Here is the notes I used to run the first session of my d20 Future game that turned out to be the best game I have ever run. If I get enough positive feedback I’ll continue to post the notes I have for this adventure. If anyone tries to run this or gets some inspiration, be sure to let me know.
You have recently been hired by The Corporation, a massive interstellar conglomerate with numerous divisions spanning from biomedical research to private military contractors. After several weeks of training and instructional videos you are finally given a field assignment. You are to report to the space station Exodus in orbit around P-3813, where you will be briefed on the particulars of this assignment. The Exodus is almost completely self sufficient requiring only a small supply of reactor material every few years. Luxury items are also imported, though all the essentials for life can be produced on board.
A remote research facility on Kimed VI has ceased uploading its weekly reports. All attempts to contact the facility remotely have failed. We suspect that recent storms may have knocked out their communications array you will be accompanying a technician to the facility in order to repair the uplink and gather a full report on what occurred at Kimed VI
● Bitter Cold
● Normal Gravity
● Thin Atmosphere
● Recent Foul Weather
Optional Information (If Asked)
● Facility was researching advanced Artificial Intelligence
● The weekly reports were automated
● 31 Scientists on site
● 60 additional support personnel
From the Exodus you travel aboard the Corvette Icarus to the Kimed system. The ship places itself in orbit above Kimed VI and you are ordered to the hangar bay. Inside the cramped hangar bay is a Osprey drop ship, two Sparrowhawk gunships, and a M83 LRV; two pilots are busy prepping the Osprey for flight. A marine approaches you and explains last minute details of the mission.
Kimed VI (Bitter Cold and Thin Atmosphere Hazard):
The pilots set the Osprey down on the landing pad outside the facility. After pressure equalization the rear door drops open and you are greeted by a blast of bitterly cold air, it is also a lot harder to breathe due to the thin atmosphere. After you exit, the Osprey takes off again returning to the Icarus. There is no light emanating from the facility and the door leading in from the landing pad is frozen shut. (DC 20 strength check to force it open 1 minute per attempt)
Failure: You smash against the door, succeeding only in breaking loose a few icicles that come crashing down around you.
Success: With a mighty effort you shatter the thin layer of ice and open the door.
Nearby the communications tower seems to have been burned, the metal frame is twisted and blackened from the intense heat (spot DC 27: partially buried in the snow near the comm tower is a corpse.)
The tower is severely burned. Several meters away lies a frozen body clutching a microplasma torch, its fuel source exhausted.
● micro-plasma torch
● Passcard Level IV “Dr. Matthew Willard”
● Shotgun w/ laser sight
● Journal, pages of which have been torn out.
1.05: Began work on new breed of AI
2.14: Foundations completed
5.11: Personality matrix nearly complete
5.14: Beginning preliminary tests
5.16: AI has exceeded all expectations moving on to advanced trials
6.08: AI has gone rampant, calls itself “Keltera”
6.10: “Keltera” has attempted to gain access into our data up link system
6.15: “Keltera” has taken control of the facility
6.16: The other researchers are dead. I am going to destroy the data up link
to prevent the AI from leaving this facility
6.16: Whoever finds this, DESTROY the AI labs KILL KELTERA!
Airlock: You are now inside the airlock, shutting the door behind you will provide some protection from the harsh environment outside. The interior door of the airlock is magnetically sealed, a small console on the right side of the door frame blinks faintly and asks for an access code. (DC 20 Computer Use can open the door or a DC 25 disable device can deactivate the lock mechanism itself )
Once you gain entrance to the facility you can breathe easy in the normal, although quite stale, atmosphere. It is still uncomfortably cold, though the heating system has kept the facility at a “safe” internal temperature. The majority of systems seem to be off line as you explore the loading docks and warehouse sector; the stale air suggests that life-support may be disabled.
Locations of Interest:
● Dormitory: where the scientists live, eat, and sleep
● Engineering: controls the reactor and various systems of the facility
● Lab I: basic programming lab working on interactive software
● Lab II: lab working on robotic AI
● Lab III: bio-lab developing living microprocessors
● Lab IV: advanced programming lab working on starship grade AI
You head towards the living quarters of the research facility, in the corridor leading towards the airlock you find a body. The cold temperatures and sterile environment have protected him from decay.
● Optical disk labeled “Emergency System Shutdown”
● Level I pass card “Dr. Edmund Slemme”
Slemme’s pass card opens the dormitory air lock. This area consists of a long central corridor with many rooms on its sides, and several halls branching off perpendicular from the main corridor; the stench of death hangs heavily in the air. It is noticeably warmer here. Most of the bodies are in their beds, a few are lying in hallways or communal living areas. None show any signs of trauma or distress. At least they all died peacefully.
(Thorough investigation in this area will reveal that carbon monoxide levels are higher than they should be, due to a malfunction in the air scrubbers. As well as several scientists personal journals)
The corridor leading to the engineering sector is filled with a low hum, lights flicker on and off randomly. The airlock is wide open and a warm glow emanates from within.
spot DC 10: the light seems to be coming from a control panel on the far side of the room Accessing the panel causes a holographic representative of an AI to appear in the center of the engineering room. It speaks: “Greetings, I am Keltera, monitor of station K four dash two one Z. How may I be of assistance?”
(If asked about the incident, Keltera will respond with things like “system failure due to improper maintenance” and “Contamination of breathable air” Explaining what went wrong, but giving very little as to how or why. The AI will be very helpful in restoring vital systems, though she seems anxious to repair the communications array)
This lab is just a room full of computers. Several white boards adorn the walls covered with flow charts and ideas for new interactive programs.
(Listen DC15: there is something moving in this lab)
As you enter the lab, a bright light shines in your face (Reflex DC 15 or take 2d4)
Small Animated Object (EL 1)
A small wheeled robot armed with a SMG. It will fire the SMG until empty and then employ its slam attack, fighting until destroyed
A standard biological lab, two Larethians lie dead on the floor. The room is bitterly cold; they are huddled together seeming to have frozen to death.
The door to this lab is magnetically sealed, the keypad next to it has shorted out. (DC 25 disable device can deactivate the lock mechanism)
Keltera: “I am sorry, this area is under quarantine. I cannot permit you to enter.”
(The AI will not offer explanation as to why the area is quarantined, nor what happened at the
facility other than the obvious. Keltera will also suggest repairing the communications array at
this time too)
There are two robots guarding this room
2 Small Animated Objects (EL 2)
A small wheeled robot armed with a SMG. It will fire the SMG until empty and then employ its slam attack, fighting until destroyed.
The room is very similar to Labs I and II, only with much more advanced and powerful computers. The temperature begins to drop rapidly in the lab and breathing becomes difficult as a toxic haze is pumped into the room (DDT: Inhaled poison, Fort DC17, 1d2 Str primary, 1d4 Str secondary) This whole time Keltera will be taunting the party as their feeble organic bodies fail due to the toxins.
(A Computer Use DC 15 check will allow someone to disable the AI using the Emergency Shutdown disk. If the party begins to succumb to the poison, the captain of the Icarus will radio for a status report, and use a precision orbital strike to take out a section of Lab IV to allow fresh air in)
(In either event the Drop ship will be on hand to retrieve the party after the AI is destroyed. Medical officers will be present on board the drop ship, to begin treating any wounds received. Upon returning to the Icarus the party will be debriefed and congratulated on their success in this mission. If the AI was destroyed without help from the Icarus each member will receive a +2 wealth bonus for their flawless operation)
The captain’s voice comes across the ship’s intercom.
“Kimed VI ground team report to the bridge”
The bridge is a circular room on the top deck, located one-quarter the way back from the bow. The bridge crew of 8 sits at their various control terminals, busy keeping the ship on course. The captain stands to greet you. She is a rather attractive woman in her mid thirties, her brown hair worn in a very conservative pulled back style.
“You handled yourselves well down there. A homicidal AI was definitely not anticipated and you were ill equipped to handle those guard robots, yet you prevailed against those odds.” She pauses and looks thoughtfully out the view screen at the vast blackness of space. “Let us continue this conversation in my ready room.”
The ready room is a small office adjoining the bridge, a long conference style table dominates the center of the room. She motions for you to sit down. “That sort of tenacity and dedication to accomplishing the mission is exactly what we look for in Department Seven.” She pauses, giving you a chance to speak.
(Captain Clara Jenner will explain the basics of Dept. 7)
● Protect the interests of the Corporation
● Investigate and secure new technologies
● Neutralize hostile entities that threaten Corporation operations
● Act in a covert manner
● Are allowed a generous expense account to accomplish missions
“We just received a distress call from the planet Kimed IV, one of our colonies until the terraforming incident released massive quantities of radiation.” She plays a recording of the distress call: The sound is masked by static, but you can still catch the tentative quality of the woman’s voice. “Hello? Hello?” she says. “Oh, God, can anyone hear me?” It sounds as if she’s close to tears.
“You will proceed to the surface of the planet, locate this woman and then extract her back to the Icarus. The planet’s surface is highly radioactive so our scanners cannot get a lock on the source of the signal.”
A radio operator buzzes across the intercom: “Captain, the signal repeated itself, the woman said that she is in a town called ‘Black….something.’ According to maps of the planet, there is a town called ‘Black Rock’ and it is in a lightly irradiated zone.”
“Good news” The captain responds. “I’ve already requisitioned the M83 LRV, NBC suits and a fast use medical kit containing several doses of neutrad for your mission, now report to the hangar bay and get planet side ASAP.”