STARGATE MISSIONS - EPISODE TITLE: TOYS
Planet Designation: P53-261
Technological Development: Iron Age
Type of Team Assigned: Diplomatic Ops or Exploration
Gate Location: The stargate of P53-261 is located on an island, in the coastal city of Eidyia (aiii-dee-ya), which is the island's major port. It is positioned in one of the city's large public courtyards. The gate has wreaths of flowers on it and flowers around its base. There are also candles on either side of it. A small golden dish is present near one cluster of candles, and inside of it is a thick, clear liquid that is sweet to taste. If a MALP is sent through before the team, the natives will put wreaths on it and offer a similar small dish of liquid. The courtyard presents Mycenaean-styled architecture, and the walls of the surrounding buildings have frescoes on them. Upon close examination, the frescoes reveal scenes of the god Kronos, whom the SGC recognizes as the Goa'uld System Lord, Cronus.
The People: The inhabitants of Eidyia have darkened skin and dark-eyes and are reminiscent of Mediterranean peoples. Many of them have very physical professions, and so their bodies are kept in good overall condition. They are uniformly friendly and eager to welcome the characters, since they have never received visitors through the "eye of Kronos." They will assume that the characters are sent by Kronos, or that one of the characters is Kronos (only if one of the characters has a Charisma of 18 or more); they do not know that their god is dead. They will use the opportunity to set up bull fights, gladitorial games, and general celebrations, which they have on major holidays. They are ruled by a council of eight "elders," comprised not only of the oldest among them but also the most wealthy and/or the most wise. The people of Eidyia are part of the Halia alliance of islands, and they refer to themselves as the Halia. They speak a dialect of Ancient Greek; any character proficient with Ancient Greek will be able to speak to the Halia without much trouble. Possible names for the Halia are: Cinerxes, Diander (or Diandra), Lycaphra (or Lycaphrus), Mellius (or Mellia), Quentus.
Introductions: When the Halia discover that the characters have come through the "eye of Kronos" they will escort the characters to the hall of the elders, a large and ornate building. If it is late at night, the characters will be invited to stay for the evening at the hall. They will be served a light meal before bed, with a small amount of the clear, thick liquid that was offered at the stargate (Intelligence or Cultures check DC 10 to identify). It is sweet, almost like honey. If the characters eat it, the next day they will feel good waking up. They will be given some more with breakfast. If at any time they ask about the substance, the characters will be told it is The Malt, and it is something of a holy substance to them. It fills all hunger, maintains youth, and can even help the sick to regain strength. Only those most deserving are granted even the smallest part of it (read as: the rich, the powerful, and the well-connected). If asked, they will say that small creatures make it, and that they will be shown some of the creatures when the elders take them to the exhibit.
The characters will then be invited to meet with the eight elders. They are, in order of age: Pharaxes, Antheia, Lipenius, Zosimos, Brygos, Goralus, Soteira, and Kharis. Of these, Antheia, Soteira, and Kharis are female. Although Pharaxes, Antheia, and Lipenius appear to be in their 70's, their skin glows with health, their hair is thick, and their minds are sharply present. All of the elders share glowing skins and glossy hair. They are always announced in descending order of age, even though it is clear that Goralus (appears 40), Soteira (appears 40), and Kharis (appears 35) are not so old and are on the council for other reasons.
The council will explain that the Halia were brought to the planet by their god Kronos many years ago. Unlike other races, they know that they came from the Tauri. The planet they came from (Earth) was not fit for their god, so he picked his best worshippers and took them to a new world. Kronos left them there to see whether or not they would grow into a civilization worthy of having him in their midst. He said that he would be back again to check on their progress and to render judgment. The Halia nearly died for lack of proper supplies or warning, but they quickly learned about their new environment. Ever since, they have been striving to be worthy, and they have been waiting for their god. If they are told that their god is dead, most of them will simply believe that such news is part of their test.
Subtexts - Pharaxes: Pharaxes is a very sharp old man; he is a life-long scholar and thinker. He is also quite charismatic, since he is personable and very well spoken. For many years he has suspected that his people were truly abandoned by their god, and he has been in an agony of doubt about it. Whether the characters reveal the death of Cronus or not, Pharaxes will see their arrival as confirmation of his worst suspicions, for after so many years of silence, only humans have come through the gate. If he is able to get at least one of the characters alone in his home and he likes them, he will go about asking well-aimed questions. He lives only with servants, and if any character comes to his home he will send his servants away. His primary scores are in Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma and he has high Bluff, Diplomacy, Innuendo, Listen, Sense Motive, and Spot scores. He is already suspicious, and it should be difficult to pull off lying to him. He will ask about the state of Kronos, if he was really a god, where the characters have come from, and so on. If the character(s) give answers he is satisfied with and they have said Kronos is dead, he might confide in them about what he thinks (namely, that Kronos left his people to die and was probably not a god at all).
Subtexts - The Love Triangle: With the exceptions of Pharaxes and Antheia, all of the other elders are married and living with their spouses. Brygos and the younger elders all have children of varying ages. The characters are likely to meet Thana, the wife of Goralus, since she tends to the hall of the elders at odd hours, seeing that things get done. What Thana and most others do not know is that Goralus and Kharis have been having an affair for some time, and Kharis' daughter is the child of Goralus. The one person who does know is Soteira, the older sister of Kharis, who has always wanted Goralus for herself. Soteira will take the appearance of the characters as a sign from Kronos that it is time to enact her plan. The characters might notice her slip out of her house, and might be within earshot when she blackmails her sister into leaving.
Sight-Seeing: The characters will be invited to a tour of the city. The elders will arrange for a young street guide named Semos to show the group around, so he can show them the city with the wonder of a child. Semos is friendly and inquisitive and will be curious about all the things the characters carry. He knows a bit of local dirt, and all of the best places to see. The city is all in all quite beautiful. What's even better is that the Halia are very fond of games. The characters will be able to participate in card games, dice games, or more physical games like the gladitorial fighting events. The Halia also love to place bets, and will be too happy to bet the characters for any items they're willing to wager.
Invitations: The characters will be invited to stay at the homes of the elders. The elders will want to draw lots to see which of them will get to host a character. Any character with Cultures will be able to tell that it would be very rude to refuse their hospitality. The elders will be honored, however, if the characters are gracious. They will try to divide up the characters so that as many elders as possible will get to host one.
At least one character will stay with Pharaxes. The rest of the characters will probably end up with the younger elders. In every house but that of Pharaxes, there are children - either direct children of the elders, or grandchildren. Every house has at least one child under the age of 13. The characters stay with the elders, are introduced to their families, and share the evening meal. This meal has more of the syrupy substance from before.
Play Time: That night, as the family is settling in for bed, the characters may be within earshot of the children playing. The characters will hear the children talking, and then hear a strange, small voice saying: "I'm so tired...please let me go. You're hurting me" (they will need to understand Gaelic or make an appropriate Language check; in any case, the tone will be small and hurt). Or they might hear tiny cries or screams, depending on how graphic a scene is desired. If they look into the children's rooms, they will see the children playing with a Diminutive sized humanoid. If they ask, the children will tell the characters that the humanoid is their doll, given to them special by their parents. Only a few children ever get one. When they are not playing with their dolls, the children must keep them locked in a special cupboard in the kitchen. The children are also responsible for feeding and watering the creatures.
If the characters try to communicate with the creatures at night, the small folk will be scared but desperate to talk. (Possible Fae names are: Yilan, Zifta, Wiiri, Tephen, Raelee, Olit, Nefzen, and Lembree, although the children call their Fae whatever they want.) They will even try simple gestures to get their point across. (When they try to mention the stargate they put their arms up over their head and bring them down in a circle. Then they dart one hand in front of them, through the circle, and say: "Whoosh!" DMs should mime this out.) Depending on how successful their attempts are at communication, the characters can learn the following:
* the small creatures call themselves the Fae
* the Fae recognize the stargate symbol for Earth that is on SGC uniforms
* the Fae originally came from Earth but they migrated before the goa'uld took hold
* some of their race stayed behind and could still be on Earth somewhere
* the Fae have a process by which they produce The Malt, which is what they live off of, for the most part
* the Fae live in something like a hive and produce The Malt from this specially constructed unit; the design of the hive is an essential part of the process; the Halia captured their hive and moved it into Eidyia
* the Fae also add to the process, but they do not say how
* the Fae have been enslaved by the Halia for many years because The Malt makes humans feel better
* some Fae are given to noble children as toys; these Fae actually have the worst lives of their people. The children have been told that the Fae are not real, living beings, and many have performed gruesome acts on the little people.
* the Fae desperately want to be free and away from the Halia and may be willing to trade a small amount of The Malt for their freedom (and being led to an uninhabited planet)
Choices: The characters have many different options from this point onward. What your group will decide to do will depend largely on the players involved and how the scenario has unfolded. Here are several possibilities:
A character could take their Fae with them right then, sneak out of the house, and round up the rest of the team. They could then try to find the House of Malt (the name for the building where the hive is kept) on their own. They could try to ask their young guide Semos (and bribe him into silence in some fashion). They could also appeal to Pharaxes for help. Pharaxes will be a little reluctant to help considering that The Malt is what is keeping him alive; he needs a regular dose in order to maintain himself. He might or might not tell the characters that he is 130 years old. He will ask that the characters take him with them and try to find some other way to keep him alive (the characters might think of him as a good Tok'ra candidate). In any case, rescuing the Fae by night will require many Move Silently and Hide checks. It might also entail knocking out or killing anyone who sees them. If the team desires, they can try to sneak out the few Fae that are kept in other noble houses.
The House of Malt itself is a strong-looking building that is designed to keep the Fae in and to keep the peasants out. It has solid doors, high-DC locks, and windows that are so small the Fae can't wriggle through them. The hive itself is about two stories tall, in an irregular rounded formation. It is entirely encased in a thick, heavy, glass-looking substance. There is a larger door in one of the glass walls that is big enough for a full-sized human. Within the large door is a smaller door that can be opened. The larger door is rarely used. The smaller door is opened and a hose is inserted through it. The smaller door and the hoses used are kept small so the Fae can't use them to escape. It is through a hose that The Malt is collected. It is also the way that the Fae are given materials (grains, etc.) with which to produce The Malt.
If the characters decide to stay with their hosts, the next day they will be taken to see the hive of the Fae. The Halia believe that the Fae are animals that mimic people; they have no souls and no real intelligence. The hive is encased in the glass so that it can be exhibited, much the way that zoo animals are exhibited in special cages. The Fae within do not look happy in the least, and one or two might dare to call out to the onlookers. If the characters make a very good Spot check, they might notice one or two Fae who appear pregnant.
The Halia will be willing to part with a little bit of The Malt in order to honor the characters as their guests. If this is sent back to the SGC for analysis, it will be shown to be a perfect food, with great nutritional value, next to no fat, and a substance that aids in the process through which cells repair themselves. The SGC will not be able to adequately synthesize it, however.
If the characters inform the SGC of the slavery of the Fae, the SGC will want the team to return to Earth for further briefing. The SGC might order the team to diplomatically approach the Halia for the release of the Fae. The Halia will not be willing to part with the Fae, however. With a successful Sense Motive, the characters come to realize that some of the elders and rich elderly rely on The Malt to extend their years and their health. Other Halia use The Malt to extend their youth. They are not addicted to the substance per se, but they have come to rely on it for its greater benefits. If the group tries to talk about the freedom of the Fae, the Halia will not be too angry, but they will keep a closer eye on the team afterwards.
If the team decides to try to release the Fae after having asked for them to be released, it will be more difficult to get away with it. There will be more wary people around, and more security at the House of Malt. Sneaking them out might entail knocking folks unconscious or killing people outright.
There are other ways to go about obtaining the Fae. Regardless of how players approach the problem, DMs should always remember that the Halia will not give up the Fae willingly unless a very good deception is used (perhaps even involving the missing god, Cronus). Most attempts to free the Fae will be met with lethal force. The Halia believe the Fae to be their rightful property, like any of their livestock or land.
If the Fae are rescued, they will not be able to remain on base for very long until the NID gets wind of it (allowing the scenario to continue further). The Fae are generally good, if disheartened, creatures who only want to be free to live amongst themselves. There are uninhabited, or sparsely inhabited worlds that would make good homes for the Fae, and good relations with the race will continue for some time if the SGC does not hold them prisoner as the Halia have done.
Pharaxes will help the team if they agree to help him extend his life and health by some means. He will even journey with the team to the SGC, but he will stop cooperating if he is made a prisoner and no effort is made to help him. He will be a willing canditate for Tok'ra blending if the option is presented to him, and with his knowledge the Tok'ra will welcome him.