This article originally appeared in Issue #011 of the downloadable PDF magazine.
The party completes an adventure in which the payoff is a deed to a large amount of land/wealth/ship... however, it must be signed off by Count Lassar for the transfer to be legal.
After a long journey to his fief, they discover the Count is in residence... and is, in fact, the Last Count of Fallen Lassar. If he dies without heir, the title and fief, and all holdings revert to the Imperium, which includes the item the players have deed to. The count is well into old age, and the medication used to deal with nerve injuries from years ago interferes with anagathics.
During his last medical crisis, the Count fell into a coma. Thinking fast, the Count’s personal physician stuck him in a low berth... and then talked it over with the Seneschal.
In effect, the staff have staged a ‘palace coup’, with the administrator of the Count’s fief handling all affairs in his name, and no one telling the outside world the Count is on ice, since doing so would mean the entire staff losing their cushy jobs, and numerous starship crews finding their ship’s ownership in question, etc.
In come the players, asking for just a minute of the Count’s time to sign this paper...
Optional additional complication
An Imperially-chartered megacorporation has a production facility on the same world. If the world reverted to Imperial holding, their tax rates would go way down.