Thursday, April 6, 2017

The USS Prestige (a half-sheet adventure)


Man, I hope this isn't an actual Star Trek plot.

The USS Prestige

A short horror scenario for the Savage Worlds Science Fiction Companion
The heroes play the command or bridge crew of a spaceship. Use the Captain, Crew Member, Engineer, Gunner, Medical Officer, and Pilot/Navigator found in Travelers & Xenos as pre-generated characters. Their ship is a Light Battleship.
The United Systems Starship Prestige orbits a cold, slow neutron star, studying this failing husk of a dead star as part of its half-decade mission of deep space discovery. Suddenly, the star emits a powerful neutrino beam, nearly overwhelming the ship’s shields.
The Game Master should roll on the Starship Critical Hits table three times, ignoring results of Wrecked. Announce to the players only two of the random results, including damage to the teleporters as the third result as if it was chosen randomly.  The crew may then attempt to repair the damage as a series of Dramatic Tasks; crewmembers without Repair (or Healing, for Crew results) can assist by using related skills (such as various Knowledges).
At the conclusion of the first Dramatic Task, the heroes encounter translucent images of themselves writhing in agony. Attempting to analyze the ghosts with a medi-scanner or a handheld sensor suite reveals brainwave patterns matching the crew members. The doppelgangers are not antimatter, instead seeming to be made up of a “cold plasma” gaseous energy.
These images are in fact ghosts (see Savage Worlds) and react violently if the crew attempt to interact with them. Call for Fear checks if combat occurs. Thankfully, the ghosts are vulnerable to energy weapons.
The heroes receive reports from all over the ship of ghostly doppelgangers haunting the crew.
After the second repair is concluded, the ghosts return – but now there are multiple doppelgangers per crewman. The ghosts argue and fight amongst themselves, voicelessly shrieking at each other, tearing their protoplasmic forms apart. A Fear check at -2 is required before the crew can attempt to dispose of the ghosts.
Deaths occur elsewhere throughout the ship. An airlock opens mysteriously, ejecting unprotected crew into space. Energy shielding suddenly fails in engineering, exposing others to flesh-searing radiation. Crew members from empathic species begin screaming “They’re us! They’re all of us!”
The ghosts interrupt the third repair, manifesting en masse in whatever area the players have saved for last. There are 1d4+2 ghosts per hero; some of them appear to be slightly younger versions of the heroes, missing scars and gray hairs they’ve accumulated on their travels. In a mocking multitude of voices they begin to chant “Two to beam down… Five to beam down… Three to beam down…” and the like over and over again.
If the players don’t make the conclusion themselves, a successful Common Knowledge role reveals the terrifying truth: every time someone uses the teleporter, they die and a clone takes their place. The crew faces the ghosts of their previous selves.
Call for another Fear check at -2 and allow the players to figure out their own technobabble solution or kill their own ghosts with energy weapons.

4 comments:

  1. Is there a connection between the repairs and the appearance of the ghosts? Or is that pacing incidental? I like the underlying terrifying truth. Maybe construct a way an NPC can reveal it to them "as they're dying" or something because you wouldn't want to lose the impact of that twist if the players don't catch on. (Right now, nothing leads them to that conclusion beyond the ghosts talking about Two to Beam Down. Not sure how they make the leap to your cool premise.)

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    1. The damage to the teleporters is meant to trigger the ghosts, allowing them to manifest whereas before they were just trapped in Limbo. If I was to bother expanding the adventure, I'd definitely spell it out better -- and your idea seems like a perfect way to make that happen!

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