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The Game Is Afoot: Consulting Detective Adventure Seeds

This was a featured article in the March/April 2019 issue.

So, after seeing what Sherlock Holmes looks like as a Traveller character (“Sherlock Holmes as a Traveller Character”) and generating a Consulting Detective of your own (“The Consulting Detective”), you naturally want to use your detective in an adventure.

For a solo (or perhaps two player and referee) game, it would be possible to have the PC as the Holmes figure, in these seeds inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s actual writings:

(Editor’s Note: The titles are slight changes from Doyle’s original titles; substitute the word in parentheses for the word immediately preceding it to get the original.)

A Scandal on (in) Bohemia

The local ranking noble of Bohemia (Ilelish 0318 B879987-9) needs help retrieving some compromising holographic imagery from a spurned paramour. The latter’s intelligence is high and deviousness even higher.

The Adventure of the Six Strephons (Napoleons)

A priceless jewel has been hidden in a bust of the Emperor when the thief was escaping capture by the police in a manufactory. The now-finished busts have been sold and the thief is trying to track them down one by one.

The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire

On Sussex (Glimmerdrift Reaches 2416 B120400-A) in the Mandanin Confederation, a client who has married a partner from the Krax Confederation (or the Ginlenchy Concordance) across the border, is troubled because his foreign wife is being accused of being a vampire and biting their son.

The Asteroid (Valley) of Fear

A former organized crime syndicate member is hiding out in an asteroid belt convinced his former gang members are out to kill him for informing to the system’s police. A regular force detective inspector who knows the PC well invites the character to join him in checking up on the mob member. They arrive to find a body…

“If the law can do nothing we must take the risk ourselves” (Reminiscence of Sherlock Holmes)

Or, for a more conventional merchant ship set up:

The Voyage of Rossum’s Heir

The PCs are asked to transport an android shlock to a world several Jumps away.

  1. Humaniform androids are illegal in Solomani/Imperial space and the PCs are not privy to the true nature of the android. Delivery may be straightforward and consequences only apparent once the authorities find out what (who) they’ve ‘smuggled’. The nature of the android may be revealed on the journey either to just the PCs or the PCs and other passengers and the PCs will be required to knowingly smuggle the android to its destination if they want to be paid. The shlock’s ability to notice detail and reason out the responses of locals should assist in getting the unusual passenger to the destination.
  2. As #1, but there is an Imperial Agent hunting for the shlock. The Agent books passage on the PCs’ ship believing the shlock is at the next world. The Agent may or may not realize the nature of a fellow passenger during the voyage. The shlock may request ‘asylum’ or assistance from the PCs if required.
  3. Humaniform androids are not illegal but they’re certainly unusual and the shlock will garner a lot of interest on the voyage and at any intervening stopovers. ‘Ownership’ of the shlock may be a question that is up for debate while it is transit. Does it belong to the seller, the buyer, itself or the ship carrying it as a passenger? The PCs may find that they’re called on by local authorities or local patrons to allow or assist the shlock in solving a crime.
  4. Shlocks are neither illegal or unusual but one has booked passage on the PCs ship and may involve them in adventures or investigations on worlds they stop on; or, may assist the PCs in negotiating tricky situations with regard to their cargo deliveries, encounters on the world, and so on.
  5. An entertainment company hires the PC’s vessel for one Jump promising a full passenger load. They will want to convert/decorate the passenger lounges and any other shipboard spaces they can negotiate with the PCs into a theatre set for a murder mystery they will set on board for the duration of the voyage. The shlock will take one cabin, three more will be taken by the organizers and their ‘cast’, with the remaining cabins sold to mystery loving punters watching the master/mistress at work. They may also be competing with the shlock to solve the mystery first. The PCs can participate if desired.
  6. As #4 or #5 and a real murder takes place in Jump space. An ideal moment for the shlock to be a ‘marple’ in the cosy setting of a ship in Jump.


The Problem of the Maiden’s Escort

The PCs are Solomani agents tasked with transporting an experimental shlock from a lab ship to a world several Jumps away; perhaps Terra. The shlock is a humaniform robot that has not been designed to be ‘switched off’ and there are doubts about how the biotechnology would survive low-berth travel. The shlock has been designed to look like a very attractive and fit woman of perhaps 30. Her name is Eurus and her UPP is AAAC5?. She is intelligent but na´ve; to date her education has only covered basic living and social interaction functions. Her social standing will depend on how she’s presented to the world at large (or how she presents herself if allowed). To complicate matters one of the PCs (choose at random) has fallen in love with her; either as an unrequited crush or as reciprocated romantic entanglement.

  1. One of the PCs is a SolSec agent from the Technical Directorate tasked with ensuring that Eurus is delivered without interference from any other sources; the PC has information indicating that another in the team may be working against this goal.
  2. One of the PCs is a SolSec agent from the Monitor Program interested in seeing how the shlock and/or its training might be used to further monitors’ watching briefs on those around them.
  3. One of the PCs is an agent of a megacorporation – such as Transstar – intent on stealing the biotech for themselves as potentially hugely useful in industrial espionage or trade negotiations and the like.
  4. One of the PCs is a member of an organization (whether political, religious, quasi-scientific or something else) who want to destroy the technology – but may attempt to use the shlock to track down and destroy the original research as well.
  5. One of the PCs is an Imperial agent determined to retrieve this advanced biotechnology for the Third Imperium. If that’s not possible, Plan B is to destroy it.
  6. All of the above are true.

“It may well be that several explanations remain…” (“Blanched Soldier”)