This is section 4 of the the Ghost Ship Osiris module. In this section of the module, the PCs dock at Outpost Osiris and have to liberate it from the alien robots that have taken control and are exterminating the outpost’s staff. I’ve posted the maps and room descriptions already, this post fills in the rest of this section of the adventure. At the end you can find a PDF of the full adventure section that you can download.
While this section is basically done, it is just a draft for the final module. If you find any issues, or have questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to let me know in the comments below.
Approaching the outpost, there is no response to any attempt to contact or communicate with the miners at the outpost. Power appears to be on and there is nothing preventing the PCs from simply approaching and docking with the outpost.
As you approach the asteroid, you see that it is slowly rotating. It is about 1.4 km long and 1 km wide, one of the smaller asteroids in the Outer Belt. The stream of ejected tailings from the mining operation that you followed in ends several kilometers before reaching the base, as if the ore processing has stopped. The docking bay doors are wide open with light spilling out into the darkness of space. You also see some lights through a few small windows about 50m from the docking bay.
The docking bay is more than large enough to accommodate the Mirage and is located right on the rotation axis of the asteroid. Unless they try some strange maneuver, docking is straightforward. There is no gravity in the docking bay at the moment but it can be turned on by a control panel next to the airlock if desired. Gravity is present in the rest of the base.
As the PCs open the airlock’s inner door, they are greeted by a member of the mine staff, covered in blood, running down the corridor toward them. Rounding the corner at the far end, is a Pursale combat robot exactly like the one encountered on the Dawn’s Luck. (see this post) It takes aim at the mine staff member and fires, hitting her squarely in the back. She collapses to the floor at the PCs’ feet, wounded but not dead. The robot shifts its attention to the PCs still standing.
The robot has orders to eliminate the alien lifeforms and will fight until it is destroyed or has killed all the PCs.
After defeating the robot, the PCs can stabilize the miner. They learn that she is Kella Rezal, one of the scientists at the outpost. A few hours after the scavengers left, a number of alien robots emerged from the deeper mine area and began attacking the staff. She and another staff member had been holed up in the sensor and communications office and when they saw the PCs’ ship approaching, decided to try to reach them. Unfortunately, they were detected by one of the robots roaming the halls. Her companion was killed as they tried to escape.
She can lead them back to the sensor and communications nexus where they can begin the process of clearing the outpost of the robots.
Clearing the Complex
Pursale Combat Coordinator Warbot
STR: 100 BP: 500
AGL: 60 INIT: 3
CRD: 70 Move: 13, Walking
PER: 65 Frame: Huge
INT: 65 Docking: 15CU
Programming: Warrior +0, Marksman +0, Commander +10 (Violent Plan)
Equipment: A/V, IR, motion, vocal, & lifeform scanners, communicator, military grade reflec & ballistic screens, heavy laser rifle, devastator, grenade rifle, comm jammer, 800 EU powerpack, military grade armor, computer link, 4 EMP grenades, 4 tangler grenades, 8 smoke grenades, & 8 frag grenades.
Styled similarly to the combat robot, the coordinator warbot is about the same size as a full grown Pursale. It has a short squat body with six legs and two arms extending from the sides of the body near the front. Extending up from the front of the body are two long slender stalks, about 1.2 m in length that end in sensor clusters.
The arms end in manipulator hands that have three fingers and a thumb. The left arm has a built in heavy laser while the right one is sporting a devastator and grenade rifle. The powerpack is built into the body as is the magazine that feeds the grenades to the grenade launcher.
These robots are designed for both front line combat and controlling and coordinating squads of combat robots in independent actions while communicating with a central command if necessary.
The Pursale robots have effectively taken control of the mine complex and are attempting to eliminate the mine staff. There are a total of 16 combat robots all controlled by a single Combat Coordinator Warbot (see sidebar for stats). The arrival of the PCs and elimination of the combat robot at the airlock has alerted the warbot to the PCs’ presence and it will begin marshalling its forces to oppose the PCs.
Complete maps of Outpost Osiris can be found in the room descriptions post. The following sections describe the complex, the initial location of the robots and mining staff, and tactics that they will use to capture and eliminate the PCs.
The PCs should quickly realize that the robots they encounter are not just working at random but are being directed. A successful skill check (Technician or Scientist) with a -20 modifier for working with alien technology should allow them to identify the communication channel being used by the robots to communicate and track it back to the warbot. If the PCs attempt to jam the communications, see the section Jamming the Robots’ Communications near the end of this section for details on that process.
Initial Locations of Robots and Mine Staff
When the PCs arrive, the surviving mine staff are scattered throughout the complex attempting to hide from the robots that are trying to eliminate them. Of the original 16 staff members only 12 are still alive. Three were killed in the initial foray of the combat robots into the complex and the fourth was killed as she and Kella attempted to reach the Docking Bay and the PCs. The staff members (both surviving and dead) are in the following locations.
- Dr. Jamis Grandt (Hm) – Overwhelmed by the situation, Dr. Grandt has hidden himself in the hydroponics lab where he has so far been undetected. If rescued, he will be able to provide lots of information about the staff and operations but will not have any suggestions as to solutions for the current situation.
- Kella Rezal (Hf) – Kella is with the PCs and will either accompany them as they move through the complex or will stay on the Mirage. She doesn’t want to stay anywhere else until she knows that the robots have been eliminated.
- F’Vothee (Yf) – F’Vothee is hiding out inside the nuclear reactor on the power level figuring that would be one of the last places the robots would search for her. Unbeknownst to her, in her haste to get into the reactor, she tore a very small hole in her radiation suit and is taking radiation damage (1D/hour – currently has 12 BP left). If she is not found and treated within a couple of hours she will succumb to radiation poisoning.
- Hiloo (Nm) – Hiloo is hiding out in the Mineral Processing Plant (Docking Level). He has backed himself up into one of the little side maintenance passages and wedged himself under some of the machinery. The robots are a little too big to enter the maintenance passages directly but are starting to dismantle and destroy the machinery in an attempt to get to him.
- Reid Esperon (Hm) – Reid had ventured down to the alien ship after Thrawl’s crew left to investigate and was caught by the robots leaving the vessel. His body is about 2/3rds of the way from the mine airlock on the docking level to the alien ship. He was able to get a warning back to the staff allowing them to attempt to defend themselves or hide.
- Clese Whayeson (Hm) & Vothi (E) – These two were killed in the Ore Loading Area (Docking Level) trying to defend the airlock connecting the mines to the outpost against the advancing robots. They managed to destroy one of the robots whose body is in that area with them before they were overwhelmed by the other robots.
- Petoph Baker (Hm) – Petoph is hiding in one of the robot storage room. He’s working on trying to activate and reprogram the spare mining robot in that room to use it to attack the invading robots. If he is not found, he will have the robot ready to go in 2d10+10 minutes after the PCs dock at the outpost.
- Donio Welley (Hm) – Donio grabbed the blankets off of his bed and is hiding out in the Freezer. He’s been there for a while though and is starting to succumb to the cold.
- K’Yuuxan (Yf)- K’Yuuxan is hiding in the gym. She has turned the lights out and set the area to zero gravity. She has hidden himself in one of the upper corners of the room. She has a laser rifle and a 50 EU power pack and will fire on any robot that discovers her.
- Melni (Nf), G’Vorta (Ym), & Taxu (E) – These three are attempting to hid out in the mine shafts. They have managed to evade the robots searching the shafts for now but are slowly being herded toward capture.
- Yo’Viltri (Yf) – Her body is in the stairwell between the Crew and Docking levels. She and Kella were attempting to reach the PCs’ ship when they were caught by one of the combat robots (the one destroyed by the PCs) she was killed as they made their way through the stairwell buying Kella time to escape.
- Chofa (Nf) – Chofa is hiding in the largest of the mineral storage bays. She has squeezed herself into one of the shipping containers by removing some of the refined material that was originally in there which is spilled out on the floor.
- Yuror (E)- Yuror is hiding out in one of the currently unused housing units. They has barricaded themself into the bathroom with the lights out.
There are 16 robots currently active and moving throughout the outpost. They are initially in the following locations but will start converging on the PC’s location as directed by the Combat Coordinator Warbot. These are the positions of the robots when the PCs dock at the outpost.
- Mine shafts – there are 6 robots here working in three pairs to search the shafts for the miners hiding there.
- Stairwell – There are two robots in the stairwell. One is sitting in the area between the crew and power level. It is currently just on station watching for anyone to traverse this area. The second is descending the stairwell between the docking deck and crew deck and is enroute to start searching the recreational areas of the crew deck.
- Life Support and Hydroponics – A robot has just entered this area to start searching it.
- Central housing corridor – There is a robot in the central corridor between the housing units. It is at the end of the corridor and will break down the door to and enter each room in turn working it’s way up the corridor. It has already searched the units off the left corridor.
- Raw Ore Intake – There is one robot in this area that has started to smash and dismantle its way down the maintenance access corridors searching for crew members.
- Processing Control Center – There are two robots here attempting to dismantle and work their way into the maintenance passages looking for Hiloo whom they know is in the area somewhere.
- Mineral Storage Corridor – There is a robot about to enter the leftmost Mineral storage area.
- Robot Repair Shop and Storage Rooms – A single robot is in this area looking for Petoph Baker.
- Airlock to Mines – A single robot is stationed in this location to prevent any of the staff moving between the outpost and the mine shafts.
- Alien ship access tunnel – About half way down this tunnel from the airlock to the ship is where the Combat Coordinator Warbot has stationed itself allowing it to communicate with all of its robots and the ship.
Robot Tactics & Timeline
The destruction of the combat robot at the airlock has alerted the Combat Coordinator Warbot to the presence of a potential threat. 1d5 turns after the robot is destroyed, it will begin marshalling its other combat robots to identify and eliminate the threat.
The warbot does not have access to the outpost’s camera and security system so it only knows where the PCs are when they encounter one of the combat robots. It will start by sending the combat robot from the Mineral Storage area to the airlock to investigate the destruction of the combat robot there.
If the PCs are still at the airlock when the combat robot arrives, or it sees them in the corridor, it will engage them immediately. Otherwise it has a 60% chance per turn to pick up their trail and pursue them.
If a robot encounters the PCs and is destroyed, the warbot will retask the closest robot to that position to resume the pursuit. If the PCs are making short work of the robots, feel free to direct two or more robots to their location.
It should become quickly obvious to the PCs that the actions of the robots are coordinated and being controls from somewhere. If they can jam the communications, then the robots will just go about their last assigned task.
If the communications are jammed, the warbot will come out of the access tunnel to deal with the threat directly. If needed the warbot can summon up to eight additional combat robots from the ship embedded in the heart of the asteroid (provided communications haven’t been jammed). This gives the referee some flexibility to provide the necessary challenge for the PCs.
The PCs can’t afford to take their time once they enter the outpost. The robots are looking for them and for the mining staff. The longer the PCs take to eliminate the threat, the more of the mining staff will be killed by the robots. The referee should convey this sense of urgency through the actions of the robots and any NPCs encountered.
The following timeline assumes the PCs do nothing to intervene or are ineffective. Adjust events appropriately based on the PCs’ actions. All times are given in minutes after the initial encounter at the airlock with the combat robot.
|3||Chofa found in Mineral Storage Bay and killed.|
|5||Petoph Baker found in robot repair shop.|
|8||Yuror found in housing unit and killed.|
|13||Dr. Jamis Grandt will be discovered in the Hydroponics lab and killed.|
|18||Donio Welley will be found in the freezer by the robot that killed Dr. Grandt.|
|22||K’Yuuxan will be discovered in the gym by the robot originally traversing the stairwell. A short fight will ensue before he is killed.|
|26||The robots will have smashed their way through enough of the mineral processing machinery to capture and kill Hiloo.|
|35||Donio Welley will exit the freezer due to the cold if not previously discovered and start looking for survivors or a new place to hide.|
|60||Melni, G’Vorta, & Taxu finally cornered and killed in the mines.|
|74||F’Vothee will succumb to radiation induced damage if not found and treated.|
Jamming the Robots’ Communications
One option the PCs have for dealing with the coordinated assault of the combat robots is to jam the communications between them and the warbot. To do this, a successful skill check with a -40 modifier would allow them to jam the communications. However, this check would have to be performed either using the equipment on the Mirage or in the Sensors and Communications room. PCs with the relevant skills would know where they would have to be to jam the communications. Setting this up takes 1d10 minutes.
If the PCs jam the communications, the warbot no longer has input from the combat robots as to the PCs’ location and can no longer task robots to intercept and pursue the PCs allowing them to move around more freely.
The combat robots themselves will pursue their last assigned task, i.e. searching whatever set of rooms they were in, and then go idle and assume a defensive posture. They will attack anyone that approaches them them will not actively patrol or seek out engagements.
Even with communications jammed, the warbot will still be broadcasting attempting to contact its combat robots and the PCs can still follow this signal to the warbot if they have thought to do so.
Destroying the Warbot
The warbot is actively controlling the combat robots as an extension of itself during this encounter. If it is destroyed or deactivated, all robots without a specific target (e.g. the combat robots pursuing s3 and m3 or engaging the PCs) will immediately stop all action. They will defend themselves if attacked but will not initiate an attack or pursue anyone. Those robots who are already pursuing someone or engaged in a fight will continue their current task and then stop when it is completed.
This deactivation only occurs if communications between the robots are not jammed. If the warbot is destroyed or deactivated while the communications are being jammed, the robots will not stand down until the communications jamming stops.
Once the PCs have secured the outpost and defeated the warbot, the surviving mine staff can fill them in on the events that occured before they arrived. The PCs can also send a message back to Nova Vista appraising them of the situation and outcome. If they have not already decided to do so, NVC will direct them to explore the ship embedded in the asteroid (Section 5) and secure it for future study.
Here’s a PDF of the full adventure section including the room descriptions: