Travellers Stolen Jewell

Last night I ran another game of old school, classic Traveller that followed on from last weeks game where the players were just about to listen to one of the hottest mega stars of the Spinward Marches, Jewell Bain.  the Captain arrived with Tark the new pilot and the Scientist and security detail got bored of the whole thing and headed back to the Larksong. So the starting crew were Cpt. Beniades Lark played by +Seth Blumberg , Tyson the medic played by +Tom Tyson , Baron Jia the accountant played by +Justin Aquino ,  Tark the pilot played by +Scott Cadoo and Moloch the engineer played by +duncan mcphedran .

The concert was great and lasted for two hours and at the end the host for the VIP’s, Eli Archer, announced a surprise for his 75 odd guests in that Jewell was going to come to the VIP room and deliver a further set of acoustic music that covered some of her earlier and favourite material.  Half an hour after the announcement, with a slightly drunk pilot and Captain Jewell arrived to perform her set with a full orchestra, not content on a simple acoustic arrangement.

About twenty minutes into the final entertainments for the night perfectly coinciding with the last night of one of her lesser known but powerfully emotional ballads there is a complete power failure in the room.  The regular backup generators do not work and the force shields that protect the room blink out and there is complete darkness except for the sound of shocked whispers and a period of hushed conversations.  This kind of power failure is rare and in only a few seconds the rooms occupants realise it is also completely unnatural.
The exit door opens and a shotgun blast scares the occupants.  The Captain hits the ground and the other players begin to take cover where they can.  A voice tells everyone if they remain calm noone will get hurt.  A laser blast then occurs near the exit door and a waitress who dropped her tray of drinks as the shotgun went off is killed in an instant.  Tark, realising from a conversation he had with Walker (Jewell’s bodyguard), moved to the bar quickly after creating a distraction in the pitch black and grabbed the laser rifle under the counter.  He was not too familiar with it but at least if the shit was going to hit the fan, at least he had something to attack with.

The remainder of the crew stayed still, trying to feel their way around in the dark to get some kind of cover, or advantage, or find a different way out.  Tark decided that the situation was not good and that he may be the only one in the room that could do something about it.  From memory he lined up where the female assailant was keeping the room covered at the back and let off a single shot dropping her immediately bringing her a hairs breadth from death.  With surprise on his side he swung to where he remembered the last next target and let out a barrage of shots, taking him completely out.  The final assailant was ready though and the as Tark let out several laser shots the assailant sprayed the bar with a sub machine gun.  Both of them hit, Tark taking a lesser amount of damage still being hurled to the ground unconscious and the assailant also was not hit dead square also falling down unconscious.  The battle was as tense as the embedded video, perhaps even a little more so.

(Well I thought the video was cool, good work lads) The Captain and Moloch made their way to different bodies.  Moloch to finish what Tark had started by strangling the woman and the Captain to grab a set of night vision goggles.  Tyson moved to where Tark was to make sure he was OK and managed to revive his companion without too much of an issue.  In short order the Captain and Tark had the power back on and they reviewed the scene.

The three assailants were the same three people that Eli had been having secretive discussions with last game.  At least one of them was cybered and one was a psionicist, both now dead.  Their leader though appeared to be simply unconscious.  On looking around they found that Walker, Jewell’s bodyguard, had been knocked out and two members of the orchestra killed.  The strange thing about this was the fact that the assailants were never near them.  The other obvious thing about the scene was the fact that Jewell herself had been taken.

Eager to question the unconscious assailant Baron Jia tied his arms and legs and put him into a chair.  The blood thirsty accountant woke him and started threatening him with taking off the digits of his fingers until he gave up what had happened to Jewell.  This action (which has mirrored other games) led to the quote of the night being Baron Jia: The accountant who can only subtract digits…  he is certainly getting a name for himself and it is not terribly much as a trader, more as a vicious sadist.  The accountant will be called in to do the accounting…

Anyhow, the assailant told Jia he was not scared of him and as Jia pulled the trigger of his auto pistol to put a bullet of two into the assailants leg the assailant fought back with a blast of Psionics in the form of pyromancy.  Jia killed the assailant and the assailant gave Jia third degree burns almost killing him instantly.  Tark ran over and put him out with the fire extinguisher and it was obvious that the Baron was in some serious need of care.  In fact Tyson pointed out he needed specialist care with someone much more skilled than he in medicine.

It was around about now that the Planetary (they are on Ruie) Enforcers arrived with paramedics.  Jia was rushed off and the enforcers began to talk to the witnesses.  The party talked to Walker who had a completely different take on things to them (he believed they took her out the window in a anti gravity vehicle while the party believed they had used the service entry to enter and exit) to try and piece together what happened.  Moloch demanded the planetary enforcers check to see if any ships had recently jumped off system yet and the enforcers ignored his horridly rude request (rolled double 1).  Captain Lark soothed over the enforcers with his silver tongue and got out of one of the lead investigators that the Navy had reported a ship that broke orbit heading for a jump point about twenty minutes prior (That would have been around 5 minutes after the attack).  The ship had not filed any flight plans and the Navy were moving to intercept, though they were not hopeful they would arrive in time to stop the jump.

The Captain and crew then rushed to the Larksong.  The Captain was hoping that if he had enough time he could laser communication beam a message to the departing ship with a computer virus to attempt to get the ships navigation computer to report back the jump destination to them.  The Captain made a wonderful roll on his computer check and only barely passed a communication roll to get a portion of the information they wanted.  the information they got caused a great deal of worry amongst the Captain and the crew.

The departing ship sent a data pack back moments before jumping out of system.  It was reportedly a ship from a Varg merchant line called the Gvaeknoks’ and was far, far away from home.  What also caused the group concern was it sent back the data of the past jump as well, a jump from Regina where the ship had been retrofitted with a Jump-6 drive.  The tech of the most powerful military organisations and rich.  The group all of a sudden started to think twice about what they were about to do.  Should they just hand this information over to the authorities and Walker and continue on with their own covert operation?  What was really going on here, there was a pattern of things beginning to coalesce but they were not yet quite able to grasp it.  The final bit of information was about the coordinates for the jump they just took.  The ship appeared to be heading for empty space (hex grid 1308 on the Spinward Marches region see the Traveller map for details)just outside the Imperial border.  Captain Beniades Lark knew for certain he was not chasing them blind and that if he were to pursue Jewell he would need help.

The first place the Captain went was Walker.  He was aware that he had control of Jewell’s finances in this situation and he was aware that for him to pursue this that he would need to be able to cover his monthly costs.  He advised Walker that his investigations had yielded some promising information but he would need to travel to Regina in the first instance to follow some information up.  Walker and the Captain entered some serious negotiations and the Captain got Walker to charter the ship and crew for the next four weeks with an option of further charter past this time.

This meant that Eli Archer, who was relying on them to freight some of his goods to Knorbes suddenly found himself without a ship also.  Eli had taken on the Baron’s care as he had shipped in one of the best burns specialists from Regina to care for his recently burned niece (burnt in a sugar cane blaze) and had him work on Jia at no charge.  The Baron’s emergency care would see him ready to be shipped to Regina in three days, but this would only have him up and about, the cosmetic damage and some recuperation would still need to be done and Baron Jia would end up looking a bit like Freddy Kruger if he did not seek further treatment in a short time frame.

One of my all time favourite books
and sci-fi series!

Walker advised the Captain that he would not be travelling with them as he had other leads that warranted investigation.  he advised the Captain that he would meet them in three to four weeks on the planet of Forboldn to discuss what they had found and if they had recovered Jewell.  He did however make an offer of employment to Darrock (the Larksong‘s security officer normally played by +Matt Guyder but NPC’d last night) as he liked and trusted him.  The offer was basically to act as his proxy in regards to decisions.  He still wanted him to operate on the crew as normal but if there were a decision about what to do from the Captain he was to direct it to Darrock.  He appreciated the warrior mind of the security agent.

The Larksong filed its flight plans and Jumped to Regina.  The Captain again lost a healthy amount of cash to his crew on the weeks worth of travel gambling whilst Moloch made no headway at all on the mysterious device he had taken from the hull of the ship so long ago now.  Nothing else occurred on the trip and with a decent navigation and piloting roll the crew entered the system of Regina touching down on the surface.  The Captain immediately went to work contacting the covert navy organisation that he was currently on a mission for.  He provided the details of the situation and the location of the Jump point that the Vargr vessel had taken and if they granted permission to pursue this over the need to gain communication arrays materials.

The answer took a few days to get to them, so the Scout took the Captain off to show him the sites and sounds of the Scout bars in Regina (much to the Captain’s horror I think).  The answer was plain and simple.  They had permission to pursue this line of enquiry and that the organisation were “highly interested” in any intelligence that came from that particular “empty sector”.  Captain Lark responded swiftly with the fact that he required armour and armament fitted to The Larksong as per the original agreement but they would require it immediately.  No delay in communication this time as the organisation told the Captain that this would be done and the crew would need to vacate the ship for the next five days for this fitting to occur.

This is where we left it for the night.  I have to say I had a great time in this game.  There is a certain level of intrigue and my handle of the actual rules has improved a great deal.  I am still a little naive to the actual systems and meta-setting but that is coming in dribs and drabs.  I find the largest problem I have here is the fact that I used to play MegaTraveller rather than Classic and there were several pointed setting differences simply because the meta-plot had advanced more than in the original version.

Traveller is a huge blank slate if you want it to be and while some of the bits are coloured in there is room to manoeuvre the details how you want it to be.  This is great as my major sic-fi influences come in the form of Peter F Hamilton whose works would certainly have a lot of material I can consider for what tech level 15 and beyond contains, Douglas Hill who was my absolute favourite Author when I was 12 and his work still stands out to me especially the Last Legionnaire series, Douglas Adams because you have to laugh in any game and finally, perhaps a little controversially H. P. Lovecraft who has taught me a lot on how the unexplained and unbelievable could effect the individual in real and changing ways.

So, for my players, there is a little insight into me.  I have to say that many of my players have come to this game because they remember playing it when they were young.  In fact, some of them may have cut their teeth on Traveller.  Last night we had a lurker who I know personally and also remembered playing it when he was young.  He is a good mate of mine that I have not seen in a while and I was happy to get an email this morning that stated he may join next game so welcome to the Traveller family +Dave ushtug the gut !  He kept making comments in the chat bar last night like it feels like it is 20 years ago.  And you know what it does a little.  I have the same feeling running this game as I did when I played MegaTraveller and that is an excellent thing.  Many of my major memories come from that game and I love it as much now.  In fact the system is still OK.  There are some house rules I have but the characters are simple, the mechanic is simple, it is just some of the add on material that can make this game a formula fest but I think our group currently has it at the right level.

I am taking a break from GMing games for a week so there will be no updates to my campaigns on the blog.  Next week I will do a few generic posts about some GMing topics and perhaps review a game or two.  Until then, keep on Travelling!

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