Monday, September 15, 2014

Pride of the Lion - Amber Zone Review # 32

 Amber Zone: Pride of the Lion, by John M. Ford 

Two Aslan hiding in the tall grass.
This time the Aslan are the prey, not the hunters!
 Check out the series introduction here.

Location: Grizel (C-768400-6) No location is given for Grizel in the OTU, other than it is an Imperial world, near to Aslan space.

Patron: Martin Trelane, an old acquaintance of the party.

Mission: Rescue a family of Aslan from a local rancher, who has taken them prisoner. The rancher is playing out a revenge fantasy against them, in the fashion of The Most Dangerous Game.

Complications: The patron is wounded, the PCs are going to be outnumbered and outgunned, none of the locals will be willing to help. The rancher has no intention of letting his quarry win/escape, and will not let the PCs live either, once they get involved. One of the Aslan is a child, but that will not stop the rancher from killing her.

Payoff: Trelane asks the PCs to 'help', not 'do a job'. He has no time to haggle over fees or rewards. In the end, the PCs should gain from their help.

Strong Points: This adventure jumps straight into the action, and time is of the essence! The players will have to come up with a plan on the fly, including how to find the Aslan before the rancher does. For once, the PCs may be motivated by something other than money; helping the patron & the Aslan is just the right thing to do. The bad guy is a jerk, but the author gives him enough backstory for the players to understand why he is playing out this revenge – it doesn't make him sympathetic, but it does make him three dimensional. If the PCs are successful in their rescue attempt, they will have gained a significant Contact among the Aslan, and opened the door to future adventures with Aslan NPCs & Patrons. A side note: if any of the PCs already have a negative attitude towards Aslan, this adventure will have even more complexity and opportunity for role-playing. Don't ignore the moral aspect of adventures!

Weak Points: I do not see anything in the adventure itself as written that I want to change: nothing is illogical, silly or ripping off the PCs.

What I'd change: Before I ran this adventure, I would include Trelane as an NPC in another adventure, perhaps also at least referring to the Aslan. If the players are already familiar with Trelane, and with the Aslan, they are more inclined to jump to the rescue.

In My Traveller Universe: With some work, I could convert the Aslan (I have no non-terran aliens) into a minor human culture which is insular and tradition-bound. The language difference would still exist, and the story would have to be changed only slightly to fit the new societies' details. I would locate this adventure on the planet Hinar in the subsector called the Wilds. It is TL-4, sparsely populated and controlled by cattle barons.

Map: The ranch and its environs. The Ranch house is in the center, the Aslan ship is to the east, at the starship icon.
Map scale: 10 km/hex

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

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