16 September 2009

Traveller: After Action Report II

After assembly at the usual time and place, it was discovered that we were down to three players to 50% strength. Aborting the campaign session in favor of board games was discussed but on the unanimous acclimation of Ulot, Puente, and Brandon, we proceeded as planned.

Play began at the sub-sector capitol's high-port in orbit, where we left off from last session. The crew then decided to entertain a lengthy debate on how and with what venture the party would embark to pay the mortgage on their ship. Captain Wong (Puente) strongly advocated a strategy of preying on outlaw spacers (drug dealers, pirates, and slavers) to finance the ship. Neither Cap'n Ronin (Brandon) nor Gideon (Ulot) had fundamental objections to that plan, although Gideon argued that it was best to start with Drug Dealers on the grounds that Slavers had manpower and weapons and Pirates had those and armed ships.

I let the discusion take its course and used the time to listen to the players plans (and formulate my own) as well as to catch up on some prep. The party then decided to to make for another planet (Freya or Frigga) to purchase supplies with the IC (imperial credits) 100,000 burning holes in their hold. There went all my prep for the High Port, arrrrgh!!

Aside, given that FTL comms are extremely rare, expensive, and low bandwidth; physical hard currency is big in my traveller universe. Treasure!!

Once dirtside, the party went shopping. I decided to throw a wrench in their plans at this point and threw a shady dealer at Cap'n Ronin (yar, pirates!). He made his streetwise check and I told him he got a bad feeling from this guy, but Ronin bought his shiny las pistol any way. Which ended up dragging him into a whole planetside police investigation into arms smugglers. To the rest of the parties horror, Ronin found himself wearing a wire to catch a big time arms dealer selling illegal arms.

What followed where some great roleplaying scenes as Ronin tried to work his way through the underworld without getting made. Just when I thought I was going to snap up the whole party in an escalating power struggle dirt side, the other two players manage to short circuit my plots in a daring extraction using the ship's launch (the same one that crashed into a mountain side during a previous extraction last game). They managed to nab both Cap'n Ronin and Markoth the Pink, Kra'ken arms dealer, target of Detective Swanson's operation. Then with some quick over the radio fast talking they managed to get to their ship and into orbit.

Not going to be outsmarted by the players, I figure that they can't hide from radar, and Detective Swanson manages to find them in time to have planetary defense ping them with targeting systems. In response to the sudden outbreak of radio problems on the Raptor as the party's ride is now known, the good detective sends them an g-mail (grav-wave network) 'put down or we'll put you down'. To which Captain Wong makes a counter offer; how much would it be worth to you if Markoth come down with a case of kinetic energy poisoning rather than live to get off the charges in trial.

But... Damnit. There goes that story. Of course the good detective leaps at a chance to cauterze this boil on society, she knows that alive he has money and political support, but dead he's just trash. Wong then maneuvers his way into getting 4 hours alone with the crime scene, it's not like the good detective wants these weapons on her planet stiring up trouble... Shit. Then the party manages to convince Markoth to pay them off for his life, which he does. They kill him anyway, of course. Bloody players got paid twice...

So the party manages to ship about 7 tons of gauss weapons and ammo into the Raptor's hold before the black and whites show back up from their call. And several smart missiles, some combat armor, a PGMP, and a pocket nuke. The party ends up selling the bulk of the weapons to a faction of pirates out of Hel headed by Captain Roberts, a four armed and three eyed combat enhanced human and very much a traditionalist (yar!!). This of course will end up changing the balance of power on the Council of Hel (evil grin). The party gets payed something ridiculous in bearer bonds redeemable on the Citadel and in Galactic Credits (gold pressed transuranics and highly traceable). The party uses this sum to pay a few months of the ships mortgage, their monthly expenses, and start a cache against a rainy day.

On their way back to Freya to begin their 'knock over the drug dealers' plan (aka kill the orcs and take their stuff) I roll up a random encounter. 'unusually bold pirate'. Hmmmm...

So the Raptor is wrenched out of warp space by a gravity well interdictor cruiser and 3 100 ton assault boats begin burning for them at thrust 6. This begins the slowest portion of the game, since space combat is both new to me and the party. It is discovered that my copy of the main book is MISSING the range modifiers to hit table, arrrgh!!! The party manages to burn the attackers with a combination of particle beam gunnery and missile strikes. Although if the Pirates hadn't been trying so hard not to kill anyone or if their gunner had hit more than once with the EMP beam...

Aside; I need to come up with some rules for the EMP beam, right now it is an act of plot...

Eventually the assault boats open up with their spinal mount meson guns, giving the party a big scare and irradiating one of the missing players. After dealing with the assault boats the party goes after the interdictor which they figure must be running on a skeleton crew and most of its volume taken up with the gravity well device. They target the things drives and score some awesome gunnery and damage rolls, crippling the pirate and leaving him dead in the water (note check for official called shots rules for space combat). The boarding action gets exciting with vislight chameleoned battle suited pirates giving the party a bit of a start. Luckily the party's paranoia in rigging their main lock with claymores pays off and the chameleon clouds are stripped away with plastique propelled ball bearings. Before the nano-clouds can reassemble, Gideon opens up with his PGMP...

So, scratch two battle suited pirates, expected. Before I can play up the suspense for the Pirate Big-Bad, Gideon tosses the pocket nuke onto the pirate ship. Unexpected. Scratch one mecha think-tank...



no game for you.

Sigh. So the party captures the interdictor, and sells it to Captain Roberts. Well, ok, I can work with that...