Location: Gotylu (Foreven/Urnian 3035) E-688699-2 Ag Ni Ri
Gotylu is a farming world of barely 2 million people. The world is classified as an Amber Zone because of the extremely xenophobic natives. While they are very low-tech, there’s a lot of them compared to the small human trade outposts. Because of this fact Gotylu has not been explored very much, with one exception.
Gotylu has one very interesting feature: the Gotylu Chasm, a kilometers-deep naturally occurring hole in the ground. The Chasm is not a canyon; it is a basically vertical shaft of uncertain depth, with nearly a quarter-kilometer diameter on the surface. Its volume and shape are less certain below the surface. Geologists have attempted to study this bizarre phenomenon but often run afoul of the locals and have to make a hasty departure. This has led to the site, while it remains an area of much interest, to be referred to simply as the Hole.
One recent geological team which rapidly evacuated informed Dr. Karl Barrow, the department head for Geography and Exo-geography at Ovdyo State University that in the process of their departure, the central data core that was correlating all of their measurements and sensor data fell into the hole. Dr. Barrow is offering, with the University’s approval, transport to and from Gotylu and Cr 50,000 finder’s fee for the team that can descend into the Chasm and retrieve the data core. As there will not be a geological survey site on the surface, the hope is that the locals will not notice a small team arriving and infiltrating the Chasm. The Geology department will provide the team with a reliable but used air/raft if the team does not have one of their own. The air/raft is to be returned, it is not part of the payment. Dr. Barrow’s department provides maps of Gotylu, and aerial imagery of the Chasm site. A junior geologist can accompany the PCs if they want his expertise.
The data core is a metallic cylinder 1.3 meters tall, massing 75 kg. It has an internal power supply so it should be warm, and a radio transmitter so it can communicate with other systems. It should not difficult to identify if the PCs can get ‘close’ to it. On the other hand, the core could have come to a stop anywhere in the hole. The geologists are not sure how close is close enough.
The planet has a dense atmosphere, and the further down the hole it they go, the heavier the atmosphere gets until it’s almost too dense to breathe normally. There are trace elements in the air of Gotylu, not enough to qualify the atmosphere as tainted, but they get concentrated the further down the hole the PCs go. If they have no atmosphere tester then the taint elements may overcome them. The referee must determine what the taints are and their effects. Also it will get warmer the further they descend.
At any time, there could be rock slides & stuff falling off of the sides of the hole. The light ceases after half a km or so, and radio contact is lost after a while as well. Once the light goes, it is dark, and silent. There may be air currents from the lava flows, but even those will rapidly cool off and the air will settle. There may be animals which live in the hole, either flying creatures or swimmers living in the occasional pool or pond on a rock ledge.
The referee should help the players to picture the environ of the Hole as being like deep-sea diving without the water. The PCs should get the sense that they are isolated and far away from any kind of help, in a dark, dead silent, confined space. Remind them at every opportunity of the sensory data around them – darkness, stuffiness, damp heat and almost no echo or sound.
The data core could be uncomfortably close to one of these phenomena.
1. There are radioactive ore veins exposed along the sides of the hole.
2. There are steam vents releasing very hot gas into the hole.
3. There are cavern formations that branch off from the hole, some have ledges where the core might have bounced.
4. If they explore these side caves, in one they find the remains of a prospector. There is no indication of how he died or who he is but he’s go a bag of uncut gems.
5. There are slow lava leaks flowing into the hole that leave frozen waterfalls in rock. The core is near or in one of these flows.
6. The core knocked loose a rock slide, and it is now buried beneath hundreds of kilograms of loose rock in an unstable pile.
At some points the central passage of the hole gets tighter requiring driving checks to get past. Failure mean they struck a rock which can set up mechanical faults later on. If the vehicle suffers a fault it has to be repaired on the spot or they’re stuck at the bottom of the hole.
Once the team recovers the data core, the mission is finished. All they have to do from this point is return to the Gotylu starport and present their return passes. Of course, the University will be interested in any other observations they may have made while down in the hole. Anything of value they find while down there they can legitimately claim as theirs, as no one on Gotylu has a legal claim to the contents of the Hole. The locals claim it in a general sense but not in an Imperial/legal sense.
Adventurers who want to return to the Hole for further exploration may do so. The referee must determine the flow of subsequent events.