A Very Unrefined Campaign

Who knew rolling a 6 or less on 2d6 would be so hard?

In proto-Traveller, your chances of rolling up a starport that sells the good jump juice are are about 40%, and somebody really needs to explain that to my dice.  Of the 17 systems I’ve rolled only 3 have come up winners.  That’s less than 20% or half what you would expect.

Still, I probably shouldn’t complain given the results of my recent experiments in running a subsidized freighter.  The CMS Moneycrater jumped off to a reasonable start with a huge load of goods bounds for the planet Tobor.  Captain Doose may have run a little bit in the red, with the monthly crew salary requiring a slight dip into his personal funds to make up the difference.  That’s including the savings of taking on Chad Solo as an unpaid intern, which leads me to think he was always going to take Chad along.  He just grumbled as a negotiating tactic.  He’s a shrewd man, that Munder Doose.

And with that monthly cost out of the way, all he has to do is make a couple big hauls and he’ll be well into the black.  A major shipment of 45 tons of goods, five tons of interplanetary mail, and 25 passengers purchasing a ride to his next port of call meant he would be in great shape to turn a short-term profit despite the minor set-back.  The high-population planets are a gold mine!  His next stop, Cyarrick, is one of the few that features high-octane jump juice and with a week’s flush he could even reset his risk portfolio.

And then the reality of operations in a low-fuel corner of the galaxy struck.  His second jump using unrefined fuel saw a misjump that put him 8 light years away from his destination.  This put the Moneycrater into uncharted space, and with a 50-50 chance at being lost for all time fickle fate smiled on him.  There IS a planet in hex (07,06), and though is doesn’t have refined fuel available, he may be able to swing by the local gas giant and grab a free refuel.

He still has to make it to Cyarrick, but perhaps he can stop by the local system and pick up an additional load of material to offset the lost time.  He could sell his current cargo on this unscheduled stop, but he has a contract and is also hauling passengers and the mail.  Selling those latter two would spell the end of his days as an honest merchant and result in his being hunted down to the end of his days.  Far better to just take the hit, get back on track – if a little behind schedule – and see how the money shakes out after fulfilling his contracts.

The full details of the planet Tardmart have yet to be established.  All we know is that it is a huge planet with a pleasant atmosphere – as rare as refined fuel in the Penfold Sector – and a massive population of fifty billion, all run by a religious dictatorship.

Waitaminute.  We have a religious group and a charismatic leader in this subsector already.  This must be the culturual and religious epicenter of the Church of Dag’gone, led by the charismatic and practical Hank Hillsong!  He sells salvation and salvation accessories, and on this planet everyone is buying.  Which probably makes it a good thing the Captain will keep his intern on-board the ship during retrofitting.  It’s early yet, but if they catch wind of Chad’s role in the recent violent backlash against the Dag’gonians back on Corvinus, it’s probably not going to go well for him.

In the meantime, this struggling freighter is now a week or two ahead of the real-world calendar.  That gives us plenty of time to figure out what other systems lie within a 3-jump radius of Tardmart, and take a few more stabs at generating starports with refined fuel.  We’re due.

Way overdue.