Friday, May 30, 2014

Work of Art - Amber Zone Reviews # 18

Amber Zone: Work of Art, by Loren Wiseman from JTAS # 11

Check out the series introduction here.

But is it art?
Location: Fornice (Spinward Marches 3025)

Patron: The FMA, Fornice Merchant's Association

Mission: The FMA is in negotiation with a major K'Kree trade delegation. To sweeten their deal, the FMA has acquired a major objet d'art of K'Kree design to offer as a gift, as the head of the delegation is an art lover. (Return of the macguffin!) The art has been stolen. The FMA contact suspects a small local criminal group of the theft, perhaps at the behest of a rival merchant group. The PCs are to track down and recover the artwork before the K'Kree trade delegation arrives.

Complications: There are no complications as the adventure is written. The referee will have to determine how many Streetwise tasks it will take to track down the thieves and the location of the macguffin. The referee can tailor the protection around the macguffin to the capabilities of the PCs.

Payoff: Cr 750,000 success-only (obviously) contract. The FMA is willing to go in for a bonus of Cr 250,000 if the art is recovered in 24 hours.

Strong Points: This adventure would be best employed as a lead-in to some kind of local campaign where the FMA or its partner firms provides the PCs with recurring contacts and patrons. If they do this recovery well, they will likely be hired for other jobs. Also, the criminal group that took the macguffin, as well as the group that hired them, could become recurring adversaries. The K'Kree are a nice bit of OTU window dressing, but they don't really come into the adventure directly. However, this is the first Amber Zone that specifically includes an alien race from the Official Traveller Universe.

Weak Points: This adventure is not very challenging as presented. The referee can dial up the challenge in a number of ways but running it with nothing but the information given will be simple, quick and not too exciting.

What I'd change: Not so much change, as develop – I would set up a trail of leads that should keep the PC's running with the 24 hour bonus clock before their eyes. False leads, set-ups and random encounters could make this simple job a big challenge. Since I have no non-terrestrials in my TU, the K'Kree could easily be swapped out for a high-culture human group, without changing the actual macguffin description. I would make the act of moving the macguffin much more complex than simply boxing up a few parts and sticking them on a grav pallet. No maps were provided, but at least for the discovery/recovery of the macguffin some building plans would have to be devised.

In My Traveller Universe: I would run this adventure in the Talaveran Empire. Any planet in the Empire would do. The Empire is a big area, with lots of mercantile competition, not all of which is above board.

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