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The 200T False Trader

This was originally posted by the author on Reddit r/Traveller, with the following note:

Long post. Don’t have the time to develop this properly and don’t have a campaign at the moment. Hopefully someone else will find something worth stealing. If you are a player rather than a GM maybe don’t read past the synopsis.

The author granted reprint permission, and it was reprinted in the March/April 2023 issue.


The players are on the outer edges of a system when they pick up a very faint signal—only detectable due to a particular combination of circumstances. After carefully tracking down the source they find a dark, cold Far Trader drifting and with barely enough energy to put out the faintest SOS. It is so cold it clearly has been drifting for years, possibly longer than the 10-year limit which would make it “free salvage”, and all the players need to do is get it back to a starbase and submit the right paperwork and it is theirs—mortgage free.

The ship is barely above absolute zero—it will take the players a good 48 hours to get it to the level where it is safe to try activating subsystems and explore the vessel.

The Obvious

The Less Obvious

The Truly Hidden

The Truth


  1. The party have a shiny new ship for free—hooray!
  2. The party have a complicated unreliable ship that they can’t let any Imperial engineers look too closely at.
  3. The ship’s (current) call-sign is still on a watch-list and when re-registered this will eventually reach the notice of a retired Commodore in Naval Intelligence. He was obsessed with the ship before it disappeared. He is well connected and independently wealthy and wants to know what is going on.
  4. The ship’s (current) call-sign is on a Zhodani watch-list and they will want to make sure the contents of the hidden compartment are not revealed and possibly that the ship suffers some terminal accident.
  5. The Zhodani spy had a family within the Imperium and the eldest daughter grew up to be a lawyer and salvage laws be damned, that's her inheritance.