Dead Suns, Session 33

You can watch the game session on YouTube at https://youtu.be/_FgzhJbZoNU.

Nuil tended to her and Drez’s wounds. Drez then retreated to watch over the prisoner (aka Billy wasn’t with us this session). Ryder asked Wesley to send Canary to scout for the approaching cultists. After a touching moment between Wesley and his creation, Canary zoomed off to survey the area. While the drone did its work, Wesley worked to reset the electrified trap in the floor (rolled a crit, so I increased the damage the floor would inflict).

Canary checked in and revealed to Wesley there were cultists coming in the front door while others were placing some kind of device on the back wall of the facility. He quickly warned his teammates and they prepared for battle and Canary’s feed went dark. The back wall exploded inwards and Ryder was caught on the edge of the blast (but only took a single point of damage).

Null 9Null-9 entered the facility from the back and alongside her were two shade spawn and a dwarven soldier carrying a small cannon.

The battle begins at the 14-minute mark in the video.

The shades swarmed the party while the cultists attacked on both sides of the facility. Any hope of “focusing fire” was quickly abandoned as the PCs tried to cope with the battle on three fronts.

Null-9 taunted Switch but he refused to take the bait. He knew she had gone down a dark path and he would not follow her down it.

Switch threw himself at Null-9 and the villains slowly drew him out of the facility into the jungle just outside. He knew it was a trap but he refused to allow Null-9 any quarter and bravely charged into the vulnerable position. Null-9 and the dwarf, Deldreg the Butcher, pounded Switch until they finally dropped him unconscious.

Deldreg the ButcherMeanwhile, Xix’s brother, Zaz, led a second group through the front door. Although there was some jostling about, eventually Cypher caught the cultists on the floor trap and electrocuted them for 10d6 points of damage (all of them but Zaz who had charged past the floor). There was not much left to the cultists after that. Wesley and Cypher continued to wear them down but one snuck off to help the shades against Ryder and Nuil.

In the center of the facility, the shades closed on Ryder and Nuil. Nuil’s magical resources had been mostly depleted and the pair were hard-pressed to handle the undead attackers. The cultist who fled from Cypher and Wesley arrived and went after Ryder and Nuil. The Starfinders were forced to retreat step by step into the control room on the south side of the facility.

Cypher and Wesley managed to drop Zaz and then Cypher snuck off to find a good firing position in the center room. He took up a sniper’s position behind a desk and continued to fire as opportunities presented themselves. Somehow Ryder ended up with him behind the desk

ZazJust as the crew finished off the cultist and shades in the center hallway, Null-9 and Deldreg left Switch’s unconscious body in the jungle and reentered the facility to press the attack. Outside, Switch quickly recovered. The android soldier gathered his Resolve and regained consciousness (restoring 1 hit point). He stumbled back into the battle.

DM Note: Switch rode that 1 hit point through the end of the battle. I tried. Believe me, I tried. Fortune favored the bold and Switch stood strong until the end.

Ryder, Nuil, and Switch combined their strength to gain the advantage on Null-9 and Deldreg. The cult leaders fell and moments later, Cypher positioned himself just right and finished off the last cultist who continued to attack Wesley.

The Cult of the Devourer had finally been defeated.

While the others took a moment to catch their breath, Switch opened Null-9’s head and retrieved her memory module. Null-9 was lost to him but he wondered if Null-10 might have a better fate?

At the 2 hours, 49 minute, and 56-second mark, Michael and Stephen sang “Happy Birthday” to Bill’s daughter. I left it in the video. Enjoy!

Wesley took the parts the cultists had returned with and began repairs on the control facility. The debate on the fate of the Stellar Degenerator began again. Eltreth once again insisted the Starfinders destroy the superweapon and Ryder agreed. Cypher once again protested and insisted they reach it first. The pair could not agree (and the hologram continued to bolster Ryder’s point of view). Cypher reminded Ryder that a short while ago, the group wanted him to silence the hologram and now they were listening to it.

Ryder remarked, “And like you [Cypher] said, maybe he’s not so bad.”

Cypher retorted, “And like you said, maybe the guy is a jerk who should keep his mouth shut and keep his opinions to himself.”

Eltreth grimaced, “I do not like the ysoki. I wish we never created them.”

Nuil scolded him, “Hey now!”

The argument continued.

Finally, Cypher broke down and shared a secret he had been holding onto for a long time. He revealed when the group was on Absalom Station and he accessed the Starfinder database, he had confirmed something he suspected for a long time. Wesley’s parents had been part of the Starfinder expedition to the Scoured Stars system. That mission was a notorious failure. When the Starfinder fleet arrived at the Scoured Stars, an unknown entity surrounded the entire system in a huge field. Only a few ships were left outside the barrier to report what had happened. Most of the Starfinder Society was lost inside. No weapon or communication could penetrate it or ever has. Cypher suspected the Stellar Degenerator might be able to accomplish that task.

Wesley wondered if his parents might be alive on the other side. Cypher admitted he didn’t know but there was a chance.

Wesley was stunned. Dreams of seeing his parents again consumed him. Eltreth reminded Wesley of the danger of the Stellar Degenerator and Wesley protested.

The repairs on the control facility were completed. As the systems powered up, Wesley activated the controls and the star system-sized gate to the demiplane opened. The Stellar Degenerator began to drift out.

Moments later, other signatures began appearing on the system’s sensors. Undesignated ships in the hundreds began to appear. The crew recognized their make.

The Corpse Fleet had arrived.

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Dead Suns, Session 32

Want to watch this game session on YouTube? Check it out here.

The crew decided to interrogate the captured cultist. Cypher and Ryder decide to go the intimidation route and the cultist brazenly resisted their attempts at first but the duo proved they could be quite scary. The cultist broke down and revealed there was another cultist still in the building named Xix.

Before they went to find the hidden cultist they decided to deal with the hologram, Eltreth (who I kept accidentally calling Esteth). Osteth did not like the idea of the PCs interacting with the kishaleen computer systems but they explained they only planned to lock up Eltreth, he acquiesced. Eltreth persisted in his protests in the name of the Devourer. During the exchange, the PCs learned both AIs had once been living beings who converted themselves into these forms to watch over the Stellar Degenerator. The PCs briefed Osteth on the current situation and the hologram asked the PCs to secure his friend. He conceded Eltreth had been corrupted by contact with the Devourer, he hoped there might be a way to help him. They locked Eltreth away but Ryder wondered if Cypher could alter the program so they could at least interact with Eltreth. Cypher began work on that.

Nuil began to scout the remainder of the facility using her x-ray goggles. She spotted a female ysoki in the next room on the northeast corner of the facility (in the closet to be precise) and she was bound. She also saw robot bits and pieces lying about the room and surmised it was a mechanical repair bay of some sort. The ysoki had sores and open wounds and her arms were bound behind her back. Nuil inquired with Osteth about the ysoki and was informed the cultists had two ysoki with them when they arrived. The other cultists did not treat them kindly. Nuil asked Osteth to scan the room and he reported he did not believe any of the robots to be active.

XIX

The PCs locked their prisoner in a closet and after a short rest, they entered the final room of the control facility. When the PCs opened the closet, Xix thought they were the other cultists and begged for mercy. She was surprised to see the crew was not Null-9 and the rest of the cultists.

When Nuil approached Xix to examine her wounds, the ysoki’s binders transformed and grabs Nuil’s arm. The device tried to snap her arm but Nuil managed to escape its grasp and threw it across the room. Xix had been playing possum (no real surprise there) and the PCs were jumped by Xix and three robots which were hidden in the junk. The battle begins at the 26 minute 42 second mark of the video.

Unfortunately for Xix, her plan did not go well. Her robot minions did manage to put a hurting on Ryder but they were not enough to take down the Starfinders. They finished her and her robots off in short order. Nuil tended to everyone’s wounds while the others scavenged for useful equipment.

The crew grew suspicious of Osteth (his scans of the room had been less than successful) and they locked him away with Eltreth.

Nuil spied into the last room in the control facility and discovered this room to be the key to opening the gate to the demiplane which held the Stellar Degenerator. Unfortunately, there was damage to some of the systems and it looked like the cultists had attempted to make repairs but failed. Nuil used the functioning systems in the room to scan the star system and located Null-9 and the remaining cultists on Moon 2. She also noted the drones on Moon 2 were not following their programming. Nuil wondered if they should use those drones to interfere with the cultists and possibly destroy the entrance to the demiplane. Cypher bulked at this idea but when pressed for his motivations, he diverted the topic. He suggested the group just find the Stellar Degenerator first and then talk about what to do with it later.

Cypher finished the software modification and the crew “freed” the holograms so they could get more information from them. The operative told them it looked like the cultists had been trying to open the gate. Osteth was very concerned and when Ryder suggested the group possibly use the drones to destroy the Stellar Degenerator, Osteth seemed in favor of the plan. The hologram agreed with Ryder and felt it was time to destroy the weapon. Cypher once again objected which made Ryder suspicious. Cypher suggested there might be a good use for the weapon but would not elaborate. The others asked, “What purpose?” He again pressed the group to find the weapon first and then decide later.

Cypher asked Osteth exactly what the Stellar Degenerator was. The hologram explained it was a capital ship sized weapon which could suck the energy out of a sun in moments. This would instantaneously destroy any star system and all life in it. They also learned to open the gate to the demiplane, the cultists would need to return to this location. The PCs decided to stage an ambush. Based on Nuil’s scans, they estimated they had two hours to prepare.

They ripped up the electrified floor and moved it into the main hallway. Meanwhile, they also prepared disguises (using their holoskins) to lure the cultists into the right position inside the hallway. Wesley, Zaleria, and Garrity took the Raza into the jungle to hide it. They debated what to do with the holograms and decided to lock them both up again just to be safe.

Bil’djooli

On their way back to Moon 1, Null-9 opened comms with the control facility. Ryder feigned signal interference and the cultists continued on their way. A short while later, three cultists and two bil’djooli appeared on the path outside the control facility. Ryder met them at the door (disguised as a cultist) and led the real cultists inside. The cultists spotted Switch and Drez (who had forgotten to disguise themselves) and attacked. Cypher activated the electrified floor and blasted the three cultists although the bil’djooli, which floated through the air, were unaffected.

The battle begins at the 2 hours 33 minute 41 second mark on the video.

Parts of the plan went well. The floor, the advantage of the ambush, and the overwhelming flanking maneuver in the hallway. Other parts, not so much. However, when the dust had finally settled the PCs were victorious and took a moment to rest. They knew Null-9 was not part of their group and there were more cultists to face but that is where we ended the session for the night.

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