This level 1-2 adventure takes place entirely on the party's Tier 1 or 2 Starship.
The void of space is home to many bizarre organisms, some have been documented by researchers and countless others remain undiscovered. The Asteroid Gorger is a rare and colossal beast from the far reaches of the galaxy. Gorgers spend their lives travelling from system to system, searching for mineral rich asteroid belts to devour. The massive creatures also posses' the ability to communicate over vast distances telepathically to find mates and warn off rivals.
Gorgers reproduce by implanting their young in asteroids, transforming the whole rock into an egg sack. They specifically seek out asteroids that contain core deposits of the element Espium. This rare yellow metal has the unique ability to amplify telepathic projections and is vital to the development of Gorger hatchlings.
Dozens of young are implanted into each asteroid, but only the largest and fittest hatchling emerges as a developed juvenile. The smaller unsuccessful Gorgers are chased away from the Espium Yolk by the largest hatchling. Eventually, they wither from starvation and linger as phantoms before their psychic impressions dissipate.
This adventure takes place at the edge of known space. The party is contacted by Ximix, an amiable shirren geology researcher from Inquiry LLC. Ximix will pay each party member 750 credits to investigate a remote asteroid field that scans have shown to contain Espium. Unbeknownst to the Ximix, the field is a breeding ground of the yet undiscovered Asteroid Gorger. While most of the eggs hatched centuries ago, one remains intact.
The party will be aboard their ship for this entire adventure. At anytime out of combat, the captain or engineer can grant a +2 to assist piloting, gunnery, engineering or science officer checks with a successful Encourage (captain) or Divert (engineer) action.
1- Hatched Rock
This round asteroid appears as if it has been hollowed out from the inside; it is the remains of a hatched Asteroid Gorger egg. A narrow entrance leads into the asteroid interior, a DC 12 piloting check is required to fly in without scraping the ship's hull (Failure= 10 shield damage to a random arc). A science officer can scan the interior of the asteroid and discover trace amounts of Espium residue on the asteroid interior. With a DC 15 life science check the science officer can also pick up traces of an organic membrane on the interior wall as well.
2- Floating Fossils
This asteroid appears very similar to the asteroid in area 1; it requires the same DC 12 piloting check to enter safely. One notable difference is the presence of floating organic debris inside the asteroid. A science officer can scan the debris and identify them as bone fragments from an unknown species. As the crew investigates the asteroid shell they feel a faint pang of hunger. This feeling is a lingering psychic effect from dissipated hatchling phantoms.
3- Egg Shell
The exterior of the two mile wide egg is rocky, but scans reveal large amounts of organic material on the interior of the hollow asteroid. The surface is thin enough to blast through with a DC 12 gunnery check. Failure produces a very narrow entrance into the asteroid's interior and the ship takes 10 shield damage to a random arc from scraping jagged rock.
4- Membrane Maze
After passing through the opening, the party finds themselves inside a fluid filled chamber lined with leathery organic tissue. A film begins to regrow across the entrance hole as soon the ship clears it, the membranes in this area are self healing. The party can blast though a few of them, but as they travel deeper into the egg the tissue heals as fast as they are damaged. The crew begins to feel the same faint hunger from area 2, but it intensifies as they navigate the asteroid. The party must succeed on a DC 10 will save or become sickened until they exit the egg.
The inner membranes form a twisting labyrinth that eventually leads to the yolk chamber of the asteroid.
The party needs to succeed on three DC 17 checks to navigate the maze successfully. The ship pilot can use piloting, the science officer can use life science and any crew member can use perception for these checks. Each check failure exposes the party to another round of will saves vs the expired hatchling's hunger pangs.
5- Yolk Chamber
The party emerges into the edge of a large chamber where dozens of small Asteroid Gorger spirits swarm. In the center of the chamber is a 5 hex diameter round Espium chunk pocked with holes. The gorger phantoms are harmless to the party and seem to stick to the edges of the chamber, as far from the metal yolk as possible.
Inside the yolk lurks a live Asteroid Gorger hatchling. It resembles a medium ship sized tadpole, its body is dominated by a giant mouth filled with razor sharp teeth. A dorsal fin of spikes runs down its back, tapering to a narrow tail. Four beady eyes are visible developing under its translucent skin. It hides inside the tunnels it has chewed in the Epsium and attacks when the party draws near.
Territorial Hatchling (TIER 1/2)
Medium Living Starship
Speed: 10 Maneuverability: good (turn 1)
AC 15 TL 12
HP 45 CT 8
Attack (Forward) +7 Maw Bite (4d8)
Attack (Aft) +5 Dorsal Spikes- Projectile, short range (1d12)
Attack (Port) +5 Slam (2d6)
Attack (Starboard) + Slam (2d6)
Power Core: Hatchling Heart (90 PCU) Drift Engine None
The territorial hatchling prefers to do fly-by attacks with its bite. It darts through the yolk if possible.
Terrain: The inner chamber is large, the espium yolk itself is round and has a 5 hex diameter. The metal yolk is full of tunnels, passing through it requires a DC 12 piloting check or the party ship takes 5 damage to a random arc.
Hiding inside the yolk grants cover, but enemies outside the yolk have cover from attacks made from within.
If any party members are sickened from the phantom hatchling's hunger pains, they can appeal to the swarm for assistance telepathically. Instead of a regular ship action, a sickened PC can direct the swarm to harry the Gorger, lowering its AC by 4 for the turn. Only one PC can attempt this per turn.
If the ship combat is dragging, have the Gorger stay outside of the yolk. If the creature is taking heavy damage quickly, have it use the yolk for cover after its fly-by attacks.
After the Asteroid Gorger is defeated, the party is free to take samples of the Espium. Removing the entire metal yolk will require a larger mining vessel. The hatchling phantoms swarm the yolk after the live Gorger is defeated and appear to dissipate soon after. The party can safely return to Ximix, who is pleased with both the Espium samples and the discovery of a new species.
If any of the adventurers appealed to the swarm to assist them in the Gorger fight, choose one of them randomly. The chosen PCs has formed a permanent psychic connection with a hatchling phantom. The hatchling spirit will manifest when the PC becomes hungry, floating around until they eat. Though disturbing to on lookers, the phantom is harmless. This haunting can be reversed with the remove affliction spell, or a suitable quest at the GM's discretion.