APAGear II Archives Volume 5, Number 1 February, 2003


Gambler's Run

Josh Peters

Terranovan TransRail is a large multinational corporation that operates an extensive rail network all over the planet, including the Alpha, Beta and Gamma maglev lines linking the CNCS and AST. Terranovan TransRail employs its own security forces and has its own oasis towers that double as rail terminals.

One such terminal is the Terranovan TransRail compound in Khayr-ad Din. Before the formation of the Khayr-ad Din Army, the compound was a secluded corporate fiefdom in the middle of a sea of trash. In the wake of the Interpolar War and the strengthening of the ties between the New Coalition and the Khayr-ad Din Army, things have begun to change. In TN 1940, Terranovan TransRail, working with a consortium of Westphalia casinos, christened a new rail line the Khayr-ad Din-Westphalia express, or more colloquially, Gambler's Run.

Designed to be much more than just a simple Badland's train ride, Gambler's Run is a lucrative way to get ultra-rich polar gamblers ready for the full Westphalia experience. Not only are there luxurious first-class sleeping cars, dining cars, bar cars and passable second-class cars, but Gambler's Run also features fully contained gambling cars with all the games one would expect to see at the finest Westphalia casino. The train ride features a host of live performers of the highest caliber.

Gambler's Run did very well in its first cycle of operation, ferrying wealthy tourists from the Gamma Maglev terminal in Khayr-ad Din to the casinos of Westphalia, draining its passengers of liquid assets as it made its two-day journey. However the train also attracted a different kind of passenger.

Intelligence operatives found that the train made for a great cover. The train's crew was already used to catering to the unique demands of the very wealthy; thus it was not difficult to accommodate a new sort of clientele with its own similar set of requirements. The crew was already used to taking large sums of money as gratuity for performing services with no questions asked.


The player characters are members of an intelligence agency, any will do. They have been tasked to retrieve the Scepter of Masao, a 120cm long, 7cm diameter rod once used by the Patriarch of the Eastern Sun Emirates in a variety of ceremonial functions. In the confusion surrounding the death of Oliver Masao and much of the nobility of the ESE, the Scepter went missing from Skavara just before the Eastern Suns took off, destroying most of the city-state.

The Scepter was not a particularly important ritual item, but now that the Patriarch is dead, a power vacuum exists. If Nigel Shirow were to acquire the Scepter, it would help in cementing the legitimacy of his regency of the ESE. The Scepter was tracked to Khayr-ad Din and the Gambler's Run. The current owner(s) of the Scepter is unknown. In any case, the players must retrieve the scepter so that it can be returned to Shirow in the ESE.


Well, a simple snatch and grab mission this is not. The characters must avoid disrupting the normal operations of the train, naturally. They will also be ordered to avoid civilian casualties at all costs. There are some very powerful people on this train. A subtle and thoughtful approach would be most appropriate. However, there isn't a whole lot of time.

The train is rather large, with 15 second-class sleeper cars, 5 first-class sleeper cars, 5 bar cars, 5 casino cars, a crew sleeper car, a mail car and the locomotive. The team will only have two days (72 hours) to locate and retrieve the Scepter and hold onto it until their controller meets them at the terminal in Westphalia. Benevolent gamemasters may want to provide the team with a number of metal detectors. The Scepter will trip a very high level on a properly configured metal detector (Electronic Warfare: 4+). However, it may be easier for them to interrogate crewmembers that may have assisted in loading a very, very heavy object into one of the sleeper compartments.


Naturally, the players are not the only team looking for the Scepter.

  1. A rival intelligence agency. If the players are not SRID, make this team from that dreaded intelligence organization. There will be six agents, all very professional. Depending on the prior reputations of the player characters, the rival team may recognize them and wonder what they are doing on the train.
  2. Rival thieves: This team is less professional than the intelligence agents, but they are much more adept at blending into the wealthy, inebriated crowds on the train.
  3. Emirate Agents: This group is easy to spot. They are fanatics, and have a hard time fitting in. Loyal to one of the minor emirs who survived Oliver Masao's purge, these individuals will stop at nothing to find the Scepter-including opening fire on a crowded passenger train.
  4. The Actual Thieves: Two men and a woman are delivering the Scepter to an unscrupulous art dealer in Westphalia. They are armed, well trained, and have rigged a basic silent alarm system in their first-class sleeper cabin. Trained observers may be able to detect the presence of such an alarm (Notice: 6+). Disarming it is more difficult (Electronics: 7+).

Train Kept A' Rollin'

The Gambler's Run is a haven of intrigue. Besides the above scenario, there can be many subplots to introduce into the adventure.

  1. What's a Girl to Do?: Being the spouse/partner of a high-powered business executive isn't all it's cracked up to be. Perhaps a bored and lonely individual makes advances on one of the PC's.
  2. Black Talons: A CEF operative is defecting on the train. A team of inexperienced Black Talon intelligence operatives is there to make sure he makes it to Westphalia unharmed. Naturally paranoid, the CEF operative and the Black Talon team are both highly suspicious of the PC's nosing around with metal detectors.
  3. Hijack!: This scenario is fairly straightforward. A lone terrorist pulls a weapon and threatens the very wealthy patrons. Sadistic gamemasters may want to make it good team hijacking.
  4. Hail to the King, Baby: One of the live performers on Gambler's Run is a tall, dark haired man with thick sideburns. He wears dark sunglasses and a white outfit studded with gems and tassels. This rather talented singer has been making a comeback in and around Westphalia, singing classic hits such as "You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dawg" and "Viva Westphalia!"

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APAGear II Archives Volume 5, Number 1 February, 2003