This article originally appeared in the May 2013 issue.
Synopsis: The group helps a Zhodani Intendant
recover a family heirloom lost by her father during the Fifth Frontier
Setting: Spinward Marches, post-Fifth Frontier War (1107-1110). The adventure begins on Jewell.
Additional Sources: Some material taken from Alien Module 4: Zhodani (1985, GDW).
Chapter I: An Earnest Young Woman
The team is enjoying some welcome R&R on Jewell (Spinward Marches 1106). One night, as they pass a Startown bar, a commotion erupts within. Almost immediately a pretty, olive-skinned woman two meters tall with long black hair (experienced PCs will recognize her as Zhodani) bursts through the doors, away from the upheaval, and up the street toward the PCs. A group of thugs brandishing improvised weapons (bottles, clubs, etc.) follows close behind. As she catches sight of the adventurers, the woman stops short, clearly uncomfortable and momentarily unsure of what to do. If the group gives her a sign that they intend her no harm, she asks them (in heavily-accented Anglic) for help.
If challenged, the hoodlums, numbering one more than the number of PCs (minimum six), hesitate but do not withdraw, loudly demanding the team hand over “that filthy Zho”. It is assumed the visitors have enough compassion to refuse, in which case the toughs attack. Regardless of how the referee generates the opponents, they should not give the adventurers too much trouble.
After dispatching the heavies, the team needs to get their new acquaintance to safety, as the bar is still in uproar and the authorities are approaching. Once safe, the woman introduces herself as Evliapremiepr, an Assistant Supervisor in a Consular office based on Chronor (Spinward Marches 0304), asking them to call her Eve. She entered Imperial space a few weeks ago (with permission; she can produce papers) and was traveling with a hired guide looking to recover a family heirloom lost by her father during the Fifth Frontier War. Unfortunately, the establishment they chose in which to take a break was very anti-Zhodani.
Realizing the guide did not make it out of the bar, Eve wants to check on him. Anyone doing so will discover that he was badly injured and taken away in an ambulance. If the police spot the visitors, they will of course want a word with them.
It is now apparent that the success of Eve’s mission hinges on her securing new guides. She cannot pay much up front—the Imperium limited the amount of funds she could carry on her—but she could arrange for payment vouchers through a Zhodani embassy. If the team owns a starship, Eve can negotiate a charter.
Chapter II: An Uncommon Fighting Force
As the party travels through the sector, they need to be aware that anti-Zhodani sentiment still runs, especially where Zhodani fleets attacked. Eve could be subject to bigotry and violence at any time, and the adventurers, by extension, might be considered collaborators. The group must carefully plan for her appearances in public. Her presence modifies Reaction throws by -2 except where noted.
PCs who have had no prior contact with Zhodani now have an excellent opportunity to perhaps explode some Imperial myths and propaganda. For her part, Eve is quite willing to answer any questions they have as long as it is not simply a way to take advantage of her.
The object she is looking for is a lozenge-shaped crystal about 6 cm by 4 cm, set in a gold pendant on a neck chain. It is of no monetary value, but has boundless sentimental value to her family. Eve cannot fathom a guess as to why an Imperial would want to have it, but she is confident that it has not been lost or destroyed.
Eve’s father, Iavashliaztlas, was a noble and an Officer of One Thousand in the Consular Guard (about equivalent to an Imperial Marine Lt. Colonel). He saw action in several battles in Jewell and Regina subsectors as an elite Commando, trained to use his teleportation ability as a shock tactic. He also participated in the invasions of Regina and Ghandi, and the siege of Efate. He was wounded several times and nearly killed twice. The task before the group is to discover where he saw action, who his Imperial opponents were, determine which of them would have taken Eve’s family treasure, and—if the individual is still alive—track them down. Eve has his journal, returned to her family after the war. In the uncensored pages are accounts of the above, as well as slices of life as a Consular Guard. Iavashliaztlas’ last entry in the journal was in late 1109. A family friend who served with him supplied what happened afterward: Iavashliaztlas disappeared early in 1110 during a mission; the pendant was later seen in the hands of a male human, but the friend only got a glimpse of him during an evacuation.
One other intriguing item also appears in the journal. An object Iavashliaztlas called simply the “vlezhdiets” (the closest Anglic translation is “precious thing” or “valuable item”) first appears in an entry from late 1108. Iavashliaztlas did not offer details, but hinted it was worth a fortune, and wrote of his desire to find it again once hostilities ended.
The major battles mentioned in the journal were intense, involving fleet elements and ground action. PCs with a military background can find which Imperial forces opposed the Zhodani, but such records would be kept at the naval base at Efate.
Chapter III: An Icy Reception
Efate (Spinward Marches 1705) is a cold world with a naval base that is home to the Imperial 213th Fleet. The siege it suffered during the Fifth Frontier War created a great deal of lingering anti-Zhodani bigotry. The team must take this into consideration during their visit. Remember that Eve will not disguise herself, but she might agree to stay out of sight on the ship or in a starport hotel. If the group takes her along, they will suffer -4 on reactions with any Efati they encounter.
In addition to racial prejudice, there is also a lot of paramilitary activity. The Ine Givar rebels find Efate fertile ground for their operations, and mercenary recruiters do a brisk business. Throw 10+ once per day while the adventurers are on-world to witness a terrorist attack or to be approached by a merc company recruiter. Helping to subdue any malcontents gains the team a +1 reaction modifier from the Naval base personnel.
Eve can still be of help in the group’s quest for information even if she does not accompany them. Through her Psychology and Non-Verbal Communication skills, she can give them pointers on what to look for in reactions, giving them a +1 on social interactions while on Efate.
Access to the Efate Naval Base is not hard. There are areas that cater specifically to civilians, especially those considering a career in the Imperial Navy. The subsector Office of Naval Records is near the center of the base, 10 kilometers from the entry point. Naval Records is restricted; unless any of the group is active or retired Naval personnel, they are confined to the public records halls, where they can access declassified historical library data (heavy on Imperial propaganda). This tells them the Imperial units active at the times and places mentioned in Iavashliaztlas’ journal, but not the unit rosters. To get that information, the team needs one or more members who make a good Reaction throw and have some combination of the following: active-duty Naval status; high rank; a very good reason to have the information; potent connections; or high SOC.
The group can, of course, devise other methods of getting the desired information, but military bases are generally prepared for such shenanigans. Security is tight; infractions are not tolerated. The referee should impose a blanket -4 on any plans the group creates, to reflect the difficulty of getting past base security. This modifier should also be imposed on any attempts to sway base personnel, hack into the computer systems, break into secure areas, etc. Failure means the raising of alarms and the group’s possible arrest as traitors. If Eve is with them when they are caught, they will be shot on the spot!
Eve may be able to help the group using Clairvoyance. However, it is likely that areas of the base are psionically shielded, rendering her ability useless.
Assuming the party gets the information, they now have a list of 30 names (five officers, 25 enlisted) that correlate to the times and places in the journal and who are still alive. Eliminating women and non-humans from the list leaves three officers and fifteen enlisteds. Applying the logic that Marines see the most ground action leaves one officer and five enlisteds, all are scattered around the subsector.
Chapter IV: A Few Good Men
The six former Imperial Marines all left the service and settled on different worlds in the Marches:
Jamal MacCrimmon is still on Efate, having left the military to care for his ailing father. He collects curios in his spare time, and has a room packed with all manner of knick-knacks (if the group needs something of a rare or unusual nature, MacCrimmon has it on a throw of 12 exactly; throw Reaction to see if he is willing to sell it). Unfortunately, his impressive collection does not include the pendant. If shown an image of it, he recalls seeing it (or something like it) on a Zhodani officer he encountered briefly on Ghandi. He can confirm that a lot of trophy-taking went on, though he never indulged. If Eve accompanies the party, he will not attack, but is noticeably uncomfortable around her.
Brandt Vaslovik is in a hospital on Mongo (Spinward Marches 1204), undergoing long-term treatment for PTSD. To interview him, the team must first get permission from his doctors (reaction throw; DMs: +Medical skill, +1 SOC B+), and then make a subsequent reaction throw of 8+. If he refuses, they may try again the next day. Unfortunately, Vaslovik’s experiences left him with a deep hatred of Zhodani; he will attack Eve on sight if she is present and reacts to her companions at -4 thereafter. The facility’s doctors call the authorities immediately if there is any disturbance.
Joran Yong-Pak lives with his family on Extolay (Spinward Marches 1711). He is friendly but reluctant to talk about the war. He grudgingly admits that trophy-taking occurred, despite official condemnation. He insists he did not take part, comparing it to desecrating the dead. One night in the barracks, he overheard someone in his unit gossiping about another soldier having the asteroids to take a necklace off a fallen Zhodani. Although he does not know to whom the speaker was referring, he knows the offender was not in his unit. (The team can use this information to refine their list; Kaarin Rushakim, Jamal MacCrimmon, and Brandt Vaslovik were also in his unit, leaving only Napoleon Jiles and Etera Irkhamar, see below.) If Eve accompanies the team, he bears her no particular ill will but is wary around her. He does not recognize the pendant if shown an image of it.
Napoleon Jiles went to the bright lights of Regina and is currently living the playboy life. The group likely encounters him out on the town, women and drinks close by. He has a mean streak which manifests as cutting remarks and disdain for non-military types. If shown an image of the pendant, he remembers seeing it in the hands of an officer, after a surprise raid on a secret Zhodani base on Ghandi. He will not tolerate Eve’s presence, denouncing her as a “demon mindstealer” and the PCs as turncoats.
Kaarin Rushakim tries to expiate his sense of guilt for participating in the war by throwing himself into charitable works on Feri (Spinward Marches 2005). Barely out of his teens, he has developed a profound distaste for violence. He does not recognize the pendant if shown an image of it. He also does not object to Eve’s presence, in fact apologizing to her for his part in the hostilities. The charities he supports are those that promote non-violence and eventual reconciliation with the Zhodani.
Through clues gained by talking to Yong-Pak, MacCrimmon, and Jiles, the team can deduce that an officer took the pendant off a Zhodani after a raid on a Zhodani base. A search of the records indicates that the officer, Etera Irkhamar, was on Ghandi at the time, and participated in the raid. His world is their obvious destination.
Chapter V: A Fateful Meeting
Baron Sir Etera Irkhamar retired to a comfortable home on Kinorb (Spinward Marches 2202). The team has little trouble finding him: he is well known, and spends much of his time running his estate and pursuing his winemaking and fitness hobbies.
When the group arrives at the estate—a large plot of land in a picturesque valley an hour from the starport—they are challenged at the main gate by security guards with orders to detain anyone not having prior invitation. Once the group states their identities and their business, they are put in touch with the estate’s officious Chief of Staff, who determines if the Baron should be bothered with such bumpkins, reacting to them at -2 (DMs: +Liaison skill; +1 if any of the group has SOC B+). If Eve is with them, however, the Chief bluntly informs them that the Baron does not allow representatives of the Zhodani onto his grounds and ends the conversation. If the group makes trouble, they will face an additional 1D guards armed with ACRs and equipped to tech level 9.
If the group is allowed in, they are directed to the main house, where—under the watchful eyes of the Chief and a guard—they are ushered into a fabulously-appointed (and clearly designed to impress) trophy room, filled with images and mementos of the Baron’s prior adventures. They spot Eve’s pendant the moment they enter, prominently displayed in one of the glass cases.
Soon, the Baron—a brusque, physically-fit man accustomed to wielding a lot of influence and getting what he wants—enters. Irkhamar is accustomed to being shown a certain level of deference, and if that is lacking—or he perceives any sort of disrespect—he abruptly orders the PCs out under guard. He refuses to part with the pendant, seeing it as just spoils of war and a victory against the “Zho menace.” An entreaty to return it to a family that just wants it back falls on deaf ears and causes him to wonder aloud why a group of Imperials would want to help “the enemy.” If the group presses the issue, he ends the discussion as above.
If Eve can monitor the exchange, she notices that Irkhamar’s body language changes subtly upon mention of the Zhodani, signaling not aggression, but fear; he seems to be hiding something.
The group now has a decision to make. They certainly will not want to give up, having come so close. Even Eve does not want to go back to the Consulate empty-handed. It looks as though the team must turn to other means to recover the pendant.
Chapter VI: A Clandestine Operation
The group needs accurate information about the mansion. Eve can help by using her Clairvoyance ability, but will not knowingly take part in a crime. Other methods of gaining the necessary information include using starship sensors to “paint” a rough set of floorplans; gathering what information they can from the planetary datanet; or attempting to bribe or trick estate staffers into giving them information.
The referee is free to create as much of the mansion as necessary to accommodate the PCs’ plans. The only required room is the ground-floor one containing the pendant. Serviceable floor plans can be found online in a pinch (search for “manor house floor plans” or “mansion floor plans”).
The estate security relies mostly on a cadre of armed guards (see above) who patrol on regular shifts. The estate’s remote location also serves as a barrier to unwanted guests. At night, the guards are supplemented by trained animals (dogs are assumed, but the referee can substitute any suitable creature). The few electronic devices consist of alarms mostly scattered in sensitive areas; these are only activated at night.
The guards patrol in pairs, encountered on throw of 8+. At night, the presence of the animals (one for every three guards) adds +2 to the throw. Patrols immediately confront intruders and call for backup, consisting of 1D more guards arriving in 4D combat rounds. If the estate watch cannot handle the situation, they will call for regional law enforcement, which arrives in 3D×10 minutes.
If the group is captured, the guards will lock them in an estate outbuilding until the authorities arrive to collect them, about an hour later. Irkhamar will move the pendant to a safer place, requiring the group to find it all over again.
Chapter VII: A Daring Chase
Once the team secures the pendant, their troubles are only just beginning. Irkhamar can and will pursue the team to exact revenge and keep his secret (see below). He has large financial resources and a wide circle of contacts to help him.
Their first problem is getting off Kinorb, fast. Fortunately for them, Irkhamar’s vengefulness prevents him from simply calling the police to pick them up; he wants to deal with them himself. But he makes two calls: one to a starport contact to try and have the group’s takeoff delayed until he can get there. The contact, a loyal, but low-ranking SPA employee, must go through channels, giving the heroes a chance. Travel time to the starport at normal speed is one hour at cruising speed; at the end of that hour, throw 9+ for the starport to execute impoundment. Impose a -1 DM for every 15 minutes the group shaves off that hour. If their ship is impounded, they can only leave by breaking Imperial rules, with all the attendant problems. The other call is to some Startown types to run interference for him through rougher means. This group, numbering the same as the PCs, will be waiting to engage the adventurers in a firefight.
Regardless how the group escapes, the SPA controller can supply Irkhamar with a list of possible destinations based on readings from system Traffic Control sensors. Armed with the information, Irkhamar pursues them in his own starship; the referee can use whatever ship best fits the adventure, but it should be somewhat more powerful (better armed, more jump capacity, etc.) than the PCs’ ship.
Once they are safe, the group can examine the pendant. It is actually a psicorder (see “Equipment”, below). Eve is a non-telepath and unaware it is a psicorder, so she suffers the described effects. Afterward, she can retrieve the stored message.
The crystal projects a hologram of a star system, with a blinking cursor indicating the position of something traversing the outer system and information (in Zhodani, of course) that when translated gives detailed sensor readings. Simultaneously, Eve receives a telepathic message. (The exact content is not important to the adventure; it is basically a last letter from Iavashliaztlas to his family, with his wish that they can make use of his discovery.) Location information is sparse, but includes enough physical system data that identifies the system as Zircon (Spinward Marches 1110).
The PCs may choose their own route to Zircon, but Irkhamar will do the same and pull out all the stops—short of outright lawbreaking—to catch up to the group and get his due. Of course, he attempts to stack the deck in his favor. Before leaving Kinorb, he fires off several messages via x-boat and private courier to allies in star systems along the team’s supposed course, asking them to intercept the group and await his arrival.
The referee will thus have some work to do, keeping up with the positions of the team’s ship, Irkhamar’s ship, and the x-boats, determining whether or not they are on a given world at the same time as Irkhamar or his agents (in which case an encounter is automatic), creating the numbers and strengths of the opponents (use the PCs strength and capabilities as a guide), and determining the outcome of any encounter. Events need not be all combat; some of Irkhamar’s agents may simply spy on the group and pass along pertinent information when Irkhamar arrives.
Whatever occurs, the group should feel a touch of paranoia, never sure when they might be attacked, or who they can trust.
Although he is angry, Irkhamar is not stupid; he is not an open lawbreaker, even if he has a clear shot at his enemies, unless that enemy is Eve herself; then he will try to kill her immediately. He should also be allowed to survive any direct conflict with the party, to give him a chance to be in on the endgame later.
Chapter VIII: A Misleading Destination
Zircon is not an Imperial world; it is a member of the Federation of Arden, a small interstellar state between the Imperium and the Zhodani Consulate.
Once the PCs reach Zircon, PCs with Navigation skill can try and match the information in the crystal with what is known about the system to find the vlezhdiets. This is time-consuming, even with computer help. Each day, the referee should throw 2D for 12 exactly to succeed, unless the players remember that the crystal data is from 1108. Then they can immediately throw 2D for 11+ (DM: +Nav skill), and further daily throws will also be at 11+, DM +Nav. On success, they learn the object’s new position: interstellar space, one parsec rimward of Zircon.
While the group is in-system, they have a choice of staying off-world (perhaps in the outer system where Iavashliaztlas first encountered the vlezhdiets) or making port. If they stay off-world, they can avoid Irkhamar, but may be challenged by an Ardenese System Defense Boat (Supplement 7: Traders and Gunboats), which will want to know the group’s business in the system. Throw 9+ once per week for this to occur.
If the Ardenese discover the group’s mission (by either loose lips, or investigation by Federation of Arden agents) they will doubtless want in on whatever the group finds and insist an “observer” (with carte blanche in securing anything valuable for the Federation) accompany the team. Worse, the Federation is not the only one with agents on Zircon; Consulate and Imperial spies also have operations onworld. They may also pick up on any indiscreet adventurer talk, and deal their respective governments in on the proceedings. This is a situation where it definitely pays to keeps one’s mouth shut!
Chapter IX: A Fabulous Treasure
The group is nearing the end of its quest. They know where the vlezhdiets is; they simply have to retrieve it. Irkhamar also probably has a good idea where they are headed, and makes a last-ditch attempt to avenge himself and safeguard his secret.
Once the team arrives at the location, they may begin their search. The sensor data can help them pinpoint the vlezhdiets, but a cubic parsec is a lot of area to search. The referee can make this as easy or as difficult as necessary, but it is recommended that the group have at least a full day of searching first.
Irkhamar’s ship jumps in shortly after the party’s, and he immediately begins searching for them. Again, the referee determines the difficulty of this. Once he locks on, he closes the distance as quickly as he can, preparing for a final showdown in deep space. For maximum drama, he and the adventurers can find the long-lost vlezhdiets at the same time.
The nature of the vlezhdiets is left deliberately undefined, allowing the referee to customize it as needed. It should be extraordinarily valuable, though that value need not be purely monetary.
Similarly, the matter of how Irkhamar’s terrible secret comes out is left to the referee. The team could have found out his atrocities previously, or perhaps on the verge of victory, he lets it slip while gloating. Nonetheless, he would be in big trouble with the Imperium were it to come out, and so considers it worth killing for.
Chapter X: A Satisfactory Conclusion
Regardless of who wins the final showdown, the adventure is over. The victor can claim the vlezhdiets. If the PCs lose, Irkhamar will try to kill them to preserve his secret. If the PCs win, they will have Irkhamar at their mercy, and have the question of what to do with the vlezhdiets.
Its very nature may make the decision for them. If it is of material value, the PCs will face threats from organizations, agencies, and criminals (organized and otherwise) who want it. Forbidden knowledge means someone may be very displeased at the vlezhdiets’ discovery (perhaps that is what actually happened to Iavashliaztlas…) The Imperial, Zhodani, and Ardenese governments will all want in on it; or move to possess it. Eve suggests the latter, turning the vlezhdiets over to a joint delegation and demanding a hefty commission for finding it.
If Irkhamar’s actions, past and present, come to light, he can expect to face a review by his noble peers; this will not go well for him. If the adventure is part of an ongoing campaign, this will make him one of their most dedicated recurring enemies.
The adventurers can also claim as many minor rewards (favorable news stories, more job opportunities, romance, etc.) as the referee sees fit to bestow upon them. But one of these comes when someone asks Eve to describe her relationship to them. If she has been well-treated, she begins to answer “They are my guides…” Then she stops, looks squarely at the heroes and corrects herself:
“They are my friends.”
Evliapremiepr (“Eve”) 68398A; Age 38; Cr 30,000
5 terms Asst. Supervisor
Admin-2, Computer-1, Liaison-2, Psychology-2, NVC (Non-Verbal Communications)-2
Psionic Strength: 8; Talents: Clairvoyance (5), Telekinesis (8).
A minor Zhodani government functionary, Evliapremiepr (who has adopted the simple nickname Eve), has left home on a quest into an area of space she considers barbaric and dangerous to recover a family heirloom. Her credits indicate her ready liquid assets. The referee can equip her with whatever non-weaponry items he feels she needs on her voyage through Imperial space
Special Skills: Eve has two skills found in Alien Module 1: Zhodani: Non-Verbal Communications and Psychology. For referees who do not have Zhodani, simplified summaries (specific to Eve) follow:
Non-Verbal Communication: The ability to read intent by observing body language. On a throw of 6+, Eve can determine the other person’s reaction level and what they are thinking and feeling. This may be misinterpreted as telepathic ability.
Psychology: A highly refined science among the Zhodani. Eve can persuade others to back her plans and goals. The game effect is to modify reaction rolls. After the reaction throw, Eve must throw 11 or less (her INT + Psychology skill) to successfully raise the reaction by her skill level (+2). Failure means the reaction result is lowered by 2 instead.
Playing Eve: Zhodani culture is open, honest, and embraces psionic abilities. Eve’s outlook reflects her culture, and guides her actions:
In general: The best summary of Eve’s viewpoint is “Truth, Justice and the Zhodani Way.” She is honest (brutally so, by Imperial standards) and forthright. She withholds judgment on Imperial culture, but is convinced that it is inferior to her own. She understands the Imperial prejudice against psionics, and does not use her powers openly, but is uncomfortable hiding them, regarding such an act as a form of deception. This avoidance of deception extends to such instances as using disguises, “little white lies”, and similar. She dresses and conducts herself in such a way as to deflect attention.
At work: Eve is dedicated and thorough. She is fully confident in her skills and training and scrupulous in her dealings with others, expecting the same in others. She is loyal to her companions but will not engage in blatantly criminal activity.
At play: Eve enjoys many of the same things as Imperials do, such as music, art, and good food. Once the group gets past her professional demeanor, they will find her to be friendly and upbeat. She may consider the PCs friends if she is well-treated.
In a fight: Eve is a pacifist. Her preferred reaction to danger is to leave quickly. She will not directly harm opponents with her telekinesis, preferring instead to use it to cause hindrances or distractions.
Baron Sir Etera Irkhamar A68D6C Age 52; Cr 35,000
8 Terms Marines (Colonel, Retired)
Sword-5, Cutlass-1, Mechanical-1, Revolver-2, AFV-1, Tactics-2, Vacc Suit-1
Sword, Cutlass, High Passage, Travellers'
Exemplary service during the Fifth Frontier War brought Irkhamar military honors and a patent of nobility, which he parleyed into wealth and political connections. He counts nobles on several neighboring worlds, Imperial judges, and military officers as friends and has several favors he can call in at any time. His credits above represent liquid assets he has at any given moment.
Behind the veneer of heroism and service, however, is a dark streak. Irkhamar committed atrocities against Zhodani forces and indulged his vengeful nature whenever his superiors were not looking. He is hopelessly intolerant of Zhodani, and disdainful of anyone beneath his station; especially those he deems disrespectful.
Playing Irkhamar: Irkhamar is not just a stock villain; He is dangerously cunning and a shrewd manipulator of circumstances.
In General: Irkhamar is brusque, no-nonsense, and used to getting his way. Possessed of a quick temper and a vengeful streak, he is a thoroughly unpleasant person to be around unless one is a noble or a military officer; such individuals view him as simply hard-charging and ambitious—claims he would not deny.
At work: Irkhamar is a workaholic. He keeps long hours and expects others to be as driven. The only times he winds down are during the pursuit of his hobbies (see below) and when entertaining invited guests. He rarely leaves the estate grounds on non-business trips.
At play: Irkhamar throws himself fully into his hobbies, winemaking and physical fitness. His wines, while unremarkable, earn him a modest income on the planetary market. He maintains a strict exercise regimen, including his weapons skills, and is almost as fit as he was in the military.
In a fight: Irkhamar is a merciless opponent. His integrity is easily offended, and he takes umbrage at the least affronts. He always uses his tactical ability to plan his actions and bend events to his advantage. He is also not above throwing underlings at opponents while he lurks behind, searching for weaknesses. In direct conflict, he favors swift, brutal force to best a foe.
Psicorder: A psionic device utilized in the Zhodani Consulate but regarded as rumor in the Imperium. A psicorder is a crystal that can record mental images. Telepathic individuals can use one without harm, but non-telepaths must attune their minds first (succeeding in a throw of Psionic Strength or less) or suffer a psychic backlash resulting in being stunned for 2D combat rounds before they may use the device. Non-psionics suffer stunning automatically and must throw END or less or suffer brain damage resulting in the permanent loss of 1 INT. When activated, the crystal can project mental images externally like a hologram, and “play back” a telepathic message. Such messages can be keyed to a specific individual if that individual is well known to the one making the recording. Possession of a psicorder is course highly illegal in the Imperium.