Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Traveller Coup Box Sitrep

This being the opening situation report for the Traveller mini-campaign I was pitching yesterday.

Freedonia (D333575-8) is a large terraformed moon orbiting Novo Marlank. It currently has a breathable atmosphere somewhere between thin and very thin and is dominated by a single, mostly barerock continent punctuated by large freshwater lakes and the occasional cultivated sap-forest preserve. Offworlders unused to the atmosphere cocktail typically wear light respirators to stave off fatigue and dizziness. Sadly it was well on its way to a nice cushy standard atmosphere before the Time of Woe fractured the terraforming efforts and left the giant CO2 generators idle (people are assholes).

For nigh on 70 years the moon's central government has ceased to exist with de facto micronations rising and falling around various generalissimo-type figures. Complicating the political situation even further are the cross-national political factions, meaning most of the polities are further riven with smaller internal struggles that lead to an utterly confusing and shifting set of small-scale wars.

Despite the relative bitterness of civil war, all factions are at least nominally adhering to the Cantonment Statues for the Polite Administration of Organized Killing. These so-called rules of war  mandate formally-declared, pre-determined pitched battles, regulate "casualty caps" for such battles, set rules for ceremonial dueling, limit the use of heavy weapons/wmds, and otherwise keep the war gentlemanly and prolonged/stalemated.

To date only two polities on the moon have managed to remain neutral: Unterzone and Kraldeset. Unterzone is a small city surrounding the decidedly shitty starport and has the feel of intrigue-ridden Istanbul in WW2—all the factions wheel and deal here with their agents. The Kral, the main arena of our coup box, has managed to steer clear of the civil war by way of its political/geographic isolation and sheer miserableness.

The Kral itself is a small (even by Freedonian standards) “city” state. Roughly two-thirds of its 30,000 or so citizens live in scattered plantation centers or mining camps with the remaining population hunkered down in the partially-domed city (town really) of the same name.
The Brief
The player's soldier-bolo (a democratically-run mercenary coop) has been contacted by The Ten, a group of Kral exiles hiding in Unterzone. The dissidents are a motley groups of former-opposition politicians, technopriests, ponzi bankers, clonemasters, pawnshop brokers and other upper middle class professionals lacking military experience. They welcome a “regime change” in their former home and after running a wildly successful crowdfunding project on Warstarter are prepared to pay a whopping 632,000 credits to a group who can complete that task in 99 days (after which the Cantonment Tax-Bots step in and confiscate the unused funds).

Though politically kept in line by the Vibes Committees, the thuggish militia of the Autokrator, the Kral's military is expected to be in a sorry, demoralized shape said to number in the 300-600 range and lacking any air, space, surface navy or heavy weapon components.

Map and more details of the city-state proper will be made available both at the brief and by any reconnaissance the players decide on.

Starting upfront budget of 100,000 credits to be paid in two monthly chunks of 50,000.

Although the bolo currently lacks a starship—the Cacafuego is currently impounded facing charges of alleged black lotus powder smuggling—a decrepit free trader, the Dapper Deodand, can be rented for around 10,000 credits a month (this includes bribes for the crew).

Securing arms, material and more manpower are all major obstacles.

The Cantonment navy is running a semi-rigorous naval blockade of arms and will confiscate and occasionally imprison those trying to break it. However small shipments (and the acceptable number hinges on the arbitrary assessment of the on-duty Astro-Marine officer) of Tech 5 and other “hunting weapons” are legal.

I will present a few leads and rumors for various illegal and semi-legal ways you can procure arms at or before the session. There are a number of ways to skin that proverbial cat.

Recruitment will be as per the wonderful subsystem in Book 4: Mercenary. Getting them there, organizing/training them and perhaps finding alternative ways to recruit others is the players' problem

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