Here's the intro I wrote up for my players for our current Traveller adventure.
I'm still trying to get an after-action report of our last session set up, so by way of introduction, let me present this er, intro.
Since everyone requested to play active-service operatives for the Imperium (as opposed to mustered-out/retired adventurers/mercs), the premise here is that their characters are part of a special operations group 'answerable to the highest levels of government in the Spinward Marches'. Yes, it sounds cheesy but it gets the game going, neh?
Think Mission Impossible meets Aliens, or something to that effect.
Porozlo is a world taken from canonical GDW Traveller lore. It was mentioned in Book 4 (Mercenary) and the 76 Patrons supplement. Essentially, it is a highly populated, up-and-coming planet divided until recently between a liberal Free Commerce Alliance and a more inward-oriented Private Ownership Bloc. I also hand-drew a hex map of the world and colored it to boot using colored pencils I cribbed from my son's doodling supplies. Unfortunately, the map won't scan properly, so I won't be able to post it for now.
I normally always send out such intros for my players to chew on before running a game. In this case, I fed them this and left them alone as to how they will accomplish the mission. This includes coming in, getting to the mission area and going out.
Date: 1108 Imperial
Mission: Retrieval of Ancient Artifact
Area: Poroszlo [Rhylanor/Spinward Marches] (A867A74-A)
Poroszlo is a high tech, balkanized, high population planet in the Rhylanor subsector of the Spinward Marches. Its population, until recently, was divided mainly into two camps- the Free Commerce (FC) Bloc and the Private Ownership (PO) Bloc. The FC nations are concentrated mainly on the large western continent of San Miklos. Although controlling about 2/3s of Poroszlo's population of 9+ billion, the FC nations are the richest, most tech advanced countries on the planet. They adhere to a policy of close ties with off-world mega-corporations and business concerns.
The PO Bloc on the other hand controls the much of the remaining majority on the planet and are concentrated on the central supercontinent of Hoxha. This is further divided into two great states: the Greater People's Democratic Collective (DemoCol) and the Supreme Federated People's Union (SFPU). The PO adheres to a nationalistic, Poroszlo-first policy and are wary of off-world mega-corp 'imperialism'.
Tensions always remained high on the planet giving rise to brush fire wars and coups, the latest most serious being the counter-coup in Steposzhevac, on San Miklos, wherein numerous off-world mercenary contingents figured in forcibly unseating a pro-PO junta.
[note: refer to sample tickets in Book 4, Mercenary for more background]
Last year, the fragile situation was upset by hostilities between two ostensibly allied nations: the DemoCol and SPFU. Skirmishes along both authoritarian nations' shared border erupted into full-scale war. Most predicted a swift DemoCol victory in view of the latter's more sophisticated armed forces (stiffened liberally by higher TL imported military hardware). After swift gains deep into SFPU territory, the DemoCol forces were locked into a stalemate as the SFPU numbers slowed down the DemoCol advance. This Greater Hoxha Eastern Theater of Operations eventually became a meatgrinder which consumed division after division of conscripts from both sides.
Four months ago, a senior officer coup occured in the Republic of Morovic, on San Miklos, wherein the pro-FC national assembly was held hostage by air assault pathfinders commanded by conservative elements in the military. The pro-PO coup plotters appeared to have miscalculated as this led to a spontaneous popular uprsing by the pro-FC segment of the population. With fighting in the streets, the members of the national assembly still at large sent a formal request for FC Bloc military intervention. This was followed by a ultimatum by the DemoCol that any intervention will be considered a formal act of war against the PO. Curiously, the SFPU remained neutral on account of continuing aid and support from the FC Bloc.
48 hours later, air assault units of the FC Bloc landed in Morovic with armored brigades crossing the border from Steposzhevac to the south. Later that day, a state of war existed between the FC Bloc and the DemoCol.
Already under strain from the campaign against the sFPU, the DemoCol forces were pushed steadily eastwards into the home territories of the DemoCol constituencies as generally better-equipped and sophisticated FC Bloc forces went into the attack.
As of the present, FC Bloc forces have pushed as far as 2000 km into DemoCol territory.
So far, none of the combatants have used their stock of nuclear or biological weapons but reported use of chemical weapons has been reported.
The Scout Technical Services Branch (R&D office) along with the Liason branch (contact and liason Office) maintains a covert station in the northern territorial area of the SFPU. The existence of this station is highely classified - the decision to create and maintain this goes all the way up to the Office of Sector Archduke Norris. it appears that certain mysterious archeological sites were discovered in the far north of the eastern part of Hoxha - sites which appear to have yielded inexplicable artifacts of ultra-high TL. it is postulated that these could even be from the precursor race known as the Ancients.
The covert station is in the heart of a SFPU industrial settlement, which unfortunately is now an active warzone after the DemoCol opened its northeastern front in an attempt to deprive the SFPU of its source of strategic minerals and resources.
Your mission is to proceed immediately to Poroszlo and retrieve a list of items from the inventory of the station. Failing to do so, you are to completely destroy the whole inventory of the station.
1. Poroszlo is now an Amber Travel Zone. Travellers proceed with caution.
2. The Imperial Navy just imposed a blockade of all military activity in the system. All travel two and from the world is restricted to the main starport of Timosoara in the continent of San Miklos (FC Bloc territory) and the subsidiary spaceports in the SFPU and the DemoCol.
3. Space and air defenses remain very tight throughout the planet - a legacy of a prolonged state of political tension in the past. this contributes to a lot of emphasis in ground-based action.
4. We have solid imperial contacts in Timosoara. there is a small spy ring in the SFPU and DemoCol spaceport areas, respectively.
5. you are expected to find a way into the planet, arrange for mission-specific gear and to get to the mission site. you have to specify what support you need so we can assess if this is available.
6. The FC has, until recently, employed numerous off-world mercenary contingents. the SFPU may have a few (officially known as Offworld Military Advisers) and the DemoCol has a few also (officially termed as People's Democratic Volunteers).
If you do see any parellels between the events here and something you came across in a history or game book, chances are you're correct. I admit to cribbing something from both actual history and a game book to spruce this up. I just hoped I wasn't too obvious!
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