The Coriolis Peril
This adventure originally appeared in the February/March 2015 issue.
- The PCs are hired to retrieve an object from a starship crash site during a ferocious storm.
The Coriolis Peril is intended for 4-6 Classic Traveller characters of varied career backgrounds. It is assumed that the group has been working together for some time prior to the adventure. A flying vehicle, such as an air/raft (and the skill to use it) is required.
The referee will need to select or create the following items:
- A crashed starship, Type R Subsidized Merchant or larger
- An object or group of objects to be retrieved, using the general parameters below under Complications. The text assumes one item.
- A world with Atmosphere type 6-9 and large unpopulated areas
- (Optional) a map of the crash site
Vernus Zhao appears to be in a hurry as he hastily explains to the PCs that they were recommended to him as people that could get a difficult job done while keeping their mouths shut. He has a proposition for them, but they’ll have to act quickly.
Several hours ago, a starship in Zhao’s employ lost contact and disappeared. Initially, it was unclear what happened, but Zhao’s sources inform him that the Starport Authority (SPA) has located the ship; it crashed in a remote area of the planet. Investigators have not yet visited the site to begin an examination because in addition to needing time to prepare, they’ve detected a powerful storm moving into the area. They plan to wait for the storm to pass before traveling to the crash site.
Zhao informs them that there’s something aboard the ship that he’d rather the SPA not find out about. He needs someone to remove it before the SPA begins poking around the crash site. This means that the heroes will most likely be working in the teeth of a ferocious tempest.
The storm is forecast to hit the crash site within a few hours. Zhao offers them Cr50,000 to travel to the wreck, remove the item he details, and hightail it out before the SPA gets there. He urges them to decide quickly, as the SPA is ready to move as soon as the storm passes.
The type of storm the PCs must contend with depends on the world. If the planet has an arctic climate, the storm is a blizzard. On a world with a substantial hydrographic percentage, it is a hurricane. Desert planets can expect dust- or sandstorms. Other types of storms are possible, of course.
The area of the accident is 180 kilometers away and the storm is predicted to hit in 3 hours. Transportation to the locale is up to the heroes, but must necessarily be fast. Heroes with a starship will doubtless consider simply traveling in their own vessel, but many starports frown on such jaunts. Besides, the winds within the disturbance are fierce, and capable of bringing down all but the largest ships.
The timing of the PCs’ arrival vs. the storm matters. Although the tempest is predicted to appear about the same time they do, there is a small window of time where things could go either way. Throw 2D-7 (keep negative results) and multiply the result by 6. This is the number of minutes the team gets there before (or after, if negative) the storm front.
Once the storm hits, throw 2D-2; the result represents several factors:
- A rough indicator of the storm’s intensity (note that 0 doesn’t mean calm conditions)
- The wind speed in kph, using the formula (Intensity×14) + 100. Note that gusts may be much higher.
- Added to 6, the duration of the storm in hours.
- The negative DM to visibility and overland movement.
- Divided by 3, the negative DM to Vehicle skill, if in a flying craft.
- Multiplied by 10, the percentage chance that flying debris will injure one or more characters. Use the Automatic Fire rules in Book 1: Characters and Combat to determine this. Damage is as a Foil. Armor offers its full protection, but any vehicle the group uses may suffer.
Hurricane-force winds (7+ on the intensity throw) require anyone trying to walk to throw vs. their DEX at a cumulative -2 DM per intensity point above 7. Failure means the victim falls down taking 1D damage. Armor protects against this damage as well. Flying vehicles are much harder to control; divide the storm’s Intensity by 3 (round down) and apply the result as a negative DM to Pilot or flying Vehicle skill.
The storm conditions affect the adventurers as long as they are exposed to it. Each minute (4 combat rounds) of exposure subjects them to the above effects and also brings of the risk of being struck by lightning: throw 3D for 17+. A strike inflicts 12D damage to one PC, with any adjacent PCs taking half that.
The ship’s hull protects against all storm effects as long as the heroes are within it.
- The item is relatively worthless, being a family heirloom or something of sentimental value. It’s not clear why Zhao did not want the SPA to know about it.
- The item is large, heavy, and/or bulky, requiring the use of heavy lifting equipment and the expenditure of time. The referee should determine the exact size of the object.
- Some of the local wildlife has taken refuge in the ship until the storm passes. The referee should create a sufficiently threatening animal or group of animals using the tables in Book 3: Worlds and Adventures.
- The parties whom the item actually belongs to are en route to stake their claim. They arrive 8D minutes after the adventurers, have equal numbers, and are equipped similarly to the heroes or (9+) better.
- As 4, but a specialized team (throw 1D: 1-3 = law enforcement; 4-5 = military; 6 = espionage operatives) is after the goods. They are better equipped than the heroes, and may number more, at the referee’s discretion. They are corrupt individuals working independently on a throw of 10+.
- The item is highly illegal; the referee must decide if it’s against local (planetary) law or Imperial law. On a throw of 9+ it is also dangerous, being toxic/radioactive, an Ancient device, a weapon of mass destruction, or some other object that no one has any business possessing.
The referee should determine the flow of subsequent events.