Saturday, August 23, 2014

Classic Traveller, Downt Thole

Last night's game started with a bit of bad news for the PCs. A message was received on "The Discord" (their ship). It was a system wide broadcast by the administration advising everyone that all ex military residents in the system were being called-up due to the Aslan threat. About half of the players Mercenaries were on the call-up list. They decided to keep this to themselves and not pass the message onto their people on the ground.

Then came some negotiation back on the planet. A contract was even written for a loan of the alien artifacts that the PCs had collected on their extra-galactic jaunt, to the local archeologist. The players were very explicit that they wanted a huge reward if the items were to get damaged.  They also took a tourist trip down the excavation. They were able to present the archeologist with a lot of information from their own experiences which he found fascinating. The central shaft was only excavated down to the first horizontal tunnel which itself turned out of be partially collapsed. Some similarities and some differences were notes between this installation and that investigated by the PCs.

They ordered the items down to the planet and their shuttle did the transport duties. As it was flying in it caught sight of some movement on the outskirts of the dig site. When it went back spaceside it made a fly by on the movement but couldn't see anything.

The PCs were suspicious so gathered up some of their mercs and some of the semi-trained police and headed out to investigate. A laser beam shot over their heads from a group of rocks ahead. They returned fire with their devastating FGMPs. In response five lasers were fired quite deliberately over the PC's heads. Once again they opened a killing response.

Armed and armoured men broke from cover, and started an organised relay of fire and retreat. Our heroes drove straight in on their target and started wasting the bad guys one after the other until there was only one left who threw up his arms. During the charge, the cops ran away and another of the merc company was injured.

The prisoner was run back into camp and a call put through to the town to send out a clean up crew for the dig-come-battlefield.

What the players didn't know at this point was that the bad guys had just called for their extraction and they didn't want to get into a serious fight. But the PCs were killing them without allowing them to pull out.

When the cops arrived they were sent out to pick up the bodies and weapons. At this point the bad guy's pick-up arrived, found the area full of cops and their men dead on the ground, so instead of picking up, they dropped off a few bombs, laying waste to the cops and their vehicles, before racing for the horizon.

A quick call up to "The Discord" to the home team PCs was made but a failed sensors roll meant they couldn't see the ship or its destination. The call was followed up by the away team requesting a pick for the prisoner. they wanted to get him onto The Discord for questioning.

The scene shifted to the home team on the ship with their prisoner.  Talking through the bars of the brig they found the prisoner rather unbowed. He explained he was part of the mercenary company Bertrum35 and that there was a 10K bounty for his safe return to a Bertrum35 agent.  The PCs told him they weren't interested in his bounty. He was somewhat disbelieving, he thought as merc's themselves they would respect the bounty system. They were very clear that no one knew he was here and they would kill him if he didn't give them all of the information they wanted. The poor chap ended up crying in his cell.

Back on the planet the away team got a call to return to the main town. The governor had set up a meeting to which he had called all of the local leaders, he wanted to discuss the situation and try to calm everything down. He stipulated that everyone including the PCs should be unarmed.  That didn't go down well with the players. So the town square was filled with vehicles and the invited farmers and local leaders filed into the meeting hall but the mercenaries stayed outside making sure nobody got up to any shenanigans.

A deep bass sound alerted our heroes to a return of the bomber. They opened fire with their plasma weapons and scored a hit as it did a low roof-top pass over the square. As the bomber did a wide loop and turn back, the curious civies started coming out of the meeting hall.  The bomber made its second pass and dumped a load of leaflets but was hit a second time. This second hit did some damage and sent it spiraling off into the distance to explode.  The leaflets drifted to the ground and turned out to be an exhaultation to the people to throw off the shackles of their masters (Indes) and fight for freedom.

One of the farmers got in the face of a PC and started railing against their interference in a civil matter. A sniper of unknown providence took a shot at the PC, missed and hit this unfortunate citizen. The crowd panicked and scattered. One of them grabbed a rifle from his vehicle and was shot down, other people appeared to be going for weapons too, and the PCs declared "weapons free" on all armed people. Shots were exchanged as the mass of people scattered or ran to their vehicles and took off. The mercenaries and their police cohorts were amazingly restrained and only a few bodies were left on the ground when it was all over.

The governor was in despair at his failed plan, and realising that he would never be safe on the ground agreed to move his office to "The Discord", where he joined his wife.

The session really ended at this point, with some discussion prompted by myself, with an aim of forming a plan of action. The PC's mercenaries were hired to put down an insurrection and ensure that the taxes were collected, and had found themselves embroiled in an action that includes conflict with another mercenary unit and an unseen well funded adversary.

Discussion with the Indes representative included going to war with Outre, who are believed to be funding Bertrum35, but this was shot-down as it were, because a mega-corp war was financially unviable. A hit on the leaders of Bertum35 or even Outre was suggested and no firm decision made.

So we ended with no clear plan of action, so over the next week, I'm going to try and come up with a few suggestions to put to the players when we return.

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

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