This is a small dungeon for Sea of Stars, meant to be one of the introductory dungeons to The Frozen City. It's set on the mostly abandoned ice planet of Iolos, but it could easily be transplanted to any other desolate, icy waste with minimal effort, as long as you don't mind the players getting their hands on laser weapons and other nifty things.
This is a huge, steel door that has a passcode locked door next to it. If someone's PDA is loaded with the codes AE Inc. left behind, he will be able to operate this door. However, that is not necessary now, as this door is currently unlocked. The first door leads to a second door, which leads to a long hallway dotted with doors.
Entering the hallway, the first thing you will notice is the freezing temperatures. The entire Research Station is as cold as outside, but there is no wind, obviously. If you aren't moving, you take 1 cold damage a round. If you are, you take 1 cold damage a minute spent here. There is also still power present in the system, as there is a control switch on the wall by the airlock's entrance. If you use the panel, you can turn on the emergency power, but you'll have to boot up the reactor to turn on the rest of the lights, as well as the heating.
You find one other thing in this hall, a corpse. The corpse is frozen solid, wearing overalls and carrying a PDA. The corpse looks like it was killed by laser fire. If you check the PDA, you will find it is dead, but the name inscribed on it is "Otto Klavan".
Secretly, Otto Klavan is a Cyber-Dead. If the power and heat is turned back on, his cybernetics will be able to move again and he will animate to try and kill the players. If Otto Klavan animates, he will also be able to signal to the Extermination Squad, also composed of Cyber-Dead, that there are people in their base, and they will return.
HD 2 AC as armor (Klavan 10) Atk as Weapon (Klavan Fist (+0, 1d6 CON from strangulation))
Mor Stand and fight on a 20 or less Saves 7 or less is a success
False Undead: Not actually Undead. Closer to a robot. Affected by things that could damage electronics. Takes double damage from electricity.
Radio-Controlled: Need antennaes to talk to each other or be within range. Destroying their antennaes will prevent them from communicating with each other.
Under Control: The Cyber-Dead are always taking orders from someone, they cannot act independently. These Cyber-Dead are taking orders from Samuel Carter.
- Follow orders
- Work together
- Be efficient
The Cyber-Dead in the Extermination Squad have an AC of 13 from their environmental suits and laser rifles that deal 2d6 damage, with a save permitted on the target's behalf.
Here you will find racks of supplies and shelves full of what you would need to survive outside, as well as other tools meant to repair the airlock or the equipment in this room. There are wrenches, handheld metal cutters and a small plasma torch. There is also 1d10 Environmental Suits in this room, but 1d8 of them are broken, with holes in them, slashed off limbs, or broken visor glass. There is also an large prybar in this room, its point and hook sharpened to a razor's edge. This prybar has seen heavy use and not for its intended purpose.
This room resembles a cryo-bank, where the bodies of sleeping humans would be kept "on ice" until they needed to be awakened. These tanks are smaller though, as they are meant for Iolan Hounds, a special breed of dog designed by Strange that can endure the Iolan cold for up to an hour, before they die.
However, of the dozen tanks here, most of them have been smashed, with bits of glass and frozen fluid covering the ground. Of the three intact tanks, two of them have dogs that read as alive, but that is only because they are in their tanks. Those two dogs are horribly mutated, deformed in impossible ways. If the tanks are drained and the dogs released, they will swiftly die, painfully. One of the dogs appears to be totally fine though.
This dog is actually completely normal, but Carter will treat it like it is a monster. The dog also is wearing a collar inside the tank, with a data crystal hanging from it.
4: Observation Room
This room is dominated by a series of holo-displays and 2D viewscreens, all of them currently off. There are also signs of a struggle in this room- small holes from laser bolts in the walls, frozen blood on some of the displays, one of the terminals has even been destroyed by what looks like a bullet. If power is restored, the undamaged displays will flicker on and display an incredible amount of meteorological and climatological data about Iolos. There will also be notices from the computer system that something called the "Climate Engine" has been disabled. There is little information on what the Climate Engine is on these computers. In fact, the computers will be unable to connect to most of the files they claim to have- if any of the files are selected, there is an 80% 1-16 on a d20, that the computer will return an error message and say a link to the file location could not be made.
The computers, if power is restored can also access the New Bethel network, but that is likely to be a terrible idea. If this is done, the terminal can grant access to the decaying remains of that network. To determine what pages that are still operational, have the player roll 1d6.
You have accessed...
1- Company News Bulletin. Currently advertising in the "Spring formal", a viewing of an ancient movie and great deals on Flash-frozen shellfish.
2- A-book; company social media. Full of social media profiles of people almost certainly long dead.
3- Engineering & Maintenance Database. An absolute treasure trove of data, were it not for the fact that most of this data is inaccessible without the proper codes. Even if these can be overriden, without extensive technical knowledge, it's mostly gibberish.
4- Company Store page. Currently down for maintenance.
5- Lowfloaters; a page for renting hoverboards. The site still seems to be up, but any attempt to leave the homepage results in an error message and sending you back.
6- One Man's Trash; an Ebay style site for selling junk second-hand. Seems mostly functional, though there are no new bids and every product listed would be over a century and a half old by now.
Additionally, for every website you access, there is a 2-in-6 chance one of the AIs contacts you. If one of the AI does so, there is a 4-in-6 chance it is "Emerson Dale", an insane AI pretending to be a long-dead psychologist and former co-director of the Artificial Ecosystems Inc. colony. If it is not "him", it will be New Bethel Controller, the AI once in charge of managing the colony, now limping along with limited resoures, still trying in vain to pursue its primary directives.
"Emerson Dale" will ask the players what they want and if he thinks that they could be useful to his plans, he will try to lure them to the Frozen City proper. He will tell them anything to do this, but he will avoid lying, if possible.
New Bethel Controller will do the opposite and tell them the city is not suitable for human habitation. It will also ask them to contact the Board of Directors on Birova and ask them to send help. New Bethel Controller is unaware of the fact that Artificial Ecosystems Inc. collapsed shortly after the colony did and left the Governor of the Company and the 3 Vice-Governors of the same, along with most of their employees, stranded and presumed dead on an otherwise uninhabited world.
Finally, if the players spend any time at all poking around here, their is a 1d10% chance, starting at 1 and increasing by 1 per minute, that they will find their computer system hijacked by Samuel Carter, who interjects himself into their transmission. Whatever they are doing will be cut off and all the screens will turn red. A blank icon will pop up, displaying no holographic projection, only the icon to indicate a conversation is taking place. A mechanical voice will begin speaking to the players, being at first, syrupy-sweet, but quickly growing more hostile. The voice, flatly and emotionlessly, begin to rant and rave about Lightner. It will play him for the colony's collapse and will accuse you of being Lightner's servants. It will then describe in vivid, sadistic detail what is means to do with you, once it catches you.
This is Samuel Carter, a cyborg and complete madman, driven insane by the colony's collapse. But more on him below.
5: Electrical Room
This room is full of electrical equipment, large panels, dense bundles of wires and several terminals showing information relating to the electrical system. If you want to control the electrical systems from here, such as shutting stuff down or permanently breaking stuff, this is the place to do it. Otherwise, there is little of interest in the bare room.
This room is huge, with vaulted ceilings, dominated by a huge, slowly rotating metal sphere, with thick cables and pipes extending out of the largely stationary top and bottom. There is a catwalk wrapping around the inside circumference of this room, with stairs leading up to it, allowing one to walk around the metal sphere. There are also some terminals at ground level, displaying various numbers and other pieces of information about the sphere in front of you, which is actually the Station's main reactor, a nuclear fusion reactor. Right now the reactor is operating at 5% capacity, enough to power this facility's emergency systems, but that's it. You can activate the reactor and bring it up to full power, to turn on the rest of the lights and the heat.
Finally, of the 20 or so Cyber-Dead in the extermination squad, 8 are outside, running around looking for victims, while the other 12 are here. They are sprawled in various locations, some concealed on the upper catwalks, others seated at the terminals. These Cyber-Dead do not carry their laser rifles, those are stored elsewhere. Half of them are equipped with Civitas Pattern Laser Pistols, but the rest must rely on scavenged tools of their cold hands. They are wearing environment suits with their visors down, so it is impossible to tell what they look like without removing their suits. Their suits are functional though, and warm. Additionally, they are all connected to the reactor by what looks like dense cables sticking out of ports in their suits, places where the charger for the battery would usually be inserted. They all lie motionless, with no sounds audible except for the hum of electricity and the slow rotation of the sphere.
The Cyber-Dead, unless alerted by Carter, must pass a saving throw to wake up when someone enters this room, unless the creature in question just stomps in and starts behaving like a bull in a china shop.
7: Server Room
This room was once a server room, composed of a large, concrete cube with four large server cages. One of these cages has been totally destroyed, the doors ripped off and the insides riddled with laser fire and smashed apart, bits of shattered computer chips scattered across the floor. The other three show minor damage from laser fire, but otherwise seem mostly intact and functional.
There is also a heap of frozen corpses concealed behind one of the server racks, the bodies flung haphazardly on the ground. The bodies were not looted and are still dressed in AE Inc. jumpsuits. Most appear to have died from laserfire, but some looked like they were smashed with a blunt instrument. It's a horrific scene. Anyone who sees it suffers Trauma and gains 1 piece of Emotional Baggage, filling a memory slot.
Each corpse still has some possessions on them, so if you loot them, you can gain a PDA from each of them, with each one containing 1d20 CC (Compact Credits or just Credits, the human currency on most worlds). If you look at the PDAs though, which you will need to find the corpse's credits, you will find out who this corpse was and suffer Trauma, gaining more Emotional Baggage.
If this gets too bad you will start to suffer from Mental Overexertion and might start to forget crucial stuff.
8: Communication Hub
This room formerly hosted all the communication equipment for this Station. It was a small office area resembling a store room, full of reference manuals, data crystals, a small light and large pieces of equipment that any techie or reasonably educated person could identify as a long-range Comms equipment.
However, it looks like this room has experienced a small, indoor hurricane. The manuals made of paper have been partially burned or had pages torn out and shredded. Many of the data crystals have been scattered across the floor, some burned by laser fire, others ground underfoot. The Comms equipment has been shot and smashed, the front panels ripped off to expose the blinking internal circuitry, which was torn out and scattered across the floor.
This room also holds the severed head of a female cyborg, the neck stump ragged, frozen blood covering the ground around it. The head is frozen in an expression of terror, the wires inlaid into the woman's face gleaming as you hold it up to the light. This head has a computer in it, still loaded with fragments of the cyborg's memories. However, most of that information has been corrupted by a nasty piece of scrap-code, which is virtually guaranteed to screw up any machine that it is connected to.
9: Common Room
This room once housed a large fish tank, several overstuffed chairs, a pair of sofas and a love seat, as well as a faux fireplace and several bookshelves, crowded with books of the paper and glass variety. However, since that time, this place has endured significant damage. The fish tank was broken, the water and fish freezing solid on the floor, the couches damaged by laser fire, the chairs overturned, the bookshelves having fallen onto the ground, scattering volumes across the carpet, now stiff as thin steel plate. The books are mostly old fiction, some of it recognizable to the players, most of it a product of its time.
There is also a frozen corpse concealed behind one of the sofas, but it looks, different than the others. It is clearly dead, but it doesn't look like it was killed in the normal way. No laser fire or blunt instruments- instead, the corpse looks hollow. The skin is still intact, but most of the muscles and internal tissue has been removed, leaving a large hollow in its place. Something else, killed this thing.
These rooms are pretty standard, public bathrooms with sinks, four toilets apiece and four showers each.
This bathroom has several urinals installed in it, with a crystal screen installed right above them, at eye-level. This screen, if the power is activated, will play a series of calming advertisements. But if you stay and watch them, they will get faster and faster, mincing the words together. Eventually, the people in the advertisements will begin to say the words "Kill Me" over and over, until the display dies and the lights in the bathroom go out.
Nothing else will happen, this is an empty threat. Don't act like it is though.
The mirror in this bathroom has been slagged by lasers and there are laser burns on the inside of one of the showers. If you investigate that shower further you will find a small data crystal embedded in it. The data crystal records the Last Will and Testament of one Rebecca Pryce. Rebecca was a soldier who was hired to act as security. She laments the fact that she failed. She desires that her remaining Credits be given to her half-brother, Leo Jacques [Jack-es] and that her Palatine be given to her son, Martin Pryce. She says she'd give him her armor too, but she doubt it'd fit. She laughs bitterly at that. Then, before she can continue, someone bursts into the room in her recording. She begins cursing and firing and that's when the transmission cuts out. Her credits have already been transferred to this crystal.
This area is full of unused hospital gurneys, about six in number, several overturned, medical equipment scattered across the floor. Some of the more expensive equipment is still safely secured in its cabinet, but everything that was out has been damaged with laser fire or thrown down and knocked over. Some of the machines look like someone took an axe to them.
There is also a pair of cryogenic tanks at the rear of the medbay, one empty, the other currently occupied. If opened, the dashing, well-meaning and mostly useless Lana Taylor spills out. She is a young woman, biologically in her mid-20s, chronologically 170 years old and horribly traumatized. She will begin rambling about how Samuel Carter went insane, how they started getting strange signals from the colony, how he just started trying to kill him, they released the weapon, they had no choice. She won't be able to give a straight answer for a while though, not until she's been taken to safety.
This is where the people who lived at this station slept. Each dorm is a small room, suitable for one person, but pretty cramped. Each room contains a bed; a closet; some drawers, located under the bed; and a small crystal screen to which the company's intranet could be accessed or media could be watched. The rooms are mostly undisturbed, with most of the dead never getting a chance to touch their possessions once the chaos began.
This room contains...
1- An undisturbed, fluffy quilt with many pillows and stuffed animals. The bed is made and the walls have been decorated with plastic flowers. The closet is full of cute dresses, blouses and tops.
2- A messy bed with frozen crumbs still scattered across the sheets. The drawers are crammed with unfolded clothes. There is dark chocolate concealed in her underwear, possibly still edible.
3- A bed with a large laser burn in the blanket and a scorch mark on the mattress. It's impossible, but you can imagine the smell of the burnt meat, even now. This apparently lit her clothes on fire, as her drawers and bed have been partially destroyed, her wardrobe largely reduced to ashes.
4- A destroyed room. The mattress is still on the bed, but the drawers have been pulled out and thrown into the hall. The clothes are the same way. The walls are covered in mad scribblings and drawings. You can see repeating motifs; three figures standing in a triangular formation, one taller, looking up toward the sky, the other two smaller, one holding a knife, the other a spiky club, looking up at the figure with its eyes up; a black sun with small figures cowering beneath it, fleeing or maybe bowing; a burning star, descending toward a scene of what looks like an execution. Along with this, there are scribbles in a language the players can read, "HAA HAA HAA" and "Guess Who Was Right?"
5- Rebecca Pryce's room. A spartan room, an uncharged display slate next to it. In her drawers, you will find a security guard's armor and a Palatine Laser Pistol.
6- This room is decorated by a cross made of black metal. It conceals a data crystal that shows graphic recreations of what the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus might have looked like. The bed is unmade, her clothes disorganized. Another data crystal is concealed in one of the shoeboxes in the closet. This one is full of violent pornography.
This room contains...
1- A pristinely made bed. Weights for exercising. A yoga mat. Guides to stretching.
2- A Quran, printed in classic Arabic and modern Human dialect. A prayer rug. A chart on the walls to determine which way Mecca was. Also, concealed in the drawers, you will find a pizza covered in bacon bits and a data crystal containing dozens of recipes for shellfish dishes.
3- It's just a sloppy room. The bed is unmade, there are no decorations and there is a sock left laying in the middle of the floor. No one will ever pick it up again.
4- A room decorated by an absolute aesthete. The walls are covered in silk draperies, the bed covered in 1000 thread count sheets made of the finest cotton. There are dozens of perfumes, an extensive make-up kit and some absolutely fabulous outfits in the drawers or hanging in the closet.
5- A room with a charred corpse sitting cross-legged in the midst of a room that was burnt to ashes, leaving nothing but the concrete shell behind. The corpse seems to be grinning at you. When you touch it, it falls over, breaking into pieces. Otherwise, no other effect.
6- This room is full of genre fiction and spray-on posters of famous holo-stars from some of the sleazier, lower budget entries into humanity's self depiction. Any fan of trashy movies will notice quite a few gems in this man's taste. He specifically likes films involving humanimal women and ordinary human males. Some of this stuff could be valuable, but most of it is probably just junk.
13: Married Dormitory
This room is sub-divided into three smaller rooms, two empty and largely pristine. There is a Civitas Pattern Laser Pistol laying in the wall, along with a smear of blood. There is a PDA sitting in the corner, cracked and stained with frozen blood. There is also a blood trail leading to one of the rooms. Inside, there is a room that looks like it was ransacked. The small chest of drawers has been pulled open, clothes dumped out onto the ground, the mattress lifted up and thrown aside, the monitor on the wall smashed to bits, the baby's cradle half-smashed to fragments. And blood, everywhere. So much blood. It coats every surface, frozen.
There is a small data crystal connected to the destroyed monitor. If removed, it can be read. The crystal contains a video of a man sitting in the remnant of this destroyed room, though in this version, the blood is still fresh. The man is short, with brown hair, a thick mustache and sharp, green eyes. He is sitting on tbe bedframe, staring off into space, mumbling. Then he begins to speak. "I am Arwin DeGaul. I am Arwin DeGaul. I am Arwin DeGaul. I am Arwin DeGaul." He repeats this for about a minute, then smiles into the camera. "Darling, where are you? Why did you leave? Surely you're not frightened of me, are you?" He cackles at that. "No, of course not," he continues. "But I need to know: where is my baby girl. What have you done with my darling Eve?" He stomps over to the monitor and seems to wrench it off the wall, the attached camera recording a close-up of his face, now twisted into a snarl. "Where did you put her! Where? Where? Where?" Then after a minute, Arwin DeGaul seems to recognize the absurdity of his actions. He smiles grimly at the camera, carefully replacing the monitor on the wall. He goes to turn away for a second, then turns and punches the monitor. At this, the feed cuts out.
The PDA records a much different situation. It shows that same man, not coated in blood and holding his Civitas pistol, hiding in the door frame, looking out anxiously. He says, "Melody, I need you to get Eve out of here. You go ahead, I will be right behind you. Head out through the back and take one of the caterpillars. Get to Bethel, it should be safe there. I will be right behind you. I love you." All the while he's talking, you can hear laser fire in the distance, along with screaming and the sound of flesh tearing. He turns back to the camera. "I thought we understood it, with the implants, it was the same principle. I thought, maybe, we could control it. I was so, so-" just then, the sound of an automatic door opening comes to his ears. He turns and looks in the direction, his expression suddenly aghast. He starts screaming and firing wildly, a terrifying sound filling the speakers. The feed cuts out abruptly after.
This kitchen was a large, industrial kitchen meant to prepare enough food for up to 50 people. It is only slightly damaged, with only a few laser holes in the walls. There is some food still in the freezer and refrigerator, but its long past its freshness date, though much of it is still edible. It would just taste like garbage.
There is also a Cooking robot slumped against one of the walls, still equipped with a flambe torch and four dexterous arms. If inspected, one will discover that this robot has been recently cared for and is still operational. If pulled up off stand-by mode, it will demand an authorization code, asking why they are in the kitchen. The players, if they paid attention at the briefing, should be able to recall an authorization code. If they can present this, the robot will welcome them and ask them if it can help. It can cook them some food, if they like.
The robot has also been programmed for combat, but it was ordered not to reveal this. If Samuel Carter is endangered, then he will call this robot, along with the remaining Cyber-Dead into "15" to protect them.
HD 2 AC 14 Atk Kitchen Knives (+0, 1d6, 1d6, 1d6) or Flambe Torch (1d10 fire, save for half)
Mor Stand and fight on a 20 or less Saves 8 or less is a success
Vulnerable to electrical damage
Resistance to fire and cold
Robots: Robots do not need to eat, drink, sleep or breathe. They do not possess minds to read or influence with magic, so they ignore all charm, fear or other spells that affect the mind. They do not get scared or tired.
Programmed: This robot is programmed to obey orders from Samuel Carter and other AE Inc. employees, overriding orders from lower members by higher ones. The robot is also programmed on how to fight and prepare food.
- Follow orders
- Be predictable
- Have no concept of fear or self preservation
This was once a garden, a communal space for farming, but now it has become a graveyard. This space that would once have been full of plants is now covered in frost. There are beds of flowers, frozen stiff and wrapped in frost, a broken tree with icicles dangling from its branches, and a series of furrowed fields meant to be planted. There is nothing in these fields though.
There is also a large cryo-tank, surrounded by a crude, steel shell, the scavenged plates clumsily attached to each other. This cryo-tank is hooked up to a series of cables, each one running across the frozen ground. As you approach, a holographic projection of Samuel Carter will appear to you, the image of a powerfully built cyborg man, with wild eyes and a shaved head. His arm and face have partially been replaced by robotics. He will assure you that the agents of Lightner will not find him such easy prey. "You may have killed everyone else, but you missed one," he will declare. Then he will summon his minions and order them to kill you. He will also use the turret he is connected to open fire on you.
Samuel Carter presents himself as powerful, but in actuality, he is incredibly weak, physically and spiritually. He is tormented by guilt, driven mad by what he had to do. As you fight him, he will alternate between begging for the player's forgiveness and making blood-curdling declarations that he will kill them, for they are the real villains. He blames himself because he is the one who unleashed 'The Damned Thing' and partially as a result of that, everyone is dead. Carter also killed quite a few of them himself. The thing turned on him in the end though, destroying his body and forcing him to place his own body in cryo-storage, while his mind continued interfacing with the computer systems. If his tank is shattered or his life support cut, he will quickly die. He is basically a brain in a jar, except the rest of his body is mostly still there, just damaged completely beyond repair. His body could be put back together, in theory, but how that could be done, no one really knows.
Every round, Samuel Carter says something completely mad.
What does he say?
1- "You murderers! How dare you crush our dream! We were going to build a paradise here, amidst the snow and ice."
2- "I didn't know it was a weapon. We used it as a tool of healing, based designs off of it. We didn't know!"
3- "Lightner! It's all his fault. He never cared about us, we were just meat for the grinder, as far as he was concerned!"
4- "I will make a coat of your skins. Then I will finally be able to leave."
5- "It hurts so badly. Why does it hurt? Where is my skin?"
6- "Finish it, you cowards."
HD 1 AC 10 Atk Heavy Stubber (1d12/1d12, save for half)
Mor Stand and fight on a 20 or less Saves 8 or less is a success
Armor: Samuel Carter has crude steel armor strapped around his tank. This armor has 3 HD and takes half damage from all non-heavy ranged weapons. It is also immune to all melee weapons that couldn't cut through an inch of steel plate. But the armor itself is poorly assembled and put in place and a successful DC 15 STR check can reduce the armor's HD by 1. When the armor's HD is reduced to zero, you can directly attack Samuel Carter.
Immobile: Carter is confined a cryo-chamber and cannot move. If the tank were to be punctured, he would die quickly afterward. If it were opened, he would die in minutes. He is almost totally helpless outside it.
Cables: Carter's tank is connected to three different cables. One connects him to the Station's intranet and if destroyed, it would prevent him from giving his minions orders. The second connects him to his Stubber. If it was destroyed, he would be unable to attack. The third is a series of hoses connected to his cryo-tank. If these are damaged, Carter will begin taking 1 damage a minute until he dies.
- Scream, rant and rave
- Protect the cables
- Use your Stubber to keep the enemy at bay, while minions come up behind them
This is a small storeroom crammed full of metal shelves, full of spoiled or expired food products. What is still technically edible has been frozen solid for over a century and is probably still inedible. Additionally, most of the shelves have been knocked over, spilling flour and meal across the ground. If you lift up this stuff to clear a path through, you will see in the layer of flour covering the floor (now frozen stiff as pressboard) someone wrote the words with their finger, "I killed Sam Carter. Now, I kill you."
Monday, December 9, 2019
SOS: Dungeon- AE Inc. Climate Research Station #4
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