ADVENTURE: Living Planet

This adventure is suitable for any PC group with their own TARDIS. It combines zombies with Doctor Who mixing horror and science fiction. The characters will be faced with a mystery that threatens the rest of the universe.

LIVING PLANET

Ten years ago a large organic mass entered the atmosphere of Romero 4. It caused mass destruction but from the flames stumbled men who could no longer die but hungered. Those bitten were in turn transformed into zombies.

The authorities were able to contain the outbreak and these undying men were studied. Alien plant fibres were found throughout their nervous system, tapping into their brain and keeping them active when the rest of the body had ceased to function.

It was theorised that the organic mass could be developed into a means for immortality. The samples taken from infected were useless but if the original alien material could be collected and studied it would be possible to genetically remove its more harmful quantities.

In order to locate the origin of the organic mass the course of the space pod was plotted, leading to the planet of Wormwood. Scans of the land mass revealed that it actually living tissue, covered by a thick jungle. Every few months space pods are ejected from the planet, spreading the infection to other worlds.

The science team plan to drop the zombies on to the planet service, tracking their movements and using the attached cameras to scout the surface. They hope that the zombies will home in on the source of the space pods.

THE PLAYER CHARACTERS ARRIVE

The TARDIS materialises in the aft of a drop ship. Low level lighting turns on once they emerge from the ship, revealing they are in a metallic room, vibrating from the ships engines and the turbulence of entering a planet’s atmosphere.

The next room is long and narrow, the edges of the room in complete darkness. Once all the PCs are in the room the lights turn to full power, revealing rows and rows of zombies shackled to the walls.

The creatures strain to bite the intruders. Luckily for the PCs they are safe as long as they don’t get too close. Gradually the cameras installed on them activate, alerting the science team to the time travellers presence.

Commander Markus demands to know how they got on board. In the background they can hear one of the science team providing updates as the drop ship approaches the landing site.

In this time the PCs can explain who they are and ask questions about what is happening. They don’t have long as the drop ship lands and the shackles on the zombies will automatically unlock. Commander Markus demands this be prevented but is informed that this is impossible. Frantically Markus will tell them to recover a beacon from the aft section and head half a mile north. The science team will send down a shuttle to rescue them.

The landing should be a tense moment, when they have to rush out of the shuttle without being attacked by the zombies. Getting out on to the surface of Wormwood isn’t much better, since it is very disturbing to run across its fleshy surface.

Thankfully the zombies soon break off their attack, heading eastward. This will leave the PCs free to head north, travelling up mountains which appears like cancerous growths. In the way they find wreckage of alien crafts of all different designs amongst the jungle.

Once at the landing site the science team despatch a shuttle, following the beacon. The rescue team consists of Lt. Yvonne Bryan, Lt. Colin Gain and Dr Alan Under. They have plenty of questions for the PCs but will first tend to their wounds. They must be sure they aren’t infected before they are returned to the orbiting science vessel, the Prospero.

Just as they are getting ready to return the group witness another space pod being blasted into space. Unfortunately it is on a collision course with the Prospero. The shuttle crew can contact the Commander Markus but it is too late, the ship is hit.

They witness it drop from orbit and crash to the east, plumes of smoke rising from the jungle. It is possible there are survivors. They can’t take the shuttle as there will be no where to land. If they are going to check they’ll need to travel on foot.

Heading in that direction they’ll again encounter the zombies. The infected display increased intelligence, working together to climb over obstacles and even co-operating in moving fallen trees out of their way.

If they see the PCs they’ll try to bite them, in order to pass on the infection. They won’t, however, chase them to far west. They seem more interested in going east, where a large structure can be seen.

Amongst the wreckage of the Prospero only Commander Markus survives. They can recover a survival kit, which includes a distress signal that will reach Romero 4 and send a rescue vessel.

Commander Markus insists that they investigate the structure. He wants to complete their mission, so that some good can come out of all of this. He refuses to listen to anyone who suggests that the space pod was deliberately aimed at the Prospero.

The structure appears more like a termite hill, rather than a building. Inside the find a giant brain, covered in a vile fluid. The zombies are pressing themselves against the mass and being covered by the dripping fluid, melding them together.

Thousands of ears and eyes open up and mouths scream at the intruders. The cacophony of voices finally resolve into a single voice that explains what is happening. There are many alien species there, all of them encountered the space pods which seem to be released from the planet on a regular basis. All of them came seeking eternal life. Some came in small numbers, some in large numbers. Some were able to duplicate the effects and felt a migration instinct.

Once on the planet those affected by the immortality began to fuse together. They don’t know how it began but the immortality is a trap, a living hell where they continue to add to the mass of the planet. They believe that eventually Wormwood will envelope the universe, a terrible cancer growing outward forever.

Until now the fused minds weren’t able to communicate but the TARDIS telepathic circuits are now letting them understand each other. They wish to be put out of their misery and prevent others from falling into the same trap.

The player characters must convince the Science team to ignore the promise of eternal life and prevent any more pods from being released. Markus believes that their scientists, now they know the nature of the planet, can overcome the problems and find immortality. The PCs can work of persuading the rest of the science team.

With a rescue vessel only days away the PCs and science team must work fast. Parts can be salvaged from the alien wreckage, along with the remains of the Prospero, to create something that will explode with enough force to destroy the giant brain.

Just as the rescue vessel enters orbit the giant brains survival instinct kills in. Human and alien zombies disgorge themselves from the brain to destroy the equipment. It will be a race against time to escape the planet and activate the bomb before it is dismantled.

Either Commander Markus, if the PCs were able to persuade him, or one of the science team will volunteer to stay behind and detonate the explosive manually. Alternatively the PCs might volunteer, using their TARDIS to escape the resulting blast.

Hopefully the PCs will destroy the brain, which will kill the rest of the planet. The mystery of how such a living planet came into existence might serve as the basis for another adventure.

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