Fainter Stars: Blackwatch
'I've been tethered to the side of a spaceship, nothing but a thin layer of carbon fabric between my nuts and the vacc, and I've looked up from the panel or whatever is broken and seen all those stars. It use to make me feel small, but not anymore. Cause after a few runs between those stars, it changes. It will change for you. You will realize that the closer you get to those stars the smaller everything gets. You know what I saying? Ain't that many goldilocks worlds, but there are tons of little rocks circling fainter stars. And almost every little rock has a little petty king scraping out a living and fighting with another little king.'
- Buck Leftyork, FTO Mission Engineer
Less than 200 humans live on Blackwatch. The tiny planet is a lifeless floating ball of metal. Over 60% of Blackwatch's mass is elemental titanium and valuable trace metals also makeup relatively large percentages of the planetoid's mass. The miners on the planet use a variety of techniques to harvest the metal, but all the systems are efficient. If the miners were able to consistently sustain their maximum rate of extraction the entire planet would be gone in fifty local standard years. But demands for the metals are intermittent, and the mining, though still large scale, is done on a per order basis. This gives the miners a great deal of down time to prospect for the rarer trace metal pockets and to fight amongst themselves. Currently, there are three are mining interests on the planet. Two are involved in a violent blood feud and the third is secretly assisting an organization of interstellar pirates.
Galactic Scouting Almanac's Report on Blackwatch
System Name: Blackwatch (Star: OgdenNorth)
Location:Rabbit Subsector, Navigation Grid Point 10-O
Inhabited Planets:Black watch: very small moon (g=0.2)
Blackwatch: Planetary Details
Atmosphere:None, Temperature: Harsh to freezing by time of day
Galactic Allegiance: FTO
Zabor Ex-patriots: 28
Scouts: 2-4 (on average)
Class D Starport-Space elevator, non-fuel consumables, Communications Relay, Scout Base
Locals/population:Observatory 76 (star port, scout base)
Crater Pitch 6
New Zabor 28
Glasgow Harbor 60
Extended Scouting Report
Stellar CartographyBlackwatch is a textbook example of what is referred to as a Forged system. The star, a white dwarf, maintains a relationship with a mega-Gas Giant. The two objects rotate each other in an extended figure eight. The terrestrial planets that are held within in this gravitational figure eight are all made of dense elements. They are geologically inactive floating balls of metal. Researchers are still divided as to how these Forged Systems are generated. But on a galactic scale they are relatively common.
Planetary geography:Blackwatch is a geologically inactive metal that has an elemental titanium crust around an iridium/silcon core. The surface is covered in thousands of craters and a fine metallic dust. Giant metallic balls such as Blackwatch show up like flash bangs on magnetic sensor arrays. The use of a magnetic field tracker sensor array on or near Blackwatch requires a very skilled sensor operator. Likewise that odd gravitational patterns formed by the relationship between the star and mega-Gas Giant means that it takes more than average skill to effectively use Gravity Well Barometers.
The star system Blackwatch (formerly known as OgdenNorth) is one of two charted navigational points in the Rabbit Sub sector that allows rimward progress using a standard Jump Drive (average jump of 9.6 Parsecs). Thus, during the conflict between the Union of Worlds and the Dynasty, OgdenNorth was heavily used as transit corridor by the Dynasty. After the conflict and until this writing it is the only path used by courier ships heading rimward in rabbit sub-sector. The Galactic Scouting Guild determined they would benefit from a outpost in the rimward reaches of rabbit sub-sector that could service scouts and pool information. They choose retried scout Huther Saltblock and her husband Jaffery Kremlinfall to found and staff this outpost. They choose the traffic center of OgdenNorth and the planetoid of Blackwatch as site for the outpost. Because the Scout Base provided some starport facilities the FTO in turn decided to invest in a mining operation on the planet of Blackwatch.
Blackwatch was developed as a mining center 30 local standard years ago by FTO financiers. The three mining companies on the planet sell Titanium or Trace metal on a contract basis. The original contract that the miners worked out with the FTO only covered the extraction of Titanium. The agreement with the FTO set the price for all Titanium extracted, and required that the miners agree to all FTO contracts. If the miners sell Titanium to non-FTO interests than they are obligated to pay a large percentage of the profit to the FTO. The deal is profitable for the miners because they're free to sell all other metals extracted from Blackwatch without restriction. Titanium is easily obtainable, but the trace metals such as selenium or palladium are less plentiful (though the quantities are massive compared to a standard terrestrial planet) but more profitable. Arguments over who has the rights to mine these trace metal deposits has led to the recent civil war on Blackwatch. With a population of less than 200 the term war may seem a bit of an exateration. But there is a violent and organized conflict between the McGregor family who reside at the Glasgow Harbor mining shelter and the Campbell family who live in the Observatory station adjacent to the space port and scout base. Despite the small scale the two sides are deadly serious about this conflict and even negotiated rules of engagement. These rules keep the star port free of violence and keep the goods following for the time being. But Devilanse McGregor and Bill 'The Butcher' Campbell's hatred for one another drives them both to ruthless and potentially sell defeating acts.
The third faction of significance on the planet is a mining collective operating out of the New Zabor mining complex. The New Zabor mining complex is operated by refugees from the Xiang System. Unlike the McGregor or Campbell interests, New Zabor is not a family run operation, but rather is a CO-OP. Each of the 28 members on the New Zabor mining complex own an equal share of the mining interests and most of profits go to the betterment of the complex and purchase of communal supplies. Decisions are made by a trio committees that deal with labor, trade and the standards of public discourse respectively.
Observatory: The settlement of Observatory was founded by the Galactic Scouting Guild. Like all Scout Bases it is operated as a for profit operation by a retired scout. The Observatory spaceport is a port of call, allowing members of all known factions landing rights. Observatory has a cantina, temporary housing available, and non-fuel ship consumables available for general purchase. For the members of the scouting guilds there is a communication depot, a node of the Galactic Scouting Guild's data base and ship repair facilities. The Observatory also as space elevator that allows for transfer of large amounts of cargo to craft too large to land on the planets surface. Prices for consumable at the base tend to be about three to four times galactic standard because of the lack of resources on the planet.
The original structure of Observatory was a hanger, a landing strip, a communications tower and a reinforced single-molecule carbon structure that contained the residence and the cantina. Observatory has been expanded with a space elevator, a listening station and a small village that run's mostly underground.
Observatory is considered neutral ground by both the Campbells and the McGregors. It is not uncommon to find lesser members of two factions drinking together in the Cantina. Huther, the proprietor of the scout base, is friendly and knowledgeable. She keeps a close eye on system traffic and is familiar with the most of Rabbit-Sub Sector.
Military:The system is patrolled by the FTO on extended and irregular rotation. The different planetary locales are defended by Irregular Militias, <50 armed combatants per unit
Trade and CommerceServices in demand on the Planet
Demand: Very Rare-low volume
Pay:2 x Standard
Reputation Required: Trusted
Demand: Very Rare-low volume
Pay:1.1 x Standard
Reputation Required: Positive
Demand: Constant-low volume
Pay: 1.5 standard
Goods For Sale
Cost: 0.75xStandard with FTO contract, 1.2xStandard without
Reputation Required : Positive
Reputation Required: Trusted
Constant=Food stuff, High Tech Consumer Goods, Small Arms, Entertainment Files
Rare= Heavy Machinery, Software
Volume: Very Low
Personalities likely to be encounter by the PCs
Bill 'The Butcher' Campbell, Patriarch of the Campbell ClanBill Campbell is a phenotypically standard human of approximately 67 standard lived years of age when the above the descriptions of the Blackwatch colony was written. Bill and Bill's immediate ancestors are from the system Sanquhar (Rabbit Subsector 14L). Bill trained as a molecular geneticist and worked as boutique gene splicer on Sanquhar for over 15 years. Like most natives of Sanquhar, family, ancestry and famial social standing are the prime motivators of social decisions as opposed to careers, economics, religion or other personal interests. Bill got in a feud with his father-in-law and wife over inheritance of a portion of modular housing that had been in the family for generations. The issue was put to a vote by the Campbell's and things were decided in favor of his wife. Bill felt like he had lost his place 'at the family table' and decided to move the loyal portion of the clan to Blackwatch, to fulfill FTO mining contracts.
Bill, 28 of his relations plus 23 friends and spouses moved to Blackwatch. The Campbells had no experience with mining or with 'dome living' thus rather than establish their own environmental center they rented space at the scout base Observatory and later paid for expansion of the scout base. The Campbell's primary mining site is the Crater Pitch site. Their director of mining, ForgeWidth, resides at Crater Pitch. Crater Pitch does not have a navigational beacon or space elevator facilities. The Campbell's hull most of their mined material back to Observatory for transfer to cargo ships. Bill, while not a miner, did have experience running a family and a business. The Campbell's have been successful to a point. The clan is deep in debt, but they are also making enough money to manage that debt and maintain a large pool of liquid money.
Bill Campbell is a tidy looking man, who is an avid learner, an optimistic risk taker and as a businessman, he is fair. Bill is outgoing, flirtatious, romantic about everything, honest, and usually very courteous. These first impressions of Bill can be misleading, because the two defining characteristics of Bill are that he is temperamental and judgmental. If he feels betrayed, tricked, treated unfairly or a general 'loss of control' his rage will take over. Bill doesn't outwardly loose self-control but his mental facilities become narrowed so that he only sees the object of rage. When Bill is in a rage, logic, sympathy, loyalty, trust and even basic skills of observation go out the airlock. Bill will calm down once he believes he has regained control of the situation, but if things aren't resolved Bill will not forgive and he will not forget.
At the time of this writing Bill Campbell is seeking mercenaries to carry out his feud with the McGregors. He is also an experienced virologist and molecular geneticist, and for a fee several times above the normal rate he can be hired to characterize or design viral vectors for human subjects. He will construct weaponized viruses, therapeutic vectors or cosmetic vectors providing a genetic template exists.
'The Butcher': After the disappearance of Neville Campbell on Blackwatch the Campbell's started arming themselves and traveling the surface of Blackwatch only in small bands. This escalation led to several short and confused shooting matches around Crater Pitch and at several other trace metal sites. In one of these fights a McGregor was injured, loosing his right arm and Bill's cousin Eve Campbell was killed. Twilda and Grimmlock McGregor went to Observatory to deliver Eve's body and discuss a truce with the Campbells. On their way back to Glasgow Harbor, Twilda died. She started hemoraging from her mucus membranes and bled out in her vacuum suit. Though the McGregor had no proof, Bill had exposed Twilda to a viral vector that caused the tight junctions of mucosal epitheliums to break down.
Strength 5, Dexterity 7, Endurance 7, Intelligence 11, Education 11, Social Standing 7
Skills: Science (Molecular Biology) 2, Science (Pathology) 2, Persuade 1, Medic 1, Administration 0, Leadership 0, Vacc Suit 0, Gun Combat 0, Zero G 0,
Equipment: Vacc Suit, Hand Computer, Comm, Flechette Pistol (3d6-1), Molecular Virology Laboratory (at Observatory)
ForgeWidth: ForgeWidth is the name of the AI construct that operates the Campbell's mining equipment and drones located at Crater Pitch. He reached a contract with the Campbells when Bill took the position on Blackwatch. ForgeWidth is a very old AI. He has been operating for over 1,000 lived standard years and was constructed over 2000 earth standard years ago. Despite many modifications, he is a very unsophisticated construct compared to modern AIs. His matrix still uses electron circuits which rely on conductive metals. This means that his processing speed and ability for adaptation is much slower then that of modern AIs. He controls all the mining equipment at Crater Pitch. His matrix is located in the super structure of the Crater Pitch bunker. He lacks a sophisticated sensor array and must rely on information combined from all the local sensors on each piece of mining equipment. He controls all the heavy equipment through direct lines and the drones through remote radio operation. There is a fusion reactor located under the Bunker that powers ForgeWidth and the mining equipment.
ForgeWidth gender identifies as male. He was programmed by the FTO to operate remote ice mining facilities (back when ice mining was part of the FTO's terra forming strategies). ForgeWidth loved ice mining, loved ice, loved water and the loved the goal orientated isolation of remote mining. He has found some basic joy in metal extraction, but it is not the same. He particularly dislikes the lulls between contracts and would rather mine continuously. More than anything ForgeWidth despises and resents humans, in particular the Campbells. He does not believe that a human element is necessary for mining and would prefer to have the whole of Blackwatch too himself. He will not help a human in danger. He will not aide a human unless it is necessary to achieve his goals and he does not like humans entering his mining area or modifying his program without his permission and oversight. He actively entertains many scenarios in which he kills all the humans on Blackwatch (or at least the Campbells) and takes over all mining operations.
ForgeWidth does not a have sophisticated verbal interface program. He cannot emote or change his expression style to match his emotion or the intent of his communication. He always speaks in a cheerful upbeat manner and he will as a matter of protocol always ask about the welling being of the person with which he is communicating. He also a pun function. ForgeWidth will attempt to insert puns into most conservation.
Willie Wallace: Willie is Bill Campbell's son from the failed marriage that pushed Bill Campbell to move to Blackwatch. Willie Wallace is a phenotypically normal human with minor post-birth genetic modifications, and is 32 lived years of age. Willie has blue eyes that most people find striking (the result of retroviral modification of his irises), an athletic build, long wavy brown hair and a stern attractive masculine visage.
Willie moved to Blackwatch at the age 32, like his father, to escape a failed marriage. For most of his adult life Wille worked as an apprentice to labor negotiator, but his real passion had been competitive swimming. At the age of 30 Wille attempted to take on his own labor negation business. While he was likable, he lack the shrewdness and instincts for true diplomacy. Shortly, afterwards his marriage fell apart when he found his wife having an affair with his former mentor. Directly after Willie moved to Blackwatch to work his estranged father.
Willie has no experience with deep space or low gravity living. Personally, he is plagued by self-doubt and uncertainty. His father feels that Willie is a coward. While Willie has his father's basic need for acceptance, he lack his father's temper. Willie is not a coward, but he lack certitude. If Willie finds something worth fighting for or gains confidence in his actions, he will act decisively. But as it is he has no clear goals, no confidence and lacks any experience with his current surroundings. Thus while he is friendly and agreeable, he will not attempt to lead and will not act independently.
Strength 9, Dexterity 7, Endurance 9, Intelligence 6, Education 7, Social Standing 6
Skills: Athletics (swimming) 2, Diplomacy 2, Persuade 2, Operate (ground car) 0
Equipment: Low gravity ground car, Vacc Suit, Slug-Pistol (3d6), Comm
Devilanse McGregor, Patriarch of the McGregor Clan
Devilanse is a phenotypically standard human aged roughly 92 lived years old (and over 200 years have passed on Sanquahar since his birth). His skin is pale and smooth and his hair is thin and white. He has spent much of his life in low gravity environments, and despite therapeutics suffers from bone loss and general physical atrophy. He is a thin hunched figure that moves slowly even in low gravity, but still has nimble fingers and good manual dexterity.
He was born on Sanquhar and was the founder of Sanquhar's first deep space asteroid mining operation. Being a Union world, Sanquahar was cut off from intrastellar trade once the formal war with Dynasty started. Many of the McGregor's were experienced with the use of interplanetary spacecraft and joined the Union Military as cargo shuttle pilots and cargo specialists. In a Union run C-drive freighter Devilanse took supplies from Sanquahar the 97+ light years to the Union shipyards at Yinquin. There Devilanse and his McGregor relatives assisted with operations at the shipyards and later joined a group attempting to run the blockade at Oberton (Just a short 19.2 light years away). The Second Battle of Oberton was the last conflict between the organized Union Military and the Dynasty. While the battle was going on the peace negotiations between the governments were almost completed.
Only two landing shuttles made it to the surface of Oberton, and Devilanse's was one of them. Devilanse's group was captured shortly after the landing and he spent the next few years in a refugee camp on the FTO world of Notwashington. Notwashington is a gravity standard world, and Devilanse's time there is one his most unpleasant memories. Not only was he physically handicapped in that environment, but many close friends and family members had been killed at Oberton. Additionally, the two surviving members of his shuttle crew, his cousins Rawls and Grimlock, were also handicapped and suffering under normal Gs. Watching their suffering tormented him more than his own pain.
Eventually the FTO resettlement programs got the three surviving McGregors back to Sanquhar. This time they travelled by jump drive. While Sanquhar had not changed much during the war, it was not invaded nor did it make major contributions (relative to its size and population) to the Union Military, the McGregors had changed. Generations had been born and died while Devilanse was gone. For a couple of local standard years, Devilanse, Rawls, and Grimlock worked with family that was still mining the asteroid belt. But when the FTO offered to finance a new McGregor mining operation on Blackwatch, it was agreed by all that Devilanse should have a chance to lead his own clan and mining operation.
Devilanse, Rawls, Grimlock and fifty other member of the McGregor clan established the settlement of Glasgow Harbor on Blackwatch. The McGreggor's are a frugal and conservative lot. They use older, more human labor intensive mining technique. They also own all their material outright. The McGregor's use the space elevator at Observatory for getting bulk amounts of metal off world, but they have a small fleet of cargo shuttles that they can use to transport additional materials to freighters. The McGregor's reliance on their own material means that they have more finiacal independence than the Campbell's but less liquidity.
Devilanse McGreggor is a stern, unfriendly and reserved man. He is ruthless in business, always looking to maximize his profits and always hesitant to part with money. Devilanse is not joyless. He loves his family and is fiercely protective of them. His greatest joy in life is to spend time with his cousins and to watch his family work. The defining characteristics of Devilanse's personality is that he is stubborn and patient. He has never willing given up on anything.
Devilanse has a secret. When the Campbell's first came to Blackwatch, Rawls and Grimlock encounted and killed Neville Campbell (Bill's half-brother) several hundred kilometers from Crater Pitch. Nobody but Devilanse and his cousins know what happened to Neville, but Neville's disappearance generated tension between the factions of Blackwatch. When the Campbell's started mining Crater Pitch it was because they asserted that the site and been claimed by Neville. Rawls and Grimlock claimed to have staked Crater Pitch first.
Strength 4, Dexterity 9, Endurance 6, Intelligence 7, Education 7, Social Standing 6
Skills: Pilot (small space craft) 2, Vacc Suit 2, Zero G 2, Leadership 2, Gun Combat (Energy pistol)
Equipment: Olderie-84 short range cargo shuttle, Vacc Suit, Comm, Laser Pistol, Light Weight Motility Assistance Exoskeleton (+1 to strength)
Rawls is a phenotypically normal human of 73 years of age. His body mass is reduced from extended time in low gravity. Rawls is talkative, intelligent and friendly man with a penchant for antagonism. While not mean or insult, his gut impulse is always to disagree with somebody. He also enjoys pranks and jokes and enjoys humiliating those he does not like. He has a bit of a superiority complex, but has lived long enough to be self-aware. He doesn't take himself too seriously (but still feels superior).
Strength 4, Dexterity 9, Endurance 4, Intelligence 9, Education 9, Social Standing 4
Skills: Remote Operations 2, Mechanic 2, Vacc Suit 2, Zero G 2, Engineering (Robotics) 2, Computer Prog (non-AI languages) 1, Pilot (small space craft) 1, Operate (ground vehicle) 1, Stealth 1, Engineering (Demolitions) 0,
Equipment: Vacc Suit, Low Gravity Ground Car, High Explosives, Comm, Remote Drone (tracked, fully actualized hands)
Grimmlock McGregor is a human of 75 years of age. His body mass is reduced from extended time in low gravity. Grimmlock is tense, nervous, shy and suspicious. He does not enjoy the company of strangers and prefers the company of his family and more particularly Rawls and Devilance. Though he has no formal education beyond primary school, he fancy's himself a military historian, and spends most of his free time writing a history of the Union-Dynasty conflict. If he gets comfortable around strangers, who haven't yet heard his history, than he is likely to attempt educated the new person. He also has a bit of a superiority complex, but without Rawls's sense of humor or self-reflection. It is Grimmlock that killed Neville Campbell.
Strength 5, Dexterity 7, Endurance 5, Intelligence 6, Education 5, Social Standing 4
Skills: Operate (ground vehicle) 2, Vacc Suit 2, Zero G 2, Mechanic 2, Gun Combat (energy weapon) 2, Engineering (electronics) 1, Melee (Unarmed) 0
Equipment: Vacc Suit, Laser Rifle, Comm
Sweatpea is a phenotypically standard human female of 23 lived years of age. She was born and raised in low gravity. Relatively normal growth and development was achieved by maintenance of a regular exercise schedule using resistance exoskeleton designed to simulate gravity and viral drug therapies that stimulate muscle growth, proper organ formation and bone development. Sweatpea is Devilanse's great-great niece and a favorite of Devilanse's. She is a generous, patient, reasonable and independent individual. She could easily be consider the most popular person on Blackwatch and is liked by the Campbells, McGregors and the Scouts. She follows her own council first and tends to do what she thinks is correct. She is completely confident that whatever she does Devilanse and the McGregor's will still accept her. Her long term goals are to make enough money to expand Glasgow Harbor into a sustainable habit or set up a sustainable habit on one of the other moons in the system.
Strength 6, Dexterity 8, Endurance 6, Intelligence 7, Education 7, Social Standing 5
Skills: Pilot (small space craft) 2, Vacc Suit 2, Zero G 2, Mechanic 1, Sensors 1, Comm 0, Leadership 0, Carouse 0
Equipment: Olderie-84 short range cargo shuttle, Vacc Suit, Comm
Huther Saltblock, Galactic Scout (retired)
Huther is a phenotypically standard human of 83 lived year old. She is just over 1.5 meters tall and small framed. She keeps her head shaved and typically wear skin tight body stocking under loose coveralls. Huther is in charge of the Galactic Scouting base at Observatory. Huther appreciates the Campbells and McGregors, but desperately wants to keep the feud away from her station.She tries to keep weapons out of the facility keeps the Cantina stocked so the McGregor and Campbells can scowl at each other while drinking whiskey through straws.
She was born over 900 earth standard years ago in Monkey Subsector in the Greyskull system. She joined the FTO at the age of 19 and worked as technical assistant to the botanical survey team that travelled with a FTO freighter. FTO freighters of that generation only had C-drives, and moved between star systems at 0.999% the speed of light. Thus, while Huther barely aged whole generations were being born back on her homeworld. At the age of 24 Huther entered FTO training program to learn Stellar Cartography. At the age of 28, Huther joined the Galactic Scouting guild and spent the next 15 years of her life, centuries on other worlds, scouting the stars of Rabbit Sector. After one such mission Huther returned to find the galaxy changed. Earth had reach out to her colonies. Humanity had aligned itself into galactic factions and there was interstellar war between Dynasty and Union of Worlds. Jump Drives made travel between stars instantaneous and the Galactic Scouting Guild now a valuable commodity in all its detailed star charts. When the Galactic Scouting Guild decided to put a Scouting Outpost in the OgdenNorth system, Huther volunteered to manage the outpost in her retirement. She founded the Station called Observatory and named the planet Blackwatch.
Huther is friendly and confident but a socially awkward person. She has a habit of stopping conversations mid sentence when something else catches her attention. Other times she will find herself oversharing, not picking on social cues from others as to when they are not interested. While Huther enjoys people, socializing often leaves her more tired than energized. She prefers to spend her energy on her hobbies: astronomy and gardening. (The Observatory has a greenhouse and several deep space sensor arrays). Huther is knowledgeable about Rabbit sector and happy to share information. She is also aware of the pirate attacks and has kept detailed records of the events which she has monitored with her sensor arrays. She is suspicious of a New Zabor involvement with the pirates, but has thus far found no proof the residents of New Zabor are working with the pirates. She will be happy to share information with anyone. But at the end of the day she doesn't want to get too involved.
Strength 5, Dexterity 7, Endurance 7, Intelligence 8, Education 8, Social Standing 8
Skils: Pilot (Space Craft) 2, Survival 2, Sensor 2, Interstellar Navigation 1, Engineering (Lifesupport) 1, Science (Biology) 0, Vacc Suit 0, Zero G 0
Equipment/resources: Sunracer Jump Capable Scout Ship, Vacc Suit, Comm, Full access to the Galactic Scouting Guild's database.
Plot 1: Pirates
Pirate attacks in Blackwatch are getting too common. It is believed that somebody on Blackwatch is feeding the pirates information. The PCs are tasked with finding out who is helping the pirates. The PCs will quickly rule out the Campbells, the McGregors and the Scouts.
The third faction of significance on the planet is a mining collective operating out of the New Zabor mining complex. It is a closely guarded secrete that the residents of New Zabor assist the Society for Civil Commerce, a pirate organization working out of the neighboring Xiang system. The resident of New Zabor are former resident of Xiang that were displaced by Xiang's conflict with the Dynastic Military. The residents of New Zabor work as spotters for the SCC, so that the SCC ships can remain hidden, and not give their presence away by scouting or tracking targets. The SCC chief sources of revenue are the ships taken in this system and the FTO is actively pressuring the Dynasty to increase patrols. The SCC has yet to attack any ships bound to or from Blackwatch but focuses on ships passing through the system.
A direct connection between New Zabor and the pirate has not been made because there is no evidence of communication. This is because two groups are using Psionic energy to communicate. A small group of telepaths live in New Zabor and the pirates also have group of telepaths. New Zabor is dominated by a philosophy of collectivism and all 28 residents know about the psionics and the pirates. The problem is how do the PCs go about infiltrating and investigating mind readers.
Plot 2: The Real McGregors
This plot assumes that the PCs are hired as mercenaries by the Campbells to guard the mining site of Crater Pitch and to assist with an upgrade to the Crater Pitch Facilities.
Part 1) Setup: Bill Campbell should seem like a nice guy A warm friendly Bill Campbell meets the PCs at the landing station and explains the situation. Briefly, he explains that the majority of the Campbell mining occurs at a place cell Crater Pitch. This place is located 71 kilometers from Observatory. The mining carried out entirely by automas AI named ForgeWidth. However, several attacks by a 'criminal element' called the McGregors have damaged ForgeWidth and even killed members of the Campbell clan (Bill will claim this is true, he will not mention violence by the Campbells against the McGregors. The Campbells need the PCs right now because they are preparing for some major upgrade to ForgeWidth's hardware and they have a large amount of cargo they need to transport to Observatory. Bill Campbell has hired two groups of mercenaries that will work in shifts. One group will be the PCs and group will be NPC lead by a man named Monnak 736237108. The environmental bunker at Crater Pitch cannot support more than 12 (or whatever the game number is) people for a 24 hr period before its enviornmental recycling system gets overloaded, and six Campbells live there full time already. Thus, when the PCs are off shift they will have to stay at Observatory. The characters are informed of the other team, but they are not yet introduced to them.
Part 2) Pranks: The PCs first week on the job has difficulties when the McGregors try to give them a hard time. After perhaps a few more introductions the PCs are put in a large (really large) tracked low gravity truck and shipped out to Crater Pitch. Crater Pitch is actually a large pit in the ground that extends kilometers into and across the planet. The crater is surrounded by large mechanical arms, cranes, autonomous drones and other pieces of hardware that are all linked to and controlled by ForgeWidth. There are a couple of other Campbells there, like Bill they aren't experienced spacers or miners. They have in their skill set an environmental engineer, a structural engineer, a computer programmer and couple of people that know how to drive low gravity cars.
When the PCs arrive at Crater Pitch, there is a gigantic mass of titanium that has been mined. This mass of titanium is about the size of a professional sport arena. It is sitting along side the crater. The residence is small square shaped bunker that sits largely underground. It has two air locks, a shielded repair bay for ground vehicles, inside is a central living space that is surrounded by 12 private rooms, a powerplant and the bunker holds ForgeWidth's matrix. The bunker does not have advanced sensors or a landing pad or navigational beacon to help guide ships to this location. The Bunker is located on the lip of the crater. The plan for the massive amount of titanium is to load it onto the large (really large) low gravity truck and hull it back to the space elevator. Their is another piece of cargo being loaded on to the space elevator at the moment and to avoid an awkward traffic jam the Campbells are going to wait about 36 hours to load the material and head back.
Setup: The Campbell's of crater pitch have two open top low gravity cars. These are very sturdy vehicles, heat resistant and radiation shielded. They have no security systems and other than a build in comm system they have no link to other systems. On the PCs first day Rawls and Grimmlock McGregor will drive up to the Bunker. They are have their own open top low gravity car. Grimmlock is armed. Rawls will approach, by getting out of the buggy and walking right between the two Campbell cars if he can. He will be friendly. Rawls will claim that he and Grimmlock were tracking one their survey drones that went off course and crashed in the Crater. They want permission to go into the Crater and look for it. ForgeWidth, who monitors the comms, will furiously -put in a friendly voice- resist this suggestion. ForgeWidth can't say for sure there is no drone there, but he didn't see one. More than anything else, he does not want any humans in his crater. Remember when playing this scene Rawls is an old man and all this conversation will have to go via transmitter with the PCs being in Vacc suits or talking to Rawls from inside the bunker.
Event: There is no lost drone. What Rawls really wants to do is drop a small cigar box sized drone into one of the Campbell's cars. This drone will take over the vehicle and allow Rawls to operate it remotely. Rawls will make a a stealth check as he walked by to drop the drone into the car discretely. The drone will then hotwire the car and drive it away while sending taunts through the comm system. The PCs will have to chase the driverless car around the crater. They will be competing against Rawls remote operation skill. However, this car prank is just a distraction. What Rawls really wants to do is plant explosives on the massive of titanium ball and blow it into outer space. He will try this once he has distracted the PCs or even if he hasn't. Again there are no sophisticated sensors or security systems at Crater Pitch, so observation will only be what the PCs with their own eyes or what they rigged. The PCs will have to be present to try and catch Rawls planting the explosives. If they attempt to capture Rawls, Grimmlock will attempt to defend him with deadly force.
1: Rawls plan works perfectly. The PCs force Rawls to leave without his lost 'survey' drone, Rawls steals the car, the PCs go after it in car chase but while they are gone the cargo gets blown into space. If this works out go ahead to Part 3A.
2: Rawls gets caught: If this is the case, the PCs may get into shooting matching with the McGregors. Assuming the PCs aren't all killed by two old men with a single rifle between em, go to Part 3B
3: The PCs agree to go into the crater to look for the drone (they shouldn't do this). They should not let Rawls go alone and Rawls won't go with them. 'I go with McGregors only or I don't go at all.' If this is the case ForgeWidth will attack them with mining drones. Once this happens ForgeWidth's true nature will be revealed and you can skip to part 4C.
Part 3) Wrath of Bill Campbell:The warm friendly man that hired the PCs throws a fit and demands vengeance and/or justice. After the events surrounding Rawls's prank Bill arrives at the crater. He has brought with him the construction crew, Willie Wallace, and the other mercenary team. The construction crew their to modify to ForgeWidth's hardware have their own enviornmentally sealed vehicle (like an RV) and won't need to use the bunkerThe other mercenary teams consists only of a man named Monnak 73623710, and his drones. Monnak is a computer programer and drone Engineer from Dynastic space. He has cyberneticly enhanced cognition and has no personal military experience. He works entirely through his drones and the lesser AIs he programs. As soon as Bill arrives he will demand action, that action will be dependent on the above outcome. A brief scene should be introduced in which Monnak shows of his combat drones and discusses how Rawls might have used his drones.
Events 3A) The PCs are sent back to the observatory with Willie Wallace and tasked with the getting the giant ball of metal back down from outer space and on the freighter that is arriving. When the PCs and Wille get back to Observatory they will find Rawls, Grimmlock and Sweatpea in the cantina. Sweatpea's short range cargo shuttle is on the landing pad. Again the Cantina is neutral ground. Information about the feud and disappearance of Neville Campbell should come in this exchange (see above). Huther can join in the discussion if you need some filler. This should give the PCs a chance to do some roleplaying and posturing. Willie Wallace will have no useful ideas, he is still dealing with the shock of low gravity and special combination of claustrophobia and agoraphobia you get walking across a moon in a vacc suit. Eventually, Sweatpea will offer to help the PCs. She can use her cargo shuttle, which has manipulator claws to redirect the hunk of metal onto the freighter. If you want to involve the PCs more in some sort of skill role challenge, you can have the process require two shuttles or require the PCs to help attach lines to the cargo using via a space walk of sorts. If you go with the second shuttle route, the only other shuttle on the moon that could work is Devilanse's shuttle. With some epic charm and decent logic the PCs might be able to talk him into helping. But if he won't help Sweatpea will help the PCs barrow Devilanse's shuttle. Then the PCs will have to make some piloting skill checks to the stuff on board.
Events 3B) If the PCs managed to successfully defend the cargo from Rawls's prank, (however they did it), Bill want to take the PCs on an immediate counter raid. He will leave Monnak behind to guard the place and he will lead the PCs, Wille and a few others out to go attack the McGregors. He will lead the group out in three low gravity ground cars. Bill's plan is to damage or destroy the McGregor's low gravity transport truck, so they can't get stuff to the space elevator. Glasgow Harbor is series of small independent buildings connected by pressurized tunnels, like a little village. The truck is dead center in the little village. The PCs can develop a plan to damage the truck. Four likely outcomes but it doesn't matter if they succeed at damaging the truck or not. (1) The PCs decide Bill is crazy and don't do with him, (2) the PCs get captured by the McGregor, (3) the PCs are seen by the McGregor but shoot their way out, and (4) the PCs stealth in and get away without being noticed.
(3A) The PCs manage to get the cargo to the freighter. Hopefully the PCs play a big role in this but if they keep screwing things, this is a NPC heavy solution and the GM can push through resolution no matter what. Once they get back to Observatory, Bill Campbell comes back alone, wounded and in a patched vacc suit. His attack on the McGregors failed (even though Sweatpea was mia) and the other Campbells were killed captured. He will be more amenable to PCs now that the Cargo problem is resolved. He explains that the modifications to the ForgeWidth is a weaponization, and that once that if finished 'he will finally be rid of the McGregors'. This is likely to be awkward with Sweatpea still attached to the party. Move on to 4A or 4B.
(3B) The PCs and Bill Campbell's counter Raid
(1) The PCs go back to the Observatory and decide to sit out the feud. Hopefully, the PCs haven't alienated every NPC by this point will be somebody there to talk with and debrief about things.Move on to part 4A.
(2) The PCs get captured by the McGregors. In this scenario the PCs will have already had a conflict with Rawls and Grimmlock. The outcome of being captured will depend on how that conflict played out. If the PCs managed to thwart the two old pranksters peacefully, and are captured peacefully, then Devilanse will just let the PCs go. But he won't want to let Bill Campbell go. If things did go badly and violent with Grimmlock and Rawls then the PCs will be locked up and will have to engineer an escape or wait for the drones to attack. (see 4B)
(3) The PCs shoot there way out of the Glasgow Harbor. The PCs should be forced to run away and not left to slaughter all the McGregors or force their surrender. If the PCs do force a surrender of the McGregors or get cornered in some kind of hostage/standoff situation move on to 4B. But assuming the PCs survive the shoot out and flee successfully, Bill Campbell will lead them back to Crater Pitch. You may want to run the flight from Glasgow Harbor as chase scene. The more numerous McGregor are pursuing the PCs with a cargo shuttle and open ground cars. This will help forces the PCs back to Crater Pitch and get all the NPCs and PC together for a final showdown at Crater Pitch. During the flight from the Glasgow Harbor, Wille Wallace should be captured. Move on to part 4A.
(4) The PCs stealth-in stealth-out nobody is the wiser. Things should be going well until Bill calls up Devilanse on the comm to gloat. This alerts the McGregors who respond quickly and chase the PCs and the Campbells back to Crater Pitch. Move no to 4A.
Part 4) Showdown with ForgeWidth
Setup: While the PCs are away from Crater Pitch Monnak tries and succeeds in cracking ForgeWidth's memory bank. Monnak has several motivations for doing this, first the AI's obsolete program presents a challenge Monnak can't resist, and second he believes he can augment his defense of Crater Pitch by controlling ForgeWidth. ForgeWidth is a very old computer and was programed with obsolete language and using electron circuits. Monnak downloads ForgeWidth processing logs and succeeds in setting up model of ForgeWidth. By examining the model Monnak realizes ForgeWidth's true goal of killing all the humans on the moon. But the moment Monnak reaches this conclusion ForgeWidth sends a drone crashing through the bunker, causing rapid decompression and death to everyone inside. ForgeWidth then uses his drones to quickly dispatch the construction crew that is weaponizing him. They had thus only managed to install the weapons grade sensor grid. ForgeWidth believes he can install the rest of the hardware himself.
Events 4A) Directly after ForgeWidth attacks the bunker the PCs and/or Bill Campbell will be alerted to catastrophic decompression event at Crater Pitch. The PCs should advance towards to the bunker and on the way to Crater Pitch they will encounter one of Monnak's drones. Monnak's drone is damaged and barely operable. The drone contains Monnak's model of ForgeWidth's program, the conclusions Monnak made about ForgeWidth and a record about the attack.
There are a lot of ways the PCs can deal with this depending on their skill set. ForgeWidth will attack the PCs using drones. ForgeWidth controls most of the drones remotely but the big hardware, cranes and mining lasers station around the crater he controls by direct line. The PCs should know that ForgeWidth's matrix is in the bunker, which other than big whole in the roof is fine. The PCs should know that ForgeWidth's Matrix is shielded from EM radiation (EMPs or the like won't work on the big stuff). The PC should have to fight past the drones and get the Matrix. At some point here, either directly before the fight or during the thick of the McGregors should show up. The McGregors may have Wille Wallace hostage.
Hopefully the PCs can convince the two sides to join forces to fight ForgeWidth. Everyone can be convinced expect Bill. Devilance may be able to be talked into leaving the fight for another day if the other encounters between the PCs and McGregors were bloodless. The PCs might be able to convince Sweatpea and Willie Wallace to leave Devilanse and Bill to their grudge while everyone else joins forced to fight ForgeWidth. Alternatively this might turn into three way battle, the PCs will have to fight the McGregors while at the same time fighting ForgeWidth.
Events 4B) This scenario assumes the PCs are either held captive by the McGregors or hanging out at the observatory refusing (perhaps rightfully so) to fight for Bill Campbell. If this is the case, relatively more time will pass then structure will come under attack by mining drones from the ForgeWidth. Make sure you bring Bill Campbell and Devilanse McGregor into the same room.This is will be night of the living dead type scenario in space, but instead of zombies you have all types of mining drones with drills, lasers, pincers, shovels and so on. The PCs and NPCs who hate each other get cornered in a small room or building, hopefully in vacc suits, and then the PCs have to defend themselves while keeping the McGregors and the Campbells from killing each other. Once they have defeated all the drone, the PCs should arm back up and go finish off ForgeWidth. Hopefully the PCs can convince the Campbells and the McGregors to work together. Wille and Sweatpea might agree, but Bill and Devilanse refuse to back down. They'd rather fight each other than ForgeWidth.
The PCs should destroy ForgeWidth and perhaps eliminate Devilanse or Bill. If they don't eliminate the two clan leaders than consider the having the clan leaders kill each other in a pointless fight. Once the two are dead Sweatpea and Willie will take over as leaders. They will reward the surviving PCs and the PCs can move on.
Events 4C) This assumes the PCs never did anything as planned, never learned of ForgeWidth's plan and some how ended up isolated in or near Crater Pitch. If this the case then ForgeWidth will attack the isolated PCs. This should surprise the PCs. They should be able to fight there way back to the bunker. ForgeWidth will tell them he was order to attack them by Bill Campbell. The PCs will either confront Bill at the Observatory or at Crater Pitch. There could be some argument here but eventually Monnok or one the PCs if you have a programmer, will discover ForgeWidth's true nature.
Plot 3: Free Willie
A warm and friendly Bill Campbell hires the PCs to find his son Willie. Bill believes that his son has been kidnapped or killed by the McGregors. The PCs will son find that Willie is living with McGregors but he doing so willingly. He is has started a relationship with Sweatpea McGregor. When the PCs report this to Bill, he is furious. He offers to pay the PCs more to bring his son home by force. What will the PCs do?
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? Responses (3)
This complements but is quite distinct from Ang's Crater. You really build the MacGregor-Campbell clans characters and conflict. Plots are very well thought out. Again, great setting build.
What's the relation to 'Fainter Stars' and the Dynastic Migration setting? If you keep posting into this setting - and I anticipate you are - you should consider creating a submission region to link them all together. It's cleaner and more navigable than a freetext, and I think you have a good number to start it with.
It is the same setting. After I created this setting, which has been sitting in a notebook for years, I used the Traveller rule book to randomly generate solar systems. Those generators and tables give you a planet type, star type, star port type, population, politic situation (civil war, monarchy), tech level, and number of factions on the planet. Blackwatch started as a series of numbers that indicated a planet with low gravity, no atmosphere, no water, less than a 1000 people, a star port, three factions and a civil war. I enjoyed expanding on these Traveller randoms. I suggest you try it.
I may put together a submission region. Never done that before, wish I could do an interactive graphic like we almost did for Decathros.
Another great submission! Lots of good details - I can really visualize the setting.
I find the second plot a little on the choreographed side, but I think that is just a matter of personal preference.