Improving a classic Traveller adventure
Broadsword was a cool sci-fi roleplaying adventure booklet produced by GDW way back in the golden days of RPG-ing (i.e. the 1980s). The Traveller booklet, with the standard minimalist format (black-with-a-stripe -of-colour), contained the details of the Broadsword class mercenary cruiser: an 800 tonne combat vessel carrying a platoon of grunts. It also provided a multi part adventure designed for a Broadsword class ship and its crew. The adventure idea was cool but it required a lot of work for the GM.
However, even without the adventure, the Broadsword set up is loaded with potential: basically a military space scenario waiting to happen. The detailed ship and crew set the scene for a ramped up Traveller scenario where the players are part of a shipload of about 50 marines +naval personnel (i.e. like-minded killers with itchy trigger fingers!). Dead PCs are easily replaced from the crew of this 800 tonne mercenary cruiser.
The equipment +resources on the Broadsword are plentiful & capable. Compared to the standard Traveller cliché of “four or five PCs with shotguns and laser carbines in a jump-1 Scout-ship”, THIS is the real space opera deal. In cinematic terms Broadsword is like a micro Starship Troopers scenario or better still, Aliens!! Battlestar Galactica or even a militarised Star Trek also spring to mind.
The spaceship is well ‘ard, toting 4 beam laser turrets and 4 missile turrets, PLUS two cutters (smaller ancillary spacecraft) for surface to space ops. These cutters have modular cargo pods that can be changed out: eg. a weapon pod, or 4 Starfighters, or assault landing pods, ATVs etc., so the canny owner can totally rig the ship to fit the scenario and/or set it up to be a space-surface interdiction force in its own right. There is also an air-raft and enough ordinance to kit out an infantry platoon for multiple missions. Think claymores, drones, grenades, fusion guns, LMGs, ATVs, TAC missiles, pointy sticks, you name it.
The Broadsword comes with three squads of marines (one of which is all Vargr for added doggo coolness) so the players get a taste of platoon sized tactics. Each squad has a fusion gunner in battledress FFS!! And everyone else has gauss rifles w/ grenade launchers… boo-ya!! The GM is instructed that if it fits on the ship and it makes sense – the players have it!!! Yeah baby. A properly kitted out military expedition. The GMs job now becomes take it away from them, or at least ramp up the challenge to fit the PCs capabilities.
The floorplans of the cruiser are good, if somewhat confusing due to the multi-level tower nature of the spaceship. Perhaps a redraft putting this all on a lateral design would make for easier interpretation, but top marks for unusual interiors within a seemingly bland exterior. Yes, I did say bland – it’s a fricken ball with 4 legs. One big tick for utilitarian functionality, and one big cross for sexy lookin’ spaceship. That said, a quick search on the internet will turn up numerous images of the Broadsword class ship all dolled-up in glorious 3D rendering making this flying pumpkin somewhat Cinderella-ish.
Ideally the players will be as equally interested in starship combat as they are in infantry/armour action. The two cutters each come with a missile rack and can also be kitted out with a laser beam module or a pod of 4 Starfighters. Thus the single cruiser is actually at least 3 ships, and with certain module selection it can also have one or more squadrons of Starfighters! Yeah baby- “lock S-Foils in attack position”! One Broadsword class ship can transform into a small flotilla of shooty-mcshoot- face.
The Broadsword Garda Vilis campaign /adventure suggests a lame combination of modules for the cutters but any player worth their salt will opt for one or two ATV carriers, maybe a cargo pod or laser pod, and one or two Starfighter pods (8 fighters is a very tidy personal space navy) or something similar, thus giving the ship ample spaceship action capacity as well as delivery of ground forces. Imagine the micro armada – the cruiser itself, 2 cutters, 8 fighters – that’s 11 vessels! More than enough for some cool manoeuvring with death star trench runs and asteroid dodging shenanigans. This is on top of the 3 squads of troops to take out the force field generator/ rescue the colonists/ capture the McGuffin.
Anyway – the set up and detail of a Broadsword class cruiser is great. The provided adventure is less so…
The campaign adventure is set on the planet of Garda Vilis and is, like most traveller adventures, a smidge lacklustre. GDW seems to expect GMs to jazz up their blandness, which admittedly can be fun, but jeez a little more oomph wouldn’t go astray!! Some improved detail on Garda Vilis is available at…
The 4 scenarios are full of contradictions and require some heavy lifting on the part of the GM. More on this later. The actual troop numbers, defence installations, number of spaceships, vehicles etc. on Garda Vilis are woefully undetailed.
The overall premise is deliciously ambiguous as the Garda Vilis government (a council of army officers) the players are working for, is an extremely unpopular puppet regime of the next system (Vilis) and corrupt to boot. The players are essentially fighting heroic sympathetic revolutionaries, the Tanoose Freedom League (TFL). Vigorous interrogation and/ or war crimes against the population will quickly tempt many PCs to change sides.
Ambitious GMs could use this and intentionally have the players switch sides half way through the campaign, or the GM should at least be prepared when the players start making moves in this direction. The ultimate villains, the teleporting Zhodani commando squad (despite being presented in a Darth Vader-esque illustration no less), are another reminder that the baddies are really the feudal Imperium as opposed to the psionic enlightenment of Zhodane.
Scenario 1 is an attack on an undetailed village (no map, no info), on an indeterminate number of rebels +advisers – sheesh can GDW do any less work!!!
The village raid is less than 400km away but Scenario 2 has our far future PCs walking back for 2 whole weeks. Walking(!) in a sci fiction setting(!) through the back blocks of an Ag world? Seriously? Sure maybe in a survival scenario on a jungle/death world but this stroll is just killjoy to the max.
And Scenario 3 should be a cool space battle but is just presented as a vaguely defined “protect the troop ships” mission. Yet another invent your own details! Fine, I will!
Scenario 4 is the Broadsword crew just waiting around to be psionically invaded by teleporting commandos. “Yawn” on the waiting and suddenly “Bamf, zap, you’re dead, 5000-watt plasma beam in your head.” Oh and somehow the ship is on Garda Vilis at the spaceport, when elsewhere in the rules it says the ship is unable to enter atmospheres to land. Face-palm!
So how can the scenarios as presented be improved? Rather than just create some maps and draw up lists of troops and spaceships here are some roleplaying ideas for creative GMs to work into and jazz up their own Broadsword game. Firstly, here are a few overall tweaks to incorporate…
We are told that Garda Vilis’ atmosphere is tainted – sophonts are advised to use respirators. But there is no info on the taint. Other fan fic sites have suggested the atmosphere produces an allergic reaction in 25% of breathers after a few minutes. Acclimatisation can be achieved after several years’ exposure… So the GM should be working to have those PCs respirators getting blocked, broken, lost etc. Have your epi-pens ready!!
Garda Vilis has mountainous regions – the village to be raided is in a fertile alpine valley: tall snow-capped mountains nearby providing interesting terrain for aircraft to manoeuvre between, dead ground hindering meson sensor detection etc. Perched mountain lakes with hydro-power dams provide power which also make for nice demolition targets with massive collateral damage potential.
Mountains providing various choke points for ambushing ATVs. I am also envisaging low angle meson accelerator detonations near mountain tops, obliterating them as the cruiser weaves thru the ranges. This creates massive avalanches +landslides into adjacent valleys. The government is callous about collateral damage to minor communities.
Garda Vilis has rain storms with high electrical discharges (perhaps due to the unique atmosphere). These storms also interfere with local comms, aircraft, and low angle meson fire. Shelter is advisable. ATVs are safe, air-rafts less so!!
The system has 14 planets including 2 gas giants and an asteroid belt. Space battles may find cinematic locations near the gas giants: think ring skimming or sub surface hiding in the upper atmosphere, and/or asteroid dodging: “Never tell me the odds!”
The ruling council appoints two observers to embed with the Broadsword’s crew: An army captain and a naval officer. The former is a nasty interrogator, the latter an affable old timer.
The unpopular council are Vilis army officers – perhaps the Vilis navy officers want a slice of the action? The Garda Vilis administration for this mob is looking askance at its own actions. Loyalty is waning, and there are many people who will leak info for money.
The Tanoose Freedom League (TFL) are loyal to the Imperium but are beginning to factionalise as the support from the Sword Worlds and Zhodane comes with temptations and conditions. Those loyal to the Imperium may no longer be in charge due to overt influence from non-imperial forces.
Times are tough all over, and whilst the TFL have vast support there are also many government informers. Not all the population is pro TLF. Garda Vilis may well have prison farms worked by convicts transported from Vilis – these folk are unreliable. There are also large corporate farms who are primarily interested in cash and stability.
And now to add some oompf to each scene…
Scenario 1: The Raid
This the scenario where the marines have to occupy a village, capture rebellion leaders and documents as well as any armaments. The module is vague as too how they get there, though the next Scene states they have a 12-14-day hike to get the 350km back!! So either they hiked there in the first place, drove in their ATVs or trucks, or were air dropped via the cutters. Vague and bland.
Well duh, have them dropped in via cutters: get the players to plan the tactical airdrop of the squads in ATVs. The Command group and/or 3rd squad arrive either via secondary drop or air raft.
This arouses the ire of the Zhodani strike cruiser – it repositions in this hemisphere and risks a strafing attack on the cutters. The surface meson emplacement returns fire (a very dangerous move by the government) but misses in the ionized clouds and mountain cover (blow the peak off one of those mtn tops and annihilate the adjacent communities in the valley). The cruiser also fails to hit the cutters which flee back to the capital leaving the marines without air support. The cruiser remains over the horizon it is still perilously close range of the marines. The Strike Cruiser is within meson range but is randomly orbiting close to large communities, and has knocked out local sensor networks. The cutters dare not return to pick up the ATVs for fear of the cruiser.
The PCs are under the purview of government observers: two military personnel are appointed by the government as attaches along for the ride. One is an infantry captain (and counter terrorism interrogator) the other is a naval attaché (gruff but likeable). The infantry captain is a nasty piece of work, who mistreats captives, and oversteps his authority. But the attaches know the identity of the turncoat who informed the government of the rebel meeting. They will be of some use giving suggestions to flagging PCs but will also reporting failings to their superiors. The Army Officer will be vicious towards suspected rebels (his dodgy earnings on the side have been affected by the revolt) and his methods may well turn the PCs against their employers.
Increase the tension by announcing a storm front approaching in the next few hours – the ionised clouds (or other scientific plot device) will further decrease the already marginal performance/accuracy of the meson gun at this atmospheric angle.
Meanwhile the marines get into a bit of a shootout with the locals as they secure the township. The traitor reveals the right houses to search. Some rebels +armaments are captured. Documents + the traitor reveal the presence of a Sword Worlds mechanised battalion already ashore as well as Zhodani commandos somewhere in system! Judge the player’s success in quickly subduing the village in determining how much info the players immediately acquire.
The Players will also see and hear first-hand the grievances of the locals.
Scenario 2: The Ambush
The PCs have gained prisoners, documentation and arms. But this trove of information must get back to the capital – a storm approaches and prelim info reveals that elements of a Sword Worlds mechanised battalion are on world and on this continent. A Sword Worlds adviser is amongst the captives so the PCs may expect a rescue attempt or at least retaliation. Information is developing about some kind of small Zhodani strike force that is available to the rebels. Apparently they have battledress +PGMPs!!
The storm front is a hundred klicks wide and will roughly follow the players towards the capital.
The marines were air dropped here but the original Scene as written requires them to walk 100s of klicks through hostile territory back to base? No reason is provided. We shall tweak that, so now the marines must use the APCs and maybe commandeered vehicles to drive to the capital. The reason for no air extraction is hostile air cover and/or the storm front.
Players may opt to go wide around the storm…this will enable meson cover but will add an hour of travel time and may well lead to an encounter with the Sword Worlds battalion. Players may opt to hide en-route (in a tunnel/barn/forest) and wait for the storm to pass. They may just drive hell for leather and hope to outrun the storm and any ambush (yeah nah). Or they may take a slight deviation on their route home hoping to outsmart any ambushers, but risk aerial intervention.
Judge their plan on its merits. But assume there are spies in the village keeping the Zhodani/Sword Worlds/TFL rebels informed. And en route there will be informers in almost every village of more than 100 people. Keep up the tension with lightning storm following them, hiding the roaring sound of the space cruiser / gram grav tanks. More than one village may give the APCs a welcoming brassing up as they pass thru.
Clever, resourceful PCs should escape with just a minor encounter (e.g. An ad-hoc rebel roadblock and squad sized ambush of auto-rifles/carbines and a GMPG. At the other end of the scale completely lazy & incompetent PCs can expect a major problem (e.g. several Grav tanks supported by a platoon of auto-rifle armed rebels with Cruiser air support.
Regardless of the players’ ideas the Zhodani telepath will have been monitoring their progress. The GM may like to have a preliminary encounter with Zhodani commandos as they teleport in and rescue a specific captured rebel or advisor.
Thus the likely scenario will be something midway between these extremes. Ie The storm front is right on the players’ heels when they run into a makeshift roadblock ambush – 20 or so Auto-rifle armed rebels lurk in local houses with RPG support assisted by 3 Gram infantry advisors (gauss rifles) along with a Gram Grav tank moving into position. Players deploys troops from the APCs under fire. Their air raft zooms down in support but takes auto rifle fire from several houses the grav tank gets missile lock on it… The PCs infantry position is marked with smoke /strobes / las designators etc and the Cruiser sends in its fighters. Players can send in their fighters and/or cutters (using the Cutters will draw in the Cruiser).
In the thick of the fighting the Zhodani commandos teleport in to rescue several head rebels and the head Sword Worlds advisor. Unless the PCs are particularly canny the Zhodani will succeed. The rescue party runs off into the rain and boards a Gram ATV. Player response should dictate that they prevent one or two captives from escaping – these one or two will of course have vital information.
The storm hits – cue hailstones, rain, lightning, weird wind effects etc. Oh and the StarFighter battle! I’m seeing low level strafing runs followed by dogfights above glacial lakes and through the storm wracked mountains. Support fire from the ATVs, or Gram grav tanks can even the score.
This could all be wrapping up as Scene 3 starts. Perhaps the cutters pick up the ATVs only 100km outside of the capital and are en-route back to the base when Scene 3 begins necessitating the cutters (plus marines+ captives) rendezvousing in space with the Broadsword…
Scenario 3: Escort
A friendly reinforcement flotilla of troop carriers from Vilis jump in-system on the outer fringe. The Broadsword must race to escort the flotilla back to Garda Vilis before the Strike Cruiser wipes them out. The fleet is in the outer system, and must pass a gas giant and the asteroid belt. Due to the timing the Broadsword will arrive only an hour before the Zhodani Cruiser. Make the players decide if they take both System Defence Boats or leave them to defend the capital + meson emplacement? Get the players to tell you how and when they deploy fighters and cutters. Comms jamming makes it impossible to tell if the flotilla has any warships until the Broadsword is halfway to the rendezvous point.
Obviously the GM will adjust whatever ships the flotilla has to balance it with the opposition+ emerging situation…no doubt some kind of tonnage that equals the Strike Cruiser. Make sure the encounters are within the asteroid belt and/or uncomfortably close to the shoulder +moons of the gas giant. The flotilla should have several near defenceless freighters packed with troops +vehicles.
Towards the end of the battle the GM should consider having the Zhodani cruiser manoeuvring into a parallel track with the Broadsword, possibly for a broadside, but actually to match vectors and velocities to enable teleportation. This could be a covert teleport for infiltration action later or an overt takeover…see below.
If this Scene began immediately after Scenario 2 with the marines boarding the cutters on the way back from the raid, then the captives are probably aboard the Broadsword too as there was no time to return to the capital. One or more of the captives could be Zhodani commandos masquerading as TLF/Sword Worlders. They could be in telepathic communication with the Strike Cruiser, relaying all sorts of tactical information gleaned psionically!
Scenario 4: Boarding Party
So in the booklet the players have to guard against fricken teleporting Zhodani commandos!! Yeah right. The Players outline their plan, the GM looks for weaknesses, and after a week or so of guard duty (yawn) Zhodane materialises and wins. Ho hum.
And the premise…teleporting commandos! In Battledress with Plasma guns! Sheesh it’s a big ask defending against that even with the anti-hijack program running!! Hell if they can do that why don’t they just teleport in with a bomb then just bug out straight away…tick tick BOOM!! No more Broadsword. Game over, roll up new characters.
Maybe the commandos should be on a capture the flag mission instead? The captured head of the resistance might be on the ship and needs rescuing? Psionic rules prohibit this but perhaps 4 commandos all standing together could jointly lift an entire other body?
Or perhaps the commandos teleport over almost naked…a la ‘The Terminator’. After the covert teleport, they kill the nearest person(s) with their mind/martial arts…maybe they are even wearing Mission Impossible masks to imitate a crew member? The scenario becomes a “find the imposter/saboteur”.
If the players have their own psionically endowed teammates it will even the score somewhat even if just giving the PCs a counter intelligence news feed: Perhaps the psionic player can detect teleportation in progress and give the Broadsword an alert the instant they commandos arrive and thus a chance?
To top it off, the tower nature of the craft also makes for confusing gaming if engaged in an interior shoot ‘em up or bug hunt. The GM should print out some large copies of the floor plan if he/she intends to get down to the nitty gritty of this interior combat. That said, grenades (and a willingness to damage the interior) will come in handy! Note that the commandos will be returning the favour. Perhaps a commando also has mild Pk ability, allowing the pulling of enemy grenade pins at a distance.
With psionic overwatch, optimal teleportation locations, a bit of telekinesis, a secondary teleport out of danger when cornered, and of course battledress +PGMPs (!), even one or two commandos could conceivably wipe out the entire crew and capture the Broadsword. Perhaps this is what the scenario originally intended: capture and use the mercenary cruiser against Garda Vilis rather than merely destroy it.
A fiendish GM could change the whole nature of the campaign by having this final episode become a merciless horror movie hunt of the PCs through their own ship. The NPCs are the murder fodder for the nigh unstoppable and near omniscient psi terminators, while the players try to figure out how to defeat them.
Of course the Broadsword should not (and cannot) be on the ground (boring!!) for this scene. Geostationary orbit above the capital (but within covering fire range of the meson emplacement) is the most likely location. Perhaps the commandos teleport over during the climactic space battle /escort duty in the outer system? If the Zhodani ship is destroyed, then the commandos have a reason to take the Broadsword intact. Add tension by having the Broadsword suffering some damage in the space battle. Perhaps the ships computer is on the fritz? That anti-hijack program will be malfunctioning for sure. Maybe the manoeuvre drive is knocked out giving the ship a terminally declining orbit – it is only hours (or minutes!) before it hits Garda Vilis or plunges into a gas giant.
Twisting the dagger
Which brings me to the final sneaky plot twists. Perhaps one of the captured off world advisors from Scenario 1 is actually Zhodani, masquerading as a Sword Worlder? Perhaps this Zhodani is also a telepath and whilst being interrogated is also mentally probing the interrogators for information? The whole capture the documents mission in The Raid was organised by the TFL and/or Zhodane to provide misinformation and insert this mind-reader. The telepath might also be exaggerating the cruelty of the Vilis interrogators trying to turn the PC against the Garda Vilis government? The telepath might even be psionically persuading the interrogators to be cruel to other prisoners in order to influence the Broadsword mercs.
Perhaps an additional Broadsword class ship (the Stiletto) arrives with the Vilis troop flotilla. The Stiletto could be crewed by old rivals of the PCs. No doubt they are a bunch of untrustworthy piratical thugs, cashing in on the situation. They will undermine the Broadsword’s crew at any opportunity.
Perhaps the space craft that secretly dropped the Sword Worlds battalion on Garda Vilis are still in system, lurking in the upper atmosphere of one of the gas giants. Whilst not Strike Cruisers they are bound to have some offensive capability: they may emerge to challenge or assist the PCs in Scenario 3.
The other nasty GM switch ‘n bait is having the Garda Vilis government blame atrocities on mercenaries. Sometime around Scene 3 or 4 locations within government territory may be assigned as strike targets for Broadsword orbital bombardment. The bombardment is actually hiding evidence of concentration camps. Or perhaps the targets are defenceless villages that just support the TFL. If the PCs follow orders then justice will catch up with them.
Similarly, if the players do join the rebellion they may be ordered to strike at different factions of the TFL – those loyal to the Imperium or otherwise. Or the dominant TFL faction gets the Broadsword to betray either the Sword Worlders and/or the Zhodani? Perhaps the Zhodani psionically manipulate the situation such that the Sword Worlders are the ones who are betrayed, or conversely the Sword Worlders betray the Zhodani because they suspect this is what Zhodane will do to them? Either way make sure the players are in the thick of it!
And finally the players should never trust an NPC… the army attaché embedded with the Broadsword is obviously evil, but the friendly naval attaché may also be up to no good: he/she might also be a 5th columnist TFL supporter? Or a synthetic robot with instructions to incapacitate the ship once given a special command order. Or has been psionically brainwashed by the Zhodani? Or is just a plain old serial killer. Or maybe he/she is really just a grizzled old veteran that the PCs are irrationally suspicious of, because that’s who the twisted GM would usually have as the secret baddie?
Final Scene / Finishing the Garda Vilis Campaign
Assuming the players aren’t dead or haven’t totally gone off track (imprisoned for war crimes, fleeing for neutral territory, chasing red herrings etc.), the chances are the players are either…
- escorting the troop fleet to Garda Vilis after a harrowing space battle+ fighting off the psionic commandos… OR
- they have assisted the Zhodani cruiser in seeing off the Vilis troop ships and are returning to join the rebel assault on the capital.
So now the GM needs to find a final pivotal battle for the remaining Broadsword crew + marines to participate in.
Imperial/ Vilis loyalists could be: defending the meson emplacement; guarding the high council from attack; taking out the Sword Worlds command and control section.
TFL Rebel Sympathisers may end up trying to: take down the meson gun or its power plant; kill or capture the council; conduct a diversionary attack on the spaceport while the TFL try for the council;
Regardless – you’ll need a tonne of street fighting APC/Grav tank shoot ‘em ups along with a bit of space action. Bearing in mind whoever controls the skies above the capital controls the world!
In the mopping up phase fiendish GMs may like to have the Broadsword tasked with bombarding a pocket of resistance, which in fact is just a bunch of unarmed civilians. The PCs face war crimes accusations if they carry out the order and termination of contract if they refuse. Similarly TFL aligned PCs may be ordered to betray the Zhodani or Sword Worlders once the world is captured, or execute Vilis sympathisers.
The GM should also consider what to do if the players end up on the losing side. If the PCs are astute they may realise before it is too late and flee the system. If they decide to stick it out they could end up as guerrillas on the run in the wilderness or are captured and imprisoned awaiting ransom in an unhealthy work camp.
Suggested scene progression:
- Possible space skirmish on entry to Garda Vilis system;
- Land on Garda Vilis and get briefing from the government; two Vilis military observers are embedded.
- Strike Cruiser moves into position just out of meson range. Broadsword may move into geostationary orbit obove the capital or remain on surface.
- Village assault; Starfighters engage marine units, + intel gathering;
- Exit village with prisoners and head to capital under space fire and weather phenomena;
- Fight off ambush en-route to capital;
- Space deployment to outer system to escort troop fleet to Garda Vilis +fight off Strike Cruiser;
- Counter the Zhodani Commando attack on the Broadsword
- The balance of power in outer space is maintained by convenient arrivals from either side.
- A large scale ding-dong battle fought on as Vilis reinforcements engage the Sword Worlds mech battalion. The Broadsword participates in space and on world. Taking out the Sword Worlds command unit/defend the meson cannon or council from commando attack/ pitched battle at the starport etc
- World is lost (flee!) or won (mop up, war crimes accusations?)
Or diverge at any point from the above timeline and join the TFL…
- Broadsword crew joins the TFL rebellion after seeing Government atrocities (this may be after an internal ship revolt?)
- Establish new credentials with rebels by raiding a confiscated arms depot/minor garrison;
- Provide flanking support to Gram attack on hydro power plant/ take out sensor site for meson accelerator/ ambush System Defence Boat in orbit. Notice rebels beginning to factionalise.
- Assist cruiser in destroying Vilis troop fleet;
- Fighting between TFL who are loyal to Imperium and their offworld allies –
- Join in final attack on capital: capture ruling council/use fighters in Death star trench run to knock out the meson emplacement/ destroy power plant to meson gun/ capture starport.
- Rebellion loses (hide or flee to Zhodane or Sword Worlds) or wins (mop up, assist in faction fighting +betrayal of allies)
Ongoing action on Garda Vilis
If the current government wins there will probably be an Imperial intervention as news about the war (and war crimes) leaks out. A garrison of neutral troops will be installed, and the administration overhauled. Before this happens the populace can expect the joy of reprisals, terrorism, guerrilla warfare, martial law and possibly another concerted effort by the Sword Worlds to retrieve the remains of their mechanised battalion or to take back Tanoose. Zhodane will also be curious about the loss of a commando team and a reconnaissance in force will be sent…
If the TFL wins, then it will immediately fragment and succumb to infighting between pro Imperium forces and those loyal to Zhodane or the Sword Worlds. Several minor rebel factions seeking political advantage will also emerge adding to the post war chaos. The Sword Worlds will establish a large presence here. Fighting between the TFL and Sword Worlders is likely. And of course sooner or later the Imperium will take a dim view of any loss of territory…
Either way the crew of the Broadsword will find there is still plenty of work in the Garda Vilis system.
Other Broadsword adventure ideas
Magnificent 7: Farmers or miners on a frontier world hire the Broadsword to defend against baddies (a rogue company or marauding pirates) who are extorting them and demanding profits/food/minerals etc. The baddies are due to arrive in their spacecraft in a week: set up an ambush on the ground and in the sky. For added flavour this could be a small asteroid mining operation and the action takes place in the vacuum of space.
Chamax Plague/Horde adventure…as per the old school Traveller double adventure: assist in defeating the horde of extra-terrestrial monsters. Players take part in strategic decisions then play out small unit actions at various choke points on the planet.
Insurgent: drop the marines on a contested world where they become a crucial part of the resistance forces. The ship retreats to the outer solar system joining a hodge podge “navy” of asteroid mining ships. Marines must disable a defence installation to allow the Cruiser et al to approach the planet and assist with orbital bombardment in conjunction with the uprising on the ground.
Aliens – divert to a terraformed world where the colonists have gone missing. Yep – flesh eating aliens of some kind or other got most of the colonists. Cue the plot devices disabling the marines’ ability to get back to the Broadsword & giving the savage animals an advantage vs high tech. Perhaps the owner/captain wants a sample of the alien as a bioweapon? Fight your way outta this one marines.
Skull Planet – Whilst transporting military cargo the cruiser is unexpectedly damaged in a plot device/space accident and crash lands on a death world. In the hectic seconds before impact the cutters ejected but they do not rendezvous with the broadsword wreck and nothing has been heard from them. The surviving crew have to trek several hundred kilometres to a transmitter/base/safe haven. But the landscape is chock full of hostile gribblies. Adventure/mystery escape scenario. What happened to the cutters? Did intelligent life shoot down the ship? Is there a saboteur in the crew trying to prevent the delivery of the cargo? Is this death planet a genetically engineered bio weapon world? Hybrid of Skull Island, Pitch Black, Prometheus etc
Pressure Cooker – Racist crew members have been pushing the Vargr to the breaking point. When the Owner ignores the death of one of the canine gunners the Vargr revolt. Can the outnumbered doggos pull off a mutiny against the humans? Can they overcome the ships computer and anti-hijack system? Is one of their number a traitor? Can someone get control of the ship before it is caught in a gravity well? Will the losers be marooned on a habitable world? Can the GM juggle all the different NPCs and the multi-level snapshot game and conclude the game with a morally uplifting ending?
Fate of the Sky Raiders sequel… the cruiser is called in by the local star system to enforce their salvage rights on the recently discovered Sky Raiders asteroid generation ship (see Fate of the Sky Raiders – Addenda). Join the small naval force blockading the Asteroid. Land the marines on the Roid and proceed to the flight controls deep in a zone zealously defended by natives (cannibals or psionic fascists). Protect the embattled engineers struggling to reactivate the vast ship. Meanwhile the cruiser deals with an expeditionary force from competing interests (Zhodane?) Cue space battles whilst the marines fight off natives and numerous enemy boarding parties, not to mention carnivorous animals lurking in the bowels of the Roid. Ancient ships and defence systems are on the Roid that can be activated to use versus the enemy…who are also aboard and activating these deadly relics!
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