Game Prep: Traveller, Adventure 4

With the conclusion of adventure 3, we’re moving into the next one this week which is going to take the PCs to Mora. I’m planning on basically breaking this down into a couple of intended sequences that basically boil down to:

  • The Trip
  • The Arrival
  • The Trial
  • The Holiday List Gala
  • The Departure

The Trip

This is mostly going to be brushed aside and fast-forwarded through since I want to avoid the whole “planet of adventure” thing where PCs get into crazy hijinks every single time they land enter a new system. Still, there are going to be some stuff that I can handle during the transit (~28 days.)

  • Lord Mika continues to make the effort to be a cool dude while tiptoeing toward trying to get the PCs to crew the Miss Adventure full-time.
  • Sir Corbin reacquaints himself with the crew, learns that Ella is leaving, and starts considering buying her out.
  • J-Aris must make two more “Trapped Mind” checks (From GURPS: Robots) that are basically Fright Checks at -8. Failure leads to additional disads.
  • PCs can continue messing with designing a new non-combat chassis for J-Aris so he can participate during adventures on high law worlds (ala Mora.)
  • Set up Lee (NPC pilot) leaving so Armin can take over that job.

The Arrival

I expect this will mostly be another data-dump … unless I pull the trigger on something else that I’m contemplating here (which I expound upon in the bullet points below):

  • PCs immediately discover that Mora is bugnuts busy. I think Haank is the only PC who has been here before.
  • POSS.: In the 40K book, Xenos (which is book 1 of the fantastic Eisenhorn Trilogy by Dan Abnett), there is a scene I’m thinking of ripping off. In it, the ship Eisenhorn is on is boarded by a customs skiff who turn out to be agents of Chaos & attack him the moment he identifies himself. I’m contemplating doing the same thing here, maybe with … 4 or so bad guys wearing space armor and using gauss rifles … the problem with this, though, is that PCs are unlikely to be packing heat at this point so it could be a total TPK if I’m not careful. So what I’m considering instead is to have this happen on their way out … hmm. Yeah. That probably works better in the long run.
    • I suppose I could have one of the NPCs (Kendal?) arrested with the reveal that his elaborate background is all fictional and he’s AWOL from the Mora Navy or something…
  • Eventually, PCs berth on the high station and will meet up with Sam, their erstwhile pilot who absconded with their ship. They’ll meet his crew – I’m totally ripping off Dollhouse with Echo as the XO, Victor as the gunner, Whiskey as the engineer, and Sierra as the medic – and he’ll make sure they know that he’s not ditching his crew. Ideally, I’d like to work with the Players to arrange some sort of set-up where Sam is still part of the company but is in command of the Spinward Star (which he renamed to Ellasaurus Rex.) 
    • Sam is also going to ask what the hell they did to Corfu. It’s a Red Zone now. Entrance into the system is grounds for immediate destruction…
  • Ella will receive a missive officially inviting her to the Holiday List Gala which is a week or so away; this invitation is at the behest of Duke Leonard of Rhylanor.
  • PCs will check in with the Ministry of Justice and be expected (those who are expected) the following a.m.

The Trial

At the moment, this is still mostly “I’d like to do X” ideas but I’m throwing them down digitally so I don’t forget. Imperium justice uses the inquisitorial system and I think I’ve got enough of a handle on that to move forward.

  • Since Adric Mason is highborn, he will have nobles as his judges. I’m going to have three judges … and conveniently enough, there are three Players who aren’t involved in the trial! So I’m going to rely on the players of Armin, Eddy and J-Aris for the final decision as to what actually happens.
  • Mason’s lawyers will end up pointing out:
    • All of the evidence against their client is purely circumstantial or hinges on the testimony of the PCs plus 1 NPC who can be labelled as a ‘traumatized and damaged young woman’ … who did not even show up for this important trial!
    • As to the PCs, well, they have a lot of stuff that make them untrustworthy in the eyes of the court:
      • Buck is a former pirate who went to prison because of it. He served under the “notorious” pirate, Sir Meng Unlee … God, I’m tempted to call him Meng the Merciless
      • Abe is a psion
      • Sam (surprise reveal since the Player quit the game) was expelled from three different flight academies for misconduct and was almost thrown out of a fourth
      • Sae is painted as a freelance mercenary with ties to vargr corsairs; his position in the Scouts is described as questionable in light of certain actions
    • The crew as a whole is described as wildly untrustworthy who have been linked to a number of deadly events through the Marches:
      • Their lack of competence (or perhaps intentional malice) resulted the ML Titanic to be lost on Kegena.
      • Due to their actions, the Zhodani warship Unconquerable was not recovered and even now, it has continued to plague the Jewell and Vilis sub-sectors
      • They were at Yori when the Ine Givar terrorists destroyed a research station. Defense lawyer hints that the PCs may have actually allowed this.
      • All of them save one (Sam) have been positively identified as having been at Corfu before that unpleasantness…
      • There are even some BOLOs from the Gazulin sub-sector regarding these people!
      • They violated Jumpspace sovereignty when they broke into Captain Mason’s ship which amounts to an act of piracy.
  • Defense definitely paints the PCs are of questionable authenticity who may have ties to the Ine Givar, Zhodani terrorists, and vargr corsairs.
  • All of the evidence against Mason is circumstantial but it paints a very grim picture of a monster hiding in plain sight and terrorizing the space lanes. Prosecutor urges action out of concern that if he is set free, some will perceive a double-standard with regards to highborn…
  • Ultimately, the decision here is up to the three Players running the judges and I’m going to play it by ear how they proceed so it is entirely possible that Mason could be released! In that case, he will immediately file a wrongful imprisonment suit as well as a civil case against the Spinward Star suing for damages. Whee! In the event that he isn’t set free, the PCs could still be hit with a massive fine for their actions (and probably will so I can take a huge chunk out of the company funds. Maybe as much as 2 million, which would drop them down to ~500K, I think.)
  • MEANWHILE, I need to figure out what to do with Armin, Eddy and J-Aris while this is going on. Eddy is probably the easiest since his player will actively seek out trouble to get himself into, but the other two … Armin has the whole Mistaken Identity thing going on and I suppose I could play with that here, with people and store types mistaking her for the countess of Bevey…
  • I think I would like the PCs to somehow find out that Breyon Sodhii is at least peripherally involved in their various misdeeds coming to light, at which point I can reveal that the company (Spinward Star, LLC) has an Enemy…

The Holiday List Gala

A handful of things are definitely scheduled for this for various PCs and the like.

  • Immediately prior to this, Corbin is going to reach out to the PCs – being new to his knighthood, he was unaware that he is expected to attend with a retinue! So he needs the PCs to come with him!
    • Abe, being a registered Psi, knows better than to go so he’ll stay with Sam and his crew to get to know them better.
  • Armin is definitely going to be mistaken for the Countess of Bevey if she has not already. This should lead to some confusion.
  • Buck sees Baronetess Alace Coteaz …
    • who he recognizes as Cynia Richter from his days of piracy, though she wasn’t nobility back then. And when she sees him, her eyes widen somewhat as well … and then, she goes out of her way to avoid him.
    • GM Notes: She isn’t Alace Coteaz, but is actually running a scam. The real Baronetess Coteaz is back on Jae Tellona, indisposed due to an unexpected illness. Luckily for Cynia, she looks a lot like Alace so ..
  • Countess Eleena Koi of Natoko becomes enamored of Eddy, despite (or because of) his low status? She will flirt outrageously with him … in front of her husband who will end up demanding that ‘honor be satisfied’ in the form of a duel!
    • Use Gemma Chan (who was ‘Kasumi Goto’ in previous character interactions before Eddy joined them.)
    • And this duel is not with swords but with replicas of ancient flintlock pistols. And what would be the most Unlucky thing to happen here? Eddy shoots … and kills her husband in a legal duel. D’oh!
    • Amusing thought: the countess is visibly appalled over this, though the PC won’t learn why until much later. Evidently, Natoko customs require her to now become Eddy’s wife (even though she’s still the countess!) She will spend several adventures worth of time trying to find a way out of this…
  • Haank … Haank may run into CDR Krin again, though this time she’s in disguise. I may also have him forced into running cover for Corbin who is trying to duck the Duke of Rhylanor … and the duke’s daughter…
  • J-Aris … I’m not real sure what to do with him here, though this is several sessions away so I have plenty of time to figure it out.
  • Sae will encounter his former commanding officer who is surprised to see him here, and then a little troubled. He promises to catch up with Sae later before hurrying off.
  • The nobility of Spinward Marches is rocked when Countess Josephine of Efate is elevated to Duchess of Regina per the Emperor’s command. This visibly enrages the Duchess of Mora. PCs realize that battle lines are being drawn…
  • I’m contemplating a terror strike – Ine Givar, perhaps? – here but with the archduke present and all of the other dukes and duchesses, it’s going to be hard to swallow that these guys could get through the security … unless that’s the entire point, I suppose. Who is responsible and all that. At the same time, though, I’m tempted to not do that …

The Departure

  • Prior to departure, I’d like to resolve the company situation, what with Sam remaining a member of Spinward Star, LLC, but also remaining in command of the Ellasaurus Rex with his crew. Ella can leave Mora with the Duke of Rhylanor and his entourage since she’s rejoining his navy as a full Commander (so she’ll be in charge of a destroyer!) and Corbin can join the crew as the ship captain. Lord Mika can make his offer for the PCs to “lease” the Miss Adventure for 10% of their haul and agreeing to do the occasional job. This is a really good deal, especially if I screwed over the PCs during the trial and took away most of their money.
  • Lord Mika will not be returning to Porozlo with the PCs. Instead, he will be remaining behind on Mora to take care of some business.
  • To segue into adventure 5, Lord Mika will basically hire them to go to Hex 3217 which is going to be 12 jumps away.
    • In the Fessor Subsector of the Foreven Sector, there is an independent world known as Lison (3217). They are known for only one thing: eludium exports.
    • Eludium is a rare and precious metal used in the construction of jump drives – knowledgeable PCs are aware that it is actually superior to the zuchai crystals which are normally used because you need only a tenth of it.
    • Lord Mika needs at least 10 tons of pure rhodium and is willing to hiring the PCs to obtain it. He will provide them with 5.5 million credits to obtain this eludium and will pay an exceptionally agreeable 10% commission upon delivery (so $550K.) Must determine whether 10% commission is worth their time here. Allowing PCs to keep any bonus fundage (e.g., they only spend $5M instead of $5.5M to get 10 tons) may help here.
  • Even if PCs don’t actively seek out additional freight and passengers, Sae’s former commander will seek transportation off-world and is willing to pay.
  • THIS is when I should do the strange customs boarding with the customs personnel needing to check all IDs for all personnel. And then, when they get to Sae’s former commander, they fast-draw and blast him!
    • Cue fight music!
    • Naturally, these guys turn out to not be in the Customs database so when reinforcements are brought in and review everything, they’re all Zeroed.
  • And then, I end the session and my run with Sae discovering that his former commander passed on some information that he’s recently learned: the man everyone knows as Archduke Norris … is an imposter. The realNorris Aella Aledon was discreetly assassinated by Zhodani operatives in the first two years of the Fifth Frontier War at the behest of their government because their precogs saw that he would be a major threat to them. The replacement Norris is a body double that Branj Dilgaadin arranged to stand in with an intent of ‘dying naturally’ once the war was over. Both men enjoyed the taste of power, however, and have continued the deception since then…
    • This leaves Sae with a Secret that he realizes is worth killing over … and one that someone has killed over…