In part 3 of the Starfinder cyberpunk adventure Added Value, the PCs made their way through the Neebon Biotech facility floor, fighting security robots and hell birds on the way. We stopped just as they were about to make their way into the server room.
Unbeknownst to the PCs, they are not the only ‘freelancers’ hired to break in and steal some of Neebon’s valuable IP. They might suspect though, as the body back in a1 in front of the elevators was actually the other group’s most junior member, left behind to keep look out at the point of exit (before the laser resistant hell birds made lunch of the poor guy armed only with a laser pistol). Azra, Zad, and Eddie (RIP) were hired by someone else who learned about the incipient hack. Azra and Zad are somewhat experienced mercenaries, but they lost their third member in their last mission, so this one was supposed to be a turn around. So far it’s been going pretty smoothly, especially since Azra was able to steal a key card that gets them through all the locked double doors, the elevators, as well as passage into the facility from an underground subway entrance. She and Zad have just finished pulling down data off the server onto a datapad when the PCs arrive outside.
a17. Server Room
Largely isolated from outside networks, the server room has been untouched by the chaos that has affected the rest of the facility. Three large server racks dominate most of the room, and a workstation on the North wall is the access point to manage these machines directly. Columns of cabling comes up from the racks and into the ceiling, where it no doubt extends throughout the rest of the facility. The soft light coming off the server racks and uninterrupted power supplies give the dim light provided by the emergency lights a slightly friendlier hue, but the room is still dark. As the PCs enter, Azra and Zad have been warned of their incoming presence by the security bot outside (which they were able to bypass thanks to Azra’s key card). They have taken positions with cover from the door, behind the valuable servers. Any ranged attacks that miss made against the two of them while they are hiding behind the server racks have a 20% chance of damaging the servers, causing a spray of sparks to shoot out of the ruined machine. If the PCs do this three times they will have destroyed the data they came here to steal. A DC 10 Engineering or Computers check reveals this danger, and the PCs can make this check for free when they enter the room.
Not intending to leave witnesses and worried about security forces, Azra and Zad attack as soon as a PC enters the server room. They begin the combat with an initial attitude of hostile, but it is possible the PCs could talk them down from a fight. If they do so, Azra will tell any plausible lie she thinks will get her and Zad out with their prize, or even the truth if that seems like the best course. She is a savvy negotiator with a keen sense of when she is being misled. Otherwise they fight, hoping to overcome the superior numbers with a blitz assault. If that doesn’t work, Zad has smoke grenades to create enough cover for the two of them to make an escape. If they get away, they might make for a good pair of reoccurring villains. However it works out, so long as the PCs survive the encounter they receive XP as though they defeated the two.
AZRAFEL ‘AZRA’ ROJA CR 1
N Female human operative
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +11
EAC 11; KAC 12
Fort +1; Ref +6; Will +4
Speed 30 ft.
Melee tongue blade +6 (1d4+2 P)
Ranged hail pistol, subzero +6 (1d4 C&P, critical bleed 1d4)
Offensive Abilities trick attack (1d4)
Before Combat Azra hides behind the Southeast server rack the moment she hears the security bot outside the server room activate.
During Combat Azra will attack from range if possible, but will switch to melee if she can’t reasonably avoid it. She trick attacks every turn using Bluff as her trick skill. The first turn she deploys her tongue blade in a melee attack she gains a +2 to her Bluff check to trick from the augment’s concealed nature.
Morale If reduced to 5 Hit Points or below, or if Zad is defeated, Azra runs. She surrenders only if there is no escape.
STR +1; DEX +4; CON +0; INT +0; WIS +0; CHA +2
Skills Acrobatics +11, Athletics +6, Bluff +11, Disguise +11, Culture +6, Sense Motive +11 Stealth +11
Languages Akitonian, Common, Orc, Vercite
Other Abilities operative exploit (nightvision), specialization (spy)
Gear cybernetic acerbic tongue blade, datapad, freebooter I armor, personal comm unit, key card (all double doors), subzero hail pistol and 2 batteries (20 charges each), cred stick (500 credits)
ZAD CR 1
NE Male orc soldier
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +5
EAC 11; KAC 13
Fort +5; Ref +1; Will +3
Defensive Abilities ferocity
Speed 25 ft.
Melee solar brand, red star +8 (1d6+5 E&F)
Ranged handcanon, bravado +5 (1d8 P, critical knockdown) or smoke grenade (smoke cloud 1 minute; 20 ft.)
Offensive Ability Opening Volley
Before Combat Zad takes cover behind the server rack nearest the West wall when Azra hears the bot.
During Combat Zad opens with a shot from his handcanon, but will move to get into melee with the target of that first attack on the next round to take advantage of his Opening Volley feat.
Morale Zad fights until death (and one round after, due to ferocity) unless Azra tries to flee, in which case he will drop a smoke grenade and follow.
STR +4; DEX +1; CON +2; INT +0; WIS +0; CHA +0
Skills Athletics +10, Culture +5, Survival +5
Feats Opening Volley
Languages Common, Orc
Other Abilities soldier fighting style (hit-and-run)
Gear bravado handcanon and 6 rounds, basic iridishell I armor, personal comm unit, red star solar brand and 2 batteries (20 charges each), 2x smoke grenades, cred stick (625 credits)
Ferocity (Ex) When Zad is brought to 0 Hit Points, he can fight on for 1 more round. He can act normally until the end of his next turn; if Zad has 0 Hit Points at that point, he dies. If he would lose further Hit Points before this, he ceases to be able to act and dies.
With the combat over, the PCs are free to search the room. Unlike the other computers they have encountered so far, the workstation here is hardened against hacking attempts. Accessing the computer requires a DC 40 Computers check, and after the first failed attempt a warning comes up that another failed attempt will result in a system lock down. This is not a lie. If they do somehow gain access, feel free to provide hooks to further adventures like details about hidden off planet research labs, hints about pacts with devils made to obtain imp flesh, and anything else that might pique their curiosity.
Regardless, once they attach the datadrive to the workstation a ring of magic sigils blaze into existence around it. They orbit the drive for a minute or so, then disappear as the drive disintegrates, having sent the extracted data to an extraplanar data depository for Chambo to retrieve later. Award the PCs 1000 XP for having successfully completed their mission.
Their mission accomplished, the PCs are free to make their way back to the surface and away. If they got Azra’s key card they can simply proceed through the locked double doors in a short path back to the stairs and elevators. Otherwise they will need to backtrack, and face any foes they left alive on their way back out.
Back on the surface, however things worked out with Poundstone, the dwarf is gone by the time the PCs come back. If the drone was left intact, it is now deactivated. As the PCs exit, they can hear far off sirens approaching, encouraging them to make an exit quickly.
Once they are away safely the night continues as normal. In the morning, if they succeeded, they awaken to a message in their inboxes from the Inquiring Mind, as well as a fresh 1300c in their accounts. The message is as follows:
Congratulations are in order for the fine work you did Cutter. You’ll find your payment has already been applied to your account. No reason this has to be the end of a profitable working relationship though. Stay tuned for further communications and this can be a mutually beneficial arrangement for all involved.
I’ll be in touch!
The Inquiring Mind
If the PCs managed to access the workstation in a6, they have the plans to the following augmentation:
Cost 4000 credits
Systems: Arms, Brain, Legs, and Spinal Column
An Exo-Rig is a full cybernetic exoskeleton and on-board neural interface computer. Applications vary, but it is a common enhancement in dedicated industrial or combat settings, providing strength and durability to the subject, as well as a platform to interface with networks and databases without needing any hands free. Installation of the enhancement is extensive, and usually requires the subject to be sedated as the experience can be quite traumatic. Once installed, the prototype exo-rig replaces the subject’s strength score with a strength of 14, much like power armor, and they become immune to the fatigued condition. It also has 1 upgrade and 1 tool/weapon slot, again much like power armor, and functions as a standard datajack as well. The prototype exo-rig is not power armor, even though it functions in a similar manner, and the subject can wear armor without issue, though it will have to be tailored to their now altered frame (treat like the subject is a different race than the intended wearer of the armor). Likewise, it is not a subtle augmentation, and cannot be concealed. The prototype exo-rig includes a high capacity battery that powers it for a number of hours equal to twice its item level. Should the exo-rig run out of battery the subject gains the staggered condition until they can recharge. More advanced exo-rigs likely exist, though the plans are not available here.
If you enjoyed Added Value, look for a full PDF version of the adventure soon, edited, revised, and playtested, with original art, improved maps, and a black market cybertech section in the back detailing Azra’s tongue blade and more.
As always, if you liked this post, or any of the other material available on Solo Run Studio feel free to spot me some coffee money.
Until next time Starfinders!
Artist and Writer