The Bronze Case

The short Mongoose Traveller adventure ‘The Bronze Case’ by Richard Hazlewood was published by Stellagama Publishing in May 2016. On the surface, the adventure concerns the transport of a Bronze Case through local areas on a backwater planet after the players respond to a struggle in their hotel in the middle of the night. But Hazlewood is also interested in involving the players in the politics of local gangs, industrial espionage, a climactic car chase, and the promise of a reward to intrigued player characters. Hazlewood and Stellagama Publishing aim to provide a Referee with everything he or she needs for a quick side adventure on a local world. It can easily fit into an on-going Traveller campaign.

The adventure is structured to clearly present each encounter or scene in the story in chronological order. No Traveller era is mandated, just a suggested world profile where the adventure might take place. The local gang politics and local history are generic enough to slot into many worlds. The Referee is provided with full character profiles for all important NPCs, and detailed references to the Mongoose rules for vehicles, equipment and other props needed for the story. The different encounters provide detailed advice to the Referee to deal with common player responses to the situation.

The Bronze Case takes place in a world where the law level has recently been raised to 9 as the result of local political developments which give rise to the complications with gangs in the adventure. Although the broad history is detailed, the local police force culture is not, but this leaves the Referee free to fill in details. At the beginning of the adventure we are introduced to an alluring woman who wants help dealing with a mysterious attack in the middle of the night. It is completely up to the players to respond – or the adventure ends at the beginning! Some good Refereeing may be needed to get this started without railroading the players; but this is an age old problem for all Referees. When the players respond they are drawn into her circumstance, and are made an offer of money to help. The apparently simple problem is to help “Amy” get a case to a particular facility. What is not revealed immediately is who is after it and why – but the Referee receives a full briefing on the background of gang territory and the local politics that produced the current situation. The climax is a vehicle chase and possible fire fight to overcome thugs who want the case for themselves. The ever-present threat of rival interest in the case keeps the story moving and provides motivation for the players to see the adventure through.

The layout is simple but effective. Castellani’s illustrations of “Amy” set a suitable action mood for the story. While there are only two graphics, the layout provides a Referee with easy access to all of the information needed. The short nature of the adventure means after one read-through, the Referee is ready for a session.

Image used with permission from Stellagama Publishing

Hazlewood and Stellagama Publishing have successfully presented here a quick-paced side adventure with everything a Referee needs to run it. For those Referees who play other versions of Traveller, the information provided is easily enough to quickly convert to other Traveller systems. If successfully navigated, players will be rewarded with interesting contacts, and a Referee is free to flesh out further details in store for players’ return to the planet.

And the winner is…

It was quite difficult to pick the winners of the 76 patrons contest this last year of the contest. There were 11 good entries to choose from.

But one Patron stood out from the rest. It was written in a very inspiring way. It may have missed the brief a bit since it may seem unethical (but the PCs should believe that they are stopping a crime, so it really isn’t unethical). It also may seem a bit copied from the Firefly episode “The Train Job” and using ideas from “Johnny Mnemonic” but it could also be played in many different ways. Anyway, I think it was the best one! The winner is Hypercognitive by Michael Brown. Well done and Congratulations!

Second place goes to Idol of the Space God by Roland Volz. It is a very fun idea that could be expanded into many related adventures using this church and/or the idols as a theme.

Third place goes to Hewitt’s Hog Rides Again by KJ Potter. Recovering that mortar and the military aspect of this and/or additional adventures using this makes this an interesting Patron.

  1. Hypercognitive (by Michael Brown) $100
  2. Idol of the Space God (by Roland Volz) $60
  3. Hewitt’s Hog Rides Again (by KJ Potter) $40

Trophy

Other winners are Marcus Maximus ($ 15) for being the most productive contestant.

Alegis Downport for writing the Patron that attracts most SPAM comments ($ 5).

Flynn for including his own name ($ 5).

Ron Smith for an excellent campaign starting Patron ($ 5).

Aza, for almost cheating but still writing a cool adventure ($ 5).

Finally Jim Vassilakos for his very interesting Patron in the Foreven sector and for including the Zhodani in option 5 and 6 ($ 10).

All winners will be contacted. All prizes are Gift Certificates at DriveThruRPG.

I want to say a big Thank You to all contestants!

This was the last Zhodani Base 76 Patrons contest. Unfortunately we only have 73 Patrons now. I have to write 3 Patrons myself. I have some ideas… But if you have an idea and want to help, then please contact BeRKA.

11 new Patrons this year

In the final 76 Patrons contest we received 11 entries.

This years entries:

  1. Sir Robert Williams, Knight (by Flynn)
  2. Idol of the Space God (by Roland Volz)
  3. The Cousin (by Ron Smith)
  4. Madama Butterfly (by Aza)
  5. The Sylan Extraction (by Jim Vassilakos)
  6. Affluenza (by Marcus Maximus)
  7. Hearts and Minds (by Marcus Maximus)
  8. The Hidden Cache (by Marcus Maximus)
  9. Technical Support (by Alegis Downport)
  10. Hewitt’s Hog Rides Again (by KJ Potter)
  11. Hypercognitive (by Michael Brown)

GasGiant-11
Now I have a lot to think about. I will announce the winner in a few days. Until then, please comment, like and share. Tell us which entry you like the most and why! Both here and on other sites.

Hypercognitive

Patron: Merchant
Required Equipment: Vehicle

Players’ Information:

The way the guy — Ambrosius Kemp, the owner of an export business over in Startown — was waving his hands around and sweating, I’d have thought he was gonna keel over any moment. He had called us in to talk to us about a job, but the more he talked, the more agitated he got. He kept going on about how time was running out and how he’d be ruined if we couldn’t help him. I watched him; if he didn’t calm down soon, his time was gonna run out. A sneaked a glance over at Vajra, and she must’ve thought so, too; her fingers were inching closer to her sidearm.

The Colonel finally got Kemp to calm down long enough to explain what it was he wanted. Kemp sat down — actually, he more like collapsed — behind his desk, and took a deep breath before starting his spiel. Seems he has a partner, name of Aquino, who had one of those cybernetic drives installed in his brain so he could better keep up with the number-crunching and the day-to-day. That upgrade made Aquino a whiz-kid who doubled the company’s income in a matter of weeks. Trouble is, in those same weeks, Kemp noticed Aquino acting more and more strange. Finally, Kemp decided to do something, but Aquino beat him to it; he checked out of town. But not before helping himself to the company’s most sensitive data and a big slice of the company’s finances to the tune of Cr5,000,000. One of us let out a low whistle at the figure. I started imagining all kinds of things I could do with that kind of puli. Kemp wrecked my daydream by repeating that loss would ruin him.

He paused, and the Colonel had to prod him for more info. Kemp knew he had to locate Aquino fast. He made a lot of commcalls and called in most of his favors, but he finally found out where Aquino was: aboard the planetary hyper rail, headed for the world capital. Another low whistle, from myself this time. Hyper rails are the last word in maglevs, and this planet wasn’t that big; the train would get to the capital in a matter of hours. No wonder Kemp kept saying time was short. Worse, Kemp said that the capital was also the subsector headquarters for Periva Factors, a big brokerage firm that had been trying to get its hooks in Kemp’s firm for a long time. He was certain that’s where Aquino was headed. If he made it, Kemp could say bye-bye to everything he’d built over the years.

Kemp wanted us to intercept the hyper rail, locate Aquino, and get him back to Kemp, who’d have people waiting to deal with that pesky implant. For our trouble, he’d pay us one-tenth of the amount Aquino ran off with. Five hundred thousand for grabbing a guy off a train and bringing him home? Not too shabby.

The Train
The Train – Image from wikimedia – CC-BY-SA-2.0

Referee’s Information:

The hyper rail will reach its destination in six hours. It makes two scheduled stops, one two hours into its trip, the other two hours later. It spends 30 minutes at each stop before continuing. If the adventurers choose not to board the train at the stops, they will have to come up with another way to do so while it’s moving at hundreds of kilometers per hour.

Once aboard the hyper rail, it’s up to the players how they find Aquino and remove him from the train. The referee should determine what security arrangements are in place. At a minimum, it’ll have an Anti-Hijack program (similar to the program mentioned in Book 2: Starships) and an armed guard or two.

While the implant is active, Aquino has total recall and cognitive function that gives him an equivalent INT of F.

1. All is as represented.

2. Kemp is lying; he’s actually guilty of gross corporate malfeasance and has been embezzling funds from the company. Aquino finally had enough, downloaded the evidence, and headed for the World Court in the capital. If the group succeeds in returning Aquino, Kemp will kill him as soon as the adventurers leave.

3. As 1, except Aquino’s not responsible for his actions; the implant malfunctioned and caused temporary insanity. Aquino will be subject to periods of paranoia and rage until the implant is deactivated.

4. Kemp only thinks Aquino has betrayed him. In actuality, Aquino’s actually bent on committing an act of corporate sabotage. He downloaded only copies of the company’s files as bait, and included a computer virus designed to infect and destroy Periva’s system. If he succeeds in his mission, Periva Factors’ operations will be irreparably damaged and the company will be out of business in a month.

5. As 1, 3, or 4, except that a third party has found out about Aquino’s mission and wants to help itself to the secrets locked in his head. 1D+2 crack assassins (adjust for PC strength) will attempt to kidnap Aquino and head for parts unknown.

6. As 1, except that the train is also carrying a valuable cargo, which is guarded by a contingent of planetary troops. The soldiers will consider any disturbance as an attempt to steal the cargo and act accordingly.

Hewitt’s Hog Rides Again

Patron: Army Officer
Required Skills: engineering, electronics
Required Equipment:  Engineering tools
Location: Roia (Foreven 0919) C573873-7

Players’ Information:

Roia (Foreven Sector 0919 in Anika Subsector) is a small, arid world wi th a population of 400 million. Though nominally under the control of a central world government, the reality is that local governors and satraps wield the real power and pay little more than lip service to the capital. Constant infighting between them sometimes spills over into open warfare.

About ten years ago, the government brought in offworld mercenaries in an effort to bring some of the more independent regional governors to heel. Many of these governors hired mercenary units of their own, and several years of bitter fighting followed. The exhausted and cash-strapped factions recently concluded a ceasefire, which did little to change the local status quo. Though the mercenary companies are gone, local militia forces with improvised armored vehicles and cast-off weapons continue to eye each other over mine-strewn no-man’s lands.

The team is contacted by Captain Richtoph, an ambitious officer serving a minor provincial governor in the distant outback. He is seeking technical advisors to repair a damaged vehicle abandoned by one of the departed mercenary units.

Richtoph produces a series of photos of the wreck. The vehicle in question is a TL-10 armored mortar carrier. Its name, Hewitt’s Hog, is stenciled in faded letters on the hull glacis. Its air-cushion suspension and drive fans are wrecked beyond repair. The turret and 18cm RAM mortar are intact, however. Richtoph believes that they can be used if supplied with a functioning power plant, and he has already acquired a supply of ammunition on the black market. He intends to mount the hulk on a wheeled heavy-equipment transporter, strap it in place, and use it as a sort of improvised self-propelled artillery piece–with a weapon far more advanced than any possessed by his local rivals.

Richtoph will provide transport to the wreck site outside the provincial capital of Korsten, as well as a heavy wreck crane, a transporter, and a detachment of militia for security. He would like the team to recover the wreck and repair its powerplant and weapons. He will pay each team member Cr. 10,000 to load the hulk and deliver it to the militia base in Korsten, and an additional Cr. 10,000 if they can get its weapons working again.

Mortar
The Mortar – Image from wikimedia – CC-BY-SA 3.0
(Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-695-0424-15A / Leher / CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Referee’s Information:

Recovering the wreck is not that easy.

1. All is as represented. The wreck is long-abandoned but despite the damage to the air-cushion skirts the hull is intact. With the proper skills and some parts sourced from the planetary starport, the powerplant can be repaired and the turret weapons made functional.

2. All is as represented, but the powerplant was badly damaged by the mine blast and must be completely replaced. A replacement is not available on-world. It will take weeks to order one from Ereidlier (Pieplow 0818), the nearest source.

3. Hewitt’s Hog is junk and cannot be repaired, but its mission computer contains mercenary data logs and encrypted communications codes, which may be valuable off-world. Captain Richtoph has only a superficial understanding of computers and will not stop the team from taking the storage banks if they do so discretely.

4. All seems to be as represented, but the work around Hewitt’s Hog has attracted the attention of a neighboring warlord, who recognizes the threat it poses to his own militia forces if repaired. A team of his agents, posing as laborers recruited for the task, seek to sabotage the recovery effort and destroy the Hog. They have access to small arms, grenades, and an explosive charge. Captain Richtoph’s militia will prove nearly useless in their security role, so it will be up to the team to detect and stop these agents.

5. As above, but the rival warlord launches a platoon-sized military raid to destroy the Hog, or even capture it for himself. This force will be mounted in wheeled heavy trucks with improvised armor, recoilless rifles, and machineguns. As above, the warlord also has one or two agents among the laborers working on the project, who will keep him advised by radio of the team’s progress.

6. The governor who Captain Richtoph represents is far more brutal than the team initially understood. Upon arrival it becomes obvious that he rules his province with an iron hand and a powerful secret police force. He intends to use Hewitt’s Hog to shatter the hill-forts of his regional rivals, consolidating power in his own hands and greatly increasing his holdings. Whether the team wants to help provide a powerful and destabilizing weapon to such a warlord is up to them.

Technical Support

Required Skills: Computers and / or Electronics are advantageous but not essential

Players’ Information:

Whilst taking some well-earned rest and relaxation at Urnian starport, the players are contacted by a patron named Bernhard Lahman who is in need of their services. He is the CEO of Lahman Securities, a financial services company that primarily operates in the investments sector. It has come to light via his head of security that there is something odd taking place with some financial transactions, which have been detected via their monitoring tools. It appears that there may be some insider trader activity going on and the profits from such transactions are disappearing via an unknown route.

Lahman would like the players to join the company IT support team as a ‘cover’ for an investigation that Lahman wants to hire the players for. This way they can keep an eye ‘at the ground level’ for any unusual activity. They will provide on site IT support for the company, which involves dealing with support calls, dealing with company employees requests for help and installing equipment. They will report to the internal IT support team who will provide the players with a limited amount of access to the company systems. If questioned if Lahman has a suspect in mind, he reveals it may be Cared Johen, one of their top traders who has been behaving a little erratically the past couple of months. Lahman wants the players to keep an eye on Johen to see if there is any evidence of anything illegal taking place and if necessary, apprehend the suspect if sufficient evidence can be gathered.

The players will receive Cr. 10,000 each with a bonus of Cr. 50,000 for the group as a whole when the operation is brought to a successful conclusion.

Computer
A Typical Workstation – Image from wikimedia – Public Domain

Referee’s Information:

Johen is known to have some good friends in Lahman Securities own internal security team, hence the Lahman wanting a completely independent group to perform the operation. The risk being that if word got to one of Johen’s friends, he could be warned and the surveillance operation be exposed.

In addition, to help with the ‘front’ that the players have been recruited as IT support agency staff, they will have to still provide day-to-day technical support to the rest of the company. It may be possible to use this as an excuse to locate Johen’s workstation and install some tools which may reveal the nature of what Johen is doing.

A Roll of Six Determines the Possible Outcome:

1. Johen is siphoning off money fractions of a credit at a time to another bank account somewhere. The players will need to build up evidence of the transactions that are taking place to confront and accost Johen.

2. Johen is manipulating transactions to bring down Lahman Securities. He has a personal grudge against the owner; Lahman as he was denied a huge bonus for his contribution to the launch of their latest financial product, which has become a huge success for the company.

3. It turns out that suspecting Johen is completely wrong. Instead a number of other employees who are Lahman’s full time IT support personnel, are the real perpetrator’s. Realising that the players have been hired, they escalate their intentions by stealing a substantial amount of money and make a break for it. Unfortunately the suspects lose their nerve and a firefight against the players in the building ensues. The players will have to protect the company workers and make sure that they aren’t caught up in the crossfire.

4. The suspect Johen is a member of a terrorist group and has already siphoned off an amount of money for the organisation. However the terrorists are now going to hit the company for even more and make a political statement at the same time, by launching an armed attack on the company. The players may have a chance to stop the attack if they are able to intercept a last minute message. The terrorists will attack from two different directions a) from the underground vehicle parkbay and b) from above by landing on the roof by air raft with the intention of making their way down. If necessary they will have no hesitation in taking hostages.

5. Johen has become alerted to what the PCs are doing (possibly discovering their monitoring tool for example) which in turn, alerts the players. As the players arrive to confront Johen he makes a break for it, intending to take a large amount of cash and escape. The result is a high-speed chase across the city where Johen hopes to make it off-world via a transport waiting for him.

6. Johen is actually trying to expose the Lahman Securities and the people that hired the players as crooks who are manipulating the market to their own advantage. Lahman is aware of this and is trying to frame Johen before his activities are exposed. The players will have to make a choice in who they believe and either help Johen in trying to build evidence to whistle-blow on Lahman, or assist their employer as originally agreed.

Statistics:

Foreven Sector – Urnian / Urnian UWP – B9779AC-A N Hi In Cp 5 3 Cs

Classic Traveller Statistics for Key Characters:

Bernhard Lahman (CEO of Lahman Securities) UPP 7669AA
Administration-2, Computer-1, Leader-2

Cared Johen (Leading Trader for Lahman Securities) UPP 699BA9
Administration-1, Air/Raft-1, Computer-2, Electronics-1, Gambling-2

Lahman Securities IT Support NPC (6 in number) UPP 566997
Computer-2, Electronics-1

Terrorist NPC UPP 998886
(Number to be determined by Referee to match the players.)
Blade Combat-1, SMG-2, Tactics-1, Vehicle-1
Equipped with SMG, dagger and mesh armour

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