Amber Zone Contest – 2021

Welcome to The Amber Zone Contest – 2021!

The style of the entries should be in the style of the Amber Zones in the old JTAS. (First Players’ Information. Then Referee’s Informationwithout any D6 options.)

The contest starts now (Valentine’s Day) and ends April 1st – 2021 (April Fools’ Day). Write as many entries as You like.

After the 1st of April 2021, all entries will be posted at the Amber Zone. The winner will be chosen by the Jury.

By entering the contest, You allow your entry to be posted at the Amber Zone. All entries might also be posted in PDF format as a free down-loadable file at the Amber Zone.

All entrants will be given credit for their work and will retain the copyright on their entries.

Amber Zone Opening Contest


This year’s first prize is a $102 Gift Certificate at DriveThruRPG.
Second prize is a $60 Gift Certificate at DriveThruRPG.
Third prize is a $40 Gift Certificate at DriveThruRPG.

There will also be a few smaller prizes.

If you win you can buy lots of Traveller goodies that you might have missed.

Jury and Sponsors:

There will be no jury this year. I will ask a few friends to help me review the entries.

There will be no sponsors this year.

Some general guidelines:

1, Each entry should be less than 2000 words.

2, One image may be used in each entry. You must either own the rights to the image, or it must be used under some sort of free license. Wikimedia Commons or Pixabay are good places to find an image that You can use. Please provide information about the image. (Is it Yours? If not, where have You found it? What license is used?) Note: You don’t need to use an image. You can also generate an image using the Pulp-o-Mizer or similar services.

3, Please don’t force the PCs to sign up for (what they think are) illegal activities. It is better if they find that out later, or in some way are forced to take illegal action… Library Bob at Ancient Faith explains it better.

4, Please be a bit vague about the planet and types of star ships and weapons, so your adventure can be useful for many ATUs. (Unless there is a good reason for not being vague about these things.)

5, Please use a spell checker!

6, This year’s theme is Aliens. This could be about OTU aliens, but even better would be aliens from your ATU or aliens that you invent just for this competition. The PCs can be humans that interacts in some way with these aliens, or they could be the aliens.

Send Your entries by e-mail. Please use plain text format and attach (or link to) the image, if You select to use one. Word files will not be accepted! Send your entries to: Mail to Amber

IMPORTANT: Everyone that sends me an entry will get a reply. If you have sent me something and didn’t get a reply within a few days, then contact me again.

Please include a preferred nickname (that may be your real name) to show on the Amber Zone.

Please include your e-mail address (that you use on DriveThruRPG). If you are not yet using DriveThruRPG, then any of your e-mail addresses will work fine.


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

Everyone is a winner (2019)

Everyone is a winner. If you didn’t enter the Amber Zone Opening contest, you still got 11 new Amber Zones to enjoy.

All contestants not in the top three will get a $10 gift certificate at DriveThruRPG.

The winner and the top three has already been presented. Below is a list of the other entries.

WelbrookFriz sent us the entry Foster Welbrook .

“An engaging main antagonist in a distinct setting with a couple of options for the PCs to approach the problem” Jono

“Friz creates another great Amber Zone. But the competition was even harder this year” BeRKA

Suitcase of troubleSteve Stein wrote the entry Suitcase of Trouble.

“Flexible scenario that can be started on any world; it reminds of the film “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” – a mad pursuit of some object that attracts more and more attention to the PCs. Gives the Referee plenty of options to through obstacles at the players.” Jono

“A adventure with great ideas. The referee will have to balance the information the players get, so they know enough about what is going on. Steve’s wife Ivy made a great cover image for this Amber Zone” BeRKA

Spaceship Big PhilLibrary Bob sent, Burn the Philadelphia! and Dr Aardmore I Presume.

“Dr Aardmore I presume – the potential for an investigation as well as travel/combat in competition with rivals is a solid adventure.” Jono

“Burn the Philadelphia! is a very complicated situation that forces the PCs to find a complicated solution.” BeRKA

Asteroid MiningAlex Treacher wrote The Spoils of War.

“An interesting set-up that sounds routine until the complication is sprung on the PCs. By “reverse escape” I mean NPCs using the PCs to escape instead of the PCs escaping. There are also non-combat options available to the PCs.” Jono

“Space combat, Lots of NPCs, Looting and lots of fun” BeRKA

Timothy Collinson sent us Medivac! and Rue nee Curios.

“Rue Nee Curios – very evocative setting with well-developed characters – the Baron (stroke chin) and the Baron (stroke cheek). An interesting take on being able to ‘save the bad guys’ as part of the rescue should you want. Also an intriguing background story The Grey Messengers that will assist play directly as well as help the setting. Great setting with a device (The Grey Messengers) that both communicates background information while becoming a point in the plot (potentially)” Jono

“Medivac! – a routine hospital visit becomes an adventure. The players will learn that they are never safe from ideas like this.” BeRKA

“Some of the ideas for Rue Nee Curios were thought up by an AI. Timothy refined those ideas.” BeRKA

CarloJames wrote the Amber Zone Passage for Carlo.

“I like how this rescue doesn’t have to be guns-blazing but can be about investigating his disappearance.” Jono

“A classic rescue mission that can go wrong in so many ways.” BeRKA

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

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)