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A September of Short Adventures
An adventure for Classic Traveller Little Black Books set on Elysium-7, also called Stygia, a frozen rock on the outer fringe of the Elysium system. (Return to the Traveller Adventure Cover Page.)
Pandora Research Facility is offering a bounty for healthy, undamaged Quartz Leopards. But how hard are they to capture unharmed?
Characters find out about the bounty on Crystal Leopards from the Dossier on the Pandora Research Facility. Details on the fee structure and waiting period for permits can be found in Heading Off-World.
Stygia is a frozen rock on the edge of the system (E230100-0 Poor Desert), home to a flat bed of rock for spacecraft landings and 8 MediShield employees to crew the landing pad. The rocky terrain juts up at odd angles as far as the eye can see. The methane snow usually falls horizontally, whipped by the incessant winds. The thin atmosphere tastes sweet, and more than one explorer has succumbed to oxygen deprivation by foolishly avoiding the processed taste of a respirator.
MediShield has bought all rights to the planet from the Elysium system government. It's experimented with mining, but the harsh conditions and lack of anything useful in the crust led them to abandon any thoughts of establishing a long-term mining operation. MediShield maintains tight control over the number of Quartz Leopards harvested to keep the research into this branch of xenobiology active for years to come. Anyone attempting to land without a Visitor's Permit or a Trapping License will be turned away by the four well-armed MediShield System Boats and the type T Patrol Cruiser in orbit around Stygia.
Quartz Leopards look like animated cat statues made from clear crystal with smoky spots. They weigh in at 900 pounds, and they use teeth and claws to catch prey, mostly consisting of rarely-seen Quartz Moles. They're fast, and they attack anything assuming it can be food, but they haven't learned they're not at the top of the food chain any more. They will never flee from anything except sustained loud noises or sonic devices, which resonate in their crystal bodies and cause pain.
|Carnivore/Pouncer||900lbs||30/14||reflec+1||12 claws and teeth||A0 F0 S3|
The trick here is to trap one without using force. Characters can rig up a cage and herd a leopard into it using sound. Entertainment devices or anything that makes a sustained sound will work, but single gunshots will only enrage a Crystal Leopard. Characters with Mechanics and Medical skills (or two characters working in tandem) can attempt to fine tune a sonic device to render a Crystal Leopard unconscious with a throw of 10+ on each skill. This technique has not been discovered by trappers using traditional game hunting methods, and finding the resonant frequency of a Crystal Leopard could open up avenues for further research.
Characters can study the ecosystem of Stygia with clearance from MediShield. Many unanswered questions center around about how a crystal-based life form evolved in the same way as a classic Terran carnivore. There are twice as many questions about how crystal-based life forms even function. Many xenobiologists dream of studying life on Stygia for its uniqueness. However, it may not be biology to blame, but crystals animated with psionics by an as yet unseen intelligence or race...
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