AMBER ZONE: Cold Snap Happy

Introduction:

This scenario is designed to slot into an existing campaign. The referee should choose a habitable world with a breathable atmosphere, a moderate climate, and a few million inhabitants at most. Vast areas of the surface are unpopulated wilderness.

Players’ information:

An advertisement has been placed on reputable networks: the services of a reliable group are sought. Technical expertise is preferred, the position includes travel, and the final pay is to be negotiated. The contract will last for a number of weeks. Contact details are provided.

The patron is Artur Ishurgi, an earnest and rather obsessive young man who works as a bureaucrat. Artur only has one real passion in life: maglev trains. He talks about them, he studies images and schematics, he reads books and watches documentaries, and he endlessly plays on simulators. Artur is rather out of his depth in anything other than a comfortable urban environment.

Artur, however, is a dreamer. He has received an inheritance and has decided to spend it on documenting the decaying maglev networks of an abandoned settlement. He needs experienced companions to travel with him to assist with the technical challenges and to act as guides and security.

The exact costs will have to be negotiated and may involve chartering a vessel or hiring vehicles. Artur is shrewd and careful with money but will pay reasonable expenses and costs. The characters, however, will need to provide their own personal equipment, and they should be properly prepared for cold weather: the area to which Artur wishes to travel is currently experiencing its winter season.

Artur has detailed maps of the world and has marked out the locations that he wishes to visit. These are clearly noted as being within a vast wildlife reserve. He has florid permissory paperwork from the nobleman whose fiefdom the world is, as well as official-looking governmental permits and passes.

He has already made substantial preparations and is pretty much ready to go. He has all kinds of cameras, sensors, holorecorders, diffusers, lamps, hand computers, memory crystals, cabling, power sources, and the like. They are packed into sturdy containers and loaded onto a grav pallet. He also has a portable shelter, camping gear, food supplies, medical kits, and all of the other sundries needed to survive in the wild.

Drek
The Drek – © Ade Stewart

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AMBER ZONE: Peril of the Lord Brisbane

Player’s Information:

The PC’s are heading outbound from their starport towards their mission when they receive a distress call from the passenger liner Lord Brisbane. The ship’s registry lists this vessel as a Type “OO” Bastien-class Passenger liner with a crew of 16 and a passenger manifest of 28. When the PC’s ship gets a little closer the standard “Signal GK” is issued (like an old-type SOS).

The message says: “SIGNAL GK… SIGNAL GK…. This is the SS LORD BRISBANE… We have been holed in the engine room and have lost power… We are drifting towards a planetoid – aft first… We have lost our engineering crew… Gravity and Life Support is failing… Requesting immediate assistance…. We have 43 souls aboard needing immediate evacuation… SIGNAL GK… SIGNAL GK… (repeats)”

As the PC’s ship gets closer (about 30 minutes out) it is apparent the ship was struck by a cluster of micro-meteors. The ship is drifting backwards towards the nearby planetary body (a size-1 to 2 airless planet). The ship is expected to crash in about three hours and no other ship of any kind will be able to assist in time. Some passengers have been able to make it to the life pods and they are drifting along with the ship towards the planet. These life pods should be able to make a successful soft landing safely away from the crash site if things go horribly wrong. However there are crew and passengers still stuck on board. What will the PC’s do?

Lord Brisbane
A Low-Tech Lord Brisbane – Image from Wikimedia – Public Domain

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AMBER ZONE: Ashfall

Player’s Information:

The PC’s are approached by an old prospector. He tells them about an old claim of his that was overrun by a volcano some thirty years ago. He and his team of ten other prospectors had to then abandon their claims immediately and exit the area due to pyroclastic flows that threatened to bury them along with their claim. This eruption and the ones that followed were so severe that the planet went from a cooler temperate climate with a breathable atmosphere to a frozen tundra with a strong taint of sulfur and ash.

The prospector has heard through the grapevine that the eruptions have finally ceased after all these years. It is his hope that his old claim’s cache of semi-precious and precious gemstones will still be there and intact after all this time. He says they were secured in several strongboxes of reinforced ferroconcrete in a small hut and unless the lava flow struck his area directly (which he doubts) his claim should be right where he left it.

The miner does not know what has happened to his old team members. He knows some of them have passed away, but he still possesses the legal paperwork to give him rights to anything that may be left. He says the strongboxes have an electronic lock that will only open to his DNA and thumbprint. If the PC’s take him to his location he expects to have about ten tons worth of ores ready to haul which are worth about MCr 1.0 for each strongbox. He is willing to split the haul 50-50 with the crew if they will help him find the claim, find his ten strongboxes and haul them all back to this port. He says his wife thinks he is crazy to chase down his old claim, but he needs to get it out of his system or it will drive everyone in his house crazy.

He does not possess a starship, but he does own an industrial cargo robot (grav drive) that displaces two tons. It is in small wooden crates and it will need to be assembled on the planet. If there is any ash covering the cache area it will dig its way through to the designated area. The robot is of TL-12 design and is quite slow (15 kph maximum). It can dig through dirt, ash or rock fairly quickly. It also can grasp the strongboxes and bring them to the ship if they are located. It also is dependent on verbal commands as it is not capable of independent thought, reasoning or problem solving.

If the crew accepts his offer, he will produce a chip with the exact coordinates for his claim. Since the planet has gone through pronounced change several orbits around the planet will be necessary to map and grid the surface to be able to zero in on the location of the strongboxes. The miner recommends the crew bring extra dust/filer masks and rugged equipment and sensors on this trip. Due to the blinding snow and dust, lasers will be nearly useless.

Montserrat
Ashfall – Image from Wikipedia – CC-BY-2.0 license

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AMBER ZONE: Ice Cold on Alexandria

Players’ Information:

The players have landed heavily on an ice-covered world called Alexandria after their ship was hit by a meteoroid strike, forcing them to land and effect repairs. Both their jump and main drives are damaged and any secondary transport that the ship may host (such as an air-raft or shuttle) is currently disabled as well. The world they have landed on is experiencing a number of natural upheavals including small scale meteor strikes and volcanic eruptions.

Landing at a starport in the northern latitudes to try and repair the damage to their ship, the players encounter hurried activity by people trying to get away from the area, due to the increased number of landslides, volcanic activity and avalanches. Though the parts to repair their ship are available, they are going to cost quite a bit (referee makes the cost difficult for the players to swallow).

Whilst they are considering their options they are approached by Elrale Olrussang whose father Cluale, a scientist has been conducting research in a number of fields at an arctic base some distance from the starport. When the eruptions started, she lost contact with him and desperately needs help from someone (i.e. the players) to find out what has happened to her father.

The base can be reached by flying out to it as there is a small landing strip nearby the base. There is a small aircraft available to hire for a nominal cost, a twin-propeller eight-seater equipped with snow skids.

Elrale can cover a substantial part of the costs for the spares needed to fix the players ship, if they can successfully rescue her father in time and there may be a bonus if they can extract his research data at the same time. The aircraft has enough capacity for up to eight people (including pilot) or equivalent weight in equipment.

If the players accept the proposition, they had better get a move on; contact with the base was lost around 36 hours ago and this is not the sort of place to be injured or without equipment. Once reached, the landing strip is approximately two hundred and fifty feet away from the base, a dome with a single ground floor level and two underground levels. There are approximately ten rooms per level, with a set of stairs and an electrically operated lift which serves all three levels.

Sastrugi
The Base – Image from Wikimedia – Public Domain

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AMBER ZONE: Theatre of Operations

Background:

War has erupted on a balkanized world. While small (relatively speaking) in scale, the fighting has been intense; featuring major troop actions, sieges and bombardments of cities, and even several atrocities (quickly covered up.)

Many of the atrocities have been committed against the Askala, a nomadic people who were among the first explorers and settlers of the subsector containing this world, but who have over the centuries become a persecuted minority. Despite open prejudice and organized pogroms, they have thrived and settled on several worlds, including the current one. This has caused some concern among the combatants; they don’t agree on much, but they agree wholeheartedly on their hatred of the Askala.

When the war broke out, the Askala were caught in the middle. In a stroke of luck, they happened to get word to some of their offworld brethren and requested a spacelift of as many of their members as possible. The warring countries have been all too glad to see them go; in fact, they’ve ramped up their persecution of the Askala. The nomads have been targeted for destruction wherever they’re found, and a discreet withdrawal has in many quarters become a discordant rout, as the nomads hastily collect what belongings and transport they can and hightail it for the nearest rendezvous point.

Players’ Information:

While conducting business on a world one parsec over, the adventurers notice a bedraggled-looking child has latched onto them. The little boy is obviously fearful, but hunger seems to be overcoming his apprehension. If the heroes take pity on the boy, they slowly learn two things: he’s a member of the Askala, and his parents are dead. The local Askala will no doubt be looking for him.

Assuming the group returns the boy to his people — who occupy a refugee camp just outside of Startown — they encounter a tired, disheveled and anxious group in who are nonetheless very grateful. During the adventurers’ visit, a delegation of the camp’s leaders asks to speak with them privately on an urgent business matter. Explaining the basic situation (see Background above), the elder and his two lieutenants ask for the party’s help. The nomads were part of a caravan of several battered ships escaping the hostilities. The caravan leaders delayed their takeoff by several days to take on supplies and as many fellow Askala as they could, but a week later emerged from jumpspace to find one of their number missing. The Askala waited a week to see if the ship was merely delayed, to no avail. Unfortunately, word is trickling in of fierce fighting going on in the prior system, and the elders are concerned. Deeming it far too dangerous to go back and investigate the others’ fate, the elders want to hire the PCs — who seem far more capable of handling themselves — to do so. The adventurers are to travel to the system, learn the fate of the Askala ship, and rescue any survivors they can.

The elders can’t spare much hard currency, but offer Cr 10,000 in cash and up to Cr 10,000 in trade goods. In addition, they can spread the word among the Askala that has the effect of granting the team hospitality anywhere the nomads are gathered. The elders can up the payment if the PCs are in a haggling mood, but not by much.

The elders give the adventurers basic descriptions of the missing Askala leaders and their ship, and small objects to present as proof that the larger Askala group sent them.

The Askala
The Askala await the migration caravan to take them offworld.
Image from Wikimedia – CC-BY-SA 3.0 license.

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AMBER ZONE: Wardn Gambits

Date: 073-1104
Location: Wardn/Lunion (SM1727) B756486-B Ni, Pre-Ag S
Population: 76,000 Sophonts

Wardn-j3Formerly known as Silver and previously identified as part of the Metal Worlds it was settled originally by a small group colonists from the Sword Worlds. After the Third Frontier War the system was fully absorbed into the Imperium. Only twenty percent of the population can claim in some part to be descendant from the original colonists. The rest are for the most part members of the scout service who have retired and taken up residence. The economy of the System has yet to develop due to  a lack of industry and labor. Subsistence farming, the provision of foodstuffs or services, as well as contract technical labor to the scout base with the income it brings forms the base of the local economy. The Planet is governed by an appointed Governor-General  who also holds a position with a knighthood in the sector peerage. The Starport/Scout Base is garrisoned by a permanent duty Colonial Lift Infantry Battalion from Lunion equipped to tech level 12. Personnel rotate through on 2 year duty assignments.

Wardn_isodecahedron2Wardn is a warm moist planet worth a thin atmosphere and 64% Hydrographics. It largest continent hosts large rolling planes and low mountains. Transplanted and modified flora and fauna are being studied for long-term impact and suitability for future seeding and development into an agricultural world. The downport/scout base  lies adjacent to the startown of Argent with small outlying farms that are currently successful in the growing of Terran modified cereals and citrus foodstuffs, some small successful ranching of protein sources have made headway. 80% of the Systems population is located within the startown and surrounding farmsteads.

Players’ Information:

Coming out of jumpspace in the Wardn system the Suliman Scout’s systems begin to register electromechanical issues requiring maintenance and minor repairs with the Jump Drive. However the group is in luck, Wardn has a IISS Scout base on the surface. The group reasons that repairs and maintenance should be easily accomplished there. As they land on scout base landing pad 10 they are met by a the Scout base ground crew and a representative of the Base Commander asking that the players accompany him to the base administrative headquarters. Within minutes the group is flown in air/rafts to the Administrative complex built into a small hill. The group notices a large number of Imperial Colonial Army Personnel and vehicles guarding the perimeter of the base.

Located inside the Base Commander’s office is waiting an Imperial Navy Lt. Commander and IISS Commander, who has the overall Command of the base. After pleasant introductions, refreshments are offered and the base commander inquires what needs the group may have with regards to stores and maintenance facilities for the repairs of the ship. The Base Commander has deduced the party is low on funds and proposes a barter of services for parts and the base ground crew to perform the required repairs free of charge in exchange for services and cash payment. If the group agrees. He turns and introduces the Lt. Commander Gihelegashi who appears disheveled and distraught, but quickly masters himself to brief the group on the services he needs.

The Lieutenant Commander begins with appealing to the patriotism of the group and the absolute need for confidentiality. He has a big problem. There is a recent report by the 43rd Fleet Counter Intelligence indicating  that Sword Worlds Directorate of Military Intelligence has a deep cover sleeper agent on the planet. The report also indicates that there is a leak at the classified Joint Navy/Scout Special Task Force located within the scout base. Without tipping off the a possible agent or compromised personnel by bringing in a Counter Intelligence field unit, the Lt. Commander is appealing to the group to act under his authority to investigate the primary suspect, and maintain surveillance until enough evidence can be gathered to arrest the suspect and accomplices. He is willing to remunerate all expenses in carrying out the operation for equipment needs, bribes etc…  He further offers as an incentive for each member of the group. A Cr. 20,000 payment with a letter of commendation and appreciation signed by the 43rd Imperial Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Lord Danezi Vasilevye.

If the group accepts the offer they will be briefed about the primary suspect is William Decher, a local 15 year resident who is married to a Scout Base Communications Branch Officer. William Decher works as an outback safari guide and conservationist. His background is hazy with a dubious record of a discharge from the Colonial Forces Imperial Army with the rank of Staff Sergeant in the infantry with assignments to Commando School as a student and later as an instructor. The brief record also notes the Awards of three combat service ribbons a MCUF and Purple Heart. The Colonial Army is having a hard time finding a more complete service record and is cooperating by trying to track down other members of his unit without luck. His wife is a Sarl Najal Guishivallii-Decher is a Scout Communication Group Administrator in charge of the Communication Section for the base. The sensitive nature of her position with encrypted codes and access to all incoming an outgoing classified information is a real concern to both the Base Commander and Lt. Commander Gihelegashi.

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