AMBER ZONE: The Spoils of War

This adventure is suitable for characters with access to a ship (owned or part-owned by party member(s), although leasing a ship for the mission is also possible).  It will work well for self-motivating parties, but should a character have a “fixer”-type NPC contact, this person may recommend or help arrange the mission.

Ship operation skills will be necessary.  At least one character should be a competent engineer or salvage expert; thereafter players’ preferred mix of combat/non-combat skills.  There are opportunities for shooters, talkers or doers to exercise their skillsets.  The characters will need to be on neutral or better terms with the government/military.

Referees may wish to tailor participants, locations and vessels to fit with an ongoing campaign; alternatively, it can be left wholly abstracted (i.e. ‘them’ and ‘us’).  Rules references are to Mongoose 2nd Edition but use with any edition is appropriate.

Asteroid Mining

Players’ information

The war still wages, and the front line has moved deeper into enemy-controlled space weeks ago.  The area behind the lines is scarred by war, on planetary surfaces and in system space, littered with wrecks of both sides.

The most valuable, sensitive or useful parts of the wrecks have been salvaged by the military, the rest – scraps and pickings – are left.  It’s not worth the time and money and resources of the military to recover everything, so that opportunity is given to wreckers, professional vultures.  They pay a fee to the right to turn up and salvage what’s left; that money goes into the war effort and maybe a bit to rebuild the devastation wrought by it.  The value of the salvage covers the fee and more, with a bit of luck.

Having arrived in-system a few hours ago and been verified as holding a legitimate salvage license, the defense boat on watch at the jump point transmitted the co-ordinates of several wrecks.
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AMBER ZONE: Burn the Philadelphia!

The preferred setting is a pocket empire, or other smaller multi-system polity. The names can be easily changed to fit a 3I setting.

Part One: The Setup

Players Information: The PCs must have ship operation skills. They are approached by a Captain Sakamoto of the Star Kingdom Navy, with an offer of a dangerous but very valuable mission. The captain will not give any details until the PCs agree to take the job and sign the Star Kingdom Secrets Act. He explains only that the Kingdom needs a ship and crew not connected with the Navy. Once they are signed on, Captain Sakamoto explains the mission. If the PC group has a ship, they can use it, OR operate a second hand freighter, the Match (400 ton, 40+ years old) which the Navy acquired.

The Star Kingdom is engaged in a war against the Dominion. This war has tied up most of the SK navy forces, which has given non-state actors more ability to attack Kingdom shipping. The mission will not directly involve the war. Their destination is the Tabraz system.

Tabraz is a backwater system and near barbarism. They build no ships, but buy or steal them from the neighboring systems. The planet boasts a large population and a society that encourages piracy. Raids against them provoke yet more piracy and attacks on civilian shipping. The Tabrazians do not scruple against attacking anyone not a Tabrazian.

Tabrazian raiders have scored their first big victory against Star Kingdom forces in the region; they captured a Star Kingdom Sloop of War with its crew of 47 starmen. The sloop Philadelphia (known as “Big Phil”) is now in the Tabraz system, probably at the orbital starport. The Tabraz orbital port is known to have many, many armed satellites defending it.

The Navy does not want to admit that they lost the ship, as this would weaken the Kingdom’s morale – they are at war, after all. Nor do they want to risk the Tabrazians being able to put it into service. Up until now, the Raiders have only gotten older civilian ships, lower tech with normal civilian firepower. The Philly is a TL-15 warship with all kinds of modern weaponry and nuclear missiles. The PCs are hired under the Secrets Act so that no Navy ship will be risked, and the Navy might be able to keep this embarrassment a secret, if the mission should fail.

Before the Raiders have a chance to exploit this prize, the Navy is sending in a team to recover it. The PCs ship will insert the Navy team into Tabraz space, and get them close enough to the Philadelphia to board it, overwhelm the Tabrazian crew and make their escape. If escape is not possible, the Navy team has orders to spike the drive and destroy the Philadelphia to keep it out of Tabrazian hands. Either result is a success, and the Navy will pay the group Cr 200,000 for their part in the mission. Alternately, the PCs may take the secondhand freighter as payment. It will be handed over free and clear with official Star Kingdom documentation.

The strike team is 12 Marines, armed to TL-15 and wearing BD. Included with their gear is a short range radio jammer that should keep the locals aboard ship from sending or receiving any messages, including sounding an alarm. The team leader is Captain Sakamoto.

Spaceship Big Phil
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AMBER ZONE: A Shot (and a beer) In the Dark

Players’ Information

There’s any number of drinking establishments on “The Rock” as the planetesimal Alenzar Main is called by the colonists and prospectors who call it home. The asteroidal colony has grown over nearly a century and a half, thru boom and bust times, peace and war, to become a complex society with all the features, foibles, and “texture” of a terrestrial startown… and more.

But only one bar in Alenzar ’s low-gravity section, “The Lucky Star” is “home” to the singular individual known as “Gramps”; a legless old drunkard ex-prospector who is a living legend on The Rock and who makes his daily air tax ( he says) by telling his tall tales to newcomers and tourists, in exchange for a contribution to his bar tab and living expenses. Gramps has a one-room living compartment in the low-gee section of the station, but his waking moments are all spent at the Star.

The players meet Gramps while on a liberty from their docked ship, at said bar, and for the cost of a round of “the good stuff”, he spins them a tale of The Big Score: a haul of pure Zuchai and Cerulean crystals he found out in Alenzar’s belt one day.

Here, the tale diverges, depending on the day of the week , who’s telling the story, and the amount of his intoxication: Gramps either lost the big score in a divorce, hid it “FROM” the divorced wife, lost it in a gambling contest, or it was stolen by a prospector partner, or his ex-wife and the partner conspired to steal it, or it was lost when his prospecting ship blew up with the partner inside of it one day while he was on the hull… that’s where he lost his legs, records show.

Once, during the War, he says he hid his score and some papers proving what side of the conflict he really was on… and then he forgot where he’d hidden it. During the War, invading vacc-suited marines were breaching the inner corridors, and Gramps only had time to float his way down a few corridors to a disused bolt-hole, left over from early mining tunnel days, to hide his score and get away. Then he was arrested, beaten, and woke from a coma a week later with no memory of what had happened. Gramps searched for several years but never found it. He says he drinks to remember, for when he’s intoxicated, his memories seem sharper.

This sparks an idea in the party: get the old man just drunk enough, play old music from his youth, stage a fake emergency to convince him it’s 30 years ago and the soldiers are coming, put a loot bag in his hand, let him go, and see where he leads them. They won’t harm the man, only feed him booze and then try to re-create the illusion of the original scenario. They have agreed with Gramps to share the score with him if they can locate it, but don’t tell him the plan.

To make it work, they’ll have to disable the station power grid in one or more local sections, throwing the corridors into darkness and low gravity, so this will have to happen on the dead-watch when most people are asleep and security is in a lower state of readiness. Security will need to be distracted or delayed by some harmless diversionary tactic elsewhere on the station. There’s a museum on the colony with samples of the invading soldier’s old uniforms and armor. Some cosplay might help sell the illusion the players want to create.

Asteroid Mining

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AMBER ZONE: Suitcase of Trouble


The PCs arrive at a regional airport or train station on a balkanized world of roughly TL 6 through 8 famous for its tourist amenities, scenery, and flora and fauna. Crowds are dense; the people tense. War broke out this morning between the planet’s two largest states. If lesser states take sides, which appears increasingly likely, the war will spread, possibly involving the entire planet.

Players’ Information

At the airport (or train station), off-planet tourists are scrambling to get on a plane (or train) to the starport (several thousand kilometers away) before war spreads to this region and/or closes the starport. Local people, who also vacation here, just want to get home. The PC’s ship, if they have one, is at the planet’s orbital starport, requiring them first to get to the planet’s downport and then take a shuttle to orbit.

Opening Scene

In all the hubbub, the PC with the highest Streetwise skill notices something unusual. A middle-aged, slightly balding man in a local, rumpled business suit is seated at a bench. Beside him is a medium sized, hard-sided suitcase of off-planet manufacture. Passing people momentarily block the PC’s line of sight. After they move away, the PC sees a young, professional-looking woman wearing expensive off-world business attire walking away quickly with an identical suitcase. The seated man, though, still has his suitcase. Was there a switch? A theft?

The woman quickly disappears in the crowd. While the PC’s attention is focused on her, the man gets up, grabs his suitcase, and walks in the opposite direction, where he is also quickly engulfed by dense crowds of people, some of them angry about being stranded at an “out-of-the-way spot on a primitive planet.” Argument spreads through the crowd with lots of shouting, shoving, and perhaps fisticuffs, making pursuit of either suitcase carrier impossible.

Suitcase of trouble

© 2019 Carolyn Ivy Stein
Image created in DAZ 3D for Amber.Zone by Carolyn Ivy Stein who owns the copyright thereto. Used with permission.

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AMBER ZONE: Foster Welbrook

Players’ Information:

The characters are on a TL 4 or 5 world that is currently in the throes of a protracted civil war. Both sides have brought in off-world mercenaries to bolster their forces, and the Imperium has enforced a ban on the importation of advanced weaponry and technology since the beginning of the conflict in an effort to keep it from escalating further.

While the characters are off the Starport extrality, they approached by a respectable-looking (though somewhat haggard) gentleman who introduces himself as Foster Welbrook. “My sincerest apologies for being so forward,” he says, “but time is of the essence now, so I must get straight to the point. When this war broke out, one of its first battles was fought near my house. My family and I were subjected to the horrors of warfare as front-row spectators. After the battle was over and the armies had moved on, I resolved to move to a place where the war would not find us again.

“As you can plainly see, I am a man of means. Since the winds of war can blow ill on one’s investments, I liquidated them and converted the currency into quantities of valuable commodities – gold, silver, gemstones – that I have kept hidden in my home. The war has raged for several years now and shows no signs of ending soon, but I have kept both my family and my legacy safe – until now.

“Two weeks ago, forces of the two great armies formed their lines against one another on the opposite sides of a river, with the small town in which I had made my family’s new home between them. I only barely managed to escape with my family in a small boat in the middle of the night, and even then, the pickets of both sides fired upon us! Word has reached me that there will be a new rebel offensive within the next three days. The legacy must be recovered before then, as the rebels have the unsavory reputation of looting anything of value that their soldiers may find.

“I would have brought my valuables into the Starport extrality, but the federal government has been known to confiscate or heavily tax such items. That is to prevent their being used to hire mercenaries or purchase arms and supplies for the rebels.

“In order to help protect my legacy, I have employed a holographic camouflage unit from off-world. I had to ‘bend’ some laws to bring it through Imperial customs, but soldiers have quartered in my house on several occasions during the war, and I prefer not to take any chances. It has worked well enough before, but only for a night at a time. I left it on when I fled my house and its power cells will only last another day or two at most.

“I beseech you to aid me by recovering my family’s legacy from the house! While I have nothing to pay you with now, I will give to you one-tenth of its total value, should you successfully recover it all.” Based on his inventory of that legacy, 10% would be somewhere between Cr70,000 and Cr120,000.


Mr Welbrook

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