Ad Astra: And so it begins… (Part 2)

The first part of my first Ad Astra adventure started a bit slow but that will soon change. The adventurers, new recruits of the Twilight Star, were ordered to investigate an archeological dig on the planet Kalanda III in a solar system at the very edge of known space. The planet is unhabited and undeveloped but has a breathable atmosphere. There is plenty of plant life but aside from a few microorganisms the planet is devoid of any animal life.
A couple of months back a scout discovered Elohim ruins under a glacier on the northern hemisphere. The Twilight Star send a science team to investigate. But suddenly the contact with the team has been lost. So, the players are sent to investigate.

The player group is provided with a Warhawk class FTL frigate, a Theseus class starfighter and a Black Hawk class shuttle. Aside from these space ships, they have access to a variety of weapons and equipment. After some preparations and some research in the Twilight Star archives, the team heads toward Kalanda III. The trip in hyperspace takes about two weeks that give the players some time to get to know their ship and the crew. When their frigate finally drops back to normal space, they at once notice that there’s something terribly wrong.

The espers on board suffer from headaches and can’t use their powers, there’s just static on the hyperband and making the jump back to hyperspace is impossible. They are stranded. A quick sensor sweep of nearby space reveals to space ships in the vicinty: a civilian mining vessel (that was used by the science team) and a Tovenaari partol ship! Both ships are obviously out of power and do not respond to hails.

After some consideration the group decides to fly to the civilian ship to investigate. They order the frigate’s crew to wait on the other side of the planet, fearing that the Tovenaari ship may have prepared for some kind of ambush. A closer examination of the mining vessel’s hull reveals no visible damage. When the player characters finally enter the vessel, the shocking truth is revealed: the crew is dead, and the corpses look like the attackers used tools and their bare hands to kill their victims. At first the player characters believe this may be the work of the Tovenaari crew from the patrol ship but quickly dismiss this idea again. When checking the ships logs the agents find out that the crew obviously killed each other, obviously driven mad by an unknown force. It also becomes clear that the scientific team was on the planet when the unspeakable happened onboard the ship. They leave the mining ship and use their shuttle to dock at the Tovenaari patrol ship.

This concludes part two of my play report. I have to admit the revelation of the “ancient enemy” will have to wait a bit longer since I will split the second part of the adventure in several posts. So stay tuned!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

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