Friday, May 30, 2014

Cout D'etat - Amber Zone Reviews # 16

Amber Zone: Coup D'etat by Loren Wiseman from JTAS # 10
Check out the series introduction here.

It's like Prisoner of Zenda - in SPACE!
Location: Anywhere; the planet is not named, the only information is that it lies at the borders of the Imperium, and has a constitutional monarchical government and only moderate tech level.

Patron: The Crown Princess Glorinna Firella.
Because rescuing princesses never happens in RPG's.
Everything is better with Princesses.
Mission: This adventure is a mercenary ticket for a company sized unit, as a security/pacification mission. The King, Glorinna's father, is in danger of overthrow by armed revolution and the Princess is trying to arrange damage control. The mercs will supplement the royal forces while the Princess tries to ride out the unrest.

Complications: The revolt touches off almost as soon as the mercs land; so the mission changes on the fly to protecting the Princess. She's got a palace in the country where they can hole up, but it's a summer home, not a fort. There are lots of local forces joining the rebels, so the PC's group is very outnumbered. The rebel leader is intent on getting control of Glorinna – guess what happens if you marry the princess? Holed up in the castle with the princess are a lot of loyal non-combatants to take care of. In a week's time, a ship will arrive to evacuate them, but there may not be enough room for everyone.

Payoff: 750,000 payroll, with the promise of continued employment

Strong Points: I really want to do this adventure. The setup is simple yet it can be fiendishly complex to keep the patron safe. The tension level should be high at all times, what with all these rebels knocking on the gates, and taking pot-shots at anyone sticking their head out a window. The referee can keep the PCs one die roll from disaster for a week. There's plenty of opportunity to trot out fun hardware from Book 4 like artillery and use the abstract battle system. However, the rebel forces are limited in their attack options, as their goal is to capture the Princess, which means they can't just level the palace with artillery. The PCs can also take the offensive, sneaking out of the castle to launch raids against the enemy's encampments. Depending on the outcome of the one-week stand, there is potential for a long campaign to re-conquer the world, or rescue a captured Princess, or even start a counter-revolt to take over on their own.

Weak Points: There will be a lot of record-keeping for the players and the referee in this one. Tracking ammo expenditure is no-one's idea of a good time, but the referee should insist on it, as the PCs have no source of resupply. Also the referee will have to make up several maps beforehand, at different scales, as there will be lots of tactical movement to be monitored.

What I'd change: I would give the option of a small group of well-equipped (TL 11+) PCs instead of the merc company; the size of the opposition would have to change as well for the sake of balance.

In My Traveller Universe: I'd put this adventure on Pampati (Holtzmann 0406) I specifically crafted this planet for my TU with this adventure in mind; it's low tech, poor and has the right government type and is lightly populated.

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