The Medicine Man
This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue.
- A primitive tribe asks the PCs to rescue its healer, kidnapped by a rival tribe.
The referee should select or create the following:
- An Imperial world with Starport Type E or X, Atmosphere 6 or 8, and Tech Level 0 or 1.
- Two primitive tribes, one smaller and weaker than the other. The natives need not be human.
The group is asked to meet with the chief of a small local tribe. They are told (through an interpreter if necessary) that until recently, they had the services of a healer who kept his people healthy and fit. A rival tribe kidnapped the healer and fled to their own territory, rough country a day’s walk from the smaller tribe’s lands. Sickness is sure to return to his own camp if the healer isn’t returned.
The chief’s clan, despite their physical fitness, is far too few in number to retrieve the healer themselves without risking a bloodbath. So he forced to ask members of the mighty Im-Peer-Ee-Um Tribe to reclaim their healer for them. He has little in the way of anything the visitors consider valuable, but he is open to negotiation. He also hints that perhaps the PCs might spot something in the rival camp that they might want to take for themselves.
The other camp is about 40 kilometers away; the chief can point the team in the general direction in which he suspects the rivals fled. The PCs can quickly and easily cover that ground with a vehicle.
The rival tribe occupies the summit of a low hill in rough scrubland. PCs with Tactics can tell the campsite was chosen with great care. The area is tactically sound, including unobstructed lines of sight in multiple directions; and abundant natural resources. Ex-military PCs can estimate the number of rival tribe members at around 150, occupying tents covered primarily with animal hides.
Upon being discovered by the tribe, the heroes will immediately be challenged by 5D+2 tribal warriors. Two-thirds of the fighters wield spears (Book 1: Characters and Combat), and the rest have short bows (Supplement 4: Citizens of the Imperium). If the adventurers are in a flying craft, the bowmen will do their best to bring the craft down; exposed PCs are preferred targets. Otherwise, the visitors will quickly be surrounded. If the PCs offer no resistance, they will be taken into the camp at spear-point.
On their way into camp, they glimpse a male human in one of the tents, clearly of Imperial origin, and dressed in a white uniform typical of a doctor. This is the healer the first chief wants retrieved. Clearly, he didn’t tell the party everything.
The group is taken before the chief and given the opportunity to state their business. He is unwilling to part with the doctor, however, offering almost anything else instead. If the team persists, they are ordered to leave, at spear-point if necessary.
If the PCs fight or try to take the doctor by force, the natives ask no quarter and give none. The male tribe members (30% of the camp total) fearlessly attack the strangers, fighting to the death; while the women and children get to safety. Four warriors defend the chief fiercely at all times.
Any attempt at communication with the doctor without the chief’s permission results in the team being asked to leave, as above. The group may secure permission on a Reaction throw of 10+.
Possible directions to take this adventure:
- The doctor willingly traveled to the second tribe’s location to in an effort to improve their health as well. Unfortunately, his departure was not only unsanctioned, it was done in such haste that it looked as if he had been abducted. He resists any attempt to rescue him.
- The doctor was abducted, but is otherwise unharmed. He has made friends with his new hosts and doesn’t want to see them come to harm. He resists any attempt to rescue him.
- As 2, but the doctor is an unwilling guest. He is otherwise unharmed. He doesn’t resist rescue attempts, but doesn’t actively help either. The tribals react as if attacked, as above.
- As 3, but the doctor eagerly participates in efforts to get rescued. He is unharmed.
- As 2, but the doctor was injured during his abduction by the rival tribe (2D hits) and can’t travel without help. He will neither help nor hinder efforts to rescue him.
- Whether he went willingly to the rivals’ camp or not, when the PCs arrive, the doctor is in the middle of a delicate procedure (surgery, childbirth, etc.) and refuses to leave until it is finished. The procedure or event takes 1D+2 hours. Meanwhile, the tribal members grow increasingly restless. Throw their Reaction to the PCs every hour; if a result of 2 (Violent. Immediate attack) or 3 (Hostile. Attack on 5+) comes up, the tribe attacks as outlined above.
If the group for whatever reason returns to the original tribe
without the doctor, the chief will order his warriors to go and fetch
their healer, even though his fighters aren’t as powerful. The survivors
of the resulting massacre will blame the PCs.
The referee must determine the flow of subsequent events.
Imperial Doctor 6A5985 Age 26 Cr20,000
2 Terms Other (Medical)
If the tribe is nonhuman, and your version of Traveller allows a separate skill for alien medicine (“Xenomedic”, here), give the doctor an additional term (and four years of age) and Xenomedic-2.
No reason has been created for the doctor to be on planet, nor for his working with/for the tribes. If such reasons are needed, the referee is encouraged to devise them to suit the needs of the campaign.