Friday, August 1, 2014

Chariots of Fire Amber Zone Revies # 29

Amber Zone Review #29 
Amber Zone: Chariots of Fire, by  Anders Blixt

To the Rescue!

Location: Gatina (C-765876-7) in the nations of Castica & Handor.

Patron:  An officer of Castica's Military Intelligence brach

Mission: Castica wants to stage a propaganda coup on their neighbor Handor by stealing two specialty fire engines. These vehicles were purchased jointly by the two nations (under a previous government in Handor) and housed in the Handorian capital. The rigs are the core of a specialty fire fighting unit for combating urban & industrial fires. The rigs are to be driven from one capital to the other, a distance of only 10 km, with the border halfway there. There are a few roads which the rigs could take to cross the border.

Payoff: Cr 50,000 to the group.

Complications: Tensions have been on the rise between the two nations, so the border is patrolled by armed forces on both sides. The rigs are easily recognizable to both sides. The PCs will have to explain their possession of the rigs. The patron has not been able to forewarn his side about the hijacking. Either side may decide to arrest or shoot the PCs if they think the rigs are being stolen. The rigs cannot be damaged in the transfer. The patron will cut the pay if the rigs are damaged.

Strong Points:  The more I think about this adventure, the more complicated it becomes. At first you might think, 'steal a truck and drive it 10 km? Easy.' But it won't be. Fire engines are big and hard to mistake for anything but what they are. No one (offical, anyway) is going to let the PCs take these two rigs without asking a lot of questions, and possibly arresting or shooting them if they don't like the answers.

          The real challenge, then, is to steal two large vehicles without anyone suspecting that they're stealing them. This is a mission for Danny Ocean or Neal Caffrey, or maybe even Mission Impossible, not gun-toting heavies. Social skills like Forgery, Bribery and Carousing will be of more use here than fighting. Even more important than that, it will require planning and role playing by the players. It may not be as epic as The Great Train Robbery, but if the PCs pull this off, they will have definite bragging rights for a long while.
Weak Points: As a matter of preference; if a PC I'm playing is going to do something that might result in jail time, I'd rather it be something more significant and heroic than stealing from the Fire Department. This adventure also lacks any sci-fi feel to it, this could just as easily be happening between Germany & Poland. I'm also not happy with the implication that the PCs actions could help provoke a war between these two nations.

What I'd change: Nothing. This is not my favorite kind of adventure; I don't prefer ones where the PCs are committing crimes. Nevertheless, as written, the adventure is solid, just not my taste.

In My Traveller Universe: This scenario requires a balkanized world, and there are not many of them IMTU. Latoria (Weitzlar subsector) seems the closest match in size, population and tech level. 

Firefighters and other emergency services workers, both professional and volunteer are real heroes, whether in the Far Future or right here, right now. Support your local Fire Department, and consider making a donation to the Firefighters Support Foundation.

photo credit: <a href="">Lee Cannon</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

1 comment:

  1. Thansk for your nice review. I designed this plot in 1980 or 1981. In those days I GMed an extensive campaign with a close-knit band of buddies. This inspiration was a dream: one morning I dreamt that I took part in that particular heist, though it was in Honduras and we were supposed to take the fire engines to Nicaragua. In those days, the Sandinistas had toppled the Somoza dictatorship in Managua after an armed revolution. The new regime had frosty relations with neighbouring Honduras.

    Soon thereafter, I turned the dream into an adventure. And later I wrote an Amber Zone for Loren Wiseman. You have made several correct assumptions: this is Mission Impossible in space. And it is a non-SF heist in an SF game. The political complications are realistic in that context: foolish actions may trigger a war (cf the Honduras-El Salvador soccer war in 1969). I wanted the players to be clever and careful when executing the plan.