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Adventure Planning Help Requested!


SOC-14 5K
I've got an adventure idea I'd like help fleshing out. Keep in mind I may not run it immediately, but may at some point. And everyone who's in my group is politely requested to not read this until and unless I've run it.

The characters are a noble, his/her bodyguard and a technical person (i.e. the one who helps with technical and spaceship stuff) who, in mustering out, has been given a yacht. However, this yacht is a subsector or two away, and the noble (probably a marquis or Subsector Duke) who granted this yacht also wants the party to take one little mission. Another noble, a baron or a count who may have criminal connections or know a minor state secret, has disappeared, and the higher noble wants him (yes, him) found. There may be others searching for him, but news of his disappearance hasn't spread very far.

It's set in the Spinward Marches, and begins in the Rhylanor subsector; the yacht is in the Regina system and the disappearance occured somewhere in between. The PCs are, for now, limited to liners, and there may be points where going undercover may be good.

I do intend to generate some random encounters, just for in case, but so far what does everyone think?
I like it.

The players will have the resources to travel around a bit, but you can keep them on worlds as long as you like for adventure purposes until their next berth becomes available.

Plus there's the adventure possibilities of being passengers on a variety of transports - the luxury of a subsidized liner one jump, crushed in with the proles on a free trader the next, hitching a lift with a detached scout.

One of my favourite sci-fi gaming memories is the Dumarest based Space Opera game I ran many moons ago.

The players travelled from world to world, but never owned their own ship. They either had to pay, work passage, or in one case they were shipped as slaves in cargo low berths...
For the moment, I'm trying to limit this to one adventure, although it could spawn a mini-campaign.
Getting involved with a Noble always spells trouble (even if a player is a Noble themselves).

The Imperial Navy could be looking for the person.

the Underworld (if they are aware of this persons value) could be looking for him.

The MOJ could be looking for the person.

The person may be trying to hide from everyone so he may move eratically. Lots of options and lots of people who would like to get the players to go looking for the person.
For discussion sake, lets call them Maj and Min, or Major noble and Minor Noble.

Maj has a secret. He actually has connections to a crime lord. Min is his go between/fall guy. Now Min is missing, and Maj is getting nervous. He HAS to keep this out of the grape vine so he cannot have his normal associates or the rest of his house involved, thus the PC's. Their reward will be the ship.
Min is on the run from both Maj and the Crime boss that Maj deals with. (Think Tom Cruise's character in "The Firm") Min discovers the link between Maj and the Crime Boss and does not want to be part of it anymore. Min trusts nobody. He is in fear for his life and his family’s lives. So, the PC's decision once they discover the truth, help Min "disappear" or return him to Maj for their reward, the ship. The PC's also have to outsmart / outgun the Crime boss’s thugs, who want Min dead. Who knows if Maj wants Min dead? That is up to the GM. Anyway, that's my first shot at an idea.
It's a good idea, but I've heard it already.

It sparked this: Min has some secret, possibly several secrets, and several groups have been after him, like crime lords, the Zhos, and so on. Now: he's been captured, by the Ine Givar, who've taken him to a secret base in an asteroid...
Have them really look forward to taking possession of the ship by making public transport uncomfortable. Misroute their baggage. Put them on connecting journeys with transits across binary systems with tight timetables. Make them share cabins. Give them long stopovers on deserted spacestations waiting for missed connections.

And when they finally get to the ship, it's sitting up on blocks, and hasn't been used for 40 years...
Hmmm ... you could put the yacht on Jewell and then have them find the next Frontier War with the Zhos starting whilst they are en route. Getting in-system would require some interesting actions.

Having them be without a ship is an interesting idea, so why bother making the recovery of the yacht be the goal? At the moment it seems like the lure of the yacht is competing with the desire to find the missing noble - that's OK if that is the point you want to highlight, but may be distracting otherwise.

For example, one approach the players might take is to go get the yacht first, and then look for the missing noble. Another is to just make up some minor leads than dead-end and then go get the yacht, whilst really doing nothing at all. These are both OK if getting the yacht is a key part ofwhat you want them to do, but sucks if finding the trouble the minor noble has found is the aim.
While en route the PCs are confronted with a haughty full of himself paper shuffler who steps on their toes enough to elicit a rude or semi-violent response. Just some shoving or harsh words will be fine.

When they arrive on Regina guess who is in charge of the shipyard? Yep. The PCs may have to steal their own yacht or do something on the edge of legality to finally obtain it. Kind of predictable but not so much if they run into a great number of red herrings.
How about this! While on there way to the ship another “patron” appears and recruits the characters with a really good offer that will only put them out of their way a week or two. They have to escort a courier to the Tureka resort planet of Lewis/Aramis/ Spinward Marches 0707. In return they get expenses, free passage to Regina, three days four nights at the luxurious Tureka resort and a free coffee mug.

Why? Because the Ine Givar is active in the area and the last two couriers escorted by company security were killed! Now the characters have two problems and a lot of fun in store for them. Hell when they arrive the Ine Givar could be plotting to take over the resort. Who knows?
The thing that I'd planned for the yacht is that it's laid up being given a refit, which'll take at least 6 months. Longer if the group goes to pick it up immediately. So they really haven't got much choice, since they can't wait that long to find the missing Baron.
How about this then?

At the highport shipyard:

“Well ya I know that’s what we said in the X-boat message but you see here this J-drive got a busted power converter and it takes a CT-12J power converter and that’s gonna take a while to fix. Now if you could just do me a little favor, I could see my way to getting it fixed sooner, here is what you gotta do . . .”
I suggest Tighten the plot by dropping the yacht, so that there is one goal. Make the yacht recovery the next scenario, a la the above suggestions. week and months of repairs, etc. S they will not be able to use it as a resource, until the major/ minor deal blows over.

Make the search for the Minor Noble the main goal.

Give them a timeclock, such that they have X weeks to find this guy or...an option clock such that they run out of places to look for the minor noble. The last place they look is where he is, with interesting stuff happening along the way.

Perhaps the rebels have him, and he is under lock and key, for whatever reason, perhaps kidnapped, and Major noble wants to avoid paying the ransom, but does not want to involve the authorites, because he's got some kind of legal trouble, or underhanded dealings a la the crime lord guy, and doesn't want ANY authorities on the scene.


The Major noble is in charge of some gigantic megacorp deal, that is scheduled to go down in X weeks. The thing is, it's a swindle, more or less, but the Minor noble has insider information, that the major noble doesn't want to get out. After the deal is done, though it's too late. layers of intrigue.. the minor noble thinks he's been kidnapped, for some kind of ransom. The major noble has contracted a bunch of mercs to do it, with a small payment up front, to hold him, and a major payoff on delivery.
But in reality, the major noble is gonna write off the mercs, hoping the get killed in the "Rescue" by the PCs, perhaps aided by the local constabulary after the deadline of the big sale has passed. They were told to sit tight on the guy and release him after X days, to get passage offplanet, and a big bank payout. But really Major noble is sending in the PCs to kill them, and make himself look good as the rescuer, who sent these trouble shooters in.

This could even be set up such that through a trail of dummy corps nobody can ever really find out that Major noble was the big profiteer.


Minor noble is missing because he's been in the sack with Major noble's wife. After the pcs find minor, major will send in a hit team (who follows the pcs and spies on them, as soon as they hit the target world, tipped off by Major) to bag him / AND / or the wife, too, if the Major guy is really hard core.

Perhaps minor noble absconded with Major's drug stash, or some kind of priceless (and also Stolen) art work. Minor can't find a fence, because they are all in the pay of major, as a large theft ring, with him as the financier.


Making it a more pleasant scenario, the Minor noble is the Major noble's bastard son. He wants to find the kid to reward him with a NEW yacht, the old one the pcs get was bought when the kid was a child, as his inheritance upon majority. Well, that was 20 years ago, and it's fallen into disrepair, or new technology has developed since then, and only the best for this major nobles kid, even if he is out of wedlock (Because, perhaps, he's married to a gal in some major line or house. The kid is missing because he's paranoid. Guys in suits came after him on the street, and he's got some kind of mental disorder, and is thinking all kinds of stuff.
So he's in hiding, and paranoid, thinking they are out to get him.


The whole thing is a scam. It's a training course by their intel services, as a test to see if the "minor noble" can keep himself hidden for X weeks, as his "Graduation project," to go active in some kind of covert ops program, in a safer way than just dropping him off in enemy territory.


The whole thing is a scam, a giant game of hide and seek among the nobility, with the prize as 1 Mcr, they take turns doing this crap every year, and always need to find fresh teams, because the low pay or whatever isn't worth the hassle.


Minor noble has committed a crime, so heinous, he doesn't want to get found out, and thus ran, and his father / uncle / whatever doesn't want the police or authorities involved, let alone the media. The pcs will find out what the minor has done just prior to finding him.


The reverse, the minor knows what dad / uncle is up to, and is on the run from his assassins. the team is just a back up. The pcs find out about the hit team, just prior to finding minor. The he tells the story, and they have to decide if they believe him or not, while the door suddenly come blown in by frame charges and flash bangs in the room. Kind of a cyberpunk feel.

Best of luck with it.
Wow, lots of interesting adventure hooks there.
One basic thing I´d change is the yacht. As others have already remarked, you don´t really need it except as an incentive for the PCs to go after Min or a comic relief at the end (my favorite is to bring the PCs into a landing bay with a very sleek, very well maintenanced T15 yacht, have them drool about it a little bit and then have an NPC tell them "your yacht is right behind it" and pointing to hopeless wreck that´s been standing in the shadow of the cool yacht all the time

If you´re doing just one adventure, then don´t overcomplicate the story. Be straightforward, go easy on the "off storyline" encounters (tends to take up way too much time for one session, since players have a definite tendency to play any "innocent" along-the-way encounter to death thinking it´s part of the main plot). Instead, plan the encounters with specific NPCs who will slowly but surely lead the PCs in the direction you want them (could be anything, like a kidnapping, disappearence because of a tiff with Maj, Min going under cover because he´s chased by a mob boss/some intelligence service/a third party like the Zhos, Aslan, Droyne or anybody else who has a reason to see him dead or wants to talk to him). At the end, you might build in a twist (like Merxiless´s graduation scam scenario which I really like). But don´t overdo it if you have only one session.
However, if you want to escalate the whole thing into a campaign, well then you can have a field day.
I'm probably going to wait a long while to run this, but I'm looking forward to it now. Does anyone have any more suggestions?
I have a couple. Have the terrorist group be something like "Sons of the Vilani Mehdjii", along the lines of Daniel De La Cruz' "Sons of the Alamo". The major noble is trying to get out of them, maybe??

Also, why would the major noble want to use this group? What special talent do they bring that private merc groups wouldn't?