Saturday, 25 July 2015

Traveller - Star Trader: part 7

[I had always left the possibility open that my Star Trader adventures would cross over with my other solo Traveller campaign. The random ship encounter below (400t fat trader - comms out, radio silence), when interpreted via Mythic (Q: What's the deal with the ship?: Dominate / War), was obviously the mysterious, unidentified ship mentioned back in Episode 7 of the other game.

To synchronise the calendars, I decided the Hekabe would arrive within two weeks (3d6-3 days) either way of the Galatea: 1-3 before, 4-5 after. The dice say... 8 days prior. This worked out pretty well, as the date is simply the day of the ST adventure +55; easy maths if I need to work out when anything happened in the past for any reason.

Now let us resume the adventure in jumpspace aboard the Hekabe...]

Date: 198-1106

[die = 6. Diula falls for the ruse completely, and puts both guns inside.]

Well, that was easy! Diula thought it was a great idea. Put her pistol in, plus an old revolver neither of us even knew she had. Said I should add decent commos to the list, so we can all keep in touch when we're dirtside. Maybe she's not the psychopath we thought.

Date: 200-1106

arrive at Uloryy/Foreven (3033 A877758-7 Ag)

We were quite a few hours out from the mainworld when we popped back into normal space. There was a ship on our sensors almost immediately, a 400t subsidised merchant. I hailed them, but there was no response, not even an automatic message to show the message was received.
I tried a few times, but got nothing.

I wasn't sure if we should be getting involved in whatever problems they might be having,
but I thought I best put it to my crew.

[rolling a d6 for each: Orneev says yes on 1-3; Diula, being less civic-minded, on 1-2]

They both thought it was our duty to help fellow spacers in distress, and who am I to argue if they both feel strongly about something. And in complete agreement, for once!

We plotted an intercept course, and kept hailing them the whole way. No replies. Finally I told them that we were coming aboard to help.

[Q: When approached and hailed, does the ship run? Likely: 88, No + Event: Introduce a new NPC]

That finally got a response. "Oh! uh, sorry, we were having a ship's meeting. We are just going to go refuel at the gas giant, and can't put into port after all. But we have one passenger bound for Uloryy. Can you take her on? We'll give you half the cost of her ticket."

Well, we were kind of relieved to tell the truth. We don't have a medic if there was anybody hurt, and we only have two little guns if there was hijackers or something. Once we get the ship fixed, we definitely need to put in a laser turret, come to think of it. And fill that ships' locker!

So we took on the passenger. They told us over the comm to be respectful, as we would be transporting a member of one of the technocratic families from Zoe, Dame Ngiff. We were a bit trepidatious then, but it turned out fine.

She was a tiny little thing, long blonde hair past her waist and looking all of 14 years old, though she was probably about twice that. She was wearing robes of some synthetic fabric that did amazing things with the light when it moved, and the comm on her wrist looked like it cost more than the Hekabe! It was certainly more sophisticated. I guess what they say about Zoe is true.

But the dame turned out to be really laid back, she insisted we call her by her first name -- didn't even mind that Diula kept pronouncing Zoe as Zoey. And she was great fun. She cracked open a bottle of something expensive from Aslan space to share with us all. And when it was finished she got about a second, and then a third. She kept us up way too late telling all sorts of crazy stories, mostly about living with so many robots, and all the messed up places she gets sent as an government/family envoy.

[random NPC was chosen as usual: 1-3 1001 Characters, 4-6 Citizens of the Imperium
5=Citizens, so 1d12=Diplomat, 1d40=#6]

Dame Heldamin Ngiff
second secretary, age 26, human f
carousing-2, gauss pistol-1, vacc-1
cr50,000, gauss pistol
personality: indolent, funny

[Random conversation topic (UNE): mysterious-misdirection-equipment; the rest of the PCs conversation with their sudden passenger is off-the-record:

"So," says Heldamin, as she opens another bottle of expensive Aslan liquor, "I'm on a rather...important mission, and I need to get my pistol through the extrality barrier. I'm worried the enemies of my government will be looking for me. I don't suppose you guys have any way of bypassing Imperial customs...?"

[Carousing -- I decided that a roll in excess of the PCs' INT scores would be needed to avoid this sounding really suspicious.  roll: 10+2=12, which is higher than everyone's INT, so they believe her without question]

"I know it's kinda weird to ask," she continues, "but I can pay, of course."

"Actually," says Diula, "we have stuff we need to get through the extrality barrier, too."

The others nod in agreement.]

Date: 201-1106

Put in to the highport ok. Probably shouldn't have tried it in that state, but we didn't crash so who's counting. Orneev left early to go sell the cargo. He came back late with dinner and good news.

[38t polymers: 7+3=130% (Kcr7 x 38 x 1.3=) cr345,800
6t gems: 9+3=170% (Mcr1 x 6 x 1.7=) cr10,200,000]

cr537,303 ship's fund

      +5,000 fare
    +345,800 sold polymers
 +10,200,000 sold gems
        -100 berthing 7 days
    -275,729 mortgage (due 205-1106; early for once)

Cr10,274,971 new ship's fund

The mortgage is next due on 235-1106
The annual maintenance is due on 226-1106 [takes 2 weeks, costs .1% of ship cost: cr66,175]

We're looking ok, but we're going to probably be here three weeks with no revenue. I guess we have to wait on the laser turret.

Date: 202-1106

Unloading at the highport. I get to stay with the ship to look after things whilst Orneev and Diula head to the downport to work on other business matters, including helping our our new friend. She's elected to wait with me in the ship until they get it figured out, as even the Starport here, she says, is a bit archaic for her tastes.

--- --- --- ---

[The rest of this post is certainly not going to be in the ship's log, so it will go back to 3rd person narration. Gamey bits will still be in brackets.]

The Uloryy downport's extrality barrier can be rather intimidating on first glance, especially when one is contemplating how to smuggle contraband through it. The barrier is an actual wall, 5m high and made of plasteel-reinforced duracrete, and topped with electrified razorwire. Guard towers flank each gate and are placed between the gates at 200m intervals. The Imperium takes the security of its most productive ag-world in the subsector very seriously.

For their trip out into startown, however, Orneev and Diula hardly get anywhere near the barrier. They go through customs (with its TL15 scanners) inside the downport, and board a light rail train which takes them on the short jaunt to the startown station. When they leave the station, they can almost feel the tech level drop when they step out in to the street, with its internal-combustion ground vehicles and overhead power lines.

Uloryy has a dusty orange sky, and the populace must go about in breath masks to survive in the carcinogenic atmosphere. Unlike on Diula's native Veegint, people here tend to wear breathers with full-face masks, and the building airlocks are much more extensive, if less sophisticated. But one startown is much like another, and the pair or travellers has soon located a cheap 2-bedroom suite in a local hostel to use as a base of operations.

They decide to have a wander through the streets; Diula will look for a likely contact, Orneev will handle the eventual negotiations. Though there is little chance of a meeting in broad daylight: perhaps they shall just take in the sights.

[I used the old Gamelords Startown Liberty supplement for encounters et al. The first day encounter was a group of tourists asking for directions. I will spare you a detailed description. Rather than keep detailed tack of their spending, I will just use the Travelling Alone SOCxSOCx10 per week, which works out to cr90/day each. Captain Inty will be bumming around the highport with Dame Heldamin, so won't need to worry about money unless things on the ground drag on too long.

Just to see what happens, I used the drinking rules in Startown Liberty on the theory that a couple PCs who've had too much to drink would make the random encounters more interesting. Neither of them ever exceeded their capacity, so I'm not going to bother with the mechanics of this, save to remark that as written the average human (STR & END of 7, 'drinking capacity of 14) would need to consume a minimum of 5 beers (mild intoxicant, 1d6-3) to even start to feel the effects of the alcohol. Apparently they only serve American beer in space!]

That evening they find a none-too-reputable looking tavern, called simply Kindirusgi's. They have a range of local beers on tap, though after a few rounds it becomes apparent that they all must be watered down. But they aren't really here to drink.

[One encounter check per hour... thrice nothing.

To find a likely contact, Diula get to roll once per evening. She needs 9+, DM+streetwise. She fails the first night.

No nighttime encounter on the way home, either.]

After a boring evening out, they head back to the hostel in defeat. Diula goes into her room sullenly, Orneev makes a call back up to the Hekabe. He tells Inty all about their day, and she is quietly relieved that the two of them are still on speaking terms. She's having a lovely time, she insists, with Heldamin, but for her liver's sake she hopes the two of them find something quick.

date: 203-1106

The next day is much like the first. Nothing happens all morning [no encounter], but they hear an interesting rumour when they go for lunch in a divey eatery. Some spacers at the table next to them are loudly speculating about an unidentified ship in the system which has been evading Imperial patrol craft. "I bet it's Zhodani spies!" says one. "Don't be daft," says another, "it is most assuredly those smugglers we met at Yk. You know -- the ones who were so interested in how we was going to Uloryy." "You're both wrong," says the vargr. "It's corsairs. It's got to be corsairs."

[rumour: miscellaneous-warning-ruin (-4)
Mythic: Stop / Danger =  an unidentified ship has been sighted in the system, and is evading imperial patrol craft

Q: Does either PC put 2 and 2 together? Unlikely: 32, Yes. 50% chance for either as both have 7 INT]

Once the spacers have left, Diula looks at Orneev conspiratorially. "You know," she says, "I got a feeling that all three of them were wrong. And that we picked up our passenger from that unidentified ship..."

The rest of the day and evening go pretty much the same as the last. Orneev and Diula install themselves in yet another dismal startown tavern, with nothing much to do but distractedly watch the gravball match playing on the screens.

[No encounters again, but Diula makes her 9+ roll on streetwise]

Diula excuses herself for a few moments, and Orneev is too engrossed in his beermat construction works to notice that she is away for quite some time. When she returns, she's smiling wickedly. "So I ran into this broad wearing a Belnn City Bruisers shirt and we got talking about things -- never have run into supporters this far from Veegint, especially after last season -- but, long story short, she says she knows a guy who can help us." She throws a plastic card on the table, and continues. "There's the address. She set us up a meeting for [1d3 days=] tomorrow."

Orneev looks pleased. "Well done," he says, "I never had you as a gravball fan. And what's a 'broad'?"

They retire early back to their hostel. They still aren't sure what to make of their mysterious passenger, but they are happy to have a "business" lead. Orneev calls the ship, but he is very circumspect over the open channel. Inty is pleased to hear that they may soon be able to move their freight.


  1. Aha! The plot thickens as the saying goes . . . and with a "mysterious stranger" to boot. I will look forward to whatever happens next.

    -- Jeff

    1. Hopefully I can get the next part soon. I won't give anything away, except to say that I worry that the Hekabe's crew may be too naive to be good criminals.

    2. And I am hoping to get a start on Blue Pelican later this evening (if I don't tire too much before then . . . chemo is very fatiguing).

      -- Jeff