The Rings, Episode 1: Missing on Leaon
Without the magnificent Rings of Topphin this slice of the galaxy would have been nothing more than a common refueling stop. The Rings brought not only commerce but entertainment for those seeking to rejuvenate themselves from the jarring realities of the galaxy. A series of concentric counter-rotating rings made up the facility which orbited the only major gas giant in the area. Whomever, or whatever, built the Rings is a mystery.
Cas Neros woke up this day on the Rings not feeling rejuvenated but anxious. The morning’s double shot of espresso may have been a bad idea. Moments later their com bleeped with an incoming call which Cas answered.
“I’m in need of your services. We’ve not heard from a team of researchers on Leaon in two solars and we do not have a crew in the area that could assist in an assessment. The next scheduled resupply is about two weeks out, we were hoping you could help us sooner than that.”
“What were they researching?” asked Cas.
“Remains of an ancient construct we discovered while expanding our titanium mine operations. When the remains were discovered we halted the mine operations to allow the researchers to conduct their work. My company is a signatory to the Hegemony’s Discovered Artifacts Protection Accords and we would not want to run afoul of regulators.”
The Rings weren’t the only alien creation in this sector. The Hegemony was extremely interested in understanding the origins and the disappearance of their creators.
“What happened to the mining crew or the local security team? Would they not be in a better position to assist?”
“We reallocated the crews to the Dornabhon-3 asteroid belt for a temporary assignment. There’s not an established local presence on Leaon, it is mostly swamplands. The research team are staying in floating prefabs on a lake near the site. There’s been no aggressive wildlife to date so we had not felt a need to leave a heavy security presence with the team. I can transmit the employee files to you. You’ll find at least one of the research team members was trained in basic combat.”
Cas paused for a moment. “Why me? Surely there must be someone under your employ already that can help you.”
“You have a reputation for getting things done, Mr. Neros.” After a long silence the caller added “… your experience with xenohistory may prove invaluable.”
It is true than Cas had once been a part of the Xenohistory Service.
“I’ll forward my contract to your office. Please send along the employee files, the landing zone coordinates, and the discovery archives.”
“Thank you, Mr. Neros. We’ll be in touch.”
Cas ended the call, pulled two more shots of espresso, and packed his bag.
After trying to wrap my brain around the content in 5150 New Beginnings I became somewhat overwhelmed. The material is organized in such a way that is hard for me to unpack and get into. But I do love the general game play of a Two Hour Wargames (“THW”) title so I’m returning to some older content: Future Tales and Larger Than Life 3rd Edition. I’ll be using most of the story and world building content from Future Tales while playing things out with the more streamlined mechanics of Larger Than Life’s 3rd Edition rules. Larger Than Life excels at creating a connected set of pulp story scenes. I’d love to link you over to Larger Than Life 3rd Edition but it seems to have been removed from the THW product line (presumably sold to Rebel Minis but I don’t see it in their product listing either.)
The above is the narration of the “Opening Scene” rolls where I rolled up an objective to “Find or Rescue Person.” Drilling down it was determined I would need to gather 4 clues to find someone to “help with a problem.” I choose to call “home” a location in Space and came up with the concept for “The Rings” after making a few rolls on some random inspiration tables from the Solo Game Master’s Guide and Starforged. Future Tales told me the person was an “exotic” (someone unique) with a “professional” job. They were last seen in a “rural” “low residential” location. When I asked Starforged why they were there I got a prompt about “Construct Expedition.” From there I let my GM’s brain work a bit until I landed on the idea that they were researchers exploring a xenohistory site. Further I remembered the idea from Ghost Planets that there were abandoned xenohistory sites waiting to be discovered throughout the galaxy. I thought it would be interesting to have even as something as populated as The Rings themselves to be part of these abandoned alien mystery. I rolled on a Traveller Patron table I had laying around to determine who the main character was and got “A spy who possesses telepathy or other unusual quality.” I’m not sure what the “unusual” quality is but I’ve always wanted to use the Psionics rules in a THW game so I’ll work out these details when it becomes relevant.
For deciding how my character learned about this situation I rolled again on my Traveller Patron table and came up with “A corporate boss, worried about current situation.” This was enough information to put together the opening bit of dialogue and description.
Credits: “Rings” art by Espen Saetervik.