The Long Road to Rhald’ran

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The characters are hired to transport a shipment of legal goods (four crates of synthetic cloth, three canisters of crystallized gruth beans, and two dozen boxes of dehydrated rations, total value 6,500 Credits) from the city in which they begin play to Rhald’ran, a distant town. They are even offered the ground transport to do it in (of course, they must return the transport in good shape or be liable for it). Sounds like an easy way to earn 500 Credits.

On the way they pass ruined outpost after ruined outpost, with evidence of warfare and scavenging in each. Perhaps they have an encounter along the way, something animalistic feeding on dead bodies in an outpost that takes offense to the character’s presence. When they get to Rhald’ran they find the people paranoid and on guard, very suspicious and very afraid.

Rhald’ran is a religious outpost, a town of pacifists and zealots. They don’t believe in shedding blood, even in defense. But they have a problem... they’ve heard rumors of the neighboring outposts being razed, and now their children have begun disappearing in the night. Several of their “brothers” and “sisters” have turned up dead, and now that men have arrived with weapons, they believe their god sent the characters in answers to their prayers.

Although this all seems strange, the truth is often simpler than one would think. A pirate ship has landed a few hundred kilometers east of here, after finding deep running veins of valuable minerals in the mountains. They’re mining it, and using children to do a lot of the work (their mining equipment was stolen from a Dralasite mining ship, so they need short people to do the work!) The smaller outposts that have been destroyed were just them getting vehicles, women, credits, and food to keep up their piracy.

The pirate captain is a wicked Vrusk named Ckitk, and he has no conscience. He’s very practical, and will do what needs done. He’s also not stupid - he’ll escape if he can (an enemy for later!)

If the characters return the children and other captured prisoners, the Rhald’ranians will reward the characters with admiration and praise, food and healing. Unfortunately, though, they have nothing to offer them financially. The characters will be regarded as heroes and can come back any time for food and rest.