Thursday, February 28, 2013

Voyage #3: The Algernon Project

1. A Day of Infamy: The PCs arrive to find the Affilitation of Outer Free Worlds (See The Triangle, hereafter called AOFW) in shambles. Their entire defense fleet has been destroyed by an IKS sneak attack. The AOFW actually had a large advanced fleet so no one is sure how the older IKS ships managed such a complete victory.

However, with the arrival of the Larson, they are about to find out. The Larson receives a burst transmission from a cloaked ship and instantly goes dark. No weapons, no shields, nothing.

Standish has no chance of stopping the computer virus, but Commander Decker does. If Decker fails however, the Larson will have to use some very unorthodox tactics. First, they will discover, oddly, that not everything is offline. The shuttlebay was apparently low priority enough to remain unaffected.

Between their stores of anti-matter and the ship’s breaching pods, the PCs should still be able to take out the enemy ship once it decloaks, if they can just get the sensors back online, which they can do with a second Computer Ops check by Decker.

If the Larson does fend off the virus, they will engage in standard combat against the enemy vessel and discover Standish’s sensor wizardry.

Finally, should all else fail, have Romulan Commander Honorius show up to save the day.

2. Investigation: Once the PCs win the fight they will no doubt want to investigate. What they find among the bodies are genetically modified Klingons who have extremely high intelligence. They were modified in a similar version to Khan and others from the Eugenics Wars. It seems someone has used the process to enhance only intelligence.

3. Sole Survivor: The PCs receive a hail from the head of the AOFW. He asks them to track down the source of the enhanced intelligence Klingons, and also to protect them until some of their ships can be repaired.

3a Disavowed: The head of the IKS makes a formal announcement that the attack on the AOFW was not sanctioned. He invites anyone harmed in the attack to end these miscreants any way they wish.

3b Tense Negotiations: Everett Jay Baker requests a meeting with Decker and asks for the Bird of Prey to help defend the AOFW. He vehemently wants the ship, cloaking device intact, to defend the AOFW.

He agrees to turn the ship over to Starfleet Intelligence after the New New Aberdeen shipyards have had a chance to repair some of the ships rendered inoperable in the IKS attack and once the PCs have put a stop to the renegades once and for all.

He also makes a personal offer to Decker: 30 highly trained marines to supplement his ship’s boarding parties, bringing it up to the 50 it had during the Four Years’ War.

4. Tracking Algernon: The PCs can do sensor sweeps and pick up a clue- they detect residual warp signatures far away from the established space lanes. A large number of ships have been passing through a large asteroid field, which they are using to break up their warp signatures and mask their trail.

5. Capture: CPO Bergmann recommends the Larson intercept and board one of the Orion vessels to interrogate the crew. The PCs can engage an Orion ship in ship to ship combat and take out its engines, then transport boarding parties over.

The Orions will try and delay the boarders while they set the self-destruct on the ship. Once set, the PCs will have to grab some prisoners and get off the ship, using transporters or shuttles.

Note: While the PCs are sitting in deep space waiting to intercept the Orion, the commander of their Vulcan operatives will request his ships depart, being close enough to the Romulan border.

6. Interrogate: The Orions are resistant to all standard interrogation methods but mind-melds work. They find that the Orions were making clandestine deliveries to a  small science station, owned by a reclusive genius. They do not know the scientist’s name, only that they deal with a Klingon named K’gara- an extremely large and vicious mercenary.

The Orions know he has a ship that he can call in to deal with troublemakers. He used it one of their clanmembers, but his ship was destroyed in the encounter, so the Orions don’t know what type of ship it is.

In fact K’Gara has a D-14A destroyer, sometimes commanded by him personally (especially during key battles) but other times lying in wait among some nearby moons, waiting for an interloper to wander by attacking their client.

Once the D-14A is dealt with, PCs will have to board the station, including facing down K’Gara and his Klingon mercenaries.

Then they will finally meet the scientist behind it all: Roger Corby. He now works as a scientist for hire and was approached by a band of renegade Klingons. The PCs will find a personal data recorder on Corby, containing a personal log of sorts. See the player handout below for information on interesting posts this log contains.

Player Handout: Corby’s Logs

Personal Log: I believe I have a lead on the location of an amazing technological terror called “The Tantalus Device”. Word is that it’s somewhere in The Triangle in an alien laboratory. Technology like that is so fascinating.

Personal Log: Approached by the Romulans for an exotic energy bottle. The specifications for the energy this device had to maintain are like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The credits were nice to say the least, and constructing the bottle was interesting.

The Romulan said his name was Honorius. He was quite a roguish character, quite unlike the typical Romulan. Had a pair of Green Orion dancing girls, “one for each arm” he said. I think they might have been twins. He said he served the greatest Praetor in Romulan history. Also, he had a Gorn bodyguard of all things.

Personal Log: I have a friend in Starfleet Research who keeps tabs on Christine for me, in return for the occasional interesting bit of alien technology. He told me Christine had accepted a post on “the oldest, worst ship in Starfleet” that has apparently been assigned to the Triangle. Could she have found out I’m here somehow?

Poor girl. She was so disappointed in me. So foolishly naive. There should be no limits on scientific research, especially when it comes to investigating the technology of long-dead alien worlds! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Alternate XP System for FASA Star Trek

I really don't care for the XP system in FASA Trek, so I've devised a house rule: I grant 10 skill points, +5 for each game session the adventure lasts.

If an adventure lasts two sessions or longer, I allow PCs to raise one of their ability scores by 1 point.

Voyage #2: Runaway Starship


U.S.S. Larson is in deep space, away from all normal spacelanes to pick up their Vulcan operatives. Sensors show nothing near the ship. Vulcan ships broke radio silence 5 hours ago and announced they were 7 hours away.

Prior to the Adventure

Sparring Partner: CPO Bergmann has heard of Ushaan’s desire to spar and offers himself as a partner. He most likely kicks Ushan’s ass, but Ushaan has the potential to learn from the man’s extensive combat experience.

In fact, he has more combat experience than anyone in Starfleet.

Dinner Partner: While eating in the mess hall T'Kara is joined by Dr. Chapel. She informs T'Kara that she is tired of almost everyone talking about her but no one talking to her, and so she has decided to befriend the first officer (it goes without saying that her lifelong fascination with Vulcans is in part behind this).

New Arrivals: In deep space, way the hell away from everything, especially normal spacelanes, the Larson rendezvous with three Romulan warshuttles crewed by 18 Vulcan Tal’Sorak operatives and some last surprise crew members: Dr. M’Benga, Dr. T’pok (vulcan, female, psychiatrist, M’Benga’s personal physician though she will not reveal this) and Surakir, the head of the Vulcan intelligence contingent.

Dr. Chapel is delighted to see her old friend and proclaims that he is probably the only doctor in Starfleet who knows more about Vulcan medicine than her.

Dr. T’Pok will identify herself as a psychiatrist and specialist in Xeno-psychology. If pressed, or threatened with removal from the ship, she will identify herself as Dr. M’Benga’s personal physician but insist she has much to offer the ship’s medical staff. She will not state what she is treating him for, on the basis of patient confidentiality.

Surakir requests that his 17 operatives and he be allowed to live on their vessels when they are on the ship, where they will eat Romulan food and speak only Romulan. He asks that any contact with the crew be restricted to him alone. If asked for a reason, he says the smallest thing could betray his operatives: vocal inflections, Federation smells, mannerisms. 

An Old Friend? Decker notices Crewman Rogers, his Section 31 “friend” is among the 200+ crewmembers aboard the Larson.

A Moment of Truth: While still in the shuttlebay, CPO Malcolm approaches Decker and T'Kara and asks for a moment privately. He has a confession to make. During the Four Years’ War, Larson-class vessels were equipped with two things: Mako-class breaching pods and units of marines. A breaching pod is a “shuttle”, but really it’s more of a bullet. Fired at a starship, the pod’s polarized hull plating allowed it to pass harmlessly through shields of that time. It would then penetrate the hull, allowing marines to swarm onto the ship.

During the war the existence of breaching pods and marines aboard the Larson-class starships was a closely guarded secret. The Federation used the pods and marines as an ace in the hole and surprised the Klingons with heavily-armed boarding parties that came out of nowhere again and again, both on ships, and on planets, where the Larson class would use its speed, oversized shuttle bays and complement of heavy shuttles to land troops on worlds and depart, assisting local guerilla movements and fortifying planets, then retreating before the Klingons even knew they were there.

After the war the entire program was classified and shut down. The official word was that the Federation wanted to reserve the tactic for a future conflict with the Klingons. However, given that the Klingons had learned by the end of the war that the Larsons had this capability, CPO Malcolm always believed they just viewed the entire program as “unseemly”. In effect, Starfleet had compromised their ideals and conformed to Klingon tactics to counter the heavy Klingon marine contingents that scored them victory after victory on the ground.

Because of this, the Larson’s original Captain, now retired, “accidentally” forgot to dispose of the breaching pods and a “random computer spike” wiped all records of the pods being on the ship from the ship’s computer core. The pods were then stowed in an out of the way place, behind some spare hull plating that “just happened” to hide them from inspections of the ship, which rarely spent much time in the shuttle bay.

The entire ship’s contingent of marines was also reassigned to the ship’s security force “for sentimental reasons”. CPO Malcolm tells the Captain and First Officer he is telling them as soon as he could- once the ship was out of spacedock. If the Captain does not want the pods, he can have them ejected into a nearby star and the incident will never harm Captain Standish’s service records.

Malcolm also points out that the pods don’t penetrate Federation shielding any longer but otherwise they are as functional as they ever were and have “seen action” many times. Only one of the original contingent of marines is still serving on the ship, CPO Bergmann, but that he has continued the tradition of passing on marine training to the ship’s security forces.

Malcolm concludes by saying that CPO Bergmann also has in his possession, hidden in his quarters, hand plasma units that date back to the Four Years War. These were used by boarding parties to cut through interior surfaces of ships. Malcolm again points out that the former Captain’s orders were that these be retained.

New Orders- Briefing: While on shakedown, the PCs receive urgent new orders: a Constitution-class Cruiser has been spotted screaming through Federation space at maximum warp, heading straight for a heavily populated planet.

The ship’s transponder has been deactivated so an exact identification is impossible but Starfleet suspects the ship is the U.S.S. Defiant, thought lost until “The Arkadelphia Incident”. The U.S.S. Larson is the only ship in range to intercept the ship before it reaches a world with over one billion inhabitants, a world the Defiant could turn to ash.

The PCs are ordered to intercept the vessel, attempt to identify it. If the ship is the Defiant they are ordered to engage and attempt to force the ship to drop out of warp. A task force of other vessels are on the way, if the Larson can slow the ship down, the task force will be able to engage.

Objective #1: Identifying The Ship

Wall of Sound: As the PCs draw near for a close sensor scan to identify the vessel they are assaulted by a wave of noise from the ship. After a time, Reyes is able to sort the noise out and realize almost every personal communication from the device is in use, broadcasting screams of pain and phrases like “help us”, “stop us”, “put us out of our misery” and “destroy us”.

Scanning the ship: Lt. Standish can confirm that the ship is not the Defiant but is in fact the U.S.S. Victory, missing for almost three years.

Startling Revelation: At this point Dr. Chapel and Dr. M’Benga burst onto the bridge and proclaim that they know what the creatures are: parasites that control humans through pain. The Enterprise (and then-Nurse Chapel) encountered them. Their sole goal is to spread themselves to more planets. They control the actions of their hosts through pain, but they have no concept of language, allowing the hosts free to speak, incoherently because of the pain.

Dr. Chapel believes she can cure the crew if they can gain access to the ship’s environmental controls.

She also advises that the crew’s minds are fogged with racking pain. If the Larson does not directly attack but instead finds some subtler way onto the ship, the alien lifeforms probably won’t react, being almost solely focused on reaching new worlds with more hosts.

Objective #2: Boarding the Victory

Remind the PCs that transport at Warp is not possible during the TOS time period. Also, the shields are up making the boarding pods useless UNLESS the PCs can accomplish two things:
     First, the Larson must get close and merge the shield envelopes of the two ships (Deflector Shields check). Each time this check is failed the Helmsman has to make a Helm operation check or the Larson will take some structural damage (1-4 points).
     Once the shield envelopes are merged, the Breaching Pod must be piloted at ramming speed right into the Victory’s hull. Shuttlecraft Piloting skill check. Failing this check will cause the shuttle crew to take some damage and put them further away from Environmental Control.

Objective #3: Navigating the Victory

Emphasize how dark the ship is. Almost all the lights are out.

As the PCs progress they hear buzzing and trilling in the distance.

Once on board the ship’s Environmental Controls will have to be hacked (Computer Ops). Once Environmental Controls are hacked, Dr. Chapel will flood the ship with a low level of radiation

As the PCs make their way to Environmental Control, they will face the 1-4 of the following obstacles (roll 1d10):
1-2 Parasites: When this encounter is rolled, the mosquito-like buzzing will get much louder. These will make a melee attack and attempt to latch onto the PCs. A graze inflicts damage, on a solid hit the parasite has attached itself to the outside of the PCs’ EVA suit and begins burning through it with a mild acid. Burning through the EVA suit takes one round and if the PCs have not successfully stunned the parasite by then it will take over the PC.
3-8 Infected Crew: These attack almost mindlessly, using clubs and melee weapons. They have no chance of surprise as they yell warnings to the PCs before and during their attacks.
9-10 Damaged system/environmental hazard: The ship was damaged during the takeover attempt and there is a chance a PC will encounter exposed circuitry along the way.

Objective #4: Long Live The Queen

Any Vulcans on the away mission have a chance (Psi check) to hear a psychic scream and know that it was directed at the Triangle. They also suffer 3d10 stamina damage.

Objective #5: Repair the Victory

The PCs will then have to help the Victory with repairs, though soon the area is crawling with Starfleet vessels when the Task Force arrives.


PCs get 10+5 per night of the adventure. Also allow them to raise one attribute by 1 point. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Voyage #1: Decision at Midnight

Decision at Midnight

The first adventure of the crew of the U.S.S. Larson actually begins before the crew has been introduced to the ship.

The crew, most of them newly minted Lieutenants, are assigned to the U.S.S. Arkadelphia, as seen in the classic FASA adventure "Decision at Midnight".

I tweaked the adventure some to make it better fit the campaign, but first a synopsis for those unfamiliar with the adventure.

Decision at Midnight Synopsis

The U.S.S. Arkadelphia is patrolling the border of the "Asparax Confederation", a breakaway region of space (with 4 planets) on the Federation-Klingon border. The ship's captain is convinced that the Klingons will exploit the situation as they did Axanar, an incident which began the Four Years War between the Federation and the Klingons.

Along the way the Captain begins showing signs of mental instability, starting with eccentricities like wearing ceremonial robes, all the way to full blown paranoia. The players are thus forced to decide whether to mutiny against the captain and how, in keeping with their oaths as Star Fleet officers.

In our version of the adventure, the Captain is actually a Mirror Universe Infiltrator and has a secret agenda: Asparaxian Space actually is an area of "weak space" between the prime universe and the Mirror Universe. His "instability" is just his naturally paranoid personality coming through.

Also aboard the ship is crewman Rogers, an agent of Section 31 who knows the truth about the captain and has a piece of advanced tech that will prove the captain is from another universe. Early in the adventure he takes the PCs into his confidence. At first they think he's insane but gradually come around as the captain gets more and more unstable.

Once the Captain's madness becomes impossible to ignore, with Klingon warships en route, the PCs made their move to remove the captain but not before he could activate the deflector dish and open a rift between the prime and Mirror universes.

As the PCs remove the captain from power a ship streaks by through the rift: the U.S.S. Defiant, thought lost in action with the Tholians but actually transported to the Mirror Universe. The old Constitution-style cruiser streaked past the Arkadelphia, in the throes of mutiny, filled with refugees from the Mirror Universe.