Location: Cocta, (Mowbrey 2414) Foreven Sector C-5677BA-A – this data gotten from the Traveller Wiki, no location or UPP is given in the Amber Zone.
Patron: Sternmetal Horizons, LLC
Mission: Locate a sunken wreck of a transport ship, sunk in a lake to the north of the settled area. Retrieve from the wreck a field report on the mineral assets of the planet. Sternmetal wants to know if there are resources worth developing on Cocta.
Payoff: CR 2 million for the report, CR 100,000 for the verified location of the wreck.
Complications: There is an active rebellion operating in the region of the wreck; the rebels are accused of causing the shipwreck. The government holds tight restrictions on the importation of weapons, so the patron has smuggled some on-planet for them, but they will run afoul of the government if this becomes known. The party is saddled with a local guide when outside the settled area, who will likely report the illegal weapons. The wreck is in deep water and will require special equipment to recover.
Strong Points: This is a straightforward mission, the PCs will not be thrown by any big surprises. The actual recovery operation will not be too complex; the threat level will come from the rebels; the referee can decide on the appropriate intensity of attacks to provide sufficient tension. This setting has potential for several follow-on adventures, such as protecting the mining operation and countering the rebels, or even aiding them with the goal of setting up a puppet government for Sternmetal to control.
Weak Points: The local guide has to be bought off (could be costly) or eliminated (a most disagreeable option) if the PCs want to avoid official trouble with the restricted weapons they have been given. The setup is a bit nonsensical; why hasn't Stermetal contacted the local government and worked directly with them? A positive report will mean an economic boost for the government (the introduction says the government wants this). Why then is the government not cooperating with Sternmetal, who will likely help them suppress the rebels as part of the deal?
What I'd change: The government's approach to the PC's and their weapons – eliminate the need for the guide, or give the PCs permission to bring their own guns with them. I would instead say that Sternmetal is prohibited by Imperial law from getting directly involved, so the PC's mission is skirting the law, which both Cocta and Sternmetal want to keep quiet from Imperial representatives on-planet. I might explore the reasons behind the rebel's actions. What are their goals? Maybe the Coctan government is corrupt or oppressive, or threatening the pristine wilderness with development.
In My Traveller Universe: I'd place this Amber Zone on Rogel (Dothan-Talavera 0106) D-553602-11 Pr 2 million people. Small and unimportant, but right next door to the Empire, so they're dependent upon Imperial tourism. It's a J-1 stop that can be easily skipped over by J-2 ships.
This map was created by me,using Hexographer (www.hexographer.com) It may be used or modified without restriction.