As Smooth as Sihnon Silk
The characters pick up word that a small time Tong has got their hands on a valuable shipment. Exactly what this shipment consists of is unknown, but it is worth stealing. PCs grab this cargo and have to flee the boiling mad Tong. Forced to evade into the hills of Jiangyin, the PCs trick the superstitious “Hill Folk” into delaying the pursuers long enough for them to escape.
Due to choosing to avoid Blue Sun, the PCs have traveled to the most backward planet in the ‘Verse, Jiangyin. Short on options and coin, the group is desperate enough to resort to crime to keep flying. While off ship the PCs are in a local village and trying to figure out what they are going to do to earn some coin. An Average ALE + Perception roll notices four men, two on a buckboard and two mounted that obviously do not fit in, ride into town near sundown. Talking with some of the locals and making an Average INT + Streetwise roll will learn they are members of an outlying Tong in for a shipment of goods dropped off a couple days ago. If the roll is Hard or higher, the local is more talkative and mentions, “I’d steer clear of ‘em iff’n I twas you. That there shipment was dropped off and that there Tong twarn’t notified and theys hoppin’ mad about it. Don’t know why, but my platinum, iff’n I had any that is, says dem dere crates is valuable.” The men are obviously surly if approached and move their crates into their boarding room in silence.
Later that night, surprisingly, two of the Tong enter the local bar, keeping largely to themselves, but there are a couple ways to get them to talk. A Formidable INT + Seduction test will get one of the Tong to murmur “The Hip Sing Tong is about to make it big. Stick with me and I’ll see you dressed in the finest Sihnon silk.” If the PC fails the initial roll and decides the information is crucial enough to extend certain “special favors” then the character gets a re-roll and the task drops to Easy. Extraordinary methods such as this call for at least 5 Plot Points.
If one of the Tong is challenged to a drinking contest, they are prideful enough to accept. Being able to out drink the Tong requires a Formidable VIT + Athletics or WIL + Intimidation and if successful, an Average INT + Influence will get the man to mumble “The Hip Sing Tong is about to make it big, so big that one day you’ll see me dressed in the finest Sihnon silk.” The hangover from this method should be worth 2 or 3 Plot Points.
Since Jiangyin does not have much off world traffic, unless a ship is directly contracted, it only stops at its destination to offload then departs. Most locals can not afford to have a direct drop shipment and contract with shippers making a delivery to the nearest village to have their sub cargo dropped off and they pick it up via ground transportation. The Hip Sing cargo was delivered in this manner, but when actually arrived ahead of schedule, the Tong was not told about this and this is why the Tong wasn’t waiting for the cargo when it arrived.
Once the characters are aware that the four isolated Tong members have a valuable cargo, the plan to relieve them of that cargo is pretty simple. Even if there wasn’t a drinking contest, the leader of the Tong is nursing a hangover and they do not depart until just before . They load up six crates into the buckboard and head out.
Moving the ship is far too conspicuous to be an option and even moving the shuttles or using a hover mule would draw too much attention. The best method to move about discretely would be to use horses. Plenty are available in Everwood, but it will take an Average INT + Animal Handling to avoid getting stuck with a nag.
Since the Tong are slowed by the buckboard, overtaking them is fairly easy. Only an Average AGL + Animal Handling roll to ride up from behind the Tong. If the PCs choose to swing wide to get ahead of the Tong is a bit more difficult in the wooded terrain bumping the task to Hard. Simply overtaking the Tong will catch up right at the halfway point of their journey. If the PCs choose to swing around, the Tong will only be 10 kilometers from their destination. The Tong are armed with pistols, three rifles, and one shotgun.
If any PC fails a Hard AGL + Stealth or as soon as the fight breaks out, one of the mounted Tong immediately vanishes into the woods. This escape is a requirement and even if the PCs set up an ambush, one of the mounted men is separated from the others due to his horse picking up a rock in its hoof. This man whips his horse to full gallop for the Tong headquarters. It will take the rider either 14 or 28 minutes to reach reinforcements based on the location of the fight.
Once defeated and the PCs reach the buckboard, they find three cases marked protein packs, two marked rifles, and one marked ammunition. Opening the rifle cases finds five factory fresh rifles each and the ammunition case has 2,000 rounds for the rifles. Two of the protein pack cases hold 100 man days of the standard spacer’s food rations and the last one has three bolts of brilliant premium Sihnon silk. Each bolt is 3 feet wide by 40 feet long for a total of 360 square feet of cloth. This fabulous material is worth 5 credits per square foot, which makes each bolt worth 600 credits with a total value of 1,800 credits or 4,500 platinum. The heavy crates take a total of ten minutes to open even with the thoughtfully provided Tong crowbar.
As the PCs are riding back to their ship, an Average ALE + Perception will eventually hear the sounds hover mules approaching on overdrive. The Tong have two large mules and while they do not use them often due to the cost to operate them, they have decided to make an exception in this situation. Since the mules are twice as fast as the PC’s horses are even at full gallop, the Tong rapidly gain on them.
An Easy INT + Knowledge roll will quickly figure out the only advantage the horses have is maneuverability through the trees. Leaving the trail quickly leads the PCs into rough hilly terrain. Another INT + Knowledge roll at Hard difficult will recall the superstitious “Hill Folk” and come up with a way to use them to the PC’s advantage.
Due to the hilly terrain, reaching the ship with their hand held line of sight communications gear is very difficult. It will take a Formidable INT + Communications roll to find a sweet spot and contact the ship.
To actually exploit the situation will require waiting until nightfall and a (23 level) INT + Performance roll to trick the Hill Folk that screaming banshees are approaching and causing them to rise up and fight the caterwauling demons. If the PCs can contact their ship the roll drops to Formidable if combined with the timely arrival of their ship with landing lights blazing and the sound system blasting white noise from behind the Tong mules. It will take either a Hard AGL + Animal Handling, or a Hard AGL + athletics to ride or leap aboard the ship as it hovers in a small clearing.
Once everyone is aboard, escape is as simple as breaking atmo and heading for the Black as the Hip Sing Tong does not have the means to pursue.