AMBER ZONE: Aid and Comfort

Location: Ralhe (SM/Five Sisters 0731) E-424574-8 Ni

Players’ Information:

Ralhe is a small world with little to recommend it except some surface mineral deposits. The very thin, tainted atmosphere requires respirator/filter masks, and most of the ground is covered in permafrost. It is not on a trade route or X-boat route, but it gets enough visitors to maintain the economy of its three competing states: Rahlhiem, Torrijo, and Klinghoff. Within the last year the three states have conducted a slow-burning brush war consisting of raids and incursions with few pitched battles.

The patrons are the head men of the town of Chatham, in a backwater region of the nation of Klinghoff. For the last two years, Dr. Amanda Stonehouse has been working in Chatham, a town in the hilly backwoods of Klinghoff, as an unmercenary physician. She does not charge anything for her medical expertise – she sees it as her religious duty to give aid and comfort to the poor. With the war going on in the main part of the country, the town of Chatham has been neglected by the national government, and left mostly to its own resources, so Dr. Stonehouse’s work is deeply felt and greatly appreciated. The locals all speak well of her.

Ten days ago, Dr. Stonehouse was kidnapped by an unknown group. The region has its share of bandits, but the locals can’t say for certain who has her or where she is. Local law enforcement has few resources to spare to search for her. The townsfolk who have gone into the hills to look for her have returned empty-handed, wounded or not returned at all. Anyone in Chatham can tell the PCs about the abduction: a truck roared into town, men ran into the clinic, grabbed the doctor, hustled her into the truck and drove off. A few people tried to pursue, but were dissuaded with gunfire.

Three days ago a ransom demand was delivered to the town leaders, with ‘proof of life’ of the good doctor; and a threat of her execution in just a few days if the ransom is not delivered. Unfortunately, the Klinghoff government is too busy with the war to offer any assistance. The parish priest, through his bishop in the capital, has reached out to the interstellar community for help.

Wilderness
Chatham Hills – Image from Pixabay – Public Domain

Referee’s Information:

The ransom demand is equal to Cr 500,000; far more than the town can produce in negotiable tender. The leaders have argued/stalled for time to collect the money. Instead they hope that the PCs can find and rescue the doctor. The town leaders have scraped up Cr 10,000 to pay the PCs.

Any PC with medical skill will be called upon to offer service. There’s a local man who needs surgery after a farm accident, and a sick newborn. Locals will offer thanks, hospitality, home cooked meals but not money. If the PCs insist on being paid, people will react with confusion and dismay. In time they will pay, but not much, and any interaction among the townsfolk will be at -1 on the reaction table.

The search for the good doctor can be done from the ground or from the air, depending on what vehicles the PCs bring along. From the ground, for every six hours the PCs spend searching, roll 10+ to find something a lead to an encampment. From the air, for every six hours spent searching, roll 8+ to spot a camp. PCs who are former Army, Scouts or Hunters will get a +DM in searching. The local geography is rugged terrain, with scattered forests and hills. The search must cover several hundred square kilometers of rough terrain. If the PCs think to ask, they will find a few (2d-4) residents of Chatham have guns and combat experience, and are willing to help rescue the doctor.

The PCs will find scattered small encampments (bandit or otherwise) in the area. The referee must determine the nature of the people in each encampment as the PCs discover them. Some will be farmers, others are criminals, others are small religious groups or loners who just want to be left alone. Approaching any of these encampments gets a roll on the reaction table with a DM of -2.

Anyone in these camps will deny knowing the whereabouts of the doctor if questioned. Intelligent questions from the players and good role-playing will get them another roll on the reaction table and a positive roll (9+) there will provide them with a clue pointing towards the camp of the real kidnappers. As additional information, the PCs will learn that they are newcomers, and that they speak with strange accents. They also have guns.

During each six-hour period the referee should also roll for an animal encounter. If the PCs are airborne, the animal is a flyer.

The referee must determine when the PCs are on the trail of the right camp. The real kidnappers are a military platoon of 40 men that defected from the neighboring Torrijo, to get away from the grind of war. Their camp is at least 10 km from any other camp, and is surrounded by basic, but competent, military defensive positions. The platoon leader, Lt. Vanjiin Cord, cooked up the plan to kidnap the doctor as a way of getting money to buy their way off the planet. Cord does not really want to kill Dr. Stonehouse, but he is more concerned with keeping his men safe, so he will kill her if he thinks it necessary. He will threaten her directly if it gives him an advantage in a confrontation with the PCs.

Dr. Stonehouse has protested at length to Cord about being taken captive, and pleaded to be returned so she can help her patients, but she has made no active effort to escape. She does not know where she is in relation to her town, so escaping alone would not help her. Once the PCs find her, she thank them enthusiastically, and implore them to get her back to town as quickly as possible. If she sees anyone injured, even one of her captors, she will insist on being allowed to render aid.

Dr. Amanda Stonehouse 687A98 Age 34 Doctors Cr enough

Medical-3, Administration-1, Grav vehicle-1

Dr. Stonehouse is dressed as she always is, in a utility uniform, and has her medical bag with her at all times. She is genuinely humble, charitable, and more worried about her patients than herself. Once home, she will try to persuade the PCs to not accept payment for the rescue, as she herself does not accept payment for her medical services.

Torrijian soldiers: 878776, rifle-1, mechanical-1 or vehicle-1

Sergeants add tactics-1 or leader-1. Lt Cord has all these plus bribery-1

The Torrijians have personal weapons, but no heavy weapons more than two automatic rifles or an LMG.

However if the PCs manage to rescue Dr. Stonehouse, there will still be the rest of Cord’s platoon to deal with. Once the PCs withdraw and the doctor’s rescue is discovered, they will almost certainly evacuate their camp and move. The Klinghoff government will pay attention to reports of a Torrijian army unit in their territory, and want to know what the PCs can tell them about the group.

The townsfolk of Chatham will celebrate the doctor’s return, but will be upset with the PCs if she is injured. If the PCs are injured, Dr. Stonehouse will tend to them, and local residents will provide hospitality while they recover. The referee can introduce rumors or patrons through the townsfolk, unless the PCs make themselves unwelcome. The parish priest will report their success to his bishop; any positive or negative reputation the PCs make for themselves can re-appear at a later time.

End note:

for more information, see the Wikipedia entry for Unmercenary Physician

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