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The Dominion Prisoners

OK, since I feel like I’m going a bit crazy with Corona panic, I’ve to try to take my mind off things and focus on something more pleasant instead.

Rewatching select episodes of DS9 and reading through the excellent Gamma Quadrant Sourcebook, I suddenly had an idea for a campaign: The player characters are inmates of Internment Camp 522, an asteroid orbiting the gas giant Kendi VI in the Kendi system on the far side of Dominion space. The characters are either survivors of one of the many battles against the Dominion that were taken prisoners, or they were replaced by Changeling infiltrators in the Alpha Quadrant and kept alive for unknown reasons. This setup has the beautiful advantage that the players can basically play whatever character they want - military, civilians, Starfleet, Klingons, Cardassians, and even Breen!

Their mission sounds deceptivly simple: Capture the monthly supply ship and use it to cross Dominion space until they get to the Bajoran Wormhole, while evading the Jem’Hadar, Drai assassins and the wrath of the Founders!

One episode I’d like to run involves the pc’s coming across a derelict Borg vessel - just because I always wanted to see a grudge match between the Jem’Hadar and some Borg drones! Also, what do you think, how would a Changeling react to an injection of Borg nanites?

So, what do you say about this campaign premise? Interesting, or not?

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I think they would shape their bodies around the injection site and expel them, thus avoiding assimilation. I also would not be surprised if the Founders had not previous encountered the Borg and genetically engineered their Gamma Jem’Hadar to physiologically reject Borg nanites – nothing to support this in canon of course. I just appreciated the player jaw drop when the Borg inject the Jem’Hadar trying to recapture them and the Jem’Hadar stabs the Borg drone through the optical socket and then twists the head sharply separating the spinal cord before resuming their mission all casual like this is just another Tuesday.

But that is just the sort of malevolent storyteller I tend to be. YMMV

I wonder about the Founders, though. Section 31 was able to infect them with a disease they couldn’t detect, or cure once they knew they had it. If they can do it, I’d assume the Borg probably could manage to infect them with nanoprobes too.

On the flip side, could a Founder mimic a Borg drone closely enough to plug itself into the hive mind? What would happen if it was able to do so?

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If you had the right group of players it could work beautifully. They contradiction in having multiple people who would never normally work together having to co-operate to survive and escape can make for a great game.
You just need to be careful that your group doesn’t have the sort of players who would act ‘in character’ and sabotage things. (I may have some unresolved RPG traumas in my past…)

In general though it sounds like it would fit into the DS9 style of game perfectly.

I say go for it!

Assimilation, is a whole different animal though. The nanoprobes attach themselves to blood cells, so the question is, can they connect to any part of the morphogenic enzymes that make up a Changeling and effect assimilation? Species 8472 was far more similar to other life-forms than the Changelings are, and they couldn’t assimilate them, so I don’t think they would be able to without some serious work to adapt.

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I think Section 31 below had a solid answer to this, I would just add that the disease Section 31 made was the result of careful design by probably some of the most medically advanced technicians with the added bonus that a changeling was cooperating with them unwittingly to infect the great pool of changeling itself – not an on the fly insertion of general purpose assimilation nanites. Could the Borg collectively come up with a way to assimilate Changelings? Maybe. But the nature of their matter would make this dubious as they can always just dump the mechanized cells from their form by going liquid and then not taking that with them. Its like trying to assimilate an Energy being… could the Borg assimilate the Squire of Gothos? I doubt it, but if your version of the story needs it, by all means.

I’d include a disaffected Jem’Hadar NPC prison guard: Key to breaking out of a Dominion prison has gotta be some sort of flaw in the system the PCs can leverage. If the PCs can convince their mark that it is in his best interest to break with the Founders, they have an ally that can help them interface with the Dominion as they make their way home.

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Actually, that’s a great idea! Maybe he’s a Jem’Hadar who has realized he doesn’t need the White because of a genetic fluke? Do we have enough rules and stuff to run him as a possible player character?

Writing up a Changeling NPC for my game using bits and pieces from Odo and the Female Changeling I’m wondering - shouldn’t Changelings have some kind of tentacle attack, like it was shown occassionally on DS9?

For stats, I was thinking the following: Tentacle Lash (Melee, 3[CD] Knockdown, Size 1H, Inaccurate)

What do you think?

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So, we had our first session last week (my first time using Roll20!), and we were all having lots of fun. Of course, we did some things wrong, but this was to be expected with a new set of rules. I’m impressed how fast combat is flowing in STA - since it was our first session, most enemies were minor NPCs (generic Jem’Hadar warriors), with just two notable NPCs (Jem’Hadar Firsts) and, in the end, one major NPC (a Vorta overseer).

I’m, however, still a bit at a loss when it comes to the next session: Having destroyed the internment camp’s subspace comms, the Dominion still doesn’t know that the player characters have escaped. To keep it that way as long as possible, they have decided to follow the captured ship’s flight plan and get resupplied at a Dominion facility on the ice world of Shedu IV. I was thinking about opening the session with a small space combat, just to get the hang of the rules: Arriving in-system, they notice a trio of Jem’Hadar attack ships in hot pursuit of an armed merchant vessel of Karemma manufacture flying directly towards them. They’ll be hailed by the Jem’Hadar and ordered to intercept the Karemma vessel, which was allegedly captured by some “rebels”.

The Dominion facility itself is run, as usual, by a number of Vorta overseers. They have a small garisson of Jem’Hadar, but most inhabitants are Karemma and Dosi traders, and there is a small group of Drai geneticists. The Drai are here because of the native intelligent species, the Shedu. These are huge, shaggy creatures, looking a bit like gorillas with four eyes and white fur. They have an immense resistance to cold, huge strength and endurance, and are generally a peaceful people. The Drai want to genetically alter them to turn them into a perfect, docile labourer caste for the Dominion. Of course, there is a resistance movement among the natives, responsible for the theft of the Karemma vessel earlier.

And… that’s what I have so far. What could happen while the PCs are visiting the planet? How could they get involved in the struggle between the natives and the Dominion? Help!

My initial thought is whose side do you want them to take in the opening space combat?
If they back the Jem’Hadar then it maintains their cover, but also aids the enemy. If they aid the merchantman it breaks cover for the next stage on planet.

If they aid the merchantman then the obvious next step is for them to fall in with the local rebels as their ships cover is blown.
This in my mind leads to a deal with the rebels where they aid them in something in the colony, possibly a raid on the genetics lab to disrupt the project, in exchange for them hacking a new ship ID for them to continue on their escape.
Depending on how they interact with the rebels It also introduces them to a wider resistance network (giving you hooks for future sessions)

If they aid the Jem’Hadar they will be allowed access to the colony with no questions asked as they are ‘obviously’ loyal member of the Dominion. How to leverage this is more difficult, but possibly they will need to break into the facility quietly to do the ship ID hacking themselves. Cue rebel attack at the same time to add confusion.
End point is similar but now they are disliked by the resistance but might be able to bluff Jem’Hadar easier by name dropping some people in the colony military.

These are just thrown together ideas at the moment. But they may work for a starting point.

I think the players should be challenged with the dilemma of deciding which outcome they should strive for.

Presumably they will want a positive outcome for the Shedu and/or a negative one for the Dominion. The neutral outcome is for the situation to deadlock: The Shedu keep getting experimented on with no result forthcoming.

Helping the Shedu fight back may strengthen their cultural resolve, but at great cost as the Dominion retaliates. Helping the Drai conclude their experiment may cement the Shedu as a valuable Dominion vassal species at the cost of individuals being drafted to fight the Dominion’s wars.

One option is “poisoning the well”, manipulating the Drai to give up their experiments as being unattainable. This could mean that the Shedu would be abandoned and ignored by the Dominion, left to fend for themselves against pirates and the like.

Maybe even make it a short-range-only ranged attack since they could do it from so far away.

what do you think, how would a Changeling react to an injection of Borg nanites?

One of the DS9 relaunch novels (post TV show), I believe the Mission Gamma novels published in 2002, had Commander Elias Vaughn in command of the Defiant come across a Borg Drone that managed to inject nanites into a Founder “teenager”. She went protoplasmic for a bit and ended up crushing the nanites into a single mass before returning to humanoid form and handing the inert nanite clump off to Vaughn. It was a nicely written scene, then again I am biased, as I always thought Founders would be able to prevent assimilation due to their ability to morph.

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