You may have heard a rumour that a Terran Empire Diplomat was captured by Space Pirates and is being held for ransom on a planet called Zodemus. Well, it happens to be true. The Empire will pay that ransom unless someone else performs a daring rescue. My intention is to rescue the Diplomat ourselves, and collect the reward. There is also, I might add, a bounty on the leader of the Space Pirates. – Captain Hunter of The Spacer
The Lair of the Space Pirates is written with an introductory intention, that is the reader, and I am assuming that is the Space Master, will begin with the top level of this “space dungeon”, a ruin which is being used by Space Pirates as their lair, and then customize the maps of the three dungeon levels.
Personally, I always found the first three character and dungeon levels the most interesting and BX-Space has focused exclusively on these early levels but there is nothing preventing this adventure from being be keyed at a greater level of adversity for high level characters.
In any event, the purpose is to set forth one imagining of a space dungeon adventure which of course is not the only possible imagining of such a thing.
One thing I wanted to do was provide enough resources to the imagination to kick this off. I remember that maps authored by others are often inspiring. So, I have gone somewhat beyond the scope of the known dungeon which inspired this particular instance of space adventure in drawing various maps of the ruin and dungeons below. The maps of this ruin and dungeon are ready to be populated with various fiends and treasures. The Space Master is certainly invited to create their own maps for any part as they wish. There is something special, and there is considerable fun, in drawing the maps and using the known rules to populate them with foes, tricks, traps, and treasures. The point of all this is to make the adventure your very own.
As the Space Master, the preparatory task at hand is therefore to key much of this introductory adventure, setting up the basics using your known rules and informed by BX-Space, and then to watch what happens when the players are added. They certainly do things that one never expects; this is both amusing and fun. In terms of an approach to playing the adventure once the players get going a Space Master should take care to let their game story build itself; it is in reality what the player’s characters do that makes the game. They can’t ruin an adventure even though it may not come out in the end as one might think it would.
The intent of the preparation to this adventure is not to force the players down a particular path of action but to provide a backbone of consistency to the overall presentation. That is whatever the players do the Space Master should have the resources necessary to have some idea how the non-player character’s should act, ordinarily but not omnisciently.
To begin it seems obvious the player’s characters should accept the offer to join Captain Hunter’s crew in order to begin the adventure. Of course the players are not compelled to go along with Captain Hunter and his Robot pal B9, they might set out on this adventure as rivals to Captain Hunter. To that end they would have to learn how to get to the Zodemus Star System and they would certainly need their own transportation.
The reader will note that one of the first things built into the game is an agreed upon division with Captain Hunter of the spoils recovered from the space dungeon, and this is something that should always be sorted out by the players in advance of setting out. Captain Hunter is offering 1/10th of a share of the reward money and treasure found to each player character. I am assuming the Space Master may have up to 4 players or if fewer the difference is made up with NPCs, meaning that Captain Hunter wants to keep half the reward and treasure, after all he does have a ship to run and repair. There is room for negotiation with the players of course! The Spacer is a “Player” class of ship meaning its maximum crew is meant to be 6 and any extra passengers have to be deducted from the cargo it can carry.
There is a little bit of a journey to the dungeon as an introductory part of the story, which is always good for building player unity before the shared risks of the dungeon itself. I like to use an initial journey not only as a shakedown but to build a sense of suspense and anticipation before revealing the main event, the dungeon, and if not terribly difficult, the journey should have at least one minor risk to for the player characters to overcome before they must risk all, their very lives. At the minefield the threat of the mines exploding unless they are de-activated, and potential dangers exploring Space Station Wolf Iron, serve this purpose.
It is my wish that the Lair of the Space Pirates provides a highly entertaining adventure. As always this author has read and proofed the document but if the reader should find typos or inconsistencies please let me know and I’ll fix them.
Without further delay let us present the files, there is both a PDF and a text document of the adventure. The text of the adventure itself is entirely open game content.
Some public domain artwork from openclipart and Project Gutenberg have been used which is not open game content.
The maps of the ruin and dungeon are released under a creative commons license as they use map symbol designs from earlier work by this author.
The Backwater of the Known Galaxy Map is open game content.