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Old March 17th, 2018, 06:12 PM
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Default Adventure Seed; The false god

So, I've exchanged PMs with Cryten, and he suggested that this might be a good place to put adventure seeds. My blog readership has dropped, and I'm trying to move onto other projects, so I might be trimming my blog in the coming months. As such, I'd like to share some Travellerness that I posted there. So, here we go

Date;
Year 1098, 127th Day

Place;
Glimmer Drift Sector
Adar subsector
Venad system
Downport

SitRep;
Eskufet lies outside the Imperium and its protection in the Tlianke subsector. It's native inhabitants, labeled Tilans (a colloquel title recognized by the major powers) are a tech level 1 (bronze age) race of mammals that have been contacted, promised a better life, employed by off world companies, and, as such, also abused and taken advantage of. The Tilans are savvy, know their world has essentially been invaded by peoples of other worlds whose technical abilities are above their own. But their improvement in food generation (farming and harvesting local animals) has allowed more free time and for a kind of societal self introspection. To this end there has also been a kind of reformation movement, but the Tilans are subject to the whims and wills of the corporations who have set up shop. There is off world oversight, but the Tilans think it lip service, or ineffective at best.

A group of Tilans approaches the players at the local Starport Bar overlooking the tarmac, and request that they accompany them back to Eskufet to witness their working classes treatment. They warn that getting in undetected will not be easy, and may require smuggling themselves in system and onto the world.

The Tilans state that they are being mistreated; over worked, their young being forced to labor, an economic system that has pushed out their ancient ways to favor the corporate off worlders, and to this end created a new impoverished class struggle to make ends meet for basic needs. The Tilans are now also coping with new diseases, and medical care is exorbitantly high for the wages they are paid.

The Tilans wish witnesses to their plight so they can bring attention to it to the "outside world".

Are the adventurers interested?
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Old March 17th, 2018, 07:07 PM
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d6:

1 - all is as it appears. the adventurers will have to deal with security police and undercover agents in their efforts to expose the corporations' mistreatment of the tilans.

2 - all is as it appears. the adventurers will have to deal with security police and undercover agents, along with an undercover tilan traitor in the group that first contacts the adventurers, in their efforts to expose the corporations' mistreatment of the tilans.

3 - all is as it appears, except any investigation will readily reveal that the tilans themselves also oppress and exploit a class of beings even lower-status than themselves, and that the tilans think that any attempt to liberate these "untouchables" is oppression of tilans.

4 - the tilans who have contacted the adventurers are a criminal class looking for off-world contacts for smuggling and money laundering.

5 - the tilans who have contacted the adventurers are politically ambitious and are looking for off-world contacts to support their attempts at gaining political power over other tilans.

6 - the tilans who have contacted the adventurers are Eskufet security forces looking to instigate a false-flag insurrection justifying a general security crack-down.
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Old March 18th, 2018, 01:59 AM
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Very cool addendum.
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Old March 18th, 2018, 03:15 AM
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Very nice idea and storyline, but what's the payoff for the adventurers? Altruism is all fine and dandy if you're Mother Theresa, but for the average Traveller character, it doesn't pay the bills.

IMTU, they should hire some Ral Ranta mercenaries to massacre their oppressors ruthlessly...

http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Ral_Ranta

They could hire:

Dermif Na... Amoral and unscrupulous mercenaries.
Black äl... The Black Hand will guarantee results once they're paid
Mkono Memusi... They'd gladly kill everything in the system if you pay them.
Owato... They'll send assassins to kill everybody you pay them to or die trying.
Sässiz ölüm... The Sudden Death will live up to their clan name and show up with a pirate squadron to ravage the system.


Last edited by Enoki; March 18th, 2018 at 04:49 AM..
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Old March 18th, 2018, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enoki View Post
Very nice idea and storyline, but what's the payoff for the adventurers?

That's a very good point. When the need for a payoff is added to the seed, it's more likely the adventurers are hired by a 3rd party who wants to hurt, embarrass, and/or discomfort the companies and governments involved rather than help the "poor widdle" Tilans.

That would make Flykiller's 3rd option the best one: The company is suppressing certain distasteful Tilan cultural practices in the region(s) it controls, some Tilans resisting that, and off-planet parties latching onto the mess for their own purposes. Look at suttee and the Thuggee cult in India for historical examples.
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Old March 18th, 2018, 03:01 PM
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So, we're looking at a bronze age culture that has traded the ancient cycle of feast years and famine years for what appears to be something approximating a regulated servitude: they can be reasonably certain their families are never going to go hungry again, but they've realized most of the fruits of their labor are going elsewhere. The effort to produce the goods sought by the offworld concerns rather than focusing primarily on local needs would have impact throughout the local economy and culture. Because the offworld companies can't afford disruptions in the workforce, the promised medical care has put an end to the plagues of old, with their immunizations and the introduction of sanitation and other basic advances that - for lack of an awareness of germ theory - would otherwise not have occurred to the locals. And, of course, the off-world companies are rightly proud of that accomplishment. But, levels of care beyond what is needed to ensure efficient production are tantalizingly out of reach for any but the local elite.

This is likely to be a very sharply divided society. There is going to be a set of people who remember their grandfathers' stories, who are very grateful that their children won't face the risk of starvation and of early death from epidemic disease, who see the loss of ancient ways as a small price to pay for relative security, and they're going to be afraid these boat-rocking reformers and their off-world do-gooders might end up making the corporations go away. Then there are going to be others who remember their 12-year-old who lost an arm in the thresher and their uncle who died of a simple wound infection from a cut working in the field while one of the town elite was given a kidney transplant. The players' reception is going to be a lot more mixed than the story they're given at the outset would lead them to believe, and there will almost certainly be some locals working against the players, either overtly or covertly. Things could get violent pretty quick.
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Comments made are for the purpose of offering alternative campaign settings for consideration. The writer acknowledges that Traveller is intended to emulate certain common science fiction tropes and that, in the course of emulating those tropes and providing a better playing experience, some liberties must be taken with science. No statement by the writer should be interpreted as constituting a criticism of the game on that basis ... except for that bit about Virus. Dude, really?!
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Old March 18th, 2018, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlobrand View Post
The players' reception is going to be a lot more mixed than the story they're given at the outset would lead them to believe...

If the players are stupid enough to swallow the "poor widdle Tilans" story as presented than they deserve everything that happens to them.

Quote:
... and there will almost certainly be some locals working against the players, either overtly or covertly. Things could get violent pretty quick.
Oh yes. Things should get very interesting very quickly.
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Old March 18th, 2018, 06:22 PM
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Good points, how do the players know the Tilans are truly suffering, and is their lot better than say ten plus years ago, or however long it's been since Imperial businesses first set up shop? Then again, that is part of the adventure.

As for pay ... I'm figuring a few ten-thousand per player; i.e. maybe 30,000 ImpCr worth of goods. It's been one of those issues that's plagued me ever since I first started GMing, and also why I never did much D&D (rewarding EXP).

Maybe the Tilan's have some agricultural goods that are native only to their world, or know the secret of vast veins of ore in local caverns. Something that would both thwart any local abusers, and would bring a fiscal bonus to the players should they help.
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Last edited by Blue Ghost; March 18th, 2018 at 10:14 PM.. Reason: added to the first paragraph for clarification
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Old March 18th, 2018, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Ghost View Post
Good points, how do the players know the Tilans are truly suffering, and is their lot better than say ten plus years ago, or however long it's been since Imperial businesses first set up shop?

As for pay ... I'm figuring a few ten-thousand per player; i.e. maybe 30,000 ImpCr worth of goods. It's been one of those issues that's plagued me ever since I first started GMing, and also why I never did much D&D (rewarding EXP).

Maybe the Tilan's have some agricultural goods that are native only to their world, or know the secret of vast veins of ore in local caverns. Something that would both thwart any local abusers, and would bring a fiscal bonus to the players should they help.

if the abuses are real, then the local duke revokes the charters for the abusing companies, and issues new ones to other companies. the duke gives the players a small thank-you payment (and makes a note of the ship and its crew for the next time he needs a burnable asset) and the companies that stand to profit form the change give the players a much larger thank you (and also make note of the deniable asset)
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Old March 18th, 2018, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerxeskingofking View Post
if the abuses are real, then the local duke revokes the charters for the abusing companies, and issues new ones to other companies. the duke gives the players a small thank-you payment (and makes a note of the ship and its crew for the next time he needs a burnable asset) and the companies that stand to profit form the change give the players a much larger thank you (and also make note of the deniable asset)
So maybe this is an Imperial investigation?
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