Amber Zone - All JTAS Amber Zones in nugget format (JTAS 1 to 24)

Last Updated 13 October 2003.


Amber Zone

Collected and updated

by

Clayton R. Bush

NOTICE

GDW holds the copyright to all adventures unless noted otherwise. Several Amber Zones are marked as copyrighted by John Ford, and he evidently holds those copyrights.

Traveller and MegaTraveller are trademarks owned by GDW.

Table of Contents
Foreword
Adventure Structure
Rescue on Ruie
The Ship in the Lake
Asteroid P-4836
Salvage on Sharmun
Foodrunner
Werewolf Disease
Ticket to Swords
Loggerheads
Scam
Pursue and Destroy
A Dagger at Efate
Crystals from Dinom
Soft Bunk
Rule of Man Commemorative
Geria Transfer
Coup D'etat
Casual Encounter: Glorinna Firella
Thunder on Zyra
Work of Art
Tarkine Down
Royal Hunt
Lockbox
Thoughtwaves
Aces & Eights
Chill
The Drannixa Gambit
Last Flight of the Themis
The Day of the Glow
Chariots of Fire
Without A Trace
Pride of the Lion
Small Package
Critical Vector
Raid on Stataorlai
Homesteader's Stand
Ventures Afar
The Thing in the Depths
The Birthday Plot
Roadshow
Embassy in Arms
The Lost Village
FOREWORD

--Clay Bush

I rewrote the Amber Zone adventures in the cinematic nugget format developed by DGP and GDW in recent years. Because of the adventures' brevity, most nuggets are under-developed, but the adventures as a whole are easier to referee in this form.

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ADVENTURE STRUCTURE
Introductory statement(s) about type of adventure and required materials
1. Introductory Nugget
How the players get involved
Starting location
2. Synopsis
Plot structure
Basics: Gimmicks, pull, push, enigma
3. World/Library Data
4. Specific nuggets
Recurring events
Interested parties
Finale
Afterward
5. Equipment Notes

I have carried forward the Striker and Traveller specifications, as referees may disagree on converting these to MegaTraveller standards.

Clayton R. Bush; PO Box 119; Limon, CO 80828

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Rescue on Ruie

--Jeffery May, JTAS 1 Date: 83-1105
NPCs

Marc hault-Oberlindes

Owner of Oberlindes Lines.

Sergei hault-Oberlindes

Marc's son. He can shoot (Rifle-2, Pistol-1) and will demand a weapon if freed. He will then attempt to free the girl (he knows where she is) regardless of odds.

1. INTRODUCTION

The players are looking for a patron, open declaring their intention as they make the rounds of bars and local establishments. Marc hault-Oberlindes contacts them through an agent.

About a year ago, Sergei hault-Oberlindes, Marc's 20-year-old son, landed on Ruie as part of a grand tour, part learning the business and part pleasure. After several days on Ruie, he heard of the Daccam Ruins, located in Nebelthorn. The Ruins were the site of an extinct alien culture of considerable interest to xenologists.

Though warned of the Amber Zone travel classification, Sergei insisted on going to them, and (through some devious means) obtained a visa. When he failed to return, the crew of his ship (employed by the Lines) attempted to find out what happened, only to run into a blank wall of hostility and indifference from the Nebelthorn authorities. Nebelthorn denied requests for entry visas.

Despite every effort by Marc Hault-Oberlindes, nothing more was heard for three months. Nebelthorn's ambassador to Jingarlu delivered an official communique to the Imperial consul in Jingarlu, informing him that Sergei hault-Oberlindes, an Imperial citizen, had been convicted of assaulting a member of the National Police and had been sentenced to 30 years hard labor. No further word was sent, letters to Sergei were returned, and all appeals and bribes refused.

By spending a considerable amount, Marc hault-Oberlindes did learn the following:

1. Sergei did, by Nebelthorn standards, receive a fair and legal trial for a genuine offense. (He assaulted a cop.) He signed a confession and pleaded guilty.

2. He is held in Rustum Prison, a maximum security institution. Marc obtained a map of the region around the prison, a plateau deliberately kept clear of vegetation. He also obtained a map and recent photographs of the prison with various areas labeled.

The elder hault-Oberlindes wants his son freed, regardless of the consequences. To assist this and as payment, he will give the players a surplus Oberlindes Lines free trader (type A) fueled and ready for trouble. He tells the players to keep a low profile.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The referee must think through the situation, and provide a rough sketch of the prison, which should include:

o Two outer fences approximately 15 meters apart.

o An administration building, a troop barracks for approximately 50 guards, two large adjacent cellblocks (each holding 500 prisoners), and a smaller cellblock in a corner of the compound.

The following data is secret, for release at the proper time:

o The outer fence is electrified 11,000 volts (enough to inflict 16D hits on an uninsulated person), and the inner fence charged only enough to incapacitate (2D hits per round per touch). The 15 meter strip between them is heavily mined.

o Sergei struck a National Policeman who had manhandled a girl Sergei met. She is also in the prison, in the woman's compound in one corner of the compound.

3. WORLD DATA

Ruie (0209 c776977-7) is a balkanized, industrialized, and very autonomous world on the Imperium's frontier. A former lost colony, it had worked it's way up to tech level 5 before the Scout Service rediscovered it 321 years ago.

Of its four major powers, Jingarlu and the Comors Union are now at tech level 7, and open for trade with offworlders (subject to local laws and customs). Both of these nations are very receptive to Imperial citizens and the commercial contact they bring.

Certain other areas are hostile. One is Nebelthorn, a nation ruled by the same family for over 120 years. The rulers, the Family Eldenn, keep tight control over all offworld (and most international) contact, using various methods (nearly all distasteful) to discourage it. Nebelthorn's only notable resource is petrochemicals, and the country prospered selling oil and related products to other industrial customers.

Following Imperial recontact, however, offworld merchants began selling mass conversion fuel systems and vehicles to Jingarlu and the Union, Nebelthorn's largest customers. This led to a sudden dearth of both customers and income, and plunged Nebelthorn's economy into a depression which has continued for 12 years without signs of improvement. The Eldenns blame their plight on the Imperium, and TAS posted their country an Amber travel zone.

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The Ship in the Lake

--by Loren Wiseman, JTAS 2 Date: 274-1105

The referee should prepare a rough map of the terrain around the capital for several hundred kilometers in all directions.

1. INTRODUCTION

While they seek gainful employment, representatives of Sternmetal Horizons, LIC. contact the characters.

Sternmetal will pay MCr20 for the recovery of a lost survey report, or cr100,000 for the location of the wrecked ship it is on. Standard operating procedure for clandestine operations permit Sternmetal's representatives to describe the probable nature of the report's container.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The initial survey of the planet Cocta found it worthless for any major exploitation, and thus the planet has been a backwater for several years. Recently rumors have gotten out that the initial report was forged, and that extensive and valuable mineral deposits lie hidden in the region known as the Take Yabu.

Sternmetal sent an undercover survey team into the region several months ago, but their report never came back. Investigator revealed that the team had apparently completed their survey. They were returning on a tourist excursion steamer that a band of terrorists attacked.

The local government officials never located the steamer's wreck, and are reluctant to speak of it. Apparently they made only a cursory inspection, as guerrillas hostile to the local government infest the area.

3. WORLD DATA

Cocta (?).

Atarishii Okayama is the capital and starport. The Take Yabu, a dense jungle area, lies 300 kilometers north of it.

The government is desperate for tourists (virtually its only means of getting off-planet currency). Tourism has been waning since the rebellion in the outback began. They have concealed the extent of the rebellion, and restricted tourists to the relatively safe area south of the capital.

4. ATARISHII OKAYAMA

Due to rebel activities import restrictions on weapons are very tight. Sternmetal has smuggled a quantity of arms on-planet. (One ACR with 300 rounds of ammunition and 10 HE RAM grenades for each member, and one VRF Gauss gun with 2000 rounds.) The party may keep the weapons after the completing the mission, but are responsible for getting them off-planet.

Locally available transport includes hovercraft, ATVs, air/rafts, and local beasts of burden similar to Terran mules. All are available at 1% of the book 3 purchase price per week, including guide.

Guides are mandatory. Tourists bringing their own transport must hire one guide per vehicle at a cost of cr100 pr day.

5. LEAVING TOWN

Scene: The party will have to deal with the guide(s) in some fashion (kill them, bribe them, etc) before venturing north of the city. Otherwise units of the local army will intercept and arrest the party.

Action: Guides have one automatic pistol each.

6. GUERRILLAS

For each week spent searching for the wreck of the ship, or travelling to and from the lake, roll 2D for 4+ for guerrillas to attack the party.

The referee should adjust the size and armament of the attacking guerrillas to the size of the party. He or she also should determine the likelihood of guerilla attacks destroying arms or equipment.

6. THE STEAMER

Scene: The steamer is about 200 kilometers north of the city. It sank in a large lake (about 150 km by 300 km) in about 50 meters of water.

Action: After arrival at the lake, players should make two dice rolls to determine if they locate the hulk of the ship and recover the report.

To locate wreck:
Formidable (one week)
Referee: reduce difficulty by one level if using sonar equipment and/or if using diving equipment.

To recover report:
Routine, (one week)
Referee: apply a DM of -6 if the party is not using diving equipment.

The referee should determine the possibility of making ad hoc diving equipment on the spot.

7. RETURN

Scene:

Action: If the party returns to Atarishii Okayama with weapons they will be arrested unless they have concealed them. Players must devise some means of explaining the absence of guide(s) (if they were killed) before the locals will allow the party to leave Cocta.

Characters may sell the weapons outside the city for 1D x 10% of their book value. Selling them will take 2D weeks, DM -2 per level of streetwise. Roll 2D for 8+ for the local police to discover the deal and arrest all involved.

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Asteroid P-4836

--by Loren K. Wiseman, JTAS 3 Date: 274-1105

The referee should prepare a rough layout for the planetoid station. He also should determine--at the outset--whether the information is even in the computer.

1. INTRODUCTION

A representative of an unnamed firm approaches the characters. He wishes to hire a small group of people for a discrete mission.

He offers MCr10 if the characters can penetrate the defenses of asteroid P-4836, copy the details of a manufacturing process, and turn the information over to him, without being discovered.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

Several megacorporations, including Sternmetal, have bid on an Imperial contract which will be worth billions of credits to the winner. Sternmetal is rumored to have developed a new manufacturing process that will enable them to reduce costs by 5-7% per unit. This will save several million credits on the contract, and will enable Sternmetal to submit the lowest bid.

The process was developed on P-4836. The patron has determined that, for security purposes, Sternmetal keeps the details there, stored in the experimental station's computer.

3. WORLD DATA

P-4836 is a small planetoid in the belt of the Rabwhar system (C000219-C). Sternmetal Horizons, which owns the planetoid, uses it for top secret experimental purposes.

The starport is equivalent in size to a class-C starport, but refined fuel is available. It is a private installation, and does not permit unauthorized ships to land. Outside vessels (those not owned by Sternmetal) sometimes dock at P-4836, carrying supplies and new personnel for the station, but Sternmetal does not permit the crews to enter the station proper.

Security carries out rigorous checks out upon any employees entering or leaving the station. Obviously the unnamed firm has been unable to suborn a Sternmetal employee, or they wouldn't need the characters.

The experimental station has a staff of 189. 126 are researchers, 34 operate the starport and its facilities, and 29 are security personnel.

4. THE SECURITY PLATOON

Chief of Security: Acts a platoon leader, armed with automatic pistol and wear ballistic cloth armor.

Assistant Chief of Security: Acts as assistant platoon leader, armed with automatic pistol and wears cloth armor.

First Squad: Consists of a squad leader (sergeant) and two fire teams (one corporal and three privates). Each has a gauss rifle and cloth armor.

Second Squad: Same as first squad.

Third Squad: Same as first squad.

Each squad is on duty for eight hours and off duty for 16. At any given moment, one fire team of the two on duty wears battle dress. During security alerts and inspections, the whole security platoon is on duty.

5. DEFENSIVE SPACESHIPS

In addition to the regular staff, the station maintains several spaceships for defense and to escort visiting bigwigs. The characters should have a clue to the number and type of ships present, but they should not have complete knowledge of them.

The precise nature of these is left to the referee to determine, depending upon the size of the party and the type of ship they enter the system with.

6. INSIDE JOB

The patron can provide enough information for a character with computer skill to know what to look for, and to have a chance to circumvent the computer's security programming. The referee should determine the base chance of the computer alerting the security force, and apply appropriate positive (or negative) DMs for computer skill (or lack of.)

8. COMPLICATIONS

If the players seem to be having too easy a time of it, the referee should implement one or two unexpected variables, such as a surprise inspection by high officials of Sternmetal, a security alert, or another team (hired by a second unnamed firm.)

9. AFTERWARD

The patron will not pay if he does not receive the information.

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Salvage on Sharmun

-- Jeff May, JTAS 4 Date: 060-1106

The referee must prepare a map of the lake and the area around it. The area includes two camps, the swamp, the city, and the interconnecting road).

NPCs

Kinson: an ex-scout with no money.

1. INTRODUCTION

Kinson contacts the characters. 11 years ago the IISS loaned him to the Navy for a top-secret mission. Despite the secrecy, the small navy fleet was attacked as it swung through a planetary system to refuel. Kinson's ship, a destroyer, took multiple missile hits.

He had just completed some EVA and was wearing a vacc suit. He escaped through an ejection tube. As he closed his face plate he heard the Navigator shout, "The money!" and the First Pilot Reply, "No time!" Kinson watched as the damaged ship dropped toward a green planet below him.

A scout picked him up a few hours later, the sole surviving Imperial ship. Four ships had been lost. The scout did pick up neutrino emissions from a jump drive, indicating that Kinson's ship had reached the surface almost intact.

Normally a court of inquiry convenes upon the loss of an Imperial ship. Instead, the Navy made Kinson sign the Official Secrets Act and ordered to forget the whole affair. This unusual behavior aroused his curiosity, and he began snooping. It took time, but he discovered that his fleet had carried a quarterly fleet payroll: three months wages for all Imperial naval personnel in the sector. (Imperial soldiers are, by old custom, paid in cash.) The green planet below him had been Sharmun.

If news of the treasure been released, hordes of treasure hunters would have descended on Sharmun. Kinson believes that the Sharmunese haven't found the ship, and that a small party could find the money without being discovered.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

No one has revised the public data tapes in 25 years. Sharmun is now at tech level 7. Both the Collective and the Victor have space navies with efficient maneuver drive ships. They have colonized the two planets closest to Sharmun, and there is frequent traffic between the colonies and the home world. Both sides will assume the players' ship is hostile and shoot on sight.

Both Sharmunese governments have only conventional radar, which a scout's defensive screens can scramble.

3. WORLD DATA

Sharmun (X86787A-5 Red) is a lost colony on a frontier section of the Imperium. The scout service rediscovered it in 1076. The team determined that the world was split between the governments of the Victor, a charismatic dictator, and the Collective, a state similar to Stalinist Russia, and several other, minor states which either the Victor or the Collective was annexing. Both states were totalitarian and militaristic, both had stockpiles of atomic and conventional weapons, and both believed that an all-out war was someday inevitable. The team found both cultures to be extremely xenophobic and paranoid.

Scout service xenologists judged it to be 87% likely that overt contact could trigger a nuclear war, either due to mistaken identity or out of fear by either side that their enemies would surpass them. The IISS judged covert action 91% likely to cause war if discovered. It posted the planet Red and interdicted it to allow Sharmun to resolve its own destiny.

4. LOCATION

Scene: Do not reveal the location of the wreck at first, although a scout ship has detectors which can locate it in a few hours. The ship is in a lake in the Collective's territory. The season there is mid-summer, and the lake is in extensive use for swimming, fishing, boating, and so on.

Action: The locals have not discovered the destroyer.

The lake is about 1 by 5 km. One long side is a swamp about 1 square km. ON the other side is a new Young Collectivist Camp, swarming with 400 well-scrubbed Y.S.'s (12-15 years old, both sexes, and wearing cute red and white uniforms) and 40 adult advisers.

There is a "Re-Education Center for Enemies of the Collective" twenty km west of the lake. A city of 400,000 population is 100 km to the south. Good highways link the youth camp, the concentration camp, and the city.

The area is heavily forested, but will not hide a scout ship. Rugged hills in which the party could conceal the scout ship from all but direct overflight lie twenty km north of the lake. (Camouflage net will block even that.)

5. THE SHIP

The ship is on its belly in 60 meters of water, bow up, about 150 meters from the swampy side of the lake. The upper half of the ship still holds air, which will bubble to the surface if entry is forced, unless precautions are taken. Emergency lights still work, and several bodies are aboard, but evidence indicates that someone survived the crash.

The money (MCr50 in soggy but otherwise undamaged bills) is underwater, in two crates (about 2x1x1 meters) in the rear cargo hold. The cargo hatches are buried in mud and corroded shut.

6. ESCAPE

On the first full day after the players arrive, there is an escape from the concentration camp. Authorities put the YC camp on alert. Armed with rifles, the adult advisors and the older youths will patrol the shores of the lake at night. This will last for three days and nights.

Action: If spotted, the charcaters will be shot or arrested. If their ship is spotted in the air, roll 2D for 10+ to trigger a war. If spotted on the ground, units of the Collective's army will rapidly surround it. If the players fire on any city or military unit, they will draw return fire from the Collective's military at the very least and will start a war on 5+ on 2D.

7. AFTERWARD

The money in the crates was newly printed, with consecutive denominations within denominations. If any of the money returns to circulation, a massive Imperial investigation will start, which the referee must adjudicate.

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Foodrunner

--by Mike Metlay, JTAS 5 Date: 183-1106

This adventure can start from anywhere in the Spinward Marches.

1. INTRODUCTION

A middle-aged, rather vulgar person approaches the group. He professes to be the manager of a small shipping service that deals in both legal and illegal cargo.

He needs a crew of 4-8 for an armed and renovated free trader to transport twenty tons of sealed cargo to the Roup scout base. The officials were bribed to turn their backs while the natives pick up and pay for the cargo. The party must deliver the pay back to the manager for the players to collect their reward: clear title to the free trader.

This job may look ridiculously easy. There are several minor details that the players don't find out until it's too late.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The manager provides the group with a one-way shuttle ticket to the ship, in a parking orbit.

The cargo consists of 200 crates, 10kg each, containing rare food stuffs of all sorts. These include 10kg of a highly expensive and perishable Pysadian melon as well as a case of a very rare trockenbeerenauslese wine.

3. WORLD DATA

Roup (Regina 0407 - C77A9A-6) is a small water world along the Imperial xboat route through Regina subsector. Its history is one of strict controls by a cruel but fair dictator-ship, that of the Leader. The reason for these controls is the population distribution on Roup: its billions of people live huddled on the peaks of an underwater mountain range, the only dry land masses on the entire planet. The entire planet suffers from massive overpopulation: i.e. crowding, disease, and massive food demands. Because of the strain on Roup's economy that an offworlder population would cause, and because of the often vicious nature of life there, Roup was posted as an amber travel zone, and only a tiny scout base established there to maintain the xboat link.

Roup's entire industry works to feed the population by killing and processing Roup's plentiful sea life into food concentrates, primarily Roup's only food source but also used as emergency rations by the Regina subsector navy. Roup stands at tech level 6, hampered by its tainted atmosphere and its people's needs. Its people prize two things above all else: living space (most live in the streets) and real food.

4. THE SHIP

Scene: The shuttle delivers the party to the ship in orbit, then leaves.

Action: The players cannot back out when they see their reward, which is frankly a poor excuse for a starship. It has a possible resale price of MCr10. Jump and maneuver drives B replace all but 20 tons of its cargo space, giving the ship jump-2 and 2G capability, more fuel tankage (80 tons), and two single turrets (two pulse lasers).

Every piece of machinery on board--except the computer--is in a state of disrepair. This includes the airlock, the toilet, the kitchen unit, and both turrets. Throw 8+ on 2D for any item, including the drives, to break down during use. Mechanical or engineering skill govern repair DMs. The drives have been burning unrefined fuel and haven't been overhauled for two years.

5. LANDING

Scene: Upon landing (assume the ship rattles a bit but doesn't crash), a group of cargo handlers come out on the tiny, open type-C landing field to offload the cargo.

Action: The group consists of 111 men:

6. HIJACKING

Scene: 1D groups of criminals will attempt to hijack the food and the cash. The players should get caught in the crossfire.

Action: Size and armament of the criminal groups is up to the referee. The only shelter in the area is the ship and a nearby repair shack.

The repair shack is occupied by scouts, who have been told to ignore what happens on the field for the next couple of hours.

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Werewolf Disease

--by Anders Blixt, JTAS 5 Date: 183-1106
NPCs
The Lab Technician

The disease has modified the man's UPP to FFFCC?. It speeded up his metabolism, and he acts as if he had taken slow drug. His senses also improved, making it difficult to surprise him. He has turned wildly paranoic, and will consider all animals and humans a threat to his life. He can plan very intelligently.

He wears cloth armor which he took from a security guard during his escape. He has about 50 rounds of DS ammunition for the ACR. In close combat, he fights with a cudgel which he made from a tree limb.

Available gases are sleep gas, blind gas (which temporarily paralyzes the optic nerve), and teargas.

No one knows that the man has extraordinary ability to stay awake, which could cause a nasty surprise for the players. The sleep gas will reduce the technician's dexterity and endurance to three in four rounds. The effect will last about 15 minutes. This reduction will not affect the capability of taking wounds.

If the technician is blinded, he will still be surprisingly efficient, using his improved senses of hearing and smell. The effects of the tear gas should be unknown to the players.

The tranq darts for the snub pistols and the crossbows are the typical sleep-inducing type. Effects should be unknown to the players.

1. INTRODUCTION

In Port Stagbuck, a representative of the government/company contacts the adventurers. She offers a cr100,000 success-only contract for a mission. She is rather secretive about the exact nature of the mission. She says only that she wants the players to catch alive an armed man roaming the wilderness on Bekain. When the players accept the mission, she will explain more thoroughly.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

One week ago a young lab technician was accidentally infected with an experimental virus. He was kept in isolation in a high security hospital. Two local days (34 hours) ago he suddenly turned very ill. In a terrible rage, he broke out of the hospital (causing great damage), stole an advanced combat rifle, and was later seen running out of Port Stagbuck at high speed.

The group's task is very simple. They are to find, catch, and bring this man back alive to Port Stagbuck. Kitzen, Ltd., will supply the adventurers with gas grenades, combat snub pistols, and crossbows with gas and tranquilizer ammunition. The adventurers also can borrow non-military vehicles, but will have any costs of repair deducted from their pay.

3. WORLD DATA

The planet Taldor (C-866413-8). . The population centers about the capital and starport, Port Stagbuck, located on the island of Bekain.

Kitzen, Ltd., a company specializing in biochemistry owns the planet

The referee will have to prepare a map of Bekain. The island is roughly circular with a diameter of about 300 km. Most terrain types possible in a temperate climate can occur. Port Stagbuck is on the northeastern corner. The city is the only settlement on Bekain.

4. TRACKING

Recon or perhaps survival skill will be necessary to track the technician, but it should not be impossible for the average person to follow him since he has killed a great many animals.

The technician is slightly agoraphobic. Because of this, his hut or lair will be in an area with a dense terrain, e.g. mountain or forest.

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Ticket to Swords

--Roberto Camino, JTAS 6 Date: 273-1106
1. INTRODUCTION

Scene: The mercenary unit is currently on Gunn. The world is finally in the last stages of unification after a long and bitter struggle. Regrettably, the unit fought against the victorious power, whose intrigues have led to the abrogation of the repatriation bond. Furthermore, creditable sources indicate that the winning hegemony intends to prosecute all mercenary contingents on trumped-up charges of atrocities and other violations of the Imperial Code of War. The unit does not have sufficient funds to secure transport off-planet, and desertions are increasing.

Action: A factor proposes the force perform a cadre/security mission in exchange for deliverance from the present predicament. His nation, Brunhild, also promises standard salaries during the periods the unit is training the local conscripts, and double standard salaries when on security missions.

Brunhild is a small nation (200,000 inhabitants) on Joyeuse/Sword Worlds (0303-B464778-A). Insurgents challenge the rightful government. Frankly, the rebels are well-armed (being able to purchase modern weapons in other countries on Joyeuse) and Bruinhild envisions a tough campaign.

Brunhild plans to field a force of 2,000, with 5,000 reservists eventually. The mercenary commander will determine the schedule for training. One stipulation is that he must phase local officers into command of the Brunhild troops as quickly as possible. Brunhild suggests that while, at first, the mercenaries will lead the conscripts in guerilla suppression actions, the native officers serve as assistants until he deems them ready to assume full leadership responsibilities with their respective units.

Initially, the mercenary unit will be heavily committed to counter-insurgency operations in Brunhild's highlands, close rugged terrain ideal for ambush. The trained levies will gradually assume more of the burden of the search and destroy patrols and completely replace the unit when the mercenary force commander judges them ready.

Payment will be off-world passage and cr750,000, with a bonus of cr500,000 if they complete turnover within a standard Imperial year.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The mercenaries will not learn of the true situation until after they have landed. Then representatives will brief the officers of the mercenary contingent on conditions.

The factor sketched a gloomy picture hoping to convince the mercenaries of his honesty. The situation is much worse. The current government gained power recently in a bloody coup, and its do not recognize it. Survivors of the legal government are leading a popular insurrection. The rebels are well-armed and -led. However, the other, rather indifferent nations of Joyeuse are not the source of the clandestine aid.

The illegitimate present regime murdered Imperial traders attempting to penetrate the Sword World's markets. A merchants' organization, unable to gain redress (other than the classification of Brunhild as an amber zone) from the Imperium's forces, has supplied the rebels almost exclusively. Thus the mercenaries will have at most one tech level over the rebels.

3. CONTACTED

Shortly after landing, insurgents will contact the unit and urge them to join the revolution. They will argue that no power recognizes the present government, that the duplicity of the regime and the fraudulent nature of the contract should be clear, and that the contract is thus void. Besides, after their defeat, the deposed despots will not be able to legally harass them.

4. TROOPS

The quality of the native forces raised and placed under the players' command will depend upon the instruction received. In any case, however, low morale in the lower ranks and a many political hacks in officer positions hampers their effectiveness.

The exception is a company of parliamentary guards, loyal and formidable, equipped to the same standards as the mercenary unit. It will not be under the authority of the mercenary commander. The guard company deeply resents the presence of the mercenaries, and their cooperation with the mercenaries will be minimal.

The referee should determine subsequent events.

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Loggerheads

--by Ian Delaney, JTAS 6 Date: 273-1106

The adventure is set on Ranther, a remote world covered by forests of huge trees. The referee should draw up animal encounter tables and initial sighting ranges for various terrain types.

1. INTRODUCTION

A representative of the planetary government contacts the party. The government needs help to stop a logging machine which is out of control and will pass through a major city in three days.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The logger in 720 km from the city, and is travelling at 10 kph per hour. The machine is thirty meters long and has four sets of tractor treads for propulsion.

3. SITUATION

The planet Ranther (D539598-5) is renown for two things: its high humidity and its gigantic trees. The planet's low gravity and extremely rich soils allow the trees to grow to fantastic size, upwards of 300 meters in height and 20-30 meters in diameter. The normal respiration of the trees, pouring great quantities of moisture into the air, makes the climate a veritable hothouse for plants of all sorts. Unfortunately for the inhabitants of Ranther, there is no great interstellar market for such great quantities of wood (though it is highly prized on some worlds), because of Ranther's remote location and the great cost of interstellar travel.

The trees' size, unfortunately, makes them very hard to cut down, making it very difficult for the planet's colonists to clear land for cultivation. In the century or so since colonization, Ranther's colonists have brought land under cultivation only by great effort. The population is constantly threatening to exceed the maximum dictated by the amount of arable land available.

The peculiar conditions of soil, gravity, and atmosphere on Ranther have convinced certain interstellar cartels that the planet could be an agricultural planet of great profit-making potential. They offered financing if the colinsts present a plan to clear the planet which has a good chance of success.

A means of rapidly clearing the planet's surface of trees would permit devoting large areas to producting rare foodstuffs on a scale not possible on most other worlds. When General Construction, LIC, sought to test its new logging ATV on Ranther, the residents offered every possible cooperation with them, especially after they discovered that in return General would make the loggers available at a reduced rate.

4. THE LOGGER

Scene: When the players first see the machine they will notice that it does not look much like a logging device. The machine has no obvious cutting tools, claws, or grabbers.

Action: The purported logger is a war machine receiving initial testing in an unpopulated area of this planet.

It has with an autocannon turret on top, near the back, and two forward mounted laser cannon. The machine uses a new light-weight alloy that is impervious to anything short of anti-tank weapons fire.

If the players get inside, they will find the machine has two levels. The control center is on the top level, in front. The two crew are dead from laser wounds. The onboard computer, programmed to stop hostile infantry from entering the machine, malfunctioned and killed the crew.

5. STOPPING ACTION

Action: The autopilot will keep the machine travelling straight ahead, and it will fire at anything that moves in its near vicinity.

Action: The weak points of the machine are the front windshield, the turret, and the rear hatch (which is almost undetectable). Since the turret is on the top, there is a blind spot inside of which the characters are safe from the autocannon.

If the players decide to try exterior attack, the referee should consider:

6. PAYBACK TIME

The characters can negotiate pay with the planet's government. The characters also might earn a little pocket money by blackmailing General about testing a war machine on a populated planet. They also might try reporting the same fact to the Imperial authorities.

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Scam

--by Loren Wiseman, JTAS 7 Date: 090-1107
NPCs

Anselhem Jotphar

A supervising clerk at the local branch of an insurance firm, Transport Bonding and Underwriters, LIC. The firm has employed Jotphar for almost 16 years, and now he supervises the receipt of premium payments.

1. INTRODUCTION

A distant acquaintance contacts the group (between jobs and in search of an evenings entertainment). He takes them to a secluded room where he leaves them alone with the occupant, a small, nervous-looking man.

The man introduces himself as Anselhm Jotphar, a supervising clerk at the local branch of Transport Bonding and Underwriters, LIC, an insurance firm. A series of personal financial reverses in the stock market required him to produce a quantity of cash, which he did by diverting funds from the company, intending to make up the shortage before it was detected. He has received a tip from a friend, however, which indicates that a surprise audit of all departments is to begin the next day, which will discover his misdeed and ruin him.

Action: Jotphar asks that the group break in and destroy the computer holding the record of his crime, making the act seem vandalism by trashing the entire floor. He will provide the combination to the rear entrance of the building and a schedule of the security patrols in the building and the surrounding plaza.

He cannot pay the group in money, but says that he can arrange for the group to receive a list of every ship scheduled to leave the planet within the next month with a cargo valued in excess of Cr10,000. He suggests that the group arrange to hijack one or more of these vessels.

To protect both parties, Jotphar asks the group to meet him in the same place the same time next evening, when he will give them the list if the job has been done properly.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

Jotphar's scheme is more complex than what he outlined. The only shipment on the list he will give the player group will be rare liquors valued at MCr10. In fact, the cargo is worth only Cr10,000, but a confederate of Jotphar's, an assessor for TB&U, LIC, overvalued the policy.

After the players hijack the shipment, Jotphar will collect on the insured value of the stolen goods, split the money with his confederate, and vanish into the depths of space.

The instructions he gave the players will destroy all records taken out in the last two months, including all connection between the liquor shipment and Jotphar's confederate. With luck, TB&U, LIC will never find out that they were swindled.

3. SEARCHERS

The players will naturally be somewhat disturbed by all this, and undoubtedly will want to track down Jotphar and claim a larger reward.

Action: The chances of the group finding Jotphar will depend on exactly how they go about tracking him. If the players are clever in their investigations, and have a small amount of good luck, the referee should allow them to locate Jotphar.

Liberal application of cash to various interstellar passenger company clerks will probably reveal Jotphar's destination. Jotphar will be travelling under another name, and alert to the pursuit.

4. CONFRONTATION

When found, Jotphar will be in the middle of conducting a complex swindle which will have absorbed 90% of his funds. He will have spent the bulk of the rest in establishing a protective network around himself.

Action: If the players decide to attack Jotphar, his guards will protect him. (Size and armament is up to the referee.) If the group's actions are more moderate, Jotphar will offer them a part in the swindle, for a cut of the proceeds.

The referee must determine the flow of subsequent events.

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Pursue and Destroy

--by Frank Chadwick, JTAS 7 Date: 090-1107
1. INTRODUCTION

The mercenary unit is one of several contingents hired by Enoc su-Krang, leader of a rebel group trying to take over the government of Pynchan (C656795-9). The war has gone on for several months, and the loyalist forces seemed on the verge of complete and total collapse when a loyalist commando strike killed su-Krang. The rebel army began to disintegrate immediately, and most of the high rebel leadership switched sides.

The testimony of these deserters indicated (wrongly) that the mercenaries were responsible for the many atrocities committed by the rebels. The government mobilized the entire planet against the offworlders.

Since the small mercenary contingents were spread throughout the rebel army as stiffening, their former allies quickly overwhelmed and massacred most. Several small groups of mercs escaped and must now make their way to the starport and safety.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The group should have to make its way across 300 to 500 km of hostile territory. The referee must devise a map of the terrain the fugitives must cover. Depending upon the size and weapons of the group, the referee should place a greater or lesser number of geographic and military obstacles in their way.

3. INVENTORY

The player group has a tech level 11 grav tank mounting a plasma-A gun and a tech level 11 grav APC mounting an autocannon and tac missile rails (three missiles remaining). Players also have a RAM grenade launcher and several ACRs. Ammunition should be scarce.

Vehicles may carry six additional passengers clinging to the outside, but these extras do not get the armor protection of the vehicle.

4. PURSUERS

Several tech level 9 mechanized units (the exact number is up to the referee) will chase the group. The group will encounter them in platoon strength (3-5 vehicles).

Action: Enemy tanks are track-layers and mount 12cm hyper-velocity smoothbores and autocannons. Tanks carry a crew of four.

APCs are also track-layers and autocannon and RAM auto-grenade launchers. Each APC carries a squad of 12 soldiers with one man-portable tac missile launcher (2 rounds), 1 RAM grenade launcher, 1 laser rifle/target designator, and six assault rifles.

A few of the enemy will be lift cavalry units equipped with grav sleds mounting 2 tac missile and an autocannon (in addition to the squad mentioned above).

5. COMBAT NOTES

The referee should use Mercenary and the Azhanti High Lightning rules to run this scenario. For vehicles, a light wound = minor damage (1D hours to repair), serious wound = disabled (10D hours to repair), and death = destroyed. In addition, for minor damage, roll 1D:

  1. Speed reduced by
  2. Immobilized
  3. Power out (no fire or movement)
  4. One crew casualty
  5. One weapon disabled
  6. No effect
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A Dagger at Efate

--by John Lewis, JTAS 8 Date: 121-1107

The player group must investigate a ship and render assistance. The entire matter is some sort of plot--obviously the ship was captured while pursuing rebels. The referee should be careful to include clues to the event in the form of battle scars.

1. INTRODUCTION

The players, aboard a merchant or a scout, have just entered the Efate system, completed all necessary identification procedures with System Control, and are now proceeding toward Efate.

System Control Efate communicates that Mercenary Cruiser Dagger just stepped out of jump space near them, and is not acknowledging inquiries. It is not maneuvering and may be in need of help. Since all available naval vessels are engaged in the battle on the far side of the system, System Control invokes regulations to require the player's ship to investigate the Mercenary Cruiser Dagger and give assistance required.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The Imperial Military Resources Board hired the mercenary Cruiser Dagger on an emergency basis for supplemental operations in the Efate system of the Regina subsector in late 1106. It served in ordinary duties for several months. In early 1107, local rebels mustered forces and mounted a breakout with a rag-tag accumulation of several converted commercial ships. Fearing that the operation was diversion meant to sap Imperial blockade forces, and yet unwilling to let the rebel task force go, Rear Admiral Santanocheev's staff dispatched several hired vessels in pursuit. Mercenary Cruiser Dagger was one of them. It left on less than an hour's notice, leaving behind its troop unit.

3. DAGGER'S STATUS

Scene: The ship maneuvers slightly to avoid docking by any vessel which approaches it. Once they board the ship (one suggestion is a leap using vacc suits), the group will find the ship's controls are locked and effectively unusable. Repairing the controls would take at least 36 hours.

Action: Dagger is lifeless and unmanned. A computer (and a relatively dumb one at that) controls its operations.

4. THE PROBLEM

Scene: The ship is on a course which will take it directly to Efate. Indeed, its projected impact point is the major Imperial troop concentration on the world. The impact of this ship would destroy a large fraction of the Imperial troop strength committed to Efate. Even if the troops move in time, the impact will destroy large stocks of military supplies.

Action: The players must alter the ship's course (preferably bringing it under control) and prevent its impact on Efate. They have less than eight hours before they must leave the ship if they are not to share in its destruction.

5. THE SECOND PROBLEM

A five megaton thermonuclear device is concealed aboard the ship. It is set to explode five hours after the ship lands on any vacuum world (it is not intended to land on worlds with atmospheres) or remains stationary adjacent to any ship of displacement of 1000-tons or more. The device is well-concealed, although a thorough search of the ship may reveal it.

6. SOME POSSIBILITIES

The computer could be confused by herding it with a smaller ship in the direction that players want it to go. False inputs into the ship's sensors might produce the same effect. A search for hidden control sets might reveal the presence of the thermonuclear device. Simple questions about what this ship is doing here may set players to thinking.

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Crystals from Dinom

--Marc W. Miller, JTAS 8 Date: 121-1107
1. THE MISSION

The mission is relatively simple: proceed to Dinom and thence to Medianne. Land, find the local corporation office and its records, and determine the location of a stockpile of zuchai crystal ore. After verifying the location, notify the Quadric Industries transport waiting in the system, and then cover its pickup of the goods. The mission ends with the safe jump of the transport outsystem.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

Several months ago, the world's workers revolted and effectively shut down the starport (a third of the way around Dinom, at Rhylan), the mines, and the production of the mills. The revolution has not yet affected the Spinward Marches, but it soon will. An emergency construction order from the Imperial Navy for jump drives caught Quadric Industries unprepared. The corporation had not yet taken delivery of a shipment of vital zuchai crystal.

The major output of the mines near Medianne is well known to be copper, with some percentage of other basic elemental metals. It is less well-known that zuchai crystal is also mined on Dinom. With the revolution, not only was the shipment delayed; the very location of the raw material stockpile was misplaced. It would otherwise be a simple matter to land a ship and on-load the ore directly.

Quadric Industries discussed the matter with the Imperial Navy. The Navy referred Quadric to the mercenary company aboard the Broadsword.

Action: The higher levels of corporate intrigue handle details of payment. (If the troops insist, the total hire price for this mission is in the range of MCr4 to MCr5.) Each member of the unit (including ship crew) will receive standard pay for one month, plus a bonus of cr20,000 each upon successful completion of the mission.

3. WORLD DATA

Much of the information for this scenario comes from the background data in Across the Bright Face, Double Adventure 2. CONSIDER OMITTING: I suggest that *>> The referee should use the Double Adventure while running this scenario. It includes a large-scale map of Dinom.

Medianne is one of three major cities on Dinom/Lanth (0201-D100535-A). It serves as a mining center and shipment point for metallic ores; it sits astride the monorail line.

4. APPROACH

The Broadsword will can not land close to the city. It should set down beyond the horizon (perhaps 400 to 500 km away) and those troops involved in the search mission must move in overland.

5. ORBITAL PROTECTION FORCE (OPF)

Scene: The revolution gathered together a small OPF of 20 fighters operating in five flights of four each. The craft are based near Rhylan, although the fighters themselves patrol the world and near orbit on a regular basis.

Action: In ordinary circumstances, a fighter-Broadsword encounter will occur on 10+ (per eight hours). Once alerted to the presence of the Broadsword (by an encounter with it or its cutters, or by information from Medianne) the OPF will harass the mercenary cruiser. The commander may choose to adopt a low profile or try to knock out the force.

6. ENTERING MEDIANNE

The monorail circling the globe runs directly through Medianne, and has a siding yard to the east. Monorail stations are within the city and to the east. Four major airlocks are in the dome foundation walls. (Large monorail airlocks are also built into the walls.) All air locks are loosely guarded, but would probably allow non-military personnel through without too much questioning. (Throwing law level here for problems is a good guide: throw 5- for the guards to be suspicious or officious.)

7. INSIDE MEDIANNE

Scene: The revolution has quieted down somewhat--there is no longer rioting in the streets and the general mechanisms of society are operating without too much difficulty.

Action: One of the buildings (chosen by the referee) is the local Dinom Corporation headquarters: it contains the needed information. The map of Medianne given here is a basic representation of the building locations within the city's dome. The map itself is commonly available as library data.

8. HEADQUARTERS

Scene: The revolutionary workers (2-12 individuals, armed with shotguns) occupy the corporate headquarters. They have made the building their own headquarters and they have made a shambles of the place.

Action: The mercenaries will have to enter the building, search it, and find the materials that they need. They may use brute force or stealth to do the job. The location lists are obtainable from the files or from suitable knowledgeable individuals.

The files are on the second floor, in a data room. Throw 10+ to find the lists, per 15 minute search. Allow +1 DM for a cooperative local, if he or she has been treated well.

Interrogating individuals may disclose what the troops seek, but characters can try anyway. For each person interrogated, throw 11+ for him or her to know the required information. On 10 (exactly) allow that individual to think that he knows the information.

9. THE CALL

Quadric Industries provided a call frequency, and their ship will proceed to the pickup point once notified. Broadsword must protect the arrival of the transport. Troops must be used as stevedores to load the zuchai crystals.

10. THE STOCKPILE

Scene: The stockpile location is about 600 kilometers from Medianne.

The zuchai crystals are already packaged and stored in modular containers each holding 3000 kg of crystal. (At Cr1000 per kg, that makes each container worth MCr3.) There are 50 containers.

Action: Troops take eight minutes to load one container aboard the transport.

11. VESSELS
CP-10798 Broadsword   CP-8533352-000000-30004-0   MCr632.68    800 tons.
batteries bearing                       4   1                   Crew=13.
batteries                               4   1                     TL=12.
Fuel=278. Cargo=80. Passengers=1. Low=0. EP=24. Agility=1. Troops=31.
Carries two 50-ton cutters with space for four modules. Carries 1 air/raft.
Modules: Assault, ATV cradle with ATV, Fighter Frame with fighters, Cargo.

CP-10798.1 Cutter One YY-0204411-000000-00001-0    MCr30.75      50 tons.
Fuel=2. Bridge. EP=2. Agility=4. Carries one 30-ton module. Crew=2. TL=12.
Cutter without module functions as YY_0206611 (20 tons)

CP-10798.91 Fighter   FF-0106611-000000-00001-0     MCr7.245      6 tons.
Fuel=1. Passengers=0. EP=.36. Agility=6. No bridge.       Crew=1. TL=12.

CP-10798.92 Fighter   FF-0105521-030000-00001-0     MCr14.27      6 tons.
Fuel=1. Passengers=0. EP=.3. Agility=5. No bridge.        Crew=1. TL=12.

R-80256 Gyro Quadrus  R-4211111-000000-00000-0    MCr100.035   400 tons.
Book 2 design                                              Crew=5. TL=9.
Fuel=50. Cargo=200. Passengers=8. Low=9. EP=1.5. Agility=1. No boats.

Dinom fighters   FP-0404411-030000-00001-0   MCr8.65    10 tons
batteries bearing            1         1          Crew=2, TL=10
Fuel=1.0, EP=0.4, Bridge installed. Agility=4. Cargo=0.
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Soft Bunk

or, What To Do When The Zhodani Attack

-- Loren Wiseman, JTAS 9 Date: 181-1107

This is a mercenary ticket. The referee must devise a map of the surface of Tionale, and other needed details of the planet.

1. INTRODUCTION

A representative of the ruling council on Tionale contacts the players' group with a job offer. A little-studied alien race inhabits the world's extensive outback The aliens were peaceful until recently, but have become increasingly hostile to the human inhabitants of late. Attacks on outlying farmsteads have occurred with increasing frequency over the last few months, and the area was posted an amber travel zone.

The council seeks a small band of mercenaries to serve as training cadre for a newly raised and equipped citizen militia, to counter the threat posed by the hostiles and protect the growing colony. The council will pay twice standard salaries and transport charges to Tionale to any mercenary group willing to undertake the ticket.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The human population on Tionale is roughly 8800, including technicians and starport personnel. The colony can spare only a little more than 400 citizens for training in the militia, and no more than 200 of these will be available at one time.

Local manufacture of arms is practically nil. They purchased enough equipment off-planet to outfit the militia to tech level 6 standards.

3. WORLD DATA

Tionale (Vilis 0701-C674321-8) is a non-industrial world outside the sphere of direct Imperial influence, although considered an Imperial client state. The world's tainted atmosphere and lack of any readily exploited resources caused it to be settled recently compared to its neighbors. Settlement still clusters around the single starport on the world, but a slowly expanding belt of farms and small settlements surrounds the port city.

4. FIRST THINGS

The group's first task is to take 200 members of the militia out and begin small arms familiarization.

Action: Referee's should need little help creating troublesome recruits and training events.

5. INVASION

About two weeks after the group arrives on planet, the Zhodani invade Tionale. A small naval force enters orbit around the world, achieves complete surprise, and meets little resistance from the population. The council will issue one last order to the militia, to act as a guerilla force and make life as difficult as possible for the Zhodani army of occupation.

Action: After determining that there are no Imperial forces on the world, the fleet will move on. It will leave a small occupation and pacification force.

The landing captured most of the militia's supplies and equipment. The militia has small arms (rifles, submachine guns, and a few machineguns) plus whatever equipment the mercenary unit had with it. Ammunition will be scarce.

6. THE GARRISON

The Zhodani garrison on Tionale consists of a battalion-size task force of Zhodani colonial troops from the world Querion. Due to Querion's low tech level, the Zhodani use the troops exclusively as garrisons on primitive worlds such as Tionale.

The Querion garrison battalion consists of picked troops armed with the best equipment available to that world. Specific elements of the unit are drawn from seven different parent regiments and brigades, and, although the unit has a high esprit de corps, inter-unit rivalry makes cooperation difficult.

The battalion consists of the following units:

7. ESPIONAGE

The referee should remember that Zhodani high officers are psionic. They will quickly apprehend spies among the city's population.

8. CONTACTS

The referee must determine the exact nature of the indigenous alien race and their position in this situation. They could be hostile to both sides, or side with the colonists or the Zhodani. A lot could depend upon the initial actions of the players and those of the Zhodani towards the aliens.

                     VEHICLE SPECIFICATIONS
Vehicle     Max (sprint) speed:   Cruise:   NOE:    Armor:
  G-Carrier     200                   100     50       8/8
  APC           100                    70     na      28/15
  Grav APC      600                   350    120      23/15
  Grav Tank     400                   250    120      35/20
    Armor: Second number is for flank or rear shot at armor.

                     WEAPON SPECIFICATIONS
Weapon               Short:         Effective:      Extreme:
  Tac missile*       3000m(55)      4000m(55)         none
  Disposable ATRL*    100m(25)       200m(25)        300m(25)
  1MW pulse laser*   5000m(40)     10000m(35)      20000m(25)
    * All values are for TL 9 versions.
    All other formats as in Journal number 7, page 37.
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Rule of Man Commemorative

--by Loren Wiseman and Marc Miller, JTAS 9 Date: 181-1107
1. INTRODUCTION

Scene: The scene is Regina Starport Orbital Station. The group, seeking employment, observes a well-dressed business-woman trying to arrange shipping for a small parcel. Knowing that all cargo shipments were suspended due to the war, the group can readily understand her animated discussion with the shipping clerk. After much arm waving accompanied by an occasional expletive which even the group can hear plainly, the clerk leans over conspiratorially and whispers something to the woman. She turns around, looks at the group, and with a curt nod of thanks to the clerk, walks over to where the group stands.

Action: Introducing herself, she explains that she represents a Regina firm that deals in rare antiquities. The clerk directed her to your group as a possible solution to her problem.

She has a small packet of rare coins, and is extremely concerned about their safety because of the war. The packet must get off planet before the authorities stop all travel, or her firm will lose a very important customer.

Since cargo shipments were suspended but it is still possible for passengers to get off, she offers cr2,000 and middle passage to Lanth to each member of the group who agrees to transport the packet of coins to the office of a friend of hers there, Brnava Curiosities, LIC. She will provide a letter of introduction to her friend, who may give the group a job.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

Scene: The packet contains 24 coins, packaged in small, transparent plastic display containers.

Action: On a roll of twelve (exactly) on 2D, one of the group will notice that one of the coins seems to have a fine hairline crack around its edge.

If the group bothers to check a local library for information on the coins, they will discover that most of the coins they have are not particularly rare, except two mint condition commemorative issues of the Rule of Man. The group learns that even the tiniest scratch will tremendously reduce the value of the coins.

3. INITIAL EVENTS

Action: If on of the group is observant, he or she will see that someone follows the woman as she leaves. If the group is extremely lucky (roll three dice for 18 exactly: make this throw only once), one of them will notice that someone is also following the group.

Note that the office that she named is Zhodani. (The word first appears in Adventure 4, Leviathan.) This may provide a clue to the real intelligence.

Action: The coins are counterfeits (which explains their perfect condition) and hollow. Inside one is a microdot containing details of the defenses of the major worlds of the Spinward Marches. The destination connects to the Zhodani network on Lanth for forwarding the microdot to the Zhodani Consulate, through agents in the Sword Worlds Confederation.

The woman is an dissident working for the Zhodani. She chose this unusual means to get the coins to Lanth, because Imperial intelligence uncovered the dissident group's couriers on Regina. Unknown to her, Imperial intelligence penetrated the dissident network on Regina. The microdot holds false data designed to mislead the Zhodani. She does not know she is being followed.

4. TRAVELLING

If the group leaves Regina by their own vessel, someone will specially code their ship's documentation to permit Imperial intelligence operatives to identify them when they arrive on Lanth. If the group takes a regular commercial vessel, an Imperial agent will accompany them.

5. LANTH

When the group arrives on Lanth, Imperial operatives will followed them from when they land. Allow the players to roll only once to see if they notice this: 3D for 18 exactly.

Action: Imperial intelligence is trying to use the group to expose the Zhodani underground network on Lanth. Operatives will follow them continually. Only allow the players to roll once per day to determine if they detect it.

6. BRNAVA CURIOSITIES

The offices of Brnava Curiosities, LIC will not be hard for the group to locate.

The group finds the offices closed by local government order, apparently for some violation of local business regulations.

Action: If the players think to ask, tell them that the store manager's name is painted on the display window. An investigation of public records (such as a city directory or a phone book) will reveal the home of the manager.

7. NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK

The manager is home, and is most cooperative. The recipient is an employee of the shop. The manager provides the players with an address where they can find him.

{Does he have a job for them?...}

Action: What obstacles the referee puts in the player's path now depends on the size, armament, and the character's skills. It should take a couple of days to find the employee, however you arrange it. One possibility is that the employee is not at the address the manager gave them, but a neighbor, when questioned, will give the group the location of another place where they can find him, such a bar he frequents.

8. END GAME

The Zhodani network on Lanth expects their regular courier, and do not know that the Regina network was burned. They will naturally be very suspicious of the group, but they are expecting the coins and the letter of introduction will go a long way to lessen suspicion.

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Geria Transfer©

--©1981, John M. Ford, JTAS 10 Date: 273-1107

Try to use the high-speed rail network (HSR) as a locale, because it adds local color.

1. INTRODUCTION

A services factor approaches the party in Cyris Westcenter a few kilometers from the starport. She represents an unnamed interest, and is impatient and worried: she offers an urgent mission.

She explains that a courier carrying a valuable industrial sample was to transfer it offworld this afternoon from Cyris Westport. A change in her client's plans makes it necessary to recall the courier and return the sample to the factor.

A freak electrical storm has suddenly closed the port to all space and air traffic. (It remains open for ground transport and servicing.) The courier, who cannot be normally contacted, will undoubtedly go undercover. He may travel to Cyris Eastport, which is open. The trip of 4,000 km will take about eight hours by HSR.

The party is to intercept the courier, whom she will carefully describe to them, and return the sample case to the factor. Payment on delivery of the case will be cr20,000 for each member of the group, up to a maximum of cr100,000.

Action: If the players ask what "intercept" means, she will irritably tell them it means using whatever force is necessary. The courier is a free-lancer who will not trust anyone but his final contact.

The factor will still pay the team if the culture is destroyed. (To insure their best efforts, she will not tell them this.)

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The dead man is not a courier (surprise), but a GERIA scientist who stole the satchel's contents to sell privately. The two men at the port (the killer and the bagman) are GERIA security staff, trying to recover company property. While GERIA still has the synthesis program, it will take at least four weeks to synthesize more 6-G, by which time they may no longer exist as a company.

That is exactly the goal of the factor's client, Kjeldahl Metallfabrick SA (not located on Cyris). The storm prevented the team originally hired by the factor--expert professionals--from landing. The factor had to grab the first likely replacements before the scientist could escape. Kjeldahl wants the 6-G culture. They also know, however, that if GERIA collapses financially, Kjeldahl can buy it up lock, stock, and synthesis program.

3. WORLD DATA

Cyris (Pesek 0501 B769653-A) is a quiet pastoral world that achieves a high level of personal income from specialized light industry. There is only one continent, mostly savanna, 4,000 km across. A high-speed rail network (HSR) connects two class B starports on the east and west coasts to each other and to population centers in the interior.

4. WESTPORT

The party spots the courier across the massport concourse, headed for an HSR platform. Before they can contact him, however, a man will brush against him, and he will collapse with an apparent heart attack. Another person will try to steal the satchel in the resulting confusion, and will succeed unless the players intervene.

Action: All attempts to revive the courier will fail, regardless of medical skill available.

If the bagman steals the bag, he will join his partner in a groundcar outside the terminal building. Both wear cloth armor under their topcoats and carry automatic pistols. The car also contains a carbine and shotgun.

5. THE SATCHEL

The satchel is black and resembles a doctor's bag. If the players get possession, when they open it they find it contains an envelope filled with photos and computer printouts, and three glass vials filled with green liquid (in a protective holder riveted to the side of the bag).

In the bottom of the bag is a black body pistol, loaded. It is ordinary, except for the well-known fact that couriers never carry guns.

Action: The characters will recognize the vials' contents as microbial cultures. The papers document the culture as Sabel 6-G, an organic coating for metals that stops corrosion (obviously of great industrial value). If the players ask, the computer program for creating Sabel 6-G is not present, but only computer-4 will know this for certain. The envelope is chemically treated to burn furiously if ignited, completely destroying the contents.

The vials bear the trademark of Gene Engineering Research and Industrial Applications Corporation (GERIA), a small genetics lab located on one of Cyris' off-continental islands. Calling up the stock exchange profile of GERIA will show that the company is on the brink of bankruptcy. The company offices will decline all calls, but will ask where they may contact the caller.

6. THE BOMB

Only two vials were stolen from GERIA, a fact only the company and the dead man know. One tube is an aerosol germ bomb prepared as insurance by the renegade scientist.

Action: Demolition skill may detect the bomb trigger on close examination. Removing it from its holder or breaking it open will trigger it, with lethal effects for everyone within 20 meters and not wearing at least a respirator. The bomb is not explosive and will not damage the other tubes.

7. WHAT TO DO?

If the team gets the satchel, they may return it to the factor (pursued by the GERIA men) or try to steal it for themselves (pursued by everyone). They may hide in the massport or the city, take the train or steal an aircraft.

The last is very dangerous in the storm, which will last another 48 hours before lifting suddenly, allowing the factor's first team to land.

Action: The transfer can be quick, easy money if the players are honest. It can as easily become a planet-wide manhunt--especially if the bomb goes off in a crowded massport.

If they locate a buyer (possibly including Kjeldahl SA) the cultures and documents together will be worth at least cr500,000. They will have a hard time selling the cultures undocumented, and the papers alone will be worthless. (In time, someoone could work out a synthesis program from the two vials of live culture.)

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Coup D'etat

--by Loren Wiseman, JTAS 10 Date: 273-1107

This is a mercenary ticket. The story centers on a stand-and-fight situation at the royal estate. Referees may run the escape from the city (and other earlier events) according to their desires.

NPCs

[See following write-up of Glorinna Firella.]

1. INTRODUCTION

Glorinna Firella, daughter and sole heir of a king, contacts the group. She seeks a company-size mercenary contingent to protect her father and her if a revolution occurs.

Glorinna seriously underestimated the extent of unrest. The revolution begins shortly after the unit lands, before any real steps can be taken to secure the situation.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

Her father, Alexandro, is king on a planet on the fringes of the Imperium, a constitutional ruler with a representative parliament. Although a good ruler, Alexandro is not popular with his people. He surrounded himself with corrupt and incompetent advisors, and will not believe the extent of popular dissatisfaction with his rule.

Several opposition groups have arisen in recent months. The most dangerous of these (although by no means the largest in numbers) is a collection of middle-echelon military officers and business people. Glorinna worries about the possibility of a popular uprising, and suspects that the colonel of the Royal Companions regiment, Kang Ladro, is secretly in sympathy with the rebels.

3. WORLD DATA

{None given. Must have breathable atmosphere.}

4. THE REVOLUTION STARTS

Action: Glorinna and the mercenary unit will escape the capital to one of the royal estates, but Alexandro will refuse to come.

5. THE ESTATE

Scene: The royal estate is several kilometers from the capital, where fighting rages between loyalist army units and those units which joined the rebellion. The planet's small air force has chosen to remain in the barracks for the duration of the emergency.

Glorinna concludes arrangements with the owner of a merchant ship to transport them off-planet. In one week, the vessel can refuel and enter orbit over the estate. The ship's owner has also promised a shuttle to transfer Glorinna and the company to the ship.

The defenders will have one day to prepare their defenses before the attackers arrive. If they can survive the next six days, the shuttle can provide sufficient air support to drive off the attackers temporarily. Meanwhile, they can ferry defenders to the orbiting starship.

Action: The estate is not well-suited to defense. It is in the midst of a lightly-wooded region, and a small river protects it on two sides. The buildings are old stone structures intended to blend aesthetically into the region, not to withstand an attack.

Defending with the mercenaries are:

6. ASSAILANTS

Scene: Ladro considers it important to capture Glorinna to further his scheme to gain power. He aspires to set himself up as king, and marriage to Glorinna would strengthen his position. The former Royal Companions regiment is, however, heavily engaged against the loyalists.

He assigned the task of taking Glorinna alive to a platoon of the Companions and two rebel army companies.

Action: The attacking forces are a platoon of companions, 40 men equipped to tech level 9, and two companies of regulars, each of 116 men equipped to tech level 8.

7. AFTERWARD

Glorinna will escape with enough of her personal funds to pay the mercenaries Cr750,000. She will ask them to stay with her, and form the core of a counter-revolutionary force.

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Casual Encounter: Glorinna Firella

--by J. Andrew Keith, JTAS 11, p46 Date: 334-1107
Noble/Heiress    Glorinna Firella    4A6AAF    Age 26    2 terms    Cr0 to ?
Leader-1, Liaison-1, Dagger-1
1. MEETING

Glorinna may come to the attention of the adventurers in one of many ways. They might, for example, be involved in the coup on her homeworld, and be approached for help in escaping the planet aboard their ship. There is a good chance she will approach adventurers later, recruiting them as bodyguards or hiring travellers with military experience as advisors or officers for the army she is putting together. She also may hire mercenary units to help in raising her army, on cadre, striker, or commando tickets connected to her attempt to return, or in other capacities. There is an excellent chance that she would hire a band of adventurers to learn the whereabouts of her father, and then to rescue him.

Ladro's agents also might approach the party and offer an exorbitant reward for them to kidnap or kill her. The adventurers would find, however, that Ladro is not trustworthy in honoring agreements.

Other adventures could well revolve around the divisions within the junta, with other factions seeking to hold the princess as a bargaining counter against Ladro, for example.

Finally, the referee might involve the adventurers in a situation by having Glorinna turn up as a fellow traveller aboard a starship, a chance acquaintance met at a hotel, or as the victim of one or more assailants in the street. Events might catch the adventurers in the middle and shove them into one or more adventures without real freedom of action.

2. DESCRIPTION

Glorinna is beautiful and regal, but talented in winning the loyalty and devotion of others and in no way snobbish. She is brave and keeps a cool head in a crisis. Her strongly ingrained sense of honor makes it certain that she will handsomely reward those who aid her.

Her greatest weakness is a sentimental, romantic streak. There is a chance, for the referee to determine, that she will fall in love with one of the adventurers (or possibly some other individual) whom she believes shares her devotion to the cause. Meeting the individual under dangerous or "romantic" circumstances, such as being rescued from some hazardous situation, will especially improve this chance . Her impulsive heart often makes her easy prey for fortune-hunters.

Ek (the mute): A 2.2 meter mute utterly devoted to her accompanies Glorinna in her travels. Ek is suspicious of outsiders, and will take orders from no one except the princess. He is particularly suspicious of anyone showing romantic interest in Glorinna. She will not dismiss Ek; she keeps him on as her personal servant and bodyguard, because "he's been in the family for years."

2. MOTIVES

Now an exile, Glorinna is bending all her efforts toward engineering a return to her world and a counter-coup against the rebels. She is also driven to learn the fate of her father, and to rescue him if he is still alive.

Should Glorinna fall in with a party of adventurers, she will be patient and willing to go out of her way if she feels the diversion would win some benefit. She will not, however, lose sight of her own goals, and if need be she will part company as readily as she joined.

Her ultimate goal is to raise funds and troops enough to oust the junta; she tends to assume that others attach the same degree of importance to this goal as she does. She will not turn from her course, either for arguments or knowledge of danger. She may postpone her plans for the sake of expediency, but will never abandon them. She will regard anyone who tries to persuade her against the enterprise as a coward or worse.

3. BACKGROUND

Until recently, Glorinna was princess and sole heir to the throne of a planetary government near the edge of the Imperium. The government was more or less a constitutional monarchy with a representative parliament.

A popular front uprising, possibly inspired by off-planet interests, deposed her father, the king, and erected a military junta in his stead. Glorinna escaped, but her father was taken, and has not been heard of since. He is presumed either dead or imprisoned.

4. THE HOMEWORLD

Junta: The junta is divided. The majority desire a "popular dictatorship," while a strong minority under Ladro's leadership look toward the renewed monarchy.

Kang Ladro: The particular object of her bitter hatred is General Kang Ladro, once head of the Royal Companions regiment, who betrayed her father and brought the Royalist army over to the rebels to gain power.

Ladro is now part of the junta, and he wants Glorinna dead or (preferably) married to him to establish his position. Ladro aspires to reestablishment of the monarchy, with himself as king, and sees Glorinna's popularity with the masses as his key to absolute power.

Populace: The populace is very dissatisfied with the junta, which imposed repressive military control over all phases of daily life without doing anything to keep the promises of redistribution of wealth to the impoverished. They strongly favor the return of the monarchy (though much too afraid of the junta to show it), and will support the return of Glorinna. She has always (unlike her father) been a popular and charismatic figure.

5. FINANCES

Glorinna's finances are subject to considerable fluctuation. The referee should determine how much money she has available according to the nature of the situation. She may be able to pay well for services rendered, or the adventurers might have to rely on the promise of money tied in with her own success in reaching her goal.

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Thunder on Zyra

--by Roger Moore, JTAS 11

This is a mercenary ticket.

1. INTRODUCTION

The Zyran Confederacy seeks a battalion-size strike force to overpower the TM&R security forces, and assist Zyra in nationalizing the company's assets. Upon landing, the mercenaries must make immediate assaults upon the Telneskian Industrial regions.

The Confederacy offers triple standard salaries plus a MCr3 success-only bonus. The government is cash-poor, unfortunately, and can only offer cr750,000 up-front money. The Zyrans can pay immediately in grants of land on Zyra or in bonds payable in one year (with appropriate interest) backed by the world's mineral resources.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

Zyra (B555448-7) is a young colony in the Trin's Veil subsector. The original survey report showed only low levels of potentially exploitable minerals. Lacking the equipment and know-how to mine these deposits economically, the Zyrans sought outside help. The interstellar firm of Telneskian Mines and Refining agreed to provide training for the locals in return for a significant share of any profits.

Recent information indicates that the original report was inaccurate, and the lesser continents hold many rich and readily exploitable metallic lodes. The Zyran Confederacy believes that the company will soon move to take over control of the government of Zyra to drain the world of its resources.

3. WORLD DATA

Located on a small world orbiting the largest gas giant of that system (Bellus), Zyra's 60,000 inhabitants concentrate around two harbor cities on the eastern coast of the largest continent.

4. ARRIVAL BRIEFING

As soon as the mercenaries arrive on planet, the Zyran government will contact the unit commander. In the last two days the government has learned that the company has two illegal thermonuclear devices (called thunderballs in mercenary jargon) hidden at the main camp. The company plans to use the devices to hold the Zyran people for ransom in case of a nationalization attempt.

The devices landed several weeks ago, but the technical people needed to arm them either have not yet arrived, or have only just landed. It is imperative that the mercenaries capture the devices before they can be armed.

Zyran intelligence has learned that TM&R has beefed up its normal security forces (normally about 400 personnel equipped to tech level 9) with a company-size mercenary unit. This unit is understrength, and equipped to tech level 11.

Action: No company would dare undertake any venture using thunderballs ordinarily. TM&R obviously feels that the current war will keep Imperial attention away long enough for the company's plans to become a fait accompli, and to hush up the incident.

5. THE CAMP

The camp (where the nuclear devices are stored) is a collection of pre-fabricated buildings, surrounded by an electrified fence and a cleared free-fire zone 300 meters across. Several guard towers line the perimeter. Six security patrols garrison the main camp.

Eight minor camps lie between one and six days journey away from the main camp. Each has a security patrol permanently assigned.

Action: The mercenaries and the security forces are on constant patrol out to about 20 km away from the camp. In addition to the security troops and the company's mercenaries, the main camp contains about 1600 unarmed workers. They will take cover once shooting starts.

5. TM&R CAMP SECURITY

The TM&R security patrols are platoon-size units. A patrol contains five squads, each with ten security specialists (a squad leader, an assistant squad leader, and two fire teams of four each).

Each squad has two lightly-armored, wheeled ATVs, each equipped with a RAM auto-grenade launcher. Each squad has a VRF gauss gun for support. Each soldier has an advanced combat rifle and 4 cm RAM grenades. 75% of the grenades available are various sorts of riot-control gasses. (The referee must determine the effects of these.)

Several dozen individually-carried tac missiles are available, but usually are in storage.

6. THE MERCENARY COMPANY

The company consists of a six-man command element, three infantry platoons, a weapons platoon, and a transport platoon.

Infantry: Each infantry platoon has five squads, each of three fire teams and a lightly-armored 12-passenger grav vehicle. In practice, each squad contains only two fire teams, due to heavy casualties suffered during the unit's last ticket. Each grav vehicle mounts a VRF gauss gun and RAM auto grenade launcher as the squad support weapons. Each soldier has combat armor, a gauss rifle, and 4 cm grenades. A few man-carried tac missiles are available (one or two per squad).

Weapons: The weapons platoon consists of two mortar squads and two tac missile squads. The mortar squads contain two mortars and eight personnel. The missile squads contain one tac missile launcher, one 4 cm RAM auto grenade launcher, and eight personnel. The vehicles of the transport platoon provide transport.

Transport: The transport platoon contains five cargo grav sleds, each lightly armored and armed with a VRF gauss gun. Each grav sled has crew of two, a driver and a gunner.

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Work of Art

--by Loren Wiseman, JTAS 11 Date: 334-1107

Set on Fornice.

1. INTRODUCTION

A representative of an association of local merchants approaches the group while they are searching for gainful employment on Fornice (A354A87-6). Your band, she says, were recommended to her as trustworthy, and she has a job offer.

Action: The Fornice Merchant's Association will pay Cr750,000 for recovery of Gak'knak, an art piece, undamaged. There is a bonus of Cr250,000 if they recover it within 24 hours.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

A K'kree trade delegation is negotiating with several worlds for carrier and distribution contracts for K'kree products in the Spinward Marches. The Fornice Merchant's Association has entered a bid, but is competing with several other, similar organizations on other worlds.

The chief of the K'kree delegation is on Fornice, and is enjoying the hospitality of the local merchants while he evaluates the potential contract. The Fornice merchants learned that he is a connoisseur of the K'kree multi-media art forms. They went to great expense to get a piece by an artist familiar with the K'kree tastes in art, titled Gak'knak (which the artist translates as Whispers of Summer). It arrived several weeks ago, and went unopened into a warehouse.

Gak'knak was stolen yesterday, three days before the merchants presented it to the K'kree delegation.

Action: The Fornice Merchant's Association determined that the art was stolen by the Andros organization, a little-known criminal organization with chapters on several worlds in the subsector. The Association suspects that Andros plans to deliver the art to the merchants of Mora, also competing for the contract, who plan to present the art as their own gift.

3. GAK'KNAK

Gak'knak consists of a series of holographic projectors, which create a three-dimensional image of native K'kree plants waving in the wind, a sound projector which produces about fifteen minutes worth of (to human ears) discordant cacophony, and many waxy crescents. These crescents are the most important part of the art, all the rest being roughly equivalent to the frame of a painting or the pedestal of a sculpture.

To appreciate Gak'knak, a K'kree sets up the other parts of it, and places one of the crescents in the palm of his hand, seating it against the thumb and curling the fingers around it. The crescents are mixtures of waxes which melt at slightly different temperatures. As the K'kree's hand warms the wax, each different type melts in turn, releasing a series of odors that is the most important part of any artwork, to a K'kree. The crescents are in a small, insulated case.

4. TREASURE HUNT

The players can locate Gak'knak in several ways. The best method is to find and question members of the Andros organization. DMs for streetwise and bribery will be useful to the players in this endeavor.

5. X MARKS THE SPOT

Scene: The cases and bags holding Gak'knak are inside Fornice starport. They await transfer to the agent of Mora, and loading aboard a merchant vessel for smuggling off-planet.

Action: Naturally, once the players find the art, they must still overpower the guards without damaging it, and see to its delivery to the Fornice merchants.

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Tarkine Down

--by Roger Moore, JTAS 12 Date: 074-1108

This is one-year mercenary ticket on a pre-stellar world.

1. INTRODUCTION

The Imperium needs the scout base at Tarkine to monitor movements of Sword World naval forces in the region. With the start of the Fifth Frontier War, the troops normally employed to keep the lid on Tarkine are needed elsewhere. The subsector government is seeking mercenaries to supplement local loyalist troops.

2. TICKET

The contract offered is a one-year security short ticket for a battalion-size force to protect of Tarkine Down starport and the scout base. The mercenary commander will work under the command of local authorities.

The government offers Cr4,000,000 to a reputable unit, and will provide Cr500,000 monthly to meet payroll demands. It will hold a success-only bonus of Cr5,000,000 in escrow and pay it out if the mercenaries are successful. Lastly, they will provide transport to Tarkine.

3. WORLD DATA

Tarkine (C466662-7) is an agricultural world in District 268 of the Spinward Marches. In 960 it was discovered that Tarkine's government supplied personnel, technical assistance, and fuel to corsairs operating in the surrounding systems in exchange for a share of captured goods. The Imperium dispatched a task force to end this hazard to shipping and civilization. It destroyed the corsairs, replaced the government, and established a scout base. Continued uprisings among the world's six million inhabitants have led TAS to post the world as an amber zone.

4. LOCAL TERRAIN

The overall impression is of an armed camp, and not a free starport. The starport consists of the scout base, a large administrative building, fuel processing facilities, and underground storage tanks, and numerous smaller buildings containing maintenance, technical, communications, and entertainment facilities. There is little provision for mercantile shipping (only four pads and a couple of warehouses and admin shacks), and they are used infrequently.

The starport is a rough square 5 km along the sides, located by a major river. Three sides are bound by rings of minefields and anti-vehicular defenses, and the fourth by the river bank.

Two main highways lead out from the starport. One travels downriver toward a nearby city with 22,000 inhabitants, 25 km away along the river. The other leads upriver. Dockside facilities line the riverbank, though river traffic is not heavy.

Action: Starport security is tight, and discourages off-port leaves.

An Imperial Marine company billeted next to the administration building maintains security in the starport itself. They consider their orders to be to hold the starport, not to run a rescue service: they will be unlikely to come to the aid of the mercenaries unless events directly threaten the security of the starport.

5. FIRST DUTIES

Once they arrive on planet, officials expect the mercenaries to patrol out to 5 km beyond the starport perimeter, man the security checkpoints of the port, and man a small post upriver (away from the port and the city).

6. NEXT

Within 10-60 days of arriving, the port will receive news of rioting and unrest at some small cities not far from the starport. Within a few days more, the rioting will spread to other nearby cities, and the loyalist forces will have their hands full.

Action: Any mercenaries caught in the rioting will be slain or imprisoned.

Dissidents will make acts of sabotage and terrorism against the starport-scout base and the mercenaries during this time. The mercs will have to contend with snipers, smuggled bombs, small commando actions, and rocket attacks. Such incidents may be played out in detail or by using an abstract system as outlined in Book 4, Mercenary.

Commando-trained Tarkinian rebels will make a major assault of battalion strength against the starport. The rebels will be mostly armed and armored at TL 7 standards, but will have sizable amounts of captured weaponry (TLs 9-12). They will be well-organized and determined.

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Royal Hunt

--by J. Andrew Keith, JTAS 12 Date: 074-1108

The adventurers accompany a company official and a planetary ruler on a safari. Several accidents befall the expedition, caused by a scheming advisor.

The referee may add complications. You can make Hamir an honest retainer and add a party determined to discredit him at court by blaming the assassinations on him. You can also implicate the adventurers in the assassination attempt.

NPCs

Elas Dundir

Dulandir, a principal partner in Langhausen Industries, intends to negotiate an agreement giving his company a virtual monopoly over mineral rights on the planet.

Potentate of Krajraha

The Potentate, a powerful and wealthy individual, is known to be something of a dilettante. He is also honest, friendly, and apparently well-disposed to the Langhausen offer.

Hamir

A trusted royal advisor, Hamir has arranged for the Potentate to die. As Regent, he would deal with Nusku Trade rather than Langhausen. Hamir is in the capital, with the heir, and few of the assassins know who they work for.

1. INTRODUCTION

Elas Dulandir approaches the group to act as bodyguards and general assistants during his visit to Krajraha. He will pay Cr15,000 apiece for two months of routine work.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

Unknown to Dulandir or the adventurers with him, Nusku Trade, LIC, approached the Potentate. Although the Potentate turned down their offer, Nusku contacted dissidents in the court.

A trusted royal advisor named Hamir is the chief dissident. Nusku promised him some personal favors for his support. Hamir has decided to put both the Langhausen party and the Potentate out of the way, and place the Potentate's idiot son on the throne, leaving Hamir in complete control. Then he will make a deal with Nusku.

Hamir has chosen the hunt as the perfect time to do away with his enemies. Several of his men are among the retainers with the Potentate, and more trail the party. He arranged several different accidents, and surelyone will take care of Hamir's needs.

The referee should provide a map of the route the hunt will pass through, and the terrain there. Use animal encounter tables during the expedition. (Supplement 2, Animal Encounters, medium world, standard atmosphere is a good source.)

In addition, the referee should introduce several possible encounters based on Hamir's assassination attempts. Some possibilities (by no means exhaustive) are listed below. When introduced, they should seem part of the regular encounter process. Force the players to recognize for themselves that something sinister is going on.

3. WORLD DATA

Krajraha is a non-industrial world famous for its exotic wildlife. Settlement centers in the fertile plains surrounding the Dweljahra river.

Explorers discovered valuable mineral deposits of topoline and athast in the Induil mountain region overlooking the main settlements. Both minerals are useful to several industrial processes.

4. ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE

As Dulandir and his party arrive, the Potentate of Krajraha is in the midst of plans for the annual royal hunt, an event that is the highlight of court life on Krajraha. He invites Dulandir to accompany him on the expedition, a leisurely journey up the Dweljahra river and into the foothills Langhausen is interested in mining. As the procession will take at least six weeks, Dulandir accepts.

4. OFF ON THE HUNT

The hunt has become more of a ceremonial procession, with the expedition moving at a leisurely pace, mounted on yulyas (large, low-slung, temperamental beasts of burden). Each yulya normally carries two or three riders. It takes trained mahouts to control each animal.

Hunting is done with bows, and the adventurers may not carry offworld weapons.

Hamir and the Potentate's son are left behind at the capital.

Action: Concealed knives or body pistols will not be discovered however, if anyone tries to carry them. At the start of the expedition, roll once for 8+ for gaurds to discover any other pistols. They will discover larger weapons automatically. Officials will exclude any person discovered carrying a weapon from the hunt.

5. POSSIBLE "ACCIDENTS"

In all the following, the incident should appear accidental. Allowing the adventurers to foil the first assassination attempt (even when letting them do it by accident) can tip them off that something is up, and get them looking for more details of the plot.

Accidental bowshot: One or more times, an arrow can be "accidentally" fired toward the Potentate or the offworlders. It can narrowly miss or it can hit one of the targets or one of the retainers. As the arrow(s) were dipped in a highly poisonous venom, anyone hit will take extra damage in addition to normal arrow damage. The poison inflicts 3D damage per round for 1D rounds.

Animal attack: A particularly nasty creature found along the riverbanks of the Dweljahra is the Delajabar, an amphibious killer which delights in rending its prey before consuming it. One or more might be set upon the party deliberately. Should this occur away from the river, it might prove a clue that something is afoot.

Bolting Yulya: Though placid enough for domestic use, the yulya is temperamental and, under certain conditions, easily startled. Before the start of the hunt, agents drugged several of the yulyas to make them irritable and increase the chance of them bolting. (Roll 8+ for any particular animal to have been drugged.) A loud noise or animal attack could be enough to frighten the animals into stampeding. Even a trained mahout will have trouble (roll 11+ each round) calming a drugged animal which has been startled.

Night assassination: Agents might introduce a highly poisonous, but very small, animal into the tents occupied by party members at night, or they might attempt a more conventional visit, to kill the Potentate by some means which will appear to be natural causes.

Treacherous guide: A native guide in Hamir's pay leads the party into some natural hazard--a perilous cliff, a bad river crossing, etc. As the Potentate and his honored guests ride near the head of the column, this will prove very dangerous.

6. AFTERWARD

Only a handful of the assassins know that Hamir employs them. If the characters catch one of these and make him talk, and he reveals Hamir's name, the Potentate will handsomely reward the people who made the capture. The same is true of his life is saved.

Action: Use discretion in the amount of the reward. It could as easily not be cash, but large estates or some artifact, all of great value on Krajraha, but almost worthless elsewhere.

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Lockbox

--J. Andrew Keith, JTAS 13 Date: 131-1108
NPCs

Shawn Grey

An agent of Gamega, he hires the players to deliver a key to Gamega, and dies soon afterward.

Urkinu Gamega

A collector of rare artifacts. He will arrive a few days after the adventure begins.

1. INTRODUCTION

A pale, excitable man interrupts the adventurer's evening entertainment in a bar near the starport one night. Dressed in a nondescript ship suit, the man is plainly agitated and continually seems to check out the entire room with nervous glances. He approaches the group, pulls out a key chain around his neck and shows it to them.

The key, he says, is to lockbox 9764-A2 at the starport complex. Inside is a package he wants delivered to Urkinu Gamega, a gentleman from off-planet expected to arrive shortly. As he has been called away on urgent business, the man wants to hire the party to keep the key and deliver the parcel to Gamega when he arrives. He will give them cr250 now and another Cr250 after the delivery, not bad pay for simply waiting a day or two.

Action: Close questioning will not reveal much more information. The package, he says, is not really valuable to anyone except Gamega, a collector of interesting curios. Other than that, the man is unwilling to discuss details of the offer.

As the conversation reaches this point, the man grows even more agitated, looking fairly often to the dark corner near the bar's entrance. Suddenly, without further argument, he drops both the key and cr250 on the table and moves quickly toward the back of the bar. He will not stop to answer any further questions. Should the adventurers try to go after him, he will get enough lead to get out of sight before followers can catch up.

There seems to be little enough reason for his sudden departure through the back entrance. The crowded bar has many patrons, in a wide variety of unusual costumes and of several races, but none seem threatening.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

Grey collects artifacts for Gamega, when their owners are not around. His latest find is an urn inscribed with interesting symbols which he picked up during his visit Otrai.

The urn is an important religious relic from the Kai-laek culture of Otrai's highlands. The Kai-laek are a human group, but one which turned to an aesthetic life dominated by their harsh and demanding religion. The Kai-laek are fanatic followers of beliefs that allow no room for mercy, tolerance, or forgiveness. They are especially touchy about non-believers interfering in the sanctity of their shrines and holy relics. By removing the urn, Grey brought down a death sentence on his head. The Kai-laek dispatched several people to hunt down and recover the urn.

Their beliefs require that they kill anyone not of the sect who looks upon the urn. The one restraint upon this requirement is simple: blood may not be shed in the presence of the urn itself. Thus, Grey was safe as long as he kept the urn on his person. By leaving it in the starport lockbox, he exposed himself to attack.

3. LEAVING THE BAR

When they leave the bar, hoarse cries for help and the sounds of a fight will attract the group to a back alley. As they approach the noise, the adventurers will have the impression of several figures fading into the shadows, but the assailants escape from the other end of the alley before the characters can catch them.

Investigation reveals their recent companion, stabbed several times and on the verge of death, near the alleyway entrance. Their erstwhile patron dies as they try to help him; his last words, whispered, are, "Don't . . . look!"

Action: The only clue to the attack is a strangely curved, heavily ornamented dagger discovered near the body. None in the group has ever encountered one like it before.

This, and the key to the lockbox, are the only links with the dead man. Questions remain: Who was he? Why was he killed? What are we not supposed to look at? And what is in the lockbox that might connect with the death?

Identification indicates the man was Shawn Grey, a merchant engineer between jobs. (This will prove correct.)

A card in his ID pouch carries the name of Gamega, identified as a collector of unusual artifacts, living on a nearby world. Scribbled on the back of the card is a date and flight number, which proves to be a schedule for a starship arrival from Gamega's homeworld four days from now.

4. INVESTIGATION

Scene: The Kai-laek assassins will follow them constantly. The adventurers will, however, be perfectly safe from harm unless they actually look at the urn.

Local authorities will not be inclined to believe the group and will do very little to help.

Action: Records and information about Grey will reveal that he works for Gamega on occasion as an agent charged with bringing in interesting and unusual artifacts from various off0beat worlds and cultures. He has been making extra money--up to Cr5,000 at a time--by doing this for some 15 months now.

Grey's last ship called at a number of interesting planets (including Otrai, a little-known human-inhabited world that has only been marginally explored or mapped).

What the adventurers will not find out right away, however, is that Grey rarely acquired artifacts for his employer through legal or ethical channels. He tended to remove them without first consulting their owners.

5. EMISSARIES

Several Kai-laek will approach the group early on. They will demand the return of their property.

Action: If they turn over the key, nothing more will happen. If they refuse, shadowing will continue. Assassins may make minor attacks to get the key, but nothing further.

If, however, the adventurers decide to examine the contents of the lockbox, they will leave themselves open to the same fate that claimed Grey. From that moment on, the Kai-laek will attack the adventurers (and anyone they show the urn to) if found away from the urn.

6. GAMEGA

If he arrives, Gamega will recognize the urn for what it is.

Action: Most likely he will panic and try to escape. He might hire the adventurers as bodyguards, since both he and they will be marked for death once they reveal the urn to him.

If they describe it to him, without being showing, he will try to avoid all contact with it and with the adventurers. He may try to set them up by giving them false information regarding a solution to the problem of the assassins.

7. CONTINUING EVENTS

Scene: It is up to the referee to determine the exact course of events in response to the adventurers actions.

The Kai-laek are normally seen hooded and cloaked in dark robes. They prefer to use daggers to kill, but are also adept in the use of a variety of poisons.

Action: The Kai-laek are fanatics, utterly devoted to their cause. The characters may elude them by a trick, by luck, or by being defeated, but such evasion will be temporary. Sooner or later, they or others like them will again pick up the trail and continue to hunt their targets down.

There really is no solution to the problem of the Kai-laek. The referee should bring Kai-laek into a campaign several times, as they continue to pick up the trail and close in. This provides a useful way to interject excitement into a lull in regular activity, or to provide a motive to adventurers to move them on when they show little inclination to go in a direction the referee desires. Such a recurring problem, handled by the referee with discretion and care, can provide useful continuity to any ongoing situation.

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Thoughtwaves©

--©1982, John M. Ford, JTAS 13 Date: 131-1108

You need not approach this adventure as a commando raid. The rescue party is not even necessary. The players might be the captive scientists, the Zhodani, or some of each.

No matter what the viewpoint, however, atmosphere is all-important. (That's why this amber zone is more detailed and longer than usual). Keep the players tense and uncertain, in the fashion of a Gothic horror story. Surprise them; scare them if you can. Efforts to give the feeling of being in dark, haunted corridors, surrounded by a crushing sea, will be rewarded.

Don't have events happen too fast--this could take days of game time--and especially don't bring on Dr. Wexler too soon. (If you can convince the players that the missing people really are dead, so much the better.)

NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS
Zhodani:

Captain Chizhiliapr, a telepath with a strength of 10.

Lieutenant Shvetiepr, a telepath and clairvoyant with a strength of 10.

Five Imperial Scientists:

Dr. Morningside (female), who has possession of the data cartridges.

Dr. Benda, pugnacious, with a black belt. It took physical restraint before she could be probed, and she broke a trooper's arm in her struggle.

Dr. Higher, required physical restraint before he or she could be probed.

?

?

1. INTRODUCTION

Weishaupt University approaches the group about recovering scientists and their data from Zhodani-controlled space.

At the outbreak of the Fifth Frontier War, a small team of archaeologists from Weishaupt University was investigating an unusual underwater site on the frontier world of Kehaan, an uninhabited planet in the 899-076 system. After the Zhodani incursion, Kehaan was within Consulate-controlled space and assumed captured.

As the world is of little strategic value and involves only seven Imperial citizens, the authorities have declined to help. The university is therefore seeking a small commando force to rescue the scientists and their data.

Action: Weishaupt's representatives make it quite clear that while the mission is not strictly illegal, the Imperium has not sanctioned it. The payment, on success-only, will be Cr500,000 for the data and Cr100,000 for each of the scientists recovered alive.

If the players do not have a starship, Weishaupt will pull a scout and pilot from the service reserve (the result of string pulling by the university. They must pay the pilot an equal share: he is taking at least an equal risk.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The Zhodani occupied Kehaan without a fight, as one might expect given the opposition. On landing, however, an over-eager gunnery officer caused the destruction of the expedition's submersible ATV, with two persons, Drs. Chang and Wexler aboard. The wreck was not located, but a sweep by ship's boat found no survivors.

To make amends for this accident, and because the honesty and seriousness of the university team impressed the Zhodani commander--plus the fact that the Consulate considers Kehaan no more important than the Imperium does--the Zhodani permitted the archaeologists to continue their work. A small security detachment stayed to supervise them, while the fleet moved on. Obviously, the Zhodani disarmed the Imperials and denied them access to their ship.

That was the situation two months ago. Matters have become strained. The two Zhodani officers have received psionic emanations of an unfamiliar sort, causing them headaches and other discomforts. When questioned, all the scientists denied psychic abilities (with some distaste, in fact).

Finally after a particularly severe episode, the officers probed the five scientists without result. (Drs. Higher and Benda required physical restraint: Dr. Benda broke a trooper's arm in the process.) Yet the broadcasts continue. Shvetiepr has tried clairvoyanct sensing of the site's top level, but was blocked.

The Zhodani soldiers, aware of their officers' distress, are becoming nervous. The scientists, who are not superstitious, are starting to hear and see things in the dark. It is only a matter of time until something snaps.

Referee: The above the adventurers can learn in various ways. There are things not known to the scientists and the Zhodani.

Dr. Wexler: When the Zhodani blasted the submersible, they killed Dr. Chang. Currents swept Dr Wexler, in his wet suit and breathing rig, out of the sinking hulk after sustaining a massive cranial trauma. This injury somehow put him "in tune" with the psionic control system (psicon) of the pyramid's third level, which guided him to the ship and admitted him to the upper level.

He has spent the time since learning what the psicon can teach him. The psicon has a strong programmed impulse to return o its homeworld. Because Dr. Wexler insisted on learning other things first, he is not yet capable of piloting the ship level, but will be in a few more days.

Unfortunately, he may not live that long. Intracranial bleeding from his head is producing headaches and transient paralysis--which the psicon transmits to the Zhodani officers. Wexler becomes weaker and more confused after each attack. In lucid periods he realizes that he will die without treatment. On two occasions he went into the lower levels in search of help, only to become confused again and return.

Pale, unkempt, bloody, in a torn white wetsuit, he could be anybody's idea of a ghost in the red darkness. If disoriented enough, he might draw and use his sheath knife.

3. WORLD DATA

Kehaan (X8A9000-0) has an unbreathable atmosphere and several large islands.

4. KEHAAN SITE ONE

A modular cutter with ATV module is parked on the island.

Scene: Kehaan Site One is a kilometer offshore from one of several large islands, under 40 meters of water. A field station, consists of some pressurized shelters connected by tube doors, has been set up on the sea floor: access to land is by submersible ATV (see Journal 12, page 7).

Sealed electric floodlights outside the field station illuminate the site proper: a three-level step pyramid, glossy black and featureless except one entry corridor.

A Zhodani ship's boat lies parked and anchored on the sea floor near the field station. (Recall that Traveller spacecraft are submarines by definition.)

5. PYRAMID

Scene: The corridor leads in and up to a half-flooded room, where the researchers change from wetsuits to coveralls. The air within is slightly thin but breathable.

The site interior is a maze of corridors and rooms, lit very dimly by reddish ceiling strips. The scientists have brought in generator lights, though only enough to light a small fraction of the structure at a time.

Action: The scientists have explored two lower levels of the site in some detail. They contain what appear to be laboratories and spacious living quarters. All the accessible machinery is inert, corroded solid, and nothing organic remains. The archaeologists guess that the pyramid has been unoccupied for at least 3000 years.

They have found no means of access to the top level, from inside or out.

Referee: The structure is planetary survey starship, built by a now-extinct race of oxygen breathers from a dim red star. The lower levels contained complete facilities to gather and analyze specimens: much of the machinery was controlled psionically.

After the survey was complete, the top level--a complete starship--would detach and carry the complete crew and their information home. The lower part was incapable of the return trip.

On this voyage, however, something happened to the crew, something very sudden and completely final. Now all that remain functional are the air refreshers, the glowstrips, and--in the top, sealed section--the flight systems and the ship's psionic control system (psicon).

6. ZHODANI SECURITY DETAIL

The security section consists of eight ship's troops (lightly armed and armored, and competent in underwater operations) and two Intelligence officers. Both officers are intendants, and officers/interrogators: Captain Chizhiliepr, telepath of strength 10, and Lieutenant Shvetiepr, telepath and clairvoyant of strength 9.

Action: Captain Chizhiliepr knows that this assignment, while in some ways trivial, is in others a test for him. He hoped to coexist as smoothly as possible with the Imperials, returning to regular duty with a good report--and some valuable archeological data.

It is clear to the captain that the pyramid contains some kind of psionic mechanism--and equally clear that it must not fall into Imperial hands. Yet none of the scientists appears to be actively involved. And if he evacuates the site, it will appear in his record that he could not keep rein on a handful of unarmed civilian...deadheads.

He dares not probe again. Forcible psychic invasion of noncombatants is against regulations. Authorities might excuse the first probe on grounds of military security, but not a second. Similarly, he cannot simply seize the scientists' data without some military reason.

7. DATA STORAGE

Adventurers or Captain Chizhiliapr may confront Dr. Morningside over possession of the data cartridges. She will not give them up to anyone, including self-styled "rescuers," while able to resist.

Action: There are enough data cartridges to fill two large briefcases. Morningside stores them in a watertight cabinet in one of the station shelters.

8. POSSIBILITIES

Possible surprises include finding a body (knifed by the doctor in the best slasher movie tradition), a hunt for the sunken submersible, appearance of the Kehaani ocean life the aliens were studying (its nature determined by the referee), and the mystery of what killed the original crew.

Action: It will probably be necessary for the Zhodani and the Imperials to cooperate for all to survive. Captain Chizhiliepr is intelligent, though under great stress, and will do what he must. He will not forget, however, who controls this part of space.

9. CONCLUDING EVENTS

If Wexler lives long enough, he will launch the top level and depart. No one will ever hear from him and anyone with him (possible only if Wexler brings the person inside) again. After separation, the lower levels will be suddenly and violently flooded. The glowstrips will continue working, but no means are available to seal and pump the structure dry.

If Wexler dies, the site will again become an inert artifact of historical interest only. Treatment of his fatal condition also will break his link with the psicon. No one else can achieve control of the psicon, and Wexler's "lucky" accident is not reproducible.

And escaping from Zhodani space with five scientists and two satchels of data could be an adventure in its own right.

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Aces & Eights©

--©1982, John M. Ford, JTAS 14 Date: 258-1108
NPCs

Sergeant-Major Oberon Prester (retired)

A good card-player. He will be Gambling-5, unless someone in the group is Gambling-4, in which case Prester has Gambling-6. He is a personable, popular fellow, full of stories about every aspect of his unit's history except it's last battle.

Dolby

It isn't his real name. He is Semyon's intelligence officer.

Colonel Eugen Semyon

A mercenary from the Sword Worlds with a reputation for ruthlessness and brutality. He is sometimes called "Sergeant Semyon," but never to his face.

Major Gunn

Semyon's executive officer.

1. INTRODUCTION

A representative of Firenze Ltd., a corporation specializing in the pleasures of the wealthy, approaches the group (looking for transportation offworld). He offers them high passage and the opportunity to make some money on the trip, if they will do the line a discreet service.

They suspect a professional gambler aboard the Domine Allegro, a Firenze luxury liner and gambling ship, of cheating. No proof exists. Rather than create a scene (not to mention the possibility of a lawsuit for false accusations), the line is hiring a persons, a few at each of the ship's ports of call, both to look for signs of cheating and to keep the line's regular customers from getting fleeced. (Professional gamblers are considered to have a perfect right to earn their living; cheats are not.)

Firenze Ltd. will provide high passage for all members of the party, plus cr10,000 per person in gambling chips. The line will not permit the characters to cash these chips: the line will collect them at the end of the trip. They will deduct the original stake, and any amount left over (winnings) the players may keep; their losses will be forgiven. It's a literalization of the old gambler's axiom: you can't lose with the house's money.

Action: When the players board the Domine Allegro, each will find a case in his or her stateroom containing Cr10,000 in Firenze Casinos Division chips and a photograph of the suspected gambler. They will find him easily, as he spends every waking hour on the casino floor, even taking his meals at the poker table.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

Colonel Semyon was hired several months ago as a striker in a military coup d'etat on Malefolge. A better and certainly more ruthless soldier than his employers, he soon became the de facto ruler of the inhabited areas. Then he learned of two local legends: that a biowar attack by their supposed local allies, the same men who hired the colonel, destroyed the Aces and Eights; and (of much more interest) that a complete quarterly payroll for the brigade (MCr20) arrived just before the sneak attack. The rumor says that the brigade's survivors (troops like Prester, who were on patrol or detached duty at the time of the attack) hid the money in the mountains.

Semyon located the survivors of the 1188th who still lived on Malefolge, had them "removed", and handed them over to Dolby. Despite Dolby's considerable skill in questioning, he learned very little: only that the deck of cards is somehow the key to locating the money. Semyon is not certain how to use the cards, but he has plenty of time to find out, unless the players interfere.

The Map: The black aces and eights in the deck contain radiopaque inserts that will show up as black lines in a X-ray picture. Meaningless separately, the lines will overlay into a map when one stacks the cards with the backs aligned. The map is incomplete, however, without a fifth "hole card" which is not in Prester's deck.

The Resistance: the fifth card, a joker, is in the possession of the one survivor on Malefolge Semyon doesn't know of: Captain Fell, the 1188th's Intelligence Officer, who designed the plan to hide the money. [And he needs a map to find it?] He has completely changed his identity (and his fellow soldiers died without betraying him). He is deeply involved in an underground movement to free Malefolge from dictatorship in general, and now Colonel Semyon in particular. The money would help the movement, and Fell sent a signal several months ago calling the card-carrier in. It was his bad luck that Semyon learned too much, and ownership of the deck passed to someone as careless as Prester (not Fell's original choice).

3. POKER TABLE

Sergeant-Major (Retired) Oberon Prester plays continuous hands of five-card stud poker at a five-player table. Despite his skill, his table will always be full. (There will never be room for more than two players to sit in at any one time.) He is a personable, popular fellow, full of stories about every aspect of his unit's history except it's last battle.

Action: He does not appear to cheat--he's just a good poker player. (Gambling-5, unless one of the players is Gambling-4 or better, in which case he will be two skill levels higher.)

Prester served in the 1188th "Aces and Eights" Lift Infantry Brigade. Long service infantry veterans may remember that the 1188th no longer exists. It was destroyed in a poorly-remembered engagement. Prester will acknowledge this, but will refuse to discuss the incident.

He always carries a deck of playing cards; the backs bear the regimental insignia, a skeleton hand holding a fan of five cards: the black aces, the black eights, and a face-down hole card. He cannot use the deck in play, since the casino rules naturally prohibit any gaming equipment not provided by the house.

4. SEMYON

Also aboard, and hard to miss, is Colonel Eugen Semyon, a mercenary commander with an infamous reputation for brutality. His XO, Major Gunn, usually accompanies him, and an "honor guard" of four to six hardcases, in mesh-lined jackets, always surrounds him.

Semyon's unit is not aboard, though at meals he will be seen discussing plans with Major Gunn.

Action: Semyon's fully-justified reputation goes back to his days as a Sword Worlds' NCO. In fact, some still call him "Sergeant Semyon," but not to his face. Major Gun is quiet and efficient, but not a nice person either. The liner's crew doesn't like Semyon's presence, but can do nothing about it as long as he breaks no laws.

If one of the players is bold/crazy enough to ask for employment, there will be a -4 DM to the reaction roll. A negative result means that Gunn will send two of the guards around to rough up the applicant when the crew isn't watching.

5. PRIVATE GAME

A few days into the trip, either just before or after jump, one of the poker players, Dolby, will suggest a "friendly", unsupervised game in his stateroom. Prester will accept; the player(s) may accept or decline as they wish.

Action: At this game, Dolby will discover that he has forgotten to pack a deck of cards, and Prester will bring out his souvenir deck. Midway through the second or third hand, Dolby will look closely at the cards, and announce that they are marked. Very rapidly, he will draw a body pistol and pump several tranq rounds into Prester. He then gathers up the cards, explaining that he is a ship's security officer who has been waiting for evidence that the sergeant-major was a cheat. He will ask that everyone remain in the room until he can bring back other ship's security officers to take Prester into custody. Dolby will then attempt to leave, alone, before anyone can fully react.

Action: If Dolby leaves, he will never be seen again aboard ship. (He will steal a ship's boat and make his escape.) The characters will very soon discover that Sergeant-Major Preset is dead. Dolby's first shot was nerve toxin. The rest are conventional tranq rounds, and he will not hesitate to shoot anyone trying to prevent his departure. Dolby is not with Firenze, but with Colonel Semyon. He is a professional killer turned the Colonel's "Special Intelligence Officer." Dolby isn't his name and this isn't his stateroom.

The characters in the room will guess something is amiss when they discover Prester is dead, Dolby fails to return, or the person whose room key "Dolby" stole returns. If the players are a little slow in picking up on any of this, one of the NPCs can help them out.

If no player character was in the game, consider having "Dolby" bump into one of them on his way to steal the boat.

6. JOURNEY'S END?

The original offer of employment by Firenze Ltd. was legitimate. The free passage extends only to the next stop. Firenze Ltd. will not be eager to have them on the Domine Allegro (which carries no low passengers) after Sergeant-Major Prester's murder.

Action: Authoritiess may hold the characters as material witnesses in Sergeant-Major Prester's murder. The players must arrange and pay for passage to Malefolge.

Cashing it in: If the players do not make a profit gambling aboard ship, it will probably occur to them to conceal some of their chips and claim to have lost them, then cash them in at some other Firenze Ltd. shipboard or dirtside casino.

Every chip contains a printed tracer circuit. Chips carried off the ship pass through an electronic field that destroys this circuit. Casinos will not cahs inerted chips. (Present-day casinos mark any gambling equipment carried out as souvenirs, to prevent altering it for cheating purposes.) Any player with gambling-3 or better will know of this system, and know better than to try to beat it. Allow non-professionals to try, with appropriate results.

7. MALEFOLGE

Semyon and company are headed for a world one stop after Domine Allegro's next: Malefolge (B787699-7, Amber). The world happens to be the site of the 1188th's destruction. The preceding can serve to involve players in the events on Malefolge.

Action: At Malefolge, other problems include leaving Malefolge starport without being noticed by Semyon's police, making contact with the resistance, and getting MCr20 out of the mountains and past the Colonel's forces.

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Chill©

--©1983, John M. Ford, JTAS 15 Date: 059-1109
NPCs

Count Ibraim Radge

A member of the Primacy, he meets the party at the starport and pushes them to accompany him to the capital city.

1. INTRODUCTION

The players respond to an initial advertisement for work. They are introduced to a person wearing a breathing mask, and a black cloak: a service factor of indeterminate age, sex, and even species (well. not a Droyne or a Hiver, but other than that...)

The team is to accompany an unspecified cargo to its destination world, see that it is delivered safely, and return to the factor with the payment. They will receive 10% of the payment received as fee for service. This will amount to Cr400,000.

The patron makes it very clear that the team is not to tamper with or open the cargo, and even more clear that if they try to steal the payment and flee, they will be hunted down and killed in a most unpleasant fashion.

Action: Should the players voice the obvious suspicions, the disguised factor will tell them that the cargo is a legal commodity everywhere in the Imperium, and its import to the destination is entirely legal.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The Primacy of Sainte Foy suffer from a hereditary anemia, requiring infusions of blood every two weeks. Count Radge's initial nervousness was due to his being near his infusion time. The planetary lottery taps 500 citizens a week for a unit of blood. The guerilla movement means to stop this system.

The Primacy is not really a horrible, evil court of vampires. They are rather good rulers with a peculiar and difficult problem, that they with good reason do not expect offworlders to understand. Most Foyan citizens support the Primacy, the lottery (which is scrupulously fair), and the system in general. The IISS should list the government type as C.

The cargo consists of 20,000 units of frozen human whole blood, about a year's supply for the entire Primacy. The blood purchase is an attempt by the Primacy to stop literally bleeding the citizens. In the past they have had the usual Foyan objections to dealing with outsiders, and faced difficulties in purchasing the required quantities of whole blood. (It is not common, since Imperial hospitals use blood components and synthetics instead.)

Recently, Isoplastics Inc. (the transplantable tissues division of the huge medical cartel Mercy General) offered 20,000 units at double the usual price, and the Foyans took the offer.

The purchasers do not know that Isoplastics diverted several regular shipments of blood to assemble this extra profit load. Several hospitals have been left with no stock, and at least one person has died. This explains the secrecy of the factor hiring the group.

3. WORLD DATA

Sainte Foy (B756733-7 Amber) is a rugged mining world, ruled by a hereditary clique, the Primacy, descended from the earliest colonists. The standard of living is high, but Foyans are notorious secrecy and xenophobia. Armed parties have met ships landing outside the Gateway Starport, resulting in the Amber classification.

4. TRANSPORT

Transport will be aboard a tramp freighter of the rustbucket variety. Accommodations are second-class, but clean and comfortable. The crew is friendly, except the captain, who is officious and surly and will expressly deny the payers any access to the hold.

5. ARRIVAL

Scene: Gateway Starport is in a box canyon with mountains on all sides. The weather on landing is cool (10o C) and pleasant, calm, with cloudy but unthreatening skies.

The cargo offloaded will be seen to consist of three crates, loaded on three grav pallets. Blue plastic insulation covers the crates, which carry no information beyond an address and the notices Keep Below 0° and Do Not Accept if Seal is Broken.

Action: The purchasing agent was delayed, so the players will have a small amount of time to explore the starport. It is inhabited entirely by offworlders with no better place to go. Sainte Foy pays port employees well, since the Foyans do not themselves deal with offworlders. Another result is that the port staff are very little involved in Foyan life.

The players must not leave the port; non-Foyans may not cross the extrality line without a passport issued by the Primacy--and no one with such authority is present.

The local newspaper (assuming that the players ask to see one) has a black bordered box on the front page containing several multi-digit numbers. The staff can explain that this is some kind of lottery, open only to the natives. They either do not know or will not say more than this.

6. NEGOTIATIONS

Eventually a train will arrive carrying the purchasing agent, Count Ibraim Radge, one of the Primacy. He is upset, impatient, and angry; wind shear in the mountains has grounded the helicopters which were to receive the cargo. The cargo must now travel by train.

The A (Chrysolite) Platoon of the Sainte Foy Prime Guard, 30 picked soldiers equipped to tech level 9, accopmanies him.

Action: While the Count has the payment (MCr4 in a briefcase with anti-theft devices), he will refuse to hand it over, saying that the contract is for delivery to the capital, Villefoix. The players may wait at the port until Radge returns to pay them, or they may accompany him to Villefoix as additional guards. If they do so, they will be paid an additional Cr100,000 in cash, which they need not share with the factor.

The troops will by now have taken possession of the cargo, and will not give it up.

The ship captain's contract has expired, and he insists upon leaving now, with the players or without them. Radge will add high passages to his offer. If the players are hesitant, more cash (becoming more impatient and angry by the moment). The absolute limit of his offer in cash and passage tickets is Cr250,000.

7. THE TRAIN

Assuming the players accept, they will board a northbound train. Stevedores will stow the cargo pallets in a baggage car.

Foyan trains are tech level 7 designs (steel wheels on welded steel rails) with fusion powered locomotives recently imported. The Count's special train consists of a locomotive, two baggage cars, a coach/bunk car for the soldiers, a dining car, and an office/parlor for the Count's use.

Action: The trip to Villefoix is 2,300 km. The train's average speed is 100 kph. Once into the mountains around Gateway, Sainte Foy's true character will reveal itself. The temperature falls to -25o C, with persistent winds of at least 10 kph gusting to 50+, and intermittent snow.

8. STOPOVER

Two and a half hours into the trip, the train will stop at what appears to be a mountain lodge. The stopover will last two hours, during which Radge will not be seen.

When the Count appears at reboarding, his impatience and irritation will be gone. When the train pulls out, the general mood will improve; everyone will begin to relax.

If they inspect the cargo, the players find that one ton of crates has been removed. The Count will cheerfully ignore any protests over this, pointing out that he is carrying the MCr4, and insisting on some good faith in return.

Action: The players may enter the lodge--at which there are no other guests--take hot showers, patronize the bar, and so forth. They will learn nothing at all about the place other than it is reserved for the Primacy.

If one of the players tries to always keep a guard over the pallets during the layover, find some means to distract him or her. (An offer of hot soup in the dining car while a Chrysolite stands watch, for instance.)

9. AMBUSH

Guerillas will sabotage the tracks ahead and behind, forcing an emergency stop, shortly after midnight. A guerilla force will then launch an attack from the trackside woods.

Action: The ambushers are poorly equipped (tech level 5-6, no weapons heavier than a light machine gun or single shot RPGL). The attack will almost certainly succeed in nothing but permanently stopping the train and picking off a few of the accompanying troops.

The guerrillas will not surrender, and the Chrysolites will take no prisoners. Guerilla carry no identification, but all wear a small silver medallion showing a heart impaled on a crown of thorns. (The heart impaled on thorns is an ancient magical death symbol.)

If the players manage to capture a prisoner(s), they will reveal no information and will die within an hour. Medical analysis--if available--will reveal that the guerrillas had all taken a hemolytic poison before they launched their attack. The guerilla suicide squads take hemotoxin so the Primacy cannot use their blood. (One guess how criminals are executed on Sainte Foy.)

The Count will try to call for assistance, only to discover that all long-range communicators (including the players, if any) were sabotaged beyond repair.

10. INTO THE OUTBACK

There is only one viable option: leave the train and travel cross-country.

Action: Three vehicles are available: two Snowcats (4-passenger tracked vehicles with some weather protection) and a halftrack with skis (driver and passenger in an enclosed cab; 8-persons or 4 tons cargo in the truck bed).

The cargo pallets have a total capacity of 15 tons, 5 each, of which the crates fill nine. A vehicle may tow the pallets or two walking men may push one.

The Chrysolites will not abandon their wounded under any circumstances, and will not leave their dead unless absolutely forced to. (They will first bury the bodies, stripped of anything the guerrillas might dig up and use.)

11. THE TREK

The referee must determine the length of the trek across Sainte Foy's wilderness and the number of guerrillas harassing the marchers. The mountain range is not as friendly as Colorado Springs and not as hostile as the Tien Shan or Eigerwand north face.

Action: Armed search partied will be out as soon as the train misses a scheduled station. They will ride snow mobiles and (weather permitting) helicopters. Any settlements (mines, camps, etc.) will shelter the group, unless the settlement is actually a guerilla stronghold!

The refere must also determine who sabotaged the communicators. If one of the Chrysolites is a rebel, the adventurers could be in serious trouble. (He also could die protecting them, though. Remember, they're fanatics!)

12. AFTERWARD

There is the distinct possibility that the Imperium will prosecute Isoplastics Inc. for malfeasance and murder. Mercy General itself is too powerful to be affected, but someone will have to be made a scapegoat. They knew the contract was dangerous when they took it...

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The Drannixa Gambit

--by J. Andrew Keith, JTAS 15 Date: 059-1109

This adventure occurs on Azun in the Solomani Rim. It can occur on another high-population world with arcologies (huge, single-building cities.)

NPCs

Arthur Wilcox

He heads the Council on Commercial Development for Elskay, one of Azun's arcology cities. He is an honest man and loving father; the two sides now place him in an impossible situation.

Sharon Wilcox

Sharon herself will be a potential hindrance to the group. She is rebellious, head-strong, and doesn't completely comprehend her danger.

1. INTRODUCTION

Arthur Wilcox contacts the characters, during a stopover at the orbital starport over Azun. He identifies himself as head of the Council on Commercial Development for Elskay, one of Azun's arcology cities. He needs a group of offworlders for a risky but vitally important task.

There is a specific need for individuals with expertise in medicine (level 2+), electronics (level 1+), and computer (level 3+). If the group can meet these qualifications, and is still willing to talk, Wilcox will arrange to convey them to his office in Elskay to discuss details of his offer.

Action: Wilcox wants the group to free his daughter from detention in the Drannixa arcology, and destroy computer files holding fabricated evidence against her.

Upon completing the mission, they will be given Cr15,000 each plus high passage to Coriolanus, a commercial center. From there the group can expect to make connections for almost any other important world in the region.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

Action: Wilcox has been in charge of negotiating a contract between Elskay and an offworld corporation, Farmines, LIC. This contract involves a joint investment for the development of mines on Bran, Azun's smaller moon. Elskay would receive a large portion of the ore extracted from these mines for processing, which will give the city a needed economic boost. Another city, Drannixa, has also been trying to land the Farmines contract, but Elskay's offers have been better received. Farmines will review the final contract and signed in three day's time.

A complication has arisen. Drannixa has a hold over Wilcox, which they threaten to use if he does not ruin Elskay's chances with Farmines (by making a last-minute change in terms that Drannixa can easily out-bid.) The rival city has in custody Sharon Wilcox, daughter of the councillor, and they will charge her with conspiracy to poison Drannixa's food-processing plants.

Wilcox explains that his daughter (much to his chagrin) has long belonged to an utopian protest group which has members in several cities. It claims that the only way to live is to reject the technological dependence of the cities (as much as possible, considering the world's atmosphere) and return to the soil. The group has never amounted to much. Wilcox always saw Sharon's involvement as a rather harmless kind of protest and rebellion against parental authority.

Sharon knew of the plot by her fellow utopians, but was not directly involved. When Drannixa captured the actual saboteurs, they identified many other members of their organization and Drannixa arrested Sharon. Her captors soon discovered her father's identity, and hatched the blackmail plot. Public opinion being what it is, Sharon will certainly be executed for her supposed involvement in the crime.

Wilcox cannot betray his city, but he loves his daughter very much. He has selected another alternative--hire a team of adventurers to get into Drannixa, free Sharon, and wipe clean the computer files holding the fabricated evidence against her.

3. WORLD DATA

See the article on Azun in JTAS 15.

4. INSIDE

The referee should bear in mind the tight security procedures in effect inside the city. Once security personnel become aware of the adventurers and their mission, they will react with great speed. The party must strike quickly, and not raise the alarm before they find the girl.

Action: The group will be given certain essential items to make it possible to penetrate Drannixa's security systems. Each member will receive a small (1 gram) tracer tuned to identify the individual as a resident of Drannixa. This will enable them to move about more freely than visitors, although specific codes allowing access to high security areas are not available.

Weaponry is not advisable, since all weapons are forbidden and security runs spot checks on everyone (including residents) fairly frequently.

5. SHARON WILCOX

Once in Drannixa, the group must figure out a way to enter the detention section of the administrative levels, locate Sharon Wilcox, and avoid notice in doing so. One option might be to get one or more of the group in trouble and taken to the detention center. The remainder could then the remainder could then pose as worried friends and apply for a pass to see the captive(s). There are other solutions, any of which could be workable.

Action: Once they find Sharon Wilcox, they must remove her implanted ID tracer. This requires medical-2, electronics-1, and 2D minutes. Then they can implant a spare tracer like that carried by the adventurers.

Once her tracer is removed and goes dead (normal tracers won't function when removed) the alarm will be raised regardless of other considerations.

6. THE FILES

To wipe out the evidence assembled against her, the adventurers must discover the correct computer file and erase it.

Action: The task to locate requires a modified roll of 15 on 2D. One roll may be made for every five minutes spent at a computer console looking for the file. Once located, the file may be erased automatically.

There is a chance that using the computer will trigger an alarm. Any result of 2 on the locate file roll will set off the alarm and lock the terminal.

7. ESCAPE

Escape depends upon successfully eluding the security personnel, and then relying on the group's ability to bluff their way past guards and search parties.

8. AFTERWARD

If the authorities catch members of the party, the penalty they receive will depend upon the crime(s) they have committed. The referee should read the article on Azun for information on this subject.

If they escape the arcology without Sharon or if she dies, their patron will sign the contract and commit suicide, leaving them without payment and without contacts on Azun.

If the group gets Sharon out, but Wilcox believes that Drannixa can still cause trouble (because the party did not destroy the files, or if the referee merely wants to extend the adventure), he may hire the group again to escort his daughter offworld and keep her out of trouble until time settles the problem. In this case, the group can look forward to a whole series of adventures arising from Sharon's irresponsible, headstrong attitudes. It shouldn't be too long before members of the party begin to believe they should have left her in that cell.

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Last Flight of the Themis©

--©1983, John M. Ford, JTAS 16 Date: 119-1109
CHARACTERS

Sister: One of the primaries is the dead pilot's sister. She believes that the verdict of the inquest was reached hastily and cast doubt on her brother's reputation, which she wishes to clear. She was once an apprentice navigator, and is knowledgeable about starships, and smuggling and smugglers.

Secret: She is trying to recover the smuggled parcel. She will attempt to contact the sole crash survivor. She would like to clear her brother's name, but it is definitely secondary to recovering the parcel.

Cousin: Another representative is a dead crew member's cousin. He is simply after the truth.

Secret: The cousin is unrelated to any of the accident victims; he is a freelance industrial spy employed by Customform, LIC, the maker of the dangerous upholstery material.

Only a small, faultily-synthesized batch of Novyde is hazardous, and no other accidents have been reported: the company cannot know with certainty that it was responsible in this case, but their spy is to find out and, if so, cover up the fact. He has Cr20,000 cash available for hiring thugs, bribes, and so on.

The spy hates violence, and is rather cowardly. Though he can handle guns, he will prefer tactics such as hiring thugs to scare off or rough up team members. He will not kill or order killing unless his own life is in danger, and even then will try bribery first.

Widower: Another representative is the widower of a passenger. He is simply after the truth. The widower's late wife was in the bridge-deck stateroom.

Secret: The man is a top security officer for Highline Corporation, who is supposed to cover up for the spaceline, which knows its maintenance is substandard.

He pulled strings to get himself assigned to this job, and has powerful sense of duty overriding his grief. However, if he comes to believe, correctly or not, that any identifiable person or persons caused his wife's death, he will kill them without compunction.

The man has been in military intelligence and private security for over thirty years. He is an expert with all small arms and in unarmed combat, as well as the usual security/intelligence skills.

Sole survivor: Now works at Gwydion starport. The survivor may or may not know about the parcel (at referee's option); if so, the ex-crew member will talk only to the sister, and only alone.

CONTACTED

The players are approached by representatives of a group of relatives of those killed in the Themis disaster. The group wishes to hire the characters as guards, crew, or investigative help in a private inquiry into the causes of the crash.

The relative's organization has a starship of the Themis's class and apparently unlimited credit. They will pay normal salaries for the duration of the operation, plus all reasonable expenses. Double salaries will be paid if sufficient evidence is gathered to open a new official inquiry.

Referee's Information

During a low-level night approach to Gwydion starport, the Highline Corporation free trader Themis (200 tons, see plans in Supplement 7, Traders and Gunboats) crashed, killing all aboard except for one crew member on duty in the drives room, and destroying the cargo of farm implements. Despite the unusual circumstances of the approach--so low as to be off Gwydion's approach radar, an illegal maneuver--the official inquiry reached a verdict of "blame not provable."

FACTS

The facts of the crash of the Highline Themis are as follows:

The pilot was flying a dangerous approach because he was smuggling a small but highly valuable package. He planned to touch down and pass the parcel on before Gwydion control was quite aware that he had landed, claiming instrument failure for his violation of procedures.

However, during the tight and rapid maneuvers required (the flight path was strewn with boulders, some nearly twenty meters high) a worn bushing in the pilot's seat support (the result of poor maintenance) scraped a wire. The short caused a tiny electrical fire inside the seat. By itself this fire would have been harmless. When exposed to heat, the upholstery material (Novyde synthetic leather) generated a colorless, toxic vapor. The gas made the pilot dizzy briefly--and before anyone on the bridge had time to notice, Themis was on the rocks.

The official inquest was rushed. It is obvious to any pilot with experience in the "small package trade" (which is most of them) that Themis' pilot was smuggling. The inconclusive, hasty verdict was reached to protect his reputation, not damage it.

The relatives: the organization is genuine. Its money comes from a few well-off members and from insurance payments. Credit is not unlimited, although the limits are fairly high: roughly Cr100,000 per single purchase. The ship is on loan from Highline Corporation, and must be returned.

EVENTS

This highly-complicated situation can move in many different directions. There are potentials for blackmail, loot, and hijacking.

Avoid the temptation to have the widower go berserk; keep him under control. If he does slip toward madness, he should become careless in proportion.

The referee may add other members of the relative's group, to provide skills the players lack and act a red herrings.

The wreck may be virtually as it was after the crash, or picked clean by salvagers.

Other possibilities include local criminal gangs after the parcel, and members of the board of inquiry covering up for themselves.

During the test of this scenario, the players used their ship to duplicate the last flight of the Themis, as in Earnest K. Gann's Fate is the Hunter.

RESOLUTION

Actually acquiring enough evidence to reopen the inquest is not likely to please anyone without secret motives--and perhaps not even them, since a "lost while smuggling" verdict might cost them their insurance rewards. However, a new inquest would be a victory for those rare causes, truth and justice, and should be rewarded somehow, by somebody.

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The Day of the Glow

--Marcus Rowland, JTAS 16 Date: 119-1109
CHARACTERS

The adventurers are the crew of a ship visiting Purfyr. They have just concluded three weeks of negotiations with the local merchant's association, eventually making an unexpectedly good deal. Accordingly, they have spent the night celebrating, and stayed overnight in the best hotel in the city.

In the morning, when the team meets for breakfast in their suite, they gradually notice that something is wrong. Room service fails to answer when called and the old-fashion electric lights are flickering slightly.

After a few minutes someone remembers that there is a radio in the next room, and switches it on to hear a tense, almost panic-stricken voice:

"...and government sources stated that martial law will be imposed for the duration of the crisis. Starport authorities have announced a total quarantine, as has the scout base. So far there have been six serious incidents and an estimated sixty deaths in the capital since the discovery of..."

With these words, the lights give a final flicker and go out, and the radio stops working. Through the window a pall of smoke is visible, rising from the direction of the main power station.

Action: When the group leave the suite, they will find that the staff have deserted the building, leaving many rooms empty and apparently ransacked. The suite is on the 18th floor, and the elevator is inoperative.

For each floor of the hotel searched, roll 2D-6 to determine the number of occupants. (Treat negative numbers as none.) For each person discovered, roll 2D:

7+ Person knows of the epidemic
10,11 Person is a carrier
12 Person shows terminal symptoms (already insane on 5+ on 2D)
REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The disease was developed years ago by one of the world's nation-states as a biological weapon. The referee should determine the reason for the resurgence of the disease:

The glowing plague is a viral form of the ancient genetic iron deficiency disease Porphyria. It interferes with the body's ability to make hemoglobin by preventing iron from being absorbed into the process. The original disease was a genetic disorder, but recombinant genetic experimentation produced an airborne viral form.

WORLD DATA

Purfyr (C867645-A) is a remote agricultural world off the main trade routes, but visited occasionally by merchant ships trading for gourmet foods, wines, and pharmaceutical plant extracts.

SYMPTOMS

After a two-week incubation period (in the last week of which the victim can spread the disease by breath, excretions, or physical contact), visible symptoms develop over a few hours. First signs are the eruption of skin tumors and extreme pain upon exposure to bright lights.

Effects include insanity, build up of porphyrins in the skin (which may lead to skin tumors, and make exposure to sunlight extremely painful), shrinking gums (which cause the teeth to lengthen), and (in some cases) erupting facial hair. The accumulation of porphyrin compounds in the skin causes the skin to fluoresce under ultraviolet light, hence the name of the illness.

For each 5 hours of the terminal stage, throw 5+ to avoid insanity.

Victims feel a craving for iron rich organics, and in the depths of the dementia may turn to drinking blood or cannibalism. Death, caused by a lack of hemoglobin, usually occurs within 80-120 hours after the onset of extreme symptoms.

CONTACTS

There is a chance of infection for each contact with a plague carrier or terminal victim.

To catch infection:
4- (fateful)
Referee: Apply the following modifiers:
If endurance 5- -2
If endurance 10+ +1
If strength 4- -1
If strength 9+ +1
If touched or bitten -3
Per hour (or fraction) of exposure -1
If vaccinated +8

Action: Allow players who wish to try traditional "treatments" for the infection to discover that:

Garlic causes victims some discomfort, but no immediate injury (certain compounds in garlic accelerate the effect of the disease).

Stakes through the heart will kill victims (or anyone else). They are used with a -5 skill penalty, and with the same statistics as a bayonet.

All normal weapons have normal effect.

Holy water, crucifixes, and mirrors are totally ineffective. How the characters go about locating holy water or crucifixes is left to the referee's imagination.

TREATMENT

A vaccine is available, but is in short supply, and it will take time to synthesize a large supply. In any case, the vaccine will only prevent onset of the disease; only rarely will it cure the disease.

Immediate whole blood transfusions will arrest the progress of the disease for 48-72 hours.

Action: In the first 48 hours of infection, victims can be cured if they are inoculated with the proper vaccine. If no vaccine is found, a spontaneous cure will result on 8+ the first week, 11+ the second week, and 12+ once the terminal stage begins at the end of the second week. Allow +1DM per two level of medical skill.

GOVERNMENT ACTIONS
  1. A mass vaccination program to inoculate everyone on the planet is underway. It will take six days for the vaccine to become readily available.
  2. Martial law has been declared. The police and army will patrol all areas, and can arrest or shoot all looters and other criminals. All restaurants and food shops have been closed, with food being issued from mobile canteens to registered adults (see below), the young, and the elderly.
  3. 3. All adults age 18 to 50 must register at a police station, hospital, or local government office. The registration process includes vaccination {when available} and a ration card. Anyone in this age group failing to register is liable to arrest.

Action: In the days before the vaccine becomes readily available, use the following task.

To find vaccine (one dose):
Formidable, Streetwise, Medical, Liaison
Referee: Only one dose will be located.

Those registered will be assigned to some form of emergency work.

Medical: Anyone with medical skill or relevant scientific training will be assigned to duty in a hospital, mobile vaccination unit, or research unit.

Police/Army: Those with army or marine backgrounds, or weapon skill 2+, will be assigned to aid a police or army unit.

Decontamination: Characters with vacc suit 1+ may be assigned to a mobile fumigation unit, decontaminating premises believed contaminated with the plague.

Transport: Those with a ground vehicle skill may be assigned to a transport unit, moving supplies where they are needed.

Miscellaneous: Anyone left over will be assigned to an appropriate job, such as mobile canteen cook, power station engineer, hospital porter, etc.

Roll once for an encounter (8+ on 2D) for each separate character or group of characters per day of the emergency. Encounters may be face-to-face events or may be events which affect the players more or less directly. The referee should determine the nature of these encounters or events depending upon the individual circumstances.

SUBSEQUENT EVENTS

If players wish to attempt to get off-world or hide out in the country for the duration of the epidemic, the referee should make a saving throw of 4+ for each character. If this roll is failed, the character is already infected, and is in day 2D+1 of the disease. Such attempts may well lead to arrest.

If characters are caught looting or committing other crimes (forging ration cards, hoarding food) they may be executed with a minimal military trial, but are more likely to be sentenced to 3D years in the planetary prison.

If the characters stay in the city for the duration of the epidemic (1D+1 weeks + 3 weeks quarantine) and aid the emergency services, they will be paid 2D thousand credits per person (in promissory notes, payable in one year) as compensation for their trouble. They may be paid bonuses for outstanding heroism.

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Chariots of Fire

--by Andrew Blixt, JTAS 18 Date: 274-1109
1. INTRODUCTION

A major of Castica's military intelligence approaches the players (now staying in Jaco, Castica's capital). He offers them Cr50,000 if they will steal two fire engines from Azacul, Handor's capital, and transport them to Jaco.

The capitals are only about 10 km apart, with a good road connecting them. The border is about midway between. A couple of years before the revolution, both country's formed a special fire-fighting unit, equipped (at great expense) to handle complicated urban/industrial fires. The unit was better than either could have afforded individually. It was stationed in Azacul, but could operate freely in either country. The Handor government nationalized the unit a week ago, expelling all the unit's Castican personnel, and prohibited it from crossing the border.

In ten days the Castican president will make an official visit to Handor to discuss the current problems between the two nations. A faction of the Castican government expects the talks to be unsuccessful, and has decided to stage a propaganda coup. The players' task is to steal the two vehicles the night after the president's departure from Handor.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

There are several conditions to the ticket. The vehicles must be in usable condition when they get across the border. Minor damage is acceptable, but the players will receive a 5% bonus for each vehicle that is delivered undamaged. In only one vehicle is recovered, they will be paid half the promised salary. If the players kill or injure anyone, or if they are caught or killed, Castica will deny any involvement.

3. WORLD DATA

Gatina (C765876-7).

Castica and Handor are two small nations, each with about 250,000 inhabitants, law level 6, and tech level 6. Both border on and are dwarfed by Arnit, a larger nation which dominates the region.

A military junta, supported by wealthy aristocratic landowners, rules Handor.

Castica suffered a revolution a couple of years ago, when the ruling dictatorship was overthrown, and a democratic government gained power. The new government is not popular in Handor and Arnit, since it passed laws detrimental to foreign investment, causing great financial loss in these countries. Border incidents have increased in recent years.

4. THE STATION

The Castican patron will supply the players with blueprints of the station and maps of Azacul and the surrounding countryside.

The vehicles are in the Azacul main fire station, located on the outskirts of the city. The station consists of two buildings. The main one containing six ordinary fire engines and quarters for their crews. The secondary building contains the special engines and crews' quarters. Both buildings have special burglar alarms on the doors and windows.

5. THE UNITS

The specific unit consists of two vehicles with 30-meter ladders and two vehicles with 12-cubic-meter foam tanks and sophisticated protective equipment for the firemen. All four trucks can travel at 120 kph, have a range of 150 km, and are painted a high visibility yellow.

6. THE BORDER

The inter-capital road and several small roads of low-quality cross the border between Handor and Castica. The Handorian para-military border police, and the Castica military, guard all the border crossings. It wouldn't do at all to get the vehicles safely to the border, and then have them destroyed in a firefight.

Action: The border police have TL 6 infantry weapons, and are somewhat trigger-happy. Characters should treat them with care, although they can accept bribes if the offer is large enough and made with proper diplomacy.

The Castican army is also very jumpy, and also will need to be handled carefully. No one can inform the army ahead of time, since the government is not officially involved.

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Without A Trace

--by J. Andrew Keith, JTAS 18 Date: 274-1109

This is an investigatory adventure, with the group building up information until they can see the correct course of action. Murder at Arcturus Station presents more information on the Arcturus system and Lamarck Minerals. (In a campaign setting, this can be run as a precursor to that adventure.)

NPCs

Ringiil Urshukaan

President of Lamarck Mineral, LIC. He is brusque and stubborn.

Merrick Wilson

A bad apple, Wilson arranged to steal the Solaria and leave the region to get back at Lamarck Mineral. The leader of the plot, he has mining and office skills.

1. INTRODUCTION

While visiting Banasdan (Banasdan 0510 A653A44-F), Ringiil Urshukaan, a distinguished businessman, approaches the group. He identifies himself as the president of Lamarck Mineral, LIC, a large mineral exploitation firm with offices and operation in three subsectors of the Solomani Rim.

A bulk ore carrier, the Solaria, disappeared while en route from Banasdan to the nearby system of Arcturus. Solaria, one of Lamarck's biggest and newest ships, was on her maiden voyage. There was no problem from launch to jump point. The ore carrier did not show up in the Arcturus belt on schedule. There were reports, however, that a contact of approximately the mass and configuration of the missing freighter appeared briefly on sensors in the belt, but was quickly lost in a drifting asteroid cluster.

Urshukaan suspects foul play. He wants the adventurers to look into the matter, and see if they can discover the fate of the missing ore carrier. The group is to be given complete information on the events in the Banasdan system. Urshukaan also will arrange for the authorities at Arcturus to cooperate, should the group decide to check the contact report.

He will pay the group Cr50,000 for their work: an advance of Cr5,000 each is authorized. He also provides a company voucher for the duration of the mission, to enable the party to use company transportation and facilities as needed.

Urshukaan will travel to Heraklion, then to Arcturus. He will meet the party there to receive their findings and pay them if they have successfully completed the assignment.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The Solaria is a 1800-ton ship similar to the Leviathan class of merchants, but weaponry, crew, and research facilities reduced for more cargo space. Adventure 4, Leviathan is the source of the Solaria's deck plans.

Merrick Wilson hijacked it as part of a plot by miners to flee the belt. Lamarck Minerals is a harsh taskmaster, and those in Wilson's group have decided to get clean away with the ship and a hefty cargo of valuable ore to set themselves up beyond the reach of the company.

The adventurers will discover this aspect of the plot only if they trace Wilson or the Solaria. They may search the area of the reported sighting, or, more likely, they can discover Wilson by tracing his own record.

3. WORLD DATA

Banasdan (Banasdan 0510 A653A44-F)

Arcturus (Arcturus 0501 C000364-F)

4. BANASDAN EVENTS

Checking into information at Banasdan will make it clear that it is extremely unlikely for the ship to have misjumped or suffered some other mechanical failure. The yard certified all systems as fully operational, and Solaria's engineer was one of the best in the business.

Solaria's crew were all Lamarck employees, most of them permanently assigned to the Arcturus Belt. The ship carried neither passengers or cargo, and it is unlikely that outsiders could have come on board without notice.

5. ARCTURUS

If the party chooses to follow up the sighting reported in the belt, they can travel to Arcturus (a jump-1 away from Banasdan) on company transport.

Action: At the station, their voucher will allow them to requisition a shuttle for use in travelling in the belt.

The sighting came from one of the deep space stations (station 3) which serve as coordination centers for mining activities. Working with administrative personnel at station 3, the group can locate the area where the sighting occurred.

They might adopt the needle-in-a-haystack approach of combing the area where the station reported a sighting. A laborious and time-consuming task, a search might eventually pay off.

6. ARCTURUS PERSONNEL RECORDS

Should they think to do so, they can gain access to personnel files on the crewmen of the Solaria who worked in the belt.

Action: The information there will show that several of the people involved, although top-notch in their fields, have very poor records with the company. Disciplinary problems are common to all of them, and three were involved in an attempt to organize a radical labor union directed against Lamarck's policies.

7. WILSON'S RECORD

Careful detective work will show that the Solaria's doctor, whose record does not show any of these black marks, doesn't appear in a duplicate set of files. The ID in the doctor's file does match up to another bad apple, Merrick Wilson, a computer technician who had worked in the local personnel office.

Action: Wilson apparently engineered the transfer of malcontents to become Solaria's crew. Investigating the untampered-with files will turn up that all the men in Wilson's crew served at the same mining post, a remote rock not too far from where the reported sighting took place. The post is still staffed by many of the miners who served there at the same time as Wilson and his cronies.

The supplies at the outpost include many items a ship might do well to have for a prolonged voyage. Requisitions from the period when Wilson staffed the personnel/admin office prove to be forgeries: forgeries which stocked the outpost with useful engineering spares and other supplies, including a large reserve supply of hydrogen fuel.

8. CONFRONTATION

If the adventurers act fast enough, they will reach the outpost shortly before Wilson and his people complete their preparations.

Action: Whether this results in combat with the 38 miners in on the plot will depend on how the players and the referee handle the situation.

You need not to play Wilson's group as evil. If the adventurers penetrate the outpost peacefully, they may meet the wife and sweet, trusting daughter of a worn-down miner who are packed for a trip to the wife's homeworld.

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Pride of the Lion©

--©1984, John M. Ford, JTAS 19 Date: 060-1110
NPCs

Martin Trelane

Retired scout service alien-contacts specialist. His mental state is important to the scenario. When he fled, he was thinking as a human; the Aslan instinct would have been to stay and die with his pride leader. He worries the Ewyryhu will consider him to have deserted--and he may be right in this.

Trelane is not bleeding seriously, but the wound will eventually incapacitate or kill him unless properly treated. He does not care if he dies. The only argument he will listen to is that his collapse at an inconvenient moment might wreck the entire rescue.

Charles Marchand

Arrogant, brutal, and not bright. Once the hunt begins he will think of nothing else, and will probably become careless.

ASLAN PRIDE

No Aslan (except possibly Kirri) will leave Grizel while Charles Marchand lives.

Ewyryhu: The "hunt," totally unfair as it is, has become a matter of personal honor between Ewyryhu and Marchand. The pride leader may resent Trelane bringing reinforcements, as casting doubt on his personal honor and on his ability to protect his people.

Irowyie: More pragmatic, but still an Aslan, and Aslan logic in these matters is not human logic.

Ktiskryhu: At half endurance, having been worked over by Marchand.

Kirri: She is Pistol- with an Aslan weapon, but untrained with any other weapon. She has no training with in fighting with dewclaws, but could still do considerable damage in close combat.

She does not speak or understand any language but her own. She is rather like a bright human 7-year-old. She can understand the situation, but Trelane has not explained it to her, because she will then insist on going with the rescuers.

1. INTRODUCTION

The party is down and out, staying at the Palais de Grizel, the startown hotel (and no palace) and waiting for cheap transport off-world at the end of the week.

There is a knock on the door in the middle of the night. It is an old acquaintance, Martin Trelane. He offers the party money and transport if they will help him--and he uses the word "help" and not "do a job."

Action: He acts evasive and slightly drunk, neither of which is usual for him. He will not give any details of the problem up front. If asked how much money is involved, he will say, "enough." The only question he will answer directly is, "Is it dangerous?" The answer is, "Damn straight it is."

It will eventually become apparent (just when depends on medical skill or combat experience) that Trelane is not drunk but wounded. He has a medium caliber bullet in his side, covered with a makeshift pressure bandage, and has taken a heavy dose of over-the-counter pain drugs. He will refuse treatment, insisting there is no time.

If the players stall for a very long time, there will be another knock at the door (see below for details).

If they follow Trelane, he will take them to a room in the cheapest part of the hotel. He will give a coded knock and open the door. A small figure within wearing heavy, disguising clothing will be emerging from hiding, clutching a heavy revolver in clumsy, gloved hands. With the veil removed, this proves to be a young Aslan female called Kirri. She is clearly terrified, though trying to conceal it. She speaks only the Aslan tongue, in which Trelane is fluent.

Trelane will explain.

2. TRELANE'S STORY

Trelane had become deeply interested in Aslan culture. He left the scouts to live on an Aslan-dominated world in the Imperium. He made himself useful in intercultural relations, and eventually became friendly with the pride leader Ewyryhu and his wife/estate manager Irowyie. Finally, about two years ago, he was accepted into Ewyryhu's pride as an Aslan (which is a rare event).

Recently, one of Ewyryhu's sons sent a message to his father that one of the Grizel ranches was for sale, but the rancher insisted on dealing with the pride leader personally. This was understandable to an Aslan, and Ewyryhu, with his wife, his youngest daughter, and Martin Trelane, travelled to Grizel. Trelane now says bitterly that he should have expected a trap.

When Ewyryhu was a young mercenary officer, he met a Naval flight officer named Charles Marchand, a wealthy and arrogant young human with special dislikes for mercenaries and non-humans. Ewyryhu (who even then was exceptionally tolerant) tried to hold his temper through Marchand's insults, but a crude comment about knowing "how to handle herd animals" was the last straw. Ewyryhu struck Marchand across the face with claws fully extended, laying the flesh open to the bone and destroying Marchand's right eye.

No action was taken against the Aslan, since there were many witnesses (human and other sophonts), and Marchand had no friends anyway. Marchand was not formally disciplined, but with one eye he was disqualified as a flight pilot. He marked time in a Navy desk job until, to his own surprise, he fell sole heir to the family ranch on Grizel.

Marchand spent many hours plotting revenge. He supposed it was only a fantasy: the Imperium was large, and the Aslan was not likely to walk into his hands. Then Ewyryhu's son did.

He lured the son, who had never heard of Charles Marchand, with an offer to sell the ranch. All the messages home were legitimate. (It would be impossible to force an Aslan to write such messages.) When Ewyryhu's ship landed on the Marchand ranch, the rancher and his guards met them and used gas and tranqs to subdue the Aslan.

Marchand made his plans very clear to his prisoners: he will release them one hour before dawn tomorrow, without weapons or supplies. Marchand and a hunting party will set out after them at dawn. The Aslan ship is some eighty kilometers from the ranch house; if Ewyryhu's party can reach it and lift, they are free to go. Other-wise, they will become trophies on Marchand's wall.

They offered Trelane, as a human, one chance to walk away. He used one guard's distraction to grab a pistol, then Kirri (who was still semi-conscious from the gas). Half-carrying the child, Trelane got to an air/raft and escaped, catching a bullet in the process.

He has been trying to organize a rescue party all night, but he discovered that no one on Grizel will interfere with anything a rancher intends. Finally, he recognized a familiar face at the hotel restaurant (a member of the group).

If they will not help, he has no choice but to go back alone. Trelane points that even if they don't help him, Marchand probably will not allow the party to leave Grizel alive. Locals, who fear a rancher's wrath, will not testify against him, but he must silence offworlders.

3. WORLD DATA

TAS has classified Grizel (C768400-6) Amber.

Principal produce is livestock--a cow-like grazer called the kundbock--raised on large ranches. Each ranch amounts to a private fiefdom, in the fashion of western American cattle empires of Earth's 19th century. The ranchers are the only power on Grizel, and their private forces are the only military forces on the planet.

4. WHAT TO DO?

Trelane has only the stolen revolver he lent to kirri, and the stolen air/raft near the hotel. After paying for the room, and bribing the desk clerk (who may not stay bought), he has no money. It is the middle of the night, and no stores are open. They might to steal a vehicle, but ground vehicles will be dangerously slow to the rescue. No starships are available.

Action: Kirri is an additional problem. Trelane will ask a party member to take her to the starport for safety. Even the rancher's goons dare not cross the extrality line for kidnapping or murder. They will, of course, try to keep anyone else from reaching the port.

If someone does take Kirri, that person is effectively out of play. Kirri cannot be "dropped off"--either Trelane or someone designated by Trelane must be with her always.

If some member of the group reaches the starport, they may send a priority xboat message to Imperial authorities. The Imperium will respond as soon as possible, but this will not help anyone in the scenario.

5. THE RANCH HOUSE

The Marchand house is about 450 km from the hotel (about 4 hours by air/raft, a little less if driving all-out). The house is lightly fortified, of stone construction. Blasting in would require heavier weapons than the players are likely to have. In the garage are several vehicles, including wheeled trucks, two air/rafts, and a speeder with a nose-mounted laser rifle (which the Marchand guards call "Charlie's toy starfighter" when the boss cannot hear.)

6. THE RANCH

The ranch itself is a rough circle 400 km across, with the house as its center. It is mostly grazing land, with some woods and a small lake. The referee can determine the exact layout.

The temperature is now in the low teens Celsius; after sunrise it will rise rapidly to a midday high in the thirties.

Action: The party may encounter herds of kundbock. These are grazers, mass 400 kg, hits 25/15, armor as jack, weapon teeth, F1 A6 S1. A herd may contain from 20-120 animals. Fleeing kundbock do not stampede.

7. HUNTING PARTY

Marchand's hunting party will consist of himself and eleven others, armed with rifles and pistols, in three luxury air/rafts well-stocked with food and cold beer. Marchand has offered cash prizes for "good kills." He wants Ewyryhu for himself, of course, and intends to kill the pride leader himself, at close range.

Marchand's troopers enjoy the power of working for a rancher, but are not extremely devoted to Charles Marchand himself. If the rancher dies, some may try to eliminate the hostile witnesses, but most will flee.

8. THE HUNTED

The quarry are Ewyryhu, Irowyie, and their son Ktiskryhu (who is at half endurance, having been worked over by Marchand) and two other pride members. All can use weapons if they become available, though the only Aslan-designed weapons on Grizel are those on the starship. Remember that Aslan disdain blade weapons, and will be unlikely to think of fashioning makeshift spears or bows.

9. THE STARSHIP

A standard 100-ton courier with Aslan fittings.

Action: Marchand does not intend to let the Aslan escape. The ship has been wired with radio-controlled explosives; Marchand has the detonator on his person. The bombs are not carefully hidden. Even a casual search will reveal them. They are, however, booby-trapped to detonate immediately if tampered with.

10. AFTERWARD

If the rescue succeeds, the players may expect any reasonable reward. If Ewyryhu, Irowyie, and Kirri all escape alive, the party also can expect honorary membership in the pride--not full membership, like Trelane's, but the permanent friendship of the pride.

You know the story, a thorn from his paw....

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Small Package

--by J. Andrew Keith, JTAS 19 Date: 060-1110
NPCs:

Kyle Veristan

Janile Veristan

1. INTRODUCTION

Scene: On Penelope, one jump away from Karin, a businessman approaches the adventurers, and introduces himself as Kyle Veristan. He wants the adventurers to carry a very small cargo to Karin. He readily explains that the package contains pharmaceuticals on the restricted list, and that he has no import authorization. It would take too long to get process the permits which would allow importing the drug.

Veristan is from a wealthy family, and his sister Janile means everything to him. He offers the party Cr500,000 for safe delivery of the package to his sister within three weeks.

Action: He says the drugs are for his sister, who suffers from a rare blood condition known as Kaagilraan's Syndrome. The disease can lie dormant for years, then flare up suddenly. It is incurable, but the proper medication can control it. The main drawback is that the medication has a very short shelf-life, and users must replace it every few months, while the onset of the disease is totally unpredictable.

About two years ago, Veristan's sister was placed on an experimental new drug with a much longer shelf-life. Early tests showed that the drug retained almost full potency for years and has no major side effects. Veristan's sister was one of the first human users of the drug.

Freed from the need of having to remain on major communication lines, she has devoted herself full-time to vital work for the Pan-Galactic Friends of Life. She is engaged in research into the life-cycle of the Karinian Nightcart.

More recent tests, however, showed that new drug's effectiveness lasted about one-third as long as predicted. veristan fears that his sister might be the victim of a relapse, and wants the players to smuggle a package of the old medication past the customs inspectors to his sister.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

Should they overcome all pitfalls, and bring the drugs past the various customs personnel, the adventurers will find Janile Veristan at the address they were given. If they successfully deliver the goods, they will receive payment on Penelope when they report back to her brother (delivering a message vouching for delivery).

Regardless of how the referee handles it, this situation can serve as springboard for many adventures.

The referee may complicate matters, if desired, by making the Veristans enemy agents, innocent dupes of the enemy, or whatever seems most interesting. The parcel might contain information relating to their espionage activities. The party might be recruited to help locate and break up the spy ring in exchange for dismissal of the smuggling charges.

3. WORLD DATA

Karin (Five Sisters 0504), an important trade junction in the subsector, is under naval administration because of its trade and strategic importance.

Its population never responded well to the Imperium. Karin experienced a series of rebellions during the Fourth Frontier War. The Navy imposed martial law during the suppression of these uprisings. The continued tension has caused the Travellers' Aid Society to post the planet as an amber zone.

A renewed wave of anti-Imperialism swept Karin as the Fifth Frontier War broke out, prompting a tightening of legal measures. Of special importance was the Contraband Order of 1109, which imposed severe restrictions on the import of several products. The Navy placed weapons, certain high-tech components with military applications, and several pharmaceuticals and chemicals on a list of forbidden or highly restricted items. The restrictions have helped considerably in restraining the anti-Imperial faction, but there have been repercussions.

4. CUTTER INSPECTIONS

Navy cutters pulling Revenue and Customs duty are likely to stop and search ships arriving in the Karin system. The chance is 8+, rolled once every day that the ship remains in the system.

Actions: Cutters carry a crew of two (pilot and gunner), and have a junior officer commanding plus 12 marines for boarding and searching.

To find the package in a random search:
[INT], Streetwise (fateful)
Referee: Generate the intelligence of the cutter's CO: this number or less represents the base chance of a random search discovering the hidden package. Impose a -1 DM if the CO's reaction throw is 6-.
5. CUSTOMS LINE

Scene: Two inspectors will examine everything taken off the ship destined to cross the extrality line. These inspectors intelligence is again the chance of discovery, with two throws.

Action: If they have the requisite talents and equipment available, the adventurers may attempt to forge the proper forms and permits. Five forms are required, with each requiring the usual roll to pass muster when scrutinized at customs.

Bribery also may be attempted. Both inspectors must be bribed successfully, or the party faces an additional Cr10,000 fine per person for attempted bribery.

6. IF CAUGHT

Scene: The adventurers receive a heavy fine (MCr20), plus confiscation of their cargo and a thorough background check on their ship (which will turn up any awkward incidents in the group's past).

Action: This last check takes six weeks, during which time the group is considered under open arrest. They may move about the starport freely, but may not leave.

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Critical Vector

--by William H. Keith, JTAS 20 Date: 100-1110
1. INTRODUCTION

Scene: The adventurers carry a special cargo of computer parts for a Vendeterran plant which begins production within a few weeks and could not afford to wait for the next scheduled cargo vessel.

Action: When the player's ship dropped out of jumpspace into the Vendeterre system, the reception is a bit out of the ordinary. Instead of the usual inward orbital clearances, initial radio queries brought a jumble of confused and desperate messages with a single theme, a plea for help.

The situation becomes clearer as the adventurers near the planet. Just one week before, system's local naval spacewatch discovered an uncharted asteroid falling insystem from high out of the ecliptic. Early projections and computer analysis revealed chilling news. The millions-to-one chance had come up: the fifty-kilometer-wide rock would smash into Vendeterra in ten days.

The system's naval forces consisted of two ancient corvettes, all the backwater system needed for customs and patrol duties. Both went to the asteroid immediately. Their last transmission said that they had matched vectors with the target and were closing to within a few hundred meters. Both ships then vanished in a fireball easily visible to observers on Vendeterra.

By disastrous bad luck, there are no other ships on Vendeterra. The sudden and unexpected appearance of the adventurer's ship only days before zero-hour brings a surge of new hope that something might yet be done in time.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

Unless some way can be found to divert or destroy the incoming mountain of rock, the Vendeterran civilization and millions of people are doomed.

The players will have several options open to them in this scenario. Dozens of rich and powerful people are trying to outbid each other for passenger space on the only starship. A few more reasonable voices point out that a large enough explosion on or in the asteroid while it is still far enough away from the planet should divert it enough so it will miss Vendeterra completely.

Divide the 96 hours remaining before impact into eight twelve-hour periods. The referee must keep careful watch on the countdown, and determine how much time the adventurers lose travelling to and from the target, dealing with bureaucrats on Vendeterra, and taking care of such mundane needs as eating and sleeping. The adventurers may choose to go without food or sleep, but the referee should modify die rolls to reflect losses in efficiency. Weariness causes people to make mistakes.

3. WORLD DATA

Vendeterra (C759685-8) is rather far off the beaten path, infrequently visited by regular merchants or passenger carriers.

Panic grips Vendeterra, and the adventurers will have trouble getting cooperation or any sense from the world's officials. The bureaucracy which rules the planet cannot find a single voice for itself, much less maintain order among a population gone berserk. However, they will repeatedly offer characters any reward they care to name if they will help in some way.

4. TRANSPORT

The simplest option is to take some of the rich people up on their offers, and transport them off Vendeterra in exchange for a few million credits each.

Action: Should the players select this choice, the referee should not make it easy for them. There will be panic wherever they land. There will panic wherever they land. Any attempt to take on a few select passengers will result in wild riots and by rampaging mobs trying to enter and take over the ship (the attempts will almost certainly result in destruction of the ship).

5. THE ASTEROID

The best choice for all concerned is to divert or destroy the asteroid before it collides with Vendeterra. The closer the asteroid is to Vendeterra, the harder it will be to turn it aside.

The asteroid is 10,368,000 km from Vendeterra 96 hours before the impact, traveling at or about 30 kps, or 108,000 kph. (the asteroid will gain speed as it comes closer to the world, but these figures represent averages the referee can use without becoming bogged down in mathematic calculation.)

Multiple Attacks: The adventurers may have to make several attempts to destroy the oncoming asteroid.

The referee must track damage already inflicted on the asteroid. Divide the total damage points inflicted by a previous attack by ten, drop any fraction, and apply the result as a positive DM on future attacks. For attempts using explosives, each damage point over 6 counts as a +1 DM in subsequent attacks. These point values are cumulative.

6. COMPLICATIONS

Scene: It will be necessary to land to get explosives or rearm with missiles.

Action: Each time the adventurers land on Vendeterra mobs desperate to escape the planet will endanger them. Government forces may be on hand to help protect the adventurers and their ship, but the disintegration of both local and planetary government will accelerate as zero-hour approaches. The referee must decide how much time is lost during each trip loading explosives, avoiding or fighting crowds, and haggling with unreasonable, confused, panicky bureaucrats.

7. MISSILE ATTACK

If the adventurer's ship carries missiles, it may fire them at a carefully calculated point on the asteroid's surface. The referee should secretly roll 1D for each missile fired, add up the total, and compare the result with the time to impact table (see below). The closer the asteroid is to Vendeterra, the more points must be accumulated to divert or destroy it.

8. EXPLOSIVES

If the adventurers have explosive, or if they can procure them on the planet, they may plant them on or within the approaching asteroid and detonate them from a distance. The referee rolls 1D on the table, with a DM +1 for every ton over two tons planted. Missile warheads count as one ton for every six warheads used in this way.

As shown by the table, there is a better chance for success if the adventurers can find a deep crevasse or cave on the asteroid and plant the explosives there. Finding a cave will take 1D+1 hours of surveying from the ship, followed by 1D hours of exploration by the crew using vacc suits.

It will take 1D hours (rolled one time and used as a constant throughout the escapade) for two people to unload one ton of explosives, carry them to the blast site, and emplace them. Each additional two-man team can carry an additional ton in that time.

To avoid any accident:
Simple, Vacc Suit (fateful)
Referee: Have each player make periodic throws to avoid accidents while working in vacc suits. This is particularly important if they must emplaced explosives in a deep cavern or crevasse on the asteroid.

If the players happen to have a thermonuclear device aboard, carry out its emplacement and detonations if it were equivalent to the rating (in kilotons or megatons) in conventional explosives.

9. FRAGMENTATION

There is a chance that the asteroid will simply fragment rather than shatter.

To determine if asteroid fragments:
Difficult, Number of explosions (fateful)
Referee: Each time an explosion is set off there is a chance the asteroid will fragment. Apply a +2 DM if the explosion takes place in a cavern or crevasse.

If the result is one less than that needed for success, then the asteroid splits into two large halves and myriad smaller pieces.If the explosion did not divert the asteroid, both halves will hit Vendeterra at zero hour creating as much (or more) damage as the single body would have.

The adventurers may make further attempts to divert or fragment both pieces if time remains. A single piece hitting Vendeterra will still be a catastrophe, but at that point the adventurers will be working to reduce the disaster, not averting it.

Fragmentation may mean success. If it occurs while the asteroid is still at least two days away from the world (5 or more twelve-hour periods), dispersal of the fragments will result in most of them missing the planet or burning up in the atmosphere. The few which reach the surface will cause comparatively little damage.

If the fragmentation occurs when the asteroid is two days away, but the table indicates the asteroid is diverted, most of the pieces will miss the world. Those which do hit will cause no damage.

If the asteroid fragments less than two days from the planet, and has not been diverted, most of the pieces will still hit. Fortunately, small pieces burn up faster than big ones and more of the asteroid's mass will be vaporized in the atmosphere. Enough large fragments will survive to cause extensive damage and flooding, however. There will be loss of life in most of these cases, but the results will be far less severe than if the asteroid hit as a single mountain of nickel-iron!

Time to Impact Table
Periods
Remaining
Missile
Attack
Surface
Explosion
Sub-surface
Explosion
Fusion
Explosion
8 36 7+ 5+ 3+
7 48 8+ 6+ 4+
6 60 9+ 7+ 5+
5 90 10+ 8+ 6+
4 160 12+ 10+ 7+
3 -- 13+ 11+ 8+
2 -- -- 12+ 10+
1 -- -- 13+ 11+
4- hrs -- -- -- 12+
10. AFTERWARD

If the adventurers are successful, they will receive great rewards. The population will greet them with wild adulation.

The referee should temper this reward depending upon the degree of success and the actual damage to the world. It is possible that some portion of the population will hold considerable animosity toward the group if a partially successful mission results in severe damage to only a portion of Vendeterra.

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Raid on Stataorlai

--by Keith Douglass, JTAS 20 Date: 100-1110

Play of this Amber Zone requires that the referees and players have access to the Aslan module. The adventurers are Aslan characters belonging to the Hweaolriya clan. (The pre-generated characters in the Aslan module will do very well.) A local clan leader Waeoisya recruits them to carry out an important mission for the clan.

1. INTRODUCTION

A clan war recently broke out between the Aeahekihiy-khiy and their rivals, the Hweaolriya clan. The clan leadership desires the adventurers to slip into the Stataorlai system undetected and see if they can uncover evidence of Aeahekihiykhiy activity there. It is a mission that requires careful handling, for the Hweaolriya do not wish to offend the system's owners, the Eakhtawa, if nothing is actually going on. They must keep hostile action to a minimum, and directed only at the Aeahekihiykhiy (except in strict self-defense), since the Hweaolriya and the Eakhtawa are not yet at war.

Word of a build-up must be brought back to Waeoisya if it is occurring, so action may be taken.

Action: The leadership will provide the adventurers with equipment appropriate to the mission and a ship of appropriate size and type for their numbers. Armed Aslan scouts, traders, or couriers are the most likely.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The powerful Aeahekihiykhiy clan controls a great deal of territory both inside and beyond the subsector. The clan believes that the Aeahekihiykhiy are preparing to stage a military assault against the Hweaolriya lands on Waeoisya, designed to seize territory as a bargaining chip to offset Aeahekihiykhiy losses elsewhere. Various bits of intercepted information convince Hweaolriya intelligence officers, but there has been no evidence of major troop or supply build-ups in any accessible Aeahekihiykhiy territory within striking range of Waeoisya.

The only way that a strike could be launched would be from an unexpected location...such as a system belonging to an ally which is willing to allow supplies and forces to build-up. The Stataorlai belt is a prime candidate for such a system.

Eakhtawa are allies of the Aeahekihiykhiy. They remain officially neutral in the dispute, but the Eakhtawa are known to favor the Aeahekihiykhiy.

3. WORLD DATA

Waeoisya is split between several clans, including both Hweaolriya and Aeahekihiykhiy.

Stataorlai (C0007J8-8) is an asteroid belt located in 0605 of the Kyankha subsector of the Dark Nebula sector, controlled by the Eakhtawa clan.

4. ARRIVAL AT STATAORLAI

The adventurers can jump to the Stataorlai system as to escape detection (aiming for a point well beyond the normally travelled parts of the system).

The innermost gas giant is large (105,000 km diameter). One moon has an Eakhtawa clan military base; attempts to refuel there will be detected on a simple task roll.

For Eakhtawa to detect refueling attempt:
Routine, Sensor Ops (fateful)
Referee: Assume Sensor Ops skill is three. On success, two Aslan escorts will investigate (and destroy, if necessary) the intruder.

The outer two gas giants are both under 50,000 km.

For Eakhtawa to detect refueling:
Difficult, Sensors Ops/3 (fateful)
Referee: This task applies to detecting vessels refueling at the outer two gas giants.
5. COURSE OF INVESTIGATION

To conduct their investigation, the adventurers must lie low, monitoring communications and other activities to see if there are any anomalies worth investigating.

Action: Roll 8+ once each week (five Aslan days) to determine whether a significant starship encounter occurs. If one does, roll on the appropriate starship encounter table.

If this second roll yields a ship encounter, the ship (which is Eakhtawa, and always hostile) notices the adventurer's ship. Resolve the encounter according to the player's responses, using starship combat rules if desired.

Should the second roll not causev a ship encounter, the adventurers notice some unusual communications activity at the trailing trojan asteroid cluster in the orbit of the inner gas giant.

The first time they note such activity, the adventurers merely note there is considerable traffic in the region, not a major population center or resource exploitation area of the system. Players may choose to investigate more closely, or to file the data and await further information.

If the players do nothing, the second result which points to the trailing trojan cloud is a signal which they recognize as an Aeahekihiykhiy battle code. They don't understand the coded message, but the code itself is familiar to any adventurer with a military background (particularly female staff officers). The players will pick up the same fragment of coded communications if the investigators move straight in to investigate.

6. TROJAN POINT

Investigation will reveal that there are, indeed, several ships and vessels within the cluster, and several installations built on small asteroids. These are plainly military posts and transport vessels. Their transponders identify them as belonging to the Eakhtawa clan, however.

While circumstances may convince the adventurers that this is the Aeahekihiykhiy build-up they seek to find, there is no real proof. The coded message might have been a mistaken identification, or just prove that the Eakhtawa employ an ally's code.

At least one option under consideration at Waeoisya is a preemptive strike against the Aeahekihiykhiy attackers. Proof must be positive to avoid either an unfortunate accident or a failure to act when action is necessary.

Action: Such proof can be most readily obtained by getting into one of the ships or installations and obtaining access to computer records which would show the true nature of the trailing trojan activity. A ship would be easiest (and, in an emergency, could be stolen and flown back to Waeoisya if trouble arose).

Impress upon the players again that, first, they must not let their actions be connected with the Hweaolriya clan, and, second, they should not kill or seriously injure neutral Eakhtawa clansmen. They must be extremely circumspect about too violent an attack until they have established for certain the actual ownership of the ships and installations in the trailing trojan cluster.

7. FINALE

The referee should arrange for an Aslan 400-ton trader or similar ship to lay itself open to any type of ambush the adventurers may devise.

Action: The ship will carry its standard crew complement, plus gunners, and will be armed. The referee can determine the exact armaments. The adventurers plans and the flow of events regulated by the referee will bring events to a conclusion.

Should the adventurers capture the target vessel it will prove to be Aeahekihiykhiy, disguised to forestall would-be intelligence operations of the sort the adventurers have been engaging in. The computer logs onboard can prove this, and will permit the defenders on Waeoisya to parry the attack moist effectively.

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Homesteader's Stand

--by William H. Keith, JTAS 21 Date: 244-1110
NPCs:

Dawn Sinclair

In her mid- to late-twenties.

PREPARATIONS

The referee should get together with one of the players in the group before this adventure begins, and have him agree to be Dawn Sinclair's old friend. The character should be his mid- to late-twenties. He will have been born and raised on Lorelei before having entered the service (whichever service that character chose) at age 18. The player may get favorable die modifications through the course of play in situations where he can use his character's first-hand knowledge (for example, where certain terrain features are, or where the best bars are).

For simplicity sake, his parents are no longer living. As an added spur during the adventure, it could turn out that the Yedos killed the character's parents.

Equipment: Previous Traveller adventures should have established the adventurers' numbers, armament, and daring.

In all situations, the referee must create the buildings, compounds, and terrain features which could be important.

1. INTRODUCTION

Scene: Dawn Sinclair was a childhood friend of one of the adventurers. They had grown up as neighbors in the Greensummer Valley on Lorelei. It was only natural that he should call her when his ship returned to Lorelei after several year's absence. When he called, however, his call was relayed to an apartment in Firstfound, Lorelei's capital near the starport.

Dawn explained that she had been living there with relatives for several months. Her father had sent her away when the Yedos started making trouble.

Action: The girl is very pretty, and she is desperate. "They're going to kill my father," she told the adventurers when she met them at the starport, "and he refuses to leave his land!"

"Won't you help me?' Dawn pleads, looking up at her old friend with tears in her eyes. "Father is the last of the homesteaders left in the Valley. He says he'll never leave the land his grandfather proved--and the Yedos have threatened to kill him if he doesn't!"

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

A band of 50-60 bandits armed with an assortment of autorifles, shotguns, and pistols cause the trouble in Greensummer Valley. An enigmatic fanatic named Lord Jerfed leads them. His followers consider him invulnerable--and well they might, for he never goes anywhere without a personal bodyguard escort of five of his toughest thugs, all armed with Mark XXII autorifles.

For several weeks now the Yedos have had their own way in the Valley, and have recently begun extending their campaign of terrorism and extortion into Firstfound as well.

The Loreleians are helpless for the moment. The world never presented any threat to its inhabitants, and few among the populace have weapons. The police force consists of a civil service constabulary who double as circuit judges in boundary dispute cases and domestic quarrels.

3. WORLD DATA

Lorelei (C668742-7) is a peaceful, agricultural world of gentle seasons and bucolic vistas. There are only wheeled vehicles on the planet, and a very few government-owned helicopters used in survey and rescue work.

That neighboring Blutjere is a religious dictatorship of the most oppressive kind is common knowledge.

4. YEDOS

Very little hard information is available about the cult on Lorelei.

The Yedos were newcomers to Lorelei, a ragged band of refugees who claimed they were persecuted members of an obscure religious sect declared heretical by the Church of We, the dominant religion on the neighboring world of Blutjere. The Loreleian population welcomed them with some misgivings at first; rumors and stories about the militant "We are the Heirs and Rulers of the Universe" cult had filtered across two parsecs to disturb the peace of Lorelei for some years.

Initial misgivings rapidly gave way to complete confirmation. The Yedos began by begging in the streets of Firstfound and proselytizing disaffected teenagers. They ended up building a commune in Greensummer Valley which had quickly become an armed camp.

No one knows for sure how many Yedos there are, but they have a small army with which they terrorized the Greensummer Valley farms and homesteads. They claimed the valley as their own, by right of their "heirship," as they called it. Rumor has it that their Loreleian converts work under close supervision in the compound--slaves, to all intents and purposes.

Action: The Yedos are terrorist fanatics, and there will be a firefight if they are opposed. They will run away if they find themselves outnumbered or on even terms, but will work to find a way to strike back and win vengeance--their brand of "righteous justice."

5. SIMPLE OPTION

The adventurers pile into a truck, drive into the Valley to the Sinclair homestead, and try to bring the girl's father out.

Action: He will steadfastly refuse to leave. The adventurers will be unable to persuade him by any means short of knocking him out and dragging him off. (This approach occurred to Dawn, but she will not approve of it.)

At some point during the adventurers' sojourn in the Valley, 2D+4 Yedos will confront them and command them to leave "on pain of righteous justice". The referee should determine subsequent events.

6. NEXT OPTION

If the group has arms and ammunition, the group could go with Dawn to help defend the homestead.

Action: 3D+6 Yedos will attack the farm sooner or later (the attack may come before the adventurers even arrive, in which case the adventurers become the cavalry riding to the rescue).

A major victory (driving the bandits off and killing or capturing more than five of them) will hearten the Loreleians. They will organize a large (if spottily armed) army which will march on the Yedo compound.

7. SUICIDE SQUAD

The adventurers could dare to go straight to the Yedo compound and confront Lord Jerfed himself. Jerfed's death or capture would completely disorganize his followers, reducing them to a ragtag mob.

8. AFTERWARD

This adventure offers little in the way of rewards. A grateful city council might chip in and grant the adventurers a special honorarium, the keys to the city, and so forth if the Yedos' power is broken. There is a definite possibility for romance, also, if Dawn recognizes new and previously unseen qualities in her old friend. Dawn Sinclair might decide she's had enough of her bucolic valley, and choose to join the adventurers and see the universe.

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Ventures Afar

--by John Marshal, JTAS 22 Date: 030-1111

This Amber Zone can serve as a springboard for a variety of adventure situations. The basic situation can generate several adventuring situations, all with a minimum of effort.

NPCs

Shamar Sulankin

A corporate officer for Denotam Traders, Sulanking acts as the go-between for the adventurers and Denotam.

1. INTRODUCTION

Shaimar Sulankin, a corporate officer of Denotam Traders, approaches the adventurers. A curious series of recent incidents has caused a problem of drastic and mounting proportions for Denotam Traders in the past year. An occasional loss to deep raiders was expected during the Fifth Frontier War. With the war entering an armistice, however, war losses should drop. Instead, in the last year Denotam lost five ships making the circuit, compared to one lost and one damaged but recovered in the year before.

Denotam has lost the ships, of course, although it can replace them at considerable cost. More important is that the valuable mail contract is in jeopardy. Subsector officials are loath to allow Denotam to continue handling the mail contract with their now-alarming loss rate, and have threatened cancellation. This would ruin the company, as the government contract is worth more than the typical mail run an independent trader might arrange.

Sulankin wants to discover what's at the bottom of recent losses. Some new Zhodani weapon? A spy in the denotam routing office? New privateer tactics? The company is completely baffled, and will pay Cr25,000 per person for a team to investigate and halt the losses. It will extend full assistance and cooperation where possible, though it will keep the adventurers' involvement as quiet as possible for the sake of good public relations.

2. DENOTAM TRADERS, LIC

A small but important mercantile firm which conducts shipping operations throughout a large portion of Vilis subsector. A major part of the company's importance stems from the intersystem mail contracts granted by the subsector and Imperial authorities.

Denotam's fleet of ten subsidized liners base at Denotam (Vilis 0603 B739573-A). They carry messages, mail, small parcels, and passengers to the worlds of Arkadia, Stellatio, Mirriam, Calit, and Ficant, all unimportant systems that lie off the main xboat and trade routes in the region. The Denotam Trader's fleet also serves other portions of the subsector, with ordinary commercial service, but all the ships service the Vilis Core Circuit (as it is called) at least twice a year.

Each ship is independently owned, being hired by a long-term charter with the company. The company pays a portion of the monthly payments and (together with the insurance underwriters) guarantees replacement if the vessel is lost due to piracy or war.

3. INVESTIGATION

Research: simply a matter of absorbing background data and asking good questions.

Action: The adventurers will turn up certain key facts.

  1. There is no particular pattern to the losses as far as location or other tie-ins.
  2. Denotam's ships seem to be the only ones suffering. There are a few other organized companies engaged in trade on the circuit (except independents; there isn't that much trade to attract many competitors.)

The loss rate remains baffling.

Interestingly, morale remains high among Denotam crews. The commerce raiders, mostly Sword Worlders, are being remarkable civil about the whole thing. Captured civilians are reprocessed and returned to Imperial space within three to six months of capture. A short imprisonment is the worst the Denotam crews seem to face. The crews are rather clannish, and will not readily talk about their experiences to outsiders.

One last thing that should be noted is that most of the trader crews do a good business in personal trade and speculation--carrying small cargoes ("ventures") aboard each ship as a part of his or her luggage allotment. Various lots of spices, perfumes, and other luxury items fetch a good price at various ports of call away from Denotam, and some crews seem eager to make their regular runs (sometimes swapping berths to pick up extra time on the circuit) to pursue the venture trade. A 10 kg parcel, worth maybe Cr50 on Denotam, can bring up to Cr200 at some of the ships' ports of call. These easy profits have proven an excellent way for Denotam crews to line their pockets.

4. VERIFICATION

The characters should follow a few Denotam crews as they make the rounds of the Startown bars (making good use of any streetwise and bribery skills the party may have), attempting to fit themselves into the comparatively tight circle of Denotam's ships' crews. The atmosphere of Startown (rough dives, brawls, etc.) should be an important element of this portion of the adventure.

5. TRAVEL ABROAD

The adventurers will eventually come up against the simple fact that they cannot gather more data by the original means. They should conclude that the only way to learn what's happening is to take a passage on a liner and see what happens to it. (Sulankin will suggest this course, if they don't think of it themselves.) Sulankin can arrange passages for the group or can pull strings to get a few people appointed as crewmembers.

Action: The party can undertake a typical voyage and establish the facts of an attack firsthand. The voyage should proceed routinely. Adventurers acting as crewmembers, as outsiders and potential company spies, won't discover much by asking questions.

6. PIRATES

If the ship encounters a pirate (and the referee can stack the deck, if necessary) the players can see something of what is happening. Left to themselves, the crew of the liner will be unbelievably sloppy in handling her--running at reduced speed in dangerous areas, refusing to take evasive action until far too long a time after sensors pick up a suspicious blip, and responding slowly to threats. If attacked, they will surrender almost immediately, even if guns and drives are still fully operable. The crew will exaggerate problems to be expected, and will claim that they have no alternative.

Action: The adventurers might put a stop to all this by a well-timed "mutiny." The crew will still interfere. Even when they seem to try to help, they do so clumsily.

If the party prevents the ship being captured, they've really not proven anything about the losses. The observed behavior, however, together with background they've picked up can serve to point the way.

7. WANDERING CLUE

Interject one last fact at some point which solves the entire mystery. It might be a vague clue (forcing the group to reason it out for themselves) or a statement by some member of the ship's crew who disagrees with his colleague's behavior. Vague clues would be discovery of insurance forms or related clues in the quarters of several of the crew (including senior officials).

Most of the crew engaging in ventures trading have also found the value of participating in a rather lucrative insurance scam. Crew members have always over-insured their ventures. For a comparatively low premium, crew can insure a venture worth Cr50 for Cr3,000 or more. What's more, it is insured for a round trip, the crew member claiming that he might be unable to sell it on the voyage.

Actually, the crew sell their ventures for a hefty profit, reinvest a small portion of the profit for the return trip, and send the profits back via the next convoy. (Convoys are often several months apart, but one can arrange the transaction easily enough.)

If, on the return voyage, the ship should fall in with a raider and be captured, the underwriters pay the insurance--a free and clear profit of several hundred credits on that original Cr50 investment.

Even owners and masters go along with this, venturing ever larger amounts, secure in the knowledge that the company will replace lost ships. The fats turn around time for prisoner exchange means that a capture is no more than a highly profitable inconvenience for all concerned.

8. AFTERWARD

If the party can discover the information and get back to Denotam, they will receive their pay, and measures will be taken to tighten regulations against insurance irregularities. Getting there can be half the fun, however. First, there are Sword Worlders to dodge. Second, there is the problem of coping with the Denotam crew. Once discovery of the scam is uncovered, the crew will want to silence the adventurers who are threatening the goose that lays the golden egg.

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The Thing in the Depths

--by Marcus Rowland, JTAS 22 Date: 030-1111
1. INTRODUCTION

The group's ship landed on Sturray for minor repairs, which will take at least three weeks. A few days after arrival, the team hears that a dredge is believed sunk. There is no news of the 12-man crew. The company diverts supply ships to look for survivors.

A day later news that one of the search boats has also vanished rocks the colony. Jackson Hollis, the company manager visits the group that evening.

Hollis is outfitting a hydrofoil with a variety of scanners and detectors, and needs personnel with experience in using such advanced equipment. He can pay Cr250 a person a day.

Hollis will state that he can't afford to take company technicians from their normal work to man the hydrofoil. If the group refuses, he will stop work on their ship, since he will need the technicians to crewthe search boat.

The hydrofoil has sonar, magnetometers, radar, underwater cameras, and other detection equipment, an air/raft and diving and rescue gear. The group can add equipment from their ship.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The mystery is caused by an old system defense boat, which crashed 45 years before the colony was established. The SDB was travelling to a navy dockyard for major computer repairs when its shuttle misjumped into the sturray system. The SDB landed on Sturray to refuel, but lacked computer aid when selecting a landing site. It landed on a cliff which collapsed into the sea, killing all aboard.

The shuttle crew were marooned, and eventually starved to death. The shuttle's orbit decayed long ago, and it crashed.

Since the scoops were open when the crash occurred, the SDB has remained fueled. The computer is still active, though damaged, and occasionally activates the drives to move the ship in an underwater evasion sequence. It also operates weapon and anti-hijack systems. Anything the computer considers a threat will activate these systems.

The dredge ran into the SDB while it was resting on the bottom. It retaliated by firing an HE missile which sank the dredge, but shock waves also knocked out the SDB's missile systems.

The search hydrofoil later passed through the area using sonar, which the SDB interpreted as a hostile probe. The SDB tried to fire another missile, but the system wouldn't work, so it rammed the hydrofoil instead.

The SDB is now moving northeast out of the search area.

3. WORLD DATA

Sturray (0304 C7A9215-A) is the only world of a red dwarf, and has a methane/CO2 atmosphere and a cool climate. The only native life forms are bacteria, algae, and a few primitive seaweeds. It's a mining planet, exporting rare earths and light metals dredged from the seabed.

The port is to the south of the polar landmass. latitude and longitude give a current 45-hour day and 5-hour night, with the sun rarely rising far above the horizon. The effect resembles dim red twilight.

Half of the population work in and around the dome. The rest run deep-water dredges, refining plants, and supply hydrofoils.

4. WRECKED DREDGE

The hydrofoil should discover the missing dredge first. It is under 300 meters of water. Underwater cameras will show that it has been blown apart, apparently by an internal explosion. It is obvious there are no survivors.

Action: The missile struck underneath, and hundreds of tons of wreckage cover the marks.

5. HYDROFOIL WRECK

Action: The wreck of the search hydrofoil is still partially afloat. The only survivor is isolated in the remaining pressurized compartment, the galley, and can't reach the radio or controls.

The survivor knows only that the ship suddenly lurched sideways and began to sink, without any explosion. A thorough search will find marks of the ramming, though nothing will indicate the cause.

6. AFTERWARD

Further events are left to the referee. The SDB may attack another ship or even the search hydrofoil. It may simply disappear. Persistent searching will eventually track it down. The party must then enter the hull and evade the anti-hijack systems to deactivate the boat and the computer.

The SDB is unfit for space, but finders could salvaged power plant, drives, and other components worth MCr1-3. The shuttle is intact, and well worth salvaging. The mining company will want 50% of any profits. After all, their hydrofoil made it all possible.

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The Birthday Plot

--by Keith Douglass, JTAS 23 Date: 180-1111
NPCs:

Colmar Singh

Posing as a merchant, Singh had been looking into Ine Givar activities on Efate and stumbled across the plot. Keeping the principles under surveillance, he made and concealed numerous tapes of meetings in which Inkula discussed plans with his employers. On this night, just as he was ready to complete his report on the plot and alert his superiors, Singh was discovered. Inkula pursued him through the city and killed him with a blowgun dart tipped with fast-acting nerve poison.

Inkula

A Grand Master of the Irklan religious sect. An unscrupulous and merciless man, he has accepted the task of assassinating the governor as the ultimate challenge to his skills: after this crowning action he plans to take his own life and so assure a place in the afterlife. Failure, and especially death-in-failure, is intolerable to Inkula, because it would cause the loss of his ability to live in the life beyond.

Grand Master    8CBC65    Age 46    7 terms    Cr50,000
Melee Cbt-4, Stealth-3, Blade-3, Control-3, Blowgun-2, Recon-2, Blade-0, Bolo-0
(Jump Kick+1, Kick+3, Disarm+2, Punch+2)

Use the parenthetical skill breakdown if using optional martial arts skills. Otherwise, use melee skill.

1. INTRODUCTION

Scene: By chance, the adventures happen to be on Efate for the Emperor's Birthday, which promises to be one of the most lavish carnivals anywhere in the Marches. Now three days away, the carnival looms in everyone's mind. Amid the carnival atmosphere, the group relaxes in a small startown bar for an evening's relaxation.

As they leave the bar late at night, they hear a scream from a back alley, followed by sounds of gunfire and a groan. Investigating, they find a man lying on the ground, clutching a gun and quivering with fierce muscle spasms. He seems unmarked, but is plainly suffering a seizure of some sort.

Gasping in pain between clenched teeth, the man speaks in an almost incoherent rush of words. "Stop...killer... Irklan...birthday plot...tapes of them...ship at berth seven...berth seven...tea..." With a final racking cough and a shuddering spasm, the man dies.

Action: The dead man in the alley is Calmar Singh, an operative with the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service.

A search of his body will reveal a wallet containing Cr1,000, an ID/credit card in the name of Jack Calimar, and (hidden in his shoes) his IISS ID card bearing the name of Calmar Singh. A character with medical skill who examines the body will discover a small dart embedded in the neck; this dart is a standard Irklan pattern which any can recognize by throwing education or less on two dice. Any person who recognizes the dart will know about the Irklan and its reputation. (See entry 4.) The referee also can reveal this material if the characters consult a library terminal in response to Singh's last words.

Inkula is lurking in the shadows as the adventurers rush to the dead man's aid. He does not hear Singh's dying words but he is fairly certain Singh told the group where he hid any evidence he may have collected. He will let the adventurers lead him to it. Once he has learned what he can, he will kill them to prevent any possibility of they're passing on any information that might cause the failure of his Chosen Test.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The players must decide how deeply they will become involved. They could immediately pass on what they have learned to the police. They could see what more they could learn before going to the authorities, seeing this as an opportunity to advance themselves by turning over detailed evidence of the plot. They might see a chance to make some easy money by blackmailing someone. Their decision will have important ramifications.

The plot referred to by the dying man is (surprise) an Ine Givar plot.Though in hiding, the terrorists are not yet so broken as the authorities believe, and they intend to demonstrate this in a dramatic way. They plan to have the governor, Commodore haut-Kunara publicly assassinated on the Emperor's Birthday. This will be the signal for a fresh outbreak of Ine Givar violence, renewing the guerilla war so recently put down at such expense in lives and property. To accomplish this deed, the Ine Givar gained the services of Inkula, a Grand Master of the Irklan religious sect.

3. WORLD DATA

In the aftermath of the Fifth Frontier War, the turbulent world of Efate (Regina 0105 A646930-D) returned to the Imperium's fold, and the Ine Givar terrorists are at last suppressed, save for a few sporadic skirmishes in the wilderness. Efate's war-ravaged cities, however, know peace for the first time in years.

As the war wound down, the Navy placed Efate under military government, with martial law to remain in effect until they put down the last of the Ine Givar once and for all. Though much more restrictive than the previous government, the new military government is still moderate. The newly appointed governor, Commodore Jamie haut-Kunara, is a figure of considerable charisma and local popularity. Liaison between the military government and the populace has remained excellent under his administration.

All of Efate is looking forward to upcoming celebration of the Emperor's Birthday, the first unfettered celebration of this holiday since the beginning of the war. More than anything else, this will symbolize the return of peace and prosperity to Efate.

4. IRKLAN

A human religious sect from the desert world of Menorb (Regina 0203 C652998-7). It is of special interest because of their high stress on personal survival and individual prowess in hand-to-hand combat. The ascetic subculture is a rigorous training ground for body and mind, and members of the sect enjoy a reputation as masters of stealth, unarmed combat, and rigorous control of their bodies and their minds.

They believe that all of life is struggle, a test of worthiness. Those who survive are fit for a better life in the next world. Those who fail lose all chance for the next life, their soul perishing at death. The object of every member is to live a long and glorious life, filled with triumphs over every possible environmental and social obstacle. Some sub-sects hold that a glorious career capped by ritual suicide is the only way to reach the afterlife.

Referee: The sect encourages outsiders to exaggerate the powers at their command. Certain superstitious natives of Menorb believe them to be sorcerers or mystics, while more sophisticated people claim them to be psionic heretics. For the last they are often shunned, sometimes attacked without reason, and always feared.

5. THE DOCKS

The vague reference to a ship could lead the adventurers to speculate along two lines. Singh might have referred to ship used by the plotters, or he might be talking about his own ship.

Action: If the ship is Singh's, his scout affiliation might lead the group to the Efate Way Station. Any character who has been in the Scouts, however, can tell them that the Scouts use alphabetic designations for starship docking bays, not numeric ones.

Efate starport has numeric bays. Berth number seven is used by the port authority, and nobody there has ever heard of Jack Calimar or Calmar Singh.

At this stage, it would be good to let the players know that they are being followed, to convince them that they are not on a wild goose chase.

6. CAL'S DREAM

The group can solve the riddle of the ship only if they realize that Singh was attempting to say "berth seventeen," not berth seven. There are fewer than seventy berths at the starport, which should eliminate another possibility. Here they will find that the free trader Cal's Dream occupies berth 17, registered to a J.S. Calimar of Regina.

Action: How the adventurers get past the security guards is up to them. No crew are on board. (They were given several days leave for the upcoming celebration, and are not members of the scouts in any case.)

After an extensive search, the party will find the tapes in the captain's cabin. They prove the existence of the plot and contain everything but the exact place and time of the planned assassination. They include a list of Ine Givar leaders and supporters that will put the local organization out of operation for a long time. With this evidence, the group can easily convince the authorities to act, and will receive a sizeable reward for their efforts.

7. OBSTACLES

Inkula is still lurking about, and will strike when he is sure he has an advantage. Though he must kill the governor face-to-face, he has no such scruples about the adventurers. They are merely obstacles to remove to assure his own survival.

8. NO ACTION

Even if the group takes no action concerning Singh, Inkula will assume the worst and follow them. After they have gone about their business for a day or so, Inkula will decide they know nothing. He will attempt to kill them to ensure that any scraps of knowledge they might have do not get to the authorities (in case he's wrong). In the interim, reports of break-ins and mysterious deaths at places they visited might tip off the characters.

9. RESOLUTION

An awesome foe, Inkula can take on the entire group and win easily under the right circumstances. His major weakness, which the group can exploit if they recognize it, is that he works alone. If the group separates, he can only follow one of them.

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Roadshow©

--©1985, John M. Ford, JTAS 23 Date: 180-1111
NPCs:

VEEDBACK

Mordred Rosegold: vocals, plays lead guitar (wears silk shirts and black leather, likes to have his picture taken and party all night).

Delilah d'Aubry: vocals, lead guitar (acid-queen rocker, packs a revolver, rumored to be a sector admiral's daughter).

Lydia Vervain: percussion (flashy dresser, in long gowns and lots of jewelry; also cool, smart, writes the band's biggest hit songs).

Ginch: keyboards (big guy who builds and maintains his own synthesizers; also a motorcycle fanatic...rare in this age of grav vehicles).

Herman Zero: bass (tall, thin, wild-eyed and completely weird city; he may be a burnt-out psionic).

Rosalita "Ruby" Tuesday

The lady with the mirrored glasses is the band's business manager.

Sandor Cronstein

Mad-genius director who heads the video crew. He has done all the Veeb's hit videos, including their last live cassette, POSITIVE VEEDBACK. Previous albums include RED NOISE, VBdB, and SUBLIMINAL. The tentative title for the current live tape is VEED VORWARD.

Walsingham "the Dopp" Doppler

"The Man with the Sixty Track Mind" runs all the mixing boards. He is the one most responsible for Veedback's sound, though Rosegold, Vervain, and Tuesday write their songs.

1. INTRODUCTION

An advertisement promising high pay and travel for a year's term of service attracted the players. It had a warning that the contract terms are strict and there is some risk involved--so, it sounded like the usual private-contractor mercenary recruiting notice for an unpopular war.

Action: Answering the ad leads the players to a confusing and maddening series of blind meetings, room-switches, and anonymous phone calls. The people they meet are silent, security-crazy, and discreetly-but-well armed. The recruiters check out the character's physical conditions and combat skills--their records with the military or the law are of no interest.

On at least one occasion, the recruiters show photographs of five slightly weird-looking people, three men and two women, and ask if they recognize them. (The referee should decide what's weird in his particular universe) They will ask this question at least once using a lie detector. The party does not know the people.

Finally, just at the point where the referee senses the player's patience is ready to snap, they are taken in a closed car through an underground garage to what seems to be a conference room in a fancy hotel. A woman in red-mirrored sunglasses and very expensive clothes, flanked by two goons (one of whom disarms the players) puts blank contracts on the table and states the terms.

The tour of duty is for one year, starting now, with up to 60 days extra for travel delays. The payment is Cr10,000 per person on signing, all meals and housing provided. They will receive another Cr90,000 and one high passage each at the end of the contract.

Anyone who quits before the year is up forfeits everything but the advance. Anyone hurt in the line of duty gets free medical care and Cr20,000 if they have to drop out. Anyone killed gets a funeral and Cr40,000 to next of kin.

The only job description given is "security and support". It is not on this planet.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

If the players sign on, the woman will count out Cr10,000 each, in new 100s, taken from a metal briefcase chained to a goon's waist. The players will be taken to a quite comfortable rooms in the hotel...which, they will soon realize, is actually a super-luxury liner, the Hotel California, taking off in only a few minutes. They will get no chance to run until the next stop, a barren company-owned world which will cost them almost the entire advance to leave.

After takeoff, the group finds out what they've gotten themselves into.

Our heroes are now roadies for Veedback, the five people in the pictures, a very popular amp-rock group in the {Solomani Rim}. They've never heard of Veedback--that's why they were hired. The Veeb's fans are... enthusiastic.

Veedback has the highest LRI (Lost Roadie Index) on the Rim concert tours. This tour will be complicated, because a video team will be shooting tape for a live tour cassette. Everybody (rabid fans, rock-hating vigilantes, ticket scalpers, video pirates, pirate pirates bent on kidnapping) will go after the players. It's going to make a short ticket on tech level 6 swamp world look like a junior prom at Eat Tulare High.

3. WEIRD ENCOUNTER

At the next (barren, company owned) world, the liner will take on heavy equipment and a group of passengers will board the liner's really fancy staterooms.

4. EVENTS

This is really a do-it-yourself campaign situation, a heavy-metal version of Leviathan.

Veedback should play about a dozen planets in the course of the year, giving from one to five concerts at each stop based on population, wealth, size or available arenas, and so forth. The band's expenses are high; running the ship and catering to the musician's tastes in food and recreation cost plenty. (So does hiring roadies at 100 grand plus costs.) Obviously they're not going to do a concert for ten scientists at a research outpost.

Rosalita will schedule a gig if it will produce at least MCr5 in ticket sales, which could mean 100,000 seats at Cr50 each, or a few seats on a rich resort world. Even then, selling tapes afterward makes most of the money.

Action: While it is of course possible for each stop to be a variation on "you violate local customs (religious beliefs/health codes/parking ordinances/artistic sensibilities) and have to finagle (shoot/shoot/shoot/shoot) your way out of the local hoosegow", there are infinite possibilities, both serious and humorous.

As always in these situations, the referee has carte blanche to adjust the length of the tour, the payoff (Ruby is a very sharp operator, but honest, and bonuses or "combat pay" are possible), or the personalities of the band and crew members.

Remember, whatever the tech level, rock and roll never forgets.

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Embassy in Arms

--by John Marshal, JTAS 24 Date: 290-1111

This adventure is for mercenary characters, specifically Vargr in Kforuzeng mercenary forces. Of course, it is possible to adapt the situation for human characters instead. The adventure may be set up several ways.

Characters can participate in the action, as part of a special force given some specific mission connected with the raid. Beyond that, it could be a mercenary ticket, using the procedures in Traveller Book 4, Mercenary to mount and resolve the overall operation. Finally, you could use the situation as a backdrop to a battle or series of battles using the Striker miniatures rules system. Any of these would be equally valid.

1. INTRODUCTION

Because of civil unrest in Lovrenyi, tension between the nations of Lovrenyi and Lanax increased recently. Units serving the republic of Lanax crossed the Lovrenyi frontier, and there was a surge of anti-Lanax fervor among Lovrenyi's volatile citizens. Riots were staged in Lovrenyi's capital city, focused primarily on the Lanax embassy compound.

These rioters, who maintain a veritable state of siege, virtually cut off forty citizens of the republic, four Kforuzeng security specialists, and a Kforuzeng emissary from the outside world. While the Lovrenyi government officially deplores the crisis, they do little to discourage the rioters beyond setting up roadblocks to limit the rioting to the area within a few blocks of the embassy compound.

The embassy guards are armed and prepared to resist attack, but it is a potentially dangerous political situation. Almost any move Lanax makes could trigger a conflict no one wants. Even sitting tight and waiting the crisis out could be catastrophic, because public opinion in Lanax won't stand for an appearance of weakness in the face of such repeated and flagrant humiliation of the republic's citizens in Lovrenyi.

Conflict might be averted if the embassy compound were evacuated rapidly and without a major confrontation, and at the instigation of someone other than the republic. The Kforuzeng mercenaries have a stake in the situation as well; five of their members are in the compound too. A Lanaxian government has quietly approached the Kforuzeng with this idea:

Let the Kforuzeng mercenaries mount an expedition, as if on their own, to rescue their members, and pick up the embassy staff as well. Lanax could officially deny knowledge of the plan, and would have to take some punitive measures against the Vargr responsible. These measures would be for public consumption only, however, and have no real effect (a good deal of cash could change hands under the table, placating those who have to endure public punishment).

They must carry out the operation quickly, however, with no loss of life, and a minimum of actual combat (ideally, none). The Kforuzeng should get in, secure the compound perimeter against possible interference from rioters or Lovrenyi troops, and then get the embassy staff out. A rapid withdrawal, again with minimum contact from the opposition (and minimum fatalities) should follow.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

The Kforuzeng raiding force consists of six Gcarriers, each mounting VRF gauss guns. Forty troops are present: the rest of the space on the Gcarriers is for carrying away the rescued staff. Equipment is tech level 10 standards, per the Mercenary rules.

3. WORLD DATA

Aramanx (Aramis 0605 B657974-6) is a balkanized world at the edge of the Towers cluster. It is divided among eight major and at least 20 minor mutually hostile nations. It population of 1.6 billion stands poised on the brink of a shattering world war, and sporadic conflicts are almost constant on the world. The "Powderkeg of the Towers Cluster" now enjoys a state of comparative peace (or rather of watchful tension) which could end abruptly at any time. Though raids and border clashes do occur, no nation seems willing to go over the edge into all-out war... yet.

4. STERNMETAL

Sternmetal Horizons, LIC, an Imperial megacorporation, backs the expansion of Lovrenyi, one of the world's smaller but more heavily industrialized nations. Sternmetal has invested heavily in the nation, and introduced a small but well-equipped mercenary contingent to supplement Lovrenyi's armed forces. Their intention is to help Lovrenyi unify the world into a single government, heavily indebted to Sternmetal. It could then force the world to accept terms favorable to the megacorporation's complete domination of the local economy.

In progress for some time, the plan proved ultimately unsuccessful. Lovrenyi extended their frontiers, and coerced several nations into their sphere of influence, but became bogged down in a guerilla war in one of their conquests. This threw off their timetable for conquest and gave other nations on Aramanx a chance to hire off-world mercenaries of their own.

The republic of Lanax obtained the services of a battalion of Vargr corsairs, part of the Kforuzeng band. Equipped to tech level 10, these mercenaries are the best military unit available to Lanax, and have been employed in several strikes and border raids.

5. APPROACH

The capital of Lovrenyi is 270 kilometers from the border with Lanax; a three-hour flight will get the rescue mission to the city. Detection gear on Aramanx is not very good generally, but there is a small chance that the rescue force will be spotted.

To spot rescue force:
Routine (fateful)
6. AT THE EMBASSY

Once they complete the flight, the rescue force can reach the embassy with comparative ease.

Action: It will take 1D x 30 minutes to get an evacuation organized, but only half that time will be spent loading the Gcarriers. A small party might go ahead to get things organized.

The locals will be alerted to their presence if they were detected in their approach.

To see rescue force landing in embassy:
Routine, -2 DM
Referee: Change difficulty to Difficult if landing at night.

The rioters will react in 1D x 10 minutes to discovery that an evacuation is being organized. Disorganized civilian forces armed with tech level 5-6 weapons will then storm the compound without effective leadership or coherent objectives. (Treat the rioters as Recruit Militia in Striker terms.) If fighting occurs with these rioters, a Lovrenyi army brigade of mechanized conscripts stationed in the capital will arrive within 1D/2 hours.

The referee must map the compound and flesh out the basic considerations presented here.

7. WITHDRAWAL

A successful withdrawal depends on the success of the raid itself. A force can attempt to intercept the raiders on a roll of 6+ once each hour throughout the three-hour flight home. This could result in further clashes using whichever system the referee wishes to employ.

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The Lost Village

--by Jeff Groteboer, JTAS 24 Date: 290-1111
1. INTRODUCTION

Scene: The players have landed on Gadden. While in jump they noticed that their air/raft had developed engine problems. Communication with the starport indicated that the replacement parts were available in Lucky, the main town.

The crew look around during the overhaul. The local atmosphere consists of dirt streets, more bars than homes, and the typical houses of ill-repute. With a planetary population numbering slightly more than 70, this place would soon become very dull.

Action: In the afternoon, one of the party notices a figure making its way across the snow. The crew man hurries out to help, and finds it to be a local inhabitant, almost frozen and near death. he manages to get out the words,"They're... all... gone... Everyone's... gone...," before he dies.

The body is taken to the local doctor, who identifies the man as Laster LeBarre, a hunter from a nearby village. Ten days ago, he left Lucky after selling his month's catch of furs to return home. It is a two-day trip by snowmobile.

The local peace officer, Constable Monteray, calls the characters into his office.

"I can't afford to leave the town just now. Every hunter and trapper in the area has sold his autumn's catch to the dealers in this town. I'm the only law around, and the livelihood of the entire subcontinent depends on that supply being sold to the winter trade ships from Beatus.

"What I'd like to do is deputize you togo out to LeBarre's village and check out what happened. His last words got me nervous. Since your air/raft is still being repaired, you can use my snowmobiles. I got two, and they carry three men plus equipment on each."

If the players need coaxing, he continues that the job pays Cr125 by week. Not much by interstellar standards, but, if pressed, he can arrange to have the cost of the air/raft repairs thrown in.

Once the players accept, the Constable gives each a deputy's badge, a map showing the route to the town, and gives them the names of the town elders with whom they must speak.

2. REFEREE'S INFORMATION

It is unlikely that the players will ever learn the true story of what happened. It will probably remain one of the mysteries that will keep them awake nights for years to come.

Depending on their resourcefulness and equipment, however, they may uncover more details. The full story is this:

Four years ago, Lergei Stallenze arrived on Gadden ready to make his fortune as a hunter. After a discouraging first season, he and his partner, Toolian Degerre, found the remains of a burial mound. Inside they found a small fortune in gold and jewels, placed there by some long-forgotten priests. Because of toolian's superstitions, he refused to allow Lergei to raid the mound of its riches. Lergei agreed because of their friendship.

Three months ago, Toolian died in an avalanche. His body was recovered and buried near his home village. Unfortunately, one of the local villagers' superstitions requires burying all a man's possessions with him, so the map to the treasure was buried with Toolian's body.

Lergei remembered the treasure, and planned to make his fortune. From the starport, he contacted a ship which was to pick him up on the plain between the village and Lucky, and then return him to the village.

Lergei dug open the grave one night and recovered the map, but an early-riser in the village saw him. One death led to another and he eventually killed all the men in the village. Most of the women and children escaped into the wilderness, and eventually died.

Lergei tied the bodies together and sank them in a nearby lake. He then the treasure. With the map showing the way, Lergei went off to find and recover the treasure. Afterward he met the starship, which spirited him away to safety.

Laster Lebarre decided to visit the village only a week too late. Otherwise, he too might have disappeared at the bottom of an icy lake.

3. WORLD DATA

Gadden (Solomani Rim, Harlequin 0106), a planet dominated by backwater settlements. The terrain is mostly barren; the most habitable region is a tundra covering the planet's entire mid-latitudes. The starport, Lucky Downs, truly deserves its D classification. It is barely more than an open field with a small maintenance shack and a fuel pumping station.

4. ON THE WAY

The next morning the players set off across the snow. Midway through the first day's ride they discovered an abandoned snowmobile.

Action: If they stop to inspect it, the characters will discover title documents identifying it as LeBarre's. They also will find a large oil leak in one of the high-pressure lines. LeBarre walked or ran almost 100 kilometers in sub-zero temperatures with no food to get back to Lucky.

5. THE VILLAGE

After the second day's travel, the characters will arrive at the village. It is little more than a cluster of corrugated tin shacks surrounding a central fire pit. They enter the town as dusk falls. The silence is eerie.

Action: As the players search the town, they find no one home--no men, women, or children, although the village probably held twenty or more. Lights and heating units are on, and some shacks have badly burnt food still cooking above open fires and primitive stoves. In some shacks, knitting needles are in garments. The signs of a hurried departure are everywhere.

On another side of the village, an empty grave lies open. It has a light layer of snow inside.

The party has two options: they can stay the night in this spooky place, or they can ride two more days back to Lucky.

6. IF THEY RETURN TO LUCKY

The players ride two days back to Lucky.

Action: The Constable will listen to their story gravely, and inform them that local citizens never open graves once the body is placed inside. It must have been the work of offworlders.

He will ask them to conduct a full investigation, for as long as it takes. If they refuse, he will hold them until an investigation can be conducted, arresting them if necessary.

7. FULL INVESTIGATION

Action: Finding out the details of the story would take exhaustive searching of the icy lake (where the bodies of the local men are), of the surrounding plains (where the frozen bodies of women and children are), and of the nearby foothills (where lies the pillaged burial mound). After finding these clues, the players may surmise the gist of the story, but they will not find Lergei. That is another adventure.


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