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Hellion’s Hoard

Hellion’s Hoard. Hans Rancke.
Cargonaut Press (defunct, no website)
8pp., PDF
available on the Far Future Apocrypha 3 CD-ROM

Hellion’s Hoard is one of the better adventures for Classic Traveller, in that it isn’t a ‘dungeon crawl in space’, doesn’t ‘railroad’ the player-characters, and offers the player-character and the referee wide latitude in how to accomplish the adventure’s goals.

The only requirement imposed on the adventure is that the player-characters must be in possession of a starship. The referee doesn’t appear to need more than a set of Classic Traveller core rules, and the adventure doesn’t call out any ‘helpful’ additional material. Additionally, the referee is encouraged to ‘tune’ the final reward to match the needs of the long-term campaign; as written, the player-characters could end up with a ‘retirement haul’, but the referee is given some ideas for reducing the immediate cash value in favor of opportunities to gain potential future contacts or patrons. Or enemies. Or even further adventures.

The player-characters are approached by an academic type asserting that he knows the location of a treasure hoard of a notorious pirate from several hundred years ago. He is willing to share the hoard – offering a significant percentage – if the player-characters will take him there. This isn’t a ‘hard charter’; the academic knows that the ship has to make a living, and will offer to help in whatever (unskilled) way he can during the trip.

If the player-characters haven’t equipped themselves properly before arriving at the destination world, they’ll find some minor challenges to doing so, partly due to the societal attitudes resulting from a history of being targeted for raids.

Once they’re equipped, actually getting to the hoard is not going to be a cakewalk – it’s hidden in a location that (naturally) isn’t going to be easy to access (but if the player-characters ask the right questions before getting to the destination world, it shouldn’t be too difficult to ensure that they have what they need.

That’s not the only challenge that the player-characters will face; the academic is not what he seems, and he’s not the only one that knows something about the hoard. If they’re not on their guard, they could very easily end up on the wrong end of some serious, possibly fatal, trouble; being on guard and a little bit lucky can turn that around for them.

Overall, a well-written adventure, equal to the best of the Keith brothers. This definitely adds to the value of the Apocrypha 3 CD-ROM, and perhaps Mr Miller should be encouraged to offer it as a separate purchase on DriveThruRPG.