Friday, 20 December 2013

Solo Traveller - Episode 2: Disappointments

Veegint/Foreven (3234 B743784-A) / Date: 182-1106

[Starting at the beginning of the Travelling Alone flowchart, there is Eshtam's upkeep (soc x soc x 10 = Cr160. Cr765 left) to be paid. She's not looking to buy or sell anything, and isn't in need of healing, but it is only a matter of time before the dice lead me again to Event - Meet NPC. Another roll (using the patron encounter tables) produces a Diplomat, which I randomly determine is #24 (1st secretary) on the list in CT Citizens of the Imperium. The reaction roll is 4: Hostile, attacks on 8+. I roll an 8, so he does. I can't see this actually devolving into combat, so I decide that Eshtam bumps into this jerk on the monorail, and he loses his temper and starts yelling. She's not the type to get in a brawl over something trivial, so she just mumbles 'sorry' and walks away.

From there the next item of note turns out to be Seek Patron, so after a few uninteresting days Eshtam finds herself walking up to a non-descript building on the outskirts of one of the business districts.]

In the doorway of the building is a plasteel console with scuffed-up display, dirty keypad and a card slot. Eshtam puts the business card in the slot and the screen comes to life, displaying the word 'connecting...' in galanglic and three other languages she's never seen before. After a few moments, a voice from the crackling speaker tells her to come in, take the lift, have a seat in suite 807. She can't tell if it's the woman from the other day or not.

The waiting room is dismal, furnished with about a dozen metal chairs and a wilting plant in the corner. The light from overhead fluorescents picks out every stain in the carpeting. Three closed doors on one end of the room complete the decor. Eshtam sits, and waits.

Eventually one of the doors opens, and a vigorous man in his mid-forties emerges, wearing a dress uniform with captain's insignia and a handful of imperial campaign ribbons.

[Using tables in Mercenary, I get a Striker - Elimination ticket.]

The man introduces himself as Captain Hean, formerly of the 4173rd Lift Infantry Division, now Captain of Hean's Drossenars, a company-sized mercenary unit based on Veegint (the drossenar is a small and vicious native pouncer). He explains a bit about the unit, noting its triumphs, and then cuts to the chase [on a scale of 2-12, how bad will this proposition sound? 10 - pretty atrocious; consulting the map, I see there's an amber zone only J-3 away].

"The contract," says captain Hean, "is for a striker mission on Dimmul. We're to assault a certain governmental stronghold and hold it until the, ah... new government officials selected by my client can be brought in to assume the reins of power. There will of course be other operations going on concurrently, but this is our piece of the action. I can guarantee at least one month's duty on-world, transport there, equipment, repatriation bond... the works, plus a substantial success-only bonus. Full details are, of course, restricted unless you sign on. I'm guessing by your jacket you're ex-Scouts, rather than military, but actually that's why you're here. I got all the muscle I need, I just don't have anyone worth a damn at reconnaissance to lead them in. What do you say? Take a day or two to think it over if you have to, but I need an answer in 72 hours."

[Dimmul is a high-population, balkanised world whose amber classification stems from the numerous space and ground wars in the system. It's also 2 tech levels higher than Veegint. If Hean's Drossenars are equipped locally...]

Eshtam isn't a soldier, and doesn't really plan on becoming one. As much as she wants off Veegint, staging a coup d'état on Dimmul is not what she had in mind. She smiles at Captain Hean, shakes his hand, and says she needs to think about it. Once she's clear of the building, she throws the business card away.


session post mortem: the meeting with the diplomat was completely pointless, and should have been stricken from the record. I was trying to let the dice lead the story, but what I rolled was totally uninspiring. Events and NPC encounters don't always have to lead to adventures of galactic import, but neither should they seem like one's morning commute. In retrospect, I should have re-rolled when diplomat failed to spark my imagination.

On the other hand, rejecting the patron made perfect sense for my character and seemed like it could lead to something further down the line. Maybe she'll end up on Dimmul someday after all, and their paths will cross again.

After the meeting with Captain Hean, I rolled two more rumours (completely false info and minor fact) via the flowchart before reaching the end. I wasn't feeling especially interested in generating rumours at that point, so I just made a note of them in case I thought of something later, and dropped them from the narrative above entirely. As I was typing this up, I had a sudden realisation about the Traveller Book's rumour table and its unsuitability for solitaire play. More on this (and a proposed solution) in a separate post.

(adventure continues here)

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