I'm working on a small Traveller product at the moment, which I am tentatively calling Flynn's Guide to Azri Drakara: Patrons By The Dozen. It contains a dozen Patron Encounters, each of them built to my usual standards. (For more details on that, I will direct you to my post entitled Traveller Sandbox: My Thoughts on Patron Encounter Design...). Below is one of the Patron Encounter write-ups for your review. What are your thoughts about it?
Bruce Ayala, Interplanetary PlayboyRequired: Investigate, Streetwise; No special equipment required.
Reward: Cr 500 a day, plus expenses; minimum of two weeks.
Word on the street is that the famous holovid star and interplanetary playboy Bruce Ayala is cruising the local bar scene. That night, Bruce Ayala, along with his entourage of publicists and models, staggers into the same locale as the party and buys a round for every offworlder. Over the course of the evening, he continually hounds the party for details of their exploits, always comparing their adventures to roles he's portrayed. Late into the evening, Ayala corners one of the party members and offers the crew a job, if it can be handled with discretion. He provides contact information, and arranges a meeting to discuss terms, if they are interested.
When Bruce Ayala achieved system-wide fame as a holovid star, he admits that it went right to his head, and it cost him the love of a wonderful young woman by the name of Martha McKernan. He's kept tabs on Martha over the years through private investigators and the like, one of whom has reported that she's gone missing a few days ago. Ayala wants to hire the party to discretely investigate Martha's disappearance, locate the young woman and rescue her from whatever situation she might be in. He's concerned that his current media distributor, Penultimate Productions, have pulled something, as he has been secretly planning to sign a new contract with a competitor, System Media Studios. That represents a great loss for Penultimate Productions, and Alaya feels that they are not above coercion to insure the holovid star continues to bring them money. In all of the options presented below, further development is left to the discretion of the Referee.
1. All is as it appears. Bruce Ayala is correct; Penultimate Productions has discovered their star's clandestine plans. Slowly moving away from the verge of bankruptcy, the media distributor owes their recovery to Bruce Ayala's success in the box office. Worried that the star's departure could cost them everything, the executive producers have hired thugs to kidnap Martha McKernan and use her to force him to extend his current contract.
2. Sadly, Bruce Ayala is incorrect. His own agent, Cornelius Brass, has a gambling problem, a huge gambling problem. He's fallen in so much debt to the local crime syndicate that they've started threatening his life and the lives of his family, and the man has become desperate. Brass has arranged for the kidnapping of Martha McKernan, hoping to ransom her to enough to pay off his debt and tuck away a tidy bankroll so he can continue his gambling habit.
3. Bruce Ayala has been less than truthful. He's been stalking the innocent Martha McKernan for years, using his fame and fortune to attempt to force her into marrying him. In an act of desperation, Martha has gone on the run, trying to make her way out of the star system undetected in an effort to find safety from Ayala's overwhelming attentions.
4. System Media Studios has kidnapped Martha McKernan as a form of leverage to use on Bruce Ayala in the event he changes his mind and backs out of the secret negotiations. They believe he is unaware of her disappearance, and only intend to reveal her status as a prisoner should he start entertaining the thought of extending his current contract with Penultimate Productions.
5. Martha McKernan has watched Bruce Ayala's meteoric rise to success with envy and jealousy. She feels scorned by the holovid star, and every image of Bruce Ayala with some starlet has pushed her further into the depths of hatred and loathing. Martha has arranged her own "kidnapping", so that she can demand a costly ransom from Bruce. Any extended contact with Martha will reveal that she is not completely sane, and will likely go to extreme lengths to harm and humiliate Bruce Ayala.
6. Martha McKernan is actually on vacation, hiking deep in a wilderness preserve to get away from civilization for a few weeks. Edmund Sang, a private investigator employed by Bruce Ayala, has reported her missing simply to get more money from Mr. Ayala to "locate" her. When the party shows up and begins investigating, he realizes that he might get caught and so desperately attempts to redirect them, to avoid having his deception discovered. Sang's efforts to create a false trail points to the local crime syndicate, who do not take kindly to the party investigating their illicit activities looking for a girl they've never heard of.
I look forward to your comments.