Friday, August 8, 2014

Without a Trace - Amber Zone Reviews #30

Without a Trace by J. Andrew Keith from JTAS #18

Location: Banasdan and Arcturus, in the Solomani Rim

Patron: Mr. Urshukaan, president of Lamark Minerals, LLC. 

Mission: A Lamark ore carrier, the Solaria, has disappeared and the patron wants the PCs to find out what happened to it. One lead points toward the Arcturus system, a planetoid belt system extensively mined by Lamark. 

Payoff: Cr 50,000 fro the group, with 10% available as an advance for fees. The group may use Lamark transport to the Arcturus system; they are given travel vouchers to secure in-system transportation. 

Complications: Arcturus belt is vast and a ship of any size has virtually unlimited places in which to disappear, if it's even there at all. 

Strong points: This is a solid, straightforward mystery; well presented. Determining the fate of the Solaria, and what the PCs should do about it, will be about the players asking good questions and following the right leads. The conclusion of this adventure presents the players with a moral issue to address.  Also, this adventure was written as an intro/lead-in to Adventure 11 Murder on Arcturus Station, published shortly after this issue. 
     Depending on the outcome of this adventure, the PCs can expect to get more offers of work from Lamarck Minerals. 

Weak points: A quibble, really. The Solaria is modeled on the Leviathan-class ships. The deckplans from Adventure 4 could be helpful if & when the PCs find the Solaria. Without Adv 4, the referee will have to mock up all the deckplans.

What I'd change: This is another Amber Zone that stands up well on its own; I would perhaps add to it, rather than change it. The referee's information includes the truth that Lamarck does not treat its employees very well. I would then include an NPC to impress this perspective on the PCs. They encounter a monk or priest who travels about the belt offering spiritual counsel and comfort to oppressed workers. He could accompany the PCs on their search, explaining the conditions and pressures that led to the Solaria's disappearance. The priest could assist in resolving the confrontation at the climax of the adventure. 

     As an alternative to the storyline given, what if the people who caused the Solaria's disappearance were planning to turn pirate, or use the ship in a terror strike against Lamarck HQ in Arcturus?

In my Traveller Universe: I would locate Lamarck Minerals and this adventure in Sutter's Belt, a planetoid system in the Dothan Alliance (Dothan-Talaveran subsector).

There is no map for this adventure, given the breadth of a solar system-wide planetoid field.

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