Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Aces & Eights - Amber Zone #23

Check out the series introduction here.

Over at the Amber Zone site, this adventure is rated #1 of the Top Ten Amber Zone Adventures.

Amber Zone: Aces & Eights, by John M. Ford from JTAS # 14
The famous Dead Man's Hand - but what's the hole card?

Location: Aboard ship, the cruise liner Domine Allegro, and the planets it visits.

Patron: Firenze Ltd., the cruise line owners.

Mission: The line's administration wants the PCs to take a journey aboard the ship, and observe a professional gambler aboard, a retired soldier named Sgt Major Prester, who the line suspects is cheating. Get some proof either way, and keep the pro from bankrupting other passengers – this would be negative publicity for the line. It's a pretty easy assignment – keep your eyes open, play a lot of cards, and don't tip your hand to the target.

Payoff: The line is offering transportation and good accommodations, an initial block of chips with which to gamble, and the ability to keep any winnings above the initial stake. If the PCs don't gamble or don't win, they effectively lose nothing – it's the house's money.

Complications: The Sergeant Major is not the only soldier on board, and some of them seem to have interest in Prester as well. Prester gambles well. and talks a lot but not about his old Army unit (the 1188th  "Aces and Eights" Brigade); he might be cheating, but it is difficult to tell because he's so good. The mission takes an unexpected turn when Prester is directly accused of cheating by another gambler. The search for the truth will lead to revelations about Prester's old unit, and who else is interested in it. The other interested parties are willing to play hardball to get what they want, and the PCs may find themselves in the way!

Strong Points: This is a well constructed adventure, where the mission is clear, and there's no railroading by the referee. The players face one then two mysteries, and the second can expand into another adventure or easily a whole new campaign. The second mystery is a real puzzle, but like all mysteries, it is obvious once you know what you're looking for. The opposition is tough, but not overwhelming, and there is plenty of opportunity to use brains and skills, but the PCs better have their guns handy.This is another adventure that I really want to play out.

Weak Points: The key to this mystery is hidden pretty well, if the players don't catch on quickly, the other interested parties may well get away and disappear.

What I'd change: This adventure stands well as it is. I would change nothing but the details to put it into my TU.

In My Traveller Universe: I would begin this adventure in the Ostrander Federation, with the cruise liner travelling in a sweep towards Gringamore, the last stop on the cruise ship's line. 

Maps: If the referee has access to the FASA Adventure Ships set of deck plans, the plans for the Type M Subsidized Liner would work well for the shipboard action. Or use the Starships and Spacecraft booklet from Judges Guild. There is a planetside stop, but as a map would give away important plot points, I will not include one. 

The illustration is taken from the Wikipedia article "Dead Man's Hand" and is licensed to be shared.

No comments:

Post a Comment