Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ticket to Swords - Amber Zone Reviews # 8

Amber Zone: Ticket to Swords, by Roberto Camino from JTAS #6

Check out the series introduction here.
Actual swords not included in this adventure.

Location: Joyeuse (Spinward Marches 1123) one of the Sword Worlds.

Patron: The government of Brunhild, a nation on Joyeuse.

Mission: This is the first Amber Zone which clearly is meant to incorporate the expanded combat rules of Book 4, Mercenary. The PCs are assumed to be leading figures in a mercenary unit which needs a job, and transport away from their last job, asap. Brunhild offers what is termed a cadre mission, training the local forces so that they can defend against an active rebellion, which aims to depose the patron government. The mercs will, at least initially, lead troops in the field against the rebels. The goal is to get the local forces & officers up to scratch within a year. The patron does not expect the mercs to win the war outright.

Complications: There are plenty. This is a war, after all. “No plan survives contact with the enemy” as the sage Murphy says. The rebels are well supplied with weapons and have near-parity with the merc forces. The local militia are uninspired and have a lot of hack officers – appointed as favors by the administration. The patron government came to power just recently in a coup d'etat of its own, so it is not recognized as legitimate by most of its neighbors. The rebel forces are led by the remnants of the previous legitimate government. The rebels will at some point reach out to the PCs and try convincing them to switch sides.

Payoff: Cr 750,000 with a 500,000 bonus for completing the transition in the specified year.

Strong Points: It is not essential that the PCs be merc unit commanders, as Bk1 Army & Marine officers would be capable of the mission requirements. Played straight, this is more than a one-shot scenario, it is the foundation for a big military campaign and is ideal for modeling with Striker. Off the battlefield, there is plenty of room for role-playing and adventure with political schemes both in the army and in the government, and with the surrounding nations. The situation presented is an interesting one to consider in light of the current situation in the Middle East. Players could find much to discuss here about the nature of authority and legitimacy in politics.

Weak Points: The introduction to this scenario puts the PCs in the position of needing to take this job to get away from a job that went south. I don't see that as really necessary, the job offer which includes double standard salaries should be enough inducement. It is perfectly possible that the PCs, whatever they have been up to are unaware of the political situation in Brunhild before they take the job.

What I'd change: I would change very little, beyond the introduction as I just mentioned. I would develop the political intrigue angle more, introducing specific NPCs as their political liaison, rebel commanders, and others. To keep things exciting, and if the PCs are too successful initially, a neighboring nation might join the fray on the rebel's side.

In My Traveller Universe: The Independent planet Urdova (5 Worlds-American 0703) has a large population (70 millions) average tech (TL 8) and tolerable environment. It is also somewhat out-of-the-way, despite its proximity to the UPA. It is also listed as an Amber Zone for travel, although I am not entirely certain as to why yet. Perhaps other nations on Urdova are wracked with strife as well?

A map of Brunhild:

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

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