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Advice for an adventure


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Hello all gentle sophonts out there,

I might actually be refereeing a Traveller game this week. It's been at least a year since I've had the opportunity, and I'm not prepared, but I'm ready.

So, what I'd like are a handful of plots. I've got ideas for rescues, reconnaisance, salvage, and espionage, but I'm always looking for other folks' suggestions.

Here's what we've got: two players, one of whom is a Baroness who has a Hoshisame gun sloop -- an elite but cramped 100 ton jump-capable ship.

What shall I do with them, then?
Oh that's Easy !

Have your Baroness Character's yatch attaked By pirates, who think they can get a ransom and of course, take the ship. In most roleplaying games treasures are always defended by there owners. In traveller a ship is a treasure! ,so why shouldn't its owner be obliged to defend it once in a while........
Have her be a "new" Baroness...who is assuming the title after the somewhat "suspicious" disappearance of her father. The old man could be a dilletante archaeologist who, quite by fluke, uncovered a significant Ancient artifact of tremendous impact to the field. News of his discovery reached the Imperium...but the old man unfortunately did not. He simply "disappeared".
Our young heroine passes off the administrative end of her Barony to a younger sibling...and sets off in search of her father, with only her loyal Vargr retainer "Garrghuff'nrrl" (Vargr for "Kato") for companionship.
She could have many adventures searching for her father (where is he? whatever happened to the artifact he uncovered? why are there suddenly a bunch of men in turbans in the room?), and the sibling could turn into a hook of his/her own (nope, YOU ran off and left ME to deal with all this...I'M Baron(ess) now...).
Imagine the disposessed noble...suddenly forced to raise her own money...dealing with the unwashed masses face-to-face...confronted with the horror of suddenly becoming one of the "common folk".
Heh. To HELL with YOUR adventure, robject...I'm stealin' it...
^ Sign, I stole yours right after reading it, lock, stock, and barrel! Great plot idea!

If you want to keep her closer to home:

As the designated heir, one of her duties was Commander of the House Guard (thus access to the gun sloop). But now, as Baroness, she must decide whether to break with family tradition and keep the ship or turn it and the position of Guard Commander over to a younger sibling; a very impatient and ambitious younger sibling.

Simultaneously, a spy among the smugglers on the fringe of the system reports the arrival of several pirate vessels. Knowing of the recent coronation, they intend to take advantage of the new sovereign's inexperience and strike at the family's trading fleet. Oddly though, the pirates seem to know exactly where not to be when the patrol conducts its sweeps.

In addition, a loyal house advisor has uncovered a sizable error in house tax records; one that if reported, could bring the scrutiny of Imperial auditors and a loss of trade priveleges. The money trail is still warm but immediate action is necessary to prevent public embarassment or worse.

It sucks to be rich and powerful, it really does!
Signless! Ran! Both excellent!

I'm also thinking of a meta-variant, because this baronness was played by one of the players many years ago, and at one point she was imprisoned aboard the Gaesh.

We never did figure out how she escaped. Perhaps a good adventure to run would be the rescue mission.
^ Oh and least we forget the son and heir of a neighboring system's sovereign, looking to improve his family's status and holdings by marrying up. It is suspected by her House intelligence chief that the suitor's military covertly supports the pirates currently amassing in the Baroness' system. A promise of marriage could be leveraged to eliminate the pirate threat and improve trade prospects.
Warning! Scary, perhaps grim and tasteless plot line follows ... (editor - edit or purge as necessary or desired)

"Parts ... Is Parts"

One of our heroes ships's personnel (red-shirt) disappears whilst on leave, AWOL, leaving stuff 'board ship, some valuable, how odd.
2 days later, the call comes in from planetary police, a body discovered - sadly, mangled by recycling /sewer equipment, which jammed, and evidence remains. It is the crewman, who investigation will reveal has been "ripperdoc'ed", major organs MIA.

Investigation leads to employee's planet of origin, and a mystery - the fellow enjoyed scholarships, great medical care, but left "home" for romantic reasons - but recently sent a card home, saying all is well.

His life benefactor is actually a close genetic match to the dearly departed, and sadly, this gentle's organs cannot be cloned, and anagathics do not work that well, if at all. What's a rich, powerful man to do?

Keep it in the family. The benefactor is politically connected, well isolated, perhaps not completely.

IMTU the players sought out the bad man (sort of a Hannibal Lector villain) and achieved vengeance.

The payoff was not wealth, but the NPC crew of the ship becoming extremely loyal to the players. Perhaps information, or a lead-in hook to the next adventure, could be found at the mansion of our villain - perhaps the villain escapes, and becomes a long term adversary, after his cover is blown. If the players are destitute, perhaps some toys are available - the old man is rich, decadent, and has expensive tastes.

I run this sort of thing around Halloween.

mad ravings of the sojourner
^ I like it!

Here's a twist:

The PC's manage to foil the madman's first attempt at organ farming only to find out that their friend was not the only 'genetic match' out there. Maybe more are spread around the subsector (as many as you have patience for); all potential targets for this madman.

Unfortunately, the local police seem to be unconvinced that a crime was committed; all to willing to write off the incident as an accidental death.

Throw in a bunch of CSI technobabble, a face-off at a secret laboratory, and beat the clock type play and I think you'll keep your players hooked for a few adventures.
I ran an adventure called "Thicker Than Water", in which the PC's encountered a young man being assaulted by some thugs outside their favorite starport bar (where else?). The young man suffers from a concussion, amnsesia, and a pathological fear of sharp, shiny things.
In the course of helping this unfortunate individual, the PC's encounter other "versions" of him (one is blonde, one has a beard, one has a shaved head), and discover some pretty unsettling things about their new friend. He "remembers" things in his recent past that somehow happened decades ago...people, places and things are all hauntingly familiar to him, while at the same time being very alien.
Turns out, he is one of several clones of an ancient and wicked Solomani MegaCorp executive. An accident during the rapid maturation process resulted in this clone "waking-up" while on the organlegger's slab...with an incomplete set of memories from early adulthood.
OK, here's another plot question.

A player just rolled up a Rogue. As part of his initiation, he's masquerading as a noble; his character was even knighted, then promoted to baron over a space of 8 years. He was working on Iderati, in the substantial military-industrial installation headed by the Marquis Iderati.

Anyhow, his job was to get into the Marquis' office and replace a holodocument there with a forgery. This character has excellent Intrusion skill, plus he was already a part of the extensive staff, so the work was done reasonably well.

When in the office, he also found a small case with medical markings on it (which he disarmed and took), and a disguised wall safe with Cr50,000 in unmarked 'bills', which he also took.

Now, there are plots galore in here. First, there may be a message placed in the midst of the bills that could provide a tantalizing clue to the player.

Second, the medikit has 6 doses of Fast Drug, and a vial containing 6g of an unknown substance. That substance could lead to more fun stuff.

Third, the holodocument itself might have unencrypted content which could provide an adventure as well.

Now, I made all of this stuff up on the fly as we played. So I'm keen to know exactly what kind of information all this stuff is likely to lead to. Any suggestions?
ooh ooh ooh :D one word, BLACKMAIL

The creds could be a payment collected, or to be made, with, in the first case the evidence of whatever the blackmail victim is guilty of, or in the second case the instructions for paying. Either way there's two people after the rogue and of course he may play with the blackmail stuff himself. The blackmail may even concern the unknown substance to tie it all in.
That's excellent, Dan. My heart tells me that (A) blackmailing a Marquis feels more melodramatic, and (B) the Marquis blackmailing people feels more dastardly. I'm quite torn on deciding.

And you're right, that substance in the medibox has to be involved. The Rogue is going to try to figure out what that stuff is, which means I'm going to have to play that out, too.

You know, that substance might not even be pharmaceutical in nature. I was assuming it was a necessary ingredient for an anagathic recipe, but it might not be that at all. It could be a powder form of an unknown alloy, or a residue recovered from a starship hull linking pirate activity to the Sword Worlds, or something even more bizarre. Ashes of an ancient religious figure. Altered DNA samples in a suspension. A deactivated spore. A hibernating parasite... nasty.

Meanwhile, the holodocument will have something unrelated, probably. The Rogue caught some snatches of conversation from the Marquis and three aides, wherein the Marquis was complaining about the ambassador to the Sword Worlds. The SW angle is just screaming to be played up, because the Rogue himself is a Sword Worlder -- albeit of the counterculture. His accented Anglic clearly labels him as a local, or even insular, though he can mix in Imperial society without being pegged as a Bad Guy.

On the other hand, his Darrian is as flawless as his Konlend (a Sword Worlds dialect). Yet another angle to exploit.

Another neat aspect to this character is that he has no starship skills. These are the first bunch of player characters who have not pursued Pilot, Engineer, and whatnot. That means I as referee get to chauffer them around -- which I consider to be an enjoyable privelege.
The substance could be more than an anagathic, maybe it is an ingredient for a drug that reverses the aging process and not merely postponing it.
Maybe the money is for a 'ransom' payment the marquis was to pay a local government contact on the Sword Worlds capital for the scientist who knows how to make the age reversing drug. The Swordies don't know of the scientist's accomplishment. He's Darrian and is being held by the Sworld World government for suspicion of espionage.
The holodocument might have this encrypted information and the data necessary to perform the meeting with the contact.
Thanks Randy, that's a good plot twist. I really like the idea of a Darrian scientist being held for "ransom".

To fill in some more detail, the player himself likes solving puzzles, and prefers to outfox adversaries instead of having point-blank slugfests.
The Rogue has narrowly escaped death, and is not through the gauntlet yet. Your suggestions are welcome.

He awoke aboard a Liner, with no knowledge of how he got there or what he's been doing for the past 15 days. Turns out there are two dead bodies aboard -- the captain and the medic -- and four bodies (state unknown) in low berths. The rest of the ship is empty. The launch and air/raft are there and fine, and there's a few tons of commercial-grade electronics in the hold -- low-power stuff, so low drain that there's no off button. Ground-based transceiver stuff. Short range. No XM transmitters.

The ship has arrived at a world. The jump origin and destination have been wiped from the ship's computer, jump drive logs, etc. He hit the dummy button marked "Orbit only" to check out the ship before it landed (autopilots are wonderful things).

He viewed the camera logs. He saw a masked person leave the ship 8 days ago. Then later, the captain and medic are talking just in the entry lock to the ship -- just about to board -- when gunfire kills her and wounds him. He drags her aboard, drags himself to his cabin, and that's all.

The real story, I believe, is this: in order to take care of several problems at once, the ship was to have been "stolen" from a Corporation X, and thus written off, after which it could be safely operated as a corsair by a certain division of said company. The Rogue in question is a member of a rival, erm, organization, who has enemies in Corporation X. They were able to snag him on a chance, and for some reason didn't kill him outright. They were probably going to, just hadn't gotten around to it (??). Their liner was fueled up and the jump coordinates were locked.

Their plans went awry when friendlies broke into the hangar and nearly got away with the Liner. Mortally wounded, the Captain managed to engage the autopilot before falling unconscious and subsequently dying.

The Rogue, meanwhile, has instructed the ship to land, and it has landed at this time. What he does not know is that he has landed on Chamax. He probably does not know that the electronic equipment will act as a homing beacon for the Chamax hunters, which was the intent of those in Corporation X.

The burning question in my mind is, "why?" Why transport the Rogue three parsecs (or more) just to be killed?

It must be a combination of a frame-up (making the Rogue responsible for stealing the Liner) and something else -- the Rogue has something they want. What does he have?

Well, he does have cybernetic implants -- but he doesn't fully realize that yet, either. The Sword Worlds Ministry of Peace implanted them when he was masquerading as one of their agents. Could this Corporation X actually be a division of MiniPac? If so, then that would explain a lot of evil and apparently senseless actions.

Your suggestions would be appreciated.
The Rogue has a powerful family tie/relation and the owners of corporation x don't want him turned into a martyr.
With the evidence pointing to the rogue the family member will disown the rogue and then corperation x will be free to use whatever means necessary to get the information or location of what they want from him.
Perhaps he has been coopted into working for the government and knows too much for them to let him go?
Perhaps a foriegn government has gotten hold of him and is using him for their own ends?
It is quite likely that the Rogue knows too much about the Sword Worlds' Ministry of Peace (MiniPac) for them to just let him leave their organization. That's a good point.

It is also possible that another government agency -- for example, the Darrian Special Arm -- hired him to do a job, which was at cross-purposes to the Sword Worlds' interests.

New Data The Liner probably jumped to the Alenzar system (Chamax) from Darrian 0328 -- an empty hex containing a hidden "pirate" base on a chunk of deep space debris and ice. The base is probably subsidized by factors in the Sword Worlds military.