Finding the Stranger

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Continuing our run through of the Mongoose Traveller adventure Islands in the Rift (so spoilers if you might play it), I have had a bit of time to think about the motivations of the original crew. I’d already fleshed out what had happened to the original crew just before things went pear-shaped, but didn’t have reasons for some of the decisions leading up to that. Why were they on Acadie for example?

It didn’t really matter, and the adventure as written doesn’t concern itself with such details, but I figured that there might be questions so spent some time in the previous week coming up with some reasoning. It will probably never be found out, and the extra information may end up complicating things and distracting the players from the adventure-as-written. As long as it doesn’t cause them to go and get themselves killed though, it should be fine.

170-1105: Nibbling at the Edges

The PCs have reached Acadie, and they have located the Perfect Stranger, but it appears to be ON HOLD, whatever that means. The most obvious thing to do next is to talk to the starport authorities to find out the details and claim their ship, so of course the group decide not to do that.

Partly that may have been down to me adding some extra clues, partly it because the PCs were still a bit paranoid about outing themselves as being involved with the ship. They still didn’t know what had happened to the crew, or whether the authorities here had been responsible.

A good Recon check by Khadashi spotted a small reflector attached to the wall next to the ramp down to the bay. According to Shinzaro, it seemed to be setup to reflect a radar beam back to some source, acting as a tripwire of sorts if anyone tried to use that entrance to the bay. It seemed to be setup to signal back to the apartment block behind them, probably the upper floor.

Since I’d been using the Perfect Stranger and the starport as a topic to practice on with Blender, I had a few images and models I could show to help describe the environment.

Overlooking Bay 5, where the Perfect Stranger is parked

They decide to split up and try and find out a bit more about what has been going on, and organise some accommodation for the night. As far as they can gather, this is the only ship here that matches the description of the Perfect Stranger, so it’s unlikely to be decoy. There’s also mention of a grav-bike fight around the starport back around when the two crew members where rescued by the Our Lady of Comets and taken to Amondiage, which might be related. Finally, Shinzaro finds a mention of one of the crew members – Iimshan Isha Mijirjirjur, cover name for Major Miraku. Apparently her body is possibly being held in the city morgue waiting for someone to confirm the identification.

That evening, whilst Zanobia is sitting in the bar are chatting with locals and other travellers, Khadashi and Shinzaro try breaking into the apartment block. It’s relatively straightforward, and Shinzaro helps them both try to avoid CCTV cameras as they make their way up to the roof looking for any radio transmitters or anything which could be transmitting signals to somewhere. There’s no sign of anything, so they head back to the hotel to meet up with Zanobia.

Zanobia has had time to pick up some general rumours. It used the same technique as before – giving out a mix of true and false rumours based on how well the character rolled. You get three rumours, and how many of them are true depends on how high you roll. Sometimes the false ones are obvious.

  • There’s a large bounty out for the heads of the rebel groups being offered by the government. They’re finding it hard to find local people willing to help, so are quietly trying to find offworlders to do their dirty work for them.
  • The Imperium is a lie. It’s a conspiracy put out by the governments in the Islands to keep everyone under control. There is no civilisation outside of the Islands.
  • There’s a forgotten ship sitting in the starport, and there have been groups of people snooping around it for the last few months. A friend of a friend of a friend who is sensitive to these things says that it’s haunted by the ghost of a dead woman.

Before heading to bed, they talk about trying to find which room from which the radar reflector was being used from and break into it. Not something I’d expected, but in hindsight I possibly should have.

171-1105: Revelations

Around mid-morning Khadashi and Shinzaro head back to the apartment block and break in again, this time trying to find the apartment in which the radar tripwire was setup. They think they drop the possibilities down to one room, but whilst hovering around outside the door, Shinzaro spots one of the cameras seemingly swinging around to look at them.

At that point Khadashi goes for an interspecies kiss, but they are interrupted by a couple of guys who come up the stairs and demand to know what they are doing. The PCs try to bluff their way out of it, but notice the tell-tale signs of guns poking out from the pockets of the two. Deciding that they don’t want to get into a gun fight at this point, especially when they don’t have the advantage, they leave.

I was somewhat nervous at this point, because this could have gone very badly if they’d forced a fight by continuing to stick their nose into what was going on. Fortunately there were good reasons why neither side really wanted a gun fight at this point in time, so it was reasonable to allow them to walk out alive.

Meanwhile, Zanobia goes to talk to starport authorities to find out why the ship has an “ON HOLD” status. Apparently it’s the small details of a Cr72,000 docking fees, late fees, fines and other costs that have mounted up over the last few months. Zanobia manages to bargain the cost down to half that, and pays a third of that up front to show good intentions. Since the PCs had quite a bit of cash from character generation, I think this bit went a bit easier than was expected in the adventure-as-written.

The other two head down to the Bay (there is a map I used for Roll20), using the main vehicle entrance which isn’t locked. They spend some time looking around the bay before approaching the ship, finding an old shipping container with some blood stains on the handles. They take some photos and leave it be. I’d expected them to find that later, but it matters not.

The ship itself seems to be in reasonable condition, though again there are some blood stains on the control panel for the main entrance ramp. Again they take photos, then open up the ship and head inside.

They are careful, but this time it turns out to be perfectly safe. There are signs that the crew left in a hurry – some rotten half-eaten food left on plates, and also signs of emergency medical procedures being done of the kitchen table. Though there are signs of a break-in, personnel weapons haven’t been taken. The main data cores of the ship have been though – the main reason the Imperium wanted the ship back.

Meanwhile, Zanobia is checking on the body at the morgue, and positively identifies it as one of the crew. The body is not in good condition, and shows signs of having been heavily tortured before death. It had been found in a garbage bin a few days after the big fight with grav bikes (which, apparently, hadn’t been near the starport but out to the west, and result in the crash of a ship launch to the north), but hadn’t been linked back to the Perfect Stranger some weeks later due to lack of any identification.

It had been found not too far from where another gun fight had happened near a warehouse in the poorer and more industrial part of the city. That gun fight had happened the night before the grav bikes.

With things getting late, I decide to try and wrap things up with some final information. Everyone meets up at the ship, and they manage to dig out the ship’s log from the flight deck which provides a record of where the ship has been, as well as some notes against some of the entries.

Arrival DateDeparture DateStar System
123-1103Zuflucht
145-1103150-1103Gloire
165-1103170-1103Serendip Belt
192-1103203-1103Elysee
210-1103213-1103Besancon
220-1103224-1103Herzenslust
231-1103236-1103New Colchis
258-1103276-1103Joyeuse
298-1103299-1103Besancon
321-1103335-1103Sturgeon’s Law (1)
350-1103365-1103Neubayern
12-110418-1104New Home
40-110442-1104Acadie (2)
49-110464-1104Amondiage
86-110488-1104Sansterre
103-1104104-1104St Genevieve
126-1104131-1104Amondiage (3)
160-1104172-1104New Home
209-1104215-1104Herzenslust (4)
237-1104242-1104Joyeuse
271-1104277-1104Colchis
292-1104Acadie (5)

(1) Delightful Grotto / Blue Lady. Recommendation from red-headed friend on Dendaash. (327-1103)

(2) Joel Bisset, Houillon / L575 (42-1104)

(3) Snoopers. Ecoris Training Services. Terminated.

(4) Drop Point Hotel Zebra / H857 (215-1104)

(5) Detected suspicious signals. Iikush and Eneri to investigate. (300-1104)

With the information provided, we wrap up for the evening. There’s a bit more information here than was in the original adventure, so I’m hoping it doesn’t confuse things too much. The players have a habit of digging into things in great detail though, so having the information up front might make things a bit easier. Or not.

Samuel Penn

Samuel Penn