Campaign of the Month: July 2020

The Verge

Season 2, Episode 3: The Foothold Visit

After setting the ball into motion to form a proper company partnership and take official claim to the Anne Bonny, the crew depart Prometheus Station with their passenger, Diana. Recognizing that she introduced herself as a broker, Korbin approaches her regarding the illicit cargo that they have in the hold – 2 tons of illegal weapons mostly salvaged from derelict naval vessels – and she agrees to find a discreet buyer for them at Foothold for a very low commission of 15%. Knowing that she’s going to have to go through black market connections, both Korbin and Ilik are able to recognize that she’s being very lenient as black market brokers can easily expect up to 40%.

The trip to Foothold is uneventful, but allows the crew to take better stock of their new ship and what they find is a vessel that has not been taken care of. By the time they reach Foothold, they’ve got a serious checklist of things that need to be taken care of ASAP before they really trust her to fly properly.

The illegal arms exchange goes off without a hitch and Diana takes her cut, leaving the crew with 222,800 at their disposal. Since Diana is covering for a week’s berthing fees because she may need transport after her meetings, they also arrange for the long overdue annual maintenance, which costs 110,783. The need for 1 ton of spare parts to repair a ‘missed maintenance critical hit’ fuel leak costs them another 100K, leaving them only 12,047Cr … and topping up their fuel is going to cost another 7000Cr, leaving them only 5,047Cr. Straight away, the crew recognize that staying in the black is going to be expensive.

It takes five days for Diana to contact them again, during which time they finish up their annual maintenance, repair that fuel leak – which, amusingly, ends up requiring no spare parts at all – and generally focusing on ship clean-up as the former owners weren’t particularly interested in that sort of thing. Ilik manages to convince everyone to let him withdraw 500 from the petty cash to buy “provisions” … but then, he spends an hour or so seeking out an unregistered gambling game. Despite his opponents using marked cards, he manages to win 150 back.

While departing, he encounters a man who identifies himself as James and wants to discuss a possible job offer … on the ship. Conveniently, Diana has just contacted Korbin to let him know that her hoped-for opportunity that would have required the crew has fallen through, although she hopes to work with them again in the foreseeable future. This frees the crew up to listen to James who needs a discreet transport to Albion in the Chlaer Radical. He’s willing to pay 20,000, which is far higher than the normal going rate. After juggling the numbers, the crew decide that this is the best option they’ve got and Albion will definitely have much better cargo and passenger prospects.

Once again, Ilik decides to go seeking additional passengers or crew despite Foothold’s strict lockdown on unbonded and uninsured crews. He finds no passengers but has a pretty good line on some cargo … until he realizes that he’s smack dab in the middle of a security sting and the guy he’s negotiating with is likely station police. Attempts to talk himself out of this (including that 150 credits he won earlier) fail, so he falls back on his psionic abilities and telepathically assaults the security officer. As expected, the security officer slumps forward into his arms, unconscious, and Ilik catches him, intending on using this as a distraction to make an escape. He catches sight of several other security personnel racing toward him and throws up his arms, pleading innocence. More security appear and things look bad.

Ilik blinks, momentarily disoriented.

And when he opens his eyes, the entire area he’s in has been shredded. Body parts of the security personnel are strewn about haphazardly. Alarms are sounding. And he’s covered from head to toe in blood and gore…

GM Notes

  • We were down two players. One is swamped with real-life work and the other’s wife’s birthday was game night.
  • Amusingly, Niall failed the Advocate roll at the beginning to start working up the LLC … in retrospect, I’m now wondering if that should have been an Admin roll instead? Will have to research further. Anyway, this means that the “ownership” of the Bonny is still in question which may come back and bite them later.
  • Much later, after the fact, I realized that I should have played up the arms exchange more. Maybe hint that I was going to pull a “Ronin” kind of thing and end up with a shoot-out. Alas, missed opportunities…
  • We also spent a lot of time trying to figure out operating costs and how fuel should work in this setting since Traveller presumes that fuel is used for Jumps, which isn’t an issue in this setting since we’re remaining in-system. Ultimately, we decided that, for the Bonny, a full tank (70 tons of fuel) ends up allowing them to traverse about 7 days at 1g acceleration. This is easy enough to work backwards from since that leads to 10 tons of fuel per day and so on. Using the rules as written (RAW) from High Guard p16 on Reaction drives made fuel consumption far too expensive for game purposes.
  • The dice absolutely had it in for Ilik who kept failing at critical junctures. At the end, he’d decided to go seeking (black market) passengers off Foothold to Albion – failed – and (black market) cargo where he then rolled two 1s on the Streetwise check. I’d warned him that rolling snake eyes would result in Collective security clamping down on him so I had to follow through on that. And then, hijinks ensue.
  • Next week, we’ll definitely be down one player – Niall’s, whose work schedule has been changed so he’s unable to play like once a month or something – and possibly another – Anya’s, if her work schedule hasn’t let up yet.