Subject: Seventy patrons short...
By: Brendan O'Donovan
From: email@example.com [Digest 422]
Dated: Tue, 17 Sep 1996
[brendan's comments, 422]
Here's my first post in months (first time in months I've actually caught up with the discussion on the TML). I won't say 'I'm back' because I may quickly disappear under the avalanche of posts again.
I don't have the original 76 patrons, so for all I know some of these ideas have been done before. Also, the format might not be an exact copy of the original, the equipment/skills required are tricky as I can think of so many ways to resolve most of these situations.
No statistics, as I'm still waiting for Traveller4 to get to Virgin Megastores in the UK.
This stuff has not been proof-read or reality-checked...
While on a planet with indigenous life and a large population, the players are approached by a short thin man wearing a safari vest. The man identifies himself as a member of an ecological protection group. He explains that pressures from the increasing population of the world have severely damaged some habitats, threatening many of the less adaptable species native to those habitats. The numbers of some species have declined to the point where they are threatened with extinction, the patron explains, and his group is attempting to set up a captive breeding program for the 'spiny rat". He offers a reward of Cr10,000 for each specimen that the players manage to collect undamaged.
1. The situation is as presented above. The spiny rat is a small squirrel like creature, covered in inch long spines. It moves extremely quickly, and tracking and capturing the creature will be difficult, perhaps requiring a local guide to assist the players. Trying to catch one will be made more difficult by the creatures" metabolism, which renders tranquillisers ineffective.
2. The situation is as presented above, however in this case, the "rat" is closer in size to a large dog, and is a formidable predator. Tracking the creature down may be easier, but it will be far more dangerous to capture and return to the ecologist. The players may discover that the local name for the rat translates as "sleep spine", for the spines of this version of the "rat" are capable of injecting a powerful, perhaps fatal paralysing agent.
3. The creature is one of the two alternatives above, but the ecologist, while sincere in his intent, has not got permission from the government to engage in a captive breeding program. Once the creature has been recovered, the ecologist will offer the players a further Cr10,000 for assistance in smuggling the animal off planet.
4. The "ecologist" is actually a hunter trying to recruit assistance in hunting down the animal, which has been discovered by a pharmaceuticals megacorporation to contain a powerful concentrated natural anagathic. The actual value of each specimen is closer to Cr250,000. Furthermore, because the animal is endangered, the hunting is strictly illegal.
5. The "ecologist" is actually a smuggler, trying to obtain animals to sell as pets on other worlds. This trade in the animals is the reason for their rarity, rather than any major habitat disruption. The trade is illegal, and the local law enforcement will not take kindly to the players getting involved. A real ecologist might offer money to rescue the animals.
6. The creature is protected by a law banning forestry in areas where it is found. A logging operation owning an area of the "rat" habitat has been deliberately eliminating the rats so that it can continue logging. The players may encounter the hunters of the rat while they themselves are tracking it, or agents of the company might try to stop the players returning with the specimen.
A businessman approaches the characters while they are in a seedy area of the spaceport. He explains that he is a representative of an entertainment company which was once extremely successful on the world, but has since been stifled by a larger firm, which has developed a virtual monopoly through aggressive marketing. The businessman offers the players Cr100,000 to destroy several warehouses containing stockpiles of the company"s games, the disruption in supply allowing other companies back into the picture.
1. The situation is as presented above. The warehouses are on the edge of town and have only a couple of night watchmen protecting them.
2. The warehouses are heavily guarded. A dozen security men with laser pistols and light intensifiers patrol at night.
3. The warehouse is in the middle of a densely populated area, which would make incendiaries and explosives likely to cause severe civilian casualties. An alternative means to destroy the stock must be employed (unless the players don"t believe in bad karma), eg. water pipes used to flood the warehouse, or EM pulses to damage electronic media, depending on the world"s TL.
4. The warehouses actually contain vital medical supplies, the "businessman" is an agent of an anti-government group. The players once they find out may be left trying to leave quickly, or to apprehend the agent.
5. The "businessman" actually works for the monopoly, and is setting the players up. When captured they will incriminate a small but growing rival company. Court damages to the monopoly would put the rival out of business.
As the players are walking through a city the tree next to the bursts spontaneously into flames, with no discernible cause. The fire presents no great hazard, but this is just another example of the weirdness of this town. The papers have been full of other strangeness, fountains freezing, objects levitating, even a woman appearing from nowhere in the middle of a shop, with no knowledge of how she got there. The government contacts the players and offers a reward of Cr35,000 for an explanation of the strange happenings.
1. A new city reservoir has recently opened in a forest some distance from town. A small flower growing on the bank of the reservoir has been releasing pollen into the water. This pollen acts as an extremely powerful psionic drug. The strange happenings are a result of latent psionics in the population being temporarily activated by the pollen. People have no conscious control of these powers, and the pollen in fact causes trained psionics to loose control of their power also.
2. A pro-psionic group has drugged the water supply in some small areas with a chemical which has a similar affect to the pollen in 1. above. They intend to demonstrate the psionic potential which is present in a significant minority of the population in hopes of increasing acceptance.
3. The strange happenings are hallucinations, induced by spores released from a microscopic fungus which has begun to colonise the city, having been unknowingly eradicated decades/centuries ago from the city by the construction work involved in setting up the city, which brought in raw materials which had not been contaminated with the fungus.
4. A prankster equipped with an advanced holographic projector has been creating the illusion of the strangeness which has been occurring.
While on a mercenary tour of duty the players notice an increasing number of friendly troops have been hospitalised by a fever, which is beginning to cause fatalities despite the medical care available. The mercenary commander offers the players a Cr10,000 bonus to investigate the cause of the illness, afraid that it will spread from the local troops to the mercenary unit. The commander explains that he suspects that the enemy has released some kind of biological weapon.
1. The situation is as presented above. The players will need to infiltrate the enemy base. An antidote is available.
2. The enemy know nothing of the biological weapon. The weapon was in reality released by the command of the friendly forces, hoping that by appalling the civilian supporters of the enemy they could force the enemy to cease their attack.
3. The enemy are also suffering from the same illness, which has been released by a third faction, not involved in the fighting and just wanting to end the conflict before it spills over into their territory.
4. The troops fighting for the same side as the players are doing so with some guilt, as the regime they are defending is both extremely cruel and inept. The illness was produced by a staff doctor working for the friendly forces, who was a research student before conscription. It is contracted willingly by troops who don"t want to fight. The "fatalities" are actually defections covered up by the medical staff.
The players are offered work as bodyguards protecting a celebrity chef at a major cooking competition. The competition attracts competitors from worlds all along the main, the final contest being held in the starport at the subsector capital. The tables and kitchens are a riot of colour and scent, but the players may quickly find out that it is better not to know what is in some of the food. The players are offered Cr10,000 for the work.
1. As the first judge tastes the food prepared by the patron he cries out in pain, falling over unconscious in front of a crowd of suddenly silent onlookers before being rushed to hospital where he remains ill for several days. The food has been poisoned by a rival chef. The players need to clear the chef of any blame.
2. As in 1. above, but the chef, although claiming that he has been framed, is actually an assassin sent to kill a government figure who was one of the judges. His victim dies in hospital shortly afterwards unless the players manage to unravel the assassin"s cover and find the antitoxin extremely quickly.
3. As in 1 above, but the actual cause of the illness was an allergy. Accusations and counter accusations will still be made.
4. An incompatibility in body chemistry leads to the judge becoming psychotic when he tastes the food. This situation can be made more interesting with an Aslan judge and a ban on weapons in the contest hall.
5. The freighter carrying the ingredients required by the chef fails to arrive. The chef gives the players responsibility for tracking down the ingredients, or convincing substitutes with only hours before the contest.
6. The chef falls ill before the contest. As the competition is a matter of great planetary pride for his people he gives the players his recipe book and tells them that the player with most steward experience must compete in his place.
The players are approached by a journalist working for one of the major news publications on the planet. He offers Cr30,000 for pictures of a particular sports celebrity on holiday. The celebrity is on holiday on the moon of the mainworld.
1. The situation is as presented above. The players may get chased by hotel security, who will attempt to get the camera, but this should not degenerate into a seriously dangerous situation.
2. Contrary to his public image, the celebrity is actually vicious and paranoid. He will have personal security guards who are likely to be extremely brutal in protecting his privacy.
3. The hotel complex is very close to a restricted military installation. The "journalist" is actually an intelligence agent who is more interested in images of this installation which are captured in the background of the photos. Military guards may notice the players and get involved.
4. As in 1., 2. or 3. above, but the players are being used as a diversion, while the real photographers take the photos. This will increase the chance of encountering guards as the true photographers will tip off security.