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Sunday 3 January 2016

Traveller Campaign Archive: The Final Adventure

So, last night, we played the very last adventure of my 'short' campaign (that lasted most of 2015) of Traveller.  As I've pointed out several times, I was expecting this campaign to be a slightly unusual Traveller campaign, but due to the -ahem- particularities of the player group we assembled, the campaign was pretty much batshit nuts from the very first session.

The very last session began with the PCs diving kilometers deep into the ocean of the isolated world where the Master's secret base was located. The PCs were basically helpless as they sank, and one of them didn't survive the trip down.

Once they got there, they were stunned to find that the 'secret base' was an underground complex the size of a small continent, populated by untold thousands, maybe millions, of Vargr, Droyne, Daleks, and human agents of the Master.

At this point, Grandfather Paradox (still in the body of a now technically-deceased zombie PC) guided the PCs to certain locations, where they dropped off the object known as the "Star Trigger", and picked up a few technological toys.  Along the way, they found to their surprise that the civilization the Master had created looked pretty damn idyllic compared to Grandfather's neglected pet planets.  They even went so far as to consider getting some power-upgrades at the local medical center, until they realized it involved having their existing bodies being chopped to bits and getting some kind of "control implant" put into their brains.

They find their way instead to an abandoned small starship and fly up to the floating palace where the Master is apparently based.  They need to get to his regeneration loom before he finished rebuilding his body, but between them and the loom, there were a large number of Daleks.  Even with Ancient-tech armor and weapons, the Daleks were a serious risk, but they had to do what they had to do, so it was Dalek-killing time. Along the way they managed to convince the Daleks (falsely) that the Master had betrayed him, but unfortunately that wasn't stopping them from wanting to EXTERMINATE the party.

One of the PCs was disintegrated, and one ended up so damaged he'd be dead soon without Ancient intervention, but the rest managed to hold off the Dalek Hordes long enough for Grandfather to hijack the Regeneration Loom, create a new body for himself, and even to use some of the Ancient tech to bring his zombie host back to life, as a favor.

Unfortunately, when he tries to ruin the Regeneration Loom so the Master will have no chance of coming back, an automated defense goes off and the whole party is knocked out.

The PCs all wake up, with the critically wounded one turned into a 'Control Chip'-implanted slave, Grandfather trapped in a neuro-psychic disabler, and the rest of them finally facing Uncle Roman person to person.  He proceeds to try to teach the PCs some hard truths.

According to him, the Ancient tech is so advanced it can predict the future: the Imperium is going to collapse into civil war in no more than ten years, and within a century the whole local region of space will be attacked by some kind of invasion emanating from galactic center, of beings that are even more ancient than the Ancients.  The only chance of survival will be if the universe unites under the Master's benevolent rule.   If the PCs agree to become agents of the Master, not only will they be the rulers of his new utopia, but they'll all get to be superpowerful beings like himself, and effectively immortal.

Of course, two of the PCs immediately agree. The other two say they'll bow before no one. Before Uncle Roman can kill off the dissenters, the whole complex shakes as the Star Trigger is activated, and the artificial sun that lights and powers the whole base begins to go nova.   In the distraction, one of the dissenting PCs does the only thing he can think of doing, and frees Grandfather.

The ensuing fight is somewhere between high drama and slapstick, as Grandfather and Uncle Roman engage in a psychic battle while Grandfather's allies and Uncle Roman's allies (mostly unarmed) try to wrastle with the two godlike-beings and with each other. One of the PCs manages to injure Grandfather but in the end Grandfather's power is vastly superior to Roman's, and he wins the battle, one of the dissenters wasting him with extreme prejudice to be sure he's dead.

Now the group has to get back to the Regeneration Loom to finish what they started and make sure the Master is good and dead, and unable to escape his dying city. Of course, no one really wants to serve Grandfather either (not even the guys who were going to serve the Master just a few minutes earlier), so they decide they're going to waste Grandfather if they have any kind of chance.  Half the party sticks around waiting to ambush whichever of the two ancients survives their epic fight, while the other half go off trying to loot their way out of the doomed complex.

The latter party goes back to Roman's cottage, and find that just like his original one, this one has a secret compartment, and under the cottage they find a hangar bay with a super high-tech Ancient ship.

Meanwhile, as the floating palace starts to slowly fall from the skies, the ambush party finally sees a badly wounded Grandfather stagger out of the Regeneration Loom, having defeated the Master once and for all. Only then realizing they don't have any weapons, they just decide to ram their whole damn shuttle into him.

They get picked up by the second group in their shiny new ship, and as they leave they blow the whole remnant of the platform to bits with several canisters of Nitro-9.

They hightail it out of there, managing to escape orbit before the ensuing explosion kills half the planet.  And maybe for the first time in the whole campaign, some of the PCs feel like they've finally killed enough.

The Ancients have been destroyed. But so have the careers of every PC involved.  Now they have to decide what to do with the rest of their lives, with only the best smuggling ship in the galaxy and the most advanced ship in the galaxy and a method to detect Ancient tech to show for all their trouble. Oh, and two of the PCs (the ones whose bodies were repaired by the Ancients) appear to now be immortal.   In the end, they decide that they're better off staying with Captain Ivan, the Vargr Pirate chief, and making new lives for themselves in the outlaw reaches beyond the Imperium.  Well, all except the one guy who'd had his home colony destroyed by Ivan's pirates; he was bound for revenge, so he ends up fighting a duel with Ivan and getting himself killed. So much for immortality.

So thus ended the weirdest Traveller game I ever ran. Man was it fun.


Currently Smoking: Moretti Rhodesian + Argento Latakia

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