In Search of Art

Our Friday night Traveller sessions continue with the Travellers ready to leave Zuflucht in their new Free Trader the It’s A Sex Thing. Since they wanted to fill up their collapsible fuel tanks with fuel, they had no room for any cargo, so headed for Serendip Belt without any chance of making a profit.

On 28-1106 the ship leaves Zuflucht and makes a jump to empty space, the half way point to Serendip Belt. They then have to transfer fuel from the collapsible fuel tanks to the main drives, and jump again, arriving at Serendip Belt on 43-1106.

Since Serendip Belt is a, well, belt, they can come out of jump pretty close to the starport, which is the old generation ship C-Jammer. They identify themselves, and cue a bit of questioning about their ship’s name. One thing is for certain, and that is their ship will be remembered.

Since they now have a ship that they own, and will need to keep maintained, we went through the general maintenance and running costs of a starship of their type. Fortunately one of the players was willing to take on the job of tracking this, and she put together a spreadsheet with all the right numbers in.

Whilst availing themselves of the entertainment facilities at Serendip Belt, an important announcement came over most of the news channels.

A shooting engagement has commenced at Berlichingen, when the Freemantle class patrol ship “Cambridge” engaged the Neubayern Pola class frigate “KSS Eiserne Stärke” in defence of a Serendip civilian vessel.

The Eiserne Stärke was performing  an ‘illegal’ customs check of the trading vessel Peace of Nations, which is registered under a Serendip Flag. The Cambridge intervened, threatening the Eiserne Stärke if it didn’t back off. Deciding that they were bluffing, the Stärke continued its approach, and the Cambridge opened up with missiles at long range.

The Stärke responded with the same, trying to use the Peace of Nations as cover, forcing the Cambridge to detonate its missiles prematurely.

As the Peace of Nations tried to escape, there was an protracted long range engagement between the two warships,  The Serendip ship had the advantage of particle beams, which started doing serious damage to the Stärke. It was given the opportunity to stand down, but instead tried to close the distance, damaging the Cambridge before being crippled.

Berlichingen are refusing to let the Cambridge refuel at their starport, for fear of being seen to choose sides. A tanker is on the way to rescue the Cambridge in case any new Neubayern warships turn up looking for revenge.

1600t Freemantle class patrol frigate

The Freemantle class of Serendip warship might be ever so slightly inspired by designs in another game. The Neubayerns, having a German background, I’m using inspiration from the NSL fleet. I do like having a wide range of different ship types rather than just the common Traveller designs.

This meant that travel to Berlichingen was potentially dangerous at the moment, since nobody knew what the current state of affairs was at that system. However, it did mean that freight going that way was going to be more profitable.

Instead they decided to continue to Topas as originally planned. This time they only refuelled up to 2 parsecs, and decided to take both cargo and passengers. I’ve modified the freight prices given in the core rulebook since they don’t make much sense to me, plus I’ve also given options for speed of delivery.

They took 45t of Common Consumables (mostly food), for Cr72,000 and 15t of Robots (mostly mining machinery) for Cr18,000.

There were a couple of business people looking for middle passage, and a family of three looking for basic passage after returning from their son’s wedding. There was also an Aslan female, but with a couple of their staterooms converted into labs and medbays, she would have to find a different flight.

There was also time to pick up other news and rumours. They got some pretty decent rolls, so most of what they picked up was fairly accurate:

  1. New Home may be ahead of us, being the first nation in the Islands to build a Jump-4 capable vessel, but Serendip boffins aren’t far behind. They’re saying the first designs will be tested within the next couple of years.
  2. Pirates are operating out of a base around an uncharted gas giant, but they have recently been wiped out by Serendip forces led by the escort carrier Massachusetts.
  3. The Neubayerns are building a super-capital ship out of a large asteroid (or in some versions, a small moon). It is said to have a massive spinal mount weapon and be jump capable.
  4. Neubayerns are building a massive asteroid based ship, which is part warship part factory, designed to jump into an asteroid belt and stay hidden from the enemy. Called the Devourer.
  5. The trading vessel Atlantic Blue, a 2000t Marlow class freighter, is missing, it jumped from Gloire to Serendip Belt three weeks ago, but never arrived. It is believed to have suffered a jump failure and has either misjumped somewhere, or is lost forever in Jump Space.
  6. Topas has a sort of agreement with pirates around the gas giant of that system, in order to force traders to land at the main world and buy stuff there.
  7. Neubayern doesn’t have many jump capable warships, most are big planetoid class hulls.

So on 50-1106 they depart from the C-Jammer and make a jump towards Topas. There are a few minor events with the passengers, but nothing major, and Madeleine keeps the young daughter of the family entertained with drawing materials.

On arrival at Topas, there is more entertainment with their ship’s name, and Shinzaro manages to piss off space-traffic control, so they get shunted to the landing pad the furthest out. They offload the passengers, and sell the freight for the agreed price.

From here their plan was to head for the uncharted world of Niflheim, but they decide to spend the time relaxing. The Deepnight Endeavour has been missing for a year, so one more week isn’t going to harm. So time for some more rumours, though I few might be not entirely accurate this time:

  1. There’s a new artist out in the Ruins of Blephos, a town to the north. He’s making exquisite animal sculptures out of volcanic glass, creatures that never existed but should have.
  2. There is a group of women based here who have been hijacking ships in the Islands to start building up a small fleet, as well as using it as a source of funds.
  3. Tobias XI is actually controlled by another pirate group, that has its main base out on an uncharted world somewhere in the Reft. They use it as a refuelling depot before heading further into the islands.
  4. The water reclamation is meant to be almost 100%, but it is failing in the capital. There are groups deliberately breaking the system, and making money from the need for fresh water.
  5. Alien ruins have been found beneath the southern polar cap. Nobody is allowed to fly over the area, and all flight paths are tightly controlled to prevent anyone from seeing the dig sites.
  6. There are stockpiles of weapons out in the great deserts, left over from the civil war. These include biological and nuclear weapons. A few people know where they are, and are preparing for another war.
  7. There are civil servants getting kick backs from the pirate groups to allow them to operate and hold a monopoly on the world’s water.
  8. There is a group of women using terrorism, revenge and extortion to get what they want, which is complete control of the government.

In terms of where the rumours come from, some are based on events going on in the region, some are from the 101 Plots book from BITS, but for most of them I just start typing some words and see what comes out the other side.

As expected, the artist at the ruins appealed to Khadashi, so they hired an ATV and headed out on a two day journey to try and find him. It should have been one day, but it was off-road, and they got lost trying to navigate around a radioactive hot spot.

At the ruins of a city that had been destroyed in the civil war, they manage to find their artist and make a good impression on the small commune he is running there. It includes an Aslan, several families and some trusted heavies for keeping the more criminally minded dwellers in the ruins from bothering them.

The artist is Galvos Toberra, who makes some quite highly detailed sculptures from volcanic glass. Khadashi buys a piece he likes for 5,000Cr, and the next day they’re given some protection on their way back to the spaceport.

So the plan seems to be to head on to the uncharted gas world of Niflheim at Reft 1520. There have been pirates there, but Serendip forces have recently raided them so it should be safe. From, there they should be able to refuel and head on to the fuel cache at 1719 to see if they can pick up the trail of the Endeavour.

Samuel Penn

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