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Old September 23rd, 2007, 03:18 PM
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Default Idea for a traveller scenario, can't seem to get past initial concept.

OK, here's an idea for a traveller scenario that I can't seem to develop and that I can't seem to get out of my head, like an obscure old tune that won't go away.

Maybe if I pass it on to someone else, they'll have it and I'll be free....

Anyway, the idea goes that a free/far trader comes out of jump into a system with a planet that has a fairly large, long established settlement on it. After exiting jump, they receive no communications from the starport beyond the automatic beacons. All hails go unanswered.

Having no choice, the trader lands, all the while getting no replies.

The settlement is deserted, but undamaged, as if the whole populace simply disappeared like popping soap bubbles...

That's as far as I've gotten, I was trying to come up with ideas to work this out and really haven't gotten anything original or playable.

There was the "god gid it!" bit that joe haldeman used in "Forever free" that was really unsatisfying, as most "deus ex machina" endings are, I won't touch that one.

Weird alien disease turns populace into some kind of vampire/zombie thingies? Maybe afraid of sunlight, and the planet has a very long day/night cycle. Yuk, sounds like one of those awful movies on the scifi channel.

Unknown alien creatures attack and devour populace without warning? See above...

Zhoads testing some sort of weird psionic weapon? Hmm, most promising idea so far....

Any ideas?
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Old September 23rd, 2007, 04:05 PM
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slavers have raided the planet and transported everyone to another dimension, like in the tall man.

standard sci-fi genetic mutation alters the population, only they don't go underground, instead they have to live in the oceans.

spontaneous combustion.

infectious psionic epidemic of teleport or temporal displacement.

somebody's jump 7 experiment succeeded, with side effects.

leftover weapon from the ancient wars was found and activated, vaporizing all flesh it sees. it's still running around looking for targets.

monstrously huge and ancient colony ship came by and press-ganged the entire population (using high tech psychological controls, of course), then continued on its way.

big but normal infectious epidemic, with the government rounding up anyone who might be infected (they eventually round up everyone) and sending them to some isolation camp. the adventurers are now infected (with something, maybe) and must find a cure.

as above, but it was robots that decided to protect humans by rounding them up into a secure location.

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Old September 23rd, 2007, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by The Thing View Post
Yuk, sounds like one of those awful movies on the scifi channel.
But, those awful movies on SciFi can be really fun to play....

Really, what do you mean by a "large" settlement? Lots of scenarios would work with, say, a populace of 1,000 or so. Once you start getting above a few thousand, something like slavers is going to leave a lot of marks on the landscape. Even zombies.

How about a mass religious experience (mass because it is psionic in nature - of course). They are still there, but they're up in the hills awaiting their messiah (ala Dune). And, if one of the PCs just happens to be thought of as their "anti-Christ"....

I like the robot thing, too, though. Mainly because it could start as something that seems benign to everyone, so they go along willingly.

Right out of ST:TOS, you can do the Miri episode. (Don't use Omega Glory, because if the players figure it out, they will just have to wait out the immunization period. )

If you don't mind a small bit of damage, use neutron bombs. For younger folks, they might not recognize what they're seeing. (You had to have been around during the Carter years to remember all that. So, no grognards allowed.)
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Old September 23rd, 2007, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by The Thing View Post
Any ideas?
There's a damn cool old FASA Star Trek module that had this plot. Players ship comes upon a station. Everybody's gone. Where'd they go?

Of course, the crew, upon investigation, find that transporter research was being conducted at the station, and a massive wave transporter accident sucked everybody up. At the end, the crew saves the station crew by re-materializing them from limbo.

As to your idea, why don't you set it in the Regina system (or some such system) and have the disappearance be related to Ancient technology?

Or...there's an ancient site on the planet, recently discovered (The movie "Aliens"-style), and that led to whatever happened.

Or, if you're tired of the whole "Ancients" thing (maybe it's "too easy"), why not do something with biotech?

A microbe has been introduced to the planet. The players start finding little particles of dust, upon closer examination of the world. The microbe eats all organic tissue.

This idea can be turned into something "big" real quick. Quarrantine. Super weapons. Various factions trying to be the only ones with this "secret".

A merchant ship from outside Imperial space lands on the world, went through decontamination...and this microbe lived anyway...

The world is being "tested" with the microbe...either by the Imperials or by the Zho's...maybe the Darrians?

The microbe acts like an enzyme, eating away all organic material it comes into contact with.

One of the crew catches it, and their arm starts to do we save him!?

The "save" to the microbe turns out to be something very easy, very common...Like water kills it...and, the world is in a there was no rain for a while...

I'm just brainstorming here.
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Old September 23rd, 2007, 04:55 PM
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Default My thinking is kind of along the lines of ...


My thinking was kind of along the lines of some of the stuff already posted.

The first idea was that someone at the settlement had discovered some ancient artifact that when powered up transported everyone to an abandoned ancient outpost (either another dimension or maybe a location deep underground). Although the ancients are long gone alot of there tech remains.

Once the adventurers discover the artifact, they too are transported to this location where they find most of the settlers dead. As it turns out, upon arriving at this location some of the settlers realized it for what it was and started trying to loot the place triggering the automated defense systems.

Your adventurers would now be in the situation where they need to find the way out while helping any survivors they find while fighting of the defenses as well as the urge to try and loot what they can. Ultimately they may also end up having to find a way to destroy the outpost entirely if it appears the defensive systems/robots are capable of following them back to the original settlement.

I suppose there is alot of potential for variations on that theme as well.

Alternatively, you could do a "Forbidden Planet" type set up as well, where the settlers found an ancient device but it had the ability to make there deepest dreams and night mares come true, leading to the settlers' deep seated fears and mistrust of one another ultimately destroying each other with only the most powerful personality was the only one left, who the adventurers finally locate somewhere.

Anyway, just some thoughts.



Last edited by PFVA63; September 23rd, 2007 at 04:59 PM.. Reason: Added some missing test in the last paragraph
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Old September 23rd, 2007, 05:32 PM
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Default Wait a minute, it just dawned on me...


It just dawned on me. Have the adventurers explore around for awhile, before they finally happen upon a giant set of strange looking dice and a booklet entitled "Mongoose Traveller - Characters & Combat". Have each adventurer roll against his Intelligence to see if he puts it all together, and if so explain to him that all the settlers have disappeared because they had been generated in an older out of date Traveller character generation system not compatible with the new character generation system you are now going to be using and thus are no longer usable, but all the buildings and stuff have remained because they are generic enough to be usable across gaming systems.

Just a thought.



Last edited by PFVA63; September 23rd, 2007 at 05:39 PM.. Reason: Cleaned up the text
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Old September 23rd, 2007, 05:52 PM
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Yours sound more like the Twilight Zone, but that's fine, if your players like it.

I had envisioned something similar during the Fifth Frontier War where the Zhodani assigned to take out Garda-Vilis brought along a bio-toxin that will kill everyone at the port within a certain time-frame before oxidizing (after X hours it goes inert). While I think "true" soldiers would find this cowardly the officer in charge has to make sure he takes the port and realizes this is plausible (if distasteful). He's more interested in helping the Zho was machine get a solid hold in the region. The rest follow orders.

The players come out of jump and get the auto-signal from the planet. Everything else seems normal, except no other ships in orbit, just satellites and so forth. The auto-signal continues (think a Trek computer type-answer) instead of normal voices. This should arouse suspicions and get them to use their ship's optics (if they've got some) from orbit. They'll notice scores of people laying about, dead. Otherwise when they drop down they can spot it visually during an overflight.

Or the Zho have already come back and have hidden the bodies out in the open, and the annex is a charnel house.

The Zhodani know the oxidation time for the virus and have decided to wait a few extra hours. They want the crew of the deep meson site to investigate (assuming they keep in regular contact with the surface) and hopefully anyone returning to the meson site will infect others. Then the Zhodani can take the site/port and the scout base via a single ship.

Naturally the odd survivor or two is around, say a group in vacc-suit training or a vacc simulator over at the scout base ; a robot with just enough intelligence to explain that everyone's sleeping or has been moving sick people into the hangars on the west side; etc, etc, can add in some help. And the Zhodani coming back can be defeated possibly if one of the survivors knows an automating sequence for the meson site, or some other type of emergency backup plan the site has. Or something to keep them at bay while a jump ship is sent out.

Might make for an interesting week or two: hiding while a small contingent of Zhodani commandos run around.
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Most plans don't even survive contact with reality.

Thanks, Gadrin

Last edited by Gadrin; September 23rd, 2007 at 05:56 PM..
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Old September 23rd, 2007, 06:22 PM
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Or you could do the mind ▮▮▮▮▮▮ thing...

PCs investigate the settlement and can't find any trace of the citizenry. Food's rotting on tables, lights weren't turned off, water's still running in the shower, etc. Maybe one PC with a higher Psy rating thinks he/she can hear voices calling for help...

That's when the next ship shows up, a patrol ship stopping in with supplies. Maybe the PC ship is mistaken for a pirate. Maybe in true PC form they're helping themselves to some spare parts that are just laying around when the IISS or Navy shows up and wonders what the PCs did with the inhabitants.

Now you have fun. One or more PCs are going nuts from voices in their heads. Everyone is running for their lives after someone hits their ship from orbit with a nasty weapon. Maybe the folks hearing things start to manifest psionic powers like telekinesis or teleportation or "phasing" or whatnot.

It could turn into a mini-campaign. Might not ever be able to find out what happened on the planet.

I'd vote for a jump drive accident that displaced biologicals into a holding tank someone on planet but out of phase with everything else. "Ghosts" if you will. It's compatible with some of the T4 stuff. Could be a malicious effect, could be an accident. Maybe something Man Was Not Meant to Know.

Heck, maybe it's the Cloverfield Monster.

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Old September 23rd, 2007, 06:28 PM
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players are unwitting victims of a misjump that causes them to fade out of this 'space' ( people vanish like soap bubbles )...the players are the ones vanishing like soap bubbles from population's viewpoint.....kind of like if they were somehow involved in a "philadelphia experiment" type of thing.
any people left over would be psi " mediums" who can communicate with the players ( and have unshaken belief that the players are dead and speaking from the great beyond )

" I see dead people. "

because of temporal disturbances, the players are still actually in jump during this and it all ends once the week is up and the misjump finally is noticed by players. And they pop out of j-space near this world. By that time, the players would be disappearing like a soap bubble from each other's standpoint

Somehow...they spent portion of j-time at their destination already...hope they didn't commit any crimes.

flashbacks and dream sequences and premonitions might even cause player's sanity to be called into question. Ref could feed any psi members of crew a story about what is guarantee that the story will be correct.

boy!..wouldn't the 'powers-that-be' love to get the ship and crew so they can "de-brief" and "test" them if 'powers-that-be' found out

okay..I'm all muddled up now....maybe some of my babbling might be useful

just an idea
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Old September 23rd, 2007, 06:29 PM
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a massive bombardment of neutron bombs?
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