This adventure originally appeared in the April/May 2015 issue.
- the PCs must drive away a group of animals protected by strict planetary law from their transport.
- Any world with Atmosphere 5, 7, or 9 and Starport Type D or E.
- Equipment and Skills Required:
The PCs are on a hot world with extensive grasslands. After completing their business onplanet, the PCs are making preparations to leave when they discover that a large group of animals has taken refuge from the sweltering heat in the shade offered by the undercarriage of their starship. The starport staff informs the group that the animals are protected by strict planetary law and harassing them is not permitted. The crew must leave the world within the day if they are to make their next port of call on schedule.
The port warden adds that the beasts might move on when planetary night falls—or not. (If the planet is tide-locked, the adventurers are sunk.) Either way, there seems to be little the visitors can do but wait.
The animals, a species of feathered reptile, are abundant on the planet, but have been protected by law for decades. The laws were put in place to help the creatures recover from a natural plague that nearly wiped them out, and no one in the planetary government seems to be willing to rescind the statutes even though they are no longer needed.
The creatures number 2D×10, are aggressive and quite fearless. Getting too close to them provokes a display of hissing and feather-fluffing. If the intruders are not chased off by the threat display, the adults herd the chicks into the middle of a circle of females, which is in turn encircled by the flock’s males. If they attack, the males swarm even large opponents. 40% of the animals are males; the rest are females and young.
Local law is very stern. The creatures are not to be harmed at all; this includes attempts to scare them away by sound, light, or missiles. Directly injuring any of them means jail time; even so much as touching one if not rendering assistance to a wounded specimen carries stiff fines. This leaves few options for the PCs to board the vessel (the throw for success and the time it takes are in parentheses): wait for the flock to leave (see below); try to lure them away, perhaps with food (10+, takes 12D minutes); or encourage one of the creatures’ natural enemies to enter the area (takes 2D hours, including time spent hunting for a suitable specimen.).
If the PCs do not own the ship, the owners or operators of the vessel are generally unwilling to flout planetary law and will take no action against the reptiles. Worse, they will turn in any PC who tries to do so. If they lose patience and try to harm any of the creatures, the port staff will arrest the offender (as they are allowed to do, since it happens on Imperial property) and hold them for the planetary police.
If the planet has a night, throw 8+ each hour after sundown for the creatures to quit the ship and move on. If three throws in a row fail, the beasts are there for the night. The entire sequence of procedures “resets” the next day.
The referee should determine the flow of subsequent events.
|A3 F5 S2