Stars Edge Redux
Sundown on Starmist
The planet Starmist was formed eons ago around an unknown star. Because of a number of factors, including slow rotation, the planet never formed an extensive soil depth. The poor development of soil coincided with the slow development of life.
However, an orbital instability caused gravitational distortions in the bedrock forming massive splits in the planet’s crust. These huge rifts formed in the surface much like canyons, except they are miles deep. The planet was eventually launched from it’s original star as a frozen ball and over time was claimed by it’s current star, Sundown. It took up an orbit much tighter than it’s original and gradually the planet warmed.
Water and atmosphere collected in the rifts and they slowly became habitable. Vegetation, insect-like, and fish-like forms developed. Mammals and other species are almost unknown.
There are no native intelligent species on Starmist. The Heliopes, a humanoid race inhabiting Starmist, are from a different ecology. They were slaves of another race called the Clikks, an insectoid race, who explored this system. One of their military exploration vessels, which was mapping Starmist, had a problem requiring them to dump any unneeded weight to break orbit. Being expendable the Heliopes and a advanced Clikk War Tank were unloaded. Before leaving the Clikk mindwiped the Heliopes. Those Heliopes that survived their new life on Starmist filled in their missing pasts by making up legends and stories that eventually became their history. Culture on Starmist is somewhat shallow since they have developed in only the last 600 years. The Heliope religion is focused around the tank and relics left by the Clikk.
All Heliopes on Starmist are descendants of the original group. Now there are nearly 200 tribes spread over five rifts. These rifts are those explored by the CLikk . The Heliopes are superb fighters and have competed successfully for food and space with native species. There are only a few dozen tribes in the region the Starmist adventure takes place, and warfare and violence are common between tribes. A village developed by the Heliopes at the unloading site is the first and only of it’s kind. The village is located next to the river and contains reasonably complex homes. The buildings house families and their primitive government. The villagers of Heliopes are not nomadic.
The War Tank
To the Heliopes, whose former culture had been erased, the abandoned tank was a mysterious object whose defense field gave them a warm tingly feeling when touched. As a result the tank soon took on a religious significance and helped them fill a void in their lives. They built a wooden pyramid over the tank and in front of the pyramid is a temple. The wooden pyramid conceals the vehicle from view. Any other junked materials have been transferred to a group of huts on platforms over the river itself. These platforms are at different heights and the higher the platform the more revered the object inside the hut is. Only priests occupy the river buildings. No one is permitted on the platforms except those allowed by the gods. Any attempt by the PC’s to approach the island huts, temple, or pyramid will be opposed by the villagers.
Several years ago the aliens first meet on Volturnus established a training base for espionage agents on a lake close to the Heliope village. The Heliopes provided an excellent cover for the operation here. They built a heavy weapons bunker and setup a watch on the Heliopes. They also use the base to work on genetic constructs such as the Slitehr.
A while ago the planet was discovered by a merchant ship carrying Maximillion. Alarmed the aliens decided to use the delay between the official report and the resulting investigation to evacuate the base. When the warships arrive, and after completing their evacuation, the aliens plan to destroy all life on Starmist. They will allow the PC’s to land, as they plan mass destruction of all life anyways, but they will shoot down the PC’s if they try to leave.
While he was on Starmist, Max found a piece of fused metals that were impossible with the technology of the Heliopes. He suspected the metal was left by alien visitors or manufactured by an ancient advanced culture. Max planned to return on his own and search for artifacts and treasures.
Characters begin their adventure aboard Max’s shuttle, the VSS Last Legs. They have just landed in a giant rift on the planet. The shuttle itself carries basic equipment besides what the PC’s bring. Max is the official owner of the shuttle and as the PC’s employer. He has hired the team to help him search for the source of the fused metals and any treasure or artifacts they can find. Max is important to the adventure, so you are encouraged to study his background. Feel free to change, delete, or add any equipment or NPC’s as desired.
After equipping themselves from the ship, the characters should travel to the forest. There they will find non-native animals and plants which may give them a clue to the aliens presence. The normal animals are those set free by the aliens after their experiments. During this period nomad Heliopes will attack and the village Heliopes will come to the rescue.
Characters should then proceed to the village and attempt to locate the source of the fused metals. The Heliope river ceremony will occur at the time the players first enter the village. They should take note of the strange lights flashing from the pyramid which betray the location of the tank. They should also note the sophisticated weapons worn by the Heliope priests. While they are there, they must find Akhan’s rod which is needed to enter the war tank. They will see more normal, non-native animals. Then characters must, during the course of their investigations, discover the tank. Find a way inside and learn how to operate it.
Both before and after the characters have found the tank, the village will be attacked by alien robots. This will confirm alien involvement on Starmist. If the PC’s follow the robots or their signals, they will locate the hidden alien base behind a holographic image. At the base they will find the bio-constructs of the non-native animals. They will then enter combat with the alien military bunker.