Odemark is the first planet in the system. Closest to the central stellar body with little between other than a few asteroids. Long blasted by the proximity of such indominable power, the planet's surface has been roasted into seas of glittering sand. If not for the extreme pitch of the axis, the entire planet would be uninhabitable to life as commonly understood. As it is the high gravity of such a large world has had many clear effects. Both polar extremes experience vast temperature changes, what life exists has adapted to living deep within the sand. A broad band of oases girdles the equator attracts what surface life remains. The remainder of the planet is speckled with bare mountains and crumbling ruins of a past global economy. An ancient disagreement ended in a planet-wide holocaust. Widely scattered survivors lived in terror for years. Their decendants remember remnants of history and have evolved into new societies and ethnicities with deeply held mistrust. A few hold the ruins as holy ground, others as rich salvage. Others echew them both and try to live in harmony with the endless sea of desert. Still more hoard the knowledge of the before times in a grand plan to restore the world. It is still a wishful story that somewhere remains an unspoiled college with all the answers. The Odemark setting was written for use in a Science Fiction trilogy. Additions to the D&D 5e game system have to be made to preserve the intended feel. The ethnicities are secondary backgrounds. Proficiencies are expanded, most particularly for Tools and character's base understanding of technology is dependant on Tech Level. Radiation is a regional effect and is part of the weather and prevents recovery during rest periods. Spending too long in radiation without protection results in Fatigue. Radiation Resistance is an added Feat. Firearms are common, available in many types and are subject to misfire. Jammed firearms require repair by use of the appropriate tool kit and proficiency.
The party finds themselves in the darkened and vacant Slag-side motorpool of Dunlee after a harrowing encounter in the eerie green light. Scouting with Silus the owl shows there are loose groups of people continuing to shamble towards the gates and out of the settlement. It also revealed there are some humanoids that move with much more purpose. They are herding others and ushering them out of the settlement, in the direction of the slags. The owl did see the lights towards the center of the settlement, but near the gates and motorpool it is dark.
Loaded with scrap, some valuable salvage, and towing a second vehicle, the party departed the old Dunlee ruin. As the Rover muscles its way through the waste, the day fades and a horrible sight glows overhead. A bright, thumb-sized object trailing a sickly green-yellow plume behind it glows malevalently overhead. With most of the party resting after their exertions, Kole maintains a steady hand on the helm as the oversized engine grumbles contentedly like some giant cat. Even the sand ahead in the glare of the arc-lights takes on a greenish glow. The outside air cools and the hoarfrost grows, sparkling and refracting adding to the eerie feeling. Soon the Rover crests a tall dune and Dunlee appears in the distance, but something seems off. Unmoving vehicles are scattered in the sands around the settlement. As the party motors inexorably closer, it can be seen messenger flags have been raised. Kole turns the arc-lights to maximum power to make out the colors and a sick feeling grows over him. Top flag: rebellion. Middle flag: plague. Bottom flag: survivors. Nearing the settlement, no people are to be seen near the abandoned vehicles. Rovers, Jeeps, a Waste Crawler all sit facing random directions, doors open, inert.
Dazed after what happened in the foldgate, the party has been cloned. One copy is transported back to the surface dazzled by sunlight. The other dealt with a system error during transmission as the gate field collapsed, plummeting hundreds of feet though the skies of Urrth into an icy sea. The once slightly vibrating ground below the ruin of old Dunlee now still. Gamma, once more among them and no longer lost, at least in body, seems to be limited to one word responses composed only of his name spoken emotively. While the Urrth-Clones wrestle with the confusion of where they are and why suddendly everything they touch seems fragile, the Odemark-Clones spot a few hairy humanoids ducking into cover not far away. With more mysteries than answers, and an unladen Rover with an expiring lease, the only thing they know for certain is they better get busy.
Gamma, fustrated at his new boomstick not providing the satisfaction he desired wandered off while the rest of the party attempted to convince an estranged juxtelar exile to join them. Distracted by her apparent disappearence in a sudden dust-up they lost track of Gamma. Having tracked him to an electronics workshop and to a trapdoor, they gaped at the artifacts around them. Stairs head down into the darkness beyond the limits of their sight. Meanwhile, Kole has returned to the Rover to bring it deeper into the ruin for loading salvage.
Depressed at their earlier attempts to ressurect an ancient treasure and the damage they caused in trying, the adventurers depart. Taking only a few things and some high tech weapons it is time to resume their search for scrap. They leave the airship in the claws of a crusteacan ally and drive into the wastes once more. Old Dunlee was abandoned decades ago amidst civil strife. The shifting sands cover and reveal what remains. It's nearness to the thriving newer settlement of Dunlee means it is heavily picked over. It also means certain creatures also lurk in the shadows awaitng the unwary meal.
Salivating at the materiel in the manifest they found, and with the knowledge of the dangers the adventurers return. Ready to experience first hand the tantalizing salvage that laid below the sands. Other dangers and problems remain, soon to fustrate and bewilder them.
Earlier events having left some of the party feeling rather drained, they split up. Some remained behind on the Rover while the more intrepid, enhanced through the use of chemicals, went back for further exploration. Discovering they had barely begun to see what the ancient wreck had to offer, they became bold. Manifest in claw, and salivating at what they found, they reported the findings. Now they prepare themselves for that which still lurks below. Treasures indeed they found, but more questions than answers.
After finding the upper fuselage of what appears to be a flying machine, an open hatch filled with sand was spotted. Initial exploration revealed the find to be a pre-holocaust superheavy airlift. While some stood in awe of the incredible find, others calculated the potential scrap. None knew what lurked below as feet trod where none have for centuries.
An unlikely band finds common ground. Long held mistrust pushes them apart, yet strange, unseen forces brought them together. Maybe just this once, the wastes can be braved.