This was originally a featured article in the November/December 2012 issue.
Patron: Merchant Captain Kelly B’Wa
No. of Players: 3-6
Required Equipment: Capital
Required Skills: None
The Offer: Kelly B’Wa approaches the party looking to sell shares in a speculative trading venture to raise capital. Up to Cr 450,000 will be taken in, with the investors owning 90% of the profits after expenses. She is putting in Cr 50,000, plus the use of the ship; the investors will retain no rights over the ship once they “cash out.” The terms are that this is to be a commercial, non-military trading venture. While she is only due 10% of the profits, the one owner’s prerogative Kelly would retain is the right to cash anyone out for their share, as soon as that exceeds 300% of their investment. Those on working passages add their salary to their payout once they cash out.
The Ship: The Crimson Folly has 4 years paid off on the standard purchase note, discounted 20% for her being an 8 year old repossession when Kelly bought her. She is 12 years old, painted bright red with lavender striping and highlights; the paint is faded, but not badly so. She is a sound ship, well looked-after. The Folly is set up for middle passengers only, and there are two turrets: a triple missile and a dual beam laser. Kelly’s stateroom is converted to a sick bay, with just a few of her things in a locker; she sleeps in an upper bunk that folds up out of the way, with the lower one used for patients. She has a small desk in the corner of the crew’s commons which functions as her office.
The Folly has one month until an annual overhaul is due. There are no reloads for the HE missiles in the turret. The ship’s locker is stocked only to what Imperial regulations specify, plus three shotguns and 12 magazines of slugs for them. Additionally, there are an extra thirty person-weeks of life support laid in.
If potential investors inquire too closely into the ownership of the Folly, Kelly will answer evasively, claiming legitimate possession, and showing that the ship is up-to-date on the note, with payments having been made on time. Anyone with Legal-1+ or Admin-3+ will suspect that Kelly does not hold the Folly outright, even subject to the purchase note. The reality is that she only owns a one-third share of the Folly. One third is owned by “Gerbil,” the gunner who fled emptying the safe 2 months ago, and the last by the deceased engineer. At this point, it is extremely unlikely that anyone who could assert these interests will show up. It is a secret that Kelly will guard closely, though, for risk that it will somehow get the Folly entangled in some legal morass. Under the contract, if the venture is going well enough, however, any seizure of the ship might not be fatal to the business; Kelly is required to provide transport for the cargo and members of the business, after expenses are deducted for fuel, maintenance and miscellaneous expenses. The partnership could pay for these things commercially, with Kelly owing for any additional expenses.
This is intended as an intro into a basic trading campaign. The players do not have to have Cr450,000 for the deal to fly. NPCs may make up the difference, and provide wonderful chrome, useful skills, and fodder for various encounters. The following options may be added at the referee’s discretion:
- Gerbil, the missing felonious owner shows up, with a copy of a will deeding him the deceased engineer’s share. The will—and the ship—must be taken to Class A or B starport where the Imperial authorities will put a probate lien on the ship. The lien would restrict the movement of the ship to worlds with Class C or better starports, and would additionally require the ship to file a Notice of Intent to Travel indicating the specific origin and destination of the movement, at least two weeks in advance of that movement (one week if the origin world is an X-Boat node). The will must be probated at a world 2D parsecs away, straight-line distance. Gerbil can be “bought out” for 2D×Cr20,000. A player with any medical skill can roll 10+ to spot that Gerbil is addicted to Yixter, DM+2 for each level of Medical. Gerbil only has 1D+5 days of his normal fix with him, at his current rate of 3 doses a day. Gerbil states to the party that he has made a claim to Imperial law enforcement of being forcibly evicted from his share of the Folly. In fact, he has made no such claim (and if pursued, the claim would fail on investigation), though he presents a copy of the complaint form. If the will is to be probated, pick a world with Law Level 5+ to be the destination world.
- As above, except the will is a forgery. Roll 9+ to identify it as such, DM+2 for every level of Forgery, DM+1 for every level of Admin over 1, or DM+1 for every level of Legal. Each character may check, but only use one DM (DMs are not cumulative).
- An underworld type offers to sell Kelly Gerbil’s whereabouts for Cr75,000; he is in a locked-down government rehab facility on a world 2 parsecs away, of law level 5+.
- As 3, but the information is false—Gerbil’s location is unknown.
- An underworld type threatens to tip off local pirates as to the Folly’s destination and cargo if not paid off, for Cr 10,000×(2D-Bribery skill).
- As 5, only the underworld type is an undercover agent who will arrest anyone trying to bribe him for “material support to piracy.” Roll 10+, DM+Streetwise skill, to spot that this a trap.