This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of Freelance Traveller.
The characters are approached by local officials of Badrun (C877744-6), a backwater with only a few ten million inhabitants, no great resources to speak of, and only some small industry. The word ‘backwater’ was made for this world. It has a few small cities all over the world and one large centre close to the starport.
Not much happens on this world besides people moving in and people moving away to get rich somewhere else. Baran Doherty is a local politician, and he came up with a wonderful new idea: Let’s attract some tourism! Why not pretend to have something mysterious on the world so more people will come to the planet and bring money in while trying to investigate something completely fictitious. What real harm can it do, after all? Think Bermuda Triangle or Nessi on good old Earth. Think of the money it might bring in!
The locale of choice is on one of the smaller, barely explored continents, a hellishly boring place covered by swamp and jungle. Why not pretend to have something interesting there for a change? Nobody ever found anything of worth there anyway, and nobody will mind a few offworlders hunting spectres there.
The characters are hired to do something with this idea, and by ‘do something’ they mean make some nice mysterious things happen.
Possible directions to take this seed
- Everything is as presented. The idea and efforts are greeted with near-universal enthusiasm.
- As 1., but the characters run into troubles with local authorities who don’t like the idea.
- As 2., but the locals say that people who go into the swamps don’t come back. Could the planet already have its “New Bermuda”?
- As 2. or 3., but someone decides to make a documentary of the whole project for local TV.
- As 4., and the party finds some sort of mechanism in the swamps. It seems to be working…
- As 5., but instead of a mechanism, the characters find an inhabited village in the swamps. They’re not human, though, and they’re low enough on the tech scale that it’s almost certain that they’re natives.