Returning to our weekly Traveller game after a few weeks break, I’m running Great Rift Adventure 2: Deepnight Endeavour. This is something that I’ve dropped hits and rumours about over the course of the previous adventure, and the players were interested in following up on it.
Earlier, they’d come across a wrecked shuttle of the Deepnight, which had managed to misjump into one of the lesser used space routes. From that they had obtained a lead to where the Deepnight might be. Now they were on Zuflucht, they had contacted the branch office of Deepnight Exploration to work out a deal. The receptionist, Karl Kegiidiig (a blonde haired, blue eyed young man from Neubayern) set up a meeting for them with the senior manager here, the Bwap Wefasa Wa Kawepa. She was able to iron out an agreement with the PCs that everyone was happy with.
Salvage rules given in Mongoose Traveller state the reward is normally 1/10th of the cost of a vessel if it is brought in for salvage, or 1/20th if only the location of the vessel is given. Since they had the location of the shuttle craft (and by ‘shuttle’, I mean a 300t jump capable scout ship), they were due an award of 5% of the Cr160M that it was worth – a cool Cr8M. This would be payable once location of the wreckage had been confirmed.
For the Endeavour itself, that was a more interesting problem. The adventure as written doesn’t actually give any indication of what reward the players should expect – it actually assumes that the adventure starts with them having found the Endeavour, with no fuel left to get back home. A bit of an unfair assumption that the players would take such a risk in my opinion (there are some good reasons why they might, and there are ways to resolve the problem, but still unfair). It also doesn’t really work in the middle of an ongoing campaign, since the players need to have some agency in terms of how (and why) they locate the ship.
So assuming that the players are due the normal salvage reward, we’re looking at a lot of money. The Endeavour has a cost of over 40 billion credits. Even 5% of that is two billion credits for the players – enough for them to retire on very comfortably and end the campaign. Most salvage firms aren’t going to have that sort of money laying around. And at 100,000t, they’re going to have difficulty salvaging it anyway.
So we came to an agreement where the PCs would be paid (another) Cr8M up front to be hired as consultants to go and try and hunt down the Endeavour. This was enough for them to pay off the final part of the mortgage on their ship It’s A Sex Thing, and buy a few extras for the upcoming mission. Also, if they succeeded, then they would definitely be looked on very favourably for funding for future missions. It’s still a lot of money, but hopefully not enough to derail things. It’ll cover their fuel costs for a long while, allowing them to avoid trade if they want to. It also gives them a patron for future adventures.
Now that they were working with Deepnight Exploration, the PCs had access to a bit more information. Firstly, from the evidence that they found on the shuttle, they were expecting to find the Endeavour at location 1719, and there was a known fuel cache at that location.
Secondly, there was an uncharted (at least officially) rogue planet at 1520, an Odyssian type jovian world with a known system of moons. Unfortunately, it was known to sometimes be used by pirates, though did get occasionally cleared out by forces from Serendip Belt.
It was an ideal jump-2 from both Topas and Berlichingen though, and then jump-2 to the fuel cache. Their own ship had a range of Jump-2, plus collapsible tanks in the hold for another 3 parsecs. Not enough to get from Berlichingen to the fuel cache and back, but it gave them a number of options.
Going with them would be an employee of Deepnight Exploration, Dr Laura Matthews, to act as an official representative of the company. For some reason the players vetoed the first representative they were offered, a Carter Burke.
Which brings me to an interesting tool I’ve come across – Artbreeder – which uses AI to generate random images. It has a wide selection of human faces, which makes it easy to come up with portraits for NPCs and tweak their age gender and skin colour. As a bonus, they’re licensed CC0 so I can use them here. If you want more than 10 downloads a month, you have to pay, but it may be worth it.
Previously I’ve tried to rely on places like Piqsels, which provides CC0 licensed images, but finding exactly what I want there can be hard – especially when I don’t want someone who looks like a model. There are better selections out there, but they’re not liberally licensed.
I still haven’t found any good sources for Traveller aliens though. The (very) few Aslan and Vargr images are restricted usage. I’m mostly relying on some paper-minis I got from DriveThru RPG, but though I can use them within Roll20, I can’t replicate them here.
After finalising what they wanted for their expedition, and Dr Matthews had brought aboard some general supplies (mostly spare parts and medical drugs in case they were needed), they were ready to leave. Their payment for the expedition had come through on 25-1106, and the salvage ship Lady Christina set off to go search for the shuttle 2 days later. It was a J-2 capable ship, with 4 parsecs of fuel, so would probably reach the wreck in about 4 weeks.
There were a couple of rumours they picked up before leaving Zuflucht. I’d completely failed to prepare anything for Zuflucht, so used some I had for Gloire instead. Of course, they weren’t going via Gloire, and in hindsight I’m not sure why I thought they would since it didn’t make much sense.
A group of militant Aslan are said to hunting down any humans trading in their precious fighting cats, the Feakhefourar. Fighting them, or buying them, is against their religion if you’re not Aslan.
There’s a heightened level of activity between Serendip and Neubayern. A rattling of sabres at the moment, but it’s increased in intensity.
With that information, which may or may not be useful (or even true), we’re ready to begin the expedition next week where they plan on a double jump directly to Serendip Belt.