[ Freelance Traveller Home Page | Search Freelance Traveller | Site Index ]

*Freelance Traveller

The Electronic Fan-Supported Traveller® Resource

Buying Trouble

These adventure seeds were posted in response to a request for Merchant-oriented adventures on the Traveller Mailing List in 2014. The  article title and scenario names were created for this article as it appeared in the September/October 2023 issue; they were merely numbered for the original posting.

Parcel Service

The Almayne system has two (at least marginally) habitable planets. The seat of government is on Almayne IV. Almayne III is populated, but under (local) Interdiction due to a plague outbreak.


There’s no actual plague on Almayne III; it’s where the local dictator sends all the folks he doesn’t want cluttering his world up. It’s a massive work camp/death camp. Obviously, the dictator doesn’t want outsiders to know this. The Patron knows the real score, and got the hell out of the system as soon as he could.

He has relatives, however, who weren’t so lucky. He wants a 5dton “care package” delivered to a village on III, and is willing to pay through the nose to make it happen. By the way, the reason for the work camps on Almayne III is to mine certain jewels which are highly prized 5 parsecs away.

The Patron offers two courses of action:

Canny PCs may realize that a third option might be possible:

The referee should determine the payments and the level of opposition that the PCs will face, both for the runs in and out of Almayne III, and any guards in and around the village.

Open Market

One of the crew has a contact in the Scouts, who covertly alerts them, ahead of the official announcement, to plans to drop an Interdiction in two months, allowing ships to visit the world. They can get in first and score the best deals… provided the other merchant who heard about this isn’t going to shoot them, and that the locals don’t get over-antsy and shoot them. Oh, and the locals aren’t real thrilled about the whole thing either.

Hot Pick Up

The Admin office of a Merc company contacts the players. The employers have gone broke and missed payment, activating the reparation clause. The company would like the players to take on the soldiers, gear, etc. … they’re willing to pay a bonus, in that the LZ is not completely cold. There is no expectation that the players will be actually fighting, since the mercs falling back will protect the ship, but things may get exciting, and thus the bonus.

Party Package

A certain favored beverage cannot legally be imported due to certain obscure local laws regarding content and labeling (which are really a cover for protectionism favoring an inferior local product). The patrons, a pair of brothers, approach the PCs to import it from its world of manufacture, an 8-week round trip. They want it for a seasonal celebration occurring in ten weeks. It will have to be smuggled in at the end of the trip; additionally, there is a world en-route which does not honor starport extraterritoriality, and the beverage’s caffeine level makes it contraband there, so they’ll have to smuggle it through that world as well. On top of that, the patrons have an enemy in the destination world’s law enforcement establishment, who will follow the PCs’ ship, with the intent to hinder them.

Hands-On Training

The players are contacted by the Right Honorable Sir Newton, who is establishing a multi-disciplinary college on his TL-7 fief-world. He asks them to convey the books, computers, visual aids, tools, etc., needed, but further to spend 3 months acting as instructors for his “In-System Trade” class, teaching Ship’s Boat, Vacc Suit, etc. He wants to build up orbital industry and jump start his new fief in a big way. He’s willing to pay normal salary plus the ship’s mortgage, plus he has a qualified set of engineering instructors who are willing to do the ship’s annual overhaul as a class project.

Targeted Carriage

A gent by the nickname of “Speed” wants to charter the ship for the grav-racing circuit. This is a tour of 11 planets, with a big race on each one. The ship will carry his vehicle, his crew, and various supplies, tools, etc. Some modifications will need to be made to the cargo area to make it a shop for the vehicle to be fixed up and modified between races. Checking the news nets, though, the players discover that it’s traditional for various teams to attempt to hinder the other players, by damaging, sabotaging, or delaying with paperwork or dirty tricks the transport or the vehicle, so there is some danger here… which explains the high pay being offered.

A Rock and a Hard Place

Dr Peter Zontani’s expedition to a TL2 world with extensive tropical jungles has been out of contact for far too long. Herb Ashton, a news reporter, wants to charter the ship to visit the world, and attempt to find them. The planet has an odd atmo which makes radio, maser and laser comms work poorly. Ashton has the prior messages which were sent out, and he has a map of Dr. Zontani’s planned route, but needs transport.

Don’t Picture This

Ultracorp’s new TS-5000 is finally ready to go to market. Well, nearly. It needs to be seen at the big trade show four parsecs away (where the official announcement will be made). All the players need to do is pick up the TS-5000 and Ultracorp’s PR and engineering teams… and make sure none of the newsies get pictures of the thing before the unveiling. What’s a TS-5000? It’s the much anticipated replacement to the TS-4000… and rumor has it that it’s software upgradable to a TS-5500.

A Pearl of an Idea

While taking on fuel on a TL3 pit stop, the players are approached by a guy that looks like Conan the Barbarian. He wants to talk to them about Vacc Suits. He’s just come off a gig as a caravan guard, bringing pearls across the continent, but he’s seen where the pearl oyster beds are, and watched the pearl divers. He has this idea that if he had a vac suit, he could just walk across the bottom and clean up. His knowledge of vacc suits, however, is limited to the very bad sitcom he saw on a starport waiting room vid while the caravan was unloading its goods… On explanation that it takes training to use one, he offers to guide the players back to the pearl beds, in exchange for a piece of the pie.