All posts by Greg Videll

C.O.D.

Patron: Merchant starship captain
Required Skills: social, combat (?)
Required Equipment: None

Players’ Information:
Sendak is a world just beyond the edge of the Spinward Marches in Foreven sector. It is controlled by one of the Imperium’s submegacorporations, Universal Transamalgamated Incorporated, otherwise known as UTI. UTI raises a domesticated version of a native grazer for the benefit of its specialty foods and pharmaceutical divisions. Wild thing meat is prized by gourmets in this region of space, particularly by Vargr, and certain hormones which defy synthesis provide the basis for many lifesaving medications.

UTI’s operations on Sendak are dependent on several key technologies used in the local processing plants which are not supported by the local infrastructure. Looking ahead, the corporation foresaw a time in the near future when critical replacement parts would be needed. It placed an order with a supplier several jumps away. The order was recently filled and placed aboard a ship destined for Sendak. It is being shipped C.O.D. or credits on delivery, meaning that the crew dropping off the shipment will receive the payment directly and be responsible for returning it to the supplier. UTI has a sterling reputation when it comes to paying its obligations, reputation being crucial given the slow relative speed of interstellar travel, so the chance of anyone getting “stiffed” is miniscule. At least that’s the presumption going in.

When the characters land at the starport they find it nearly deserted, the local police won’t let anyone leave the property and a rising smoke cloud is visible coming from the city in the distance . . .

The Deserted Starport
The Deserted Starport – image from wikimedia
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Referee’s Information:
This scenario assumes that the characters are aboard a starship at the outset of the scenario. They may be its crew, embarked passengers or a combination of both. The ship’s captain asks the characters to head into town to collect the payment for the cargo. For the sake of future business dealings, negotiation and peaceful interaction is preferred over a more kinetic approach but the actual execution of the mission remains in the PCs’ hands.

There are several possible complications in this scenario. Roll 1D6 to determine which is the case here.

1. There have been rising tensions of late between UTI and its workers, who have been agitating for better pay and working conditions. For the most part the two sides have tried to amicably work things out but the inevitable fringe elements on both sides have managed to escalate the situation. The UTI rep holding the payment the characters’ seek is based in the capital city but is unreachable via the commnet and in any case would likely be unable to get to the ‘port due to travel restrictions. (This is according to the police maintaining the cordon). If anyone is to be paid it looks like the characters will need to get past the local enforcers and find the company rep while avoiding local entanglements. The situation in the city is chaotic but for the most part non-violent.

2. Same as the first option except that tensions are much higher. Law and order, on both sides is beginning to break down. This leads to an increased chance of violence but there are also still a lot of innocent people trying to go about their lives as best as they can.

3. Same as the second option except that the situation has degenerated to sporadic street fighting between corporate police and workers using captured or improvised weapons.

4. Same as the third option but the characters encounter a group of workers requesting help in getting one or more important individuals off-planet. They may be emissaries being dispatched to curry off world support, perhaps in the form of funding, weapons or public opinion, or charismatic members of the workers’ leadership looking to continue the revolution from exile. In this case the characters are potentially faced with having to drag their charges along with them as they try to execute their primary mission.

5. Same as the third option but the characters will be subjects of a kidnapping attempt so that they can be used as bargaining chips by the workers or targeted for arrest by UTI on suspicion of being mercenaries hired to organize and train the workers. Or both.

6. Same as Option Three but in this case the characters are contacted by a representative of UTI who wishes to employ them to carry a message to the worker leaders surreptitiously so that a cessation of hostilities can be negotiated. The rep may be acting without the knowledge or permission of his superiors because he sees a window of opportunity for a peaceful settlement. Alternatively, he may seek to use the characters to ferret out the location of the leaders so that they can be captured or killed. (In that case he’ll likely use the idea of settlement talks as a cover for his true intentions). The rep will provide the name of a contact to get the process started and can be convinced to pay extra for this service.

Tourist Trap

Patron: Bureaucrat, Spy
Required Skills: social skills, combat(?)
Required Equipment: None

Players’ Information:
The team is contacted by Jakomo Sato, Assistant to the Second Foreign Minister for Trade on Fessor (2814 Foreven). He is seeking to hire experienced trouble-shooters to travel to Roopolaty (2712 Foreven) and determine the status of Deputy Third Foreign Minister for Trade, Stefana Kazlauskas. Kazlauskas has gone on holiday to Roopolaty, a balkanized world designated as an Amber Zone by the Travellers’ Aid Society due to internal political strife. Sato hastily explains that Kazlauskas had long been intent on touring the ruins of a long departed alien race in the Northern Uplands. He tried to convince her not to go but to no avail. In hushed tones Sato reveals that information obtained through diplomatic back channels suggests that an off world tourist or tourists are being held by militants in the vicinity of the ruins. Unable to prod the government of Fessor into formal action in a timely manner, he is turning to the characters for assistance. (If pressed he will reveal he has the covert backing of the Second Foreign Minister and his contingency accounts).

Sato will provide roundtrip middle passage to and from Roopolaty, cover all reasonable expenses and pay Cr 10,000 per person to find Kazlauskas and return her safely home. He can’t promise more than that up front but thinks he can secure bonuses based on how successful the mission is. If Kazlauskas, or other Fessori, are being held for ransom, the team is authorized to negotiate for their release and is advised to coordinate with the local consulate.

Roopolaty Ruins
Roopolaty Ruins : Image from wikimedia. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Referee’s Information:
UPP data: Roopolaty         2712 Foreven    C65667A-9 Ag Ni           A 303 Na

1. While travel to Roopolaty itself is relatively straightforward, it takes a fair amount of negotiation/haggling to obtain the services of a local guide and secure the use of a surface vehicle to travel to the Northern Uplands. The trip takes three days, the last half of which is via unpaved roads. Sato’s information turns out to be flat wrong; Kazlauskas is in no danger and will in fact be quite put out that the characters have been sent to bring her home.

2. As in option number 1 except that the characters’ vehicle will come under attack by brigands two days out from the capital city. They are mainly intent on exacting a “toll” from the party and offer token violence at best unless one or more of their band is injured or killed, at which point the gloves come off. There are 1d6+2 brigands armed with auto rifles and possessing stats consisting of all 7’s.

3. Sato’s information was correct and Kazlauskas is being held for ransom by anti-government militants intent on embarrassing the local regime. The militants’ base of operations is an outpost about 5 km from the ruins that supports approximately 30 persons, most variously armed with assault weapons. They seek kCr 100 in ransom and want the incident publicized as widely as possible, all the better if the off world news services pick up the story. The militants are not die-hard fanatics but they will put up a strong fight if challenged.

4. As in option number 3 but the militants have vowed to overthrow the government by any means possible. They have taken Kazlauskas, as well as a handful of other tourists, hoping to exchange them for political prisoners being held in the capital. It’s possible that a sufficiently skilled negotiator could secure their release in exchange for a cash ransom but it will take some effort. A military style raid might also work but the hostages will clearly be at risk.

5. In reality Kazlauskas works for Fessor’s intelligence service and was sent to Roopolaty in the guise of a tourist for the express purpose of meeting with the anti-government militants to arrange support for them. Sato, who is Kazlauskas’ handler, obtained information that the Zhodani were aware of her mission and hired the player characters to extract her before she could be compromised. (Sato gives the team an innocuous sounding message to pass to Kazlauskas informing her that her cover has been blown). Whether or not there are actually any Zhodani agents in the area and what their skills/talents are is left to the referee to decide.

6. As in option number 5 except that Kazlauskas was unwittingly sent to Roopolaty by Sato in hopes of triggering an interstellar incident as a pretext for intervention by Fessor. Word of her mission was leaked to the Zhodani though obscure channels, in theory insuring that she would be discovered. Things have not gone as planned as Kazlauskas has apparently been very successful in her mission to contact the militants. Sato, much dismayed at the situation, hired the team in hopes that the plan will work on the second pass. In the interest of plausible deniability, the Zhodani have dispatched their own group of hired travelers to investigate the situation with orders to secure any off-worlders found for questioning (and likely later disposal).