Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Traveller world again: Truckstop of adventure plus adventure hook !

Another one from my campaign....

This would have been reduced to a pop zero rockball by the standard rules for tech and habitability if it/I was rules pure.  However, the vagueness of what exactly a tech level means (local production ?  Maintenance ? Local innovation ?  Best available ? Average?) is something I've always seen as a feature, particularly if one wants to have a universe full of the same old sameold.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present:

Truckstop of Adventure !!!

Ta's Rock D100120-6

An airless rockball in the outer system,Ta's Rock is a secondary link in a low traffic secondary route into Subsector from .

The Ta system's star is a smallish M2 Star of great age, possibly of the original galactic population. The system is dominated by an extremely large inner orbit gas giant ("Gigi")with an extensive debris belt. Ta itself is likely a rogue planetoid captured semi recently. No other planets exist
Ta itself has no water deposits, and the Oort cloud of is exceedingly sparse due to the great age of the system and the effects of the Gas Giant. Accordingly, the main source of fuel for the station is from scooping the Gas Giant.
Ta was originally colonized by a start up freight and transport corporation as a rest/refueling stop, but only the basic installation was completed when the company collapsed in bankruptcy, fraud and embezzlement. The rough and ready nature of the frontier judiciary resulted in the station being awarded to the inhabitants in lieu of back salary and contract payment. Those who decided to stay bought out those who wanted out, and incorporated as a joint ownership company.
The main resource of the station is a set of five modular cutters with fuel scooping modules and high thrust engines. Two are inoperable and currently being stripped for parts. The three remaining cutters make regular runs to GiGi to scoop fuel. The stations survival is due to the extremely dangerous nature of skimming operations off Gigi. The debris belt is massive and uncharted, and Gigi itself is a borderline brown dwarf requiring high thrust to escape and special protection for the crew. Few merchants entering the system are willing to make the extremely hazardous attempt, when the locals will do it for them for a very reasonable fee.
Population is approximately 50-90 persons mostly composed of six or seven families and some transient workers. Provides Fuel, Bar, Brothel and Bijou.
As noted, the locals sell fuel, but currently only unrefined fuel is available as their latest makeshift refinery has failed. Originally the station was supported by a dedicated (if small) refinery, that has long since broken down beyond repair It was then replaced by a junked small freighter with fuel processing modules. This, too has since broken down. Ships with a processor will be offered a good discount price on unprocessed fuel, if the ship will process an equal amount for the station.
It must be noted that the locals have lost at least two fuel skimmers to the operations off Gigi, and one of the disabled cutters is entirely due to a barely survived collision with what may have been a large lifeform in the upper atmosphere of Gigi. The locals will not provide pilots or up to date chart info on Gigi (likely useless in any case due to the complexity of the system) but have no objection whatsoever to outsiders attempting to skim the giant planet; it provides them with much needed entertainment when successful, and a source of much needed salvage when not.

The tech level reflects the effective level of maintenance possible on Ta. As noted, almost no support infrastructure was built before the original corporations bust, and the owners have little capital to bring it in. As a result, almost everything is imported, with very limited local technology or production beyond spacecraft service, recreation and habitability. Vacuum survival and food supplies can be maintained and even expanded , but little else not directly related to habitability. However, the inhabitants are no more than one or two generations removed from the original founding, and most are able to operate much higher tech equipment than can be maintained.
All permanents inhabitants are part owners of the station, and by default, the system. With the exception of semi-retired elderly family members, and one or two colorful retired travellers, all inhabitants are directly employed in servicing passing ships in one way or another, or in maintaining and feeding the station.

There is a small group of transients and drifters hired to fill some job unfillable or unsuitable for the locals; occasionally they will buy in and stay, but generally make their passage off, and leave. The economy is well described as being one of subsistence service.
Check out Trader Jim’s mobile Bar and Grill, but avoid the Vilanii frijoles.

Be nice to Sal, she'll be nice to you.

Adventure Hook:

During the last  war with the ENEMYPOLITY towards the end, a commerce raider (destroyer size, M6 J3) infiltrating deep behind imperial lines raided a research station investigating an ANCIENTFALLEN archaeological site, initially to resupply at an out of the way location, as it was mainly of academic interest.  What happened next suggested that it was anything but a boring academic dig.  When the raider left, it slagged the site, and apparently captured the archeology team, as no traces of survivors or remains were found.  The raider then apparently abandoned its mission, and fled at maximum speed for ENEMYPOLITY space.  Local planetdef pickets detected and engaged the raider as it entered SYSTEM, and while they were able to identify it, they were unable to stop its departure.  Imperial forces were notified.  Next citing of the RAIDERSHIP occurred in SYSTEM, again by local forces: in this case, the raider was closely followed by several Imperial ships of cruiser class an up, who immediately signalled an all ship mobilization to intercept the Raider; this included several Battleship & Battletender class ships.  Again unable to do more than track the Raiders exit, it should be noted that the entire imperial force was ordered to jump out in pursuit (leaving the system undefended), and the x-boat system was preempted to send an all systems alert ahead of the raider .  The further records are somewhat fragmentary as no Imperial report or acknolegement of the events exists, and much local data has been cleaned. Nonetheless, it is clear that the raider continued fleeing, utilizing (and revealing) ENEMYPOLITY supply caches throughout the sector -and indeed, marooning at least two other raiders which later showed up expecting to find supplies. At some point, a fast squadron of imperial ships did manage to intercept and damage the raider as it attempted jump -which apparently caused a misjump to occur.  This last factoid is gleaned from a comet miner who happened to be in sensor range of the raiders last battle.  The flight of the raider  was with obvious disregard for consequences (it frequently was seen to maneuver at the very edge of the safe combat limits of the class of ships, and was clearly being damaged by such) .  Combined with the massive imperial response, it is clear that they found somthing that seemed of extreme importance, vital enough to blow a raider network throught the subsector.

The adventure is to find it, a classic myth across the local area, and source of innumerable scams since then. However, in this case, the adventurers have access to new data -the sensor logs of the miner who was onsite at the raider's misjump which can be mined for an approximate vector, and evidence at Ta's rock that something entered the system one jump week later, and attempted (unsuccessfully) to refuel at GiGi.
Perhaps one of the old retired codgers at Ta is the miner ?  Or his son ? or just a deluded seeker ?  Perhaps its the final stop on a search of possible misjump exits based on the data from the sensors.

Regardless, the stage is set for an expedition to GiGi, especially when the players detect a faint ENEMYPOLITY distress beacon out of the electronic hash around the planet.......


Jayson said...

Nice. I love the atmosphere afforded by tiny commercial outposts in the Big Nowhere--grimy, hardscrabble flickers of neon against the horrid emptiness.

Craig A. Glesner said...

Yeah, this is very cool. Like the earlier one too. Keep up the series, I am looking forward to more.

Red said...

Ya know? You had me with the truckstop and I'd have loved more of that genre of adventure. Perhaps with a few smuggler, fence, refugee or other connections to off system intrigue.
The gas giant is very playable and the station is a great setting for colorful characters.

Maybe it's just because the only recent Traveller campaign I played in also had an ancient technology 'dungeon' that dominated play instead of the Tatooine/Firefly/spaceport npc interaction that I long for in Traveller.