GM Tarondor's Path of Tears Campaign - Traveller: The New Era

Game Master Tarondor

The Area of Operations

OPLAN Open Hand


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Pirates of Drinax Links

Your tanks hold 170 tons, enough for a Jump 4, plus a bit left over for maneuvering and ship's operations. Your jump from Agiruur to Montezuma left you with 90 tons in the tank. That's enough that you could jump to Ekhapen right now if you don't mind arriving unable to jump out until you refuel.


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

"Sandman, make for the gas giant, full throttle. We'll load up on fuel for as long as we can, then jump to Ekhapen. Drifter and Mascot, keep an eye on the Venture and any backup they might call in. I don't know what the Guild is up to here, but getting into a shootout with them isn't in our mission parameters, so we'll avoid it if we can."


UPP: 7B64C6; Armor 1: Injury 0

Drifter keeps an eye on the sensor and their trajectory as they head towards the gas giant.


Pirates of Drinax Links

Your refueling goes without incident and some thirty hours later you have completed maneuvers to move more than 100 diameters away from the gas giant and are ready to jump.

There are a bunch of rolls to be made with each jump, but that's not the sort of thing I want our campaign to focus on. Kirk and Sulu rarely got lost on the Enterprise and neither should you. We'll roll when it's narratively interesting.

"There is a choice at this point,"says Sandman. "Resolution can jump four parsecs on a full tank of fuel. From here we could make the 2-parsec jump to Ekhapen, but we could also make the 4-parsec jump to Saratov, Forgotten or Boley, each of which has at least one gas giant for refueling. The OPLAN permits you to choose your path out of the Area of Operations. The Exploratory Service advised a stop at Ekhapen only because shorter jumps permit Resolution a margin of safety to jump back out of necessary. However, a series of 2-parsec jumps will take twice as long as a series of 4-parsec jumps."


UPP: A47A38; Armor 1

Mascot shakes his head, disagreeing with the Virus. "Stay with the OPLAN, Commander. We're on a charm mission, no reason to push the envelope. If we were trying to rescue hostages or something, it might be worth the risk, but I don't see the need here."


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

"Agreed. Stick with the OPLAN. We can push the envelope when we need. Besides ... who know when we encounter a stronger ship that can prevent us from refuelling? I prefer to have some reserves," states Flatfoot.


UPP: 7B64C6; Armor 1: Injury 0

"I think we should stick to the two parsec jumps. We have already had trouble in previous jumps where we need to refuel and have something that is a serious threat bearing down on us. There is no reason to risk that again." Drifter chimes into the conversation.


Pirates of Drinax Links

On the Rule of Two, I'm assuming Spider will agree and move forward.

"Very well. A course is laid it for Ekhapen. Jump engines ready at your command."

For the third time in your career, MS-7 jumps into the unknown beyond the RCES Area of Operations, once again undertaking a mission that the Coalition Senate would be unlikely to approve. Beyond the AO you are also beyond the easy reach of RCES or the Navy - you have returned to the Wilds. A week later, Resolution drops out of jump space at Ekhapen.

Ekhapen is a large asteroid, one of many surrounding a pair of sun-like binary yellow stars in a complex, braided belt. In the imperial heyday, it was the headquarters of a mining corporation, home to a quarter million people. Now, it is a graveyard, a speck in the vast necropolis that is Charted Space. There might possibly be useful salvage here, but no Coalition ship has done more than survey the system on the way to more important places.

After two days of travel and refueling, the ship again jumps, this time to Saratov. Three parsecs from Ekhapen, Saratov is a dim red star some 40% of Sol's mass and only 2% its luminosity. Its main world is a marginal planet mostly covered in water ice. It once supported several thousand colonists at TL 8 with a D-Class starport. To your surprise, you detect electromagnetic signals arriving from the planet's surface.

"It is a low-tech communications system," says Sandman. "Radio."


UPP: A47A38; Armor 1

"Sandman, can you broadcast the signals to the bridge?" Mascot comes over to the sensors again and adjusts them. He tries to pinpoint the location of the broadcast on the planet.

Sensors, Int: 2d6 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (2, 1) + 1 + 1 = 5


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

"Can you understand the transmissions?," asks Flatfoot. "Was there any record that Saratov still supported civilization?"


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

Spider did, in fact, agree.

Spider works the comms to see if he can isolate the radio transmission.

Comms + EDU: 2d6 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (4, 1) + 2 + 1 = 8


Pirates of Drinax Links

Just a reminder on Coalition ship-to-ship communications doctrine. In order to prevent the spread of Virus, the communications nodes are never connected to any other systems, but do contain low-power computers capable of signals analysis and translating the communications into plain text. This means that no ships may be datalinked and communications between ships takes a relatively long time. This hasn't changed aboard Resolution. Sandman can't directly communicate with the outside world or be communicated with. He can only read the data from the screens just like you can.

"To my knowledge, no Coalition ship has ever visited Saratov," says Hopper through its voice system. "Nor do we have any current data from free traders."

Spider manages to tune in the radio transmission. It's a weather report for the "Greater Makrilon Area", followed by a reminder to the listeners to take their kelp supplements in order to obtain a healthy dose of Vitamin D. So far, Mascot hasn't localized the source.


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

Spider listens for a few minutes to the news transmission. "Interesting. Well, we're gonna be in system for a bit, so we may as well collect what data we can on the Saratovans. Sandman, set a course for one of the system's gas giants to refuel - preferably one well placed for us to make observations of the inhabited planet. When the tanks are full, we'll make way to Seben."


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

"We can log this in our journals. Maybe, time permitting, we can do some reconnaissance on the return trip,"" says Flatfoot.


Pirates of Drinax Links

Do you intend to contact whoever is sending the signal?


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

No, that's not in the job description. We'll just monitor and gather what info we can and pass it up the chain of command


Pirates of Drinax Links

Okay!

By the end of the day, you've jumped for Seben, another binary system with two yellow suns. The main world is a medium-sized rocky planet with about half Terra's diameter but a dense atmosphere tainted with volcanic gases which was once home to 400 million Imperial citizens.

Along the way you get to know Sandman, Hopper and Lieutenant Su just a bit better. After all, it's just the seven of you in a relatively small ship.

Su likes to sing in the shower, or on the toilet or in his cabin, or whenever he thinks he's alone. He's a reasonably good tenor, but he always misquotes the lyrics to any song he sings.

Hopper is, well, alien. She/it does her best to be personable, and indeed she is quite gregarious, eager to find out anything she can about your past lives, missions, relationships and experiences while only revealing broad information about herself and her species. From time to time she fumigates the ship - you're not really sure what that's all about.

Sandman is the most apparently normal traveling companion you've had. He enjoys watching holovids with the crew, is a good conversationalist and seems to be more avid about the mission and its goals that any of the organic crew. On the jump between Saratov and Seben, Sandman says "Captain Webb, I've been meaning to mention something to you. This ship is equipped with a holographic projection system. It is capable of displaying data and things like real-time orbital pathways. But it would also be capable of projecting my "Number One" persona from Promise. I thought that might make it easier for the crew to acclimatize to my presence. Would you be amenable to that usage?"


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

Spider considers Sandman's question briefly before answering. "I can't imagine anyone having a problem with that - go ahead and give it a try. I suggest you try not to startle people, so make sure you audibly indicate your "arrival" when you start projecting and avoid having the projection appear suddenly."

Spider has no problem sharing stories with Hopper, but will try and and get her to share some stories of her own - particularly about her travels to far away places.


Pirates of Drinax Links

"Very good, Captain."

So, a week later you are ejected from Jumpspace and emerge about 150,000 kilometers from Seben's gas giant.

Electronics (Sensors)+INT 8+:
Two ships are in orbit around the gas giant. One is a classic 200-ton Far Trader configuration, while the other is an 800-ton Chasseur-class Solomani close escort ship, designed to protect merchant convoys on long voyages.

Electronics (Comms)+INT 8+:
A message was just sent from the vicinity of the gas giant on a tight beam for the main world. No idea what it said.


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

Flatfoot tries to make sense of the comms traffic.

INT(0)+Comms(0): 2d6 + 0 + 0 ⇒ (5, 3) + 0 + 0 = 8

"We just detected a tight beam transmission from near the gas giant towards the main world. I could not determine any content. Sandman, can you tell anything about the message?," asks Flatfoot.


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

Electronics(Comms) + INT: 2d6 + 2 + 0 ⇒ (4, 2) + 2 + 0 = 8

"Someone give me a scan in the vicinity of where that tight beam originated from."


UPP: A47A38; Armor 1

Sensors, Int: 2d6 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (6, 1) + 1 + 1 = 9

Mascot reviews the sensor data. "That's a big ship to escort a single Far Trader. Normally ones like that protect whole convoys." He adjusts the sensors again to survey the planet for the location of the tightbeam.


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

Is there any type of protocol to multiple ships refueling at gas giants that we would be aware of? Or are they so big that it is no big deal as long as we keep a reasonable distance away from the other ships?


Pirates of Drinax Links

In these fallen times, it is hard to speak of any sort of protocols. But the atmosphere of even a smallish gas giant is incredibly vast. The chance that even the largest ships would strike each other is very small. Still, common sense calls for active sensor sweeps at all times.


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

Wasn't thinking about the risk of collision as much as what might be considered provocative/antagonizing vs friendly


Pirates of Drinax Links

Well, in Imperial times, many systems still didn't have traffic control. It was customary and legal to enter orbit only after broadcasting your intentions and flight path to all nearby vessels.


Pirates of Drinax Links

A message arrives from the escort. The voice is female. "Unidentified vessel. This is Captain Nilsson of the PNS Archangel. Please identify yourself and stand clear."

"PNS," says Sandman. "I wonder what designation that is? We heard the Berens main might have several survivor populations and spacefaring vessels. But only Prestwick begins with a P and it was rated as pre-stellar in the last Imperial survey."

"They might still have had a ship, even if they could not have built it," says Hopper.


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

Spider replies on the channel of the incoming transmission. "PNS Archangel, this is Commander Webb of the RCS Resolution. Greetings, Captain Nilsson. We are inbound on the gas giant in order to refuel before moving on from this system. We have no hostile intent and I'm happy to give you all the space you need in order to minimize tensions."


Pirates of Drinax Links

"Star Vikings, here? You're a long way from home, Resolution. What is your mission here?"


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

"Just passing through, Archangel, en route to Berens on a diplomatic mission."


Pirates of Drinax Links

The wait is much longer than before. Finally, Captain Nilsson comes back on the comms. "Acknowledged, Resolution. We'll have no trouble so long as you don't approach the Seben main world. Today, they're under the protection of the Pekhuraan Star Alliance."

"You can take the gas giant's northern hemisphere. We'll stay south of the equator."

With no further interactions unless you ask for them, fueling the ship takes the next thirty-six hours. Four hours later, you are ready to depart the Seben system along your planned route to Berens. Your orders leave open the option to jump directly to Berens or to move via any of the intervening systems of Tygger, Dinklewater and Galuuda. Having established a desire to retain a maximum fuel state when jumping, you opt for Dinklewater and jump.

Another week goes by. Everyone's seen all the holovids and gotten bored of chess. The chow's not bad and Hopper turns out to be a surprisingly decent cook, if a little reluctant on the spices.

You drop out of jump in the system of Dinklewater (Diaspora 1838). Set in a binary system with two yellow sun-like stars, Dinklewater is a giant world with roughly 1.5 standard gravity, a dense but breathable atmosphere and a surfaced almost entirely by water. Only three percent of the planet's surface is dry land and most of that consists of active volcanoes. According to the last Imperial survey, the planet was home to a small colony of independent artists and inventors as well as many isolated homesteads totaling perhaps 1200 people. The orbital starport was maintained by the Sector Duke and was capable of servicing even the highest-tech ships.

As you survey the system now, there is no sign of the orbital starport and only a few old weather satellites remain in orbit. Occasional bursts of uncoded radio traffic indicate that someone is still alive down on the planet's surface.

Electronics (Sensor)+EDU/INT 6+:
A small 100-ton free trader is just leaving the surface of the mainworld. Both ship and planet are some 115 million miles away, while the closest gas giant is 300,000 kilometers away.


UPP: 7B64C6; Armor 1: Injury 0

I have sensors 1, but not electronics (sensors). Do I just have this mislabeled or are they separate skills? I will roll and wait for you to respond before I look. If they are different I would roll using Jack of All Trades 1.

Sensors+EDU 6+: 2d6 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (5, 4) + 1 + 2 = 12


Pirates of Drinax Links

They are the same skill. Possibly a result of having been created under the older version of Traveller.


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

Flatfoot has never been much good with sensors or similar ship systems.

Sensors(-3)+Edu(0): 2d6 - 3 + 0 ⇒ (6, 3) - 3 + 0 = 6


Pirates of Drinax Links

Both rolls are good enough!


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

"There's a small ship lifting from the planet," states Flatfoot.

"We are much closer to the gas giant. Should we hail and let them know that they have been spotted?"


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

"Keep an eye on them. We'll hail them if it looks like they are headed towards us or the gas giant. In the mean time, Sandman, take us in to refuel."


UPP: 7B64C6; Armor 1: Injury 0

Drifter sits back to watch the other ship and says, "They probably saw us entering space. Seems a bit too much of a coincidence otherwise."


Pirates of Drinax Links

"Aye, Captain," says Sandman. "Time to atmosphere, ninety-one minutes."

"Berens is supposed to be a hub for Free Traders," notes Hopper. "That could merely be one of them."


Pirates of Drinax Links

PING!


UPP: 7B64C6; Armor 1: Injury 0

"From our travels so far I am going to lean on it not being just a free trader who happened to schedule a launch for right after an unknown ship appeared from a jump." Drifter says and then watches to see where the other ship goes as the move in to refill.

I think we just move in to refill and wait to see if they start to come within a range we need to hail them.


Pirates of Drinax Links

The ship takes up the opposite trajectory, moving away from the gas giant where you intend to refuel.


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

"Let's simply fuel and move on. This might be interesting, but it is not our mission," says Flatfoot.


Pirates of Drinax Links

Second?


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

Once the Resolution's tanks are topped off, Spider directs Sandman to move the ship into position to jump to Berens.


Pirates of Drinax Links

Another week in Jump Space goes by, the eighth since you left Trybec Naval Base. You each have a chance to gain a new skill level!

SPIDER - Working on Melee(Unarmed) 1
DRIFTER - Working on Diplomat 0
FLATFOOT - Working on Survival 0
MASCOT - Working on Gunnery 1

Each of you may now make an Average (8+) EDU roll. I'm giving Mascot a Boon (roll 3d6, drop lowest) because Sandman is a gunner and has been working with Mascot to train him. I'm giving a +1 to Drifter and Flatfoot because they are only trying to gain a basic competence with the skill.

And, new House Rule. Any time you train with someone more highly trained in a skill than you are, you gain a Boon when trying to learn that skill. But the trainer will be too busy to study himself.

Roll 'em!


UPP: 73A797; Armor 4/17; Injury:

EDU for Melee(Unarmed) training: 2d6 + 1 ⇒ (6, 2) + 1 = 9


UPP: A47A38; Armor 1

Gunnery 1 training, EDU, trainer: 3d6 - 1 ⇒ (6, 4, 5) - 1 = 14

6, 5 = 11-1 = 10... success, yes?


Male UPP: 969866; Armor: 1; Wounds: 0

EDU for Survival (0) training: 2d6 + 0 ⇒ (1, 4) + 0 = 5

Back to the books :(


UPP: 7B64C6; Armor 1: Injury 0

EDU for Diplomacy: 2d6 + 2 ⇒ (1, 6) + 2 = 9

I am sorta diplomatic now. w00t!

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