Campaign Update: Huaxia

A regional hex map of the Huaxia region of planet Xiandao's polar expanses.

Due to the extreme vigor of the Richard’s Texas gaming group, I’m going to award the Huaxia theater the first update of the Xiandao campaign!

The Pax Dei breached and decadent Xia devilry unleashed upon the wayward world! After the shocking defeats of the Ordo Celestia and the Order of the Precious Blood by the escaped — or released? — xenoforms, all the country between the Jade River and the Bay of Nanyue is in tumult. Fueled by rumors of slaughter and a lurid videos of monsters roaming the countryside, the rustic folk have abandoned their farms and villages and are streaming towards the coastal city of Kai in large numbers.

These miserable caravans, mostly made up of some of the impoverished peasants on the planet, are mostly moving on foot and with overburdened pack animals, with most of their tractors and ground cars having been abandoned due to the rough terrain or lack of fuel for the lengthy journey. Like lame and scattered sheep, they have attracted the attention of wolves; band of upland brigands, some motivated by the infidel crusading zeal of the Blessed Concordance, others by mere greed and bloodlust.

Looming larger in the concerns of the city elders of Kai is the social upheaval the migration promises. With off-planet trade virtually interdicted since the Night of Comets, maintenance of the local food supply is essential to the city’s survival through the coming winter. No one can yet say how significant a threat this untimely abandonment of the fields, so close to harvest time, will be, yet the mandarins know that a generation of neglect of the public granaries means there is little margin for error. Furthermore, the arrival of thousand of peasants, so uncouth in manners and clamorous for food, shelter, and medicine, is sure to provoke the ire of the more dignified urban caste, to say nothing of the crime they will bring. Surely it is only a matter of time before the peasants fall under the sway of the Blessed Concordance rebels who are long on promises of food and peace. Already motorized bands of Blessed Concordance raiders have made probing attacks on the city and its outlying installations.

So far, the city has been a bastion of loyalist sentiment, but in private, the unity of the mandarins is already beginning to crack, as coincidentally timed offers of assistance have come in the Inscrutable Many-Handed Master of Ghostlight Harbor, who has — successfully, it is claimed — waged open war on the colonizers.

Of course, accurate news of what is going on elsewhere on Xiandao, let alone off world, is hard to come by. Who can believe the strange wonders reported? Who can chart a prudent course to the future through the gale that now blows?

Having picked up a couple of Traveller books over the weekend with some useful lists of patrons and ship crews, I thought I’d use them to generate some potential complications and opportunities that the players are free to incorporate into their wargame narratives, if they wish. Here’s what I rolled up:


Brig Warden – The gaoler of a small frontier outpost and landing strip usually leads a quiet life, but the sudden influx of a transorbital lighters forced to land during the Night of Comets, and the rush of refugees, has filled his cells with belligerent transients, thieves, and drunks. The conditions are getting squalid and there is no indication of relief — or, indeed, of the continued functioning of normal law and order in the region. He fears a prisoner uprising s much as an attack from outside meant to free them, and will soon have to make a decision whether to begin releasing prisoners or begin executing them summarily. Worse, he suspects that one of his deputies is selling fencing items from the evidence room to the local bandits, and is having trouble deciding whether he should crack down on the illicit trade or demand a piece of the action.

P.O.W. – A warrior in one of the bandit hill tribes has been taken prisoner and is being transported to the Monastery of Our Lady of Jade for interrogation on partisan activities. He was one of several martyrs who always intended to be captured so that he might detonate a surgically implanted nuclear isomer bomb (~~100 tons of HE). Will the Order’s chiurgeons and guards be able to detect this scheme in time?


SpikeA 100 ton (cargo capacity) courier/converted scout landed at Daliang downport during the Night of Comets and unable to take off again. The crew of three conservationists and their pet Terran snow leopard (the ship’s namesake) have been providing assistance to conservationist efforts of questionable legality that usually involve smuggling endangered animals off world for preservation or for reintroducing extinct creatures by to their formerly native environment. The crew are pacifistic, but their passengers, a group determined to reintroduce the Polar Skimscrew, a kind of parasitic, liquivorous sky-lamprey that once plagued Terran-imported bird populations and posed a hazard to aerial navigation, is not. Their passengers interest has been piqued by reports of strange new beasts running wild through the intercoastal planes and would be very interested in observing them.

S. S. Rostov – A 10,000 ton mining support vessel en route to the planet Zon when it was refreshing its provisions in orbit over Xiandao during the Night of Comets. With a hull puncture causing sufficient damage to lose bare steerageway, the vessel made an emergency landing off the coast of Kai. Its passenger compliment was mostly scientists and technicians and its cargo space dedicated to carrying survey equipment and pre-fabricated modules for a surface mining installation.

Description of S.S. Rostov interstellar mining vessel from 'Starships' by Jeff Simons and Bruce Tatman, 1983.

Its load of unique drilling/prospector vehicles and rugged overland transport vehicles is of great interest to the Blessed Concordance rebels. A supplemental consignment of 1,000 tons of high quality Zinc which, if it could somehow be gotten off the ship, could be sold on the gray market for a handsome profit.

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