Game Prep: Traveller, 4.07

As stated in my recap for 4.06, some of the actions of the PCs have forced me to rewrite and seriously re-evaluate my plans for future installments.



Originally, my intent was to have Buck’s Enemy show up here and then seriously screw over his commercial rival though in a way that would not show up until adventure 3. Specifically, this guy was going to find a way to irreparably damage the Jump Drive of their (currently impounded) starship, but if the guy is a friend now (more accurately, an Ally), that isn’t going to fly. Further, based on some of the idle commentary made by the players during the game has led me to rethink what I was planning on doing with Sam. Originally, Sam was an active PC but that player dropped out of the group and I intended to use this adventure to write him out permanently by having him hook up with a badass government agent (heavily influenced by 40K Inquisitors.)

However, I’ve rethought that. Now, he’s going to be missing throughout this adventure … and will still be missing at the completion of it. More importantly, though, it isn’t just Sam who is going to be missing: so is the ship! More than a year has passed since he’s heard from the other members of the crew and the Evil Corporation™ responsible for the ship being impounded in the first time is acting suspicious … so he bribes, blackmails or seduces enough people to get the ship out of the system without anyone noticing. This accomplishes multiple things for me: not only does it ensure that there is a recurring subplot – where is Sam? – but it also leaves the PCs in a sufficiently bad spot that they have no real option but to agree to serve as the crew for the count’s ship (adventure 3.)

Right. Back to next week’s adventure. As stated at the end of my recap for last week, the crew begins being wildly split up. I have two PCs (Ella & Haank) planetside on Porozlo & surrounded by a lot of armed dudes, one PC (Buck) in a shuttle making an ’emergency landing’ nearby, two PCs (Eddy, Sae) in the highport in orbit and a third PC (Aris) also at the highport but very far away from the others.

In my original notes, I intended to play this out in the following manner:

    • PCs need to meet Sam’s “wife” which turns out to be a trap with the characters finding themselves in a kill pocket.
    • And then, a space marine drops into the middle of this mess & starts killing people, which gives PCs a chance to make good their escape.
    • Ideally, I’d like to then go into an aerial speeder chase ala Lair of the Shadow-Broker (from Mass Effect 2).

With my rethinking plus the addition of having half the crew in orbit right now, this isn’t going to work at all. The ‘space marine’ was going to be an Imperial super bad ass commando slash inquisitor type (heavily influenced by 40K Inquisitors.) My idea was that she is actually after a member of Monsaanti-Neogene (the Evil Corporation™ that the PCs are having problems with) … but there isn’t really anything like this in Traveller canon. Thus, I’m ripping off Altered Carbon and the Envoys (the book versions, not the Netflix version.) I’ll have to post my thinking on these Imperial Envoys in a different post but if you think 40K Inquisitor plus an Emperor’s Hand from Star Wars, you’ll be pretty close to my thinking. This character has to be a stealth commando type so…

    • Begin in media res with Ella and Haank being ‘escorted’ out of the mall and toward waiting transport. The two have been divested of their sidearms.
    • The shuttle that Buck is on – hmmm. I could have Aris conveniently be on that same shuttle? – completes its “emergency landing” that he bribed the pilot to accomplish, so he is able to rush forward where he should see Ella and Haank being escorted out…
    • And then suddenly, one of the people escorting the two is abruptly blown back! Someone is engaging them … with a portable railgun! Per UT142, the half-damage range is 3000 yards (or 9000 feet) so the sniper is likely well out of range.
    • This causes enough chaos to allow the three (maybe four if Aris is there) PCs to make an escape … and probably go directly into a vehicle chase of some sort (though it’s up in the air whether they’re the quarry or pursuers.)

    As to Eddy and Sae, we ended with some dudes ‘kicking in the doors.’ The immediate problem with this is that Sae is a combat monster and Eddy is (to be perfectly blunt) a combat wimp. Ideally, what I need to do is to put them on the run somehow … my current thinking is that these bad guys are rival drug dealer types and as soon as they take any pushback, they pull back and send in some drones. Sae is armed with heavy pistols, but they have armor piercing … so … gas? Yeah. Riot gas (UT159) requires a HT check every second to avoid becoming nauseated, so that works wonderfully. If the bad guys pull back, send drones and gas grenades, Eddy and Sae will have to retreat. Regardless, I need to stat both the bad guys and the drones.

    And all of this doesn’t even take into account Aris. How do I get him involved in this? Sure, I could hand-wave it away and have him be on the shuttle that Buck is taking dirtside, but that’s too convenient. What would work best, I think, is if Eddy and Sae seek him out … which means they need a reason. I established during 4.06 that there was a camera thing present, so if they snatch it on their way out, I can have it be encrypted so they need a hacker … and Aris is still on the station. Yeah. That works much better.

    Although … urgh. I also need to figure out what exactly they find on that encrypted camera. Obviously, the camera was put into place for a reason … so it should identify who dragged the dead guy into the motel room. And figuring out who this guy is will obviously be their next step.

    Oh … the person planting the camera will be Ella’s crossdressing former roommate who she established during the previous session had clearly gotten into some trouble. And the great thing here is that Ella is the only character who would recognize this stranger…

    Hmm. A chase and maybe a running fight that could just be maybe two or three rounds? Yeah. Not enough. I need to figure out some additional complications to throw in for this…