THE ATHENA STRAIN.   Posted by Narrator.Group: archive Z
 GM, 200 posts
 Live Free, Die Well
Mon 4 May 2020
at 16:13
The Athena Strain

The Athena Strain begin on Babylon 5 and puts a group of characters aboard a Centauri space liner called the Athena where the crew and passengers become exposed to an extremely dangerous virus.

This scenario has been adjusted in such a manner as to make it fit this campaign. There is no suggested character levels, race or classes. In fact, only the starting point of the location setting has been designated as a space station and or port – it should be possible to fit this scenario into an existing campaign or run as a one off game without any problems. The game should however be taking place in and around the year 2279.

This will be a combination of a ‘scene by scene’ with scenarios, and a toolkit with events deviate from the ‘scripted’ timeline. This scenario begins with a number of timeline-derived scenes, followed by events that will probably occur if nothing happens to affect them and then notes on dealing with events not in the timeline.

Since this scenario is designed with events for the campaign, plenty of advice and suggestions are available, and a number of ‘standard’ scenes and encounters are presented for use. A better description could be ‘a mini campaign setting for a single scenario’ – there is a wealth of background material and a framework to work the scenario around with guidance on how to run it, while leaving plenty of scope to add in more subplots and twists.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:30, Mon 04 May 2020.

 GM, 201 posts
 Live Free, Die Well
Mon 4 May 2020
at 16:15
The Athena Strain

Doctor Franz Karlson, is a biochemist at Talson Pharmaceuticals, and worked on the vaccine for the Ceti Flu and more recently assisted with Dr. Stephen Franklin and helped stop the deadly plague. The company rents an isolab on Babylon 5 for his work (note: to change the location of this scenario to begin elsewhere, feel free to substitute  station, outpost, or even colony world for Babylon 5; a few other locations will also need to be changed and the Games Master should either ensure the adventure starts at approximately the same distance from Centauri Prime as the station, or should change the timescales and number of jump points appropriately).

Over the last few months, he has come close to a cure for CTP virus29 using a sample of other stock piled viruses, and plagues – using a virus with a very similar structure he thinks he will have a cure. The sample is one of the only kept in isolation for research purposes, since it was believed that CTP virus 29 can eradicate telepaths from the known galaxy within five years.

Dr. Karlson's work on a vaccine for Ceti Flu has push him to the top of his field. Currently he is encountered problems with the vaccine and reaction to the test subjects. Talson Pharmaceuticals are transferring him to their research station on Centrauri Prime, along with his samples, to allow the work to continue. Passage has been booked for him aboard the space liner Athena.

Approximately one hour after the Athena leaves, a container of Volinian Plague in the Talson isolab disintegrate – the chemical structure of the containers is unstable. Luckily, they are in a sealed room, and nobody is infected. Dr Karlson’s own specimens are also in containers from the very same batch. There is not enough time to jettison the containers and so the crew and passengers of the Athena are exposed to the virus…

The known cure for the plague can be easily synthesized aboard the ship’s medbay, but is found to be useless – it appears that something has caused the virus to mutate into a new strain.

Usually fatal to 1 in 20 members of other races, the Volinian Plague is lethal to all Narn. Between the Narn government attempting to destroy the vessel, the Centauri trying to capture it and nobody allowing it to dock, things will get difficult for the crew and passengers of the Athena.

Will the passengers and crew survive? Can someone find a cure? Why is the Psionic Monitoring Commission so interested in this vessel? What is the connection between Talson Pharmaceuticals and IPX? What happened to make the sample containers unstable? The answers to these and other questions are available within this scenario, The Athena Strain

This message was last edited by the GM at 13:32, Tue 05 May 2020.

 GM, 202 posts
 Live Free, Die Well
Mon 4 May 2020
at 16:16
The Athena Strain
Getting Aboard the Athena

The Games Master may already be in a position to manoeuvre the Player Characters to board the Athena. However, the following suggestions may be of assistance in placing them aboard the ship.


Agents are easy to place aboard the ship. Their next assignment takes them to Centauri Prime, and travel arrangements for the Athena have been made on their behalf. Character is working for this organization. Of course, IPX have not necessarily told their agent what is actually going to happen…


A high-level trade conference is being held on Centauri Prime, and representatives from most governments have been invited to attend. Low-level Player Characters may be travelling to take important documents to an Ambassador, while high-level ones could feasibly be asked to assist or even fill in for their world’s Ambassador to Centauri Prime.

Military Characters

Anyone in the military can simply be ordered aboard the ship for a transfer, or temporary assignment on Centauri Prime.

If a character is Centauri Military they may just be taking leave to go and visit relatives.

This option can also work for alien militarizes if Centauri Prime is a convenient travel hub for their ultimate destination.

Lurkers and the Doctor Franz Karlson has some items of luggage that require special handling. Rather than pull staff from his lab to assist, he has placed an advertisement on the station for a couple of people to accompany him on his trip to Centauri Prime at short notice. This job pays 400 credits, in addition to a round trip ticket to Centauri Prime


Character is with Karlson when the virus escapes. The Athena is currently a pilot and a flight attendant short due to illness, and Captain Morrison has been authorized to hire temporary replacements. GalacTravel will pay 500 and 250 credits respectively for the two-way trip from the Babylon 5 station to Centauri Prime and back again – there is, of course, no charge for the flight itself for crew.

To fill either of these posts, the character must pass a short interview with Captain Morrison aboard Babylon 5 – make a skill check (DC 15) against Pilot Skill (for the Pilot) or a Charisma check (for the flight attendant).


Talson Pharmaceuticals could be contracting in more help for their research station on Centauri Prime, on a permanent or temporary basis.

Other Humans

A relative on Centauri Prime is sick, or there could be a wedding and/or a death in the family, or any other requirement for them to visit home. For those without the means to travel, the ticket could be provided by a relative.

Other Aliens

Centauri is not a good place to visit. There are not many other planets with such a variety of cultures but since so many avoid Centauri prime maybe it would be a worth wild trip.

Narn Characters

Without modifying the storyline a little, any Narn aboard the Athena will be treated badly, possible attacked and even killed within a few hours. This may cause a problem if Player Character Narn is n board the vessel, the plot element is to terminate all Narn, with telepathic abilities.

This can only be handled in one ways. Any Player Character Narn is arrested for a crime they did not commit (or one they did, if one exists), so they are unable to make the trip. And their is an alternative, adventure ‘Exposure’.

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:38, Wed 13 May 2020.

 GM, 203 posts
 Live Free, Die Well
Mon 4 May 2020
at 16:17
The Athena Strain
Boarding & Events
Once all the characters have arrived at the docking bay to board the Athena the following event breaks out. A female human lurker by the name Jane Stileman is being chased through the docking area by the Zocalo a merchant Z’kil’ma (Agent 6). The ‘Vree Agent’ stats are listed below at the end of this post. Jane has stolen a small, green, Buddha-like figure with several tentacles, it was shipped from the remote world of Parizia VI. Parizia VI is located out on the galactic rim near were the virus was said to originate from. This figure is actually a smuggling devise is can avoid sensors to smuggle data crystals in it's core. In addition it's also a very rare artifact and treasure that that originates in the Centauri Republic, some even say it carries within it the future of Centauri.

The Courier

Z’kil’ma (Agent 6) the ‘Vree Agent’ aka merchant is acting as a Data Courier He had a data crystal containing plans stolen from the Minbari for an artificial gravity generator. He has contacts in Centauri Prime who would pay generously for this, and was ordered to travel and had it over in person to his contacts on Centauri Prime to be sold to Earthforce and Earch Gov. Military.

However, he has just discovered that the Minbari are on his trail, and most likely will have someone aboard the Athena looking for him. The safest course of action he can think of at short notice is to plant the data crystal on another passenger, and recover it after reaching Centauri Prime. Given his skills, Z’kil’ma will have no trouble slipping the crystal into the pocket of any character, using Sleight of Hand, it may be opposed by the target’s Spot check (DC 30).

Stop! Thief!

Z’kil’ma shouts unintelligible and mostly unpronounceable words during his pursuit, which to anyone knowing the Vree language mean ‘Stop!’, ‘Thief!’, ‘Somebody stop that thief!’ and other similar exclamations. Of course, if nobody understands that they simply see a Vree with a makeshift club (the statue of the Li, the Centauri Goddess of Passion) chasing a Human.

Jane Stileman the human lurker thief has stolen a data crystal from the very Li statue the Vree is holding.

Z’kil’ma - Vree Merhant of the Zocalo market is actually an Agent/Courier and Assassin.

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:29, Thu 18 Feb.