Or more properly, just scenes 10 and 11, as I glossed over scene 9 at the end of scene 8. Don’t worry, you haven’t missed much; scene 9 was a travel scene in which nothing happened. However, I’ve decided that since travel scenes are generally quiet, I’ll merge them into the next story advancing scene unless something interesting happens. I still picture them mentally as one of the montages from Indiana Jones, with a map superimposed over footage of a vehicle, and a red line moving across the map to show travel.
Meanwhile, Arion and Dmitri are en route to the Cyrene Pyramid. I know that they must now find someone and get a clue from him (or her), but there is nothing in the storyline to say that they know that, so I shall proceed as if they didn’t. Many years of refereeing RPGs has made it easy for me to separate what I know from what the little lead figures know.
Is the Big Bad here? 1d6 vs 1: 3. No, he isn’t. That is good, because I’m a little short on time tonight. Is it day or night? 1d6 vs 3: 5, so night.
It’s late the following night, and Arion and Dmitri and seated around a campfire eating supper. The Pyramid is visible nearby over the jungle canopy, because it glows in an eldritch manner. Their campsite is on the remains of an ancient stone road, much overgrown but still visible in places, and marked periodically with stone pillars carved in the shape of robed humanoid figures, holding globes above their heads.
“The pilot’s notes for Cyrene don’t mention that Pyramid glowing in the dark,” Arion says.
“I wish you hadn’t bet the whisky on that shooting challenge,” Dmitri grumbles. “It was the only thing keeping the bugs off. I think it makes sweat smell funny.”
“I don’t mind losing the whisky so much. The bigger problem is that Galen went back to town with them. I keep wondering why he did that.”
Next I determine the difficulty of finding our contact by rolling 2d6 and taking the lower score: 1, 2 so the difficulty is 1, and with neither a suitable skill for finding people in jungles nor any locale modifiers, it stays at 1.. That shouldn’t be too hard. Arion rolls 2d6 vs Rep (4): 1, 5 so pass 1d6. The contact rolls 2d6 vs Difficulty (1): 1, 5 so pass 1d6. Our Heroes and the contact pass the same number of d6, so no chance to find a clue.
“Admit it,” Dmitri says. “You haven’t got a clue what you’re doing. What we need is a trusty native guide, like that guy.” He gestures with his spoon at nearby pillar.
Their contact would have been a robed figure had they found him. I have already mentally tagged him as a representative of the Psionics Institute, which is by tradition in Classic Traveller a shadowy and covert organisation of mysterious motives – just the thing. He didn’t turn up this time, but he might in future scenes. Or maybe I’ve been watching too many reruns of The Champions lately.
I now roll on the Advance the Story table (p. 30): 1d6 + Rep (4) + clues found (2) = 12. Get info from someone in a Story Advancing Scene. (I need at least two more clues before I can move off this entry in the chart. I’m toying with the idea of importing exploding dice from Savage Worlds for this, to speed up progress.) OK. Another Travel Scene coming up; the Where To Next table and 1d6 tell me Arion must now move to a Lost World, and the Available Transport table says On Foot. I roll 1d6 vs 1 for an encounter: 2, so no encounter while travelling.
“Dmitri,” says Arion, “See the Pyramid? There’s a circular patch near the bottom that isn’t glowing. I didn’t notice it earlier. Come on, let’s take a look.”
“Always while I’m eating,” sighs Dmitri; but pausing only to take one last spoonful of whatever it is, he puts down his mess tin and follows Arion along the road to the Pyramid.
“So, you think it tastes vile, but you want to finish it?”
“It’s not like there’s anything else to eat. Gotta keep my strength up.”
It’s only a few hundred metres to the Pyramid, and soon both stand before it, idly flicking torches over the stonework.
“Now there’s something you don’t see every day,” Dmitri comments. “It’s hollow – it goes on forever – and – Oh my God – it’s full of stars!”
(Those of you playing trope bingo may now drink another beer. You can’t have too many stargates in a game.)
“Should we go back and collect our gear?” asks Dmitri.
“If we do that, it might close up again before we can get back here – it wasn’t open before. No way of telling when it might close, or when it might open again. Besides, if you’re good, all you need is a knife.” Arion pats the Service Issue survival knife on his belt.
“I’m not that good, and I’m pretty sure you’re not, either.”
“Wuss. You coming, or not?” Arion strides off into the tunnel, and Dmitri follows, muttering under his breath.
“We’re going to come back to find all our stuff stolen, I just know it.”