This adventure was originally posted to the website in 1999, and reprinted in the November/December 2016 issue.
Players will be hired as territorial marshals by a dome manager on planet Halfway. They will be called on to help put down a riot in the dome.
Next, they will patrol the land and mining camps outside the dome.
When an official from a mining company is abducted they must:
- question the assistant director
- search mining camps for members of criminal organization
- raid a coffee house run by revolutionaries
- raid a terrorist camp
- rescue the official and prevent a terrorist bombing.
Location: This adventure is set on the planet Halfway (B533699-B) in the Massilia Sector in about the 50th year of the Third Imperium.
The adventure can be easily placed in any era of the Third Imperium on a planet that meets these criteria:
- Atmosphere: 2,3 or 4 (any that require a filter mask or respirator for humans to live outside).
- Hydrographics: at least 2, no more than 6.
- Population: at least level 4, no more than level 6.
- Government: type 6, 8 or 9
- Law Level: 7+
- Tech Level: 7+
Description: Halfway is a planet that is under the administration of the Imperial Ministry of Colonization and is currently being settled as an industrial pro-Imperial enclave on the frontier. The official colonization efforts are focused on setting up a series of domed cities each of which has a stated purpose under the master colonization plan. Dome 1, for example is the Starport, Dome 2 is the administration center, and Dome 3 is a tool-making industrial dome. Dome 23 where the action takes place is the major source of refined hydrogen on planet, taking in water from the adjacent sea and passing it through a large refining plant to be piped to the Starport and major fusion reactors on planet. The dome structures are reasonably sturdy but the danger that a breach might cause is significant, as a result all projectile weapons are banned from all the cities. Even police units are restricted to bludgeons and "thud" guns.
While the majority of the colonists live in the cities, a fraction live outside in various mining camps. There is a good supply of minerals to be mined on planet, but since the atmosphere is inhospitable, it requires a sealed building with built-in respirator support to live in the "territories". Each dome city is assigned the area for about 300 km in every direction as its "Dome Territory" and is required to keep that territory under control.
Organizations of Note
- Galactic People's Party: anti-Imperial, anti-nobility, anti-corporation agitators.
- Star of People's Justice: terrorist group
- The Grey Shadow: organized crime syndicate
- Hortalez Mining Group: subsidiary of megacorp, runs a mining operation in District 23.
Patron: Dome Manager Hurro Dumblar
- To Find Encounter: Average Task of Admin, or Computer
- Necessary Skills: Weapon Skills, Ground Craft, Interrogation
- Necessary Equipment: None
- Scene: The Empire Club, Dome 1.
Near the main Starport Terminal in Dome 1 is the Empire Club, which is a private restaurant and meeting place for ex-Imperial soldiers, sailors, marines, scouts and their guests. It is decorated like a Sylean noble's hunting lodge, with wooden paneling and hunting accoutrements on the walls. Each booth is equipped with a computer display. The players will see an advertisement play across the screen--an imperial starburst, followed by the seal of the Imperial Ministry of Colonization, and the following notice---
"Trusted people needed for security work, contact Hurro Dumblar--Manager Dome 23."
When the players decide to inquire, they need only ask the computer system to contact Mr. Dumblar or the Dome 23 main office and an appointment will be arranged within 2-3 hours, in Dome 23. The players will have to take a tube-train ride from Dome 1 to Dome 23. The tube train is modern and ultra-fast. During the trip the will pass through Domes 14 and 19, just outside of which they will notice some burn marks on the inside of the tube. If anyone is questioned about the burns, they will refer the PCs to the conductor who will say the burns came from a terrorist bomb, set by the Star of People's Justice.
Once they arrive in Dome 23, the security guard at the station will lead them to the manager's office. Just outside the station they will notice a group of scruffy people dressed in old green work coveralls, milling about across the square. The manager's office is at the apex of the dome in a grav-supported cubicle, conspicuous for its position and ostentatious use of contragrav support in an otherwise still-in-progress Dome city. Inside the office, the PCs will be ushered into a meeting room. Several minutes later Hurro Dumblar will enter greet everyone with an all-business faked sincerity. He is a short man with thinning hair and thin mustache, he is wearing an outrageous silver jumpsuit, the kind of thing that was worn in Sylean adventure holovids of 20 or 30 years ago, but never by real people. Dumblar will take out a hand comm and begin an appalling 20-minute holo-slide show about the duties of a territorial marshal and the principal opposition to the government.
In sum, Mr. Dumblar requires the services of up to 8 characters to act as District 23 Territorial Marshals. The job pays 2000cr per month per character and requires patrolling the district around Dome City 23 for bandits, saboteurs and rebels. Each character roll Social Status plus 1d6, adding 1 per term in agent, scout, army or marine career, adding 1 per point of Law or Forensics skill. Highest roll will be hired as Marshal, with command of the unit and 500cr extra per month, others will be deputy marshals. Territorial marshals are responsible for law enforcement outside the dome, but are officially part of the Dome Security Force and can be used within the dome as well. Dumblar will brief the players on "organizations of note" and dome weapon laws. (See Background and Organizations of Note, above).
Riot at the train depot
Soon after hiring, the team will be ordered to help dome security put down a riot, led by the Galactic People's Party, at the transit depot, protesting the failure of new food synthesis units to appear. The rioters are led by the same green-clad ruffians the PCs spotted when they arrived. The team will be issued Thud Guns, Clubs, Helmets and Flex Armor-11 and will each have to clear away 1-4 (1d6-2, at least 1 per PC) club-armed rioters. Each character may make an average task roll vs. Recon or Perception to spot a ringleader, then roll a Difficult roll vs. Tactics to get a chance to approach/attack, capture one. Successful capture gains a commendation and 500cr bounty. The purpose of this encounter is to introduce the players to the GPP and to serve as an introduction/refresher to the combat and task system in a non-lethal setting.
Rioter/GPP member: UPP 877664 Brawling-1
Weapons: Club Damage 2. Thud Gun Damage 1, range Vshort, 10 shots.
Flex Armor-11 Armor rating 5f on torso. Helmet armor 6r on head
The principal duty of the territorial marshals is to patrol the 300km radius around each dome in a fully equipped ATV. The marshals are expected to help miners in distress, apprehend law-breakers, claim-jumpers and other bandits, and keep the outside installations of the dome secure from terrorists. They will operate out of a garage in the dome and are expected to use the ATV. There are also 2 standard air/rafts available for supplementary use, but permission must be gained from the manager before taking one out (Average Admin task).
1-2 days later, characters must begin first patrol, Patrol route is up to Marshal but must include all the Enclaves, the Refinery, the Pipeline, the Transit Route and the Dome.
Players will be equipped as follows:
Tracked ATV equipped with Machine-gun in turret and radio link to satellite sensors. The vehicle has an armor rating of 5, making it proof against most rifle and pistol fire.
Locker includes: Rifle, Bullpup x6 (magazines x30), Shotgun x1 (magazines x8), Laser Rifle x1, Pistol 003 x4 (magazines x12), Pistol, Staplegun x4 (magazines x16), Laser Pistol x1, Compressor Masks x16, 300km range communicators x8, Forensics scanner x1, Geology Scanner x1, Paramedic Kit x2, (each Medical Drug x10, Medical Slow Drugx10), Radiation Detector x2, Biosnifferx2, Radiation suits x8, General Purpose Hand Computer x1. Handcuffsx20, Cable x200 meters, Grav beltx1, and any blade weapons requested. Axe, Electronics tool kit, Mechanical tool kit, Survival kitsx4, 56 man/days of food and water.
|Medium Machine Gun
|Pistol, Staple Gun
Back-up: can be summoned in an emergency, consisting of a Gcarrier with a squad of 12 Army Troops, however, it will take 20-70 minutes to arrive and this will cost the Dome Manager money from his budget and he doesn't like it.
ATV Travel Rates: 2 hexes per hour in the clear, 1 hex per hour in the hills.
THE MINING ENCLAVES
There are a number of small mining camps or enclaves scattered around the district. Each enclave serves as a meeting place and resupply point for prospectors. Each enclave typically consists of 2-3 prefab buildings: a cantina serving food and drink, a general store and mine office which purchases ore, and a vehicle garage/repair shed. The miners usually wear a dull colored set of coveralls, a compressor mask, and a large overcoat. The rougher crowd like to wear the skins of native cave lizards hanging from the shoulders of their coats, and most miners wear a broad-brimmed hat when outside.
ENCOUNTER TABLE: (2d6, 7+ once per 6 hours)
- 2-3 Distress Call from random Enclave, must travel there immediately to deal with it.
- 4-6 Bushwhackers (2d6) armed with guns and vehicle
- 7 Hidden Crater or Sand Pit (roll Difficult/Ground Craft to avoid throwing a tread)
- 8-9 Distress call from disabled vehicle 1-6 hexes away
- 10-11 Miners in ATV
- 12 Hidden rock seriously fouls transmission of ATV (Staggering task Mech 1/hour)
- BUSHWHACKERS: most encounters will be with Bandits, Members of the
Grey Shadow Criminal Organization, or Claim jumpers, who will generally
retreat if not met with immediate overwhelming success.
Typical Claim Jumper/Bandit Group: 2d6 men with following stats:
Bushwhacker: UPP: 888775 Mining-1, Brawling-1, Rifle-2, Ground Vehicle-1
Each will have a backpack with various bits of survival gear. Most will be carrying a Rifle-Bullpup-9 (Damage 4, Range Short, 50 shots, semi-auto). But 1-2 in each group will have a hunting Laser Rifle-12 (Damage 6, Range: Long, 5 shots). The Bushwhackers will have a Tracked ATV 1-2 km away.
Rebels: the third encounter with bushwhackers will be with a Rebel group, the Star of People's Justice with 12 men, well equipped who are intent on destroying any marshal patrol they encounter.
Rebel: UPP 888663 Rifle-2, Recon-1, Demo-1, Grav Vehicle-1, Ground Vehicle-1.
Each will be wearing Cloth Armor-4 (armor 1f). Each will carry a Light ACR-9 (Damage 4, range: Medium, 60 shots: single/auto/burst). Two of the men will instead have a Laser Rifle-12 (Damage-7, range: long, 50 shots +2 to aimed fire). The team will have 4 hand grenades total (damage 8 frag.).
- DISTRESS CALLS:
Distress Calls from Enclaves: Some sample calls include:
- Filter breakdown: a mining enclave has had one of its building air compressor/filters go bad. They need a repair, either by skilled PCs (difficult Mechanic) or by getting a replacement from the dome.
- Bart's drunk again. A miner has gone on a bender and is busting up an enclave watering hole. PCs must arrest him.
- Bandit Raid: A group of 12 claim jumpers (see Bushwhackers above) are attempting to storm a mining enclave, which now contains 8 people holding the cantina.
- Medical Emergency: 8-10 people at an enclave have gotten serious food poisoning from eating Cave Lizard Chile (a local "delicacy"). PCs must rescue, an Average Medical task will stabilize the situation, but if it fails the victims must be transported to the dome. There are 3 ATVs at the enclave, but PCs must drive them to transport the people.
The general patrol should last until the players start to get bored or the first payday, then move onto one of the next pre-planned encounters. If there is a time constraint for the game, keep the number of encounters down to only one or two, or this section can be skipped entirely.
Manager Dumblar will radio, saying that an official from Hortalez Mining Group has disappeared in the Mountains near their Mining station. He suspects that it must be a ransom kidnapping by the Grey Shadow, or a terrorist action by Galactic People's Party (Star of People's Justice Division), but it must be cleared up quickly, Hortalez has claimed that they have had no ransom demands, but the SPJ has never harassed the Hortalez facility before.
- Just the Facts, Ma'am.
- Location: Hortalez Mining Group District 23 Prospecting Facility
- Chance of Encounter: automatic when entering HMG facility.
The Hortalez Mining Group facility is like a mining enclave writ large. There is a large bunkhouse, an administration building, two large vehicle garages, an ore-cracking station and a fusion power station.
Ms Ruthel Broadwic, assistant director of the facility will gladly cooperate with any investigation, she is a tired-looking woman of about 50 years and wears a neat company coverall set. She will explain that the director, Mr. Tudball was on an inspection tour south of the center when radio contact was lost, his ATV was discovered, apparently opened by the use of laser fire. The location of the disappearance will then be shown to the players. If questioned she will vehemently deny any contact or trouble with the SPJ or the GPP (it is the truth). She does volunteer the fact that the Grey Shadow criminal organization has harasses some workers and stolen some ore shipments in the last six months. There has been no proof, but Mr. Tudball confided to her that a shady operative had asked him for protection money to make the trouble stop.
- We didn't do it, see.
- Location: any Enclave
- Chance of encounter: Difficult Streetwise. May check each enclave until successful.
Once encounter occurs, characters will meet will Purgo Logrod, who claims to be a legitimate miner and trader in salvage and abandoned property. He will resist any questioning, but if isolated from his 5 friends (treat he and his 5 friends as Bushwhackers detailed in encounter 3), he will provide the following information after a Difficult check of Bribery, Intimidation or Interrogation is made:
- He is a claim-jumper, and member of the Grey Shadow crime syndicate.
- The Grey Shadow in this area have never moved against Hortalez or any other big corporate unit. In fact they are generally focused on mid-level theft and extortion.
- No off-world specialists have come through in several months.
- This stunt seems to be something Star of People's Justice might do, he can lead help you find their Lair, for the right price. (i.e.,if he is let off the hook for obvious weapons violations, or a bribe of at least 250 cr is offered, he will tell the marshals that Sally Mufu, a coffeeshop owner in Dome City 23 is liaison between Galactic People's Party and the Star, she could reveal location of the Headquarters of the Star of People's Justice).
- Power to The People, Man!
- Location: Dome City, People's Coffee House
- Chance of Encounter: automatic.
If player's radio in suspicions, Dome Security will issue a warrant and suggest that the marshals come back to the dome to raid the coffee house. In the coffee house there will be 3 innocent customers, 4 members of GPP and Mufu and her 2 man staff. If raided, the 7 GPP members will fight back using clubs, 2 body pistols, 2 Blur canisters.
The People's Coffee Shop is in the workers district of Dome 23. As per Ministry of Colonization practice, the building itself is the packing crate of a large earthmoving machine. It still says "Mark II Earth-Mover: Zhunastu Industries" on the side. The "Zhunastu" has been struck through with a line of spray paint, and two doors cut through the side panels. The title "People's Coffee Shop" is painted, badly over one doorway. Both doorways are simply holes covered by curtains.
Remember, in the Dome itself the players must surrender their weapons in exchange for Thud Guns, Blades, Clubs, and/or Blur, at their choice. Once captured, the GPP's will be really annoying. They will curse at the players and begin by calling them "Impy Pigs" and "Cleon's boot-boys", eventually one will say "You Impies are gonna burn", to which another will mutter "yeah, oh the humaniti". It will require Difficult Interrogation or Staggering Intimidation rolls to get the location of the base, no further elaboration of the dropped comments will be possible.
- Location: Star of People's Justice Headquarters, 3 hexes NW of E2.
- Chance of Encounter: automatic if location given, Staggering Recon task if passing through.
If no one escapes the GPP raid, then the players should have surprise, if not the Star will be in ambush nearby. The site cannot be located by overhead survey satellites, due to a combination of bribery and computer hacking. There are 5 small bunk sheds and a long vehicle shed which is currently empty.
The headquarters will normally be defended by 12 Rebel Riflemen with stats and equipment as follows:
Rebel: UPP 888663 Rifle-2, Recon-1, Demo-1, Grav Vehicle-1, Ground Vehicle-1.
Each will be wearing Cloth Armor-4 (armor 1f). Each will carry a Light ACR-9 (Damage 4, range: Medium, 60 shots: single/auto/burst).
There will also be a support team of 3 men armed as follows:
Rebel: UPP 888663 Pistol-2, Recon-1, Heavy Weapons-1, Grav Vehicle-1, Ground Vehicle-1.
Each will be wearing Cloth Armor-4 (armor 1f). Each carries a Heavy Pistol-7 (Damage 3, range Vshort, 10 shots, semi-auto). They will attempt to reach a gun pit in the camp which is equipped with a heavy machinegun-8, (damage 8, range Long, shots 100).
If the rebels are caught by surprise, there will be 2 riflemen patrolling the perimeter. If they are not surprised, then there will be 2 support gunners in the gun pit and 6 riflemen dug in around the perimeter. He remaining men in either case will be in the bunk sheds.
Players may, if they think to ask, get the use of 1-2 air/rafts to supplement or replace their ATV. The raid will not turn up a captured official, and if questioned, prisoners will reveal that they kidnapped the mining official at the request of their mysterious cell leader "Retzer". If the camp is closely searched a large number of empty explosives boxes will be discovered. It will also be discovered that there is support equipment for two air/rafts which are not in evidence. A difficult interrogation task or a staggering intimidation task will get one of the prisoners to reveal that the captive Tudball was taken north several hours ago and Retzer headed south in the direction of the dome. Note: Retzer's course will only be revealed if specifically interrogated for. If the players only ask about Tudball, then that's all they'll find out.
- Mayday! Mayday!
Some time after the raid on the camp, a broadcast S.O.S. from Mr Tudball will be received by the players. He claims to have escaped from an air/raft that was transporting him to a secret base. His current location is almost 400 km north of the dome, and he sounds desperate. If Tudball is rescued within 5 hours, he will be fine. Each hour past 5 roll 2d6, on 11+ Tudball will meet with a deadly accident in the wilds. It will take 4 hours to reach him by air/raft, it will take 15 hours to reach him by ATV. . His distress is real, but his plight is a diversion. The goal is to lure the marshals as far away from the pipeline as possible. If the players head north they should rescue Tudball, but the pipeline will be blown up by the terrorists. If the players head toward the dome or pipeline they will discover the location of Retzer's air/raft rather easily (Average Sensor task using satellite sensors). You might want to have the ATV throw a track to heighten tension, but the PCs should arrive in time to catch Retzer and 3 terrorists in process of setting a large series of charges on the hydrogen pipeline. During any fire fight, a critical failure using HE or HEAP ammunition will set of the charges or rupture the pipeline.
Terrorist: UPP 888663 Rifle-2, Recon-1, Demo-1, Grav Vehicle-1,
Cloth armor-4 (1f armor) ). Each will carry a Light ACR-9 (Damage 4, range: Medium, 60 shots: single/auto/burst).
Retzer: UPP 8A7975: Tactics-1, Recon-1, Demo-2, Pistol-3, Grav-Vehicle-2, Leader-2
Wears Flex-11 (5f armor), carries Laser Pistol ( damage 5, range Short, 30 shots, semi-auto).
Complete Failure: If the pipeline is blown up and Tudball dies, players are fired. No experience points awarded.
Partial Success: If the pipeline is blown up but Tudball is rescued, players are fired as marshals, but are given 1000cr each by Hortalez, and possibly offered security work by the company. 1 experience point awarded.
Partial Success: If pipeline is saved but Tudball dies, players can keep marshal job, are given a 1000cr bonus and 1 experience point awarded.
Complete Success: If pipeline saved and Tudball rescued, players can keep job or take a security job with Hortalez, are awarded 2000cr in rewards and bonuses and 2 experience points awarded.