Solo Skald |||

Starforged - Exploration Part 4

I’ve caught my breath from the last arc and ready to dig back in.

Beginning of Session

Last time, Lux found Kei’s body outside an ancient precursor factory on a furnace world. Rather than immediately explore that factory, she brought back his remains for proper burial. The ship itself was left to a scavenger - quite literally, as a pilot known as Jackal was tearing it apart when she departed.

There’s a bit of a problem with Firestarter, who had manipulated her in order to get a chance to try to capture Jackal. That didn’t go well for him, and it’s possible that will come back to bite her later. But that’s a thread we’ll pick back up in the future.

Before we head straight back out there, however, I do want to take a moment to think about a new danger, opportunity, or insight”. Let’s roll on the table: [96] Unforeseen aid is on the way or within reach. What sort of aid? Is Jackal going to show up and help? Unlikely: [100] DEFINITELY NOT. But this is a match, so there’s a twist. Let’s ask the oracle for inspiration on what that is: [50] Gather [81] Spirit. Then ChatGPT can write something for us:

Lux stood alone in her quarters, staring down at a holo of her mentor, Kei. He had been more than a teacher to her, he had been a friend, a confidant, and a father figure. And now he was gone.

As she grieved, she remembered the last words Kei had said to her before embarking on his final mission. Gather spirit,” he had told her, and carry on my work.”

At first, she didn’t understand what he meant. But as she sat there, surrounded by his belongings, she felt a sense of comfort and support. She looked around the room and noticed that Kei’s colleagues had sent messages, offering their condolences and support. They told her that they were coming to help her lay Kei to rest and to continue his work in his honor.

With their aid, Lux felt a renewed sense of purpose. She realized that Kei’s spirit lived on through his work, and she was determined to carry it forward. She gathered her strength, and with allies by her side, she set out to continue the mission that Kei had started. And in doing so, she honored his legacy and gathered his spirit.

We take +1 momentum from this insight and begin again.

On Apex

Heading back but preparing before that. Sojourn to recover at Apex. Weak hit: safe refuge, but resources are strained here due to blockade. One recover move, assuming strong hit. Hearten, find companionship or comfort and spirit is strengthened. +3 spirit, capped at 5.

I want to explore this companionship briefly: a swaggering mercenary named Takara who usually goes by Rogue”. Make a connection. Miss. Situation worsens, pay the price. Initial disposition was cooperative; is Rogue actually associated with Firestarter (likely)? [61] Yes. Goal: [62] Locate [47] Humanity. Wants to find Firestarter and rescue him. She felt manipulated by him, but Rogue is threatening. Jackal (who has Firestarter) isn’t exactly a friend but was a temporary ally. Face Danger with resolve: weak hit. Succeed, but at cost (-1 momentum).

Lux leans against the wall of the space station’s cantina, her mind racing as Takara approaches her. She had thought she had found a friend in the pilot, but now she’s not so sure.

You’re hiding something from me,” Takara says, their voice low and menacing. I know you’re hiding Firestarter. You need to tell me where he is.”

Lux shakes her head, trying to hide the fear in her eyes. She had been tricked by Firestarter once, and she’s not about to fall for this again. Whoever these people are, she doesn’t want to get involved.

I don’t know where he is,” Lux says, trying to keep her voice steady. I swear.”

Takara steps closer, their hand hovering over the blaster at her side. Don’t lie to me,” she says. You need to tell me where he is.”

Lux’s heart races as she realizes the danger she’s in. She’s not going to tell Takara anything, even if it means putting herself in harm’s way. This is not a game she’s willing to play.

Takara seems to sense her resolve and eventually gives up, turning on their heel and walking away. But Lux knows that this isn’t the end of it. Takara will be back, and next time, they may not be so easily deterred. Lux keeps a close eye on her surroundings, knowing that she needs to be prepared for anything.

The experience has shaken her, but it has also reinforced her determination to uncover the truth about Firestarter and protect herself. She knows that this could be a complication later, but she is ready to face it head on when the time comes. Until then, she will continue her search for answers and hope that she is ready for whatever comes next.

Back to the Factory

For now, she and Crash need to head back to the factory on Flint in a nearby system. Undertake an Expedition. Factory Expedition”, Dangerous. Strong hit! Reach a waypoint, envision location, mark progress (2 boxes).

Is Jackal still here (unlikely)? [49] No, sadly. The ship has been torn apart for valuable components and materials, with little of value left. Focus on the factory, though. Mysterious and difficult to enter; that’s what killed Kei. Chat with Crash about the possibilities, then Explore a Waypoint with its help. Strong hit, and the survey bot bonus mattered. We find a way inside and gain progress (2 boxes). This is a milestone on the vow as well (1 box) as this gets us further than Kei did before he died.

Lux and Crash stand at the entrance of the ancient factory on Flint. Lux runs a hand over the rough, pitted surface, thinking of her mentor Kei and the mystery that still surrounds his death.

She turns to Crash, the survey bot, and begins a conversation as they discuss their next steps. Lux is eager to explore the factory, but she knows it will be difficult and dangerous.

With Crash by her side, they begin to explore the perimeter of the factory, searching for a way inside. Lux’s pulse races as she takes in the strange, unfamiliar technology, and she feels a thrill of excitement mixed with apprehension.

Hours pass as they search, and Lux is about to give up hope when Crash lets out a cheerful chirp. Lux rushes over, her heart beating fast, and she sees that the bot has discovered a hidden entrance.

She hesitates for a moment, thinking of Kei and how far he got before he was killed. But then she takes a deep breath and steps forward, determined to uncover the secrets of the factory. With Crash by her side, she steps into the unknown.

Exterior

Mechanically, this is a Precursor vault.

  • Location: Planetside
  • Scale: Large, elaborate site (stretches to the horizon)
  • Form: Machine (large, sprawling factory)
  • Shape: Spires or towers
  • Material: Metallic (industrial)
  • Outer First Look: Hazardous readings; electromagnetic field (could interfere with survey bot)

As Lux and Crash approach the sprawling factory on the planet’s surface, they can see that it extends as far as the eye can see. The massive metallic structure is made up of spires and towers that reach towards the sky, casting long shadows over the surrounding landscape.

As they get closer, Lux’s scanner begins to pick up hazardous readings, including a strong electromagnetic field that could interfere with Crash’s systems. Despite the risks, Lux presses on, determined to uncover the secrets of this ancient site.

As they enter the factory, they are greeted by a labyrinth of machinery, some of it still in operation. The air hums with energy, and the metallic surfaces reflect the dim light from the planet’s star. Lux and Crash begin to explore, carefully making their way deeper into the factory and documenting everything they find.

Despite the danger and the overwhelming size of the factory, Lux is exhilarated by the discovery. She is one step closer to uncovering the truth about the precursor civilization and the mysterious machinery that her mentor died trying to understand. And with Crash by her side, she is confident that she can unlock the secrets of the site and uncover what lies within.

Interior

Factory Interior

We find ornate markings or symbols and abundant force fields. As we move further in, Lux will Undertake an Expedition with her survey bot to find next waypoint: weak hit. This means she reaches a waypoint and we can envision the location with a peril, then mark progress (1 box). Feature: Intricate symbols or pictographs. Peril: Rivals seek what lay within. Is it Jackal (50/50) or someone new to us? [40] Jackal, who wants to scavenge here and she wants to understand it. She’d like to join forces in this dangerous place and proposes another temporarily alliance. Test Your Relationship: miss. He isn’t really interested, in it for the profit. This means wwe lose the connection and Pay the Price: the most obvious negative outcome is that he may interfere with her exploration.

As Lux and Crash delve deeper into the factory, they begin to notice ornate markings and symbols covering the walls and machinery. There are also abundant force fields, which flicker and hum with energy.

Undeterred, Lux presses on, determined to find the next waypoint in her expedition. It isn’t long before she comes across a feature that takes her breath away: intricate symbols or pictographs that cover entire walls, depicting scenes from the precursor civilization’s history.

But as she takes in the beauty of the site, Lux realizes that she is not alone. She can sense the presence of rivals, who are also seeking what lies within the factory. Among them is Jackal, her former ally, who is only interested in scavenging the site for profit.

Lux tries to approach Jackal, hoping to convince him to join forces and help her navigate the dangerous factory. But Jackal is not interested; their erstwhile alliance has ended. Lux realizes that Jackal may interfere with her exploration, but she is determined to understand the site and uncover its secrets.

Continue by Exploring a Waypoint. Strong hit with a match! We gain extra momentum from the Explorer path. Let’s Make a Discovery: Safeguarded or idyllic location”. [32] Desolate [84] Symbol. Decoding it, that means this is a place between the dangerous electromagnetic fields. It’s a secure area which offers a moment of peace. But our Spirit is at max and there’s no need to risk anything with the associated move. But this is exciting, and we keep moving!

Lux and Crash continue their exploration of this ancient factory. The area they are in now is free from the hazardous electromagnetic fields they encountered earlier, but Lux is eager to keep moving. The excitement of discovering the secrets hidden within the factory is driving them forward.

With Crash leading the way, they move through the sprawling structure, taking in the ornate markings and symbols that cover the walls and spires. The intricate pictographs and symbols seem to be telling a story, but Lux can’t quite decipher it. She records everything she sees as well as the environmental readings for future study.

Again, she must Undertake an Expedition to find the next waypoint: weak hit. We can mark progress, but we encounter another peril: puzzling mystery blocks the way. The oracle says we’ve found a breached or ruptured area. How can we get across? First, Lux Secures an Advantage with observation to find a way: weak hit. It’s going to be complicated and dangerous, although we gain a bit of momentum. [46] Finish [27] Disease. The rupture is filled with oozing organic material which will be quite dangerous if it gets through her filters. The explorer will Face Danger to get across, again with focus and observation: strong hit! Our momentum increases and we’re through.

They come across a new obstacle. The way forward is blocked by a mysterious, pulsing substance that looks like organic material. Lux is cautious, as she knows that it could potentially be dangerous if it were to get through her filters.

She takes a moment to observe the substance and assess the situation. She considers the options, weighing the risks and benefits of each one. In the end, she decides that the best course of action is to face the danger head on and find a way across. With her focus and determination, she takes a deep breath and sets off towards the other side, using the exploration equipment attached to her suit. She fires a cable and beings to cross the substance, hand over hand.

As she crosses, she stays alert and careful, making sure to stay well away from the strange substance and its gaseous emanations. Her hard work pays off, and she and Crash safely make it to the other side. Lux feels a rush of excitement as they get closer to the innermost depths of the factory. She can sense that they’re getting close to uncovering something truly remarkable.

Sanctum

We’ve come far enough that it’s time to Undertake an Expedition to the sanctum, or central core of the factory. This yields a weak hit, allowing us mark progress but Lux encounters a peril. Jackal is here and not in a mood to share. The sanctum features pulsating surfaces, so she tells him she’s encountered these before and they’re dangerous. She tries to Compel him to let her take a small sample and leave the stuff intact. Strong hit with a match. He realizes how dangerous this is, and it’s not what he came for anyway. The twist is an opportunity to restart their alliance, and so Lux tries to Make a Connection: Miss with a match. He’s not interested in that. He’s not interested in her at all. He’s only interested in the profit. In fact, he thinks that the data she’s gathered so far is the real prize, and he’s going to make sure he has it.

She reaches this central core and gasps in awe. The pulsating surfaces are unlike anything she’s ever seen before. She encountered a smaller version earlier, but not in such a massive form. They’re dangerous, and she knows that she needs to be careful.

The room is dark, with glowing symbols and pulsing machines. She moves quickly, taking samples and collecting data, knowing that time is of the essence. As she works, she hears a sound behind her and spins around, her hand going to her weapon.

It’s Jackal, her former ally. He’s here, and he’s not in a mood to share. Lux tries to convince him that she’s encountered these pulsating surfaces before and that they’re dangerous. She tells him that she needs to take a sample and leave the stuff intact. But Jackal is not interested in her explanation. He thinks that the data she’s gathered so far is the real prize, and he’s going to make sure he has it.

He approaches her, hand on his weapon, ready to take what he wants by force. Lux’s mind races as she realizes the situation is about to take a dangerous turn. She stands her ground, determined not to let Jackal get what he wants. She knows that her findings are valuable, and she’s not about to let them fall into the wrong hands.

Confrontation

First, we Finish the Expedition (10/10 progress): strong hit. We can mark 3 ticks on discoveries legacy track due to the Explorer path. This gets us to a full box and she can advance when we’re out of this. We can also Reach a Milestone on the vow to Learn the secret of Kei’s Discovery” as well.

But we have a complication to resolve: Jackal. Lux will Face Danger with expertise: this isn’t the first time she’s faced down a scavenger in a dangerous situation, and she’s been mapping the labyrinthine dungeon carefully. She’s reacting to the threat of him trying to take her down; on a miss, she’ll need to fight him. Instead, we get a weak hit: she gets out of there but at a cost. That’s a suffer move (-1): her companion takes a hit. Jackal fires after her and Crash whines as a blaster bolt hits his small spherical frame, hovering behind her.

But regardless, she leaves him behind and flees to her ship, launching into the relative safety of space. She’s got the data, and she’s got the momentum. She’s going to get out of here and get back to the lab.

Lux makes her way to her ship, dodging blaster fire from Jackal. She’s focused on getting away, but she’s also aware of the damage to Crash. The small survey bot is whimpering, its frame dented from the blaster bolt. Lux quickly checks on it and realizes it’s still functioning, albeit with some damage. She’s grateful that Crash is still with her and, with a deep breath, she activates the ship’s engines and takes off, soaring into the vast void of space.

As she leaves the planet behind, Lux begins to process what just happened. Jackal was after her data, and he was willing to fight to get it. Lux knew he was dangerous, but she never expected him to actually attack her. She’s grateful that she made it out with the data and Crash, but she’s also worried about what this means for her future expeditions.

Lux sets a course back to her base, thinking about what she’ll do next. She’s determined to protect her findings and continue her research, no matter the cost. With that, she settles into her seat and begins the journey back home.

Conclusion

Whew! I didn’t expect to get so much done. Let’s End the Session and see what we’ve got.

I don’t think we missed any opportunities to mark progress. Our vow is still at 4/10 progress; Lux needs to analyze it and decide what to do with the results. She has at least two rivals now; depending on Firestarter’s mood, she could have three.

In the next session, she’ll continue to focus on that vow, plus she’ll attend to the damage to her little companion. She’ll also need to decide what to do about Jackal. She’s got a lot to think about.

Up next Abenteuerspiel Experiment Starforged - Exploration Part 5
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