A scenario hook for Ashen Stars
The lasers take a contract to investigate a wave of bombings on The Ducasse, a former mass evacuation vessel now inhabited by permanent residents. Unknown culprits have been planting teleport bombs in the apartments of this permanently spacefaring housing complex. They seem to take some care to ensure that inhabitants are outside their places when the bombs go off, waiting until they leave to shop, seek entertainment, or socialize in the ship’s various cavernous common areas to hit the detonator. In a few cases, however, they’ve screwed it up, with the blasts teleporting not only interiors of flats into the void of space, but the people caught inside them. The bombers target the apartments of the ship’s informal leaders and opinion makers. The Ducasse operates as a paradoxical cross between a left libertarian anarcho-collective and an intrusively vigilant condo board. The resolution to bring in freelance law enforcement passed only by a hair. Members of the recalcitrant anti-authority faction may resist the crew’s inquiries as they hunt the saboteurs. They give the investigators stick even though their top figures have been targeted by the attackers.
Aside from their rival, more controlling faction, suspicion also falls on the new owners of the ship, who have offered to buy out residents so it can be put it back into operation as an income-earning migration ship. Although they have indeed hired roughnecks to intimidate residents, these arm-twisters have only recently arrived and haven’t done much other than sit back to watch the preexisting crisis escalate. Why risk the use of force when someone nastier is already on site and willing to go much farther than they would?
The lasers resolve the case by discovering the real culprits: factory owners from BluHeaven, an industrial world suffering a labor shortage stemming from the miserable living conditions on their deceptively named volcanic world. They’ve been offering bounties to Ducasse residents to move to their corporate towns. Devoted to a nufaith doctrine proclaiming the holiness of the relationship between employer and worker, their more fanatical members have resorted to what they rationalize as a proselytizing effort.
Once diehard Ducasse residents are already accepting relocation offers from BluHeaven recruiters. They don’t believe the doctrine, which holds that workers who die on the job go immediately heaven for eternal life in the company of deceased owners. They are afraid of being blown out into space, or losing their living spaces.
As they track down the saboteurs, crew members will have to watch out for teleport bombs either in the places they frequent on the Ducasse, or, if their security leaves something to be desired, their own ship.
Ashen Stars is a gritty space opera game where freelance troubleshooters solve mysteries, fix thorny problems, and explore strange corners of space — all on a contract basis. The game includes streamlined rules for space combat, 14 different types of ship, a rogues’ gallery of NPC threats and hostile species, and a short adventure to get you started. Purchase Ashen Stars in PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.