Game Prep: Traveller, 4.08

Based on feedback from the players, I’ve got a pretty good idea about what’s coming in the next session. Obviously, if any of my players are watching my blog, they should probably move along.



I established at the end of 4.07 that a pair of unmarked dropships have arrived and, while looking online, I found the following image which matches perfectly my mental image of these things.

Anyway, Sae is intending to go all Batman-slash-Punisher on some of the deployed troopers and seize one of the dropships so he can pick up the other PCs … which will then lead directly to a Chase. The bad guys themselves are only going to be about 150 points (using the Soldier template from Traveller: Interstellar Wars with the Infantry lens); they’ll all be wearing the Combat Hardsuit (UT179) and carrying the Storm Carbine (UT137). Sae is carrying a pair of Magnum pistols equipped with APHD ammo (6d+2 (5) pi+) so the DR 50 of their hardsuit will only defend against 10. That means, on average, 10 hp is going to get through.

The neat idea here though is that I’m going to hand out the soldiers to the other Players so if Sae gets killed, it won’t be my fault!

Ultra-Tech p229 has the excellent Utility Vertol which is perfect for this vehicle, so that’s perfect … unfortunately, none of the characters have Piloting (Vertol) so that could be … interesting. I’m leaning toward the vertols having a pair of door guns – since I’ve established with the above soldier loadout that Storm Carbines are in use, logically I should have the doorguns be Storm Chainguns (UT136) which will use Guns (LMG) … and I don’t think any of the PCs have that skill either! (Ah, the perils of being TL11 and running around on a TL9 world.)

Hmm. Just occurs to me that the troopers on the ground will likely open fire on the captured vertol the moment Sae heads to the roof to retrieve the other PCs. Storm Carbine does 7d pi++ which is 21 points on average. The Vertol has DR 30 … right. Unless they’re using AP rounds, they’re not going to do any damage.

Ultimately, it’s probably not relevant whether the PCs manage to make good their escape although … interesting thought occurred to me just now. Not all PCs are going to be able to actually doing anything during this chase – Pilot, Co-Pilot (maybe), two Gunners which leaves two players twiddling their thumbs – so I’m likely going to assign them the running of the second vertol up to and including the shooting. Unlike the PCs, they’re going to have the proper skills so this could easily result in a crash. Let’s see: vertol has ST 90 (Thrust 10d) and Move 4/200 (which means top speed is 400 mph.) This means (if I grok correctly) a crash would inflict 10d+100 to itself and 1d+10 hp to any PCs. Could be really interesting if the PCs do end up going down, then have to defend? Would probably prefer to avoid that though considering that, if the vertol goes down, it’s likely going to to do so in the middle of a city which could have a high casualty count.

Interesting thought: what if, once they start going airborne, some remote piloting system kicks in and the “Bad Guys” begin controlling their path? PCs should be aware that, wherever they’re going, they will likely have a massively armed greeting party? Knowing this group, I could see them making the decision to just see where it leads which could put me into a difficult position since I don’t want that to happen just yet. Better idea there is if the PCs are pulling away, the BGs remotely kill the engine which could lead to the crash (effects mitigated by PC actions – e.g., a successful Piloting check might let them control glide into an open lot, or Mechanic check lets them circumvent the remote control just in time to avoid a complete crash.) And then, once the PCs are down on the ground, as the other vertol approaches, it abruptly banks hard and accelerates away …

And then, police skimmers descend en masse. In the event the PCs stay where they’re at (which is probably a bad idea if they used the LMG in the city limits), they’re almost certainly going to end up arrested, even if they didn’t shoot anyone. Hmm. I don’t like that. What if instead the pursuing vertol is engaged by other forces (police, rival corporation assets pissed that this group is present? Yeah. I kind of like that better because it really establishes that the corporations are running things in the Free Trade bloc.

Action 2 does cover ‘multi-party chases’ but what I’m thinking here is that I run a Chase with the other vertol for … let’s say 5 rounds. And then, some different armed skimmers (also unmarked?) roar into view and engage both the PCs and the other vertol. So this chase continues, but the original pursuing party drops out of the chase – it’s busy defending against it’s own bad guys – while the new arrivals take over that role. Run that for five or ten more rounds (or until the PCs escape/crash.) Which means I really need to stat out whatever vehicle(s) are pursuing the PCs. Oy vey.

So. Presuming that the PCs are downed (whether by choice or otherwise), then what? I’d already planned on having Abe contact them – the Envoy has reached out to him – but I probably need to have some additional time pass since I wanted him to be in a different nation-state on Porozlo (in this case, the PCs would be in the equivalent of Europe & he’s over in America.) Cool thought there: because of the above aerial quasi-dogfight, the city’s aircraft/starcraft are grounded so nobody can go anywhere … so the PCs have to take a train! (Maglev, of course, because TL9.) And, in the course of my poking around online, I found this … which is so freaking cool that it is now the official public transport of the Free Trade bloc on Porozlo.

Say, a couple of hours to reach where Abe is – this gives PCs time to recover FP, maybe some HP as well depending on gear available, as well as a chance for me to do another data-dump in the form of the reveal about the count of Porozlo being in the headline news for some minor controversy some of his employees are involved in. This also allows the characters to hack into the camera thing that Sae picked up which leads to the surprise reveal (for Ella, at least) regarding the person who planted the camera (which turns out to be her ex-roommate.) I sort of envision these maglev train-buses (I need a cool name for them) being ubiquitous so there are like a gajillion of them and it is thus hard to track which one a person is on. PCs should observe one of those unmarked vertols cruising along the line which should allow them to realize that they’re being tracked somehow! (Comm-codes, as it turns out.) This leads to some scrambling as they figure out how to avoid being detected. Ideally, I’d like to find a way to ramp up the tension here – maybe these gunships are armed? There are civilians in the train-bus along with the PCs (including, of course, the inevitable innocent-looking kids) so any gunfight that transpires is inevitably going to endanger them. At the very least, the PCs should learn (from before-mentioned civvies) that the gunship is indicative of some ongoing corporate-on-corporate warfare, which should definitely hint toward Monsaanti-Neogene being behind this.

I found this awesome city image on TurboSquid that will serve as the city of Madua, which is (in my version of Traveller) the capital of the nation-state Nemso.

This is the train station (as far as I can tell).

Upon arrival in the station, I could potentially throw in another encounter here should the PCs encounter some of the bad guys that have decided to stake out the station to wait for their targets. I don’t have a cool floor plan for this, sadly, so if I do have a firefight, it’s going to need to be a running one and not necessary a tactical one. Alternately, if the PCs actually take pains to avoid detection, then maybe let them observe the bad guys but not fight them?

Hmm. This is the business district. Should have a tighter CR than the rest of planet. I think we’ve established that the CR of Porozlo (in general) is 2, so having the city be CR3 or CR4 actually makes sense. Let’s go with CR3.

Finally, on to Abe where they meet … the Envoy who just exudes badassery. It’s a special cinematic GURPS template I’ve just made: Bad-Ass Mo-Fo and she’s got four levels of it. From her, they’ll get a data-dump: the bad guys here are Monsaanti-Neogene whose founders did a lot of naughty things during the Fifth Frontier War. The Envoy honestly doesn’t care much about that – she’s after a specific person, Breyon Sodhii, who was once a ducal Envoy like her but has gone traitor. As to why MNC is so obsessed with capturing the PCs, that’s likely because they’re looking for Sam who was looking into some MNC stuff himself.

But, of course, chaos ensues as more bad guys arrive and the Envoy curses them: they used credchits assigned to their identities? (To Sae, the actual spook PC) Seriously? It’s amateur night here! Depending on the time, this could be a good place to end but if we still have an hour or so, the Envoy could recommend the PCs retreating and meeting her elsewhere while she delays the assault team. This could lead to another quick chase-fight or just a chase of some sort…

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