Tuesday, October 31, 2017

MCC: A Fallen Star For All

We continue our adventures in Terra with A Fallen Star For All, a level 1 adventure by Tim Callahan.
From the cover:
A meteor strike in the taboo crater country opens up a huge chasm in which lies a largely intact city of the Ancient Ones.
The resulting mad, mad, mad land rush to go claim the newly available cache of ancient artifacts draws interested parties from all over Terra A.D., and at the direction of your tribal elders, that includes you and your Seeker team!

Play Report

This adventure took our group 3 sessions to complete, for about 8 hours of play.  This included some time spent leveling survivors from Hive of the Overmind and trading for new equipment in their village, and quite a bit of rules/mutation explanations as we're all still getting used to MCC, so an experienced Judge running pregens could easily get through this in 4-5 hours, appropriate for an FLGS one shot or con game.
My group of seekers played quite cautiously moving into the crater.  They dispatched the first group of other seekers and the Tribbars on the crater's edge at range.  They encountered on other faction of seekers, the Conservators, but avoided conflict with them, agreeing to explore different areas.
Moving into the crater itself, they spent a few rounds in combat with the med-bot arms before realizing the machinery was affixed to a wall and harmless to them if they simply walked away.  Since the Conservators went east toward the Command Center, the seekers traveled south toward the living quarters.  While exploring the fabrication room, they were surprised by another pack of Tribbars.  By the time this fight was over, the group's Healer was out of healing herbs and they'd used all but one Medishot, so they knew they'd need to be more very cautious exploring the remainder of the complex.
In the living quarters they attempted to build an a robot but had neither the knowledge nor tools to affix the pieces together.  They tried to communicate with the projection of Sterrson, but gave up after establishing they could only get yes and no answers from him.  They bypassed the children's room and took turns trying to beat each other's scores on the arcades.  They broke one of the machines and were admonished by MATRON, their first encounter with this AI.  While searching behind every corner for the source of the voice, they were attacked by another seeker faction, the Psions.  The mutant of our party has a very powerful quill attack which instantly obliterated the nearest charging Psion, which set the others into a panic and the party was able to defeat them without taking any harm.
Continuing south, they heard the sounds of battle ahead.  Rather than engaging, they decided to explore a side room, where they found a pair of mining robots.  A pyrokinesis demonstration followed by more quill bursts was sufficient to melt and impale the ancient droids.  Inside the room they discovered a very powerful, very complex suit of armor.  The healer was very lucky on his artifact check and was able to assemble the suit and, with an F-Cell they'd discovered previously, powered it up.  So equipped, he lumbered down the hall toward the laboratory where they'd heard combat before.
Stepping into the lab, they found a pile of melted and burned beast thing corpses.  Standing over them was the Oozeburst Visonaut, which instantly blasted its orange ooze at the armored healer.  The quill launching mutant and a sword wielding bear manimal were able to rush and destroy the Visonaut before it could ignite its ooze, but the ooze did melt away some of the healer's armor before they were able to wash it off.
Stepping into the next room, the armored healer saw a similarly armored seeker stepping toward him, with a few shadowy companions hiding behind.  He immediately fired the lazer projector from his armored chest, blasting the mirrored surface of a wall of computers.  Doors throughout the complex opened and the whir of machinery could be heard from the east.
In the lava lagoon, they saw machinery running and a silver rope reaching into the lava slowly pulling something up.  They could see whatever it was would reach the surface within a few rounds.  They rushed to the machinery but couldn't make any sense of its operation.  Just as the bathysphere was breaching the surface, revealing a hatch on its side, the healer fired his lazer at the pulley machines and severed the rope, dropping the sphere back into the depths of the lava.
However, due to the damage to the machinery in here and the damage to the main control interface, MATRON announced the initiation of self-destruction safety protocols and began a countdown.  The seekers decided against backtracking and climbed the tiers above the lagoon to look for a faster exist.  This proved fortuitous as they stepped into the lift shaft and were quickly rushed outside of the complex will plenty of time to clear the crater safely.


The setup of this adventure works really well to motivate the party to act quickly to explore the complex before other factions get through it first.  The encounters with other seeker parties are exciting and menacing, as the players were just getting used to their own new powers and had to worry about what these new enemies could do.  In our playthrough, I rolled terribly every time an enemy tried to use a mutation, so my players got off easy there, but these encounters could easily be deadly to an unlucky group.
The layout of the complex itself is fairly linear, with a single main path through it, unless the players find the elevator and can learn its operation and power it up.  Most likely, seekers will be on the main path.  It is also quite easy to miss most of the complex background.  Although my players tried to interact with the holocrystal of Sterrson, they missed the children's room, the memory room, and ultimately prevented the bathysphere from emerging, so they left the complex with no knowledge at all of the children or what had happened to them.  Knowing any of this is not at all necessary to enjoy the module, but I'd like to see more clues of the tragedy of the complex sprinkled in unavoidable placed.  If you've got an interesting story to tell, there's no sense in hiding it.
There are quite a few very good artifacts throughout this module.  My players recovered several off the "Random Useful Small Artifact" table, and recovered a dazer pistol off one of the Psions they killed, but the real prize of the night was the deep dive power armor.  That alone has turned our healer into the combat powerhouse of the group, so long as they can keep it powered.  I have a feeling that searching for F-Cells alone will be plenty adventure motivation for them in the future.
Overall, this is a really solid adventure that could play out a number of different ways.  This is one I would gladly run again for another group, and it would be easy to further develop the various factions into long term allies or enemies.  It's also fairly easy to not destroy the complex, which could provide a base of operations for your seekers if they're interested in establishing one.

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