This article originally appeared in the November/December 2022 issue.
Station. Bill Paley.
Judges Guild (defunct, no website)
Original format: 64pp Softcover; Original price US$4.95;
current price varies on secondhand market
Current Availability: 64pp, PDF
Current Price: Available on FFE Apocrypha 2 CD-ROM ($35)
Some early adventures age well. Others, unfortunately including Dra’k’ne Station, don’t.
Dra’k’ne Station is best described as a dungeon crawl, plain and simple. The setup is three pages of prose, alternately describing the actions of a warrior/scout approaching his people’s battlewagon/research station and the actions of an Imperial Scout in a landing boat approaching – and being shot down by – an enormous alien craft built into an asteroid.
The station was not built by humans, and a brief profile (roughly a half-page) of the race that did build it is included. They’re upright, about 4m tall, and possess three-fold radial symmetry. That large size offers a partial explanation for the grid size on the plans; one grid square is given to be 9m by 9m.
The external defenses of the station are summarized in about a page and a half, including the scout boat operated by the warrior. The boat cannot initially approach the station (maneuver drive is out), but the warrior/scout will be working to repair systems – primarily the maneuver drive – so as to be able to dock with the station. The scout boat is armed with an ‘anti-matter beam’ weapon, and there is only a one-in-three chance at any time that the warrior will not notice an attempt to approach or land personnel by the Imperials (and fire on them). If the warrior/scout succeeds in repairing its maneuver drive, it will dock with the station; it is not clear from the text whether it will simply repair its boat or try to trigger the station’s self-destruct. The text indicates that it will take 20 hours of labor for the maneuver drive to be repaired, but does not give any information on the warrior/scout’s need or intervals for sleep, or any other information about necessary repairs on the boat.
Most of the rest of the folio is a level-by-level description of the station, with maps; in the tradition of the original dungeon crawls, each room is numbered and given a one- or two-line description.
The objective of the adventure is never set out explicitly; one can assume that rescuing the stranded scout is the initial objective, but (human) scouts being scouts, an attempt at exploring the station should certainly be on the table.
There are rewards from any exploration that might be undertaken, but not really at the personal level – the most significant possibilities will be for the benefit of the Imperium. There are hazards and traps to go along with the possible rewards, just like with any ‘good’ dungeon crawl.
I can’t recommend this as written; Traveller – and the role-playing hobby in general – has evolved away from the type of adventure this folio represents. At best, it might be usable as a setting for an adventure that a good referee might compose. Trying to locate a paper copy is only for completists; the best method of acquisition is going to be through the FFE CD, where you’ll get some other value for your money, well beyond what’s here.