The characters are about to reach Volturnus. Unfortunately for them, however, they are not arriving with the benefit of all the equipment and preparation they would have liked. Instead of landing in a choice site in a fully equipped shuttle, they are crash-landing in the middle of a hostile desert. They are light-years from their home planets, with no hope of rescue in the foreseeable future. To survive, they must improve their Ability scores, learn new skills, and utilize every shred of imagination they possess.



Since the characters will move over a wide range of terrain on Volturnus, it is difficult to specify a standard movement rate. While travelling over the planetary map of Volturnus, characters will move at the rates specified in the planetary movement table in Alpha 6.1.

As the characters move across the planet surface, they should use the hex paper provided in the Player Character Background Report to map the terrain. Mapping has been explained in Alpha Subsection 4.

A dashed line circles the lifeboat crashsite. This is the movement limit for CRASH ON VOLTURNUS. It is important the characters do not pass this line, especially if you plan to play the sequel to CRASH ON VOLTURNUS. If the characters reach this line, turn immediately to planned encounter 3 (the Ul-Mor). In addition, if the characters begin to die of thirst or starve, turn immediately to planned encounter 3.

Most characters will spend their time wandering through the desert. They may, however, occasionally wander into the salt flats or the burning lands.

If they do so, allow them to wander through these lands for a few hours, then persuade them to leave. In the burning lands, a volcano will erupt, and the only way to escape the lava flow will be to flee back to the desert. In the salt flats, a small tidal wave will rise and force the party to run back to the desert.


Normal game turns may prove impractical in this encounter section, since most action on the planetary surface occurs in daily segments. Because of this, the time reference period on Volturnus is 12 hours. These periods alternate between night and day. For the purposes of random encounters, roll once every period, or twice a day. Note, however, that when characters enter combat situations, the game action will change to six-second game turns.


In the harsh Volturnian desert, a character needs 4 liters of water per day to survive. Players can reduce this amount 1 liter if they take two salt pills each day. They can further reduce this amount 1 liter per day by travelling at night and resting in the shade during the day.

If the characters move at their maximum rate, they must double the amount of water needed to survive (after taking into account any precautions taken to reduce water consumption). Thus, a character moving at maximum speed during the day without taking salt pills would need 8 liters of water a day to survive. If, however, the character were taking two salt pills each day, he could move at maximum rate and survive on 6 liters of water a day. Finally, a character moving at maximum rate during the night and taking two salt pills a day would need only 4 liters of water per day to survive.

The amount of water needed to survive includes all water used to re-hydrate survival or dehydrated rations.


Read the following description to your players:

As your lifeboat leaves the Serena Dawn, you see the starship tremble again. A few metal chunks float out of the escape bay, and then all is quiet. Your lifeboat quickly accelerates toward the forbidding planet of Volturnus. As you approach the daylight side of the planet, you see nothing. A great portion of the planet is shrouded in clouds. Your lifeboat enters a shallow orbit and travels to the other side of Volturnus, where it begins its descent into the dark, clear night.

Sparks begin to fly from the onboard computer. Then, after several seconds of jolting, a rear engine explodes and a fire erupts on the exterior of the lifeboat.

The fire grows larger and hotter as you descend, even entering the passenger compartment. After two minutes of intense heat, the lifeboat crashes into a high outcropping of rocks. The fire seems to die down, but flames still flash from the rear engine and the onboard computer.

FOR THE REFEREE ONLY: Each character has a 5% chance of being injured in the crash. All characters should roll percentile dice. On a roll of 06 or greater, that character takes no damage. Any character who rolls less than 06 takes 1 to 5d10 of damage. The number the character rolled is the number of dice of damage he takes. A character who rolled a 01 during the crash would take 1dl0 damage, but a character who rolled a 04 would take 4d10 damage.

After the characters recover from the shock of crash-landing, they will notice the survival kits have popped out of the lockers and are ready to be removed from the lifeboat. They will also notice a foul- smelling liquid seeping from the engine compartment. Some of this liquid is starting to burn.

The characters have enough time to remove the survival packs from the lifeboat, but no other equipment can be removed. The lifeboat will burst into flames as soon as the last survival pack is removed. Two turns later, it will explode. If the characters attempt to remove other equipment before the survival packs, they will be unable to do so because the liquid is covering everything in the shuttle except the survival packs. The liquid is actually a flammable acid which ruins everything it touches. If the characters have not removed the survival packs after two turns, the liquid will start to burn. The characters will then have one turn to remove the survival packs before the lifeboat explodes. Any character within 20 meters of the explosion will take 1d5 damage, and any character actually in the lifeboat when it explodes will take 5d10 damage.

The lifeboat has eight survival kits, each containing 1 machete, 1 box of matches, 1 allweather blanket, 1 first aid pack, 1 chronocom, 2 packages of survival rations (enough food for 1 person for four days). 1 tangler grenade, 1 compass, 1 lifejacket, 10 salt pills, 1 pocket tool, 1 flashlight, 1 doze grenade, 10m of rope, 1 toxyrad gauge, 8 liters of water, 1 pair of sungoggles, 1 pair of stretch coveralls, 1 poly-vox, and 1 laser pistol with a 20 SEU clip.

After the lifeboat explodes, read the following description to the characters:

The night has passed, and it is now dawn. A desolate wilderness of sand and rock stretches as far as you can see in every direction. The desert is occasionally broken by green flat plants similar in appearance to filly pads. Though it is only a few minutes past sunrise, the heat is already overbearing.


When moving through the desert, characters will have random encounters. Check for random encounters at the beginning of each period (every 12 hours). Roll 1d10; a random encounter will take place during the day if you roll 1-3 and at night if you roll 1-2. When a random encounter occurs, roll on the random encounter table to determine which encounter will take place.


Die Roll (1d10)Encounter
1 -2
Burrower Snake
Sand Storm
Funnel Worm
Sand Shark

1.) Burrower Snake (MV Slow; IM 8; RS 80, STA 15; DM 1d5 SA Poison S5/T10)

Choose a character at random. This character steps next to a burrower snake hole and is attacked.

2.} Sand Storm

The wind begins to blow 120 kph and creates a sand storm. Any character with an environmental skill should make an Intuition check; modify this roll by +10 for every level above one. If any character makes a successful Intuition check, the party will be able to improvise a shelter and survive the storm without taking damage.

If the characters happen to be in a hex with an unusual rock formation, well, fertile area, or high elevation symbol, the characters can find shelter quickly and avoid taking damage from the storm.

If the characters have no advance warning and are not in one of the hexes listed above, they will take damage from the storm. Have each character roll a Reaction Speed check. If the check is unsuccessful, the character takes 4d10 damage from the sand storm during that time period. If successful, the character takes only 2d10 damage from the storm.

Sand storms will normally last only one 12 hour period, but there is a small chance they will last longer. Roll 1d10; on a roll of 1-8, the storm lasts only one period. On a roll of 9, the storm lasts an extra period, and on a roll of 10, it lasts two extra periods.

If a storm lasts for more than one period, characters will take only 2d10 damage during the second and third periods.

3.) Funnel Worm (MV Slow: IM 3; RS 25; STA 200; ATT 70; DM 4d10; SA See below; SD See below)

The party walks over a funnel worm. Choose one character at random. That character and any other character within 10 meters must make Reaction Speed checks or fall into the funnel worm's trap.

SA: Automatic hit from ambush position. SD: Remains undetected until it attacks.

4.) Sand Shark (MV Medium fast; IM 5; RS 50; STA 80; ATT 50; DM 2d10; SD See below)

The characters are attacked by two hungry sand sharks.

SD: Immune to needler weapons; cannot be attacked until it surfaces.

5.) Lopers (MV Fast; IM 5; RS 41; STA 300; ATT 40; DM 2d10; SD See below)

The characters encounter a dead female loper that has just given birth to two babies. The lopers will believe the first character they see is their mother. The young animals will then follow this character, hoping to receive food and water. (They need 1/2 as much food and water as characters.)

SD: Immune to needler weapons.


Because of the vast territory the characters may journey through, the number of planned encounters is limited. There are only three planned encounters in this section; all are designed to accomplish specific goals. The first encounter, the poison well, warns the characters that many things on Volturnus are not as they seem. The second encounter, with the jet-copter, foreshadows later encounters with Volturnian space pirates. The third encounter, with the Ul-Mor, is designed to provide clues to the secret of Volturnus, but only after the characters pass the test of tribal membership.

1.) Poison Well

Read the following description to your characters as they start to leave the crash site:

From your vantage point high in the rocks, you see what appears to be a covered well 8 kilometers east of you.

The well is a deep hole lined with rocks. A small rock dome covers the well. This dome has only one entrance, on the northeast. This entrance is 1 meter high. The bottom of the well contains 12 liters of water.

The dome was built by the Ul-Mor to protect the well, which is poisonous to Humans, Dralasites, Vrusk, and Yazirians because of its high arsenic content. The water is not poisonous to Ul-Mor, however, for they have a special organ that filters out arsenic.

This is not the only poisonous well in the desert. There is a 50% chance that any other well in the desert will be poisonous. If any character uses a toxyrad gauge on a poisonous well, he will detect the arsenic.

Arsenic is a cumulative poison, continuing to collect inside the body until death occurs. The first time a character drinks from an arsenic well, there are no undesirable side effects. The second time, the character feels ill, but takes no damage. The third time, the character takes 10 points of damage, and the fourth time the character takes 10 points of damage per melee turn until the poison is countered by an antitox shot or the character dies.

If the characters boil the water and collect the condensed steam (by trapping the vapor under a plastic tarp or similar item and collecting the liquid as it cools), the water will be safe to drink. They may collect up to 8 liters a day in this manner. But simply boiling the water is not enough, since the arsenic will still be in the water.

2.) Pirate Search Craft

Eleven periods after the characters leave the lifeboat wreckage, a pirate search-copter will fly over them.

You hear the distant throbbing of a small jet-copter on the desert air. Looking back toward the lifeboat's wreckage, you see a small jet-copter flying toward you. It is flying very high, but you can see it is an open search-type copter.

If any character uses magni-goggles to look at the jet-copter, they will see it carries three very mean looking men, obviously pirates. They will also see a painting of a red devil surrounded by silver stars on the side of the copter.

If the characters attempt to hide from the jet-copter, it will cross back and forth over their general vicinity several times, then leave. But if the characters attempt to attract the attention of the men in the copter, it will hover overhead. All three men will fire their laser pistols at the party members. Luckily for the player characters, the pirates will miss because of the range and difficulty of firing from a jet-copter.

After firing at the characters several times, the men in the jet- copter will run out of ammunition and fly back toward the life-boat. As they leave, one of the men in the jet-copter will drop a note reading, "We know who you are. You'll never leave Volturnus alive."

3.) The Ul-Mor

The characters will encounter the Ul-Mor when they have reached the movement limit marked by the dotted line on the planetary map, or are dying of thirst. This encounter is designed to introduce the characters to their first intelligent race on Volturnus, to further the plot of the adventure, and to keep them from dying in the wilderness.

You see a number of individuals riding toward you over a distant ridge. They vaguely resemble octopi, except their bodies are plum-purple and highly decorated with feathers, primitive jewelry, tattoos, and bright paint. They carry spears and war clubs in four of their tentacles, and keep their other four tentacles wrapped around their mounts, which resemble two- legged dinosaurs standing 4 meters tall.

The tallest rider shouts a high pitched command and the riders spread out along the ridge to await another command. The riders are about 500 meters away.

The characters have encountered the advance guard of an Ul-Mor tribe changing camps. The Ul-Mor will make no hostile gestures.

Five Ul-Mor will ride toward the characters slowly and carefully, keeping their weapons handy, but not raised in a threatening manner. The Ul-Mor will stop if the characters make any threatening gestures. Once the Ul-Mor are within easy speaking distance, they will attempt to establish contact.

At this point, if the characters have the baby lopers with them, the tallest Ul-Mor will ceremoniously drop his weapons and raise four of his tentacles. If the characters do not have the lopers, the Ul-Mor will simply wait for the characters to make the next move.

Communication will prove difficult until the poly-vox has had sufficient time to study the Ul-Mor language. Meaningful communication will be restricted to gestures at first, but the poly- vox will soon enable the characters to communicate with the Ul- Mor. Even after the poly-vox is working at full potential, the characters will find the Ui-Mor language primitive and limited to basic ideas.

The Ul-Mor will soon ask permission to use their primary means of communication, the direct mind link. Any character who under goes the direct mind link will be able to communicate with the Ul- Mor normally. The Ul-Mor will explain that food and water are scarce in the desert, and by law they can share food and water only with tribe members. It is obvious, however, that the characters will soon die if somebody doesn't help them, and so the Ul-Mor will give the characters food and water if they will join the tribe. If the characters are not willing to undergo the manhood ritual required to join the tribe, the Ul-Mor will regretfully leave the characters to die in the desert.

If the characters agree to join the tribe, the Ul-Mor will lead them to the oasis just outside the Burning Lands. During this journey, the characters must travel a little behind the Ul-Mor and camp separately, since they are probationary members of the tribe. They will be immune to all predictable natural disasters such as sandstorms, flashfloods, starvation, and dying of thirst. Furthermore, the characters will only have to fight for five turns before the Ul-Mor will come to drive away the attacking creature. Once they arrive at the oasis, the Ul-Mor will insist the characters rest until all of their wounds are healed.


There are 20 average Ul-Mor riders in the tribe your player characters meet. Use the set of average characteristics below for these 20 riders. In addition to the 20 riders, there are 5 leaders. These five leaders are shown below the average characteristics. The melee and ranged weapon scores take all skill levels into account.

Average Ul-Mor (RW 45, M 45, PS 2, IM 5, RS 50, STA 40.)

Notes: All Ul-Mor have four attacks per turn and have mind link ability; almost all have 2nd level skill in thrown and melee weapons. They all ride lopers (MV FAST; IM 5; RS 41; STA 300; ATT 40; DM 4D10; SD Immune to needlers) and are armed with spears.

Fonn-Ar the Warrior (RW 65, M 65, PS 3, IM 7, RS 65, STA 45.)

Notes: 3rd level skill in thrown and melee weapons; brave to the point of foolhardiness; open and forthright.

Arkadas the Red (RW 60, M 65, PS 3, IM 6, RS 55, STA 50.)

Notes: 3rd level thrown and melee weapons; paints red stripes on body for war; cunning but loyal; something of a dandy.

Thurad Sandy Back (RW 75, M 70, PS 2, IM 7, RS 65, STA 40.)

Notes: 4th level thrown and melee weapons; cautious and quiet, a mystic who often contemplates the One.

Kahai Long Rider (RW 70, M 75, PS 3, IM 6, RS 55, STA 60.)

Notes: 4th level thrown and melee weapons; protector of loper-kind; close friend of Athru.

Athru Sea People's Bane (RW 90, M 85, PS 3, IM 7, RS 70, STA 60.)

Notes: 5th level thrown and melee weapons; courageous but not foolhardy; always shrewd; considers the good of the tribe above his own; a good leader.


This is the end of the second encounter section. It is now time to award experience points. Players who took an active part in this section receive 2 experience points. Players who were extremely helpful or active receive 3 experience points. Players who merely travelled along, but did not do very much to help the party, receive 1 experience point.