[D&D] Mass Effect: Chapter 17 – Side Questing

One of the great things for adventurers living in a tabletop RPG world is that everything important to them is either conveniently close to each other or on the way they need to go. Need to have that broken family sword reforged by the legendary smith? His house happens to be conveniently on the side road to Mt. Doom which the Arch Lich uses a his base.

Ok, it is not always that convenient. But some times it certainly feels like that. It also makes it really easy to convince the rest of your party to make a quick side trip just to sort that out before you all go saving the world.

In our Mass Effect 5E campaign we are starting to enter this stage, with us tackling one of our character’s personal quest while at the same time advancing the main plot.

The Session

At the start of the session we were still in HQ. Sidona took the opportunity to compare the data from the ancient husks we found to the reports we made about previous husks.

Throughout that she got confirmation that there really isn’t that much difference from a thousand years husk from a current day one. At least, not at the technological level. The nanites are pretty much the same so are the usual organs that get replaced by technological equivalents.

The collectors are a different matter though, despite having a similar fate to the husks. They technology is completely different. Their biological parts were almost entirely rewritten, giving them some more autonomy from husks while still being subservient. They also don’t atrophy or decay as fast as husks.

Comparing the two, the husks are about 70% synthetic while the collectors were about 50% synthetic. It is like the husks are meant only to be used as shock troops while the collectors are for work that requires more nuance.

Based on what we knew so far about collectors, Sidona theorized that the Reapers preferred to use species that were more adept at biotics, like the Protheans and Asari.

After this bit of researching, Sidona suggested to the rest of the party that they should go after their salarian target, General Dawn Hammer.

There was also a drop point for those biotic implants bounty on the same planet as our contact so Sidona wanted to check it out too.

Sidona’s plan was to use herself as bait to infiltrate the drop point. Although nobody had any objections against the next target, Lorik had some concerns about Sidona’s plan.

His argument was that the last time they tried a bait plan they ended up with a whole station in high alert and pretty much made an enemy of the whole Hades Initiative.

Instead, Lorik asked why they couldn’t do it the “Tiberu’s way”: kick down the door, shoot down any hostiles then get any information possible. It wasn’t a method that he liked but his argument was that it was more efficient, and safe, for that kind of mission.

Sidona counter-argumented that saying that she didn’t know what we would find in there and if we could take the boss of the place hostage the party could have an easier way to get out.

Her plan was basically to buy a stasis pod, modify it to look like she is sleeping and create some hidden compartments in there to hide her weapons. When they open the stasis pod they would get a gun to the face. It would also have some way to open from the inside just to be on the safe side.

That convinced Lorik who just requested that the entire party go together which nobody had any objections.

With that settled Sidona proceeded to buy an used stasis pod. When the party got back from that bit of shopping they found three large crates delivered to the ship. It was addressed to Tiberus.

They tried to figure out what was inside the crate with Kronk even suggesting to just open it up. Labor however protested that opening someone else’s mail was a crime. Then he took the crates to Tiberus door and knocked on it.

Tiberus was surprisingly happy to not only see his package delivered but all of us there. Even more surprising is that the crates contained gifts to all of us: it was a N7 Chestplate that he got through the Spectre store. Labor got an equivalent mod since he can’t use armor.

With the exception of Lorik, nobody ended up using it as they got better stuff1 But they are keeping it around in case they get the other pieces and get the set bonuses.

Before we left, Labor also made sure the car got fixed since it got some scratches on the fight against the pirates. He also bought a computer that couldn’t connect to the Plankton and a Frogger arcade machine to train his hacking skills. Labor even made sure it came into a cabinet to put into the Plankton’s recreational area.

I really should get an updated picture of the plankton… Anyway, try to guess where the recreational area is!

When they finally started to travel towards their target, Lorik called Sidona over for a private conversation.

Lorik pointed out how it was strange that the military had sent them to eliminate the leaders of the Hades Initiative despite apparently having just discovered them. They also didn’t seem to have any plans on how to deal with the faction’s civilians.

Sidona agreed that it was strange but was wondering if there was something else that made him question it. Lorik then admitted that he looked into the pirates’ logs. Through it he discovered their home base but kept it out of his report because he couldn’t fully trust the military right now.

Lorik was planning to talk about it with everyone else after the elimination missions were over to do some investigation on his own. But he decided to give a copy of the logs to Sidona in case something happened to him before he could act on it.

The turian also admitted that he was starting to fear that he was getting too paranoid because of all the incidents they had been dealing with: the mole inside the Resistance, Yulaya’s insistence in being Tiberus’ defendant during the court martial, the extermination missions and the encounter with the pirates.

It was all adding up to the point where Lorik was losing faith in the military and unsure on who to trust.

If that turned him into a liability to the mission, he asked for Sidona to intervene. As a fellow turian she would know what to do. Sidona agreed to it.

After that conversation, Lorik was returning to his post when he noticed Bygone working under one of the computer terminals. The geth then just stood up, didn’t say anything and walked off.

Feeling paranoid, Lorik decided to check what his colleague was working on. There was a weird, purple thing that looked like a soda can attached to the underside of the panel. There was also a scanning device left there which listed an “unknown device”. Since that sounded pretty bad, he decided to call on Labor to check it out.

Just as Labor was getting out of his quarters to investigate this latest incident, Bygone approached him to talk about an unknown device he found connected to one of the ship’s subsystems. Bygone was concerned about it since it didn’t look like anything he knew.

Labor then told Bygone to go play some Frogger in the rec room while he looked at the device. Just in case it was of Reaper-origin and it tried to indoctrinate someone.

Then Labor went off to meet with Lorik. The turian soldier tried to explain the situation but Labor explained that Bygone already notified him about it. This made Lorik feel bad for doubting one of his geth colleagues so he decided to just go back to his post and let an expert deal with this problem.

Labor started his work by examining the device. He also didn’t have a clue about its origins or what it was doing. All he could figure out is that it wasn’t interfering in any way with the ship’s systems. It also wasn’t part of the ship’s blueprints.

His first attempt was to isolate it from the ship. It made all the systems go down.

Realizing it wouldn’t be an easy task, Labor then activated the ship’s emergency systems and called Seraph to help. Even with help it still took about an hour to safely remove the device.

Once it was done Labor put the device in a box then took it to Novis and asked her to check it for anything that could identify who put it there. He also gave instructions to not share anything about it with anyone with a rank lower than Lieutenant Commander.

After this random mystery the party finally reached the planet with the mission’s contact. We decided to take Bygone with us this time because pretty much everyone suspected him to be indoctrinated. If that was the case we didn’t want to risk returning to a ship hijacked by a mind-controlled geth.

Here is your text breaking galaxy map. Drink!

We landed the ship in a spot out of the way, just to be on the safe side then made our way to a small city. It looked like the inhabitants of this place were trying to not use too much technology as to not call the attention of the Reapers.

The location of our contact was on the third floor of a small apartment building. Knocking on the door we were greeted by a krogan in a wheelchair, missing two legs and an arm.

The krogan’s initial reaction was understandably one of suspicion but once we dropped Dawn Hammer’s name he invited our party to enter his apartment.

The apartment itself was really tiny and dirty making the whole business really unpleasant.

The krogan, whose name was Torg of the Gruntson clan, told us that Dawn Hammer tried to kill him in the past but obviously failed. Since then he has been collecting any information possible about the salarian, passing it along to anybody who also wanted revenge. So far he had helped three other groups but none returned.

Torg also explained that he lost someone dear to him thus starting him down on this whole quest for revenge.

To help us out he gave us a memory device with all the information he collected on Dawn Hammer so far. To summarize it:

  • Dawn Hammer is currently a in a ship, the Morning Sentry, a salarian dreadnought.
  • He is currently in the Phoenix Massing area, looking for an artifact rumored to be of prothean origin. His exact location is unknown though.
  • Dawn Hammer doesn’t have any special bodyguards, all his crew are regular salarian soldiers.
  • As for fighting style, he is a weapon’s master. Which we pretty much deduced to mean his class is soldier.
  • From everything we gathered, Dawn Hammer is pretty much insane. In his head, he lives in an idealized world where everything he does is right. If something doesn’t conform to that then his mind just twists it to make it fit into this fantasy.
  • His vices are drinking with his only known relationship to be an asari consort, Belanna T’luv, that he visits once in a while. Her last location was somewhere in the omega system.

The bit about the prothean artifact made Lorik frown as he guessed it might be the one the pirates they met before mentioned.

Lorik then promised Torg that justice would be served and they would try to report back to him so the krogan could have some closure.

That seemed to have impressed Torg as he promised to give them “Cynthia”, some kind of heavy weapons, if they succeeded.

Once we were back in the ship, Sidona and Kronk worked on a poison to kill Dawn Hammer. “Just in case”, they said. This might have been the biggest jumping ahead in planning that we did so far.

After this bit of shenanigan, we prepared to help Sidona with her side quest. Seraph was able to modify the stasis pod for our needs as best as she could given the short amount of time.

Just as we asked it had a hidden compartment for weapons and an emergency button that Sidona could use to open it. It also had some fake vitals to make it look like the person inside was in stasis. Lastly, it had an oxygen tank that should last for about an hour.

The only problem was that it could get really warm inside but Sidona figured out she could work with this.

Sidona also decided to do some research on the contact for the drop-off of turian biotics. She did a search on the extranet with the contact’s name and found out that he was a salarian who used to be on the medical board before the Reaper invasion. Supposedly he was a doctor specialized in biotics. He even wrote a paper about biotic implants in turian soldiers.

She also google mapped, or whatever the Mass Effect equivalent is, the drop off address. The place looked like a small warehouse. Looking through the pictures she even found one of a YMIR Mech being loaded in.

The plan was pretty simple. Sidona would go inside the stasis pod and we would pretend to be a mercenary group turning in the bounty. We decided to take Novis too just to answer any medical questions the contact might have.

On the way there, in the shuttle, Novis told the party she looked into that mysterious device that was attached to our ship. There was some organic matter left from the last person who touched it and it matched Lylid’s DNA. Tan-tan-dan!

Why Lylid put it in there? We have no idea. It is another mystery for us to investigate. Which we’ll do some day… Probably… We might do it before the end of the universe at least…

Anyway, when the party reached the warehouse they knocked on the front door. The door opened a little, with a gun coming out from it. A krogan voice greeted us and we showed them the bounty, explaining that we came here to collect it. They opened the door fully then let us in.

Inside, it looked like a clandestine, makeshift medical examination room. There was a table with a computer to one side, another table for examination on the other side and near another wall there was a machine that looked similar to a MRI.

The only people inside were a gruffy, mean-looking krogan with a gun and a salarian man that looked like an older version of a picture that Sidona found earlier, in her extranet search.

The salarian instructed us to put the stasis pod on the table then started examining it. After that he started asking some medical questions to Novis. Looking satisfied he then ordered us to open the pod and put Sidona on the MRI machine.

We did as he instructed but just as we put Sidona on the table some dust got into her nose and she couldn’t hold the sneeze back.

When that happened the salarian looked like a deer caught in headlights. The krogan on the other hand immediately went for the attack.

To summarize the ensuing fight… The salarian doctor pretty much panicked and tried to stay out of the fight. His krogan bodyguard wasn’t too hard to kill. However before he kicked the bucket he did call his buddy through his omni-tool and asked him to bring out the “Donk” which happened to be the YMIR Mech we found out earlier through “Google Maps”.

That robot came crashing in through walls and it the only reason it didn’t do a whole lot of damage was because Kronk acted fast, went invisible, sneaked behind the other krogan that was controlling the robot, put a gun to his head then ordered him to surrender.

The map of a sort of makeshift clinic with the party investigating different spots, a dead krogan, a salarian scientist, a deactivated robot in the middle and a grumpy krogan mercenary.
After combat picture! Because I took screenshots only before and after it but none during the combat! Go me!

We interrogated the two survivors. Starting with the doctor he apparently didn’t even know who he worked for. Or rather didn’t really care about it. All he knew is that his job was to identify that whoever came in had the right biotic implant.

The one who hired him was a turian female. The description he gave was of someone with purple markings on her face. That description sounded like someone that Lorik met before but he couldn’t remember the details.

As for what was supposed to happen after it was confirmed the biotic implant was the right one the salarian doctor didn’t know how to answer. Apparently Sidona was the first one alive to ever arrive there. All the previous claimants to the bounty showed up with dead turians.

Once he confirmed all the qualifications for the bounty were met, the salarian doctor would call his employer then they would send someone to pick up the victim.

Sidona decided she couldn’t get any more information from the salarian and decided to interrogate the krogan guard. That one at least knew who was paying him. He claimed it was the Shadow Broker and this was one of their collection locations.

Apparently the building wasn’t always used for this job. Due to this bounty’s payout the Shadow Broker decided to give it special treatment, to let it be used for turning ins. The doctor worked for someone else, just another part of the deal.

The krogan guard’s job was basically to just protect the place. Sidona however felt he was lying about that part. At the time she decided to not press on that point though.

With the interrogations pretty much over the party decided to check the rest of the building.

Lorik investigated a big room in the back but all he found out was a generator and some crates that felt very light. Opening them there were some with bubble wraps, other with paddings, some with thermal clips and one with a ton of candy bar. He looted all the thermal clips and the candy bars. The later to distribute among the crew of the Plankton.

Sidona went to a small room, finding a dead drell in there. From the looks of it the person was tied up, beaten up and then killed. The cause of death was pretty obvious too as there was a dagger on a table nearby that still had blood on it. The corpse also had several slashes which didn’t leave much room for questions.

There was also a omni-tool by the table. Trying to identify the body Sidona looked into it, discovering it had actually several IDs… all with the same picture of the dead drell.

Leaving the room, Sidona asked the krogan guard and the doctor what was up with the body. The doctor claimed to not know anything about it. While the krogan claimed the drell was an assassin that was brought in by the Shadow Broker himself.

Apparently the Shadow Broker needed information then once they got it keeping the drell around was more trouble than worth it.

As for Labor… he had to disable a laser grid then had to open a mechanically sealed door. It led to a room with a chest at the end. There was also dusty square tracks of something being dragged out of there. The tracks looked to be about 10 feet wide.

Sidona asked the krogan what was in the box that was dragged out of the room. The krogan was evasive, saying he didn’t care, all he knew was that someone came in, took it away and that was it. The doctor also claimed to not know anything about it.

Meanwhile Labor checked the chest and just found a BT Suit on it. Nobody wanted it so we decided to keep it to sell later.

Lastly Sidona checked the computer on the desk. It was clear it was from the krogan we killed as it had nothing but daily logs plus some stuff for entertainment.

She did ask the doctor where his files were. At first the salarian claimed it were all on his home. But when Sidona insisted that we were going to go there then he admitted his files were on his omni-tool and handed it over to her.

There wasn’t much useful there, some daily logs, messages from his ex-wife and daughter, personal stuff like that.

But Sidona also found out some messages from someone called “Tiem General”. These messages started innocently enough with inquiries about the doctor’s qualifications and experience then it led to a job offer. Even after that it was all very business-like, how much he would get paid as the bounties increased, when the payments would be made, etc.

Without any more leads we decided to make the doctor call his contact, tell them he had a turian that met the bounties’ qualifications and that it was ready for pickup. Our hope was that it would lead to more clues we could follow.

The doctor did as instructed then got a message back that they would come for pickup soon.

It was then time for us to prepare our own trap. To begin with Novis and Lorik went back to the Plankton to put the krogan in the brig. In retrospect, that probably reinforced Sidona’s idea that the two of them were dating.

As for the the salarian doctor, he stayed in the clinic with the others as we intended to use him in our trap.

And since they didn’t have anything to do while waiting, Labor started to hack Donk, the YMIR Mech. Because of course he would do that. I am pretty sure our GM was regretting putting this mech in the fight at this point. XD

Since Labor didn’t have much else to work with yet all he did was to change it to take commands from our party. He did seem to have much bigger plans for the mech though.

And this is where our session ended.

Next time! The trap to our enemies is put into action! More unfortunate henchman names! Gary the Pupper reveals himself to be the Shadow Broker!

Maybe one of these will be true!

Notable Quotes

I mean, if we are still talking about the ancient husks the only thing I can ask is if they can name the wing of the museum where they will be displayed after me.

Labor, Out-of-Character?

Your faction with Tiberus has increased

The GM

It is the convenient light that blocks all the naughty bits.

Lorik, Out-of-Character

Do you know how hard it is to find something in my size?!?

Kronk

Back, what exploded?

Sidona, Out-of-Character

I try to not have plans to derail but still you manage to derail them.

The GM
  1. Technically, it is barely a side-grade to Lorik too. Long story short: some mistakes were made and he is wearing medium armor for now just for the AC bonuses. He should be actually using Heavy Armor but like I said, mistakes were made!

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