Travelling in Athas

So, we recommenced our ‘original’ Traveller game last night – and I think a good time was had by all.

We kicked off (after the players’ misjump) with a crash landing on some unknown planet.  The players quickly found out that something was inhibiting any device that was remotely technological (which caused some interesting issues for the players loaded up on cybernetics) and, when they had finally dug themselves out of the crater, discovered they were in the middle of a trackless desert.  So, they immediatly started dealing with the priorities.  Sand made sure she was travelling light and had water, Kat spent a great deal of time levering up her inert battle dress, and Andy was working out how to take his (non-functional) nuclear missiles with him.  Funny how they found it so hard to let go of their favourite possessions…

Time passes with them making no move, just setting up camp near the ship, when a caravan is seen in the distant.  Six outriders on the backs of big, flightless birds approach, and the players quickly deduce they are not carrying any metal at all.  In fact, they quite fancy a confrontation as the outriders had spears while the players were tooled up with assault rifles (having already discovered that dead electronics had rendered their gauss rifles and ACRs inoperable).

Opting to talk instead, they begin chatting to the outriders.  They find out that there is a nearby city called Tyr, ruled by the Tyrant (that pricked up the ears of Sand).  They also begin trading, hoping to find water, a mount or two and some threads that will let them blend in with the locals.  When asked what they intended to pay with, Kat pulled out a large gold coin she had been given by a primitive Droyne in the Marches.  The outriders’ eyes grow almost as large as the coin, and they promptly give the players everything they ask for.

Of course, what has actually happened here is that the players have crash-landed on Athas.  They had expressed an interest to play Dark Sun in the past, and I could not resist killing two birds with one stone.  Athas was the second nastiest place I could think to send them (there is one other, but I am keeping that in my pocket for now…).  Deprived of m0st of their technology, the players are now having to deal with life on Athas, with all the dangers it brings.

They trade for threads, get an Erdlu (flightles bird) each, and accompany the caravan into the city.  Inside, they hire a dragoman who starts showing them around the place, but they refuse his offer of a map of the city.  Quickly deducing that, with the value of a simple metal dagger being what it is (not to mention a crashed 100-ton spaceship in the desert), they are immensely wealthy, the players promptly rent a room in the best inn in the city, while two are dressed like the richest nobles (people are presuming the third, Sand, is their slave).

So far, they have actually managed to avoid drawing too much attention to themselves.  Though when Sand tried to intimidate the dragoman in the middle of the street, she quickly realised that drawing her metal dagger was not the brightest thing to do.  There will be consequences for that, oh yes.

Then they went shopping.  They found that, despite their wealth, asking for change every time they buy a meal with a dagger was getting cumbersome, so they found the merchant houses and got some proper coin (though they will figure out next week that a gold coin is actually a hefty bit of currency and getting change will still be a problem).  They spent a fair bit of time working out what to do.  How do they leave this planet if nothing technological works?  Kat’s solution was to find a job and make a life there.  Andy was thinking in a similar direction, but his plan involved building a huge army and taking over the entire world…

I’ll also be cranking the notch up next week, showcasing some of the dangers of Athas that lie in wait for the unwary (which has to describe the entire group anyway).  I’ll also be giving them some golden opportunities to stuff one another over in the next couple of weeks, so it will be interesting to see if they pull together or pursue their own interests…

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