Editor’s Note: This is an edited version of an adventure which originally appeared on the pre-magazine Freelance Traveller site in 1999, under the title “It Beats Shoveling Shemdur in Aramanx, Barely”. It appeared in this form and under its current title in the January 2015 issue.
This adventure is meant as a means by which characters can begin to form their own mercenary unit at the start of a mercenary-style campaign, or at a transition point in another campaign. It is a straightforward security ticket with a variety of difficulties to overcome.
This adventure should work best with between 2 and 6 characters. Required material for the referee includes the basic rules of whatever edition of Traveller you are using, plus any supplementary materials covering the creation/operation of Army/Marine characters, mercenary units, and their weapons and equipment. The adventure is written with skills and task resolution for Marc Miller’s Traveller (T4) in mind, but can be readily adapted to other editions.
This scenario is written to occur on a planet called Alphax, C565755-B, but can be played on any planet with the following characteristics:
|C or D
|5 or 6
|10(A) or 11(B)
Required/Recommended Character Types
Characters with Army or Marine experience are essential. A Noble or other character with high liquidity can potentially be helpful, as well.
The adventure is structured generally linearly, with five phases, each consisting of a series of encounters or activities.
Phase I: Finding the Patron
This phase consists of two encounters. Encounter 1 is optional (the party can get the basics from ordinary opportunity-search activities), but offers the opportunity for some role-playing.
Encounter 1: Mustache Bill
Character with military or Marine experience and time on his hands.
Location: Startown on Alphax.
The players are casting about for work or opportunities in the Startown area of Alphax, when one of the PCs with military or marine experience runs into an old friend. “Mustache Bill” Ilidru was a friend of the PC in the service, but now is displaying staff sergeant stripes on the scarlet and green uniform of Hendru’s Dragoons, a respected mercenary unit (He was last known by the PC to be wearing the insignia of a major on an Imperial uniform). Bill is currently tearing up the town and will invite the players along with him to Skunky’s, a startown bar. After buying a few rounds, Bill will say that he’s reasonably happy in the Dragoons—“it beats shoveling shemdur in Aramanx”—but that the real money and chance for advancement lies in forming one’s own unit.
At one point, Bill will sit back, point at a businessman in a shiny silver jumpsuit and say “Guys like that pony up the equipment-money and take half the profit, yeeesh. If I only could hang on to a paycheck for more than 2 seconds I’d start my own team. Hang it all, I’d just muck the business up in the end. But, I tell you, if you’re quick and have some cash, you could get into the business yourself. I had a lead on a job, but I’m still under contract with the Dragoons. If you can get together a dozen infantry guys, there’s security work with Trans-Galactic Mining. You got about a week to pull something together and see the District Director over in Mine-town. If you need some more advice on setting up a unit, talk to the InterStellarms representative over at the downport.”
Encounter 2: Patron: Trans-Galactic Mining
Complete Encounter 1, or look for work on Comp-Net (Task: Easy; Computer or Admin)
Character with military or Marine experience, access to at least Cr20,000
Location: Trans-Galactic Mining, Minetown on Alphax.
When the players follow up on Mustache Bill’s information (or the listing on the Comp-Net), they will be able to contact the local headquarters of Trans-Galactic Mining. When they enter the large, windowless structure in mine-town, they will be greeted by a robotic receptionist and once their business is made clear they will be ushered into a contra-grav tube which will lift them up to an impressive office which has several robotic workers operating office equipment. A mobile desk-bot will lead the characters into an inner office and introduce them to Hilbert Wuldax, the company representative on Alphax, who is also the only human who works in this building. He looks all business, and wears a conservative blue-foil jumpsuit, Vilani headdress (an affectation; he’s quite Solomani in appearance and attitude) and platform boots. Wuldax will gruffly tell the players he needs a security troop for about a month and will hand them a document carrying the following information and bid them good day.
Details of the Ticket
Trans-Galactic Mining is looking for a small mercenary unit to undertake a 30-day security ticket beginning in 7 days. The leader of the unit must appear at Trans-Galactic depot in Mine-town by the end of business 7 days from today. He must meet the following conditions to be hired:
- He must have, ready for transport, a squad of 10-12 soldiers with infantry weapons.
- He must have a mercenary license, either local or Imperial.
- The unit must be willing to remain under contract and under arms for a solid 30 days without a break.
(The above can be learned from the Comp-Net listing, if the PCs learn about the job that way. Mustache Bill mentions the ‘dozen infantry guys’, but not any of the other requirements.)
The mission is to guard an unspecified installation from all hostile attack, theft or sabotage. If the target is preserved undamaged and secure at the end of the thirty-day period, then Cr100,000cr will be paid out to the unit. Trans-Galactic will pay all transport and personnel maintenance (food/shelter/life support) for the duration of the contract; equipment, ammunition, and personal expenses beyond the above are not covered.
Phase II: Creating the Mercenary Unit.
If the players decide to undertake the mission, there are several obstacles to overcome: obtaining a license, recruiting the squad, obtaining weaponry and optionally acquiring additional intelligence. There is a seven-day period in which the players can prepare their unit, and players will be limited as to how many activities they can perform each day, based on the number of people who are playing:
If there are 1-3 players: 2 activities per day.
If there are 4 or more players: 3 activities per day (if the group breaks up to e.g., visit two weapons suppliers simultaneously. If they stay together, only one activity per day is possible).
Note that some activities count as multiple activities; others can be repeated, with the repeat counting as a separate activity.
List of Player Activities:
- Try to obtain a mercenary license
- Try to purchase weapons or equipment
- Try to recruit soldiers
- Try to track down information
- Plus a final group activity: Organizing the Unit
Trying to Obtain a Mercenary License
The first activity should be an interview with the InterStellarms company representative in startown. He is currently very accessible, since he’s finished all the work on a big contract with the local army and also has just delivered the latest order to Hendru’s Dragoons. The players will be ushered right in to his office once they’ve paid the receptionist a Cr75 consulting fee (the receptionist is either an Aslan female or a Newt (Bwap), depending on which alien is more common in your campaign area). This same information can be gained (legally) by a series of (Task: Average; Computer) (one for each type of license, one for each legal weapons source).
The representative, Dr. Miles Maxwell, will brief the players on the types of mercenary license available (see License Types below) and what weaponry is available from what sources (see Purchasing Weaponry below).
There are several types of mercenary license available, each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Local Security/Mercenary License: This license allows the holder to operate an organization (nominally structured as a corporation) providing security services on Alphax only. The organization is permitted to purchase semi-automatic weapons at the local police depot, but does not provide access to military weapons. The license does not grant any standing off Alphax. To obtain this license, the head of the organization (CEO) must apply in person at the central police office and pay a Cr500 filing fee. A background check will be run (Roll SOC or less to avoid a 1-day delay), and if nothing surfaces in the check (Task: Average; Admin), the license will be issued.
Imperial Mercenary License: This license allows the holder to operate an organization providing contract military or security services anywhere in the Imperium. The organization is permitted to purchase Imperial surplus equipment at any Imperial Surplus Service depot, or from licensed Imperial Surplus dealers (On Alphax, only InterStellarms has the requisite license). To obtain this license, a list must be drawn up of the investors or “owners” of the unit, and what proportion of the “owner’s share” each receives (this is typically the Player Characters in proportion to the money they pony up for starting the unit). A unit commander must be appointed who must be an ex-Imperial Army or Marine officer. The filing fee of Cr1500 must be paid and a bond posted equal to Cr1000 per soldier in the unit (this may be increased later). This bond (not to be confused with a repatriation bond) is refunded if the unit is disbanded but is seized by the Imperium if the unit engages in wrongdoing. Applications must be submitted in person by the principal owner or unit commander at any Imperial Army or Imperial Marine Public Liaison Office (On Alphax, there is an Army PLO at the starport).
If this license is applied for, the woman in charge of the Army PLO Alphax is Captain Lydia Procrustes, a career officer with only staff experience. She wears a simple garrison uniform, with service ribbons (it will be obvious to any Army character that she has no combat experience) and a computer monitor-aide mounted over her left eye. She does not react well to Marines, nor to anyone who approaches her with a rude or surly attitude, and she really resents having her lack of combat experience thrown in her face. She respects rank and will automatically defer to superiors, including nobles who make it clear that they are in charge. She will try to make things a bit easier for Army types—strictly within the rules, though—and if she’s approached with courtesy and respect (beyond what her rank and position might warrant, but not too obviously fawning and obsequious), she’ll go out of her way to be helpful.
Difficult; Admin). DMs:
+2 if designated commander is an Army veteran
-2 if designated commander is a Marine veteran
+2 if designated commander's rank is higher than captain.
+2 if noble present who lords it over everybody.
-2 if no one present is above social status 6.
-4 if applicants criticize her for not having combat experience.
+4 if the applicant “makes real nice and respectful”
-2 if the applicant is surly.
If the task roll fails, the players may reapply each day, as long as the roll is not missed by more than 4 points, in which case Captain Procrustes will refuse any further application.
Noble Bodyguard Registration: Any noble may register a “personal bodyguard” of up to 15 individuals. These individuals may carry any civilian or light military weapons within local law level, without interference from local authorities, provided that they are within about 1km of the noble and on his business. To obtain this license, the noble must personally provide the Alphax Ministry of State with the list of individuals in the bodyguard unit, plus a copy of his patent of nobility. There is no filing fee; it is a two-way diplomatic courtesy This license is sufficient for the purposes of the Trans-Galactic security ticket, though they would prefer either of the other two licenses.
It’s conceivable that events transpire to close off all three of the above from the party. In that case, they can try…
Forging a License: There are two different quality forgeries that can be attempted. If the players just want to fool Trans-Galactic into accepting them as a licensed unit, then it is (Task: Difficult; Forgery), with a +1 modifier for each whole day spent improving the forgery. If the forgery is meant to fool the police weapons depot, the Imperial Surplus Service or InterStellarms, in order to purchase weapons illegally, then it is (Task: Formidable; Forgery) and requires three days of work. The referee should make the skill roll in secret, but tell the player if he fails the roll by 5 or more points (obvious bad result). If a failed result occurs and is presented it will be discovered and the police will be summoned to arrest the forgers (adventure over, man).
It’s necessary for the players to purchase weaponry for their unit. Visiting, purchasing and receiving weapons from one source counts as one “activity”.
What sources are accessible depends on the type of license the characters have, as detailed in Trying to Obtain a Mercenary License, above. Equipment is listed in general terms to allow adaptation to any Traveller edition.
Local discount store: Normal, non-military supplies and equipment can be purchased routinely at standard price. Blades, shotguns, and shotgun ammunition may be purchased at standard price upon showing ID. If more than one shotgun is purchased, a police investigation will be triggered (roll 7+ on 2D to avoid being taken in for questioning; if an illegal arsenal is found, prosecution is certain).
Police Weapons Depot: TL8-10 weapons (semi-automatic rifles, pistols, and revolvers) and ammunition, and TL8-10 armor (except combat armor, combat environment suit, or battle dress) may be purchased at standard price. The purchaser must show a valid Local Security/Mercenary License (an Imperial Mercenary License will also be accepted) and be photographed and retina scanned. A record check will be done (if the character has a criminal record, roll 10+ on 2D to avoid arrest.)
Imperial Surplus Service Depot: Military rifles and light support weapons (ACRs, light machine guns, hand grenades) at TL10 are available here. They are all used, and quantities are uncertain, as they are retired material from Imperial Colonial forces on Alphax. TL10 unpowered body armor, helmets, and communications gear are also available. Purchasers must show a valid Imperial Mercenary License, and all material must be purchased in quantity (guns, armor, commo: lots of 10; grenades: lots of 20; ammo: lots of 1,000 rounds). Prices are 10% below standard. All weapons are serial numbered and purchasers are required to notify Imperial authorities when they are sold, stolen, or traded to other than original purchasers.
InterStellarms: Interstellarms offers laser rifles, pistols, and carbines at up to TL12, and military electronics, mortars, and anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines at up to TL11. Purchasers must show a valid Imperial Mercenary License, and all materials must be purchased in quantity (guns (including laser weapon power packs) and electronics in lots of 10, ammo in lots of 1,000, mortars and mines in lots of 20). All prices are 150% of standard. All weapons are serial numbered and purchasers are required to notify Imperial authorities when they are sold, stolen, or traded to other than original purchasers.
A Noble with a “registered bodyguard” may attempt purchase from this source (Task: Average; Fast Talk or Carouse), but note that the local authorities will not react well to weapons exceeding the local law level.
“The Street”: If the party has had to resort to forging a license, this may be the best option for arming the unit. Anything is theoretically available, but prices are premium, and being discovered and arrested is always a possibility. For each attempt at a purchase, roll 7+ on 2D to avoid detection and arrest, then roll for availability of a specific article:
Items available from the Police Depot: (Task: Average; Streetwise); price 150% of standard.
Items available from the Imperial Surplus Service: (Task: Difficult; Streetwise); price 200% of standard.
Items available from Interstellarms: (Task: Difficult; Streetwise); price 250% of standard.
Other items, TL12+ or heavy military: (Task: Formidable; Streetwise); price 200+(2D×10)% of standard.
If an item is unavailable, a new attempt to purchase it may be made the next day, with DM –1 on the roll to avoid detection and arrest.
A character can use his activity to try to recruit soldiers to bring the unit up to 12 men. Each attempt (Task: Average; Leadership, Streetwise, or Carousing) will result in 1-3 soldiers from the following list being available. As each recruit appears, he will automatically take the job offer at private’s salary and shares. A rejected applicant can be signed up later (Task: Average; Leader, Fast Talk, or Recruiting).
Thad Kisenowski 888777 Army (1 term)
Gun Cbt-2, Heavy Weapons-1, Brawling-1, Ground Craft-1, First Aid-1
John Stephens 777777 Army (1 term)
Gun Cbt-1, Demolitions-1, Gambling-1, Recon-1, Mechanical-1
Urdush Mogushi 888665 Marine (1 term)
Gun Cbt-1, Cutlass-1, Recon-1, Throwing-1, Streetwise-1
Migo Resh 777667 Marine (1 term)
Gun Cbt-2, Cutlass-1. Recon-1, Stealth-1
Bluto Sludge 989663 Army (2 terms)
Gun Cbat-3, Recon-2, Artillery-1, Dagger-1, Stealth-1, Grav Craft-1
Dorn Whiplash 888777 Army (1 term)
Gun Cbt-2, Camoflague-1, Ground Craft-1, Melee-1
Joe Harrison A98777 Marine (1 term)
Gun Cbt-1, Cutlass-1, Computer-1, Battledress-1, Environmental Combat-1
Steve Conners 777666 no prior career
Ground Craft-1, Brawling-1
Ihero Meshmishig 788886 Scout (½ term)
Jack-of-All Trades-1, Recon-2, Pilot-1, Gun Cbt-1, Brawling-1, Computer-1
Fulwith Rago AAA664 Rogue (1 term)
Gun Cbt-1, Dagger-1, Brawling-3, Streetwise-1
These are the only recruits available during the week of recruiting. Both Steve Conners and Fulwith Rago claim to be experienced mercenaries, but an average interrogation task (default at full value to Army/marine veterans) will reveal they have no real military background.
NOTE TO REFEREE ONLY: John Stephens is in fact a saboteur. He acts like a slightly undisciplined, if well-trained, soldier but is waiting for a chance to place a bomb (concealed in his personal entertainment computer). He can be discovered, but only ‘by intent’ (Task: Difficult; Interrogation (must be specifically looking for saboteurs)). It is strongly suggested that he remain completely nondescript in the referee’s presentation at this point.
Tracking Down Information
If a character uses his activity to search for information and makes his skill check (Task: Average; Streetwise, Carousing, Admin, Leader, or Computer), reveal one of the following rumors. If the character decides to follow up the rumor, make another skill check at the indicated level to determine additional information.
- Trans-Galactic has been automating nearly
every facet of its operations.
Follow-up: Easy: True; there is a large number of displaced workers angry with the company.
- Trans-Galactic has been changing its mining
operation on this planet into an
export-driven luxury food business.
Follow-up: Easy: False, but a group called Sophonts Against Vegetable Exploitation (S.A.V.E.) has protested the supposed new business.
- The Grey Shadow Criminal Cartel has gained
control of the Miners’ Union and plans to
extort money from Trans-Galactic.
Follow-up: Average: True, but Trans-Galactic is in no hurry to pay, and in fact does not seem worried.
- A damaged merchant vessel arrived last week
and was landed on Trans-Galactic property.
Follow-up: Difficult: True, and the management has been searching hard for qualified engineers and mechanics.
- In Trans-Galactic mine shaft A-7, all work
was mysteriously called off 6 months ago,
but the laid-off workers have been called
back beginning next week.
Follow-up: Average: True, and there are also reports of the mining equipment being in need of minor repairs.
- A huge monster was sighted on Trans-Galactic
land several times over the last six months.
Follow-up: Difficult: No pictures or reliable eye-witnesses exist.
- Trans-Galactic has made a deal with the Grey
Shadow Cartel to eliminate the Miners’
Follow-up: Difficult: Absolutely false; there is evidence that Trans-Galactic has been stepping up efforts to have the Imperial authorities and local law enforcement move against the Cartel.
- A strange unmarked bus has been sighted
picking up and dropping off men from the
main Trans-Galactic mine barracks.
Follow-up: Difficult: True, and no one has been able to talk to these men who have been kept sequestered.
Organizing the Unit
Once the unit has been recruited, it must be organized. Each person in the unit should be given a rank, to determine salary and shares. A chain of command should be established. Since the unit will be 12-15 men, the most likely organization would be as a squad. The unit commander would hold the rank of sergeant. The remaining troops would be arranged in “fire teams”, each of which is four men commanded by a corporal. The remaining troops should be privates, or lance corporals. One player character could be designated Assistant squad leader and given the rank of Lance Sergeant. Assuming this organization, shares and monthly pay would be as follows:
Once the unit is organized, the players should prepare an index card for each NPC trooper and indicate his name, UPP, skills, armor, weapons and other equipment, his unit rank and which team he is a member of on it.
The shares will be important in the final “cashing out” at the end of the adventure. Salaries must be paid to NPCs whether or not mission is a success or even if the character is killed.
Phase III: The Mission
Note to Referees: Two maps should be prepared for this part of the adventure. Map #1 should give a plan of the Trans-Galactic compound, showing the locations of all of the buildings, the fence, and the starship. Map #2 should show all significant terrain features within 1000m of the compound.
When the players and their unit arrive at Trans-Galactic headquarters with the requisite license and equipment, they will be greeted by Mr. Wuldax, wearing an especially tall Vilani headdress. He will look over everything and then push a button on his lapel. After the contract is signed, a bus will pull up and Wuldax will say, “Get in; I’ll brief you when we arrive at our destination.”
The bus ride takes about an hour, at the end of which the players will find themselves at a compound consisting of a large garage, small administration building and a Subsidized Merchant vessel, all surrounded by a tall barbed-wire fence (referee-prepared map #1). Wuldax will invite the commander to a meeting room in the admin building. There he will give the following information:
- Trans-Galactic has been experimenting with robotic mining on Alphax for the last six months. Special mining robots and techniques have been secretly used in one of the existing mines.
- The robots, ore samples and technical information are to be loaded onto the merchant ship today, but the ship was ambushed by pirates on the trip in and requires considerable repair. A special repair crew has been hired to do the job, which should be completed in exactly thirty days when the last needed part arrives on the regular liner from the subsector capital.
- Trans-Galactic has been having real trouble with the Miners’ Union, which is controlled by the Grey Shadow criminal cartel. The automation of the mines will put many miners out of work and eliminate the cartel’s ability to use the union for money laundering and extortion. Wuldax believes that the Grey Shadow were behind the “pirate” attack on the merchant vessel and is certain that they will make a direct strike on the vessel to destroy the robots and the other results of the tests. Miners and their families may also cause some trouble, but this is not rated as a real danger.
- The police will guard the shipment of equipment to this base, but will not leave a significant guard presence here, thus the need for the unit. Each day a bus will arrive from the town, containing a dozen workers who will work on the repair of the vessel, and return to town each evening.
- The unit will be paid its Cr100,000 thirty days from now as long as the contents of the vessel (being loaded this evening) are intact and no additional damage has been inflicted on the vessel.
- The troopers are legally justified if they use firearms or explosives against attackers who are using, carrying or displaying dangerous firearms on company land. If they fire on people who are unarmed or not armed with firearms, then they are liable to arrest and criminal prosecution, as they will be if they engage in offensive action off the base.
- None of the troops may leave the base until the ticket has been completed, barring medical emergency or wounds.
- The unit’s authorized security area consists of the base and all land within 1000m (all of which is owned by Trans-Galactic). (referee-prepared map #2).
Nail it Down!
The PCs will meet the following people at the base:
Dris Molonu 777887 Merchant (2 terms)
Admin-2, Sensors-2, Gambling-2, Mechanical-1, Law-1, Pistol-1
Dris is an ambitious woman who is a bit angry at being placed in charge of this installation instead of a posting on a starship. She is the only human on permanent station at this base, supervising a crew of maintenance robots who clean up and do the inventory etc. She is a bit lonely and will take any opportunity to gamble with the troops. She will constantly remind the players about the legalities of the contract and their responsibilities and duties.
Brock Hammer 978787 Merchant (3 terms)
Admin-1, Engineer-3, mechanical-2, Electronics-2, Brawling-1, Computer-2.
Brock is the head of the repair crew for the starship. He is surly and grouchy and his favorite quotation seems to be “git yer damn sojer-boys outta my way and offa that ship”. He will adamantly refuse to do anything that inconveniences his crew at all.
There are about 11 other rather nondescript repair crewmen. None of them will cause any trouble or has any connection with any of the opposition.
Wuldrax will provide sleeping bags, pre-pack rations for 12 men for 30 days each, and a tank of drinking water. There should be no “need” for any other supplies.
The first task that the players face is to set up their security measures. They should decide on a watch schedule and rotation, with posts or beats selected for optimal coverage.
There will be one complication during the first three days. A multi-phase coil adjuster will turn up missing according to a robot inventory check. This tool is expensive, but also can be used to overheat and damage a starship maneuver drive if left running near the thrust plates. It will not turn up on the base grounds, but in fact has been stolen by one of the repair crew and hidden in his toolbox. Dris will demand that it be found, but Brock will refuse to let the soldiers near any of his workers. The easiest method of dealing with this problem is to send for Mr. Wuldrax, but he will become very angry and chew everybody out. If Brock is restrained or assaulted he will storm off taking his workers with him and the patron will fire the troops.
Weep For The Beans!
On the eighth day of the ticket, a radio call will come in from Brock in the workers’ transit bus. He says that a bunch of angry trees are blocking the road and he can’t get through. It turns out that a band of Hresh (an intelligent, mobile tree-like being) calling themselves S.A.V.E. (Sophonts Against Vegetable Exploitation) have moved in and set up a political protest on the access road. The boulder field in the area makes it impossible to get the bus around them. The Hresh claim that Trans-Galactic is about to test market a new variety of cave-monkey chili as a luxury food off world. They are incensed that native chili beans are being needlessly slaughtered for the sake of rich off-worlders.
The blockade can be avoided by marching the workers around the Hresh, but Brock will refuse to do so, insisting that they be cleared off and the bus proceed. The Hresh will refuse to move voluntarily, and Dris will remind the players that firing on the Hresh is utterly unacceptable. Once the blockade question is settled, the Hresh will get up to about 200m from the front gate and start making a huge racket, with several loud speakers and electronic amplifiers and translators. The will constantly chant slogans such as “Weep for the Beans” and “Plant Killers Be Damned!”
If the police are contacted, they will just laugh. Wuldrax, if contacted, will say that this is the characters’ job to settle. The Hresh will depart if they can be convinced that there is no vegetable-based food in the hold of the ship or after 4 days of incessant chanting. If Steve Conners is in the unit he will go nuts after two days of Hresh protest and attempt to “teach those bush-boys a lesson.”
Treachery and Sabotage
After the first week has expired, the saboteur, John Stephens, will attempt to do his dirty work. At night, when the workers are gone, he will attempt to get onto the ship and place his handheld “game computer” (which is actually a bomb) in the power plant of the ship. The bomb will explode 30 minutes after being planted, during which time Stephens will try to escape from the compound. The referee will have to judge his chances of success based on the plans of the base, the locations of the troops on watch, and so on. But, he is not especially stealthy, although he has a good chance of spotting someone looking for him. If stopped and questioned, he will say he left some of his gear in the ship. If he believes he is discovered he will attempt flight, but will return fire if necessary. If he is stationed alone in the ship, it’s bad luck for the players (unless he’s caught while trying to escape). If caught and questioned, he will turn out to be a hired criminal who does not know the identity of his employers.
1d6 days after the Stephens incident, a party of infiltrators will attempt to cut the wire, sneak in set a bomb on the ship and escape. There will be four of them, each wearing cloth armor (Jack in CT/MT/GT) carrying an SMG. One will have wire cutters, one the explosive device; the other two also carry daggers and two hand grenades each.
Stealth-1, Demo-1, Gun Combat-1, Dagger-1
The infiltrators will flee if discovered, but will use their weaponry if needed to escape. If any are captured and questioned, they will turn out to be known members of the Grey Shadow Cartel. They will reveal (Task: Difficult; Interrogation) that they were meant as a security test, but if they succeeded, then they would get a big bonus.
1d6 days later a gang of 50 people will show up at the front gate and begin to throw rocks and yell at the compound. After 30 minutes or so they will try to rush the gate and eventually get into the ship and destroy the contents. The crowd is made up of 15 university sociology students, 15 criminals, and 20 miners from the Miners’ Union; all of these are led by Brigo Haze, a union activist who will be riling everyone up with his megaphone. If there is any weapon-fire, the university students will immediately flee. If Haze is convinced to leave (Task: Difficult; Intimidation or Bribery (Cr500)), the miners and students will clear off too.
The criminals will stay until 25% of them are captured, killed or knocked unconscious, although they can be forced off (Task: Formidable; Intimidation). If any of the miners or students are killed or seriously injured, then the unit will face serious legal consequences.
The Big Climactic Gun Fight
Three days before the expiration of the ticket, the Grey Shadow Cartel will attempt one final play to destroy the ship’s cargo. They will send a para-military strike team to assault the compound. It will be a night attack in two parts. The first body will consist of 3 air/rafts each with 4 men; the second element is a 24-man infantry unit which will attack on foot.
The Plan: The air/raft unit will come in at high speed firing as many bullets as possible hoping to draw the entire security force into a fire fight. They will always remain on the Eastern half of the compound, sacrificing their own weapon accuracy to avoid being hit. Their attack is mainly a diversion, but each air/raft does have a bomb stowed on board to set on the ship if it becomes practical.
Meanwhile, the infantry unit will wait until it thinks that the unit is fully engaged, when it will rush the western perimeter. The rifle-grenadiers will use the rifle grenades to blow holes in the wire fence, and the troops will rush through and attempt to wipe out or drive off the defenders.
Captain Gudrio Flox 887877
Rifle-2, Leader-1, Demolitions-1, Grav-Vehicle-1, Dagger-2
Equipment: flex vest 9 (armor 3f), ACR-10.
Air/raft Crewman 777777
Grav-Vehicle-1, Heavy Weapons-1, Demolitions-1, Rifle-1
Equipment: flex vest-8 (armor 2f), Rifle-Bullpup-9.
- Each air/raft is a standard model, with a Light Machinegun in a non-stabilized mount.
24 × Foot Soldier 777777
Gun Combat-1, Heavy Weapons-1, Stealth-1.
Equipment: cloth armor (armor 1f), either Rifle, Bullpup-9 or SMG (1/2 each)
- 1 man in 8 has a rifle grenade adapter and 3 rifle grenades.
- They will attack in 3 squads of 8 men each, 1 grenadier 3 riflemen and 4 SMG gunners each.
(Note: if using editions of Traveller other than T4, treat Rifle, Bullpup-9 as a standard Rifle, treat flex vests as flak vests (cloth armor) and treat cloth armor as Jack.)
- Check Morale for each Infantry Squad when 2 of its 8 members are killed.
- Check Morale for each air/raft when 1 of its crew is killed.
- Use standard morale rules.
While the attackers have a large numeric advantage, they have no Tactics skills, which presumably the defenders will. Also the attackers are lightly armored and hopefully the defenders will have procured better armor, weapons and communications gear. Finally the defenders should have the advantage of prepared defensive position.
Phase IV: The Cash Out
Once the thirty-day ticket is complete it is time to receive the rewards.
Abject Failure: If the players end up in prison for illegal activities or fail meet the terms for initial employment, then the patron will not pay, the troopers will quit and the characters receive no experience points.
Failure: If the contents of the merchant ship are destroyed by a bomb or rioters, or the base captured by the attackers, then the mission is a failure. Any remaining troopers will quit the unit, and the patron will not pay. Each surviving character receives 1 experience point.
Success: If the ship and its cargo is intact with only minor additional damage, but the unit or base personnel have suffered fatalities, then the patron will pay the Cr100,000, and each character will receive 2 experience points. Each wounded NPC soldier will quit the unit; the others can be convinced—individually—to remain (Task: Average; Leadership).
Complete Success: If the ship and its cargo is intact with no additional damage and the unit has suffered no fatalities, then the patron will pay the agreed upon Cr100,000, the soldiers in the unit will want to continue in the PCs’ employ, and each character will receive 3 experience points.
Dividing the Money: Subtract the salaries of all the soldiers and PCs (whether each survived or not) from the Cr100,000. Also subtract from the Cr100,000 the cost of any weapons and other equipment purchased for the mission, which is now considered “unit property”. The remaining money is split in half. One half is called the “owner’s share” and is split among the owners or investors of the unit (this typically means the player characters). The split is either even or in proportion to the money invested in the unit. The remainder is the troopers’ share and is divided among all surviving soldiers who took part in the mission (PC or NPC) in proportion to the shares that are derived from their ranks. For example, if the troopers’ share is Cr40,000 and the survivors are 6 privates (1 share each) and 1 sergeant (4 shares), there are a total of 10 shares which is divided into Cr40,000 to get Cr4,000 per share, so each private will get Cr4,000, and the sergeant will get Cr16,000.