Digging in the Dust of Laco

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by Tom Verreault

System Data

System Primary: Dixon’s Star
Spectral Type: G0

Laco

Moons: Saucer
Climate: Hot, arid, dust storms
Atmosphere: Standard Breathable
Gravity: 1.4
Diameter: 16,154 km
Length of Day: 60 hours
Temperature: 39C
Colonizers: Prospectors, refugees, and corporate personnel
Population Density: Disputed
Economy: Industrial

 

Planetary History

Discovered soon after first contact with the yazirians, Laco was bypassed in favor of colonizing Truane’s Star.  With an inhospitable environment, it remained an outpost world until the First Sathar War with the influx of refugees from Truane’s Star.

The sathar pursued the fleeing refugees from Pale and attacked Laco.  The colony and its fledgling infrastructure were devastated.  When the sathar discovered the Tetrarch ruins they dug in.  After the defeat of the sathar in space, it was planned to wipe out them on Laco with orbital bombardment.  However, their close proximity to the ancient alien ruins necessitated the raising of ground troops and a conventional battle.

Pan Galactic Corporation (PGC) supplied weapons and equipment for scratch built army formations from several planets but the Royal Guard of Clarion, already organized and trained, was the first unit on the ground.  Even as follow-on troops were arriving on Laco, the Royal Guard engaged and destroyed the sathar at the Battle of the Ruins.

After the Battle of the Ruins the Royal Guard transferred to Pale for the mopping up operations there and PGC controlled units took up garrison duty on Laco.  This enabled PGC to insinuate itself into the shattered colony and solidify its control of the Tetrarch ruins.  Despite PGC’s promises to rebuild and help the refugees on Laco, it was the Capellan Free Merchants (CFM) that supplied the food for the starving population immediately after the war.

Eventually, most of the refugees from Truane’s Star returned home and Laco subsided to outpost population levels.  PGC rebuilt the colony with a focus on infrastructure that supported their operations as they built robotic factories.  The newly organized Streel Corporation, with its interests in finance and real estate, used the Truane’s Star refugees still remaining on Laco as a pretext to become involved in the colony.  PGC had largely failed in their promises to the local population but Streel earned great respect by providing aid.

Streel and PGC were on a collision course as Streel aggressively sought to oust the other mega corp from its control of Laco and the Tetrarch ruins but it would take decades for the shooting war to erupt.  MerCo and Galactic Task Force both become heavily involved on Laco, providing security and support personnel to PGC and Streel.  The CFM and Cassidine Development Corporation (CDC) had minor operations on Laco during this time as well.

Laco’s War was a decade long corporate conflict.  There were thousands of casualties and several starships destroyed in space.  Eventually, Steel was soundly defeated by massive military expenditures on the part of PGC.  PGC has maintained control of the planet ever since.

  Jumped on the Streets of Laco by Tom Verreault

Since Laco’s War, the colonists have made every effort to grow the colony past the outpost level in order to gain a seat on the Council of Worlds.  PGC wishes to avoid this occurrence and has successfully blocked it at every turn.  During the war the planet was temporarily classified as Moderate population due to the numbers of mercenaries and support personnel present.  However, PGC, through large political contributions, forced a reclassification to Outpost, having all the mercenaries discounted. 

Currently, for the past five years, the colonists have alleged that the population has reached the level of Light but PGC has managed to block its reclassification.  The mega corp has instituted a policy of purchasing property debt and foreclosing on the occupants.  Most of the evicted accept the PGC’s offer of a cash inducement to be relocated off planet.  Thus PGC has artificially maintained its control of the planet long past the time that interstellar law would allow for self-determination by the local population.

Today Laco is a dangerous place.  The environment is deadly and inhospitable, doing its level best to kill the unwary.  Pirates are attracted to the desolate loneliness of this sparse outpost.  PGC maintains its grip on the planet and has large stockpiles of munitions left over from the war.  The planet's lonely wastes are dotted with rusting hulks of military equipment, mute memorials to the battles fought there.  Rumors abound of lost sathar stockpiles and alien artifacts.  Its black market is one of the more robust with a deeply entrenched criminal element. 

 

Environmental Survey

Seas

The seas of Laco are generally shallow, small and teaming with aquatic life.  They are often choked with algae-like plant growth.  The seas represent the largest concentrations of native wildlife abounding with eel-fish and larger predators.  A few are in low lying depressions of the planet’s crust and have concentrated large quantities of salts and minerals making them barren and lifeless.  These are generally surrounded by salt flats.

Plains

The plains are dusty and barren with only sparse clumps of short mat-grass.  Mat-grass has deep roots, tens of meters long, able to tap into the deep aquifer for water.  Dust storms and dust devils are common occurrences.  Technically, it would be correct to call the plains “desert” but the name has stuck with the locals and it persists.

River Carved Canyons

(Only slightly smaller than the Grand Canyon). 

There are grand river-carved canyons, numbering about two dozen over the whole planet.  They are stark evidence of a lush environment in eons past.  Today many are dry and lack the water courses that carved them.  Some are dotted with small lakes and ponds that can no longer drain to the sea and few have active streams still running down their length.  These canyons are typically riddled with caves and slot canyon complexes radiating out from the main canyon.  Water can be located in these caves and slot canyons making them niches for wildlife.  Caves and slot canyons also offer protection from dust storms.  This environment generally experiences less severe dust storms and only infrequent dust devils.

Hill Regions

This region offers greater opportunity for deep rooted mat-grasses to colonize hollows and depressions.  It also offers some protection from severe weather effects.

Weather Effects

Water

In the harsh Lacosian environment characters need 4 liters of water per day to survive.  Characters can reduce this requirement by 1 liter by taking 4 salt pills per 60 hour Lacosian day and another 1 liter by only being active at night.

Characters on foot can move their maximum rate but must double their water intake (after taking into account any precautions taken to reduce water consumption).  Thus a character moving at maximum speed during daylight without taking salt pills would need 8 liters of water a day to survive.  If, however, the character were taking four salt pills per day he could survive on 6 liters of water.  Finally, a character moving at maximum speed at night while taking 4 salt pills could survive on 4 liters of water per day.

Characters who do not have enough water to survive quickly become dehydrated suffering -5 to all abilities.  Dehydrated characters who continue to not get enough water become heat exhausted and suffer a -10 penalty to all abilities in addition to the penalty for dehydration.  Heat exhausted characters who continue to not get enough water will suffer heat stroke incurring another -15 penalty to all abilities in addition to the former penalties.  Unconsciousness occurs if the character's stamina drops to 0.  Even if a character suffering from heat stroke does not become unconscious, it will happen soon without medical help and will be followed by death.

A lot of variables go into when dehydration sets in so a referee will simply have to take note of the fact that the PC’s are at risk and apply the penalty when he thinks best or require all characters to pass a STA check to avoid dehydration.  Characters will transition from dehydration to more severe effect in as little as an hour to 1d5 hours depending on shelter, activity level and lack of medical remediation for the conditions.  For example if the characters are fleeing form a threat with the sun at its zenith and they are already dehydrated they will likely transition to heat exhaustion in minutes – require STA checks every 10 minutes to check for heat exhaustion.  In most cases the players will realize that they should take steps to fix the problem and such actions should be rewarded.

Dust Storms

In a typical dust storm the wind can blow at up to 120 kph.  Any character with an environmental skill should make an Intuition check; modify this roll by +10 per level of environmentalist skill; -15 if in a canyon, and +10 possible for having a species of domesticated flute flutterer present (see below).  If any character makes a successful INT check, the party will be able to improvise shelter and survive the storm without taking damage.

If the characters happen to be in a hex with an unusual rock formation, canyon, or caves the characters can find shelter quickly and avoid taking damage from the storm.

If the characters have no advance warning and are not in one of the hexes listed above, they will take damage from the storm.  Have each character roll a Reaction Speed check.  If the check is unsuccessful the character takes 4d10 damage from the storm.  If successful, the character only takes 2d10 damage.

Dust Devils/Whirlwinds

When these occur the referee should place a counter on the map and roll for the whirl wind's strength, duration, and speed: strength is 2d10, duration is 3d10 turns, and speed 5-10 m/turn.  The dust devil will move in random directions (use the center grenade bounce table to determine) every turn.  If it comes within one square or hex of a character, at any time during its movement, it will do the damage listed above but the character gets a RS check for half damage.  If it enters the square or hex of a character, at any time during its movement, it will do double damage but the character gets a RS check for half.  When the duration is reached (in turns) the dust devil disappears suddenly.

The local colonists speak of dust devils that have a mind of their own or frequently turning up during combat.  Some even talk of them being possessed and an independent scientist alleged that they are more frequent in proximity to the Tetrarch ruins.  The Pan Galactic Corporation adamantly denies this.  It's hard to say what the truth actually is concerning the dust devils on Laco as hard data is sadly lacking.

Dust Spore

The presence of the dust spore on Laco is universal, being an airborne infective agent.  Normally it does not affect healthy individuals but anyone weakened due to severe injuries, disease, radiation illness, or is in a condition of generally compromised health can be afflicted with spore sickness.  Any character below half STA must pass a current STA check once per day or become infected with spore sickness.  Spore sickness is rated as (-10/D10!); meaning that any character with this disease is at -10 to all ability checks for 100 hours with death as the end result without treatment.  In addition, all healing from any source is halved while the character is afflicted by spore sickness.

 

Zoological Survey

Laco’s biosphere has been diminishing for millennia.  Evidence clearly indicates that it was once a garden like world with lush forest and abundant wildlife.  The fish on Laco are usually eel like.  The planet supports only limited avian life.  The dominant terrestrial animal forms are mammal like.  These creatures have a tough hide with short thin hair thought most appear hairless from the distance.  A unique feature of Laco zoology is that most creatures are blind with highly developed tremor sense or sonic capabilities and there is the possibility of psychic capabilities, though this is a controversial hypothesis.

Lacosian Eel Fish

The Lacosian Eel Fish has poor eye sight but excellent hearing.  It feeds on algae in shallow waters.  Upon detecting the presence of possible predators the eel fish will burrow into the muddy bottom leaving its poison barb exposed.  Unshod individuals walking in the water will step on an eel fish barb based on the number of fish present: 5% for 5 fish or 50% for 50 fish.  The barb is painful and does 1 STA damage but the poison sets in immediately.  The eel fish is otherwise harmless and good eating.

Lacosian Eel Fish

Type:

tiny aquatic herbivore fish (10-15cm)

Number:

5-50

Move:

Fast (80m)

IM/RS:

+7/65

Stamina:

1-10

Attack:

-

Damage:

-

Special Defense/Attack:

Poison barb (S3/T5) + 1 STA

 

Lacosian Anaconda Eel

The Lacosian Anaconda Eel looks like a larger version of the eel fish but without the barb.  Its diet consists largely of eel fish but it will attack small to medium sized creatures approaching the shore.

Lacosian Anaconda Eel

Type:

medium aquatic carnivore fish

(1-3m)

Number:

1-5

Move:

Medium (60m)

IM/RS:

+6/55

Stamina:

60-120

Attack:

50

Damage:

1-10

Special Defense:

naturally camouflaged lurker 60% concealment (counts additional +20% concealment vs.  terrestrial animals walking in shallow water for 80%)

Special Attack:

on a successful bite the anaconda eel makes an opposed RS check each turn to grapple (wrap the target in coils and constrict).  Each turn the victim fails to break free (STR check) constriction causes 1d10 STA damage and the character runs the risk of drowning if he’s in water that is over his head.

 

Lacosian Devil Eel

The Lacosian Devil Eel looks like a larger version of the anaconda eel but with 3 fins surrounding the head that ruffle out as it attacks.  It’s believed that the devil eel will be extinct within decades due to habitat loss and hunting.  On a successful attack the devil eel injects the victim with a powerful toxin causing the victim to make a STA check each turn for five turns to resist being stunned.  Once a victim has succumbed to the stun effect it will attack another target until all opponents have succumbed to the poison.  Then it will feed on them.  Victims of a devil eel attack that are not immediately rescued will not be found.

Lacosian Devil Eel

Type:

large aquatic carnivore (2-5m)

Number:

1

Move:

Medium (60m)

IM/RS:

+6/55

Stamina:

100-150

Attack:

60

Damage:

5d10

Special Attack:

Poison (S stun/T5)

 

Lacosian Dust Snake

Native to most environments on Laco, the dust snake is a pack hunter.  It uses its tremor sense to localize prey and burrow up and attack.  A victim must pass a RS check to successfully attack the dust snake before it burrows back underground to attack 1-5 turns latter.

Lacosian Dust Snake

Type:

tiny terrestrial omnivore

(15-25cm)

Number:

1-10

Move:

Very Fast (110m)

IM/RS:

+8/75

Stamina:

1-10

Attack:

30

Damage:

1d10

Special Defense:

Burrow (see below)

Special Attack:

Poison bite (S5/T3)

 

Lacosian Flash Lizard

A harmless herbivore, the flash lizard is the bottom of the Lacosian food chain.  The greatest threat it poses is to ground cars as it darts onto the road to become road kill and cause a handling check for drivers.

Lacosian Flash Lizard

Type:

small terrestrial herbivore (30cm)

Number:

5-50

Move:

Fast (80m)

IM/RS:

+7/65

Stamina:

10

Attack:

-

Damage:

-

 

Lacosian Hound

Lacosian hounds are pack hunters with a gray mottled hide.  Typical tactics involve the whole pack surrounding its prey and using the sonic attack before moving to melee.  When severely wounded, the hound will use its sonic attack before attempting to flee.  Attempts to domesticate this animal have failed as the creature has a high likelihood of turning on its owner.

Lacosian Hound

Type:

medium terrestrial carnivore (2m)

Number:

2-20

Move:

Medium (60m)

IM/RS:

+6/60

Stamina:

75

Attack:

75

Damage:

3d10

Special Attack:

Sonic Bark (Damage: 1d10 sonic + stun 1 round, Range PB 5/S 10m, sonic screen nullifies)

 

The Lacosian Mawe

The mawe is blind but has an extremely sensitive tremor sense and possibly psychic sense (controversial and disputed).  Possessing no olfactory or optical organs, they show acute sensitivity to their surroundings and unerring ability to locate prey (they are never fooled by holo or sonic screens.  Luckily, they are not numerous but they are the apex land predator of Laco.

Lacosian Mawe

Type:

large terrestrial carnivore

(2-5m)

Number:

1-3

Move:

Medium (60m)

IM/RS:

+6/55

Stamina:

100-150

Attack:

60

Damage:

5d10

Special Defense:

Stealth 50%

Special Attack:

Poison (S stun/T5)

 

Flute Flutters

There are 62 species of flute flutters on Laco that differ largely in coloration and beak structure.  They have four bat-like wings with clawed fingers at the wing knuckle and no legs.  In flight they appear to be a mass of flapping wings.  When predators are in the vicinity they emit shrill fluting cries and fly away as a defense mechanism. 

Flute Flutters are otherwise harmless and are a popular domesticated pet.  The colonists of Laco use them as an early warning alarm against the more dangerous of Laco's predators.  Easily tamed, some have their wings clipped while some are trained to return to the owner.  They typically cling on the owner's shoulder and back.  They will detect predators for their owners (owner is immune to surprise), though the fluting cry is sure to give the owner's location away.  Most varieties can detect coming sand storms like a 1st level environmentalist (for details see the sand storms).

Flute Flutter

Type:

tiny omnivore avian (10-15cm)

Number:

10-100

Move:

Flying - Fast (90m)

Crawling/Climbing - Slow (25m)

IM/RS:

+7/70

Stamina:

1-10

Attack:

-

Damage:

-

Distinctive species of Flute Flutters

Black Lector Flute Flutter

This flute flutter has black coloring with white markings streaking the neck and chest.  They detect sand storms 100% of the time.  Costs: 500cr due to demand and rarity.

Flute Hawk Flutter

This flute flutter has patchy brown coloring (natural camouflage: concealment 40%) and aggressively swarms predators making a sonic attack.  (Attack 35; Damage: 2 pts sonic damage, Range (sonic attack) PB 0-1m/ S 1-2m/ M 2-4m/ L - ).  It can be trained to attack opponents engaged in melee with its owner.  A trained flute hawk flutter will automatically attack an opponent that its owner is fighting with in melee and suffers no penalties for "firing into melee" combat but an untrained animal will only do this 40% of the time.

To get a trained flute hawk flutter to attack an opponent that its owner is not engaged with in melee combat will require an animal handling skill check (consult the rule system being used for the appropriate skill).  The flutter will perform 1d5 attacks before returning to its owner. 

Characters can own a trained flute hawk flutter and not have any animal handling skill as its attack of an opponent in melee is automatic.  In combat it benefits from being a Fast moving tiny target, making it difficult to hit.  However, trained Hawk Flutes cost more.  Cost: untrained-200cr/ trained-350cr.

Mute Red Sparrow Flute Flutter

This species is a bred variety.  Some have escaped to the wild but have not fared well there.  Bred to not deafen their owners they emit a light chirp instead of the typical fluting cry.  They have no sense of impeding sand storms but will not give away their owner's position when they detect a predator.  They are also quite dull witted.  Cost: 125 cr.

Flutter Care

Flute flutters that are taken off planet require care to ensure proper diet.  They can consume seed and insects not native to Laco but many such food sources on other planets can make a flute flutter quite ill or cause death.  The referee determines chances of these food items affecting a flute flutter.  A pet owner would do well to buy supplies of seed and dried insects, costing 10-25cr/ Kg, with the typical animal requiring 1-2kg/month.  A PC can also take precautions by having an environmentalist scan new plants and insects for compatibility or by keeping the flute flutter caged while on other planets (if its caged then its presumed it only eats the food offered to it otherwise they are opportunistic omnivores.  Cages typically cost 5-10 cr.

 

Places of Interest

PanGal City

PanGal City is a secure corporate compound with robotics factories, warehouses, offices, and The PGC Institute of Archaeology.  It is the PGC headquarters on Laco

City of Delusion by jrmalone at Deviant Art

Battle of the Ruins

Located just beyond the ruins of the Tetrarch city is the battle plain where the Royal Guard of Clarion faced and defeated the entrenched sathar.

Ruins of Base Headrow

These ruins are an abandoned Streel compound which is now more of a ghost town.  There is a defunct starport here but only the truly desperate land here since Laco’s War.

Innarra Sea Nature Preserve

Owned by StarPlay through a subsidiary, this game preserve offers live game hunts.

Note: environmentalists decry this practice warning against the inevitable extinction of the mawe and devil eel.  It’s almost certain that if the people of Laco can wrench control of the planet away from PGC they will outlaw the game hunts.

Point Glass

A significant town with the only active and non-PGC controlled starport.  The term starport is used loosely in this case as the landing field is little more than packed dirt with mooring blocks.  Services to support starship operations are rudimentary and expensive.  Since PGC denies the use of its starport to all non-company traffic, most independent traffic is funneled through Point Glass.  It is also a significant market for artifact thieves but most antiquities on the market are fakes.

Davo's Bay

This quiet town mines salt and mineral deposits surrounding the bay.  After Laco's War, PGC has begun buying up property or simply asserting claim to unclaimed land around Davo's Bay leading to friction with local colonists.

Mo's Easy in Devil’s Basin

Mo’s Easy began as a bar in the middle of nowhere and is now a small settlement.  It is oft referred to as a wretched hive of scum and villainy.  A handful of mooring blocks for landed shuttles dot the plain beyond the canyon bluffs.  A notorious black market exists here and it is suspected of being used by pirates.  It’s a significant market for artifact thieves but again, most are fakes.

Namoth Canyon

A mini-grand canyon and the lowest dry spot on the surface of Laco, it’s famed for the Fire Fountain.  The Fire Fountain is a flaming geyser of hot liquid that ignites upon contact with air.  There are several hypothesizes concerning this phenomenon but science has yet to fully explain the effect.

The Mysteries of Laco

Besides the vast enigma of the Tetrarch ruins there are numerous other mysteries on Laco.  The following ideas can be used as mysteries and adventure hooks.

The atmosphere

It has been estimated that the amount of mat-grass, algae and other sea weeds are insufficient to maintain oxygen levels on Laco.  No explanation is evident for the consistent oxygen levels despite the amount of CO2 produce by colonist, native wildlife, and PGC's industrial centers.

Frequency of Dust Devils

Whirlwind atmospheric effects are much more prevalent near archaeological sites.  No explanation is evident.

Magnet field fluctuations

The magnetic field can fluctuate wildly and the magnetic north and south poles reverse often.  A compass is next to useless though most colonists quickly learn other methods of land navigation.  No explanation is evident for this phenomenon.  Before and after Laco's War (Streel destroyed them early in the war) PGC maintained global positioning and communication satellites to aid with land navigation.

Psychic Abilities

The alleged psychic abilities of a few Lacosian animals are a hotly debated topic.  In particular is that of the blind mawe predator that unerringly locates prey.  No explanation is evident.

Sathar Stockpiles

There are persistent rumors of lost sathar stockpiles and artifacts.  The Sathar occupied Laco during the First Sathar War and much of their equipment was destroyed or collected by appropriate authorities.  Rumors persist that there are of lost caches of sathar equipment but everyone knows these are just rumors…

I See Dead People

There are also persistent rumors of dead people being seen and empty graves being found.  These rumors began during Laco’s War and are usually centered at archaeological sites.  There is some evidence of empty graves but the evidence of “dead” people walking is anecdotal in nature.  Some have alleged that nanites accidently released from the alien ruins were able to animate corpses.  No scientific explanation is evident.

Layovers on Laco

Player characters visiting Laco or having a layover there could have any number of the following encounters.  These are not actual campaign ideas but filler encounters and well suited for sessions when some of the players are absent. 

  1. Approached by antiquities dealer with hard luck offering a great deal on an artifact.  The artifact could be of sathar or tetrarch origin and could easily be a fake.
  2. A youth handing out hand bills gives one to the PCs, advertising a live hunt at the Innarra Sea Nature Preserve.
  3. A dirty peddler is offering a flute flutterer for sale, claiming it’s fully domesticated and trained.  It may or may not be.  A wild flutterer will fly away once released from the cage.
  4. Grad students from Port Loren University are looking for someone to transport them to Mo’s Easy in Devil’s Basin and then ferry them overland to the Fire Fountain at Namoth Canyon.  Their stated reason is to take scientific readings at the Fire Fountain; however, they also plan on purchasing items from the black market while at Mo’s Easy. 
  5. One PC has inherited a mineral claim at Davo’s Bay but discovers that PGC has moved in and is exploiting the claim.
  6. A vrusk is looking to contract with a pilot to pick him up 1 km from Pal Gal City at night with no questions asked in two days.  He’s offering 3,000 cr for this service.
  7. Sand Storm.
  8. Star Law agents question the PCs about an NPC they were seen talking to. 
  9. On a tour or a trip to see the famous Tetrarch ruins the tour vehicle is struck by a powerful dust devil.  Unrestrained passengers are violently thrown about and the vehicle comes to rest on its side, broken.  The party is outside the com range of all communication devices present and the closest geosynchronous com satellite was damaged by solar flares a week ago; they cannot call for help.  If it is a tour, not all of the NPCs will agree with the PCs about the best use of assets or the best course of action.  The hazards of the environment should figure large in this encounter as well as the larger terrestrial carnivores. 
  10. A member of the Pan-Galactic Corporation Artifact Research and Development Team is looking for someone to smuggle a package off planet.
  11. A star liner arriving in Prenglar after leaving Dixon’s Star reports to system authorities, Space Fleet, or the Medical Services Organization (MSO) that 3 people; a child, an elderly individual, and one traveling to Port Loren for specialized medical treatment, have all been diagnosed with Lacosian Spore Sickness.  PCs must investigate.  The cause is that a ship’s crew member is involved in smuggling artifacts off Laco.  The artifacts, which are contaminated with dust spore, are hidden in an air vent aboard the star liner.  This adventure can turn into an investigation to unravel the whole smuggling ring.  If the crew member involved can get the artifacts off the star liner at Port Loren they are likely to disappear.
  12. While the PCs are visiting Point Glass an emergency broadcast com call goes out to all chronocoms.  A wrecked starship left in orbit from the corporate war has been discovered to have a decaying orbit.  Computer projections give a 65% probability it will land within 1 km of Point Glass.  Residents are advised to seek shelter or to evacuate.  The ship is likely to break into pieces and strike in several areas.
  13. PCs are visiting Mo’s Easy in Devil Basin when pirates land in a shuttle for a little R&R and “painting the town red”.
  14. An independent (non-corporate) scientist is looking for a ship and crew that can help him obtain good optical and energy sensor images of the Tetrarch ruins from low orbit.  A PGC privateer may try to intervene to prevent the flyover.  This scientist may have other missions after obtaining the scans.
  15. A zoologist from the Port Loren Zoo is looking to transport dangerous animals from Laco to Gran Quivera.  Weird dreams and sleep walking occur on the trip as well as animals getting loose.

Sample Catalog of Tetrarch Artifacts

Note that black market values are listed but the true value of these items is priceless.  PGC and Star Law have invested a great deal of effort to stop artifact thieves.  There are also shops where fakes are made by skilled and not so skilled forgers.  The hypothesized purpose of items is listed but this may not be accurate.  Additionally, when an archaeologist doesn’t know what an item’s purpose is the default guess is “ceremonial.”

Finally, the following list is not meant to be a catalog of amazing artifacts that create black holes or open gates to the other side of the galaxy.  Instead, it’s meant to be typical of what might actually be found at an archaeology dig.  The purpose of this list is to provide a referee with a suitable artifact for use in several of the encounters described above.  It would be rare indeed, that a truly earth shattering artifact would turn up.  A referee could have a powerful artifact turn up but he will want to invest more effort into such an undertaking than a random list.

  1. Strange nickel iron disk etched with lines and patterns that do not seem to be a form of writing.  Hypothesized purpose: unknown or ceremonial.  Black market value: 5,000-6,000 cr.
  2. Odd four sided statue with four faces; one has been chiseled away.  The remaining faces appear to be humanoid or simian, snake like and insect like.  Hypothesized purpose: unknown or ceremonial.  Black market value: 4,000-8,000 cr.
  3. Smooth 2 meter rod etched with un-deciphered characters at one end.  Hypothesized purpose: unknown or ceremonial.  Black market value: 1,000-3,000 cr.
  4. Crystal cubes (hundreds found) that seem to have Tetrarch written characters stored at the molecular level.  Hypothesized purpose: data storage device.  Black market value: 10,000-30,000 cr.
  5. Set of four crystal rods, 10cm to 40cm in length in a cellulose material case.  Hypothesized purpose: ceremonial or keys.  Black market value: 25,000 cr.
  6. The “sarcophagus,” a 3 meter box with a lid of the same Lacosian granite the pyramids were constructed from.  Its weight is 300kg.  Hypothesized purpose: ceremonial.  Black market value: 50,000 cr.
  7. Crystal cylinder, 5 cm by 3 cm diameter, encased in thin metal strips.  Found in the hundreds.  Hypothesized purpose: power storage device.  Black market value: 10,000-30,000 cr.
  8. Small stone bowl 20 cm in diameter with no markings.  Found in the thousands.  Hypothesized purpose: kitchen implement.  Black market value: 300-500 cr.
  9. Clay bowl 15cm in diameter with no markings but generating a magnetic field.  Only 4 found.  Hypothesized purpose: unknown.  Black market value: 10,000 cr.
  10. Figurines of Lacosian animals living and extinct.  Hypothesized purpose: ceremonial.  Black market value: 1,000-5,000 cr each.
  11. Iridescent woven mat, 2 by 1 meter, made from strips of various metals.  Mysteriously untouched by tarnish on the strips of metal that should have tarnished or oxidized.  Hypothesized purpose: home furnishing or ceremonial.  Black market value: 35,000 cr.
  12. Fossilized wood pallet, 2 by 1 meter, with 6 upright posts topped with a U shape.  Hypothesized purpose: Bed, medical exam table or ceremonial.  Black market value: 15,000 cr.
  13. Hollow cylindrical device, 10cm by 4.5cm, made of metal and ceramic composites with crystal facing.  Hypothesized purpose: unknown device.  Black market value: 50,000 cr.
  14. Thin granite stone tablet, 10cm by 20cm and 1.5cm thick.  The tablet is covered with lines and circular depressions.  Hypothesized purpose: game or ceremonial.  Black market value: 16,000-17,000 cr.
  15. Crystal knife, 22cm long with mono-molecular edge.  Hypothesized purpose: weapon or ceremonial.  Black market value: 45,000 cr.
  16. A mask that appears to contour to one of the faces on the statue described in # 2 but the outside is a geometric block shape.  The only masks found contour to the three undamaged faces but the fourth face has not been discovered yet.  Hypothesized purpose: ceremonial or grave mask.  Black market value: 35,000 cr.
  17. A metal concave disk, ½ meter in diameter, blackened with carbon.  Hypothesized purpose: fire brazier.  Black market value: 5,000 cr.
  18. A conical metal disk with a handle, ½ meter in diameter, and trace amounts of carbon.  Hypothesized purpose: Fire brazier lid.  Black market value: 4,000 cr.
  19. Crystal statue fragment, 40 kg, no discernible detail to identify the statue’s subject.  Hypothesized purpose: statue.  Black market value: 8,000 cr.
  20. Three metal two pronged forks, of descending sizes.  Hypothesized purpose: tuning forks.  Black market value: 6,000 cr.