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Filters and Explosions

This article originally appeared in Spanish in Vuelo Raso N.1 and was translated by Google Translate and Jeff Zeitlin.

Editor’s Note: This adventure is set on the world of Sombra, described in the January/February 2024 issue of Freelance Traveller.

When the player-characters arrive, they are summoned by one of the local rulers. He’s not someone very important, but he hopes to be. He will politely request transport to another planet where he wants to receive an TL11 or higher implant, to climb the government ladder upon his return. He will pay for High passage, even if the ship can only provide Mid services; what he wants, he is willing to pay to get. This will serve as an introduction to the NPC and to familiarize the PCs with the society of the planet Sombra. If you want to add another layer of complexity, they may receive a tempting offer of murder from a member of the Liberal Union: “accidents happen during travel.” Rejection can mean future sabotage problems for travelers.

Upon return, the PCs may receive instructions to investigate the subversive activity of the Liberal Union and eliminate one of its cells. Since the previous NPC is “visibly foreign” (or a new one if he was killed, who will not ask many questions about the previous one), now in his new position, he believes that they can be used to investigate more freely from another point of view. And perhaps locals are more willing to cooperate with people who visibly have high technological knowledge.

For this purpose the local government will provide a “motorhome” for them to travel in, with a driver and two trailers; as it only has two beds, they will have to take turns sleeping. During the trip they will see all the ruins and abandoned battlefields. One trailer is loaded with filter masks essential for working outside in the world’s tainted atmosphere; the other is loaded with non-perishable food.

The driver will inform you of the need to travel to the destination without an intermediate stop because the hospitality industry in the nearest city is closed due to strikes. Although they will stop to refuel, they will not be able to stay overnight. This will make the trip last 3-4 days if the PCs share in the driving (requires Drive (Wheeled) skill), otherwise the trip will take 7-9 days. The trip should be uneventful, but the referee has discretion to create various challenges along the way.

In the second part of the journey they will be attacked by a group of “war vultures”1. They don’t want to kill anyone; they just want a part of the shipment of filter masks. Things will change when they see the PCs, at which point they will change their objective to directly “kidnap” the entire convoy, including people. If the PCs react violently and win, move on to arrival at the destination city.

Once they are in vulture territory, among the ruins they will be able to see that new society. The driver will be very scared thinking that they are going to execute him so that he does not talk too much. The vultures, in reality, are only interested in the filter masks and consider that the PCs may be a good opportunity to open a business avenue with the government to be able to buy these shipments in exchange for recovered materials, but they want an honest agreement, not abusive, so the PCs will be asked to act as intermediaries once they finish the mission that the president has entrusted to them, with which the vultures do not have and do not want to have anything to do. If the PCs are clever and have learned something about who the vultures are, they can demand an advance payment in the form of information about the Liberal Union. If this is the case, the vultures will make them wait a couple of days, during which they will be able to move freely around the place and later take them to a former member of the organization. He was betrayed by a previous partner and they have put a price on his head. He will beg you not to say anything about where he is, although he will try to hide his identity behind a military helmet. The usefulness of the information they receive will depend largely on what the Referee has prepared at the following points in the adventure. After this they will be able to leave with a few less boxes of masks. As a sign of “good will” on the part of the vultures, they will not steal the entire convoy.

When you arrive in the new city you will see many signs saying “vote for menganito” or “vote for so-and-so, Southport deserves better”: In 3 weeks are the local elections for United Sombra and they are in the middle of the campaign. At this time the Liberal Union is preparing an attack with gas bombs that seeks to kill both representatives in a public debate in the center of a square. The explosion will not only kill the diplomats on the spot, but will open the metal roof and the poisoned atmosphere will begin to filter throughout the city. The automatic floodgate system will begin to close and whoever is not wearing a filter mask in the square and has survived the explosion will die a slow and terrible death. How to carry out this investigation and its development is entirely at the Referee’s discretion, although they may have obtained useful information in the previous point, whether it be a name or a place to start. If not, the same members of Liberal Union contact the PCs to try to recruit them for money in exchange for their collaboration or a promise to seek help for their cause on other planets.

In the last point, and if they have been successful in deactivating the cell, they may have the issue of negotiation in favor of the vultures. It depends on how they carry out this negotiation (betrayal to the vultures, fair treatment or on the contrary clearly favoring one side or the other) this will be the non-economic reward that they take into their pockets. If the deal is fair or favors the vultures, they will gain them as a contact or allies. If, on the other hand, the deal favors (and only if it favors) the governor they have been dealing with, they will gain him as a contact, but it will open the door for them. doors to future jobs. Plus now that they know how this society works, a few high-TL gifts can be a good investment to increase the power of your contact (and even turn him into a powerful ally within the planet and therefore, the system`).