Another jump, and again I check the tables in Solo for events and encounters…
- Starport Encounter on Tangga (p. 39): 22 – Meet one of your contacts who needs help. The only potential contact on Tangga was Dr Yasar, and we’ve already helped him by running a mission for him and getting him offworld, so I drive on.
- Starship Encounter leaving Tangga (pp. 40-46): A Type S, most likely an Archive Surveyor en route to Hasara, which warns Arion about a gravitic disturbance.
- Onboard Events table in jump (p. 56): 22 – crew member becomes sullen and uncommunicative. Based on what we’ve seen so far, that ought to be Isabella.
- PC Reaction Tables in jump (pp. 19-20): 2d6 vs 8+ = 8; a fragile peace is maintained aboard ship.
- Starship Encounter arriving at Mizah (pp. 40-46): A mining cutter, which politely ignores us.
- Starport Encounter on Mizah (p. 39): 54 – meet an existing contact. Arion has none, but it’s dramatically appropriate to introduce Ray the bartender at this point so we’ll do that.
I am checking for piracy warnings by the way (p. 40), it’s just that there haven’t been any yet.
Captain’s Log, Mizah, 091-3401
A couple of ship encounters this week, but nothing significant; leaving Tangga, we encountered the Archive courier run to Hasara, so we exchanged data bursts as normal – the Dolphin is doing a fine job of masquerading as an Archive courier, but there is no disguising the fact that it’s not the one I left in. Arriving in the Mizah system we passed a mining cutter while lining up for orbital insertion; we politely ignored each other apart from transponder signals. Both passengers kept to the quarters most of the week; Isabella is still sullen, and Doctor Yasar is simply uncommunicative, probably writing his next article for publication while I lay waste to his coffee supply.
Kiraathan Coffee House, 091-3401
“Arion. Back I see, hear you lost another scoutship?”
“Aw come on Ray, it’s only the second one, it’s not like I make a habit of it.”
“So you say. Anyway; coffee, brandy, beer? And who’s this young lady?”
“Two coffees please. Ray, this is Isabella Talamantes, she’s been travelling with me for a couple of months now and I’ve been training her as a pilot and engineer. She’s kith now. Isabella, this is Ray, he knows everybody.”
They take their coffees and move to an alcove lined with bookshelves.
“What’s kith mean? You keep doing this, telling people things about me I haven’t agreed to.”
“This is the last time, I promise. Remember I said that the Rule of Man was run in English? Well, this sector was colonised by groups that didn’t speak English, mostly Turkish, Swahili and Indonesian. That meant the English speakers were an ethnic minority, mostly spacers, and now we’re semi-nomadic, but we always have something to do with starships. We call ourselves the kith, and we look out for each other, because nobody else does. So if things go badly at the Tekke, you come here, and if I’m not here, you ask Ray for help. The kith take care of their own, and you’re one of us now; I vouched for you, and Ray will spread the word.”
“That’s… kind of you.”
“Yeah, well, I can’t get your family back for you, but you can share mine. I’m sorry, but it’s the best I can do.”
Page 53 of Solo implies I should be rolling a PC reaction for each PC, but pages 19-20 imply one for the group, and I’ll keep on using the latter as I think this could easily be overdone. As my friend Murray once observed, the starship is just a way to get the PCs to the next scenario, and I don’t want the shipboard events to overshadow those planetside.
This episode wraps up the first story arc, and I think you have the gist of how Solo works now, so in future I won’t explain it so much.
Credit where it’s due; the kith are taken from short stories by Poul Anderson, whose writing influences my sci-fi campaigns as much as Traveller itself. In his stories the kith are isolated by relativistic time dilation, but in the Dark Nebula they are isolated by language; this is a hangover from the Stars Without Number version of the setting, in which I asked myself: Why would all PCs speak English (as stated in the rules) when almost none of the planets use it (as inferred from the world names)?
By vouching for Isabella, an outsider to the kith, Arion has accepted responsibility for her future actions and their impact on the kith. As in the Mafia, this is an action not taken lightly, and one ripe with story possibilities.