New BASH-SF Datafile - Satha, Wight Mercenary Leader for Knights-Marshal of the Commonwealth!

Clint Staples

Yesterday, some folks that liked my Hound of Scathac, asked me to post some bad guys I have been using in the Knights-Marshal setting as well as some play notes. So I thought I would combine the two requests into a single post. Attached you will find the Datafile for Satha, A mercenary encountered in the most recent KMotC game.

 

Satha is the leader of a small cadre of ne'er-do-wells that do mercenary work to get by. They don't mind hurting of killing things as long as the money is good, and all of them have had run-ins with Commonwealth law.

Since I brought that up, it is worth mentioning that Commonwealth Law and Marshal Law are not the same thing. The ultimate authority on the Edge, Marshal Law is significantly curtailed in Commonspace. Criminals under Commonwealth Law can be pursued if found on the Edge or beyond, even if they enter Commonspace. And outstanding warrants for crimes within the Commonwealth are grounds for charges by Knights-Marshal operating on the Edge. Inside Commonspace, however, a Knight-Marshal can only act as a peace officer, interceding in situations where there is clear danger to citizens of the Commonwealth. Thus, within, Commonspace, a criminal is largely safe from the Knights-Marshal except under two circumstances:

1. The criminal is engaging in actions that present an immediate danger to Commonwealth citizenry.

2. The Knights-Marshal have pursued a known criminal from the Edge into Commonspace, in which case a 'Chain of Enquiry', continuous pursuit, must be established.  

 

Now in the most recent adventure in the Knights-Marshal of the Commonwealth,  Ser Reetha Shartar and Sergreant at Arms Thane Krios received an automated distress call from the orbital security station warding Scathac and Macha, a pair of prison planets.

Scathac is home to several hundred thousand criminals who were offered Transportation as an alternative to Execution or long term incarceration. There they manage a primitive existence, scraping life from the north and central plains, or working in the great-grass forests of the south, under the watchful eyes of their keepers, among whom the Hounds number.

Macha is a pristine world of jungles, rivers and roiling seas that appears red from space due to whatever the local flora does for photosynthesis. Macha has been left alone for the moment, since it posed greater difficulty to colonists or inmates. A single guard outpost on-planet, Heckla Station maintained a watch over the world, under the watchful targeting array of the orbital moon-base.

On investigation of the distress call, the Knights-Marshal landed at the moon-base to find three guards remaining of a larger compliment, and those on the edge of terror, with confused stories of attacks by crazed crewmen and/or horrid aliens. The explanation of their fear came with the discovery of the bodies of the others in the shuttle bays, where they had been massacred by one or more very strong things with claws. The survivors demanded action from their rescuers, in the form of transport off the moon-base and destruction of the base itself from a safe distance. But the Knights-Marshal decided to have a look around to get a better grasp on what had happened.

Now one of the things I had decided before the game began, was that I did not want 'Knight-Marshal of the Commonwealth' to be a police/forensics procedural tv show in outer space. I was aiming for something more on the space opera side of things, with criminal cases and law enforcement providing some of the raison d'etre for that. So I had to remember that when I was laying out the trail of clues and information. Suffice to say, that after sweating one of the crewmen, the heroes were attacked by another one, who fought them like a berserker, forcing them to kill him. When they had a closer look at his corpse, they found that the body was riddled with long black strands that ran under the skin and through the tissue of every part of the body. These had become apparent as a network of black vein beneath the skin during the attack.

The Knights-Marshal  warned Provost Station on Scathac that something as very wrong. then decided to check out the silent  Heckla station, taking along one of the surviving station crew. That did not go well. On the way down to the planet, his skin began to tear and a many-tentacled-horror-from-the-depths-of-space [tm], a Skinwalker, tore its way free. A mad duel between Thane and the creature ensued, all while Ser Reetha steered their patrol ship though a hail of orbital blaster fire courtesy of the crewman left on the moon-base. This was a fun encounter, with both players fully engaged. One trying to keep the other from being eaten while she flew the Courser, the other desperately evading blaster fire from two automatic blaster cannons, which in turn made the th site of the duel a constantly shifting landscape as the ship whirled and swerved at high speed. Eventually Ser Reetha destroyed one of the cannon with a lucky shot, put the Courser in the shadow of that asteroid so that the other cannon had to pulverize it before it could attack the ship, and lent brief but crucial aid to Thane, who was fighting with every iota of skill the former assassin possessed just to stay alive.

Together knight and sergeant finished the creature, only to find a shuttle containing their remaining attacker from the moon-base in the lower atmosphere of Scathac. By the time they commed Provost Station, the ship was too low to be fire upon, and had landed somewhere in the deep wilds of the prison planet. Its hailing tag disabled, possibly crashed, almost certainly powered down, it would take some serious searching to find.

So the Knights-Marshal turned their attention to the sister world of Macha, which, it seemed, the crewman-turned-monster had not wanted them to reach. On closer approach they detected Heckla Station, as unresponsive as they had been led to believe it would be. A hundred miles to the north a crashed ship emitted a weak distress beacon. and two hundred fifty miles to the west of the crash site, another ship, fully operational, IDed as 'Lilutu', registered to Jerrodin Kraith, a powerful lord in Pembrokian space within the commonwealth, with known ties to a number of criminals.

An investigation of the crash site revealed little, although Reetha pulled the data recorder and ship's com in the hope of more information. the ship was lying open, powerless, with no bodies, but several blood smears. One item was disturbing to Knight and Sergeant - the Cryo-Pod that sat, wide open, in the cargo bay. Exploring the nearby forest for signs of the crew, they scared up a group of odd bipedal herd creatures, and were set upon by a local predator that had been stalking the herd. After a brief but tense combat, the beast was slain. The explorers admitted that they were unlikely to find tracks, or survivors with such creatures near.  

After a bit more searching, finding no sign of survivors, Reetha And Thane returned to their Courser and took off for the functional ship. On landing, the Knights-Marshal trudged through fifty yards of orange mossy forest floor amid the boles of tall trees that resemble a fusion of pines and palm trees, with broad red leafed foliage. Arriving at the 'Lilutu', they found Satha and a couple of her mercs on guard duty, with the owner 'away'. Satha has little respect for authority, but had no interest in antagonizing the newcomers - at least not without orders from her employer. The sounds of blaster fire from the the nearby jungle did nothing to bother her or her people, and before long another merc strode from the forest leading a walking-sledge bearing a larger version of the predator the knight and sergeant had killed hundreds of miles to the west.

Following the trudging sledge came the final member of Satha's crew, an armored Ghwon, and their employer, the owner of Lilutu - Jerrodin Kraith. I will post the datafiles for the Ghwon and Jerrodin in the future. In the meantime, a short description of each.

The Ghwon are a non-signatory species [one of several dozen that exist] in the Commonwealth. Non-signatory species have the same personal and property right as signatories, and are considered to be bound by the strictures of the Common Law. The main limitation on non-signatories is that the species has little to no say in the policies and plans for the Commonwealth as a whole., and as individuals, members of non-signatory species are not citizens, which confers a list of advantages, mostly political.  This arrangement has the benefit of keeping control of the Commonwealth in the hands of a few of the more advanced races and keeping the majority of its inhabitants from caring, or of being able to affect the course of Commonwealth policy if they do.

For the most part, Ghwon do not care about these niceties in the least. Most Ghwon remain on their home planet, and have little contact with space or their otherworldly neighbors, only coveting the higher technology available there.The Ghwon that leave their world are the exception - usually the curious, adventurous, the mad, or the dangerous - often all of the above. This had led to their reputation as brutal hulks with short tempers. This, backed up by their size and power, makes the off-world Ghwon perfect as mercenaries, bounty hunters. or enforcers. Bruk Maz is one such, and new to Satha's Crew.

Jerrodin Kraith lives a life of priviliege, the reward for his intellect and ruthlessness. With a large income, he has indulged his atavistic tendencies with a number of very showy, very lethal looking cyber enhancements. He does not suffer fools, treating them cruelly, just as he richly rewards followers who display ability and success. With Satha and her crew behind him, facing a pair of Knights-Marshal, he was feeling pretty stroppy.

Reetha and Thane, perhaps aware of the odds and their isolation, but probably primarily considering the current mystery and the possibility of a plague of body-snatching, ravening aliens unknown to the Commonwealth, elected not to antagonize the crimelord. Ser Reetha impressed upon him the need to stay within his vessel and remain her under quarantine for their own saftey until she returned. The Knights-Marshal then left to check on Heckla Station, reasonably certain of what they would find.

They were disappointed to be proved right in their suspicions, and were greeting by a number of bodies that appeared to have torn themselves apart from within. As they attempted to gather records from the stations comms, they saw the 'Lilutu' break atmosphere. By the time they were lifting off, the swift yacht was warping space in a dangerous in-system jump. The Knights gave up the chase before it had really begun, returning their attention to the main problem. 

No doubt, should the Knights-Marshal survive their current predicament, they will run across Kraith, Satha, and her Crew again.

We left the game with Ser Reetha and Sergeant Thane heading or the Prison Planet of Scathac, scanning for signs of the downed shuttle in its southern quadrant.

 

Stay tuned. I will try to keep a running log of the Adventures of the Knights-Marshal.