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Jump Destination: Knorbes

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue.

Author’s Note: This is an edited version of notes used in my T5 game for a visit to Knorbes in Regina subsector, Spinward Marches. Feel free to use it as a starting point for your own adventures here.

The set up is drawn from the Traveller Wiki entry for Knorbes, and the COTI articles:

Knorbes starport is 250m250m of concrete pavement, with a solar powered radio and light beacon in each corner. These are sealed IISS units supposedly good for 20 years without maintenance.

There is the normal chain link fence around the edge, but 5 meters back from that is a 5 meter high concrete wall, with a single gate on the east side. The gate leads to a 10 meter concrete tunnel, which opens into the Customs House. Here a secular representative of the Karsten and a Church representative will examine the ship’s papers and do a customs check of anything going through the House.

Next to the gate is a small shed, with a bored Starport Rep inside. He’s got a beat up TL7 computer with a printer, and lots of paper and ink. He charges Cr5 per page for printing. Landing fees are Cr100/day.

Starport amenities include a water dispenser and a latrine, and a tray of cookies, fruits and veggies.

Outside the wall, set 50 meters from each corner, is a concrete pillbox, with two gatling guns. One is rigged on top for anti-aircraft fire, the other rigged for ground defense. Two of the pillboxes are positioned to cover Customs House, so there is interlocking enfilade fire on anyone trying to force their way out of the starport.

A company of troops armed with bolt action rifles and revolvers with sabers for backup are on call, along with a platoon of cavalry.

Another 50 meters back are barracks and houses for the guards, customs rep, and Casuist. (Casuist: used like Father by the Church of Wisdom: “a person who studies and resolves moral problems of judgment or conduct arising in specific situations”)

The Customs Officer, Svenson, will ask for ship’s logs for the last 60 days, ship’s ownership papers, 'record of travel' for each person (what worlds when), and declaration of any cargo or goods proposed to be taken out of the port. This comes to about 100 pages of printing…

“No, you can’t show me on your computer. I am not risking my soul over this. I want it on paper.” There may or may not be a printer on the player’s ship. There probably isn’t one on a launch or shuttle if they came down that way. If there isn’t, they can go to the shed, pay Cr500, and wait 30 seconds per page for the old dot matrix printer to grind out the text… one hour, counting reloading the printer and dealing with page jams.

Svenson will do a brief but professional frisking of each person leaving the port to check for Prohibited Items. To get a small item past him is 4d6 < (Dex or Int)+Streetwise. Larger items are harder, of course.

Anything electronic is prohibited.

Semi or fully automatic firearms are prohibited. Gauss weapons are definitely prohibited. Explosives (grenades) are right out.

Energy weapons are completely out of the question.

Revolvers or bolt action or pump action firearms may be taken, but there is a Cr500 “Firearm Owner’s Permit” to do so.

Nobility (Knight or above) may carry firearms, but they have to pay a Cr500 registration fee, and may not carry concealed.

Swords, Blades, Cutlasses are OK for Knight or above, no permit needed.

Blade or dagger are OK for others, provided they aren’t concealed.

Soldiers in the service of a Noble may carry a long blade, but the Noble is responsible for any crimes they commit.

Combat armor, made with nanotech, is prohibited.

Cloth or Diplo armor may be worn, since it’s clothing… but there may be social handicaps if it’s obviously offworld cloth (e.g., kevlar v. cotton).

Complex Chemical Products are prohibited, especially including genemod produced items… which includes almost all medicine over TL9. CCP also includes memory plastics (such as Chandler’s Blankie and Pillow).

Officer Svenson will also change money from ImpCr to Marks (the local currency), with a 10% break. Carrying Imperial cash outside the starport is prohibited. The official exchange rate is par (Cr1=M1), but there is a 10% “service charge” either way: Cr110 → M100, M110 → Cr100.

Casuist James will sit with anyone who wishes to converse on what is prohibited and what isn’t, but he’ll also review all the papers and look for things that just don’t add up.

Once outside, it is a 3 km trip to the city of Cinnavane. The trip is a relatively easy one: there is a paved road (Roman-style construction) running east to the city. A stagecoach is available for only M3 per person. There are actually 2 coaches: one based in the city, and one based at “fort” at the port.

The road runs into the north/south Main Street of the city, right downtown. The intersection has the Red Gate Inn (SW), Burgess Trading Co. (NW), City Hall (NE), and Cinnavane Cathedral (SE).

Main Street is paved 3-lanes wide, with the middle lane being the cable-car that goes by every 15 minutes or so. The car is powered by a waterwheel on the north end of town.

Red Gate Inn: first floor has a bar, a cafe, a dining room, and a snack bar along with the lobby and front desk. The second , third and fourth floors are small, medium, and large rooms for rent. (M3-5 for a meal, M2-5 for an alcoholic drink, M50/75/100 per night for lodging)

Encounter: A man in the bar wants to know if he can buy radio gear from the players. He is willing to pay up front, at 10 the book prices… but the details of smuggling must be worked out.

Complications include the players being watched by minions (see below), smuggling it out of the port, etc. There is also the possibility he’s actually a Church provocateur.

Encounter: the maid quietly slips a player a note asking one of them to meet her upstairs— “please help me. Room 221 in 20 minutes”. Her little girl is sick, very sick. The diagnosis is Type I diabetes, and insulin is a CCP. So is the TL10 retrovirus that would cure it. She has M571.32 to her name, and will give all of it if the players can help her. The optimal help is getting the kid into the medbay on the ship (T5 requires all ships to have one), at which point the autodoc will build and administer the retrovirus over the course of about 24 hours.

Burgess Trading: Main office, with a small amount of warehouse space. Burgess primarily handles the shipping of food crops off planet. These include grain (“corn” and “wheat”), roots (“taters”) and canned goods (in mason jars) including meats. The lobby of the place has a gift shop, which has a variety of tourist trade items. Taking a page from Chandlers, they have “Burgess”-labeled leather jackets and boots.

Burgess can provide resupply for the food eaten during the voyage, and supply raw materials for resetting the CO2 scrubbers and such in the life support system plus sundry consumables such as soap, shampoo, etc. Carrying all the ‘stuff’ up will use either 1 or 2 dtons of cargo space.

Burgess also has 2dtons of iron ingots available for sale. Price is M500/dton.

Encounter: Young Edward Burgess has a surplus of “yellows”. These are like oranges, but yellow with a different flavor. He really wants the players to take them off his hands at only M250/dton. He is also eager to buy bolt action rifles, revolvers, and ammunition for same.

Of the 0.75dton of small arms remaining, the players have 0.1 dton that could be brought ashore. Investment is Cr250cr for what are effectively a bunch of TL5 firearms and ammo. Sale value is M3500, with Burgess paying another M500 in sundry fees and taxes. Converting to credits takes it to Cr3150.

Encounter: Young Estefan Burgess (Edward’s twin brother) is in the 22 year old, rebellious atheist phase of life. He has M1100 that he’d like to use to pay for passage “anywhere but here”. He’s aware that’s only enough for Low Passage, and is willing to take the risk… but after reaching orbit will suffer a complete loss of nerve, panic, and beg to go home. This will result in another Cr100 landing fee, plus the time to take him down and come back up.

City Hall is the place to go for more permits, paperwork, and guidance. This is a time sink. Listed are hours of jumping through hoops. A player may try to “shortcut” hours off, with each hour of shortcut being 1d6 of difficulty on an (INT+Admin) roll. Bribery can be attempted, etc, with success reducing run-around time.

To sell firearms to Burgess (above):
8 hours, Burgess covers stamp fees

To accept a passenger, or to take someone aboard ship (ie, little girl to autodoc):
3 hours, M50 stamp fees

Export of Goods Paperwork:
4 hours per dton, M25 per dton

Export of Consumable Goods (e.g., life support replenish):
6 hours, 5% of price

Encounter: one of the local knights observes a player wearing a sword, and loudly makes comments about the effeminate nature of the off-planet nobility. He will continue to make rude comments to the clerk he’s talking to until he is accosted by the players. If they grin-and-bear-it, he’ll spread the tale all over town. If he is accosted, he'll try to force the player into a duel, “tomorrow morning at dawn, at ‘The Mill’ on the north end of town”. Duels between Nobles are not illegal, provided they are agreed to before witnesses.

Cinnavane Cathedral is the lair of Senior Casuist Richu and his minions. They will be dispatched to monitor all trade,and typically one of the minions will follow the players around.

Ongoing Encounter: During any other encounter, roll 2d6:

2-7 Minion is obviously visible, and can obviously hear everything. If the local is trying to get the players to do something questionable, they'll get the player's attention and try to get them to move elsewhere.
8-10 Minion is not visible... and not in position to overhear.
11-12 Minion is not visible, but can overhear the whole conversation.

“The Mill” is a huge waterwheel complex, which powers the cable car, and also powers a huge Babbage Machine, a textile mill, a machine shop, a forge, etc. At dawn, the place is mostly empty of workers and the perfect place for a duel.

Maybe. The fight will range across the area, in and out of shops, with the cable car machinery running, the Babbage Machine running, the forge bellows burning the iron all night…

To hit someone in a sword duel:
Opponent skill x d6 < STR + Skill

To avoid being mangled by a machine during a duel:
1d6 < Dex + Fighting

To maneuver your opponent into a machine:
Opponent skill x d6 < INT + skill

Tactics pool does apply… for yourself. No cheering from the crowd.

The city has no street lights, and at night on foot there’s a 1 in 6 chance per hour of being accosted by criminals (roll 1d6, on a 1, roll 1d6 on the encounter table below).

At the start of the encounter, roll 2d6< law level (7) for a cop to show up. (They know the places bad guys congregate).

1-2 pickpocket
3 single mugger with blackjack or billy club
4 single mugger with dagger or rapier
5 group 1d6 hard core criminals with machetes (“we’re farmers.”)
6 group of 2d6 brigands with rapiers and flintlock pistols.

Also check for Minion Observation… who won’t help, and is obviously a Minion, and thus the criminals won’t mess with him. (Don’t mess with the Church) If the players use Prohibited Tech during the encounter, he’ll note it if possible and report ASAP. This will put a Platoon of Cav on the players’ trail to arrest them.

Players not wishing to go on foot can try to hail a cab. Target number is 12, with 1d6 dawn to 9pm, 2d6 until midnight, 3d6 until 3am and 4d6 until 6am/dawn. Modifiers for locale, of course.