Scam

(Based on the Classic Traveller adventure from The Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #7, written by Loren Wiseman in 1981. GM's note: I usually write most of my own adventures, but I do have some real old school ones that I have modified for other games. I have been planning to run this adventure for years.)

Need a Little Muscle
2/4/2516
The Britannia arrives on New Melbourne, still under Cid's command, with a cargo from St. Albans. Captain Windsor contacts them and says he will be done on Londinium soon. He wants them to find a cargo bound for White Sun and he will meet them at their destination. After the chill of St. Alban's, the crew wants to enjoy the warm weather and beaches before heading back. Naomi has finished her mag-charge and Cid is still looking for guns. Ruan goes to the beach and Silas hits the pubs.

At a bar, Silas is approached by a local who says he is looking for a tough guy for a job. He needs an office broken into and vandalized to cover some "financial irregularities". If Silas can do the job, he can provide information about a very valuable electronics shipment that they can hijack. Silas is interested, but wants to talk it over with the crew. He makes an appointment to meet the man tomorrow for lunch at the same place. They are interested, but decide to bring Ruan to read him. Cid and Naomi get a table and listen through Ruan and Silas' open comlinks. The patron arrives and they begin discussions. He is lying and Ruan starts questioning him, throwing him off balance. Finally, Ruan Reads him. Its all a plot of insurance scams and embezzlement. The patron and his partners are stealing from the firm. They need the office tossed to cover some of their tracks. The pay off is a double cross also. They switched a container of electronics trash for a container of new equipment. The crew would have stolen the container of scrap, the crooks would have taken the container of goods to sell and claimed an insurance payoff on the goods the crew was supposedly stealing. With knowledge of the crooks' plan, Ruan leaves and Silas does too. Naomi comes to the bar and eavesdrops on the patron while he talks to his partner, trying to figure out what to do.

Rob the Robbers
Back on the ship, Ruan explains the crooks' plans and how they were going to double cross the crew. Ruan suggests they double cross the crooks. The container of electronics, labelled as scrap, has already been loaded on a barge at the seaport and leaves tomorrow morning. He suggests they sneak on the ship tonight, find the container and stowaway on the ship. Tomorrow night, while the ship is at sea, they can steal the container off the ship and take it to sell themselves. Naomi suggests using her mag charge to disable the ship's controls and cause a distraction when the container is stolen. The crew agrees and they spend the night getting ready, then Ruan and Naomi sneak aboard the ship before dawn. They find the container, then hide in a lifeboat near the ship's bridge. In the morning, the ship sets sail and Ruan and Naomi sleep in the lifeboat, waiting for night to fall.

"Seems a little light"
Hiding in the lifeboat, Ruan and Naomi realize the mag charge doesn't have a remote detonator. Naomi tries to jury rig a radio control using her earpiece radio and breaks the receiver. They decide Ruan will have to sneak up to the bridge and manually detonate it. After nightfall, Cid flies the Britannia out to sea and Silas spots the ship. He heads down to the cargo bay and opens the belly hatch and lowers the winch cable. Ruan successfully uses the mag charge to disable the ship, then he and Naomi climb on the container and signal to Cid. Cid flies the Britannia down and Naomi grabs the cable and secures it to the container. They tell Cid to take off, and he pulls up and away with Ruan and Naomi riding on top of the container. However, Naomi did not secure the cable properly (Things don't go Smooth!!) and the container comes free and falls into the ocean. Ruan holds on to the cable, but Naomi loses her grip. Ruan barely manages to grab her and holds on with heroic strength as Silas reels them in. With the container sinking into the sea, they return to port empty handed. Cid finds a cargo of 539 tons of petrochemicals bound for Liann Jiun and they head off to meet up with the captain.

Quotes and Smart Remarks
Kevin "I think you are making up words that confuse you, me and my mustache"

The NPC is trying to hire Silas for a job that requires a "tough touch"
Emily "Well, if you are looking for rough trade…"

Concern about Michael's die rolls as pilot
Jim "You might get a taste of the cricket ball if you crash the ship"

Silas reels in the cargo winch after the container falls off and pulls in only Ruan and Naomi
Kevin "Seems a little light"

GM's afterword: This was one of those adventures where I didn't quite predict the players' actions and fell into the plot hole. I did not expect Kevin to have Silas bring Emily's character Ruan to truth read the patron. And that ran the adventure off the rails. If the characters know they are getting scammed, they won't take the job. The original adventure has the characters fall victim to the scam and maybe try to track down the double crossing patron afterwards to get some kind of profit. I had decided that this would be a "failure" adventure and the characters would get experience, but not a payday. After all, its Serenity, the characters aren't supposed to be rolling in cash. But the players really wanted to do a heist adventure, so Emily had Ruan read the patron for the details of the scam and they figured out how they could still do the heist and get paid. But I didn't want them to get paid. I thought maybe I would just reduce the value of the goods so they didn't make too much money and I would work things out later. Then during the theft off the ship, Raleigh rolled really poorly to secure the cable to the container. I still had a Things don't go Smooth to use on Naomi, so I forced Raleigh to re-roll and he got a botch!! The ship pulled up and the container came off and everything ended as planned: the players got a heist adventure, the characters got experience and the GM didn't overpay them for the job.