Davatis 6 is a mineral-rich, system-neutral planet for mining-focused campaigns. This article will give you the tools you need to build the worksites of these miners, from the rocks they dig through, to the equipment they use, to the things they find in the uncharted depths.
In every era, one unceasing desire has driven man: Expansion. And in every era, expansion has required materials. In the space age, this is no different, and brave miners now descend into the hearts of alien worlds to bring back the materials humanity needs.
I’ve chosen to call the company in charge of these operations Stardust Solutions, but you are of course free to change or discard any of the corporate details as you see fit. Similarly, currency values are given in ¤, or “Scarabs,” but this should be easy to convert into any other fictional currency.
Your Glorious Employers
In the Future, Stardust Solutions is one of the major players in astro-mining. Companies across the galaxy rely on resources from Stardust to build the things that make humanity great. You, unfortunately, are employees of Stardust Solutions. For a low wage and a commission on whatever you bring back, you delve deep into Davatis 6 for glory, and more importantly, money.
Mining Platform 36
Home away from home for a couple dozen miners and support staff, Ol’ 36 is an orbital platform circling high above Davatis 6.
Amenities: Filthy’s, a bar run by an ant-like alien named Fiadh. It has many kinds of liquor and a vintage arcade cabinet, where you can play Hertzel’s Hazardous Hunts.
The Launch Bay: The central section of the Platform, where headstocks are prepared and then dropped planetside via a shaft called The Barrel.
The Engineering Bay: Directly beneath the main Launch Bay is the Vehicle Bay, where the oil-soaked techs of Stardust Solutions build terrifying and dangerous contraptions to be dropped planetside. This area is off limits to miners.
The Racks: One wall of the platform’s main area is dedicated to housing, which here takes the form of stacks of 20 foot long by 8 foot wide freight containers with some amenities inside. You can thank the Union for the fact that you have more than the bare minimum of space.
The Union: Bane of the company’s profit margin (or so the company claims) and valiant protector of your rights, the Union has a presence on every Stardust Solutions mining platform. In the case of Ol’ 36, that’s 탁학쿤 (Tak Hak-Kun), a middle aged man with a fighting spirit and a respirator unit that helps manage the lung problems that many long-time miners suffer.
A Miner’s Life
The party starts each mission on the Headstock, a space-dropped platform that drills through the planet and unfolds when it reaches a suitable location. The Headstock has a few key features: A basic refinery and manufacturing plant, used to make certain kinds of equipment. The CART, a motorized minecart for quick travel across rails. The GOAT, a vital tool for hauling resources without weighing the party itself down. And, most importantly, a return rocket in the center for the party and their haul.
Any other heavy equipment, like the Drill, drops in an adjacent hex. The Drill itself is one of the most important tools the party has. It is used for drilling through hexes, creating easily traversable paths and mining goods all at once.
Exploring the Rocky Depths
Your corporate masters have developed several important pieces of equipment to aid you, and more importantly, their bottom line:
Your corporate masters have developed several important pieces of equipment to aid you, and more importantly, their bottom line:
GOAT: General Operations Autonomous Transporter. A four-legged machine that looks like a dump truck with legs. It can squat and fold up its legs to travel along tracks at a decent speed. If you somehow lose your GOAT, a replacement will cost you 150¤.
CART: Cleared Area Rail Transit, the primary method of rapid transit for miners. Motorized, drives at a decent speed, carries miners and equipment. Also used to build new track. You can call down a second CART for 100¤.
The Drill: The Drill is the single most important piece of equipment Stardust Solutions has ever manufactured. Its wide treads and large drill enable it to cut tunnels from even the hardest of rock, leaving a nice, smooth path for miners and other equipment. Calling a second drill down will cost you 500¤ out of your final pay.
Spotlight: A rotating light with a long lasting battery. Call it down to light up a hex indefinitely. Calling in a spotlight costs 50¤ off your final pay.
Supply Rack: Ammo and food, spacedropped to you. Ammo and some food will cost you 50¤, ziplines can be added for 15¤ a piece. If you’re lucky, the company might send you some free beer in the pod.
Deep in an isolated volume of space sits the star Davastis, a class A star whose brilliant white light shines on seven planets. The most important of these is Davastis 6, a rock covered in an unbreathable mix of hydrogen and helium. The world is riddled with caverns and mineral veins, and thankfully this strange underworld is (mostly) filled with a breathable atmosphere.
Davastis 6 is the property of Stardust Solutions, but it has its own inhabitants: Strange buglike creatures who don’t take kindly to loud noises. And, of course, the occasional “wildcat” mining group tries to take some of Davastis’ riches for their own.
There are four main types of rock on Davastis 6. In order of soft to hard: Nekssarite, Lizamene, Tarinite, Zaroclase. Every level of hardness adds four hours of drilling time, so Nekssarite takes four hours per hex to drill through, but Zaroclase takes 16 hours per hex.
Nekssarite is a light gray rock with a weak structure. It is highly permeable to moisture, and sometimes contains large amounts of water. It has a hardness of 1.
Lizamene is a sedimentary rock, a composite of various deposited particles. It is made up of multiple distinct layers, mostly a light red and a pale yellow. Oil and fossils are relatively common in Lizamene. It has a hardness of 2.
Rosinite is a shiny, pinkish rock with bands of white throughout. Metal is more common in these areas. it has a hardness of 3.
Zaroclase is a metamorphic rock formed from Nekssarite that has come under severe pressure and heat. Many valuable gems can be found here. It has a hardness of 4.
There are two main ways to extract useful material from a hex of rock: Drilling (as above) and Surveying. Surveying takes half as long, but doesn’t drill a path through the hex.
|3: 1d6 units of metal|
|4: 2d6 units of metal|
|5: 1d6 units of gold|
|6: 2d6 units of gold.|
|7: 4d6 units of metal|
|8: 2d6 units of gold|
|9: 3d6 units of gold.|
|10: 4d6 units of gems|
|A natural 1 on any roll on this table results in Nothing.|
Objectives are your overarching goal for a deployment, and must be completed before you return..
Hex caves are the where, and objectives are the why. Objectives are the main goals for any deployment, where the meat of your payment comes from. Grabbing whatever chunks of gold you find is nice and all, but if you want to get rich enough to buy all the model kits you want or feed your kids or whatever, you want to hit objectives.
Here’s some examples:
Search & Destroy: The company’s sensors have picked up something dangerous here, most likely a gigantic enemy bug of some kind. Drop to the surface, find the thing, destroy the thing… and come back with some gold. Maybe a research specimen, too.
Recovery: A previous expedition into this area failed. You’re being deployed to recover equipment and, if possible, survivors. Both your engineering and investigative skills will come in handy here. After all, whatever got them might still be around.
Mining Excursion: Nice and simple! Sensors have picked up a significant deposit of rare minerals and other goodies. Drop on down and take whatever you can get.
Repairs: Stardust’s communication network relies on a large number of terrestrial relay antennas, and they often break down. Drop down underground, find the array and repair it. If you’re lucky, it just needs to be flipped off and on again. If not, you may be here a while.
Construction: Build some kind of important facility, using local materials.
Tactical Destruction: An alien hive has been pinpointed. You’ll be dropped in nearby, with a tactical strike weapon. Plant it in the heart of the hive, steal anything interesting, and bug out… so to speak.
When generating hexes for the operational area, follow these steps to determine their type and interesting features.
|1: Nekssarite (1 hardness)|
|2: Lizamene (2 hardness)|
|3: Tarinite (3 hardness)|
|4: Zaroclase (4 hardness)|
|5-6: Same as previous hex.|
Then, roll a d10 to determine if there’s anything strange about this particular hex:
|1-5: Normal hex.|
|6: A pit, dropping down a few hundred meters.|
|7: A cavern with a rushing river cutting through the center. I wouldn’t recommend going swimming.|
|8: This cavern has a slow-moving but incredibly dangerous magma flow running through it. You don’t want to get your new boots in this.|
|9: As the players drill into this cavern, alarms on the drill start to blare. The cavern in this hex is full of a toxic, flammable gas. It can be dispelled by lighting it on fire, but the ensuing explosion will probably attract attention.|
|10: Empty cavern! Nothing tries to kill you or ruin your life. Yet.|
Variety is the spice of life. Throw some of these in your hexes to provide a handy distraction on a time-sensitive mission, or just shake up the structure a bit.
Oil Deposit: Various points throughout this hex seep a black, viscous liquid. If requested, Command can send in the appropriate equipment to process it into something you can send back to orbit, but be warned, it takes time, attracts attention and may explode.
Anomalous Minerals: Cezalite is a very tough, red mineral that occurs in large, solid deposits throughout Devastis 6. Recovering a cezalite deposit is slightly more tricky than your average mineral. First, you’ll need to call for a Theta Knife to be dropped at your location. Next, you’ll have to set up its laser array around the deposit. Finally, one member of the party needs to operate the Theta Knife to slice up the cezalite while the rest of the party fends off the inevitable alien horde.
Mutants: An unusual strain of creatures, infected by some sort of dense mineral-parasite, have been detected. Command would like to drop a sample collector. Gather around the collector, slay whatever comes close, throw the glowing yellow chunks in the box, send the box back to the headstock.
Lost Equipment: This hex has an old Headstock, whose extraction rocket has been heavily damaged. Salvaging the materials stored in it will take some time, but will probably be quite profitable. (Three rolls on the hex loot table, with the hardness of the current hex).
Alien Eggs: Fleshy masses with alien eggs in the center are strewn throughout this hex. Roll 1d6 to determine how many. The company wants them for unspecified “research.” Possibly culinary, possibly genetic.
Alien Fossils: A variety of fossilized specimens are visible on the wall of this chamber. They’re valuable, but extracting them safely will take time. Ask the party how long they’re willing to spend on this, up to eight hours. Roll 1d6 per hour. Multiply the total by 100¤. That’s how much the find is worth.
The Noise Pool
Industrial activity is noisy, and can attract unwanted attention. Whenever you do one of the following activities, add the appropriate die to the Noise Pool. Roll the entire pool every eight hours, and take the highest number. Dealing with the consequences of noise does not generate more noise.
- 1d4: Surveying,
- 1d6: Disturbing an alien egg,
- 1d8: Drilling, orbital supply drops (including the initial Drill and Headstock)
- 1d12: Operating an oil refinery
The highest result needs to be above 3 to trigger actual enemy action. The higher the number, the more and scarier enemies.
This is what you’re all working for. The money you risk life and limb for. It’s not going to make you rich, but it’ll cover your booze and loan payments for a little while.
- Metal: 10¤ per unit.
- Gold: 50¤ per unit.
- Gems: 100¤ per unit.
- Mission objective complete: 1000¤.
There you have it, a relatively light guide for a sci-fi mining scenario. Let me know what you thought, and if you’d like to see an expansion of this in the future!
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