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Stars Without Number Campaign: The ANNIC NOVA (Session 5)

This is part of an ongoing campaign. You can find the other sessions over on the sidebar.

The next portion of the campaign is an adaptation of the classic Traveller adventure "ANNIC NOVA". This is one of the oldest Traveller adventures, having appeared in the Journal of Travellers' Aid Society Issue 1. I have used the ANNIC NOVA ship several times over the years, both as written and in heavily modified forms. I was inspired to use it again after watching Seth Skorkowsky's excellent video on the adventure. He provides some great suggested changes and some additional handouts. I highly suggest checking out any of his videos. He will be coming up more on this blog, especially when we get to Call of Cthulhu. 

The characters made their way to Hermanville, which turned out to be much smaller than they were expecting. They decided to stay the night there before making their way to the nearest spaceport, Goldenwood. They asked around town about finding work and were directed to a man named Dr. Darius in the bar.

They found Dr. Darius to be a drunk, and perhaps crazy, xenoarchaelogist who had retired to Hermanville when the Empire lost interest in aliens beyond persecuting them. I decided to really ham up my performance as drunk Dr. Darius and went full Foster Brooks, mostly for my own amusement. 

Dr. Darius told them a story of his youth in the Imperial Scouts. One time his ship spotted an unknown vessel while patrolling a secluded region of the belt. They approached the vessel, which had ANNIC NOVA written on its nacelles, and Darius stayed on the scout ship while the rest of the crew boarded the ANNIC NOVA to explore. They never came back. 

Darius was able to pilot the ship home by himself. The scouts attempted to launch a rescue mission, but the ship was gone by the time they could return. Darius eventually mustered out of the Scout Service and went to school, but the ANNIC NOVA was never far from his mind. He kept tabs on fringe conspiracy communities and learned that others spotted it from time to time, but always in a different place. He was eventually able to develop an algorithm to predict where the ship would be. A few years ago, he hired a ship and crew to take him out to a spot where he predicted it would be, but he got there too late and it was already gone. 

After he retired, he continued to tune his algorithm and was able to confirm its accuracy against other reports. He also cashed in his Scout Service ship voucher and bought the same ship he had served in after it was mothballed. He is now looking for a team of able-bodied folks to accompany him out to the ANNIC NOVA. 

The players decided to take him up on his offer and he took them to Goldenwood in his aircar the next day. His ship was old, but in good shape and more than big enough for the team. They headed out for his predicted location without delay.

They arrived to find the ANNIC NOVA where he predicted it would be and after a flyby, decided to board via umbilical to a rear airlock. Once onboard they determined that the air was safe, and that the artificial gravity system was functional, but there were no overhead lights. A brief investigation revealed that they had entered the ship into one of its jump pods. 

They moved out into a long hallway that had some kind of large battery in the center, and a hydroponics section with a ramp going down aft of their position. Forward of their position there was only what appeared to be a control panel for the jump drive, although there were some controls on it that were unfamiliar. They found another jump pod, that seemed to contain a more powerful jump drive, through a door across the hall. Confused by the extra jump drive, they decided to go down the ramp.

As they approached the ramp, they discovered a hatch in the aft bulkhead that had been concealed by the plants in the hydroponic section. They decided to leave that alone and investigate the lower level. They moved down the ramp into a workshop. A brief exploration revealed that there was a smaller workshop for fine metal work behind one of the two doors in the shop. They also found an elevator with strange symbols on the buttons. 

We stopped there for the night.


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