeps emerging--a titanic a fiery creature, seemingly a whale, shot through with technological augmentations and dark metal. A few onlookers scream as flames spray out of the whales' mouth toward the fleeing starship.
Check out the slides! The link, Fire Starters, is above under "GMAFlashinTime"
A lashunta scientist sitting at a console announces "Oh no! The ship's shields are down!"
The ship jerks sideways, trying unsuccessfully to dodge the flames. Sections of hull plating blacken and give way. The ship's main engines flicker, trailing a cloud of debris.
Several shouts mirror the sentiment that the ship isn't going to last long without help.
After enjoying a nice stroll through the station Wyrd enjoys both the view and the comfortable seating at the observatory.
"We need to get some of these for our ship. The actual workstation seats are alright I guess..but I'd like something softer to sit upon then those steel benches we have in the common area...while I enjoy a soy cube for dinner..." he mentions as he slouches in his seat.
..and hopefully we'll be able to afford some better food at some point in the near future as well"
Then hearing the screaming he sits up straight, jumps out of his seat and looks at the rest of the party. One eyebrow raised.
I'm assuming here that the rest of the party will join in the rescue attempt and won't just enjoy the show of space ship combat on the big screen ;)
and then joins the others running back towards the docking bay
Clicking on the comms Wyrd yells
"Pre-start the engines Alice. No time to waste we're about to earn some cosmic karma and participate in a rescue operation. Get ready to lower the ramp at our approach so we can get on board at full speed"
"Does anyone know anything about that space whale?"
I assume it's one of the living starship things and we need to get information about it with ship scans....but still it seems like something you'd ask at a time like this and who knows..maybe physical science would give us some helpful stuff
"Not yet Alice, that will have to wait for a bit"
Downloading the files from the Visitor Information kiosk to her comm, Puzzle sets out on the tour with some excitement. Few individuals have had the chance to witness what they are about to observe with their own senses! The potential for a culminating visit to Mataras's Meals is a promising bonus - the android is anticipating cataloging all of the menu options and ingredients, having recently heard on a travel vid that the only way to truely experience a destination is through the cuisine.
Puzzle is attentive at each station along the tour, enjoying the extra points of trivia. Occasionally, the android remarks on such a tidbit to a nearby create. Reaching the observatory, they stand transfixed by the multitude of filters and view screens.
Startled from their reverie by the sudden outcries of the scientists and crew, Puzzle turns to see the source of the disturbance. "Most unusual," the android observes.
"Does Far Portal Station have means of defense should the need for hostilities arise?" Puzzle asks the lashunta at the scanner as the organics begin to scatter in inefficient response to the threat.
Turning to regard their companions the android remarks, "It would be imprudent to act until we have more information. We know nothing of the vessel, creature or their place of origin."
Watching as Wyrd dashes into action (along with any other eager crew members), Puzzle takes a moment to consider any prior knowledge they, or other party members, may recall about the ship, creature or connections to the Far Portal.
Culture: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
"Our greatest chance for survival is aboard our own, far more mobile ship, allowing us the opportunity of escape, should the need arise."
Kasatha walks interested in the whole station, stopping and observing different parts of the station. Vedrir stands with others looking at the Portal when the ship and monster show up.
He looks mesmerized at the whale-shaped space creature.
Life Science, Identify: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24
Then with a lowered voice, he speaks to his comrades:
"I don't see any fighters or guns targeting the monster. I believe this station is not suited to handle such a threat. What is more, if more monsters comes from the portal the station itself will be in danger. Let's see, if we can help those poor souls."
As he sees Wyrd and Nomyra heading towards the ship Vedrir joins them glad that Puzzle shares his point of view.
As he runs Vedrir hopes that Kit hasn't done any untested modification.
When he reaches the pilot seat Vedrir double checks all the settings and begins take-off.
"Far Portal Station! Requesting takeoff clearance!"
Knowledge for Puzzle
Knowledge for Vedir
Knowledge for Wyrd
The party rushes into their transport. After a short pause following his request to take off, Vedrir hears a stunned lashunta voice come over the comms. "Requesting... Yes, yes, of course! Go! You're cleared!"
The ACN's engine's roar to life as your transport moves to intercept the ship, with the fire whale in hot pursuit. It looks like the chase is going to take the two right by Far Portal Station!
See slides for ships' positions and facing
Starship combat time! If you haven't already, please state which position you're occupying when you take your action. Engineering happens up first!
After rushing in through the precisely on time lowered boarding ramp and taking a seat behind the science station Wyrd thanks Alice
"Thank you Alice, well timed."
He's then pushed back into his seat while still busy strapping into his safety harness as Vedrir punches the controls and achieves lift off.
Looking at the read outs on the screen in front of him Wyrd's brow wrinkles
"The recognition software has trouble making head or tails from the read-outs at this distance.It thinks the Fire Whale - hey, I just remembered what the thing is called.....nothing beyond just it's name though - is either a Pump-jet sub, which makes no sense since that's not a starship, or a Norikama Dropship. We'll need to get closer to get a good read on what we're dealing with here"
Science officer action, after pilot, trying to scan the fire whale if we get within 20 hexes after movement..otherwise scanning the other ship to see what we're dealing with here
Computer check to scan DC for this check is equal to 5 + 1-1/2 times the tier of the starship being scanned + its bonus from defensive countermeasures: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15 -2 if we're beyond 10 squares
Metagaming I doubt it, but after hearing Kit mentioning the stations possible defensive systems I am wondering...does the station have some guns (that we know of?) we could use to try to bait the whale in front of?
|Kiztak "Kit" Basher|
Kit looks up suddenly at the alarm, then moves way up close to the view screen to get a better look. "Wow! Lookit that!"
|Kiztak "Kit" Basher|
He looks up to see the rest of the crew rushing back to the ship and hops down to sprint after them. "You'right for once, Nofun!"
Back aboard the ship, he practically flies down to the engineering bay, shouting "Must go faster! Must go faster!"
Divert power to engines, DC 10+1.5*tier -> DC 11: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (16) + 12 = 28
Speed increased by 2 for this round.
Feel free to shout instructions at Kit if you'd like him to do something in particular.
As the ACN moves toward the ship, the whale appears to be gaining! Double checking Far Portal Station's weapon capabilities to see if there is anything useful, Wyrd realizes the station is effectively defenseless against anything bigger than a micrometeroid. You can't locate any other ships or weapons that could assist in the fight, unforutnately.
Behind the screen
Whale Engineering: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
Fleeing Starship Engineering N/A
Helm phase! Please roll piloting.
Wyrd's scans reveal the following information about the fire whale.
-The whale is effectively a living starship, classified as a small extraplanar starship magical beast. It is alive and has been technologically modified with starship systems.
-The whale has a 14 AC, 13 TL, 40/40 HP, and no shields. Its augmented elemental heart has an effective PCU of 90.
-The whale appears to be emitting what sounds like a mournful keening on some frequencies.
Behind the screen
Whale Piloting: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (5) + 10 = 15
Ship piloting N/A
"A.L.I.C.E. use one of the algorithms to augment my piloting please." says Vedrir while his four hands move through the switches on the control board. He hopes to predict the movement of the monster
Piloting, A.L.I.C.E. aid: 1d20 + 8 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 8 + 1 = 22
I don't think I can edit the map :( it is read only
Slipping into the command seat, Puzzle swivels the retractable panel out before them, pressing several buttons.
"A commendable evacuation, everyone," the android announces to the crew over the comms. "Very efficient. All hands present and accounted for."
"Vedrir, move us clear of the station, then close on the Fire Whale and vessel," Puzzle gives the obvious command. "With your skill, the probability of success is highly likely."
Encourage (Diplomacy) vs DC 15: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21 +2 to Vedrir on success
Verdir flies next to the escaping ship wanting to fly in between the monster and its pray. He throws
"Hold on we will try to catch its attention!"
You can feel ship taking a few turns and changes in speed.
Evade, A.L.I.C.E aid, Puzzle aid, DC13: 1d20 + 8 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 8 + 1 + 2 = 24
Gunners can do gunnery, and then for next round we'll try this "everybody put their actions in and I'll put it together to make things go faster" idea that we discussed in the Discussion section. So go ahead and put your next round action in under spoilers.
The fire whale "breathes" fire at the ship that just cut between it and its prey: you!
Fire breath: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
Damage: 3d4 ⇒ (1, 2, 3) = 6
In the meantime I will post my initiative roll for the next round so that we can decide who moves when.
Piloting, A.L.I.C.E. aid: 1d20 + 8 + 1 ⇒ (10) + 8 + 1 = 19
I added our ship stats to the slide. For now as a copy-paste. If I recall correctly our AC is ships AC + pilot ranking = 12 last round Evade gave us +2 so it was AC=14
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'I used algoritme alpha one this time Vedrir, please let me know if you have a prefered algoritme you want to use next time"
"Allow me to adjust the targeting array for you 0,001 to port Nomyra"
Just reminding our gunner there should be a floating +1 to use on a gunnery check from round 1
After the Firewhale manages to breath fire all over the ACN-1 - even with Vedrir's evasive flying)
*Beep* "Forward shields holding at 66%" *Beep*
"That was a little too close for comfort, luckily the shields managed to deflect most of the incoming fire this time but let's try to prevent something from that happening again. I mean, we just got my outer hull paint touched up a few months ago and I don't want anything to mess that up."
"Commendable flying, Vedrir. We now have the Fire Whale's attention," states Puzzle.
"Alice, attempt to open a hailing channel with the damaged vessel," the android calls to the A.I.
"The most difficult part is done, Vedrir. You know what to do, just like that time you were skirting those Free Captains that jumped us."
Encourage (Diplomacy) vs DC 15: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13 +2 to Vedrir on success
|Kiztak "Kit" Basher|
As the gout of flame shakes the ACN-1, Kit rushes to another panel. "I can fixit! I can fixit!"
Engineering --> Divert power to shields (DC 11): 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26
5 points of shields back to the arc that just lost 6.
Nomyra aims with the turret weapon, but in the hurry to get into position, her targeting computer stalls out.
pew?: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
pew!: 4d4 ⇒ (4, 3, 4, 1) = 12
Wyrd ponders to himself if further scans of the Fire whale would result in useful information
"...we know it can breath fire, but I assume that has to come out of it's mouth...If it has an area that doesn't exhume fiery blasts we might be able to get into one of it's blind spots and attack it from there without it being able to get back at us..."
"Alice,please continue the scan of the Fire Whale. Send all information to my screen. Let's see what we can make of it"
Computers check to further scan the Fire Whale. DC is equal to 5 + 1-1/2 times the tier of the starship being scanned + its bonus from defensive countermeasures: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19
Scanning in helm phase before movement just in case it turns out it has an arc without weapons we can exploit this round
Kit successfully engineers some shields back to the ACN-1. Your shields are almost at full.
Fire Whale: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13
Damaged ship and whale have moved on the map. ACN-1 is up and then into gunnery.
You attempt to hail the damaged vessel but receive no response. Its damaged engines continue to sputter, pushing it away from the whale as best they're able (which isn't very able).
Your scans reveal more information about the fire whale.
-The fire whale has an augmented breath weapon, created by combining nanotechnology with the creature's normal affinity for fire. This only operates in the whale's forward arc.
-The whale can also bite starships in the same hex as it.
-Perhaps not surprisingly, but it doesn't seem like the whale has anything that functions like an expansion bay.
-The whale, being from the plane of fire, takes half damage from laser weapons.
"Scan reveal the Fire whale does not excrete fire other then from it's mouth. If we stay at a distance so it can't bite us and get in it's rear or even one of it's sides we should be save from retaliation"
"Also we're lucky we didn't get that laser weapon mounted when we had the chance, it would be of limited use against it's fire resistant hide. We're better off with our current coil gun"
"Give me a few seconds and I'll scan the damaged vessel to find out of it's communications array is damaged or if they are too....busy to respond to us"
Next round I'll try to scan the damaged vessel unless someone has a better idea on what I can do? Does anyone have their copy of the Operations Manual yet and can share the rules for Magic Chief? It's out in paper form I think, it's just the pdf that's not available yet
Vedrir takes a turn and positions their ship behind the fire whale
"The whale is flying behind the damaged vessel. I think we should try to fly in between to shield them from fire breaths."
Says Kasatha through the comms.
gunnery: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
pew pew pew!: 4d4 ⇒ (4, 3, 3, 4) = 14
Nomyra's shot is a direct hit into the fire whale! Lacking shields, the whale takes all the damage. Whale down 14 HP
Critical threshold: 1d100 ⇒ 44
-2 to all pilot actions.
The whale attacks the only target it can: the ship in front of it.
Fire attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
Damage: 3d4 ⇒ (4, 2, 1) = 7
Another large chunk of the ship is blasted off into space by the whale's attack! It looks like it's really on its last legs.
TBD depending on Kit's action.
Whale piloting initiative: 1d20 + 10 - 2 ⇒ (8) + 10 - 2 = 16
ACN-1: Initiative and scans pending