AMBER ZONE: Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Hostile Natives…

This Amber Zone is designed to be adaptable to a referee’s sector or a published planet.


  • A planet which is marked as an Amber Zone
  • Locals who are hostile (balkanized planet, low law level, xenophobic, up to the GM)
  • Hostile critters that could seriously threaten a group of PCs
  • Someplace that normally would be entirely advisable to stay away from
  • Somewhere within the Imperium (if your patron is the IISS – otherwise you’ll need a similar patron for other polities)
  • Preferably Size 4 to 10, Atmosphere Thin to Dense range with minimal taint, Hydrographics in the 30-80% range
  • Law level that will normally preclude carrying visible weapons (owning may be okay, but you aren’t a local) and obvious body armor would also draw attention of the locals
  • Tech level 5 to 7 just to make it somewhat backward
  • A nearby system with at least Average Stellar tech where the lost pilot’s call could be intercepted (1-2 hexes away)
  • Ex Scout in the group with a Scout ship


Danli Suganlii, IISS Administrator, X-boat Mail Service (this sector):

This job’s a tough one. We pride ourselves on getting the mail to the destination in a timely manner. We’ve served through piracy, wars, terrorism, budget cuts, tough jumps and rough landings. We get the job done if it can be done.

This time, one of our pilots had a failure in the ship’s computer that affected Jump calculations. He precipitated out within 10 diameters with significant damage to his vessel and the vessel’s controls getting worse by the moment. His message indicated he’d be trying to set it down but he couldn’t even tell us where he was. He was hoping someone in the system could come rescue him.

That was eight years ago. We figured he’d been taken by pirates or the victim of terrorism or a bad mis-jump into someplace between systems.

His message travelled through interstellar space to the nearest star with a population – that took over 3 years. And it was faint. Only because there was a science vessel with advanced sensors doing some astrographic surveying nearby was the last message from the missing pilot received at all.

Now we’ve got a missing pilot, on a planet that is hostile to outside presence, and a missing ship with digital and physical mail. We owe it to the pilot, his family, and the people whose mail is stuck in transit to mount some sort of recovery.

We are short on operational assets here, but we saw you were in-system on business of your own in one of our Scouts. We need your help and thus we are reactivating the retired Scout member and his Scout-provided Scout vessel to attempt recovery of the pilot and the missing mail.

We have informed the Navy. They say a Scout ship ought to be able to get into the system okay and landfall if the crew are careful and avoid active scans.

Bring our man back, or his body, and the mail so we can deliver it.

And be discreet. The locals will be angrier than Janobian Injector Wasps if you start showing off high tech gear and acting like Aliens. That might create problems for us in the future and might get you killed in the here and now. Blend in if you can or stay out of sight if you can’t.

You’ll be given 50 KCr for trade goods that will fit within a 1 dTon of cargo space that you can use to bargain with friendly locals as they will not accept Imperial Credits and trying to use those would get you killed most likely. Choose carefully – base metals, simple medicines, and some simple TL-8 or TL-9 utility tools. Nothing too dangerous or problematic if it gets left on the planet.

There’s a success payment of 25,000 Cr each plus any ship expenses. It’s also an order for your Scout and his ship.


Continue reading

The top three 2019

The top three in the Amber Zone 2019 Contest are:

  1. A Shot (and a beer) In the Darkby Mark Suszko
  2. Oceans Dirtsideby Alegis Downport
  3. Research Double-Crossby Marcus Maxiumus

We have already presented the winner.

Second place (and $60) goes to Alegis Downport.

Two comments:

“An interesting twist to the penetrate-the-base-and-steal-the-thing scenario: provides PCs with a moral decision to make, and general chaos for lots of interesting encounters and tension.” Jono

“So many things going on and so many things that may go wrong. The players would have a great game if the referee let them survive until the end” BeRKA

Oceans Dirtside

Oceans_Dirtside_Image.jpg – copyright Alegis Downport 2018. Taken whilst on holiday visiting Pendennis Castle in Falmouth, England.

Third Place (and $40) goes to Marcus Maxiumus.

Two comments:

“An interesting take on a rescue mission with three parties involved and the PCs needing to talk their way out of conflicting parties where both parties are not clearly ‘enemies’ and could be working together.” Jono

“Great in style, interesting ideas. Military action and rescue.” BeRKA

The winner is (2019)

We have a winner! The winner of the Amber Zone Contest 2019 (and of $101 at DriveThru) is Mark Suszko with A Shot (and a beer) In the Dark.

Two comments:

“Very evocative setting in The Belt; I immediately thought of The Expanse. I love the character Gramps and his muddled memory. Strong character development and setting that will directly impact game play” Jono

“The referee can do a lot with this Amber Zone. It can be a great one-shot adventure or the beginning of a campaign. The style of this Amber Zone matches the best classic ones.” BeRKA

Asteroid Mining

All Contest Entries have now been posted – 2019

All Contest Entries of the Amber Zone Contest – 2019 have now been posted. There are the 11 entries. Which one is your favourite?

  1. Foster Welbrookby Friz
  2. Suitcase of Troubleby Steve Stein
  3. A Shot (and a beer) In the Darkby Mark Suszko
  4. Burn the Philadelphia!by Library Bob
  5. The Spoils of Warby Alex Treacher
  6. Dr Aardmore I Presumeby Library Bob
  7. Oceans Dirtsideby Alegis Downport
  8. Research Double-Crossby Marcus Maxiumus
  9. Medivac!by Timothy Collinson
  10. Passage for Carloby James
  11. Rue nee Curiosby Timothy Collinson (and AI)

AMBER ZONE: Rue nee Curios

Players’ Information:

A close relative of the PCs, a key NPC employee of theirs, or perhaps even one of the PCs who has not made the gaming session has gone missing on a world with a very low Law Level. The subject has fallen foul of gang customs and is being held in a highly secure location in the city of Torgan. Unfortunately, several gangs in the area are essentially at war with other and internecine conflict is ongoing and brutal.

Contacting any relatives of the subject is a bad idea as that will draw them into conflict with the gang, called The Barony of Torgany, run by two shadowy figures known as the Baron and the Baron. (If the two need to be distinguished, it has become the practice of gang members to refer to the first with a two fingered stroke of the chin representing his goatee and the second via a stroke of the cheek representing his sideburns). Two distant relatives of the imprisoned character, the Grendel brothers, are members of a gang that is in alliance with the Barony but are not involved in the current situation. They could potentially be allies, however, if they could be contacted.

The PCs arrive in the city on Day 185 of the present year, a day of festivity, feasting and fireworks. They have had a lengthy wait for the owner of the cargo they’ve shipped in an ancient stone and wooden house deep in the swamps close to the city of Ruie. Now they realize the cargo owner is the heir of the Barony gang and is intent on killing the imprisoned character as part of a plan to replace the elderly Baron and Baron. After a tense encounter, the PCs now know where the prisoner is being held (a villa in Rue nee Curios – a leafy old-fashioned street known for its antiques dealers) and that he or she may be killed imminently. The PCs have access to a safehouse in the city that is unknown to any of the gangs.

The Grey Messengers:

On a world where there are few laws and few government institutions of any kind regulating life, some basic functions of ordinary living would be difficult. A swift, secure and stable postal service is one such function. On this world the solution is an organization known as the Grey Messengers. They are trusted, impartial and ask no questions. They carry messages, packages and data; go anywhere; see everything; see nothing. They work for payment or payment in kind if they need a service of some sort. They may be any age, gender, or species.

They are also known for their ability to procure equipment of any kind, legal or illegal, and possibly of any tech level – for a price of course. They ask no questions and will deny any involvement of illegality.

Continue reading