Location: any Starport Patron: an older prospector Required skills and equipment: The PC’s will need to own a Jump-2 or better starship. The starship will need to have scoops for refueling or be capable of two hyperspace jumps. Environmental suits or vacc suits will be in demand.
The PC’s are approached by Torbun Grey, an aging prospector that says he is in need of a ship with some limited cargo space. He says he was a prospector some years back and his work carried him to another sector for a long time. He has always wanted to return to a rich site he discovered and was unable to leave behind. He will pay, up front Cr. 20,000 for transportation to the site and another Cr. 20,000 upon their return. The catch? The site is not on any charts nor is it located in a solar system. It is located on a moon surrounding a rogue gas giant well away from any space lanes.
Torbun says that he used a computer to calculate the vector of the rogue planet and doubts if anyone else has discovered this location. He says the destination moon is mostly a very thin atmosphere, with a yellowish haze of sulfuric-based airborne compounds emanating from the very active volcanoes that riddle the surface of the moon. It seems the gravity from the gas giant causes some serious stresses on the tectonic plates of the moon, causing the volcanoes to erupt nearly constantly. Obviously, due to the lack of a star, there is perpetual night on the gas giant and moon.
If anyone in the PC’s party knows anything about prospecting or geology, they will likely know that the chances of a rich prospect on a highly volcanic moon is unlikely. Torbun, is in fact a “retired” corsair who has just finished spending the last twenty years in an Imperial prison for his pirate days. He was a skilled navigator on board the Serpent’s Tooth, a 400-ton corsair that was boarded and destroyed when he was captured.
Torbun discovered this location from a seeker they once captured that discovered the gas giant due to a misjump. The corsair kept the location a secret so they could use it to refuel and strike at solar systems much easier, while avoiding capture. This unnamed rogue planet still seems to be plodding along between solar systems, dragging what is likely its only moon along for the ride. The moon, much like the Terran system’s moon, Io, is VERY volcanic. Visibility at low elevations will be limited, and there is a constant wind, but due to the minimal atmospheric pressure, a 200 kph wind has the force of a 2kph on the moon. This wind does blow dust and ash around and the ash can have sharp edges, fouling gear and wearing out the vacc suits fairly quickly.
Torbun will be nervous when dealing with Imperial Naval encounters as they were the ones who brought him to justice. He will be mum about the real conditions of the moon and the salvage that waits on its surface. The salvage? Nothing less than a crashed Gazelle-class close escort that followed the pirates to this destination. It is his hope that there can be salvage on board the ship. When confronted with his deception, he will quickly try to strike a bargain with the PC’s to share as much as half the salvage they find.
1. The PC’s arrive at the destination and locate the gas giant ahead after a three-day burn. The Gazelle-class escort is none other than the Badger, a ship sold to a local system for protection from pirates. The ship is intact and sitting on a plateau overlooking a lava lake. If the PC’s decide to salvage the ship’s gear they will find a ship full of weapons and assorted military gear worth nearly 2.0MCr on the black market. Since the ship has been missing for decades, this gear popping up on the markets might raise a few eyebrows. As for the crew their remains are here, huddled together in suits showing they had a hull breach that compromised the ship’s life support. The ship’s engine room is mostly destroyed and the ship’s batteries have run dry long ago.
2. As outcome #1 with the following exceptions: The ship crash landed not far from an active lava vent. The engine room broke away from the rest of the ship on impact and it has been covered over in lave rocks for decades. The moon will be VERY unstable as the nearby lava vent is robustly emitting lava and gas. Quakes are common. Roll (2d6: 8+) for a strong quake to occur nearby capable of damaging equipment and players alike.
3. As outcome #2 with the following exceptions: The Badger has shifted from its original crash site as the support under the plateau has been eroded. The ship’s remaining forward section rests at a 30-degree tilt, and rock slides striking the ship are common. Footing will be treacherous and the risk of a greater rock slide under the remaining section are high.
4. As outcome #1 with the following exception. On the second day of salvage, an unknown vessel enters this small system. It is running without its transponders, a well-known tactic of corsairs. If the PC’s shut down operations for a few days and “go silent” they will avoid detection.
5. As outcome #4, except the incoming ships are a Zhodani scout squadron of three Ninz-class scouts. They will detect and hail the PC’s ship and if the PC’s are truthful and claim they are on a legal salvage, they will be left alone. If they are not truthful they will be boarded, searched and the Zhodani will claim salvage rights.
6. As outcome #4, but it will be no less than three 400-ton corsairs. The PC’s will need to be exceptionally quiet and lay low for the four days they refuel and orbit the nearby gas giant.
Patron: Noble Required Skills: vacc suit skill Required Equipment: Jump-capable starship with 10 tons of empty cargo space and one high or middle passenger compartment
The players are contacted by a middleman from one of the local nobles. He simply calls himself “Catfish.” Apparently, one of this noble’s family members has been captured by a pirate band and he is arranging a ransom. The middleman will not divulge the noble’s name as saving face is important to this aspiring unnamed noble. The PC’s will receive a shipment of ten tons to be delivered to their ship the next day and they are expected to go to a system eight parsecs away to rendezvous on an isolated rock where the exchange is to be made. The noble will pay for the empty cargo space the group has (1,000 credits per parsec = 16,000 credits per ton); 20% now and 80% upon a successful return.
The next day the cargo arrives along with “Catfish.” The cargo contains small, sealed containers labeled “vacc suits,” “medicines” but two containers are one-ton cryo-units (a portable low berth) that is occupied by one person in each unit. Catfish stays in his quarters most of the trip only to emerge when they are in the middle of their last hyper-jump. He then provides the crew with the co-ordinates to the barren, airless, small moon. Not long after the PC’s arrive they receive a signal to travel to another nearby airless moon for the actual rendezvous. Halfway to the new location they are intercepted by a corsair that flashes the agreed upon rescue signal and they ask to pull alongside for the exchange.
Catfish is telling the truth in that he is performing an exchange for the noble. If he is psionically probed nothing other than what he has been told can be read. The noble in question is none other than the head of the system or subsector (as least a Marquis). The prisoners he is providing are captured corsairs and they are in exchange for one of the noble’s adult-aged children who was captured in a corsair raid some months ago.
The pirates are experienced, aggressive and they are not fools. When the exchange is made they will ask the crew to stand down while they offload the cargo by hand. This is non-negotiable and Catfish will insist they comply. When the cryo-units are moved out the pirates will bring a cryo-unit of their own with the noble’s kin sealed inside. They have an electronic lock on the unit attached to an explosive. They tell the PC’s they will be provided the unlock code when they are out of weapon’s range.
1. All is as it seems to be. The exchange is made without a problem and the unlock code is sent as promised. After all, the pirates need to have a way to obtain badly needed goods. When the cryo-unit is unlocked, Catfish uses his medical skills to help wake the former hostage and bring them back to consciousness. The journey home is fairly routine and needless to say the name of the noble becomes known. The noble will personally greet them at the starport and he/she will be grateful and remember the PC’s for future “delicate” work.
2. All is as it seems to be. The exchange is made without a problem and the unlock code is sent as promised. Just on the verge of sensor range an explosion is detected. Apparently several of the medical cargo units were plastic explosives and they were triggered when they were opened. The corsair’s ship is damaged, but they will survive. The corsairs will not forget the PC’s or their ship – that can be counted on for certain. The noble will personally greet them at the starport and he/she will be grateful and remember the PC’s for future “delicate” work.
3. All is as it seems to be. The exchange is made without a problem and the unlock code is sent as promised. Catfish uses his medical skills to wake the former hostage and bring them back to consciousness. When the noble’s kin reaches normal body temperature, their chest cavity explodes, killing the victim instantly and wounding (2d6 damage) anyone within three meters (Catfish will be one of them). Upon return to the original starport the noble will have his attendants standing by to receive the remains of his kin.
4. When the cryo-unit of the hostage is brought on board the PC’s are robbed of their personal effects as the corsairs steal just about everything that is not nailed down. There are no other complications on the trip and the noble will compensate the crew for their lost belongings.
5. As the exchange begins three Type “T” Patrol Cruisers in formation burn towards the rendezvous site. Catfish is frantic to stop the cruisers but they burn in and start shooting at the corsair. The exchange ends before it begins as the corsair immediately flees. While burning out of the system the body of the noble’s kin is expelled out an airlock. Back home, Catfish will speak highly of the PC’s efforts and they will be paid as promised, albeit reluctantly.
6. At the exchange point not one but three corsairs intercept the PC’s ship. When their cargo is brought on board, the pirates loot the PC’s ship and they do not hand over their hostage. When Catfish yells at them for being liars and deceivers they shoot him in the face. As the corsairs depart, three Type “T” Patrol Cruisers burn into the sensor range and now the PC’s are in the middle of a firefight. If the cruisers get the upper hand the noble’s kin will be expelled out the nearest airlock as the corsairs flee. If the corsair win, they will claim the PC’s ship as their own and take them prisoners, demanding the noble send more ransom money due to his “treachery.”
Some say that pirates are not feasible in traveller. They say that the impies and/or other powers will swiftly crush any piracy. 🙁
I do not agree!
If we look at the planet earth, in the year 2009, we can see that piracy does happen in the most unexpected places. It doesn’t have to happen along the coast of a country in anarchy. It could even happen in the Baltic.
What happened (and why) to the ship Arctic Sea could absolutely be transformed into a traveller adventure.
Pirates doesn’t only have to operate corsair ships built using book-2. They could also use old warships or government sponsored privateers build using book-5 rules. That would give the pirates a better fighting chance. 😈