Saturday, December 16, 2023

CHV Natani: Shady Dealings and Ominous Portents

This is the third campaign report from my CHV Natani campaign, which is played using White Star, an OSR space opera game based on Swords & Wizardry. This a summary of the fourth and fifth sessions of the campaign. You can see the session zero and session one here, and sessions two and three here.

Session 4: December 4th: Ice Pirates

Shortly after finishing the asteroid scan, Leedo was alarmed to hear noises coming from Dr. K'twik's cryo tube. The alien tomb raider screamed, glowed, and then suddenly imploded into a mass of goo and bone fragments.

Leedo asked Iria and Roth to examine it, which left Iria vomiting and mildly traumatized. She vowed never to listed to Leedo if he said "look at this" ever again.

Before parting the Veles Sector, the Natani set down on the colony of Veles VIII; the inhabitants of Veles VIII are a group of eccentrics and anarchists who call themselves the Ice Pirates, and do their best to imitate a mashup of alien piratical subcultures throughout history,

The team agreed to split, up and get tasks done quickly, while Iria, feeling ill, decided to take a rest in the cryo tank on its restorative cycle.

Once in, Kuna made his way to the Friend Co. terminal to collect his pay for refuelling the Yszwa and then the system exchange terminal to collect pay of his navigational scans of the outer belt. While he was there a shady alien in a fedora approached him and asked if he was interested in moving some Tarelian Brandy, an expensive but controlled substance known to get those drunk on it into either  homicidal ranges, or sexual manias... depending on body chemistry. Illegal in some systems, and controlled by special import licenses in others. Kuna asked the alien to wait so he could do his research.

Ciara headed to the local bar, and stationed herself there to check in on the matter of the Arnold Rimmer. After advertising her location, she was approached by a woman calling herself Tweet, who serves as a local Scramble Net admin who had lost a friend on the 'Rimmer. A group of friends of the ship were unable to pay them, but granted Ciara a permanent access key to the Scramble Net (usually something you have to get by earning the trust of pirates, smugglers, or anarchist cells) and offered to give them some advanced sensor and comms hardware that had been intended for the Arnold Rimmer. Ciara arranged a time for the Uttin work crew to get things sorted.

Leedo sought out the local CrushCo. rep... a dangerous job on a pirate colony, even one that is a permanent drunken LARP, like Veles VIII. The cyborg rep was running a shop selling weapon mods and used robot parts, with CrushCo. being a side gig. He was quick to threaen any incoming customers with a number of automated weapons mounted on the store and his body.

It took Leedo presenting evidence to persuade the rep that the jar of goo he held was, in fact, a substantial portion of what was once Dr. K'twik. Once he collected the bounty, he headed to the local bar in hopes of meeting up with Ciara, only to be accosted by a thin, greasy man, that offered him a substantial sum for the artifacts Dr. K'twik had with them. Seeing an opportunity, Leedo lured the man to a corner to speak to him, then clubbed him over the had, and dragged him back to the Natani and stuffed him in a cryochamber.

The PCs converged on the ship long enough to discuss the matter of the Tarelian Brandy. Ciara's research mentioned that Cascadia and most of its surrounding systems require a special importer license that would cost 500cr (about a quarter of their cash.) Seeing an opportunity, Ciara asked Kuna to take him to talk to the alien.

Wampa from The Empire Strikes Back
On return the PCs ran headlong into a loose snow monster (think a wampa or a yeti) that was tearing its way across the promenade after escaping from a warehouse where it was being stored for the upcoming Ice Games. As the commander of the station, Commodore Quuhod, bellowed out offers of rewards for killing the creature.Running into wild drunken crossfire, Leedo swiftly beheaded the beast (while taking a few grazing laser blasts) and claimed the ward.

The alien, named D'vorgan had 37 cases of Tarelian Brandy to move, he was willing to sell at 480cr, and in Cascadia it goes for 600cr - 750cr. The problems were a matter of cashflow. After some shrewd negotiation Ciara convinced D'vorgan to take The Natani itself as Collateral if he would pay for the license and accept an additional small percentage of their profit.

Meanwhile, Leedo discussed his encounter with the CrushCo. representative, and got him to put out feelers to see if he could get the original empoyer for the bounty on Dr.K'twik might also be interested in buying the buyer.

Session 5: December 11th: The Crabs of Doom

The Natani set course for the Solara Vortex system, a radioactive system that specializes in collecting radioisotopes and solar energy, with a small population, few regulations, and cheap antimatter for a stop-over on their way to Cascadia.

During the Hyperspace journey, accidental damage to one of their hover flats causes a melt to begin on their cargo of 72 tons of crustaceans. While the PCs were thinking of their cargo as "Shrimp" the creatures they were transporting are large, dangerous alien life used in a ritual combat and feast. As Kuna inspected the thawing block, he discovered signs that at least one escaped.

This was about the time that Ciara started screaming.

As he sprinted for the command deck Kuna shouted over the comms: "Look, I know you're being attacked right now, but try not to kill it... it's worth money."

Triops slready look strange and alien enough,
I really only had to make them bigger & meaner.
They're arachnids, not crustaceans, but that's a
minor quibble. CC image Wikimedia Commons 
Ciara in the meantime was dealing with an aggressive 20-kilo triops trying to bite her face. Screaming bloody blue murder she managed to keep the thing at arms distance, then launch it with her legs into a pile of junk in the corner of their technical room. Closing herself in a tool cupboard, she screamed at Roth, Leedo, and Tazik to deal with it. Tazik quickly managed to fish the monstrosity out of the old computer parts and hau lt it down o the cryonic hover flat, and pinned it against the gap in the ice until the systems in the flat froze it back into the block.

The PCs noticed that Pavo was laying in a heap in one corner; and more tracks led elsewhere into the ship. Leedo is an expert tracker, and led the PCs quickly to where it was lurking in one of the berths. The PCs decided to make a lot of noise and be armed befre opening the door.

The hulking monstrosity that burst from the door was much more powerful than they expected, sitting at 3m tall and weighing about 150kg. Leedo, however was pinpoint accurate with his claws and caught it in a sensitive nerve cluster, knocking it long enough for Tazik, Roth, And Roth to pin it and drag it en masse  back to the pallet.

(Prematurely ending my Alien parody, sadly. Avrae was generous with the nat. 20s)

As they continued cruising through hyperspace, their advanced sensors allowed them to detect another vessel trailing them on an intercept course that would allow them to catch up in three days, long before they could translate to N-Space at Solara Vortex.

To make sure this vessel, which Ciara managed to identify as the Dusk of Hope - a private light cruiser with not many records of its activity, was really following them, Kuna decided to pull a dangerous stunt, and jump out of hyperspace in open void, make a fast course change and go flat out on reaction drives until they hyperdrive could be spooled up again, and then return to hyperspace on a new vector.

As expected, the Dusk of Hope translated into N-space just as the Natani was jumping again. It took several hours for the Dusk of Hope to return to an intercept course, buying the Natani a full extra day of separation.

They decided to establish a connection to the Dusk of Hope using the Quantum Internet,.. which can communicate across any distance - even in hypserspace - but has a speed and bandwidth comparable to 1990s dial-up.

The voice at the other end of their VoQI call offered them 2250 credis for the artifacts from Dr. K'twik and Mr. Darric. The last request puzzled must of the crew, until Iria asked

"You mean the strange guy I woke up next to?"

When the snickering and innuendo subsided and she specified that there was a strange guy in the  cryo-tubes all eyes fell on Leedo, who confessed that, while he is a qualified medic, he has been using the Natani as a platform for his bounty hunting.

Kuna was, as expected, cool with it all, as long as the truth was told. Arguments over whether the crew ought to be getting a cut to be handled later.

Leedo cot into a call with the CrushCo rep on Veles VIII and asked him to pressure the Rykelian Institute of Archaeoxenology - the original bounty givers - to make an offer on Mr. Darric and the artifacts. They came back with an offer of 1,425 cr. Leedo pressured them, explaining he had a higher bid. To which the Academy scolded him and demanded that he "do the right thing" and return the artifacts to the academy for study and the betterment of all species.

Which, of course, meant the Natani set terms to sell the items to the Dusk of Hope when they reached Solara Vortex. As a sign of good faith, the Dusk adjusteed course, giving the Natani five days to plan how to make sure when this mysterious organization double-cross them, they will be ready...

Space Lobstrosities

Space Lobstrosity, lesser: #App: 3-12; HD 2; AC 5 [15]; Att: bite (1d4 + face hug); MV: 12; ML7; AL: N

Face Hug: When a lesser Space lobstrosity hits with an attack it can choose to wrap its limbs around a targets head. Any attacks against the lobstrosity has a 50% chance of hitting its victim instead. It automatically does bite damage. Anyone may attempt to remove it by makin a successful save v.s Paralysis.

Space Lobstrosity, greater: #App: 1-3; HD 5; AC 3 [17]; Att: 2 claws (1d6) and bite (1d3); SP: Feast of Heroes; MV: 8; ML 8; AL N

Feast of Heroes: any character eaing a dish made out of the flesh of a freshly-killed greater loobstrosity gains 2d8 temporary hit points and a +2 to saving throws for 24 hours.


  1. Replies
    1. I am mashing all kinds of silliness in there. Right now, I am planning for a slew of Critters references, and possibly some beats from Arena and Space Truckers.