This article presents 6 nuggets to assist referees with the running of adventures in the Rebellion setting. The first two nuggets provide background information on life in the rebellion, particularly as it affects worlds close to, but not in, the warzone. The second pair of nuggets detail two patrons whom the players may encounter or who may hire the characters. The third pair of nuggets present "random nugget" adventures that the referee can introduce into the course of an existing campaign, or use for stand-alone sessions. The nuggets are:
Although "Rebellion Shades" has been written for the period 1117 - 1125 the nuggets will also prove valuable to Hard Times adventurers. The blockade practices described are similar to those adopted by the factions to protect their safe and frontier regions, although the quality and quantity of ships available would be lower. "Rebellion Streetwise" could easily reflect life on frontier worlds, especially if inter faction rivalry continues, pirates abound, or xenophobic feelings are running high and there is a significant alien population. The patrons will undoubtably live on into Hard Times, and the scope for their action is probably greater then than during the Rebellion. Finally the adventure nuggets, especially "Salvage!", could take place at any time before the Virus comes.
The blockade of Strephon's Worlds was an important feature of early Rebellion history in Dagudashaag and Gushemege Sectors. Lucan and Dulinor first established the blockade in late 1117 and the blockade remained in place until the major offensives against Strephon's Worlds in mid 1118. In Dagudashaag the blockade affected worlds in Mimu, Old Suns, Ushra, Shallows and Zeda subsectors. A similar blockade was also established by Lucan in the rimward subsectors to restrict the flow of people, material, and information to and from Dulinor's realm, and also to prevent infiltration. During the turbulent years of 1118-1120 front lines moved too fast to make any organised blockade feasible, but as the fighting switched to limited Black War actions in the early 1120s the factions tried to muster forces to re-impose blockades, this time to mark the new frontiers.
The military part of a blockade is typically formed by picket squadrons drawn from system and colonial forces. These squadrons are placed on all the old Xboat routes crossing the frontier, and at all Class A and B starports within 5 parsecs of the frontier. The pickets are however often undermanned and poorly armed. The squadrons also mount patrols out to neighbouring worlds in case any adventurous trader attempts to slip through the net. The picket is, were possible, augmented by a regular squadron or flotilla acting as a Combat Space Patrol ( CSP ).
Pickets will usually approach any craft that jumps in-system. They use Navy over-ride codes to extract flightplans from the ship's transponder, and almost always supplement this with a person-to-person link-up with the ship's captain. If the picket is satisfied that the ship originates from within faction territory it is allowed to proceed. Otherwise it will be ordered onto a rendezvous course with the picket and then boarded. The boarding team questions the ship's crew and carrys out a deep scan of the ship's computers. All cargo is thoroughly searched. If there is any hint that the ship or crew are carrying subversive information they will not be allowed to proceed. Instead they will be escorted to a quarantined refuelling point, usually with a security team still on board who will "supervise" all radio traffic. After refuelling the ship will be jump programmed by the security team, a computer lockout initiated, and the ship sent back across the frontier.
In some systems, especially those on major trade routes, the picket squadron may operate a brokerage facility. This enables traders to sell their cargoes at a "reasonable" rate, if they so wish, to a military broker. The picket will then transport the goods in system and sell them, the profit being shared between the picket and the treasury. Hardly surprisingly the facility is widely abused. In the worst systems the trader gets a choice between selling or being used for laser target practice. The "reasonable" rate is a token payment, and all the profits from the eventual sale can end up in the pockets of the picket commanders. Needless to say this has caused much anger and resentment amongst traders and has come to be known as "picket-pocketing". The practice has, however, probably been more effective than any military action in enforcing blockades.
Supplementing the military blockade is the extensive censorship introduced on all XBoat routes within 5 parsecs of a frontier. Loyal officials are placed in every IISS office and all XBoat traffic is computer scanned for subversive information, eg mention of the "real" Strephon or Dulinor's successes. The carriage of privately encrypted material has also been banned, a measure ostensibly introduced for counter-intelligence reasons. Similar measures have been adopted at major traffic nodes throughout a faction's territory, and have became a part of the routine censorship whilst the Rebellion lasts.
No information blockade can hope to be totally effective. To counter the effects of any leakage both Lucan and Dulinor have invested in civilian monitoring and disinformation campaigns. Networks of informers alert the authorities to any disloyal rumours. The source of any such rumours is then rapidly traced and the culprits "disappeared". Carefully sown rumours are then used to discredit the original gossip. Strephon's opponents have realised that as long as people can be kept confused or in doubt about his existence they would be unlikely to risk exposure and possible death by supporting his cause.
The problem with wars nowadays is that Jump travel makes clear cut front-lines a thing of the past. Fleets can jump 4 parsecs without trouble, and supported by tankers they could arrive up to 8 parsecs behind the "official" front-line. Advanced commando and pathfinder units could easily appear 12 parsecs behind the line. Combine this with the existence on many planets of competing factions then the task of internal security becomes a nightmare for planetary governments. Riots, terrorism, sabotage, and infiltration all become major concerns of the planetary security forces ( PSF ).
To give travellers in this extended front line region a feel for what life is now like the following report was sent to INDISS by Free Trader Zia Kalis after her latest run through Gadde along Lucan's side of the frontier with the Federation of Ilelish.
"Soon after exiting jump we were aware that Khusgulur saw itself as a potential troublespot. The System Command and Control (SCC) vectored us onto an approved approach route and as we joined this a heavily armed SDB of the local system squadron pulled along side and began to scan us. The SDB's captain questioned us interminably and asked for visual ID of all the crew. As we waited for COACC to give us descent clearance we were subjected to similar scrutiny from a military pinnace. After a thorough four hour check of our documentation COACC gave us a drop slot.
"As we descended to our allotted bay we were immediately struck by the heavy para-military police presence. Air-rafts patrolled the lanes of ships, and each warehouse and hangar had sprouted a sand-bagged emplacement. Customs checks at starports have always been longwinded and bureaucratic and the raised security state made little impact on this, apart from the presence of a security desk at the starport entrance and exit. Here everybody was scanned and photographed, ID's checked, and business enquired into. Luggage was also scanned and anybody who hadn't realised that the law level had gone up two points on the TAS scale was relieved of their blade.
"Out on the streets all at first seemed normal, but then the differences were spotted. High above the city faint dots betrayed the locations of monitorbots, relaying visual and enhanced-vision coverage of the city. If there was a disturbance a 'bot would swoop down to give close-in coverage until a police air-raft arrived. Above the roof tops the patrolling police air-rafts themselves had been upgraded. They now sported additional armour, mesh protected windows, and weapon mounts. The police crews were now never without their mesh coveralls and visored helmets. Most carried at least an SMG, and several carried laser carbines or ACRs. Check points, something unheard of here before the rebellion, were much in evidence. Police air-rafts hovered on major routes. Their computers interrogated air-raft transponders as craft approached, and directed on-board navigation computers to force selected rafts to ground level for search and questioning.
"On the street itself things weren't usually so bad. In the malls and megaplexes it was private security operatives who dominated the scene, patrolling walkways and conducting ID and bag checks at store entrances. Only occasionally would you see a PSF patrol.
"The PSF were more concerned with protecting key points and patrolling the slum areas of the city; areas where inter-faction violence, terrorist or sabotage attacks were most likely to take place. Key points such as government buildings, PSF barracks and communications centres had received mesh cladding and a halo of surveillance devices. In the slums the PSF patrolled on foot and in their upgraded air-rafts and down-graded ATVs. The foot patrols, typically of 4 teams of 4 men, wore flak jackets over their mesh coveralls and carried laser weapons and ACRs. You could see the lights of their personal HUDs reflected in their visors as the security computers fed them data on craft, houses, and passers-by. Despite such a menacing display of technology they were generally friendly and good humoured, oblivious to the shower of abuse and debris that followed their passage down the slum streets.
"The streets themselves told a sorry story of conflict and neglect. Windows were boarded up, shops lay derelict, and the walls were daubed with the most provocative of faction slogans. The taxi driver who took us through this wasteland said that riots between the factions had become almost ritualised entertainments, and that it was the terrorism and the threat of commando attacks that really concerned people.
"When it came time to buy and sell our cargo things weren't too bad. We found that some dealers and brokers had fallen out for being on opposite sides but otherwise legitimate trade was unhindered. Indeed the problems that the rebellion was causing to travel between worlds meant that we could sell for more and buy for less than ever we could during the peace. Of course it was up to us to make the journey along the warzone, from market to market.
Dirtsiders appeared to be pretty disparaging of our chances of making a successful trade run anywhere so there was little to be had in the way of paid freight. But at these prices we were happy to fill our hold with cargo lots. The rebellion has of course opened up a big blackmarket for off-world goods and we could have sold our cargo of Imern wines for many times the normal price. Profiteering does not go down well though with the local authorities. The PSF and Customs keep a close eye, visual and electronic, on all deals coming out of the Starport. You trade "in black" at your own risk.
"With our hold full of fullerene polymers, electronic spare parts and other assorted goodies, and after a final visit from Starport Security, we lifted and were soon filing a jump plan with SCC. COACC let us through without trouble and the SDB stationed close to the jump point only gave us a cursory scan and a polite farewell. Happy that we'd made a good profit and had better to come the chief punched us into jumpspace and we were Rraeghzoez bound."
Yuasa Acome is a ruthless and successful business woman. She joined Zygnus in 1099 after graduating from Dummur Business School. In the next ten years she established herself as a highly motivatedtop-flight executive, with a talent for fast and ruthless dealing, and pinpoint troubleshooting. Her more extreme problem solving escapades brought her into contact with some of the darker players in the corporate world. In 1110 she was a key player in the corporate coup at Zygnus. In order to avoid being caught in any subsequent counter move, of which she proved prescient, Acome cashed in her corporate share and joined Dovranno LIC. There then followed six years of high activity as Acome planned and controlled take-over after take-over. She even found time to troubleshoot some of Dovranno's more taxing corporate problems.
Since most of Dovranno's activities were on a sector level it was not surprising that Acome came to the attention of several local world governments. Soon she was gaining assignments from the political sphere, helping governments overcome what they would term "minor difficulties". One such involved the ruining of a belligerent neighbour's economy, another the undermining of a planetary protest group.
When the Rebellion broke Acome found her skills in great demand, as corporations fought for survival, and factions fought for influence and real estate. As the corporate world suffered from the breakdown in travel and trade Acome switched her attentions more and more to the matter of interstellar and inter-faction intrigue and politics.
Acome can be found throughout the sector, usually deeply involved in a task for a major corporation or a planetary government. She will usually be accompanied by two bodyguard/drivers and a couple of personal assistants. She hires additional staff as and when required for a particular operation.
Referee: PCs are most unlikely to meet Acome herself, but could find themselves being hired on her behalf by one of her aides. Typical missions range from personal protection and mercenary tickets, through corporate and political espionage to economic intelligence and agent provocateur tasks.
It should be remembered that Acome is cunning, devious, and a mistress of intrigue. All is most unlikely to be what it seems.
Resume: General Born 275-1079. Starport B, Small, Thin, Dry World, Hi Pop, Ext Law, Low Stellar
Bureaucrat, 6 terms, Director UPP 467BB7
Skills Gun-0, Computer-2, Whd Vehicle-1, Interview-1, Leader-3, Legal-2, Broker-1
Admin-3, Liaison-2, Persuasion-2, History-1
Effects 300 KCr, Travellers', High Passage
Personal Tall, average build, light brown very long hair, pale complexion
Status Married, 1 son
Salina Gerba is a freelance Tri-D journalist and a native of Gushemege. Having graduated from a journalism course at Trici University she served her apprenticeship as operator and then journalist for KCV, the local news channel. As she gained in experience she became increasingly frustrated by the channels staid and cautious approach to news reporting. Her big brake came in 1114 when she managed to accompany and film members of the LOXI terrorist group on an assassination. KCV were horrified and refused to show the footage. Word of the banned film travelled fast. Univent, a sector entertainment channel wasted no time in buying the rights. The fee was such that Salina was able to set herself up as a freelance.
Salina has an eye for the sensational, but also a keen feeling for justice. The more sensational assignments paid the rent, and allowed her to devote a large amount of time to covering moral, ethical, and environmental issues. With the outbreak of the Rebellion Salina was presented with more opportunities than she could cope with. After covering a few inter-faction feuds Salina now concentrates on "policing" the conflict. She is keen to follow up any reports of unjustified and excessive violence. Recent stories have involved the chemical attack on Tawer, the biowar waged by terrorist sleeper agents on Meste, and torture by the invading forces on Foridden.
Referee: PCs are likely to encounter Salina in any starport bar or hotel of the Rebellion. She travels light and alone and hires help as she needs it. Her sphere of operations encompasses most of Gushemege and Dagudashaag sectors, and she has been known to travel as far as Ilelish and Core. Any PCs with local knowledge, or the ability to look after themselves in dangerous situations will be of use to her. Some assignments often call for special skills, usually linked to intrusion or insertion ( i.e. breaking and entering ), and Salina would then be particulary grateful to find a PC who can help. Typical assignments include protection, guiding, transport, corporate or military break-ins, and computer hacking.
Resume: General Born 015-1084.
Starport A, Medium, Dense, Wet World, Hi Pop, Mod Law, High Stellar
Journalist, 5 terms, Freelance
Skills Gun-1, Computer-1, Whd Vehicle-0, Grav Vehicle-1, JOTs-2, Carousing-2
Streetwise-1, Interviewing-2, Trader-1, Intrusion-1
Effects` 42 KCr, Travellers', High Passage, Tri-Dcorder
Personal Thin, average height, black, short black hair
Scene: You're on the cruise in-system from jump-exit to the mainworld. Your cargo of agricultural robots should fetch a good price but the local news channel has been full of reports of unrest and disorder. Inter-faction rivalry has broken out into open rebellion. The government has taken excessive measures to try and restore order and now hundreds of thousands of refugees are fleeing the cities and heading for the Valina marshes. Your computer sounds an alert tone and informs you of a narrow band microwave transmission being beamed out towards you. As you listen you hear an impassioned plea from a leader of the refugees:
"...please we beg you to come and rescue us. If we stay here on the planet we will be hunted down by Count Bollo's forces and killed like Sreddas. Fly down to the Valina marshes and we will guide you in....Calling any ... merchant captain......"
Soon the tight beam inter-ship channels are alive with debate, and within hours a couple of ships have dropped from orbit to the marshes. In your rec room debate rages.....
Action: If the players decide to aid the refugees their first task is to get down to the equatorial Valina marshes. The world's SDB and COACC forces will soon be alert to the refugees' plea and will seek to quarantine the area. Once over the marshes the ship will be guided by a radio beacon and can then be put down to meet the leaders of the refugees. It's then a game of cat and mouse to collect refugees and escape without being hunted down by COACC. What players do with their existing cargo is up to them, as is the price they charge the refugees if they are not feeling in a charitable mood. However they should be aware of the desperate measures that poor and frightened refugees might take to secure passage off planet. The flight to orbit follows, again dodging, outgunning, or outwitting planetary forces. Once out of the planetary gravity well the question is what to do with the refugees. Most are being taken to the L5 colonies which are under a more benign rule, but many may not feel safe even there and may press for a jump passage. Again its a question of charity, an acceptable deal, or face the threat of a hijack..........
Suitable Worlds: Suitable worlds in Gadde Subsector for this adventure are: Khusgulur, Dummur, Inshaam
Scene: The PCs have just completed jump and are now dropping into the gas giant's atmosphere for refuelling. The system is off the busy spacelanes but has seen its share of the Rebellion. The sensors show only a commercial freighter refuelling, and a local navy frigate in high guard on picket duty. As the tanks fill the sensors scan ahead and the crew relax in their cabins. Suddenly the shrill sound of the proximity klaxon fills the ship. You reach for the nearest terminal and punch up the forward sensor display. There, mere megametres ahead, lies the cold and silent hulk of a fat trader.
Action: The PCs first course is to avoid colliding with the hulk. With that over they can began to scan it, getting as close as they want. The trader is battle scarred and punctured in several places. The power plant is dead. The PCs can visually identify it as 400 ton Type R Fat Trader, also known as a subsidised merchant. The transponder is non-functioning but tail code, DA/R-92647, checks out on the computer. The ship, the Adharan Flame, belonged to Shandle Jehoth, a local free trader. It was reported missing about a month ago. Having got this positive ID the PCs may want to see what is left inside. Remember that the high radiation conditions this close to the gas giant will make normal EVA activities very hazardous. The safest move is probably to send an umbilicalled servicebot to take a look, or try to lift the Adharan Flame to a safer orbit if the players have salvage in mind. Even as it stands the ship offers a sizeable salvage prize, but what if the servicebot finds more?
Referee: Deckplans for the Type R can be found in Supplement 7, Traders and Gunboats. If this is not available then make up your own. Basic stats for the class are given in the Imperial Encyclopedia.
Options: Suggested options for this nugget are: - The ship was carrying an expensive cargo of luxuries that would fetch a high price if it could be recovered, smuggled past the picket and sold on a nearby rich world. The log reports that the trader chanced upon an enemy naval squadron which was lying in deep ambush.
- The crew are found floating in the ship, and have undoubtably been murdered. There are also signs of fighting. A check of the log shows that they were boarded by pirates and their cargo taken. Just as this is ascertained the PCs' sensors alarm again.......
- The crew are all dead and show signs of unspeakable mutilation. The log reports the ship as having been boarded as it began to refuel before heading in system. The video monitor then shows marines thoroughly searching the ship and the computer and then torturing the crew, before killing them, leaving in disgust and blasting the ship for good measure. From the audio track it transpires that the trader was also acting as a courier for rebels on the system's mainworld. The marines were searching for a "package" but didn't find it.
Referee: The "package" is a software one that will enable the rebels to crack the government and security forces' encrypted communications and computers on the planet. When the SDB approached the trader scrambled the code, but with a program that would reassemble it in 15 days time. If the players restore power to the ship's computer the program will reassemble and "announce" itself to the players with instructions to any "loyal" citizen of the Imperium to deliver it Johanne Jelinek at 144 Highway 99 in Goyeau City on the mainworld. The address is a tourist shop and the owner is a member of the rebel forces. Initially he will be very suspicious about who the PCs are, and the best way to win him over will be to show him something from the Adharan Flame. Once they can persuade him that they are genuine and not PSF agents he will pay Cr10,000 for the program. Needless to say the PSF have their own suspicions about Johanne Jelinek....
Suitable Worlds: Suitable worlds in Gadde Subsector for this adventure are: Dummur, Shershe, Dashgurus, Anpanaar