Sunday, February 24, 2019

Session 8 Prep - Will they get there?

The original premise of this adventure, a follow-up from what I thought may be a one shot premade adventure, was to get Osrum of Planet Bob, known to the Imperium as Pax Stellar, and explore an anomaly there. Pax Stellar, for a quick recap, is part of a 3 system former interstellar mini-empire that never achieved jump capacity, yet had medical, computer and cybernetic technology far beyond Imperial norms. About 3,000 years ago there was some sort of collapse, and the humans have reverted to a sort of post-apocalyptic barbarian tribes scattered over the world. Imperial technology just stops working within 2-12 hours and after more than a century of research, they believe that there is still an active nanotechnology that breaks down foreign tech. There are a lot of mechanical and fully organic life forms. The natives, of which Osrum is one, calls the mechanical life the metals. Recently, there has been an odd power surge noted from satellites high above the planet's atmosphere near research station PS-2. All attempts to get close to that odd power source have failed - the metals seem to protect that area. And despite excellent optics and satellite imagery, the Imperium has no idea what is happening. As Osrum is wanting to return to Planet Bob with a variety of objects he has picked up from the outside universe, the Navy, which guards Pax Stellar, feels that a native may be able to get to the power source.  So Project Parfait was born, and Our Travellers are brought on-board to escort Osrum to the planet surface and from station two, traverse via a steam-powered ATV to the power anomaly.

So, recap aside, the players got from Q'antar, site of their kidnapping and release, took a A2 Far Trader to D'Arlee to get to the Marquessa's Cygnus Class Lab Ship the now named Anomolies Run, where they accepted the job from Admiral Reginald Dor Grigori. I actually got around to writing up that paper (which is Navy security paper - it has microdots with authentication codes buried in the print. Very hard to near impossible to forge as it uses some sort of blockchain like technology to ensure when and how that document got created. But I digress). From D'Arlee they made their first jump to Iac and assisted the Axion class freighter with Captain Mary Sally fight off space rats of an unusual size. As a reward, they got a case of 50 bottles of fancy wine and thanks as well as an offer for future assistance if needed. There was some discussion that piqued Captain Mary Sally's interest, as she is part of the Cytec Hemogeny and very interested in the Singularity (the whole focus of this branch of humanity). I've not decided just how curious yet...

We were missing a couple of players, so session 7 played out in retrieving furniture. In a bad part of town, and apparently gauss bullets can chew up whatever road surface they have there. There is still one player who has not shown up at all, and if he manages to show up on this last for a bit meeting, we'll have to figure out how to incorporate his character into the game.

I've been using the RPG Suite to roll up Navy characters, trying to get one of a high enough rank to be in charge of the task force guarding the Pax Stellar systems.Let us just say it took a LOT of characters getting rolled up before I finally got one who both survived and managed to stay in the Navy. As I also got the Element Class cruiser boxed set from Mongoose (and knowing nothing about Navy stuff real or Traveller) I am using that as a source. So, from reading the notes about the Navy forces:

Task Force EC-1031 has three Ghalalk class Cruisers, one for each of the planets.
  • Karliku patrols Pax Stellar
  • Giadsha patrols Dunkumme
  • Usharku patrols Celtiz
Each cruiser has 1 missile pod (5,760 missiles per pod, just in case they need to destroy the planet) and 1 intelligence gathering pod. Sadly, the intelligence staff have been confounded constantly by the systems and as of yet, unable to interpret any signals that originate from the planets. They do know that there is a communications net that takes years for the conversations to transfer between worlds on what appears to be laser links. Either encrypted or using entirely unknown languages, the communications are monitored and scientists have been attempting to decrypt them for decades to no avail.

In addition to the 3 cruisers are a host of other Navy supporting ships including tankers and flight support wings that have fast fighters that are on constant patrol duty throughout each system. There are several couriers, and communication between the three systems is on a weekly schedule, and a monthly schedule to Dura's Naval port to be further transferred to the Imperium at large. 

The Pax Stellar task force is an Epsilon Indigo clearance only - very high security and very few people outside of Naval Intelligence know about it.

Admiral Mira Westwood is in charge of the Pax Stellar Task Force. A native of Tsarina, she was a graduate of the Naval Academy at Glisten with Honors. She showed an early interest in cybernetics. She joined the flight branch, and in her first tour of duty she foiled a minor smuggling ring. She was promoted to sublieutenant, picking up some blade, electronic and leadership skills in tracking down the culprits. She did not make friends with the private investigator at the heart of the smuggling ring. 
Her next tour of duty got her to the edge of the Imperium. Apparently while enamored over new worlds, her specialized training did not take well, although she was promoted to lieutenant. She worked out a lot at the gym on board, increasing her dexterity. 
During her third tour, she was in the middle of the Battle of Dolberg, a yellow-zoned world in the Trojan Reach. She managed to pilot the capital ship Surnashi during some outstanding maneuvers as well as get promoted to commander. She also picked up Naval tactics during the weeks-long battle and follow-up against the pirates. 
Her fourth tour brought her into the Naval Base as Bastion. Thinking it more a friendly competition, she bested the rich noble in a duel, and he has had it out for her ever since. She was promoted to captain.
Her fifth tour brings her to Pax Stellar. She apparently also managed to get under the skin of one of the researchers there, but was also promoted to admiral. And is in charge of the task force. And has been for almost 3 years now.

Admiral Westwood is a stern-faced woman who has spent almost her entire life in the Navy. Never-the-less, she maintains a large personal residence on the Pax Stellar moonbase where nice furniture may have a home...

And there may be issues with that character generator - in the Navy it is pretty easy to keep getting your social bumped up. She is at level 19. I am going to apply that as just in the Pax Stellar systems - she is seen as the end-all to everything going on there. 

On the bright side of all those characters I generated, some will end up being the researchers on planet that will help with our group. And one apparently will not be liking the high and mighty Admiral Westwood. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Session 7 - Picking up furniture

After Morgana and Iva head back to the ship, Qat, Osrum and Max approach the concierge of the port hotel to get information about transferring 12 dTons of furniture from a warehouse to the ship. The very chipper concierge finds the only Rent-A-Stevedore in town (yes, it is now a thing in my universe) that has a truck large enough to transport 3 4dTon cargo containers full of fancy furniture from the warehouse to the port and be able to load it on the ship itself. A 4 ton container is about the same size as a shipping container, and fortunately the ship has two capacious cargo bays that are normally loaded with science gear and supplies.

After warning our Travellers that Warehouse 31 is in a not particularly nice area of town, and then becoming aware of the Navy issue gauss rifle that Max is carrying, he indicates that the Rent-A-Stevedore should have its representative in shortly, and they can wait in the lounge where breakfast is currently being served.

Finishing their repast, a strapping young man shows up and introduces himself as Jon Smith. He has the lead car out front with the wide flashing "Wide Load" sign blinking, and behind that is Big Mac, a large grav vehicle that will be used to transport the loads. They drive on to the warehouse, meet the gruff manager, and with the transfer of the ship's Cr60,000 they were entrusted with, start moving out lot 381. The warehouse manages to move the first crate to the bed of Big Mac, the three stevedores strapping it down and verifying it is safe to go. The Travellers do notice a couple of homeless people watching with interest but nothing untoward. The small convoy goes back to the port and manages to transfer the container to the port cargo bay. Big Mac has a nice extendable crane to maneuver large loads. The second trip is equally mundane, and the homeless people have wandered off. On the third and final trip, though, there seems to be a small group of people waiting near the warehouse. As the final container is getting loaded on the grav truck bed, they start to approach. It also appears that they have weapons, mostly crowbars and the like. While the stevedores are unaware of this, being behind the container and loading, Max, Osrum and Qat take some alarm and prepare themselves. Max's version is to shoot a spray of gauss needles in front of the group. The hypersonic needles make small sonic booms before they splatter the road material all over the group, along with small shards of what remains of those bullets. As this was a result of digging up the road a bit, the group was not seriously injured but ran away. At this point, the group decides to look inside the containers to verify that yes, there is indeed furniture in the container. The rest of the final trip goes uneventfully as they load the last container into the cargo bay with the other containers.

Now the plan is that this expensive furniture, bought at well below the market value, will have a high resale value over at Pax Stellar. While the Navy ships won't particularly use it, there is both a Crucible class station in orbit as well as a large and sprawling base on one of the two moons. Some of the people have been stationed there for years, and Sabsawa feels that some of the more well-off scientists, who can get quite snooty, may want to revel in expensive furniture.

There is also a smaller cache of entertainment gear that she managed to pick up, straining the current budget a bit. Those crates are in the other cargo bay along with Osrum's miscellaneous cargos and the air raft.

Fine Hellaborian Wood Furniture

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Session Pre - Searching for cargo

While the rest of the crew was out shopping and eating in interesting places, our valiant and capable ship's administrator/purser/partial owner of the Anomolies Run was busy scouring the local nets for cargos that may prove useful to the next world, Pax Stellar. Taking into account that is a red zoned world and patrolled by the Imperial Navy, she suspected small goods, particularly in the entertainment area, would be a good thing to look into.

Despite getting an excellent price on some cheap rocket skates (with no formal government, a very low law level, and somewhat captive population working at the starport, entertainment can become quite extreme.

Below is the list of items Sabsawa has scrounged up as possible cargoes. Knowing the ship currently has about 50 tons of available tonnage (4 tons is taken by Oeg's air raft, and Osrum has about a ton of things he has also picked up along the way), and knowing everything had to be available for ships and stations only, she limited her searches that range of items.

First, the port itself is willing to pay for records transfer to the Navy. This is supplemental mail and Naval public briefings, a large electronic cache stored on 2 encrypted drives. Seeing as there are currently 3 Naval officers on board, as well as an ex-Navy Lt, they can transfer the data.

The 2 tons of rocket skates were considered briefly for the base on the moon but dropped when considering potential insurance costs.

There were 4 dTons of VR entertainment units that are sitting over at warehouse 31. These were to be transshipped but the traders never showed up. Currently impounded for storage fees and available.

There is 12 dTons of luxury furniture, made of Hellboria wood. Originally planned for the cousin three times removed of the grandson of the Wescott family patriarch, the furnishings did not go with the rest of the house. Created by Rafael Tagliatelli, this is exquisitely designed and beautiful furniture consisting of a complete living room, library and bedroom set.

  • Naval records and supplemental mail: Cr10,000
  • 2dTons Acme Rocket Skates: Cr 90,000
  • 4 dTons VR equipment: Cr60,000 (she rolled an 11 on purchase price - 40%!)
  • 12 dTons luxury furniture: Cr85,000 (not such a good roll)
And no, I did not actually roll on the tables. I did use the actual value table to set the base price for the VR (using it as computer parts, base price Cr150,000). The other prices are made up - I know there is a mail contract in the rules some place. I thought book 2 would have it as it as the ship design as well as the cargo stuff. But alas, I could not find it. I do remember it actually required a physical safe locker, but as this is going to be on two small crystal drives, the ship captain's safe will suffice.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Session 6 - Safe to Port

I think I may have miscounted...I believe the last session was session 5, not 4. The now named lab ship, the Anomolies Run, along with the Axion class freighter and two Mercy class rescue ships, arrive and land safely at Iac's Downport.

The port is fairly large, but the two ships are on adjacent landing pads and well within walking distance. Although the thin atmosphere does not allow for a lot of activity until the Travellers acclimatize. There is the faint smell of creosote as they meet Captain Mary Sally, or is that Sally Mary, at the cavernous cargo lock of the Cytec trader. She vaguely resembles Seven of Nine from Voyager - she does have some implants that are visible. Thanks are again given and one of the more heavily augmented crewmen bring out a crate of 50 bottles of Deerian wine. Each bottle is worth about Cr150, so about Cr7,500 for killing the devious space rats. It may also be useful for bartering or trading later. I'll have to work up some more info about Deerian Wine, but I did make a simple label for it. Apparently it won the Grand Prix in 1101, and the bottles they have are about 20 years old, close to reaching their peak value.

There was a somewhat length conversation - the Cytec are wanting to achieve the Singularity, and so are becoming more intertwined with their computer systems. They are starting to add computer systems to themselves, and most of their ship systems are a virtual or augmented reality. These systems are like the Zhodani psionic controls: without the right stuff, not operable by non-Cytec enhanced people. Although there are some safeguards and manual processes. Fortunately, Max's TL 15 suit has built-in VR and augmentation abilities and, as per the last update, managed to interface with that ship's system.

Osrum, honest soul that he is, also started talking about Planet Bob. While on a somewhat secret mission to Pax Stellar, few people outside of high Imperial offices know the reality of why those worlds are red zoned. His fellow Travellers had a somewhat heated discussion on this until Sabsawa stuck her head outside of her cabin and mentioned that perhaps now would be a good time to register the ship officially and set up the itinerary for the next leg of their journey. Shenna came up before they left, and gave Morgana a shopping list. She and the crew were getting a bit tired of the Navy food that was supplied, and having a Steward-1 skill, does like to cook and would try & make things a bit better for the crew. Sabsawa was going to stay in her stateroom and see about brokerages and cargo they could possibly carry for some profit. The dry air of Iac does not sit will the her Bwap skin.

Getting onboard a port transport bus, they get driven around the multitude of warehouses and other ships to get to the large administration building. There, they attempt to enter their official next destination and the clerk, knowing that the world is a Red Zone world brought in his manager. After verifying that the crew knew that the next port of call was well within an Imperial Navy Red Zone, he entered the information and wished them well. He was also very curious as to why but Osrum only asked about nearby parks.

About to leave, they are approached by what appears to be a young urchin. She had overheard that they were needing to get into town to get a better variety of goods that were offered at the port. Her uncle, she claimed, had an excellent grocery and restaurant business. And she knew a driver... However, the group decided to rent a taxi for the day, having been around the ports more than once before.

Hitting the town, they find a good place to eat. The Acme, Inc restaurant had a gift store in the front, and one of the things that caught the Travellers eyes were the Rocket Skates. Iva, a sports fanatic, eyed them a bit before they were seated. The specialty of the house was karia bird, a road-runner like bird. Their waitress took their order, and when questioned about the rocket skates, admitted she was a fan and showed off some fairly impressive scars and scrapes. Dr. Morgana gave her a tube of ointment that would help heal, and the waitress did mention the local aloe-like plants that had some significant healing properties. She also said that the skates in the gift shop where not that great, and if they wanted better, Frankie's down the road had an excellent selection. He also had the chutes in case they wanted to base jump. According to the waitress, there is nothing like shooting off one of the cliffs and seemingly to hang in the air before starting to fall. The death rate was actually lower than you would think...

They left and picked up the additional groceries and supplies as listed, and went back to the port. Shenna and Oeg met them at the main area in his pristine 1094 Ling air raft, and as the ship engineers headed back to the ship, the Travellers got a hotel with extensive bath facilities.

And G+ is going way very soon. I'll miss that little alert thing for when people read my posts...I'll still be posting here on a fairly regular basis. But I won't be joining yet another group thing. So please check back once in a while, and I do post over on COTI (one of the sites listed on this blog).

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Iac - A Bit More Detail

As the players managed the rescue of the Axion class merchant, they are heading to Iac after all. There they can refuel, restock, and see what Captain Sally of the Cytec ship will give them in reward for assisting with their rather tumultuous exit from jump space.

I've expanded a bit on Iac: still a poor, non-industrial world. The class A port on a planet with 3,000 inhabitants requires that the port population is not counted in the official Scout records. I've made the port mostly self-contained with a small startown that is more sleepy bedroom community than startown. Although with the law level of 1, you can pretty much buy anything you want here, if you can find it and can afford it. All those warehouses in the port must contain some really interesting items!

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Session 4 - Rats on a starship

In retrospect, I really should have had the rats dropping out of the air ducts.

Session 4, 139-1105. Yes, I established the date.  The Travellers in the as yet unnamed Lab Ship come out of jump space a bit further out than expected from Iac. Alarms are blaring and there is an automated distress signal from a ship at close range. Apparently in a surprisingly strange coincidence, another ship had come out of jump far too close at about the same time. This was a Cytec ship and was tumbling in an out of control manner.

We were missing three players this time, so this was a fortuitous happenstance. While the characters of the players not present stayed on board the Lab Ship, three of our characters were to go across to the tumbling ship. The pilot Sir Max, managed to overshoot the ship initially but came around on the second pass. Iac port was sending up two emergency response ships, but even at 6G they were an hour away.

As Lt. Oeg had an air/raft, and the shuttle was too large to fit in the airlock of the Axion class cargo craft, the Lt piloted the craft over to the drifting and rotating craft. Osrum did manage to not throw up, but did get ejected from his seat during the maneuvers. It was either Qat or Max who dragged him back in. They went through the top port, which is a grav chute through the entire four deck craft. The top deck presented what appeared to be normal, and empty, staterooms. The next deck presented the bridge deck, which was locked. There was a constant flashing of red warning lights as well a low siren. Out of the corners of their eyes, Qat and Osrum both noticed something that skittered behind them as they were working on the door. Sir Max recognized the interface as a VR interface, and with his TL 15 Scout suit, managed to unlock the door. And they then saw the space rats!

Of course, 1 rate vs a VRF Gauss gun does not stand much of a chance, and fortunately Max killed it with the single shot. A gauss round in a starship is generally not a good idea. And despite the alarms going off, apparently the ship roombas still worked as the rat's remains were rapidly cleaned up and removed.

Still wearing their suits, worried about it being a plague ship, they found that there were several engineering warnings. And as spacers, they knew that an infestation of these rats easily leads to chewed wires, conduits and other ship-wide damages. They also found that the ship had placed the entire crew into emergency sleep mode, something very similar to the Borg regeneration. The Cytec branch of humanity are trying to move to the singularity and represent a fringe trans-humanist ideal.

Waking the captain, who came to the bridge and turned off the alarms, they found the various nests via internal ship sensors. They flooded the cargo bay with the anti-fire retardant which killed the vast majority. While they thought about opening the cargo bay doors, the ship crew quarters were on the 2nd deck of the cargo area, and their doors were not air-tight.

While Sir Max and Captain Sally went to the engineering section to repair the damage as best they could, Qat and Osrum went rat hunting with stunners and a crow bar. It was short work to get the remaining two groups, and the ship had basic repairs done and managed to stop spinning.

By this time, the emergency crews had caught up, and we left the session with all the ships heading to Iac.

Which means I need to detail Iac a bit more as I did not expect them to actually visit much. But it will also give us a chance to the last player into the game - he missed the first few sessions and we need to get him introduced in there.

Captain Sally will also being gifting the lab ship crew with some of her cargo in thanks. I need to figure out what that ship may be carrying as well.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Space Rats

Okay, I believe the image is actually a dire rat, but it was an interesting image that will work for me. Not sure where I got it - although I am leaning towards a D&D site. Sorry I don't have the source link - blame my digital hoarding.

Also - not much longer before G+ goes away (in a rat-like manner no less). I'll still be updating this blog for both the games I play as well as any software I write (one of these days I will get back to the Traveller Tracker, promise!)  I post on COTI as coliver988 (I tend to be unimaginative with user names). I am not a Facebook user, nor will I join one of the now far too many other sites trying to keep some of the wonderful goodness we are losing with the demise of G+. And who knows when they may pull the plug on this as well: as per all big companies, you never know where they will go. I may have to eventually host stuff myself. And as most of the stuff I post here are copies of things I have anyway, I should be good to go no matter what.

Regardless - here are the tradits, a mutated rat that infests everyplace that humanity has got to. My players shall be encountering a murder of them next session in all likelihood. A group of tradits is a murder, just like a group of crows.