All posts by Michael Brown


Patron: Merchant
Required Equipment: Vehicle

Players’ Information:

The way the guy — Ambrosius Kemp, the owner of an export business over in Startown — was waving his hands around and sweating, I’d have thought he was gonna keel over any moment. He had called us in to talk to us about a job, but the more he talked, the more agitated he got. He kept going on about how time was running out and how he’d be ruined if we couldn’t help him. I watched him; if he didn’t calm down soon, his time was gonna run out. A sneaked a glance over at Vajra, and she must’ve thought so, too; her fingers were inching closer to her sidearm.

The Colonel finally got Kemp to calm down long enough to explain what it was he wanted. Kemp sat down — actually, he more like collapsed — behind his desk, and took a deep breath before starting his spiel. Seems he has a partner, name of Aquino, who had one of those cybernetic drives installed in his brain so he could better keep up with the number-crunching and the day-to-day. That upgrade made Aquino a whiz-kid who doubled the company’s income in a matter of weeks. Trouble is, in those same weeks, Kemp noticed Aquino acting more and more strange. Finally, Kemp decided to do something, but Aquino beat him to it; he checked out of town. But not before helping himself to the company’s most sensitive data and a big slice of the company’s finances to the tune of Cr5,000,000. One of us let out a low whistle at the figure. I started imagining all kinds of things I could do with that kind of puli. Kemp wrecked my daydream by repeating that loss would ruin him.

He paused, and the Colonel had to prod him for more info. Kemp knew he had to locate Aquino fast. He made a lot of commcalls and called in most of his favors, but he finally found out where Aquino was: aboard the planetary hyper rail, headed for the world capital. Another low whistle, from myself this time. Hyper rails are the last word in maglevs, and this planet wasn’t that big; the train would get to the capital in a matter of hours. No wonder Kemp kept saying time was short. Worse, Kemp said that the capital was also the subsector headquarters for Periva Factors, a big brokerage firm that had been trying to get its hooks in Kemp’s firm for a long time. He was certain that’s where Aquino was headed. If he made it, Kemp could say bye-bye to everything he’d built over the years.

Kemp wanted us to intercept the hyper rail, locate Aquino, and get him back to Kemp, who’d have people waiting to deal with that pesky implant. For our trouble, he’d pay us one-tenth of the amount Aquino ran off with. Five hundred thousand for grabbing a guy off a train and bringing him home? Not too shabby.

The Train
The Train – Image from wikimedia – CC-BY-SA-2.0

Referee’s Information:

The hyper rail will reach its destination in six hours. It makes two scheduled stops, one two hours into its trip, the other two hours later. It spends 30 minutes at each stop before continuing. If the adventurers choose not to board the train at the stops, they will have to come up with another way to do so while it’s moving at hundreds of kilometers per hour.

Once aboard the hyper rail, it’s up to the players how they find Aquino and remove him from the train. The referee should determine what security arrangements are in place. At a minimum, it’ll have an Anti-Hijack program (similar to the program mentioned in Book 2: Starships) and an armed guard or two.

While the implant is active, Aquino has total recall and cognitive function that gives him an equivalent INT of F.

1. All is as represented.

2. Kemp is lying; he’s actually guilty of gross corporate malfeasance and has been embezzling funds from the company. Aquino finally had enough, downloaded the evidence, and headed for the World Court in the capital. If the group succeeds in returning Aquino, Kemp will kill him as soon as the adventurers leave.

3. As 1, except Aquino’s not responsible for his actions; the implant malfunctioned and caused temporary insanity. Aquino will be subject to periods of paranoia and rage until the implant is deactivated.

4. Kemp only thinks Aquino has betrayed him. In actuality, Aquino’s actually bent on committing an act of corporate sabotage. He downloaded only copies of the company’s files as bait, and included a computer virus designed to infect and destroy Periva’s system. If he succeeds in his mission, Periva Factors’ operations will be irreparably damaged and the company will be out of business in a month.

5. As 1, 3, or 4, except that a third party has found out about Aquino’s mission and wants to help itself to the secrets locked in his head. 1D+2 crack assassins (adjust for PC strength) will attempt to kidnap Aquino and head for parts unknown.

6. As 1, except that the train is also carrying a valuable cargo, which is guarded by a contingent of planetary troops. The soldiers will consider any disturbance as an attempt to steal the cargo and act accordingly.

The Tumult

Patron: Merchant
Required Skills: None
Required Equipment: None
Location: Any world experiencing social turmoil

Players’ Information:
The world is undergoing societal problems. The native populace is bitterly torn over social, economic and racial issues to the point that rumors of civil war are flying about. For now, however, the bitterness is confined mostly to increasingly nasty public debates and policy changes, with sporadic mob violence triggered by seemingly minor incidents.

This is the case as the adventurers are conducting their business. Another situation has sparked rioting recently and is still in the news feeds enough to stoke angry confrontations between citizens and local law enforcement. As the heroes try to conclude their business before violence breaks out, they see groups of people gathering, chanting and stoking themselves up. The police, alert to the signs of impending trouble, have also begun gathering in riot gear, hoping their mere presence is enough to deter violence.

It isn’t.

The crowds soon become physical. The police, feeling threatened, let fly with crowd-dispersal methods, and battle is soon joined. The street becomes a chaotic stew of looting, arson, and fights. The PCs, caught in the middle, are assumed to be trying to navigate to a safe area, but this is easier said than done. Each adventurer must throw DEX or less or take 1D-2 (minimum 1) hits from being in what currently amounts to a war zone.

While they are seeking shelter, they witness a battered and bruised woman bravely trying to defend a small storefront. While she is armed with a club, she is horribly outnumbered and on the verge of becoming another victim of an out-of-control mob. If the PCs decide to help her, they have a chance to disperse the group directly threatening her. They may choose whatever method they like, from intimidation to outright conflict, but the fight should not be long (seasoned adventurers, some of whom are no doubt ex-military, will have no trouble dealing with untrained citizens).

The heroes should drive the assailants off, but only for the moment. They don’t go far, and look like they’ll try to loot the store again as soon as they lick their wounds. The shopkeeper hires the group on the spot, promising to pay them Cr 10,000 after things calm down, to help her defend her store.

The shop – image from wikimedia – Public Domain

Referee’s Information:
Three things don’t matter to the plot: what the store sells (as long as it’s not against local law); how many opponents the PCs are facing (as long as the numbers and odds are reasonable); and what method the referee uses to resolve the fight or assign damage.

What does matter is the reason the store owner is so adamant about defending the business. The heroes can use whatever method works best for them to discover why:

1. She is simply stubborn, and wants to protect her livelihood from being stolen and/or destroyed.

2. The merchandise is far more valuable than the surroundings and the owner indicate. She regularly has nobility as clientele and so has the best of everything. This also indicates she could pay the group more, if they insist. On a throw of 9+, several of her customers are trapped within and will be very grateful to be rescued.

3. There’s someone within that she’s protecting: (2+) children; (7+) an aged parent; (10+) an injured spouse.

4. As 3, except the one protected is either (2+) a criminal; (6+) an illicit romantic partner; (9+) someone who is forcing the woman to protect him or her.

5. She has contraband hidden in the store that will get her in trouble if it’s exposed, but is far too valuable to be destroyed. The shopkeeper will sneak inside and save the item(s) at the first opportunity. Along with her subsequent disappearance will go the PCs’ chances of being paid.

6. As 5, except the cops were about to raid the place looking for the contraband in question. A patrol of 6 in riot gear will appear, arresting anyone who lingers in the area, especially anyone defending the store. The shopkeeper will disappear without her item(s) at the first chance, and so will the heroes’ pay.

Elegance Never Forgotten

Patron: Entertainer
Required Skills: None
Required Equipment: Starship

Players’ Information:
While looking for passengers on Regina, the PCs are approached by a frail old woman. Still striking and modestly dressed, she is accompanied by a tall, impeccably-dressed man with a conceited air. She politely offers the crew high passage for the two of them to Extolay. She mentions she is going to visit her son, but surprisingly does not have much in the way of luggage; just a pair of worn travel bags.

As the duo boards the ship, several passengers do a double-take upon seeing them. If questioned, the incredulous passengers swear that the woman is Lisbet Gugiidima, the legendary holovid star. But that couldn’t be; Gugiidima has been dead for 20 years!

The Star?
The Star? – image from wikimedia – Public Domain

Referee’s Information:
The man with Gugiidima, Iebert Wix, is arrogant and condescending — when he acknowledges the adventurers at all. He makes no bones about his superiority to the “scruff,” as he refers to anyone beneath his station, and boldly holds forth at length about the food, the surroundings and the other passengers. He treats his companion marginally better; she, on the other hand, is charming and friendly, with a quick wit and a ready yarn. She tires easily, however, so she is not seen much during the journey.

1. All is as represented. Gugiidima is indeed the legendary holovid star. Her death was erroneously reported years before and she wanted to retire anyway, so she saw no reason to dispute the account. Wix is her aide and executor of her estate.

2. As 1, except Wix is actually her son, accompanying his mother to what she believes will be her final resting place. She has dementia, and thus believes her son is waiting for her on Extolay. Her periods of lucidity are becoming rarer as the days drag on. For Wix’s part, he knows as soon as his mother has passed on, he will become very rich.

3. Wix is a swindler after Gugiidima’s extensive real estate holdings on Extolay. Once he has them, he plans to dump her in an offworld retirement colony.

4. Neither Gugiidima nor Wix are who they say they are. They are con artists who are taking advantage of Chandia Bulin’s uncanny resemblance to the star to swindle adoring passengers out of their money en route. They will then disappear with their ill-gotten gains and further another plot onworld.

5. As 4, except the two are fugitives from the law. At least one of the other passengers is an undercover law enforcement officer who has finally gotten close enough to nab the pair, and will not let anything or anyone stop get in the way.

6. As 4, except the pair is not impersonating Gugiidima for nefarious purposes; they are trying to convince a board on Extolay that Gugiidima is still alive in order to keep her assets from being seized by a corporation.

The referee should determine the flow of subsequent events.


Patron: Terrorist
Required Skills: None
Required Equipment: None
Location: Any world

Players’ Information:
While enjoying a night on the town after concluding their day’s business, the heroes notice that one of their servers seems to be putting on a brave face about something — and failing. Inquiring if they could be of any help, the woman first refuses, but then seems to think twice and takes the group into her confidence:

She is recently separated her husband, a local lawyer who counts several organized crime figures among his clients. Her plan is to divorce him and thus free herself from the near-constant presence of mobsters and their aides. But thanks to a combination of legal skill and good connections, he has never been convicted of anything. Even though he treated her well and she wanted for nothing, she had noticed her husband becoming more and more involved with the criminals outside the courtroom.

In her departure, she left behind several items of a sentimental nature, which she can live without, except one: a holograph her ex keeps on his person. The image is of her with her ex in happier times, along with her late mother. The holo is one of the few images the server has of her mother and she wants it back.

Simply asking for the photo is out of the question; so far she has managed to elude her ex, but were she to reappear, one of his aides would doubtless track her back to her home. She is willing to hire the PCs to retrieve the photograph for her. How they do it is of no concern of hers, as long as her ex can’t find her. She offers to turn over her life savings — Cr 6,000 — if the group will accept the task of retrieving the picture.

Just a big camera?
Just a big camera? – image from wikimedia
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Referees’ Information:
According to his ex-wife, the lawyer frequents an upscale restaurant in the planetary capital, sometimes conducting business there. He has become important to the crime lords, and so has been assigned bodyguards. Two accompany him at all times unless otherwise stated. All bodyguards have weapons up to the planetary Law Level.

The restaurant is very swank. While they aren’t selective as to their clientele, they expect certain behavior from their patrons. A dress code is in place, and any disturbance immediately means a call to the police.

1. The lawyer is alone except for his bodyguards. On a throw of 8+, he has four bodyguards instead of two.

2. The lawyer is alone except for his bodyguards. On a throw of 8+, he has eight bodyguards instead of two.

3. The hologram has hidden information on it, revealed through a multispectral scan. Throw 1D for the nature of the data:

1. The information reveals some personal scandal of the ex-wife. Throw Law Level or less for it to be illegal. Revealing the information results in the wife’s arrest.
2. The information in question will get the lawyer convicted in any court on the planet if it comes out. On a throw of 11+, the information would get the attention of Imperial authorities.
3. The photo contains detailed information on local organized crime. Revealing the information would deal a death-blow to the lawyer’s clients and make him a marked man.
4. The image conceals details on retrieving a valuable treasure (for example, the mother’s will; or a map to a hidden cache of valuables.)
5. The information is to be used to blackmail a local or planetary leader.
6. The hologram contains classified information about regional or planetary military forces. On a throw of 12 exactly, the information pertains to Imperial forces.

4. As 3, but one level worse/better.

5. The lawyer is accompanied by several mob clients and their bodyguards; or (throw 10+) one or more local political leaders, their bodyguards and aides.

6. As 5, but a Zhodani nobles instead of local political leaders.

The referee should determine the flow of subsequent events.

Treading the Boards

Patron: Entertainer
Required Skills: none
Required Equipment: none, but see below
No of Players: 2-6

Players’ Information:
The crew is approached by a representative for a small acting company,
the Starlight Repertory Assembly, with an offer to hire them as
escorts for the troupe on a tour of several performance venues in the
subsector. The actors will need several bodyguards, roadies and
general techies. The troupe will pay each participating PC Cr 3000 per
venue, payable at the end of the tour. If the group has a starship,
then the company will negotiate a charter instead. In that case, they
will need staterooms for six main actors and three understudies, and
space for 12 tons of cargo, which includes all their gear, props,
wardrobes, and a portable stage.

Twylaiwasyo Eorl
Twylaiwasyo Eorl – image from wikimedia
Public Domain – copyright expired

Referee’s Information:
Select up to six worlds in the subsector for the group to visit. They
should all be within the starship’s highest Jump number, and can all
be backwaters. On each world, the company will perform Twylaiwasyo
Eorl, an Anglic version of an epic Aslan drama.

1. The show is a smashing success, and the actors will be able to pay
the adventurers as promised. In addition, they will engage the PCs’
services for another tour.

2. The play is only a moderate success, plagued by wildly varied
audience attendance and publicity results. The company might be able
to pay the PCs as promised regardless. The heroes will receive
2D – 2 x 10% of their promised pay.

3. The play is a dismal failure, panned by critics, and shunned by
audiences. Throw Reaction for any audiences after the first, with a DM
of -3 (word spreads fast, even across the subsector), and implement
the result. The heroes will only receive 1D – 3 x 10% of their promised

4. At a performance on one world, a family of Aslan takes offense at
how “their” story is presented and the lead male challenges the actors
to a duel of honor. The heroes may choose a champion to fight on the
actors’ behalf, but the duel will occur. Any others who “dishonor” the
event by getting involved, will find the other Aslan (2D, 60% female)
getting involved as well.

5. A bitter rival of one of the production’s stars sets about to
destroy it by sabotaging equipment, planting paid hecklers in the
audience, and inducing reviewers to slam the show. While his
subordinates are easily stopped and his deeds exposed, he covers his
tracks well and it is very hard to prove his involvement.

6. As 5, except the efforts include harming the actors and PCs and
destroying equipment.


Patron: Alien, Speculator
Required Skills: None
Required Equipment: Underwater gear
No. of Players: 2-6

Players’ Information:
The party is approached by a Dolphin who explains (via an electronic
translator) that she wants to hire them to assist in finding a sunken
starship and recovering several priceless works of art from its hold.
In addition to their monetary worth, the objets d’art are rare
examples of Dolphin handicrafts and also have great cultural
significance. The pieces were en route to a collector on Urnian (2833
Foreven) when the ship crashed into a volcanic crater lake in a remote
area of Vapchy (3034 Foreven). The patron tracked the crash site down
and believes that the ship is still intact; thus, the art might be
salvageable. The team is to provide support and backup for her as she
retrieves as much of the artwork as she can; for their efforts, she
will pay them Cr 200,000.

Crater Lake
Crater Lake – Image from wikimedia
Image by USGS – Public Domain

Referee’s Information:
The wreck, a 400-ton Subsidized Merchant, is situated 50 meters down
in the side of an underwater lava dome, in an 8 km diameter volcanic
caldera. The ship is partially buried by dislodged rock and silt,
which might make specialized equipment necessary to access the
interior. The ship itself may or may not be salvageable.

The volcano presents another danger. It is not extinct, just dormant.
Every so often, a burgeoning eruption causes seismic shocks in the
area. Each day, throw 16+ on 3D for a quake to occur. If so, throw 16+
on 3D again for the wreck to dislodge and start sinking to the bottom
of the crater 300 meters below. On a third throw of 3D for 18 exactly,
a full-blown eruption will occur in 4D hours.

1. All is as represented; the ship is intact and mostly dry inside.
The artwork, worth MCr1.2, is undamaged. A skilled broker may be able
to fetch an even higher price for it.

2. As 1, except the ship is partially flooded. The hold is dry (for
now), but opening it using standard methods will flood it, destroying
the contents.

3. As 2, and the hold has been slowly leaking since the crash. The
seals could give way at any time, totally destroying the contents
within. Worse, some of the artwork has been water-damaged and thus has
already lost (2D-2) x 10% of the above value.

4. As 1, but a group of salvage hunters has also located the wreck and
intend to stake a claim on it. They are unwilling to share or
relinquish their find. Despite being well-equipped, they are unarmed
and easily driven off, but will immediately contact the planetary

5. As 4, except the salvage team is armed and more than willing to
fight. Their numbers and armament are similar to the PCs’.

6. As 5, except the opponents are a band of criminals that happened
upon the shipwreck and found it to be the perfect hidden base of
operations. They will not be happy to find the adventurers there.
Additionally, unbeknownst to all concerned, a squad of Imperial
Marines has tracked the felons down and are moving in with orders to
capture or kill anyone they encounter.