Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thunder on Zyra - Amber Zone Reviews # 17

Amber Zone: Thunder on Zyra, by Roger Moore from JTAS # 11

Check out the series introduction here.

You do not want this to happen in your game. Really. Avoid this.

Location: Zyra/Trin's Veil (SM 2934) B-555448-7

Patron: The Zyran Confederacy, the local government. Zyra has a population of only about 60,000, all in two cities on one continent. Until recently, the locals has contracted out to an off-world mining concern, TM&R, to recover what was thought to be marginal deposits of ore.

Mission: Recently discovered metal and mineral wealth in greater abundance has strained relations between the ZC and TM&R. The ZC is afraid of a direct corporate takeover and wants to nationalize all current mines and infrastructure. The mining corp has equipment and security forces on-site and so will not take this move lying down. A battalion-sized merc unit is to take the fight to the TM&R security forces, and capture strategic mining camps.

Complications: TM&R has secretly delivered two nuclear weapons (thunderballs in merc slang) to Zyra, and may be using them as a threat against the local population to leverage control of the planet. The merc unit's new mission is to gain possession of these weapons before they can become a factor.

Payoff: Triple standard salaries, plus a MCr 3 success only bonus. Payable in cash, bonds, or land title.

Strong Points: A solid, straight-forward military adventure without political intrigue. (of course, the referee can throw that in if desired) This adventure is flexible enough in format to be played using the CT, Mercenary or Striker rules. At the CT level, the PCs would be a commando team, perhaps attempting to sneak into TM&R territory to grab the nukes. There is plenty of detail on the OPFOR units, so the referee can tailor the level of challenge without difficulty. The savvy commander will recognize that they have the option of being paid in land ownership, which means long-term income for the unit. Also, this option gives the mercs a reason to stay in contact with Zyra, and can be a lead-in to other contracts, or the transformation of the merc unit into the core of the Confederacy military. Even if TM&R is defeated in the field, the company may return with more and better equipped forces, or a bunch of Imperial lawyers. Here's a question that can be the start of the next adventure, assuming the PC group wins, who gets to keep the titular thunderballs?

Weak Points: There is nothing in this Amber Zone that strikes me as being a flaw. As always, providing a map of the region would have been nice, but the capable referee can get make that up.

What I'd change: I don't think anything about this adventure needs to be changed. As I mentioned, I might bring in a political angle once the battle is over, with TM&R suing to the highest subsector authority for the return of their stuff, and recompense for whatever got destroyed in the nationalization.

In My Traveller Universe: This adventure would likely work best on one of the Independent worlds, or in a star nation that is decentralized or weak. New Ontario (Dormarc-Ostrander 0708) would be a good candidate. The local mid-level powers might suddenly take more interest in New Ontario if metal & mineral resources were discovered there. 

   This is a detail map of the camp where the thunderballs are being stored. Map scale is 50 meters, each change in mountain symbol represents an elevation increase of 10 meters.  The grey line is the camp fence, with guard towers distributed. Infantry symbols represent the presence of TM&R forces, but not their specific location.

The TMR mining camp and surrounding territory.

I made this map, using Hexographer. It may be reproduced or modified without permission.  

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