Sword and Silver Tongue, Consultants

Session 4, month 3
Blockade inspection, busting weapons smuggling

Points and $:

1 Hugo
-$400 rent (w/ Gail)
6 timeslots

2 Branden
-$600 rent
6 timeslots

2 Jessica
-$400 rent (w/ Neci)
criminology for Cody
sales pitch for Indy
movie script
3 timeslots

2 Everett
-$600 rent
6 timeslots

3 Trey
-$600 rent
6 timeslots

1 Mark
-$1000 rent
-$2000 two Scroungers
Inventor! rolls at -6, -10, -14, -22 for simple, average, complex, amazing workshop space designs
GURPS p 473
Needs 4×20+ skill assistants for +4
30x time gets a +5 to skill
Every attempt costs a full prototype set-up value. Failure lets Mark recoup $1000 x umodified success margin (i.e. what the margin would have been w/o any penalties). Success means he has his base shop, permitting 10% prototype facility costs on all future projects of that complexity.

6+2 timeslots

2 Molly

-$600 rent
6+1 timeslots

2 Michael
-$600 rent
6 timeslots

3 Miranda

+$5600 lab research roll?
6 timeslots

2 Cody
-$600 rent
-$9750 FoJ training expenses
2 assault
4 shooters
1 sniper
1 spotter
client list bonus +4 next time
5 targets (solid leads, good pay)

Rick fills in the group on his research findings. Sylos Consolidated owns a controlling interest in all the companies that process moss off-planet, including a buyout 7 years ago of the last major competitor, Baker Pharmaceutical.

The PCs escort Belinda Hoyt on an inspection of the blockade. They take over negotiations with one of the farmers (Unson) evading the blockade, and see that he’s desperate to feed his people. They then convince Hoyt that the blockade is doing more harm than good. And they stop a mercenary hired by Baker Pharmaceutical from killing Unson and possibly triggering a factional civil war.

Hoyt says that Baker’s been very supportive of the moss hunters’ cause b/c they are resisting Sylos’ control of the moss trade.

The PCs detect another drone, but Yancy loses it in the ground clutter.

The PCs go with Hoyt to confront Jan Tomiczec over his blockade running, but instead scare off a number of trucks at Tomiczec’s river docks. The PCs intercept a barge convoy coming upriver. They partially bluff their way into the meeting with the barge captain and get the manifest. But he insists on seeing Tomiczec himself or one of his known aides, Winters or Owens.

The deal goes bust (with Jon and Gail taking cover), and the captain signals an ambush from the barge cargo holds (he was expecting a double-cross on the final shipment of smuggled weapons).

The Touchdown smugglers lay on a hail of fire, taking out one of Hoyt’s two escort trucks with rocket fire.

From the forest, a second ambush opens up on the PCs’ convoy as Tomiczec’s men circle back around and attack.

Yancy cuts short most of the ambush, literally, as he puts Lazarus in position to hose down the lead barge with a curtain of fire, sawing the pilot house and the captain clean in half. They repeat the process with the surrounding forest and break up the second ambush.

View
Session 3: Lindassa, Month 2, 2960
Hunter hunted, PR campaign, and samaritans

Points and $:

Slush fund $17k left

3 Hugo
-$400 rent (w/ Gail)
+$1300 value in FOOD
2 timeslots left

3 Branden
-$600 rent
3 timeslots left

2 Jessica
-$400 rent (w/ Neci)
+$3500

2 Everett
-$600 rent
+$1200 photography work

3 Trey
-$600 rent
+$stuff for flight missions
hires mechanic and gunner

2 Mark
-$1000 rent
-$2000 two Scroungers
+$2273 scrap value for workshop projects
Has 2 timeslots left

2 Molly
-$600 rent
1 timeslot left

2 Michael
-$600 rent

3 Miranda
Net +$5600 personal income this month for her lab (assistants’) research output
Does Flora ask Fozan to pay the new recruits for their day labor, esp. severance for the 17 who quit?

2 Cody
-$600 rent
-$6500 FoJ training expenses

Take an additional -$7k from the expense account, to retcon Pharmacy-16 lab team at $17k.

En route to the research facility out in Hoyt’s forest desmesne, William and Yancy have a brief exchange over the intercom, and Yancy disconnects all the flight/position tracking electronics.

Upon landing at 2 a.m., Jon interrogates the captive pilot. Between that and inspecting the vertol craft (with freshly repainted CSTPD markings), your group determines that the vertol was current City of Second Touchdown Police Department property, taken on the down-low to do moonlight enforcement gigs for local… interests.

The week dawns bright and early, as the raid team files into the cafeteria for some late-night local coffee-equivalent. Flora has just started her day… and pointedly chooses to ignore them, other than to brusquely apply First Aid skill to William’s leg wound.

Your employer Belinda Hoyt calls a teleconference briefing (not secure).

“We’re short on time, and too many tasks. Give me a quick update. Any leads on who’s funding/pushing the high-tech growth and foreign debt/investment?”

“We need ST’s key players backing us. What have you found out about each one’s stance/position? What are your plans to convince them? We need them alive wherever possible! They are the linchpins of Lindassa’s off-planet economy!”


Miranda (6 rolls + Pharmacy-16 lab starting Month 2):
(1)
After the call, Flora get with Hoyt’s foreman, Fozan. She arranges for a harvesting crew of 30 people. Goes into town, finds 20 refugees looking for work. Convinces Fozan to take them on as trainees.

(2)
Flora also sets up a Pharmacy-16 lab for $24k/month. This month, her lab determines that herbivore poop has low populations of amoebic symbiote, whereas blood samples from the smaller predators have very high levels of symbiote. Both are compared to typical moss populations of symbiote.

(3 and 4)
Finishes symbiote research. Now onto the 7 active agent compounds, the waste product and tailings (to see what else can be derived from moss vegetable matter), and who knows what else?

(5)
Makes her first health clinic roll against Administrator (9v16). One of the refugees she placed with the harvesting crew told her the southern firebreak district has a particularly high number of transients. On maps the group has collated, she identifies a block of townhouse rows that make an ideal location for her clinic. Roll Perception (14v16). She spends the rest of the week ordering/bringing in basic medical supplies and low-cost, useful tools, as well as identifying good prospects to put in a health care crash course. She recruits and trains up 7 local staffers, including two with med experience (one dental). The locals quickly catch on, and any given day finds half a dozen of them hanging around the vacant townhome now turned medical neighborhood clinic, looking for freebies of any sort from Flora or her staff.

One day, she’s walking in with an armload of stuff when the beggar/tuber scene plays out 4 houses up the street. Roll Fright Check. She’s stunned and frozen for a few seconds, then her staff with quicker reactions haul her behind the brick wall of the clinic’s front steps.

+1 to population influence roll

There’s a couple other people on the street, but most are screaming and cowering behind stairs and doorwys.
The woman seems to be the leader. After you say you’re a doctor, she snaps, “I don’t give a fuck who you are. Back it up. These gutter scrapings are always looking for more food. Well, they can work for it or get the fuck out of our way.”
Now that she’s talking to you, the men ignore you and get back to their task of unloading the cart and bringing it into their townhouse.
“What the fuck does it look like? We got rid of some vermin.”
“We scored these goods, and they wanted some freebies.”
She glances to her right, at the two bodies. The men come back for a last load of sacks.
“Do what you want,” she sneers, “We’re done here. Keep them the fuck off our plot.”

Flora staunches the girl’s bleeding, takes her back down the street to the clinic, and fixes her up. -11 HP (8 HP 9 HT) The father is dead from the rifle shot to the chest.

Flora changes out bloody clothes, 15 mins later goes looking for the boy. The father’s body is rolled over, vegetables are gone. No boy. She opens up an energy bar, but he’s gone.

A beggar in a gray-blue urban camo pattern comes around. “Hey, lady, you gonna finish that bar?”

Flora asks about the boy, to keep an eye out for him. He only cautions her to keep her head down.

As you watch the receding back of the veteran, a Second Touchdown patrol car drives down the street. The cop car is going a good 40 mph, and deliberately swings/swerves around the body.

Flora takes the father’s body to dispose / incinerate.

(6)
Commute between Hoyt and Second Touchdown.

Everett (6):
(1)
pathakh is well-connected, brings in stuff that makes the populace happy. he may be a dick, but he’s successful.

(2)
Wever – security detail, off-worlder real estate sales, one meeting with moss farmers and Tomiczec (double scar with window on cheek)

(with Michael, Molly)
Tomiczec wants to kick all the refugees out, polarizing figure, love or hate save the planet or a menace
off-planet shell companies in heavy industry
wever’s shell company has sold two shipments to tomiczec’s shell companies

Well, you don’t manage to learn his shoe size or his favorite flavor of breakfast cereal.

But, in the course of 2 weeks, you observe Wever’s comings and goings everywhere on business.

Something big must be going down in the South Firebreak District (so-named b/c they burned half the district once, to cut off an encroaching wildfire).

Wever goes down there 5 times, easily more than any other part of the city.

Twice, he goes down to intervene in ongoing eviction processes, throwing all the tenants of two (slummy) apartment complexes out on the street on 24-hours’ notice.

Both times, he’s just meeting with underlings that he berates for their incompetence. None of them will dare stand up to him, b/c he always maintains at least an escort of 4 well-armed guards. Definitely off-planet experts with off-planet gear and technical expertise.

About 2/3 of the time, he makes use of a twin-engine vertol craft. It’s his personal aircraft, maintained and operated out of his rooftop helipad at his office — a 15-story building in relatively pristine condition.

He has a floating entourage, a small team of property managers, inspectors, accountants, and troubleshooters whom he might send ahead or leave behind onsite to oversee various tasks.

As you previously observed, he has roughly a platoon of 20-30 security guards who often serve on detached duty in pairs or fireteams of 4, onsite for some projects. He always maintains 8-12 of them at his HQ, some downstairs, some outside his office, and some in an off-duty ready room.

He has a personal chef, a Mediterranean-looking fellow, whom you observe bringing in groceries that he must shop himself. He cooks either in a small commercial kitchen in the building, or at Wever’s home.

So later on in your observations, you notice that he returns once to one of the vacant apartment complexes, to oversee a shipment into the building’s basement. That one was conducted at 4 in the morning.

He’s an early riser, usually up by 4, beats most people to the office, and works there until dinnertime. Fairly constant in his habits, in terms of going to bed, going to work.

He has what seems to be a girlfriend or mistress in a separate apartment on the gated grounds of his house (mansion). She has a manager/handler/house staff who waits on her (or watches and reports on her), but they seem to have an OK relationship.

Oh, and in his comings and goings, he normally has his car, somewhat like a luxury Humvee (not a stretch limo).
One of the security experts drives, the other one rides shotgun. The other two follow in an identical Humvee type vehicle. Sunroofs, privacy tinted windows, and probably very armored.

You put out a call for girls wanting to break into modeling. Edgy look, willing to do whatever it takes. If you critically fail, one of their boyfriends just out of prison will probably try to bust your head. The joys of freelancing!

Everett makes $1200.

Cody (6):
Jon leaves the priests alone this month, focuses on “good deeds.”

(1)
Commute
also, Cody breaks Hugo’s broken flamethrower

(2)
with Molly, crit success on designing vigilante logo

(3)
crit success on Jessica’s streetwise to find oppressed victims of crimes

(4)
shooting house training with the Fangs of Justice crew

(5)
Raiding the chemist. Drug kitchen. Successful bust.

(6)
Raiding a safe house. Townhome in the South Firebreak District. One of the FoJs says she’s not sure what they’re running, but they’re running a tight ship, locked down pretty hard. Still, with deliveries in and out, twice daily, someone always hears about it. [roll Observation] It’s a relatively warm early spring day out — bright and in the low 20s. His Lookouts and Joslin bump into a couple of beggars and grifters, around the house, as they find an observation rooftop. They observe a middle-aged man approaching the townhome one day with two smaller children, probably a boy and a girl, if only b/c the girl has a skirt on over her pants. He’s bent and bundled in three coats but bareheaded and in mismatched bedroom slipper and dress shoe, the kids in layers on layers as well, hovering behind a group of two men and a woman in heavy coats with their hoods pulled up and scarves on. They’re pushing a hovercart loaded with large, lumpy sacks (approx 40 lbs each). The lip of the cart’s plenum chamber catches on a cracked rise in the sidewalk, and it skews sideways. The top couple of sacks spill off, one half-bursting. Purple, bulbous root vegetables tumble out — tubers. The beggar family darts in to snatch up a scant armful. One of the men pushing the hovercart brandishes a sawed-off longarm and yells at them. The scavengers keep scrambling for a few last tubers, and the man takes aim, fires. The one adult beggar drops like a heavy sack himself, limbs sprattling limply, vegetables spilling again. The kids scream, the boy dashes away to duck out of sight. The girl hesitates, reaching for another root the dead man dropped, then jerks and crumples around her armload as a pistol barks three times. The woman of the trio reholsters her sidearm, and they spend the next 10 minutes hauling sacks into the house.

Flora rushes up the street unarmed, confronts the woman, and after a brief stand-off checks the bodies and takes the girl back to the neighborhood clinic. After they finish, the boy slips out again to collect what’s left on the street. He takes a few things off the man, then leaves.

Jon and his crew take out the safehouse and score 3 tons of food, including a couple hundred pounds of valuable perishables. Jon gets shot in the neck and his assault guy takes one in the crotch.

vertol warehouse raid:
7 assault rifles
9 pistols
3 smoke grenades
6 NVGs

Mark (6):
(1)
Indaba asks about security sales. Lands a Month 2 regular security consulting gig for $1000 x Inventor! margin of success.

(2)
commute
fixes Neci’s flamethrower and upgrades it with selective 1-second trigger pulls.

(3)
Moss harvest safari with Neci, William

4) Michael Finance 13v16
Molly Savoir Faire 14v15
Jessica Sales 11v23
Indaba secures $969k in funding at 9% interest, $7300 / mo expense until he pays off the $969k principal (super simplified for game terms since I don’t want to run amortization tables and early payment).

5)

6)

Molly (5):
(1)
JB launches the PR campaign through various guerilla marketing and media outlets, on the cheap. It’s a critical success! The message goes viral and the call for living life with common sense goes out everywhere.

(2)
JB digs up political dirt on Kin Wever

(3)
Logo design for FoJ w/ Cody. crit success

4) Propaganda design for movie

5) savoire-faire for Indy, to find his robotics workshop investors

6)

*Michael (6):
(1)
Rick digs up financial dirt on Kin Wever

(2)
Michael’s accounting allows the party to mooch 20% off the movie budget w/o materially hurting its prospects.

Hugo (6):
Neci gets his Sylos data dump to Rick, who decrypts it. Turns out to be a bunch of research data. Flora can use it for essentially a +10 bonus, instead of having to recreate 3 years of intense research.

Neci suffers 3 second flashback gap in a future fight.

(1)
Construction job. Paid $1300 in food. Crit fail results in on-the-job injury — nail gun to the ribs for 6 dmg.

(2)
escort moss safari

(3)
commute

Trey (6):
(1)
Yancy asks about air taxi service. Freelance job.

Branden (6):
(1)
Security job

(2)
Escort the Moss safari

(3) commute

Jessica (work + 2):
Gail reports that she found some papers and invoices back at the warehouse, showing shipments of maintenance equipment, parts from the Sylos Corporation to the CSTPD. Additionally, Sylos sent the first of two shipments of small arms and light weapons to one individual Jan Tomiczec.

gail needs to talk to balastoke about police contacts

Month 2: Use footage from the safari to make ST citizens realize what their lifestyle demands.

(work) Gail is in direct sales at her firm, roll fast-talk, earns $3500

(1)
Gail finds desperate people for Jon’s vigilantes.

(2)
Gail uses Psychology to influence 8 of the 17 exiting ST harvesters, so they’ll spread the word and put a human face on the moss farmers

Convinces Carvalho of the movie concept, working on it within the PR firm, and financing.

Movie director roll (acting with penalty) succeeded w 9v12.

Michael (roll 3 for Month 2) rolled accounting to gin up accounting proposal for the movie.

Gail may have to set up a meeting between her alias Iris, Gail herself as director, and Carvalho.

Rolls to make:
Writing (script)
Director of Photography
The other 4 VIPs
Hoyt (moss farmer committee)
Balastoke (city council)

Michael
Local moss farmers sell to a dozen major local purchasing agents, who then store the moss in warehouses. They in turn sell the moss to the pharma companies that refine the moss. Currently, they only break it down for the oil concentrate and carefully freeze it. They ship the concentrate off-planet for processing and refining elsewhere.

You run down all the major players, and locate their offices as well as stockyards.

It’s a process of concentration at every step. The farmers generate something like 500,000 tons of raw moss a year. So there are about 5-20 river barges that go out weekly to bring this harvest in.

The farmers truck or cart in the moss to various river ports and loading docks. Most of the voting harvest committee members are like old money plantation owners, who maintain their own private docks on the river routes.

They each maintain trade networks with smaller hedge farmers who don’t control prime riverfront real estate, and therefore must bring their moss in, and usually sell it directly to the plantation owners.

The river barges bring the moss in to the resellers’ warehouses in ST. Local firms representing individual or collective buyers who specialize in consolidating the farmers’ product, and then resell it by quality grades to the off-planet pharma interests that don’t care to deal directly with hundreds of landowners and farmers.

The pharma companies control 100% of the first-stage refineries that extract the oil concentrate from the moss that contains the ingredients. From Flora’s research, you know at this point the product is now inert and static — no longer a living soup of symbiote byproducts.

Therefore it keeps well enough for long interstellar journeys, and is also FAR more concentrated.

Flora’s proposed process:
After the warehouse stage. But if you also cut out the local resellers and their warehouse staging, it would directly connect the farmers with selling the concentrated rough product to the pharma companies.

However, she and Indaba are contemplating sidestepping the pharma companies’ current plans to build second-stage refineries and in fact perform crude processing of the moss into actual drug components and products.

It will take a hell of a sales pitch to convince them that it’s easier / more profitable to buy the rough product, then do the final 20-30% refining and become slightly value-added interstellar resellers themselves.

So here’s the interesting part of your financial research into the pharma corps:

There are five companies you can find, who are named as buyers of about 99.8% of Lindassa’s semi-refined moss extract.

There are five companies you can find, who are named as buyers of about 99.8% of Lindassa’s semi-refined moss extract. However, your accounting found out that four of them are all subsidiaries or have controlling interests in them owned by the last company. Sylos. The last real competitor, Baker Pharmaceutical, jointly merged with Sylos 7 years ago.

What’s REALLY interesting is that you guys currently have a small stack of invoices from Sylos, selling “heavy equipment” to the moss farmer extremist, Jan Tomiczec. And that Baker Pharmaceutical has heavily invested in real estate holdings developed by Kin Wever. The same Wever who you, Everett, and Molly discovered was using his shell companies to sell other “heavy equipment” to Tomiczec’s shell companies.

Moss safari
5 trucks head out with 30+20 harvesters, Fozan, Miranda’s 2 assts, Indaba, Neci, and William.

Throughout the day, they observe firsthand the ecosystem of Lindassa, including nearly getting ambushed by some of the pack predators. There’s a herd of Herbies off in the distance.

Indaba rigs up a scoop and samples a Herbie dung heap for Flora’s assistants.

Overhead, native flyers get divebombed by larger hunters, and the group notices a drone cruising down a river valley.

William shoots down the unmarked, sophisticated (TL 9) drone. Neci and Indaba convince Fozan to send a small crew down to the riverbank to collect it. Neci makes it there and back, uses his cutting torch to hack out all the relevant bits (flight recorders, key electronic components).

Late in the day, a pack of predators jump one of the Herbies. Two apex predators interrupt, and the whole Herbie herd stampedes into / across the front of the convoy. Each apex slams open-jawed into the side of a Herbie, taking out chunks the size of several men.

Neci lays down a line of fire, emptying his tank.

William takes out 3 predators and 2 Herbies, deflecting most of the danger away while Fozan hustles everyone aboard.

After a 10-hr day, Flora has her fresh moss sample.

View
Session 2: Lindassa, Month 1, 2960
A forest preserve, Second Touchdown (crashed dropship, warehouse district)

[couldn’t find point breakdowns, so here’s cumulative points awarded for Sessions 1 and 2]
5 Everett
5 Miranda
5 Cody
5 Trey
4 Jessica
5 Branden
3 Hugo
5 Mark
3 Molly

On the edge of the city, you find a barge dock and a shipping company office. Inside, you find Landowner Belinda Hoyt. She’s very passionate about the hunter cause. Their platform centers on giving every moss hunter a say in the governance of the planet — a vote for every moss hunter who actively contributes to the economy. This was how Lindassa was traditionally run. As refugees and immigrants from the Succession Wars have fled into the Periphery, though, many of them arrived in ST, inflating the population, and overtaking the government through proximity to the seat of govt and via mob rule.

They want a more urban planet, and they want it now, with unsustainable development and expensive imports that will bankrupt the planet. Moss hunters have never made much profit, since most of the value comes from the refining and processing. But prices on equipment, fuel, and supplies have seen massive inflation for nearly two decades due to the population influxes. And the clearing houses and purchasing agents for raw moss keep haggling down prices, offering loan advances at crippling interest rates. Most hunters lose money one year in 8-10, due to harvest yields, and it takes them on average 10-15 years to get out of debt again. Even despite recent growth in ST, hunter communities still account for 65% of the planetary population.

The hunters started protesting three years ago, demanding fair representation in the govt. They’re out in the hinterland 9 months out of the 10-month year, and are scattered all over the continent. They don’t have a voice or collective bargaining power in ST. The government responded by deputizing paramilitary thugs, who are often the worst of the newly-arrived refugees. Soon, they began sending punitive expeditions and heavily armed patrols on the outbound river barges to cow the moss hunters. After dozens of minor skirmishes and more than a hundred deaths, several of the more hard-hit hunting collectives banded together and ambushed several ST expeditions as payback.

Mistress Hoyt has two tasks requiring your particular skills:

1) Run a PR campaign with both well-placed and high-ranking individuals within Second Touchdown, as well as with the general populace. Sustainable growth for everyone. Don’t fall for the demagogues’ short-sighted demands.

Mistress Hoyt knows a public servant in the employ of the ST executive council: Campion Balastoke. Statements he’s made at social functions suggest he is also concerned with peace and stability for Lindassa. Perhaps he might be open to a dialogue and negotiations.

On the down low: Who is supporting/funding the push for high-tech growth and foreign investment/debt?

2) Secure the compliance of said key individuals, either with investigations and compromising details about any awkward history they have, or permanently and terminally persuading them.

Met with Belinda Hoyt. Mission: Run PR campaign for austerity and the simple life. Find out who’s plotting with off-planet financing, and persuade or eliminate them.

Group conclusions..? Party agrees that localization and protecting wealth creation process is necessary. Correct, managed growth.

Run health clinics. Tap into the majority Catholic faith to push spiritual fundamentalism, moving away from material desires. Redirect support into local moss industry.

Mistress Hoyt has approved $50,000 expense account. How you spend it will determine her decision when you need to re-up.

Where do people want to be based for “home”? PCs find apartments in town.

In the city, Second Touchdown, separate apartments ($600 / mo):
Jon (Cody), Joslyn, Lance
Yancy (Trey)
William (Branden)
Nessie (Hugo)
JB (Molly) ?
Gail (Jessica)
Darick (Michael)
Lazarus (Everett)

Empty warehouse on edge of town (2000 sf, $1000 / mo):
Indy (Mark)
2 Scrounge-12 shop assistants ($1000 / mo each)

Remote, enclosed, cultivated forest preserve 300 miles northeast of Second Touchdown, designated for PCs’ research use. Owned by Mistress Hoyt (one of several tracts). Approx 100,000 acres. ($300 / mo cost of living)
Flora (Miranda)
2 Pharmacy-12 lab techs ($1600 / mo each)

Projects:

Miranda, Michael, Mark: concept, design, build proof of concept refinery / pharma lab and hydroponics.

Miranda: Flooded by dozens of job applicants, only found 2 qualified lab techs. Two weeks of focused research has confirmed / identified a complex of active component molecules plus a symbiotic multi-cellular amoeba-like organism. Another week, and you can make a weekend/weekday commute, to start the week’s research, letting the lab techs continue the experiments — or you can also stay on the task.

Everett: Shadowed and observed Lakshman Pathakh, his guards, schedule. Overnights in the dropship, half the week. Random locations rest of the week — out of town or between 3 different apartments / townhomes.

Michael: Created 4 false IDs (Jessica, Branden, Mark (+1 to inspection checks), Michael). Found public data on Pathakh. PM for developments after Week 2 online research and hacking efforts.

Trey: Yancy is roughly oriented with the city, getting more familiar with every week. Will need 50 flight hours to eliminate -2 unfamiliarity bonus with the vertol.

Molly: JB ran a survey poll of 3000 ST residents, then successfully designed a PSA campaign promoting austerity measures via spirtual fundamentalism, focusing on frugality and humility. Not yet launched.

Cody: Jon networks with several leading priests in the city. Rebuffed by one. A second one is neutral, but agrees to a one-time sermon on the topic of frugality and humility. The third one is very sympathetic/enthusiastic to Jon’s presentation, but doesn’t yet feel that Jon’s projects are developed enough to support — come back when more progress has been made.

Hugo: Made some casual contacts in the hood (as can anyone with Streetwise), found likely warehouse fronts for the vertol attack. Flambeed the crap out of the warehouse.

Branden: Staked out the warehouses, identified a likely target. With Joslyn, scouted from the roof, found the vertol.

Warehouse mission:
William grabbed the low light vision goggles. For everyone who wasn’t on the mission, they notice Jon, Yancy, William, and Nessie landing at the pharma lab in a vertol craft looking exactly like the two that almost killed the group when they arrived over two weeks ago. They have a prisoner, one of the armed enforcer thugs from Second Touchdown. William’s been shot in the leg (tourniqueted), the group is tense, and no one’s immediately forthcoming.

View
Lindassa, week 1 2960
City of Second Touchdown

Two months ago, a Jim looked you up at the dosshouse.

“Hey, name’s ”/characters/herdillon" class=“wiki-content-link”>Herdillon. Heard you were the guys to go to for [MOS]. I got a gig, out in west bumfuck, the Lothian League, but it pays 10k in actual C-bills. Not Peripheral scrip. Plus a 100% bonus on successful completion. The local pongo gov on Lindassa got a problem with some first-gen wog bush hunters. The hunters want the city crats back in their respectful place. You in?

“Here’s your earnest money. $500. Do whatever the fuck you want with it, but be at this dock in three weeks with one locker bag, 1400 sharp. Don’t miss it — there’s only one passenger ship going that way. My guy on Lindassa will fill you in: ”/characters/levar-jogho" class=“wiki-content-link”>Levar Jogho. He’ll be at the JP-8 Bar when you get in."

Last chance for TL 9 LC 3 gear. Does anyone want to do anything? Find info? Prep?

Four weeks ago, you boarded a rickety-ass cargo hauler converted into a putative passenger carrier. It may have served as a slave ship at some point. The hundreds of unwashed adults and squalling kids aboard plus a leavening of surly, uncommunicative types all combined to overwhelm the environmental filtration systems that were probably only rated for half the capacity [about 700 aboard]. Two star jumps later and three weeks ago, the midpoint turnover for deceleration broke something in the water recycling system, putting everyone on water rations and no showers or flush toilets.

It’s been a week since then, and you’ll probably never get the smell of sour curry out of your gear. At last, the ship shudders as it hits a planetary atmosphere — and skips off. Two hours later, the ship reenters the atmosphere again, and this time the roaring, juddering, rattling ride gets worse and worse. It feels like you’ve been dogpiled by five beefy cage fighters. You’re pretty sure some of the clanging jolts are bits of the ship burning off on reentry. After a few more minutes, the roaring flares, then with one last ringing crash, the ship settles into a nauseating, swaying bob that you initially don’t notice b/c it’s so much gentler than the reentry.

From experience, you know it will take a couple hours for the ship’s hull to cool and the steam to subside before you can disembark. You settle in for a nap.

As your turn to disembark comes, you notice a commotion behind you. A pair of crewmen pass by with an older passenger on a stretcher. A family is following, wailing and sniffling. Looks like he couldn’t take the strain of planetfall. The crew tip the body into the harbor, then take the stretcher up to another deck.

Dropships touch down primarily in harbors. Ease of taking on reaction mass for their plasma thrusters. Cools off the ship. Softer landing avoids the shock of reflected thrust in ground effect. And just in case some dipshit pilot misses his reentry margin by a little too much.

You make your way down the swaying stamped aluminum ramp to the floating pontoon quay (set up as a series of hexagonal cells), and from there to land and the main docks. Dock personnel seem to be chivvying the disembarked passengers in a loose line toward one warehouse. Most of the locals and workers are wearing or holding umbrella parasols, to shield them against the brighter light and greater UV from Lindassa’s sun. The remaining ones are completely covered up. Everyone wears sunglasses. [-1 to unshielded sight on to-hit rolls due to glare] It’s cold, though. The wind bites, nipping at your exposed skin. It’s probably in the 30s F.

Overhead, you can catch the white actinic glare of another dropship [total 3] descending towards the open bay. Klaxons blare a 5-minute warning for people to cover or avert their eyes. A tannoy squawks a garbled recording, possibly something about customs fees and inspections, but you’ll never know.

All around, you can see a hodgepodge of local traffic ranging from fuel cell electric 3-passenger jitneys to a foul, diesel-belching cargo hauler flatbed to a dogcart hitched up to a mule. Every bit of local transportation has turned out for this twice-yearly scheduled port call. A long line of cargo loads destined for points beyond the stars waits for loading. The empty carriers are turning around to pick up pre-arranged shipments, or else bid for transshipping jobs to destinations on-planet. Everywhere, wheels, hooves, feet, and tracks kick up dust.

Also prominently featuring in the montage are rough-looking fellows approximately wearing field fatigues with a general color scheme of navy blue mixed with dark yellow — the local militia, gang, or both. As many of them sport field caps as they do filthy bandanas or earrings and tattoos. They’re armed with bullpup battle rifles carried muzzle-forward on patrol slings, and they don’t much care whether the barrel sweeps anyone.

Ahead of you, one swarthy fellow with a half-shaven head waves a soldier over. They step to one side and you can see them conferring. As the line moves, half-baldy makes an expansive gesture, universal for protesting innocence. “Who, me?”

The militia man spits and roughly raps the large hand-cannon of a pistol holstered on half-baldy’s chest. More negotiation. Finally, half-baldy looks around almost theatrically, before not-so-discreetly palming off a small wad of cash. He twirls a finger to include the whole scene, as if to say, “Thank the boys for me. Pleasure doing business.” He hefts his long, heavy travel case and walks off, whistling.

Meanwhile, you notice similar deals or outright shakedowns going on up and down the line. There’s a soft-looking fellow knocked down in the dust, with his family looking on helplessly. Two dock stewards rifle his trunk while the guards look on.

As you reach the end of the processing line, one of the soldiers glances over. He brazenly looks you up and down, appraising your threat or value. What do you do?

The PCs opt to play the Jogho card, get a laugh, “Make sure you sign for the winning team. The hunters may pay more, but you ain’t gonna cash in!”

The port facility has shipping offices and storefronts offering traveller services (local transportation, storage facilities, lockers, etc.)

You make your way through the docks, and just when you think the real estate values couldn’t go any lower, you stumble across the JP-8 Bar.

Jogho’s not there. The bartender’s pretty peeved. “What the fuck is it to me? That fishbait hasn’t been in here for a week. Tell you what. Pay his tab and I’ll tell you where he bunks. $60.” “The Red Doll, in the Conjugal Towers.”

The PCs see a short fellow with gray-black hair at a table. He takes an interest in your exchange. He’s wearing a workshirt under open technician coveralls, and mirrored spacer goggles pushed back on his head.

You make your way to the Red Doll, in an even worse part of town you didn’t know could exist. It’s in an abandoned downtown district, where a skyscraper’s scorched and jagged beams stand out 10 stories up. The blast pattern on the broken glass forms a lower semi-circle. At some time in the past, the building’s upper 20 stories, explosively freed from its supporting beams, twisted and fell 30 degrees, coming to a stop buried a third of the way down from the top of the next tower. The shantytown in the two buildings’ shadows looks to be the latest in many layers of hovels laid down since whatever incident caused the skyscrapers to be abandoned.

The short spacer follows you out of the bar and to the slums, but he seems more interested in checking for pursuers than staying hidden from you. He keeps sight of you, weaving in and out of sight among the local parasols. He has a pronounced limp.

Spacer convo:
“Hey, no problems, capitan! I want to talk to you, but away from so many interested eyes and ears. Listen, your job is your business, not mine. But there are more than two dogs in this fight. So some country people are picking a fight with the government? Where do the government pigs get guns to piss off the farmers? How do some backwoods farmers blow up a barge and an armored convoy?”

The Red Doll is in the standing tower, floors 21-25. The building used to serve as a hotel, but now various squatters in various stages of desperation have taken over the floors and rooms for residence, small-time businesses or criminal activities, or, in some cases, relatively exclusive services.

In its past life as an administrative office building, the lobby was furnished in plastisteel and granite synthi-stone. The original lobby furniture disappeared generations ago, and now plywood and plastic paneling form mini shacks, stalls, and cubicles. A miasma of brown smoke hangs in the air, occasionally stirred by what breeze filters in through the cracked, mirrored windows.

“Roll it around. Get a job. Stay alive. If you find out anything, keep your mouth shut until we talk again. I want to make sure Lindassa stays stable, and that’s worth something to both of us. Find me in the docks. ”/characters/redric-thyklos" class=“wiki-content-link”>Redric Thyklos. I’ll be around for a few months. Don’t throw my name around too much — healthier for both of us."

While you talk to Redric, five poorly-suited gentlemen of not the best breeding shove past you and head up a stairwell. They’re all carrying guns. Redric waits until they’re gone, before resuming. He wraps up:

“Now you might want to attend to your contact. Jogho’s on the 24th floor. He’s not friendly, but a pro. Man you can trust. Best you hurry. Those guys were not in the mood for tea.”

Brothel shoot-out:
A few disheveled clients and scantily clad employees of the Red Doll stream past you down the stairs. Five minutes later, you burst, gasping, out of the stairwell. There’s a bouncer slumped in his chair, blood and gore sprayed in an arc behind his mostly intact head. A holstered pistol and two clips are on his belt.

As you turn a corner, you hear echoing from down a cross hallway: “If you ain’t gonna change your mind, Jogho, we’re gonna change it for you!” A bang-crash, and gunfire. Screams, and doors slamming. No one runs down the hallway as they seem to have better sense than to emerge into a gunfight. [Actions?]

The PCs hit the five thugs on the run, killing two. As the thugs reach their target, one bangs on the door while the other two return fire. The door explodes outward, slamming him against the opposite hallway wall.

30-40 feet down the cross hallway, you see two of the three suited goons from earlier, flanking the doorway and firing wildly into the room with SMGs. The door itself seems to have blown outward, pieces strewn in the hallway. The third goon is on the floor, grunting and clutching at his chest and left arm with his right hand. A shotgun is on the floor near him.

The hallway doors are recessed, alternating with wall projections of about 1’ (partial cover unless targeted by someone opposite in the next alcove), 10 ft and 10 ft w/ 2 doors.

The last goon takes off running down the hallway. Move 5, 20 yds to corner, 10 yds to stairwell.

You hear from inside the room, “Don’t shoot, dammit! Who are you people?”

The hotel room inside is trashed, riddled with bullets. Windows heavily starred, furniture torn and holed. Scorch marks line the walls and floor around the door. A table was flipped on its side, but shattered by the gunfire. Jogho is crouched behind a toppled fridge. He holds his pistol close and cautiously at high port. He’s a tall man looking at you steadily, no concern or fear. Tanned w reddish-brown hair in a snappy military/corporate cut gone a month long, not notable other than his firm gaze and bearing. Dressed in slacks, a linen shirt, and flip-flops.

Jogho briefs you and answers your questions as he changes for nondescript, dirty street clothes, boots, and packs a hiking pack with apparently everything he owns.

“Thanks for the assist. Herdillon, huh? Hadn’t heard from him in months, thought he’d bailed with that expenses account. Then again, local trouble’s kept me off the street. I’d be a dead man if either party saw me going to ComStar, the JP-8, or any damn place.

“I was formerly with the Eridani Light Horse. I’m a licensed agent of the Mercenary Bonding Authority. The only one on this shithole planet not… permanently retired. So both the Executive Council and the Harvest Oversight Committee gotta go through me for recruiting skilled troops and advisors, especially off-planet. Comstar won’t honor any other cred for mercs, since their big mission is ‘ensure interstellar stability until the restoration of the Star League.’

“Look, this is a drug war. But corporate. The council’s chasing big money, trying to bring in new high-tech construction and business. Moss is a local plant harvested in the forests here, and gets processed into its active drug components. The council know that raw moss and processing is a shit job, and the real money is in the drug manufacture and sales. But the Succession Wars have driven a lot of refugees out here into the Periphery. The Inner Sphere is, or was, too developed. These people keep demanding things the economy just won’t support, like nano-production mass commercial goods. But they’ve got populist leaders and speakers, people who are on the council.

“The moss hunters who bring the stuff in on barges for processing, they’re like backwoods hicks and old money at the same time — the reason why this planet even got as far as it did a hundred years ago. They outnumber the city 2 to 1, but they’re all over the continent. When the council jacked up hunter license fees and refinery services, almost a third of the hunters protested. It went back and forth for years, got violent, and the council started using force. MADs (microwave area denial beams), puke guns. I don’t know where the hell they got those — they sure can’t make anything like that here in hillbilly heaven.

He shrugs into a pair of holstered machine pistols. Looks around the apartment, then shrugs.

“So the hunters ran for home. Then they cut off bulk moss sales a year ago. And blockaded a lot of the farmland, too. The council has to run armed guards out with their food transports, and sometimes they smuggle in some moss to keep from going broke yesterday.

“Then the hunters raided a transport column, blew up some trucks a few months ago. Then sank a river barge. Shot the moss hunters who were smuggling, breaking their blockade. I don’t know what the hell they used to take out vehicles.

“What the hell’s that?” Jogho exclaims. As a mini-gun armed V/STOL hovers into sight, Jogho runs for the door. “Follow me!”

The aircraft has faded and scratched out CSTPD markings. It swings around to face the window, and opens fire as the PCs duck out the door. 1000 rounds per minute are thunderously loud as the pilot shreds the apartment in a storm of debris. Jogho is already headed for the elevators. “Move it!” The doors are open and the power appears to be out.

Joslyn takes a ricochet in the thigh, but William and Jon carry her to the elevator.

Once the PCs are in, he instructs you: “Lie down, head on your arms!” Then he wrenches open a floor panel, reaches in, and triggers something. With a bang-whoosh, something fires down below, and the stink of rocket exhaust trickles into the elevator. Simultaneously, the car jolts free and drops into rushing freefall with the floors flying past in abrupt shrieks as the elevator ricochets from the walls of the shaft.

Two seconds later (would be 3.5 seconds total), a series of rippling bangs rock the car, and it grinds to an almost-halt in the elevator shaft with a scream of metal. One last 5’ lurch, and it hits the bottom, sending everyone sprawling. [Roll DX. Failure = 1d2 dmg. Crit fail funnybone crippled limb, roll HT per hour to recover. Crit success bounces you to your feet and you stay up.]

“Holy shit,” Jogho breathes in semi-awe. “That mostly worked. I owe that guy a drink.”

He staggers to his feet with the pack, and walks out through the lobby and a side entrance, into the shantytown. Overhead, there are two vertols, performing a sweep of the floor at right angles to each other.

William runs for the group’s gear on the robot mule vehicle, and breaks out his rifle. He sprints directly away from the party, bracing it on a lean-to shack roof. Three breaths later, he nails one vertol in an engine nacelle. The craft staggers in the air, then crumples into the side of the skyscraper before tumbling to the ground in flames. The other craft books it fast.

As the party follows Jogho, he resumes his briefing.

“No telling which party sent which goons. We’ll lose ’em in the city here.” He gestures to the alleys and makeshift structures clogging the original 2-lane street and wide sidewalks.

“Both sides armed up all the roughs and hard cases they could find, to threaten the other side with a bigger army. Now we’ve got armed thugs from both sides terrorizing us. And the factions want advisors and real troops to give them an edge.

“Except they both have to go through me for that. So there are groups on both sides that think I shouldn’t contract with the other side. The Authority has to remain neutral, providing services to all coherent political entities. The hunters are incorporated and independent provinces, control all the land outside Second Touchdown and its immediate territory, and collect taxes. None of which stops them both from trying to… deny my services to the other side.”

He’s glancing through the buildings on either side of the street as you hike through the derelict downtown district. You all hole up in a burned out, empty storefront.

“Look, I don’t care which side you want to sign up with. Here’s an info chip with some local history. [background info on the planet] The council wants to put down the harvest committee, put the hunters back in line and meekly producing moss again. They’ll probably try to punish the hunters with lower prices, but that won’t last, without more riots and fighting. They’ll pay $10k with +50% bonus on successful completion. 15% down.

“The committee, the moss hunters, wants to replace the council. They’ve got the numbers, but it means taking this city by force and pacifying all the thugs, mobs, refugees, and actual honest citizens who all want a better standard of living. At this rate though, that might mean ‘not getting shot at daily.’” He pointedly glances at the building.

“The moss hunters are offering $20k, 25% down, rest on successful completion. What’s your poison? Thank you for your contract.”

“Now if you’ll pardon me, gentlemen. Time for me to go to ground. Do you have encrypted comms? Here’s an encryption key and two codes. If you need me, find a comm, widebeam the first code here in town, and you’ll get instructions. If your employer compromises you and wishes to find me, broadcast the second code and I’ll send you… other instructions.

“Remember, I am your last lifeline on this planet unless you can hijack both a DropShip and a JumpShip — I say this knowing two men who have done so. If you are captured in the performance of your contract and IF your captors respect the Ares Conventions, your repatriation will be handled through the MBA and paid for by your employer. Your contract fee will be held in escrow by the MBA as of tonight, until your contractual obligations have been met and I issue payment. This is so your erstwhile employer doesn’t decide to prematurely downsize and save themselves a budget line item to the tune of your contract fee. Good luck.”

Jogho points you toward your employer’s contact point, then disappears out the back alley.

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Welcome to your campaign!
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1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

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