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AMBER ZONE: A Call to Arms!

Players’ Information:

The players are in a tough spot, down on their luck and down to their last credit and living hand to mouth in the local Startown. A local pirate gang has been making the news for their brazen and brutal nature. Several ships in local space and in the surrounding systems have been shot to pieces, their crews tortured and spaced by the “Main Rouge Sang” (ancient Solomani French, for the Red Bloody Hand, an ideogram of which is also left behind in the aftermath of the raids.

The local navy is powerless, as the world is off the beaten path of the spacelanes and the local officials have been screaming for help to the central government, albeit to no avail as the last two jump couriers never made it past the pirates. In short, things are beginning to get tense on-world as the world is a net food importer and the government is beginning to mention things like “crisis” and “rationing”. The government has put a bounty on every pirate, dead or alive, but there has been few takers.

The players should be in a Startown bar, nursing their last drinks for a while, when in strides Jak Pagonis (or whatever name suits your campaign). Jak by reputation is a “man’s man”, a decorated hero of the last war who was forced out of the central government’s navy because of politics, or so the story goes. He has taken down pirates across the subsector, and has done it in style. He and the 4 man crew of his converted Scout ship have prices on their heads from half a dozen pirate bands throughout the subsector. They dress and look the part of “bad guys doing good things that need doing”.

Pagonis will get everyone’s attention, loudly. He will say that he knows where the pirates are, and he knows they have more than one ship, but he’s ready to lead a force of his fellow spacers to do what the local navy can’t or won’t do. So, who’s with him?

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Image from ESA – Public Domain

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Somewhere in un unknown system

AMBER ZONE: Undeniable

Location: Any starport in the territory of the former First Imperium.

Patron: Lev Anderson, of Anderson Shipping, a small family-run shipping firm.

Player’s Information:

Lev needs a crew for a few weeks, ship and salvage. A merchant ship that belonged to Lev’s grandfather, Honest Answer, was declared lost decades ago. Over the years, Anderson Shipping has kept its eyes open.

Now it’s paid off – there is a lead, and Lev is convinced it’s Answer. The problem, Lev says, is the rest of the family no longer cares, and Lev must go it alone. A merchant ship, Reluctant Dancer, is fitted out and ready to lift. Lev offers cash to pay each for a week up front, balance paid upon safe return with potential for performance bonuses.

Somewhere in un unknown system

Somewhere in un unknown system – Image from wikimedia.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

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Aces and Eights

Top-10 Classic Amber Zones

This is my list of the Top-10 Amber Zones from the (first 24) Classic JTAS. This ranking is based on how much fun we had playing these. It should also be said that an Amber Zone is never a full adventure, so you’ll always have to fill in lots of bits on your own and then also fit it into your campaign. I wanted to post this so that you can see what one of the members of the Jury will look for in the contest.

  1. Aces & Eights, by John M. Ford from JTAS #14
  2. Roadshow, by John M. Ford from JTAS #23
  3. Foxhound, by J.D. Webster from JTAS #14
  4. Chariots of Fire, by Anders Blixt from JTAS #18
  5. Thoughtwaves, by John Ford from JTAS #13
  6. Small Package, by J. Andrew Keith from JTAS #19
  7. Royal Hunt, by J. Andrew Keith from JTAS #12
  8. Lockbox, by J. Andrew Keith from JTAS #13
  9. Embassy in Arms, by John Marshal from JTAS #24
  10. Homesteaders’ Stand, by William H. Keith, Jr from JTAS #21

In a league of its own are (in my opinion) the first two. Other than that I like some action, mystery, horror and Striker scenarios. The Amber Zones from the later issues was generally better than in the first issues. No Amber Zone scenario from the first 11 issues is on this list.

I know that there are some circumstances that may seem strange in Aces & Eights, but once you sort that out, Aces & Eights is a fantastic adventure that can easily be followed by more adventure trying to find the treasure.

In Roadshow the PCs will work for a rock band (Veedback). You can make this Amber Zone very similar to the adventure Cirque (that is one of the prizes in the opening contest) where the PCs work for a circus.

Aces and Eights