Jump Destination: Walston
The Walston system (1232 Spinward Marches/District 268) is the place where Marches Adventure 1: High and Dry takes place. Although that adventure provides a lot of information about the main planet, this article expands on that data and provides travelers with a greater number of places to visit. Due to the nature of the adventure, this article is divided into two parts: the first part is places of interest and activities that can be done at any time, while the second part of the article consists of places of interest and activities after the adventure. (If you haven't played/read the adventure and plan to do so, reading this part of the article may spoil the experience, although care has been taken not to deliberately reveal anything “spoily”.) The information here is reproduced from the Traveller Wiki; where it disagrees with Marches Adventure 1: High and Dry, assume the adventure is correct.
The “Astroport” bar
Just outside the starport, and literally across the street, is the ‘famous’ Astroport bar. This place is one of the only two bars that exist on the planet and the only one with a license to sell alcoholic beverages. The only drink of this nature that is regularly served is a local “beer” distilled by Tla-Kan himself, a cereal juice fermented with a marine fungus, all of native origin.
Information of interest about the place:
- The most curious locals tend to go to the bar on their days off to gossip about the comings and goings of foreigners to the planet, since it is common for travelers to make a “de rigueur stop” as soon as they leave the starport.
- Every weekday, at the close of business in the nearby industrial district, many locals flock to the bar for a pint. Either by doing something while they wait for the next train (those who live outside) or by accompanying those who wait (those who live here).
- The bar has a well-deserved reputation as a good place to find a
partner. This reputation has been simmered due to the constant
hustle and bustle of people, mainly because:
- It is the only place that serves alcohol, which attracts people.
- Gossiping locals flock to the arrival of a ship, even if they don’t consume alcohol.
- It is a meeting place for workers, whether or not they consume alcohol.
- Some people hate the other bar (“‘The Bureaucrat’ Tearoom”) because they have been forced to spend too many hours there.
Locally, the beer does not have any trade name as there are no other beers on the planet. However, Tla-Kan occasionally prepares a case for sale and this is usually properly bottled and labeled. In these cases, the commercial name of the beer is “Tla-Kan Artisanal” and it is likely that travelers have tried it in a Noctocol, Flexos or Forine bar or brew-pub. It may even have been tasted in some distant luxurious Imperial restaurant, served as a delicacy. If Tla-Kan knew the price that is paid for a consignment of his beloved beer in the distant Regina sub-sector, he would die of shame.
The “Red Star” Hotel
In the same district of the astroport and near the Astroport Bar is the only hotel on the planet. This is distributed in a total of three independent buildings. The first of the blocks is a grocery store with a small reception where guests must stay and pay the corresponding fees. If you are a traveler or a Vargr, these fees must be paid: a) in advance and b) a small extra security deposit is required (this is just a small sample of the Vargr racism that prevails in Walston, please ignore if you consider this out of place in your game).
The other two structures that make up the hotel are two small one-storey buildings, each containing a total of four double rooms (including bathroom) and a small glass dome with a garden for relaxation.
The rooms are utilitarian and follow the usual construction scheme of the area: artisan works where the structural geometry that gives integrity to the furniture prevails, in such a way that the best possible Resistance is obtained with the least amount of admissible raw material. Directly on the walls, drawings have been made as if they were paintings (see sidebar “Art in Walston”).
The glass dome is located at ground level and is as large as a good room (remember that the buildings in Walston are partially buried). The garden has a well-kept and properly trimmed green grass floor with hints of red, as well as a few flowering shrubs that do not appear to be native to this planet (the seeds were imported from the neighboring Squallia System). For seating, there are four round limestone cylinders that act as stools, as well as a fifth elongated and serpentine block that fulfills the function of a bench where three other bipeds can take a seat
With the exception of Almudena (the owner of the hotel who works at the reception), the rest of the hotel workers are Vargr who moonlight, going to the hotel only when it has clients and dedicating the rest of the time to other types of work.
“The Bureaucrat” Tearoom
Located in the “Central Lake” commercial area, this teahouse is owned by the Walston Government. Initially it was born as an office where residents and travelers could try to present their complaints through a bureaucratic labyrinth of paperwork, as well as fill out tax forms, request permits for various activities and renew licenses. People spent so much time here at the end of the year that they began to serve tea, specifically a variety that had been successfully imported for several decades. Today, the teahouse continues to serve this dual function as well as being a kind of waiting room for those awaiting an audience with a member of the government. For about 10 Cr, travelers will be able to taste a delicious cup of tea accompanied by a tray of half a dozen dry cookies (these typical cookies here have a very strong flavor that tends not to be liked much, since they are made with algae flour and fish oil)
The tearoom works like a classic self-service, in such a way that it is accessed from one side of the premises, passing through a corridor with several displays full of forms, pencils, cups, tea and cookies to end up reaching the area where an official collects whatever is on the tray and serves the boiling water for the tea.
Inner port “Lake Port”
The central lake area is the only one with such a port built next to a large body of fresh water. The port itself is not of particular interest to travellers, but if you want to unwind and relax it may be the place you are looking for. Without going too deep, a few details can be highlighted.
- The only sports canoes on the planet are found in this port, there are four of them and all of them belong to the dictator’s family, although the two oldest can be rented by travelers at 12 Cr. per day.
- The port is built on thick pipes and the building on a pumping installation (in service) that provides cold water to the nearby industrial district, as well as storing fresh water in tanks to be distributed to others in case of need.
Bathing (swimming) is prohibited to avoid accidents with the pump intake. Although the entrance is protected with a grille, it is better to avoid scares: Walston has few inhabitants and each life is worth its weight in gold. However, this ban seems to attract teenagers who on their days off hang around the inner harbor fishing, while the most rebellious challenge each other to defy the ban (something that rarely happens; remember that the planet has a law level of 8 ).
Salbarii Canning company
This canning company, which bears the name of the highest mountain in the landscape, changed its name to that of one of the travelers or even to the ship Highndry after the events of the aforementioned adventure, since the few workers of the company come from Barvinn.
Although the events of the adventure can significantly affect the available merchandise, this canning company is responsible for preparing and packaging Walston’s surplus food. In the event of a catastrophe, they can be accounted for, although these surpluses are not many. The canning company has a press and foundry with which it recycles and makes its own cans. Although the labels are printed in bulk, they are placed manually. Although these foods are not intended for sale by government order, with special permission they can be exchanged for aluminum (2 tons of common consumables for 1 ton of common ore).
Euginne and the Songsters
Barring exceptional circumstances, life in Walston tends to be quiet and relaxed. Without many luxuries, but also without many necessities, and that can be heard in local music. Euginne and the Songsters are a small quartet of marine farmers who found in music a way to liven up their lives, as well as an occasional bit of extra money whether playing at ceremonies, festivities or local events.
For many years, in Walston, “music” was synonymous with “lullaby” as well as transgenerational lyrics and melodies that were sung during the working day in order to liven up the day to day, that is, what has been traditional music .
When Euginne was a teenager, a merchant traveler paid for her merchandise with a batch of old second-hand musical instruments, which soon ended up in her hands. After this, with patience and imported video tutorials, she taught herself to play, and proved adept, if unpolished. As the years went by, she was recruiting, teaching and learning along with the other three members of the group (who are also her co-workers) until she—and they—became the only established musical group in the entire system.
The group’s beginnings as a musical quartet were not dissimilar to many “Garage-Punk” groups in the central systems. They started playing in the street, the dictator found out (it is not very difficult in a system with 3,000 inhabitants), he fined them and warned them that more severe measures would be taken if they did not formalize their activity properly.
The agreement currently reached with the government is very simple: they must do regular concerts for free at official celebrations. The rest of the time they can be hired and play where they want and how they want without problems, as long as all the lyrics of the songs are previously approved by the governing body.
Like all musical groups, they dream of traveling and playing in distant places with an ardent crowd attentive to the stage. Although they know that it is a dream that is difficult to achieve and excessively grandiose, hope is the last thing that is lost and they feel that one day their time will come.
In the composition of the group we have Euginne at the head with her electric guitar as well as doing the second voice; Next to her we have Merlian with his three-string bass and first voice; as a percussionist we find the Vargr Kra-Agh-Zaen playing three kettledrums and finally her partner (also a female Vargr) Aeil-Plact with a distortion table (TL 7).
Information for the referee
The referee can easily introduce this quartet at the end of the High and Dry adventure by giving a concert to celebrate the actions of the travelers and send them off with honors at the starport, either use it as a hook for the concerts in other systems or as the acquisition of higher quality musical instruments.
Returning to Walston part 2
From here the consequences of Marches Adventure 1: High and Dry begin.
If the travelers return to Barvinn, they will be able to observe the current situation of the settlement, which is not at all rosy. If they arrive in the area they will be able to see two working groups:
- One of them is removing ash, dry lava and burned organic matter. Their goal is to try to make fertilizers or check the fertility of the soil after the eruption itself. That is, to see if the catastrophe has some long-term blessing.
- The second of them is using a metal detector with the intention of recovering molten metals and, incidentally, any other raw material that is still useful that has not been literally swallowed by the lava.
If the travelers are on their break and want to help with the reconstruction or if they are a new group that has been hired to help with these tasks, they will be able to collaborate easily with sensors and advanced equipment.
- Chemically analyzing the ash, lava and burned organic matter with a good set of sensors would radically speed up the tests they are willing to carry out. Although Walston has TL 8 and the necessary knowledge (both chemistry and botany) they do not have the proper facilities or precision tools to do so.
- As in the previous case, if travelers have advanced sensors with a densitometer of TL 12 or higher, they can speed up the process, although it will not be as radical as in the previous case.
When a door closes, a window opens. or so the survivors of Barvinn like to think, because after all they are still alive. New Barvinn is a settlement under construction to accommodate survivors. On this occasion, the settlement, instead of being next to a high mountain, is in a fairly flat area (just in case), yes, near the sea. Travelers here can have quite a few odd jobs to do, basically anything the referee can think of. Here is a small sample list:
- Look for hidden threats: After what happened at Barvinn, before moving further with the construction, the government may be interested in knowing if there are active fault lines, tsunami risk, quicksand or anything else nearby that can wipe out the population with a stroke of the pen.
- Hostile fauna: This new place may not have dangers like volcanoes, but it could be the territory of some especially dangerous aquatic predator. (This is a good time to introduce the Deep-Water Brakarr or Alderson’s Coastal Hunter (page 9 of Marches Adventure 1: High and Dry)).
- Burrowing Explosives: Because Walston’s buildings are built downwards, clever use of explosives can speed up the process quite a bit, but it also comes with risks. What if a box of explosives goes missing? Who would have stolen it and why?
- This should not be here: Perhaps during the excavations they have found a huge network of underground galleries to explore, an old crashed spaceship or even some ruins of the Ancients… Archaeological sites?
- What about the train? Creating a new train route to here is not an easy task, especially given the immense amount of resources that are needed. It would be considerably cheaper if the tracks leading to Barvinn were removed and relocated on the route to New Barvinn. But of course, what if the lands flooded by lava are really fertile? In that case the railroad tracks would be necessary to intensify agriculture in that area. Be that as it may, New Barvinn will have to wait until the train arrives. Finding, buying and bringing to the planet a tracked or off-road bus can be quite a challenge for commuters. And the next mission!