In the previous session of my monthly Traveller game set in the Trojan Reach, the Travellers had discovered that the journalist they were trying to deliver some data to had been kidnapped. He seemed to have been investigating a group of slave traders, and had been kidnapped by some arms dealers.
Through the clever use of “find my laptop”, they had tracked him down to the location of a low quality electronics shop called John’s Mechanics.
As before, we had a couple of missing players, but we had enough for a game. With a month between adventures, there’s a lot more catching up to do in terms of what happened last session (both for myself and the players),
Their plan was to head to John’s Mechanics, scout it out and try to break in and rescue Hans if they could. I’ve mostly tried to keep things more ‘theatre of the mind’ for this game, since I know some of the players are more used to that style of game rather than the more tactical grid based games my other groups have been more used to, but I felt it was better to draw a map in this case, to better explain where everything was in relation to each other.
Drawing maps in Roll20 is always, tricky, though it’s made a lot easier by using a graphics tablet when drawing rough sketches like this.
So the PCs turned up to find an electronic repair shop, with a couple of guys at the front desk and a customer wanting a recording device repaired. She was a heavily tattooed woman with a large bird across her back. The guys referred to her as a ‘feather’, and commented that in her line of work she probably heard lots of interesting things. She told them that they’d need to pay if she were to tell them anything. She then handed over the broken item and left.
This was a bit of background which may have come in useful later for the PCs, though as it turned out they went for a more direction solution. Micky did pick up on this though, and did do a bit of digging later to find out that the Feathered Ladies were mostly sex workers who were known for also dealing with information they’d picked up from clients. They were recognisable by their bird motif tattoos.
Una handed over a broken video camera the group had and kept the two guys talking whilst Micky tried to have a look around. There was a back room full of shelves covered with electrical and mechanical items, and a door at the back as well.
So they headed round to the Yellow Duck Bar and had a drink, then went out into the back alley to see if they could break in. Whilst Una went across to the tattoo parlour to keep an eye on the front of the shop, Micky broke in and she and Ninji and Iroioah sneaked inside. Whilst they had been hiding outside the door, a third person had come in and gone downstairs, and the guys at the front had started playing loud music.
So under the cover of the music, they crept upstairs. It seemed to be mostly living areas – lounge, kitchen, bedrooms etc. In the first lounge was a woman in her underwear sleeping on the coach, a number of empty bottles of alcohol on the floor next to her. There was also a pistol sitting on the table next to her. Micky sneaked in and grabbed the gun, noticing that the woman smelled of alcohol and seemed to be quite deeply asleep.
There were also a couple of guys in bed, also asleep. They had a shotgun, but it was decided trying to steal that would be too tricky.
So they headed back down stairs, and then down into the basement where there seemed to be some type of bar and games room. There were a number of ‘heavies’ down here, as well as the woman Jacqui Miskatonolli who had engineered the kidnapping of Hans.
From this point, whenever time passed I rolled a d6 and on a ‘6’ someone would come out and probably discover them. However, they lucked out and they managed to get in and out without being seen.
In one of the rooms in the basement they found a locked door, which didn’t stop Ninji for too long, and behind it was Hans – tied to a chair. They managed to get out without being discovered and took him back to their ship.
He was grateful for being rescued, and told them a bit about what had happened. His initial assumption on researching Paternity Inc was that they were a bunch of weapon smugglers – and they are. But they use this as a cover for people smuggling, which it pretty much what the group had surmised. However, the people they are smuggling are human children rescued from the Glorious Empire. They take in weapons (which don’t have a huge impact), and smuggle out escaping slaves, bringing them back to the Imperium. The school for orphans is used to try and find them good homes.
They’re keeping this secret, since if people find out then word might make it back to the Glorious Empire. The Broken Arrows gang want to muscle in on the weapons smuggling side of things, but Hans didn’t want them to get the information he’d uncovered, in case they ruined the slave rescuing side of things.
Una and Ninji go to visit the Paternity Inc offices, and warn them that the Broken Arrows are interested in them, but don’t quite provide enough information to convince them that their intentions are good.
The next day, the Travellers head to the Solomani District in Imisaa to go and find the Blossom House hotel. Their intent is to track down Julius Caesar (it’s a cover name he uses, since being Solomani with an over inflated opinion of himself he reckons none of the Vilani here will get the reference), who they know was a contact for the Transcription Factor crew.
He’s with a bird tattooed woman, but they wait until she has left. The Feathered Lady was always meant as a possibly way for them to get information, but Una went straight for Julius Caesar instead.
For a price he’s willing to give Una some information on the Transcription Factor and its crew, starting cheap and working up.
Initially, he tells them that there is a conflict between Dr Kaazaki and Professor Alugur. Since Kaazaki was fired from his position at Ardasii Metals, Alugur is officially in charge of the team. But Kaazaki still believes he should be, even if only unofficially. Dr Kaazaki also has a brother on this world.
The two twins, are actually telepaths who seem to be permanently in contact with each other.
They don’t seem to be heading to Aslan space, but are heading down to the world of Paal. They’re also taking a non-obvious route because they don’t want to risk being followed. They were looking for an escort to protect them from pirates, and Julius had put them in contact with Jenaime Ygrant, the captain and owner of the mercenary cruiser Hero.
My original plan had been to have the PCs follow the trail of the Transcription Factor, but I decided letting them know the final destination and give them the option to choose their own route there would be more interesting.
So everything was going great – and then Jacqui Miskatonolli walked into the bar. Micki and Ninji spotted her, and she spotted them, eventually coming over to talk to them. Micki realised that they hadn’t checked for security cameras. Just as when they’d been breaking in when I’d rolled randomly to see if they got discovered, I also had rolled randomly to see how quickly the Broken Arrows managed to figure out who had broken in and rescued Hans. Whilst the PCs had been really lucky on rolls initially, I started rolling high, so the gang had quickly found footage of them, and quickly tracked down both who they were and where they were.
Jacqui doesn’t threaten them directly, but ‘gives them a chance’ to cooperate and do things the easy way. The PCs play dumb, so Jacqui leaves.
As soon as Una is finished getting information out of Julius, the three of them quickly get a taxi back to the spaceport and decide to leave as quickly as possible. They are already fuelled, but decide trying to find some cargo would take too long.
Hans remains behind to take his chances, and the group get clearance to leave and head off from the planet, plotting a course to Fist.
I had expected them to get caught during the break in (but hadn’t wanted it to be certain), so I had expected a bit more of a confrontation. It didn’t have to get violent, but could have got complicated.
But they have the information they need, and know their ultimate destination. They just need to decide which route they are taking, and whether they want to stop off anywhere else to find out anything more. All of that can wait until next time though.