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Flight of the Stag

Flight of the Stag. J. Andrew Keith
Marischal Adventures (defunct, no website)
4pp. PDF (originally paperbound)
Available on FarFuture Apocrypha 3 CD

Is four pages a seed or an adventure? In this case, it’s almost a mini-campaign. The Close Escort Stag is assigned an important mission during the Fifth Frontier War: Get Prince Eorn, the pro-Imperial ruler of Thanber, to safety, either on a neutral (Darrian) world, or on an Imperial-controlled world. The ship is leaving just ahead of the Zhodani (re-)occupation of Thanber, and will have only a limited amount of time to decide where they’re going and enter jump.

The intent is that, for the most part, the player-characters will be operating the Stag, making decisions on how to best get Prince Eorn to safety, and avoiding or (when unavoidable) fighting Zhodani in the process. The adventure can be played multiple times; part of the referee’s preparation involves determining – at least partially randomly – which systems in the area are safe Imperial systems, disputed, neutral, or Zhodani-controlled. The Stag’s objective is to reach either a safe Imperial-controlled world (preferred), or a neutral Darrian world.

The assumption is that maneuvering and refueling will take time, as documented in the (Classic) Traveller core rules (plus High Guard, and Supplements 3 and 7 [The Spinward Marches and Traders and Gunboats] will also be useful); as a result, the players will have to roll a potential starship encounter upon system entry (jump exit) and once per hour while in-system. In the players’ favor is the possibility (in Disputed systems) of encountering an Imperial ship or squadron which may (but it’s not guaranteed) be willing and able to escort the Stag to safety. Also in the players’ favor is that the Stag is equipped with a Jump Governor (remember, early Traveller by default had ships using all available fuel in a jump, even if it was a ’short’ (less than maximum) jump) and ‘drop tanks’ with an extra 100 tons of fuel. Unfortunately, the referee is directed to have an encounter in Thanber system result in damage to the tank release mechanism, so that the drop tanks can’t be dropped. The Stag can also refuel by ‘skimming’ a gas giant.

The front page is the cover – a William H. Keith illustration – with a short summary of the requirements to play this adventure. Page 2 is a one-page summary of what the players are allowed to know about the mission and situation, with pages 3 and 4 being the actual rules and referee’s information for running the adventure.

Layout – the kind of stuff that Jeff does with Microsoft Publisher for Freelance Traveller – appears to have been done “on the cheap” like so much of the early material; body text is IBM’s “Courier 72” (from the Selectric II typewriters), with a small amount of the Selectric II “Script”; anything else (titles, captions, etc.) is most likely LetraSet lettering.

A referee with a sufficiently large collection of contemporary Traveller material could easily set this elsewhere, for example during the Solomani Rim War, with the enemy being the Sollies instead of the Zhos. Or, with later versions of Traveller, it would appear to be easily adaptable to other rule sets and other periods or areas. Overall, a simple concept, put together well, and playable multiple times without necessarily inducing boredom. If you get the Apocrypha 3 CD from Far Future, don’t ignore this item.