Twilight Shadows on the Bright Face

By: Paul Dale (
Adventure for Traveller

Some portions of this module have been extracted from the Traveller Double Adventure: Across the Bright Face/Mission on Mithril. These bits are copyright FarFuture Enterprises / Marc Miller. You will need to access this book to be able to use this adventure properly.

The rest of the adventure was written by Paul Dale as the Traveller adventure at Minicon-1, Easter 1996. Feedback and comments are welcome.


These bits are for the players to read at the start of the session.

These sections are not for the players eyes. The character backgrounds are to be handed individually out to the players. Some of the information on these is secret.


You were performing a routine class III survey of the world 871-438 (0710-E700000-0) in the Jewel subsector of the Spinward Marches. The world was thought to be a worthless hunk of rock and your survey seems to justify this belief. After eight weeks of intensive and very dull surveying of the world, you have produced a reasonable quality topographic map of the entire surface. Three locations generated anomalous sensor readings when scanned. However, due to a shortage of time Travil, the mission commander, decided to not investigate these aberrations. His recommendation is for a fully equipped survey team to be dispatched to perform a highly detailed investigation. Given the exciting quality of this world, such an investigation is unlikely to be undertaken for a very long time.

The survey completed, your Serpent class Scout, The Blackened Asp, makes it way out to the hundred diameter limit in preparation for the jump back to the main stream of society.

Reaching the jump point, you energise your jump drive and in a rather impressive display of pyrotechnics, nothing happens. No stomach tearing wrench as you leave normality for the soul rending emptiness of jump space.

Actually quite a lot happened. The Asp's jump drive overloads and heaps of circuits fuse into a large molten pile. Your power plant decides that continued operation is not a good idea and it too shuts down generating a prodigious quantity of ozone and even more molten components.

As the life support systems switch over to emergency battery backup, you hurriedly get suited up and watch as the barren lifeless hunk of rock below slowly but steadily approaches. The Asp's manoeuvre drives are still barely operable and the emergency battery reserves just might have juice to hard land the ship onto the rock.

In a virtuoso display of piloting, Sherina, coerces the crippled Asp down onto the world's surface without causing much further damage to the already crippled systems. The down side to this fortuitous piloting display is the almost total flattening of the emergency reserve battery supply.

A couple of days later Bob has fully accessed the system damage. Full repairs will take three to four weeks.

Rather than get in Bob's way, Travil (the fearless) decides that a complete ground based survey of the triad of suspicious sites would be a splendid moral booster.

The System

The system containing 871-438 consists of a remarkably stable main sequence G1 star, the barren dust ball is in the third orbit. There are two asteroid belts in orbits four and six. In addition, there is a pair of gas giants: a small one in the seventh orbit and a large one in the ninth. The system's Oort cloud contains the usual hundred billion or so comets.

The two asteroid belts mostly consist of small bodies up to a maximum diameter of ten meters (roughly fifty displacement tons). Over eighty percent of these bodies are carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. The remainder are formed from various different ice compounds. Neither belt contains sufficient mineral resources to be of interest to belters. The inner belt has a diameter of about 0.1 AU and the outer about 1.5 AU.

The small inner gas giant is a dull bluish-green disc composed of eighty percent hydrogen and fifteen percent helium. The remaining five percent of the giant is composed of the usual heavier gasses: ammonia, argon, carbon dioxide, chlorine, fluorine, methane, neon, nitrogen. Also detectable in trace concentrations are a multitude of other compounds created from these basic gasses as well as some other heavier elements, notably sulphur. This planet has three rocky moons and two icy moons orbiting, none of which showed any signs deserving of further investigation.

The large outer gas giant is your standard whitish-orange giant composed primarily of hydrogen. Detectable quantities of ammonia, fluorine, helium and nitrogen exist. Notably absent is the presence of carbon based gases and compounds. This gas giant has a system of rings containing large numbers of very small carbonaceous bodies. Also present in orbit are upwards of fifteen natural moons in a variety of orbits.

The World

The world 871-438 isn't the most exciting place in the universe. The only interesting feature of this dust ball is the list of things this world doesn't have:

In reality 871-438 does have a few redeeming features:

The three anomalous sites exhibit these aberrations:

Site A

The active EMS scan of this area produced a feint echo. Normally this would be of no concern being written off as sensor mis-alignment, transient electrical glitch or one of a dozen other alternatives. There is one hassle with writing this one off so easily, the echoes are identical to the original signal in every way despite the local geomorphology discouraging any systematic reflectivity - an unlikely yet theoretically possible event. There was insufficient time and motivation to go back and repeat the scans.

Site B

This site showed up as a bright spot on the ship's neutrino sensor. This could indicate a high energy source of some description. Then again it could be one of those infamous sensor glitches.

Site C

The densotometer reading exhibited a very high peak when scanning this region. This reading would usually indicate an area of increased density; for example heavy metals, super dense materials or especially dense metamorphic rock. Given the state of the rest of this dump, the last of these options seems likely.

The Characters

This adventure is intended for a band of adventurers numbering at least three and no more than seven with five to seven being best.

1 Travil  Commander     A95747   Age 42   6 terms   Cr 8000 
  Leader-2, Admin-1, ATV-1, Computer-1, Pilot-1, Streetwise-1, 
  Survival-1, Vacc Suit-1, Snub Pistol-0, Cutlass-0         Snub Pistol 

2 Sherina Pilot         878B83   Age 30   3 terms   Cr 1500 
  Pilot-6, Navigation-1, Vacc Suit-1, Carbine-0, Computer-0     Carbine 

3 Bruce   Surveyor      3855CA   Age 34   4 terms   Cr 2000 
  Surveying-3, ATV-1, Bribery-1, Vacc Suit-1, Computer-0 
  Laser Rifle-0, Forward Observer-0                         Laser Rifle 

4 Grindle Geologist     6B3477   Age 26   2 terms   Cr 3500 
  Geology-2, ATV-1, Chemistry-1, Shotgun-1, Vacc Suit-0         Shotgun 

5 Hanit   Surveyor      736555   Age 22 1 term   Cr 1000 
  Surveying-2, Geology-1, Physics-1, Auto Rifle-0, Computer-0 
  Vacc Suit-0                                                Auto Rifle 

6 Aryven  Planetologist 978364   Age 38   5 terms   Cr 4000
  Chemistry-2, Geology-2, Physics-2, Surveying-1, SMG-1, 
  Vacc Suit-1, Engineering-0, Mechanical-0, Pilot-0                 SMG 

7 Grog    Grunt/Cook    BAA686   Age 50   8 terms   Cr 2500 
  Cutlass-5, Plasma Gun-3, Gunnery-2, Laser Carbine-2,    Laser Carbine 
  Rifle-2, Shotgun-2, SMG-2, Battle Dress-1, Brawling-1, Cooking--6 

8 Bob     Engineer      4959B8   Age 34   4 terms   Cr 4500 
  Engineering-3, Electronic-2, Jack-of-all-trades-2, Mech-2    Tool Kit 


The characters have the listed weaponry. All projectile weapons include ten loaded magazines. All energy weapons include one power pack. Non weaponry or weaponry related items may be purchased and paid for before play starts.

The ship's locker contains the following items:

The ship mounts a dorsal double pulse laser turret on its spine.

The ship's air raft has been replaced by an ATV. The ATV is fitted with an externally mounted long range fuel bladder and it also mounts a solar panel based power backup. The ATV is capable of unlimited endurance provided a light source is maintained. The ATV's life support system is capable of continuous operation for a minimum of least six weeks. The ATV mounts a single pulse laser turret, power for the turret can only be provided by the on board fusion power plant.

The Asp's GSbAG Model 317 Pressurised Shelter has already been gutted by Bob to provide limited life support to the engineering sections of the Asp while he makes the necessary emergency repairs to the power plant and jump drive.

The Sites

The three sites are not all uninteresting:

Site A (map)

There is a small, partially shadowed, exposed area which appears to be part of some kind of larger crystalline structure embedded about half way up the cliff that is the north western face of the small volcanic peak here. There is a lava pool atop the small plateau which flows down the eastern side. This pool will make climbing down from the top somewhat difficult.

Casual investigation from a distance will give the impression that the formation is artificial in nature. Close examination of the crystals will refute this, clearly indicating that the crystals are a naturally occurring phenomenon. Careful investigation by somebody with geology skill, reveals that the structure is composed of zuchai crystals, a vital component in jump drives, known for their almost perfect energy absorption and release. This dirt ball isn't valueless after all: this find alone is worth a major fortune to just about any mining company.

Site B (map)

This one is a red herring. The neutrino burst detected came from a solar flare from the system's primary. The burst was detected through the planet (after all planets are pretty much transparent to neutrinos). Of course the players are only going to figure this one out if one of them, with navigation skill, checks up on their position relative to the local star when the bust was detected.

It is very cold and dark on this side of the planet. This is a small flattened area, a little out of place in the surrounding mountainous terrain. The surface here is quite soft and spongy, being composed of a mixture of minute methane ice crystals and sand. There are some scattered rocks and a small methane ice lake nearby.

The party's portable neutrino sensor will not detect anything abnormal because there is nothing to detect. A party member with surveying skill will be able to determine, after a few hours study, that the area is completely natural, a freak of nature. The methane lake is somewhere between 100m and 150m deep and frozen solid the entire way. The rocks are dull as always. About 2m below the surface of the sandy soil is solid bed rock.

Site C (map)

This is the interesting one. A prison for psionic miscreants. Naturally, one of the players is psionic and they are mistaken for an inmate. Entering is not a problem, leaving is another matter. Any non psionics in the party are initially ignored, because upon entering they are believed to be the escort for the criminal(s). Once the escape is on, the first priority is to stun can recapture any psionic characters. Only after this has obviously dead ended will any interest be taken in the non psionics: they will be exterminated because they are assisting with the escape.

The entryway to the prison is on the south side, a solid metal door two meters across and three meters tall. The metal is completely unknown and defies any analysis (as usual). The door also remains steadfastly closed, resisting any attempts to open it including the ATV firing with the pulse laser turret.

Once the players are sufficiently stumped, the door will open and a highly advanced robot floats inside. The players are free to enter and the robot waits in the airlock until the psions have entered. Once inside the players have run of the installation except as noted in the location descriptions. The robots will be seen carrying out their routine patrols, ignoring the players. Roll 6 on 1D for a robot to be passing through a room when the players enter.

Leaving is simple for the non-psions, however, they will not be permitted to return and re-enter without a psion with them. The psions are going to have to make a run for it. That's when the real fun starts.

Room Descriptions (map)

There are seven different types of room in the base. The table below describes the purpose of each room, its size in meters and who is permitted to freely access the location. Naturally, the players are permitted to shoot their way into any room.

Psionic are dampened throughout the entire base. Attempts to use them will produce no effects apart from a mild headache.

  Description         Dimensions   Access Rights   Encounter DM
A Entryway            15.0x20.0x4       any              -
B Cell                 5.0x 7.5x3       any             -2
C Recreation Area     40.0x50.0x9       any             -1
D Store Room          12.5x30.0x3      non-psi          +2
E Maintance/Hospital  20.0x15.5x4      non-psi          +2
F Control Room        25.0x15.0x6       none            +3
G Central Control      5.0x 5.0x2       none            +5

Roll 9+ on 2D every five minutes for an encounter inside the base. If an encounter is called for, roll 1D on the following table using the encounter DM from the previous table. The base has a total of six scrubbots, twelve screwbots and six deathbots. Not all of the bots are necessarily in working order.

Roll    Encounter
 <=0    1 Screwbot
  1     2 Screwbots
  2     1 Screwbot
  3     1 Scrubbot
  4     2 Scrubbots
  5     1 Screwbot
  6     1 Scrubbot
  7     1 Deathbot
 >=8    2 Deathbots

The robots have been lifted from Traveller Adventure 2: Research Station Gamma with a few minor modifications. The main change made is that the Deathbot (security robot) has improved armour, it takes ten points of damage to generate a hit and it still acts as if protected by battledress. The deathbot laser can also damage the ATV on a roll of 12+ (which is an 8+ after skill modification), the deathbot will be damaged by a hit from the ATV lasers.

The second change is in the screwbot's (animal handling robot's) weaponry: it now has an advanced stunner that requires a roll of endurance minus intellegence or less on 2D to avoid a thirty minus endurance minute stun (and a nasty headache for another hour or two afterwards). This stunner ignores all forms of personal armour (except black and white globes), treating all targets are having no armour for to hit purposes.

If the GM thinks the robots are a little tough, it is recommended to introduce some equipment failure reducing the robot skills level, armour quality or weaponry. The exact modifications are left up to the individual GM.

Room A

This is the entryway to the rest of the complex. There are doors on the players' left, ahead and the airlock behind (remember no compass directions on this planet). All three doors are heavily re-enforced. There is a screwbot here on duty at all times (exception: it does go into the air lock when the players arrive before the outer door opens). The bot will hover in position doing nothing except as noted below.

Access to the left door is permitted by all at any time, although psions have to make a dexterity check on 2D to come back through without the door closing in their faces. The screwbot will attempt to stun any psion who tries to go through the forward door, after stunning the bot will carry the offender to one of the cells. Access through the airlock is unrestricted.

Room B

These rooms are cells. As far as cells go these ones are pretty interesting. The door will open as characters approach from either side. However, psionic characters will not be able to open the door from the inside - they will have to make a run for it once a non-psion has opened the door, make a dexterity check on 2D to get out.

The shaded area marked 1, is the zero gravity sleeping and resting area. Anything placed into this area will float gently; objects thrown into the area will gradually reduce in speed and hover where they stop. Of course, bullets and the like are not slowed down very much by the field. Any player caught in the area will have to make a a roll against their zero gee combat skill or have external assistance to escape.

The area marked 2 is the cell's waste disposal unit. It is a small dark disc flush with the floor (read: seamlessly joined to the surrounding floor). Anything inanimate placed onto the disc is teleported away for later disposal. There is no way to cause harm to something (robots) or somebody (other players) using this device.

The area marked 3 is the table/eating area. Initially this will be a dark half inch wide line located about three feet above the floor running horizontally for the width of the table. Touching this line will cause the table to gently slide out. The upper surface of the table is special, nothing can slip off it - no lateral movement of objects on the surface is possible; however, lifting things off the table top is easy. In the middle of the table is a white circle and touching this will cause the day's meal to appear: assorted unknown vegetable leaves and a decent sized dead animal that looks rather spider like in the middle. The meal is very filling, quite tasty and very crunchy. Sherina has no problems eating the (apparently) freshly killed animal, the other characters will all feel quite queasy about eating it. However, the food is good and no harm will come from eating it. Closing the table is done by gently pushing the table into the wall when there is nothing on the top of the table.

Room C

This is the complex's large communal recreation room. This room is pretty much a large open empty space. There are several desks just like the ones in the cells. There are also several seats or benches around that all have funny indentations for tails and and are without back supports. The ceiling displays a massive holograph of a reddish sky complete with moving cloud formations. If sufficient time is spent watching the sky, it will be noted that the cloud formations do not appear to repeat themselves and the level of illumination does not vary over time. That is, there is no separate day or night here.

Room D

This is the storeroom. Shelves are located along both long walls. These shelves hold many packing boxes (made of some unknown metal, if anybody asks). The boxes can easily be opened and most of them are empty (after all, the base has been here a long time). The boxes can contain whatever ultra high tech items the GM wishes to include.

Some suggestions are:

Room E

This is the robot maintance room and hospital. This location contains one docbot, four deathbots, ten screwbots and four scrubbots. All of these bots, except for the docbot, are suhtdown. The room contains several large work benches and lots of shelves (mostly empty). Several of the bots are in various states of dismemberment.

The docbot is a large cyclinder with lots of arms with a myrad of different tools: drills, saws, knives, syringes, etc. Once a player enters the room: it will hover toward the sick and injured; attempt to grab them one by one; scan each one after grabbing (bright light travels down their body) and repair any damage (insert large syringes full of ominous glowing chemicals). The whole capture and heal process takes from 15 to 20 seconds. Sickness and injury include any damage taken and Grog's combat drug addiction. The attempt to grab can be resisted by making a check against dexterity on 3D, and the grab can be broken by checking against strength on 3D.

Of course, once the player's have broken into one of the restricted areas and gotten themselves onto the base's black list, the docbot will no longer heal them. Rather, it will float around ignoring them.

Room F

This location is the control centre of the entire complex. One fully functional deathbot stands guard just inside the entrance and it will attempt to stop anybody from entering. The deathbot will not attack the players until they actually enter the room.

There is lots of complex industrial machinery here providing the base with, for example: light, food, water, air, temperature control, cell waste disposal, cell gravity fields, recreation area holographic projector and door controls. These machines are relatively easy to turn on and off (i.e. big easy to use switches). Nothing that looks even remotely like either a power supply or a central control computer can be seen.

Room G

Central control is hidden behind a concealed panel near the roof of of the control centre. This location contains more machinery. Specifically, the computer brain of the complex, the psionics disruptor, the matter-antimatter powerplant and the planetary defences are all located here. The destruction, disabling or turning off of these devices is relatively simple once the room has been found. The difficulty of locating this room is the major challenge for the players.

The Character Backgrounds


Position       Commander       UPP         A95747
Age            42              Height      6'
Race           Impure Vilani Imperial
Hair           Short Black     Eye Colour  Hazel
Complexion     Fair            Build       Solid
Vacuum Suit-1
Snub Pistol-0

Travil is a career officer. You enjoy your job and you are pretty good at it. You tend to be over optimistic at times and this has gotten you into trouble in the past. You are a firm believer in the archaic stiff upper lip military policy. You look after your boys at all times, fathering them through any difficulties.

Sherina is a damn good pilot - too good. She is a little erratic at times (aren't all Vargr?), but she is very dependable when things get tough. She seems to be getting a bit moody recently and you might have to kick her into line.

Bruce is kind of quite, maybe a little too quite. He keeps to himself and gets his job done satisfactorily. You cannot seem to bring your self to fully trust him, even though he has done nothing wrong.

Grindle is a typical obsessive workaholic. He spends many extra hours doing his job better than is expected and you like him for that. However, you are not sure you can depend upon him to follow orders when things get rough.

Hanit is loud and obnoxious. Typical Solomani racial supremist. Frankly, you don't trust him. He fanatically keeps his quarters and work area spotless.

Aryven is a little too lax for your liking. He takes too many short cuts and sometime one will fail for him. He needs some discipline instilled into him before he'll progress far in the force. He talks too much.

Grog is a good solid, dependable grunt type. You trust him both to follow orders and to stick around when the going is tough. He doesn't cook well and this might be hurting moral; you don't want to upset him by telling him about it.

Shrrnggakrgrrngak (Sherina)

Position       Pilot      UPP         878B83
Age            30         Height      4'8"
Race           Vargr Imperial
Hair           Tawny      Eye Colour  Black
Complexion     Brownish   Build   Thin
Vacuum Suit-1

Sherina is a Vargr female in heat. The mission wasn't supposed to last this long and you expected to be surrounded by a couple of dozen pack mates by this time. You are irritable, quick to anger, moody and sex starved. Have fun! You are also a great pilot with lightning reactions.

Travil is a good commander with great charisma and he deserves deep respect. His orders are considered in the best possible light but they will not be followed blindly.

Grog is respected for his great physical prowess and his huge size. If only he were slightly more hairy. Although he signed on as cook, he is very bad at it which is good because real Vargr don't cook and live meat tastes better.

Bruce seems to posses enormous charisma which he doesn't use. He also smells slightly different to the other humans. You kind of like him.

Grindle and Bob keep away from you and that is fine. They cannot shoot, fly or lead so they are not important.

Aryven seems to take great pleasure in baiting you and you often have long, energetic and sometimes (playfully) violent conversations. He is fun to have around and you don't mind chattering with him.

Hanit is a lost cause and you despise him. He treats you like an idiot and rates you at about the same developmental level as a slug. You violently detest when he tells you to heel along like Killer, his pet back home (if he does that one more time...). You take great pleasure in making his life miserable. He also smells weird.


Position       Surveyor  UPP         385BCD
Age            34        Height      6'5"
Race           Zhodani 
Hair           Blonde    Eye Colour  Blue
Complexion     Fair      Build       Lithe
Skills (value in barckets are what everybody thinks you have)
Surveying-1 (3)
Vacuum Suit-1
Forward Observer-0
Lying-2 (-)
Computer-3 (0)
Pilot-0 (-)
Laser Rifle-0
Navigation-0 (-)

You are a Zhodani spy. You've been infiltrating the service for many years. Your mission is to provide advance notification of possible threats to the consolidate. The exact definition of threat is very much at your discretion but it usually includes major fleet actions, unusual troop buildups, new scientific discoveries. You should report and/or neutralise any such threat. You are totally loyal to the consulate and will never betray it. You are a quite strong psionic (strength 10). Your identification papers and history are forged (level 5). You don't like talking about yourself in case you botch it.

Travil is a decent enough commander. He doesn't trust you fully.

Sherina is a great pilot but very typically Vargr.

Grindle and Aryven are both pretty good blokes, although Grindle keeps to himself too much.

Hanit has the right attitude but the race is wrong (Zhos are the best!). he does tend to be a little over the top with his political babble. You suspect he might be onto your lack of surveying skill, but nobody believes him when he says he's better.

Grog is like a child, easily lead. His simplistic attitude is a refreshing change to all the typical closed minded, lying imperials. He doesn't cook well, but you'd never let it onto him.

Bob is like Grindle, too quite and self centric. You don't trust him.

You have four doses of psi booster, and one of psi double. Your psi talents are: awareness-10, teleportation-10, telepathy-4.


Position       Geologist       UPP         6B3477
Age            26              Height      5'10"
Race   Arabic Solomani / Imperial
Hair           Dark            Eye Colour  Brown
Complexion     Olive           Build       Slight
Vacuum Suit-0

You are a workaholic. You love your work. Your work is your life. You can spend hours looking at rocks. You frequently forget your orders when you come across a particularly impressive rock formation. You also have to do a top notch job. You are a perfectionist. You keep very much to yourself revelling in your work.

You were orphaned when you were 10 when your parents were killed by some psionic bastard during the psi rebellion on your home world. This has made you somewhat moody, quite introverted and very hateful of any psionic (more than is usual for Imperials - lobotomy is too soft a punishment).

Travil is a good commander, he expects you to do your job and he doesn't interfere.

Hanit is a royal pain in the ass. He is always spouting off the we Solomani are the superior race bullshit. You don't want any of that crap, it only caused a major war last time it was popular. You also know that he is only seven eights Solomani blood (and have documents to prove it). You'll enjoy revealing this at an opportune moment.

Grog is good. He is always willing to help you lug your heavy equipment around and he doesn't really get in the way.

Aryven talks too much and he irritates you.

The others haven't said much to you and you like it that way. You figure they are alright if this continues.


Position       Surveyor        UPP         736555
Age            22              Height      6'1"
Race           Solomani (and proud of it)
Hair           Blond           Eye Colour  Blue
Complexion     Fair            Build       Solid
Auto Rifle-0
Vacuum Suit-0

You are a pure blood Solomani. Solomani are genetically superior to all other humans (and all other races). You make sure everybody knows this. You often tell them just to make sure they remember that you are the master race. They enjoy hearing you tell them. You make new friends by spreading the word. Because you are the master race, you must be better than everybody else. You should be commanding the mission. You would fit into the Hitler Youth quite well. You often sing/hum Solomani Uberarlis. Everybody likes hearing this song. You are a cleanaholic - everything must be spotless.

Travil is a loser. You should be in command because you're Solomani. You do have to admit that he does sometimes make good decisions.

Sherina is worse than those other human races. It is some genetically altered pet, you treat her how she deserves like an animal. How did scum like that get into such a high position? She doesn't even know how to heel like your far more intelligent pet poodle Killer did.

Bruce is hopeless. You are a much better surveyor than he ever will be. You are forever correcting him for errors even a moronic novice wouldn't make. How did he ever get the chief surveyor position?

Grindle is okay. He is of the master race too, although he isn't aryan like you. You spend many happy hours complaining about the others to him. His only major short coming is his apparent inability to aspire to the heights his genetic superiority grants him.

The rest of the crew do their menial tasks and they enjoy hearing your inspired speeches on the Solomani movement. Aryven even talks back to you occasionally. They must be stunned by your obviously superior wit and eloquence. Grog is a hopeless cook and you make sure he knows it.


Position       Planetologist   UPP         978364
Age            38              Height      5'11"
Race           Darrian
Hair           Fire Red        Eye Colour  Green
Complexion     Speckled        Build       Slight
Vacuum Suit-1

Aryven has a very happy go lucky and personable attitude. You do jobs when you have to, but you only do the minimum necessary to finish the task. It isn't that you are lazy, you just don't want to waste time doing a full and proper job. You also don't react to orders in the best way. You resent authority and tend towards the undisciplined. You are also well known for the excessive quantities of small talk you produce seeming without end.

Travil is an old stick in the mud. He gives orders far too much but at least he does seem to care about his team.

Sherina is a lot of fun. She likes gossiping almost as much as you do and you frequently chatter away for hours. You often bait her on a little, but she has been know to get a little violent and bash you around too hard.

Bruce is weird. He talks to you, but he doesn't really say anything. It is as if he doesn't have a history or a future, only a now. Still, he is better than some.

Grindle and Bob keep very much to themselves. They avoid chattering to you. Not that this stops you chattering to them, it just makes things a little one sided.

Grog also provides one sided conversations, but for a different reason: eloquent speech seems beyond his mental capabilities. He is a very bad cook, but you don't hurt his feelings by complaining.

That leaves Hanit the egotistical Solomani supremist. The only conversation he spouts is canned political drivel from the crack pots on Terra. Dull dull dull.


Position       Grunt/Cook      UPP         BAA686
Age            50              Height      6'9"
Race           High G Imperial
Hair           Brown           Eye Colour  Glazed Brown
Complexion     Tanned          Build       Very Heavy
Laser Carbine-2
Cooking- -6
Plasma Gun-3
Battle Dress-1

Grog holds the record for the longest period of service without promotion. You were shipped onto this mission as the cook / general muscle man to get you some active duty. You cannot cook for nuts but you don't know it. At least you try to the best of your limited ability. You have picked up a liking for combat drugs and your UPP is really more like FFF116 (big strong and stupid). You have a child like innocence about you and you are eager to follow orders. You frequently make mistakes and this has been known to get you into trouble.

Travil treats you really well, he doesn't ask you to do things you don't understand and he doesn't scream at you when you make mistakes.

Sherina also treats you kindly and helps you out when you have problems.

Bruce and Bob order you around too much, but Bruce at least explains things to you and doesn't scream when you stuff up. You don't think Bob likes you much.

Grindle doesn't really speak to you. You figure he doesn't like you at all.

Aryven does talk with you and he treats you kindly enough, but he does get upset with you when things go wrong.

Hanit is always ordering you around and screaming at you and making speeches with lots of words you don't understand. You really don't like him.


Position       Engineer        UPP        4959B8
Age            34              Height     5'8"
Race           Vilani / Imperial
Hair           Brown           Eye Colour  Steel
Complexion     Pale            Build       Medium

Bob is an engineer. He loves his work and hates other people. He spends many happy hours tinkering with his drives and engines. Other people get in his way.

Travil is good. He lets me work in peace with my engines. I'm glad he ordered the mission so I've got some time to fix things without interference.

Grog is good too. He helps out lifting big things. He can't cook but that doesn't matter. Food is optional.

The rest are pains who get in my way. Sherina is especially bad as she often pushes the ship too hard and damages things.

ATV Details

The ATV with extended range fuel bladder has a total of 600 energy points, these are augmented by the on board solar cells. The ATV energy consumption per hour is:

Terrain    Movement    Life Support    Total
Plain         1            1            2
Rough         1            1            2
Mountain      2            1            3

Then there is an additional life support cost based upon the temperature zone. Also based upon the zone, is the amount of energy the solar panels are capable of providing. Again these values are per hour and it should be remembered that the solar power generation cannot recharge the fuel supply, it can only be used to offset fuel consumption.

 Zone       Life Support      Solar Generation
Burning         3                   3
Very Hot        2                   3
Hot             1                   3
Twilight        -                   2
Cold            -                   1
Frozen          1                   -

ATV weapons fire should be handled exactly as in Across the Bright Face/Mission of Mithril with the modification that the solar cells cannot supply any of the power for weapons fire.


To determine if an encounter occurs, roll 9+ on 2D before the encounter at site C and 8+ on 2D afterwards. Also, after site C, a roll 6+ for an encounter while performing repairs or waiting.

Navigation on the worlds surface is not supposed to be simple. It determine the group's position on the world's surface, a 6+ is required; DM +navigation skill. It is also possible for the group to become misplaced within the same terrain type (i.e. when going from a hex of one terrain to another hex with the same terrain). If the encounter roll is 11+, the group has become misdirected one hex to the left (1-3) or right (4-6).

All encounter tables roll 1D.

Transit Times:
    Mountain   20 hours / hex 
    Plain       5 hours / hex 
    Rough      15 hours / hex 

DMs (for all tables):

    Burning  +0    Twilight +3 
    Very Hot +1    Cold     +4 
    Hot      +2    Frozen   +5 


Die Result (pre)            Alternate Result 
1   Lava Pool 
2   Broken Surface 
3   Vented Gas              Pursuers (on prison plain only) 
4   Stellar Flare           Pursuers (Twilight & Hot only) 
5   Spongy Soil 
6   Dust Pool 
7   Loose Soil              Pursuers 
8   Seismic Quake 
9   Ice Sheet 
10  Crusted Lava Pool 
11  Frozen Lake 


Die Result (pre)            Alternate Result
1   Vehicle Malfunction 
2   Stellar Flare 
3   Corrosive Gas 
4   Loose Soil              Pursuers (Twilight only)
5   Lava Flow 
6   Crevasse 
7   Seismic Quake           Pursuers
8   Spongy Soil 
9   Lava Tubes 
10  Frozen Lake 
11  Ice Field 


Die Result (pre)            Alternate Result 
1   Engine Overheat 
2   Volcanism 
3   Lava Flow 
4   Deep Shadow 
5   Narrow Valley 
6   Blocked Passage 
7   Avalanche 
8   Loose Soil              Pursuers 
9   Seismic Quake 
10  Crumbling Rock Shelf 
11  Frozen Corpse 

Encounter Key

Avalanche [Mountain]

The upper reaches of the mountain side to the group's right (1-3) or left (4-6) are starting to fall in an avalanche. Throw dexterity or intelligence (whichever is higher) for each character to react immediately to take a position of safety; if the throw is unsuccessful, throw endurance as a saving throw against 2D hits in injury.

Throw 3D for the extent of the avalanche; each point indicates twenty minutes work by one person in freeing the vehicle. If the result is greater than 10, also consult the vehicle malfunction table.

Players alert for an avalanche (after the first time) may so state when in mountainous terrain. Speed is decreased by 50% and the group may make a saving throw of 6+ (DM +ATV skill of driver) to avoid the avalanche.

Blocked Passage [Mountain]

The route being followed is totally blocked and is obviously impassible. The group must backtract to the previous hex and select a different path. They may not reenter the mountain hex from that previous hex.

Broken Surface [Plain]

The area ahead is pitted and criss crossed by a network of small crevasses and sink holes, from a distance the surface appears solid enough to support the weight of the ATV. This hex is treated as rough for the purpose of transit time (i.e. 15 hours). A couple of die rolls ought to be made for dramatic effect.

Corrosive Gas [Rough]

There is a dense misty gas being vented in the surrounding area, the gas. The gas is obvious volcanic in origin and it will solidify once it reaches the dark face. This gas will breach a vacc suit after a total of ten rounds exposure with visible signs showing up after 6 rounds. An ATV provides significantly better protection. Roll 10+ for the ATV to sustain damage (consult vehicle malfunction table). Also roll 5+ for the windshield to become etched and slightly opaque (-1 DM to all ATV driving maneuvers).

Crevasse [Rough]

A large crevasse crosses the group's path. Determine the entry and exit hex sides randomly. Personnel in vacc suits can leap across the crevasse with a successful strength+dexterity check on 2D. The crevasse is relatively shallow, but its sides are sufficently steep to prohibit crossing by an ATV. The group, may enter the crevasse in the ATV, but they must then follow it into one of the adjacent hexes corresponding to the crevasse ends.

If the group looks, they will find a shaky natural bridge. If the ATV attempts to cross, throw 10+ to succeed, DM +1 if all possible material is discarded (including personnel) to save weight, DM +driver's ATV skill, and DM +1 if crossing at high speed. Throw 8+ for the bridge to collapse anyway after the crossing occurs, DM -1 if the crossing was at high speed.

Crumbling Rock Shelf [Mountain]

While driving along, the rock beneath the vehicle begins to crumble. Throw 11+ to avoid a drop; DM +driver's ATV skill. Suddenly, it gives way, and the ATV drops approximately 20 meters to a shelf just below the lip of a large abyss extending in both directions as far as the eye can see (determine direction randomly). The vehicle is undamaged.

The shelf appears natural, but is also regular and can be driven on. Individuals can attempt to leap back to the surface (throw strength+dexterity on 2D to succeed; take 2D hits if the character fails).

The ATV cannot cross the abyss, and must move along the shelf until the end of the abyss is found (next hex).

Crusted Lava Pool [Plain]

Whlie driving along the open plain, the rock beneath the vehicle begin to crumble. Throw 9+ to reverse the ATV and aviod lots of problems; DM +driver's ATV skill. If the throw is unsuccessful, the vehicle takes damage (roll on the ATV malfunction table) whilst reversing out of the lava pool. Players walking when this occurs must roll dexterity or less on 3D to avoid becoming part of the lava.

The ATV cannot continue in this direction and must backtract to the previous hex before continuing in a new direction.

Deep Shadow [Mountain]

The area ahead lies in a shadow, forward progress could prove dangerous due to the very limited visibility. There are two choices for forward travel here: full speed ahead, roll 10+ DM +driver's ATV skill to avoid damage (ATV malfunction table again) or travel at half speed (40 hours for the hex) with no chance of damage.

Dust Pool [Plain]

A large smooth area lies before the group; as it is approached, it appears to be a pool of micro-fine dust. The choice here is to enter the pool and attempt to cross it or to turn aside and circumvent it. Going around will add d6+2 hours to the journey. Going through is safe but the solar cells will become covered and unable to produce power until cleaned for d6/2 hours. The solar cells will also not produce power for the duration of the crossing of the pool which is again d6/2 hours.

Engine Overheat [Mountain]

The ATV shudders to a halt suffereing from excessive heat in the engine. Minor repairs are required to rectify the fault in the engine cooling system. Throw 9+ every hour; DM +mechanical skill to repair the breakdown. Forward progress is not possible before the repair is finished, although the other ATV systems continue to function properly.

Frozen Corpse [Mountain]

There is a glacier like ice formation here with what appears to be the body of an alien traveller. The body is that of a droyne inmate, 4-5 feet tall, winged and vaguely reptilian. The body is dressed in a vacc suit of unknown but very high tech construction. The body is riddled with holes from some kind of very precise high energy weapon.

Recovering the body is possible and it takes about an hour using the ATV's pulse laser (20 energy points) and a couple of days by hand. The body is very dead, not very decayed and blasted in unrecognisibility.

Frozen Lake [Plain, Rough]

Lying before the group is a solid expanse of frozen gas, which appears solid enough to support the ATV. As the vehicle progresses across the lake, throw two dice every few seconds, and count the total until it reaches 50. Then inform the group that they have reached the other side of the frozen lake barely.

In actuality, there is no danger of the ice breaking, but the dice throwing should be managed to make them think so. Future encounters with the frozen lakes should including the possibility for the group to backtrack rather than risk this event.

Ice Field [Rough]

The area ahead is a rough area covered with jagged ice (frozen gases). Progress through this area will take twice as long as normal (30 hours / hex).

Ice Sheet [Plain]

The area ahead is a large, smooth expanse of sheet ice (frozen gas). Progress across this area will depend upon the intial experience with the terrain by the driver. Throw 9+ to acclimate the driver with the experience of maneuvering on the ice; DM +driver's ATV skill. If successful, progress is normal; if not, speed is 25 hours / hex.

Lava Flow [Mountain, Rough]

A recently exposed lava flow crosses your path here. It is possible to drive across this flow, however the ATV will take damage to the tracks and progress will be one quarter of normal until the solidified rock is removed from them. Jumping across the flow is quite possible in a vacc suit with any check being necessary.

Lava Pool [Plain]

There is a large expanse of lava ahead. Driving through the pool is futile and will result in the destruction of the ATV and all people on board. Circumventing the pool is possible but it will double the time required to cross the hex (10 hours) and an additional event check should be made for pursuers (other results are ignored).

Lava Tubes [Rough]

The surface ahead is a warren of hundreds of small holes. These holes are the remains of lava flows and they make progress difficult on foot or by ATV. Roll 4+ to avoid trouble on foot; DM +survival skill. Roll 8+ to avoid damaging the ATV; DM +driver's ATV skill.

Loose Soil [Mountain, Plain]

The soil is loose and present some danger to the ATV's treads unless speed is reduced. Throw 5+ for a roadwheel to become damaged; DM +twice the number of extra hours spent in the hex crossing it.

Repairing a roadwheel takes three hours and mechanical-1 expertise; failure to repair the roadwheel adds 1 hour to the time to cross each hex. An additional breakdown or vehicle malfunction will require total repair before movement can continue.

Narrow Valley [Mountain]

A long, narrow valley lies ahead, and appears to lead through the mountain range and beyond. Following the valley will lead the ATV through the mountain range to the next hex in 10 hours. Determine the begining and ending directions of the valley randomly.

Pursurers [Mountain, Plain, Rough]

A robotic form appears. The robot will attempt to recapture the psionics and failing that, destroy the entire group.

Seismic Quake [Mountain, Plain]

The ground begin to shake as a small seismic disturbance occurs. Each adventurer must throw strength or less on 2D to avoid being thrown to the ground and taking 1D hits (saving throw: dexterity or less on 2D).

Spongy Soil [Plain, Rough]

The surface ahead appears to be very soft, which may impeed progress. Walking speed is reduced by 25% and ATV speed is reduced to half normal. There is no danger of bogging the tracked ATV here.

Stellar Flare [Plain, Rough]

A stellar flare is occuring, expect communications to be disrupted. There is no effect if inside the ATV with helmets off. In vacc suits, communication will prove impossible unless helmets are physically touched together.

Vehicle Malfunction [Rough]

The ATV suffers some minor systems damage. The type of damage is determined on the malfunction table. Repairing the damage takes 2 hours if the requisite skill is present. The ATV can continue with no reduction in speed without repairing the damage, however any additional damage to the system will totally and irrepairably destroy the system.

Vented Gas [Plain]

A small nearby crevasse is venting a dull grey gas. The gas will etch to opacity the faceplate of a vacc suit, and will, after 5 rounds breach the suit. The ATV can drive through with no noticable damage.

Volcanism [Mountain]

One of the mountain peaks ahead is a volcano, now in the process of erupting. It completely blocks forward progress, requiring the group to backtrack to the previous hex. Pressing forward will result will result in a ten hour delay before realizing the futility of continuing.

GM Notes

These are a few random notes that help the GM make things even more interesting.

The introduction is intentionally dull and uninteresting, the team is studying the planet and they are meant to produce lost of dull, dry facts.

Full details of the ATV and it damage tables etc are provided in Double Adventure 2: Across the Bright Face/Mission on Mithril from GDW.

The characters

Make sure one of your more vocal players gets to play Hanit and one of the better roleplayers gets Sherina. This ensures a little bit of internal friction to spice things up.

One last shanghai

After the party has investigated the three sites and returned to the ship's landing area, a final special surprise awaits: the ship is gone! The engineer, Bob, finished the repairs and decided to perform a test lift off just to be sure things worked. Unfortunately, he didn't set down again in exactly the same place. He is located about 20 km away from the initial landing site which is well over the horizon and naturally no radio communication will reach the ship. If the ATV team performs a search of the surrounding area, they should be allowed to locate the ship eventually. Return to site C is another option, which the GM should adjucate on based on the pervious actions of the group. Remember, however, that if Bruce is absent, entry will not be possible.

The final surprise

This last surprise is optional, for the sadistic or evil minded only (I didn't use it). The base at site C provides planetary defences that will, at the GM's option, shoot down the scout ship whilst the players are escaping. A benevolent GM, may allow Sherina a piloting roll to avoid this or allow the ship to land and the plart to mount another cross country trip to destroy the controls at the base. Just remember that Sherina is a very very very good pilot and she is capable of making most escape rolls.

Really bright players may catch onto the defence system because there are no craters on the planet and two decent sized asteroid belts in the system. Reward them if they do so.


Maps and Graphics

The various maps used throughout this adventure are available for downloading in postscript form by clicking on the images below. The images below should be useable in case you cannot print postscript.

Topographic World Map

This map will takes ages to print out on most printers, it is not a bit map but it does draw an awful lot of complex objects onto the page. This file is stored as a gzipped postscript file to save space and speed transfers.

World Map

Site A

Site A

Site B

Site B

Site C

Site C

The Base


Sadly, this is the end.