What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Hopeless
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What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Hopeless » Sun Jul 17, 2016 9:54 am

With the release of Gipsy Knights Games latest release it got me wondering how you view this?

There are plenty of ways to describe what is a pirate to you, but what I wanted to ask is in your games how did you explain your pirates?

Did you give them any kind of background to explain why they did what they do?

Did you involve that in your campaign and with the Pirates of Drinax how did that fit in as far as you're concerned?
Sigtrygg
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun Jul 17, 2016 10:55 am

I use this:
Privateers and Gentlemen - piracy in Traveller.

In the original Library Data the first/lowest tier of Imperial government is the sub-sector Duke.
They are tasked with seeing to the economic well being of the worlds within their sub-sectors, overseeing the deployment of Imperial resources, and ensuring that worlds pay their taxes ;)

Rivalry exists between sub-sector Dukes, they are competing for limited Naval assets, they are trying to encourage megacorp involvement within their sector, and they are constantly striving to exploit the resources the sub-sector offers.
A sub-sector Duke who can encourage the development of a couple of high pop worlds, or a nice mix of industrial, rich and agricultural worlds, will have considerably more influence at the sector level - and may even aspire one day to that lofty position.

How to stop your neighbours doing the same? What if a world just over the sub-sector border offers great trade potential?

Megacorportions are the power behind the throne of the Imperium. They exploit the resources, operate the refineries and factories, and transport the goods to market.
They conduct exploration - to find new markets and resources - they conduct research and development - to stay ahead of the competition, they found colonies, buy and sell whole worlds, and pay their taxes... ;)

So what if a rival company is making inroads into your market share? What if a world that used to provide the raw materials for your factories decides to trade with someone else? What if an upstart transport company starts to undercut your transport monopoly? What if another megacorporation perceives your foothold in a particular region to be weak and ripe for takeover... hostile takeover.

Individual planets are free to govern themselves as they see fit. They are free to build their own naval ships, to subsidise trade, develop their own economies, and exploit their own resources...

So what if a rival world has ambitions to claim an uninhabited part of your system, or you want to develop the potential in another worlds system because they lack the resources?

So basically I can see how each of the above groups would sponsor raiders within the territory of their rivals. They even made a name for it - Trade War - and have an unwritten set of rules governing its conduct.

By claiming "Trade War" you have partial immunity from the IN blowing you out of space because of your activities. The letter of marque is a natural extension of this IMHO.
This helps me to explain three things:

how the pirate career can have such a well-defined structure, including a pension plan

where Corsair class "speculative traders" come from (and why it is a standard design

how pirates can find a ready market for their booty.
Reynard
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:55 pm

I need to send my noble, honorable privateers to take out your savage, barbaric pirates!
Hopeless
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Hopeless » Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:11 pm

Here I was picturing Pirate bases more like Old Town or the Wheel where they can congregate safely and others can travel there especially if they want to buy back stolen ships & merchandise or ransom back captured personnel or family?

One idea set in the Clement Sector is that the various world powers assigned a group consisting of members of the special forces and intelligence services such CIA, Russian and Thailand special forces, even actual mercenaries whose loyalty to their home nation was strong enough to keep them loyal where money alone isn't enough!

Was picturing one such group operating behind the scenes with the collapse of the Conduit they're the literal Mission Impossible group except these guys are the very best and as such have stayed undercover much longer than necessary.

Just need to get a better handle on the Clement Sector before fine tuning what might essentially be an interesting campaign idea!
Condottiere
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Condottiere » Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:48 pm

Find a broker, and inform him:

Image
Synther
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Synther » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:14 am

Historically speaking, being called a pirate depended heavily on two things: What you called yourself and what the various governments operating in the area called you. One government may call you a privateer because you have a writ of marque. Another would call you a pirate. And yet a third might call you a pirate because you were on a completely legitimate salvage operation. So...being a "pirate" really depended on whose point of view you are coming from. Including your own.
Check out my group's Traveller Campaign at https://syntherstravellergame.obsidianportal.com/
Reynard
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:20 am

Whatever they call you, you swung in the breeze pretty much the same. Arr.
Condottiere
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Condottiere » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:48 pm

Though hijacking data from a protected server makes you a hacker, rather than a pirate.

Maybe if it's Pieces of Bitcoin.
Hopeless
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Hopeless » Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:19 pm

So if they intercept the courier ala Sol Bianca 2 does that classify them as a pirate because they murdered passengers and crew before using an illegal cybernetic device to force the late broker into divulging the code to open his safe?

Some Megacorps might label a hacker a pirate if that's the easiest way they can get their stolen data back!

Anyone else have any tv/anime/movie examples where this might apply?

Mouretsu Pirates are more entertainment privateers than pirates though!
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:26 pm

A “Piece o’ Bitcoin” be called a Satoshi, yarr.

“Pieces o’ Eight” were whole Dubloons literally hacked up inte 8 “pie slices”. Pirates ’ad no formal currency, an’ single whole Dubloons were too valuable, sos they ’ad te make change by literally makin’ it... on the spot! Imagine if ye were walkin’ around town wit’ a $20 bill, an’, no matter where ye wanted te shop, there weren’t no smaller currency te make change fer... an’ so, as a means o’ improvisation, people started takin’ a pair o’ scissors te poor ol’ Andrew Jackson! That be ’ow the Pirates ended up wit’ “Pieces o’ Eight”.

But Bitcoin, on the o’er ’and, that be completely different. Bitcoin’s already got formal units o’ change; that unit bein’ the Satoshi, which be worth 10^-8 o’ a whole Bitcoin. Now, there be a few informal units o’ Bitcoin in-between... an’ one o’ them be more likely te be used ’n “Pieces o’ Bitcoin”, which, in a certain context, might serve as a sort o’ generalization amongst all the fractional Bitcoins, but likely won’t.

Far better te leave the nomenclature o’ the high orbits te old particulates wit’ more experience.
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:33 pm

Me swill-addled brain seems te recall some anime available on Crunchyroll called “Bodacious Space Pirates”; the premise o’ which be that Space Piracy ’as become a form o’ mid-flight amusement fer folks o’ such wealth that they can afford te ’ave a few precious baubles “stolen” from ’em by gigglin’ teenage girls in cute but ridiculous Pirate outfits. Cruises are specifically advertised as passin’ through “Pirate Space”, an’ those Cruise Lines actually contract wit’ specific Pirate Crews, fer one reason or ano’er, so as te guarantee their passengers a sufficient taste o’ “drama”.
Condottiere
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Condottiere » Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:09 pm

Also, license to plunder subject to actual utilization.

Pizzas of Bitcoin.
Tenacious-Techhunter
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:26 pm

Bitcoin as a pizza toppin’ makes fer a Pirate’s fine dinin’... XD
Condottiere
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Condottiere » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:44 pm

As expensive as Fry's anchovies.
Tenacious-Techhunter
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:32 pm

Nah, I expect Bitcoin to crash pretty hard; it’s going to stop being decentralized at some point due to the economics of the mining process. It’s not a pyramid scheme, but it is an “arms race”, and only big dogs with lots of money win arms races.
NOLATrav
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby NOLATrav » Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:04 pm

Hopeless wrote: Anyone else have any tv/anime/movie examples where this might apply?
It's not exactly the same as your example but is germane I think - the anime feature 'Harlock: Space Pirate.' It was quite fun I thought and certainly beautiful to look at. Adjacent dreadnoughts in space firing broadsides of future-cannons, complete with boarding actions by Marines in combat armor with cutlasses ;)

Not on netflix anymore but it is on amazon.

cheers
Condottiere
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Condottiere » Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:44 pm

As a business model, it requires a certain amount, or a lot of, slack in law enforcement.
Hopeless
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Hopeless » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:18 pm

Now what if the "Authorities" are in league with the pirates?

Could even turn this completely around and have the Pirates blamed for a problem in house that's used for political reasons making things more difficult for those usually associated with piracy then have your players discover the problem isn't out there in the outer planets but right in the centre of the Government!

Given how much money used for establishing the campaign for various political figures what if they use the profits from this piracy to help secure their position of power but need a fall guy to avoid being revealed?

Now that might make a good reason for how your PCs start off on the run wouldn't it?
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Re: What constitutes a pirate in Traveller?

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:26 pm

I am thinking of detailing a pirate base in my write up of the Cyrranus System from Battlestar Galactica 2003 show. Basically this occurs 155,000 years after the events of that show. Most of the original inhabitants of those planets were wiped out by the Cylons, there were some few left who took refuge high in the mountains. When the radiation died down, those that were left lost their knowledge base, or maybe they simply died out. In either case the planets got repopulated by primitive humans, and other animal and plant life from prehistoric Earth.
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Caprica is a world that resembles Ice Age Earth in its flora and fauna, the cylons which allied themselves with the humans in the Cylon civil war, later revisited this system, there was much damage done to the ecosystem due to their previous war against the humans, so these Cylons waited for the radiation to die down and then they brought over new life forms from Earth including primitive humans to replace the life forms they previously wiped out in their war against the humans. The Cylons, after their work was done, then moved to other parts of the galaxy, it is not know whether they still exist or not. In the meantime a band of pirates discovered this system, They have coincidentally settled on the site that was previously known as Caprica city. the entire system was cloaked until they arrived, but now it is cloaked no longer, but the light revealing this system's existence has yet to reach the nearest settled systems.
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Here is a map showing the systems location in District 268 of the Spinward Marches, as I said the surrounding systems, except for the pirates don't yet know of the system's existence. The pirates have been around her for about a year, so there is 2.26 years to go before the light reaches some of the other nearby systems and it is discovered and probably colonized, in the meantime the pirates here use it as a hideout and as a base to strike out and raid other ships.

The scenario I am thinking about here is similar to Robinson Crusoe, basically the PCs get shipwrecked on this planet and have to find some way top survive, and deal with the pirates and some of the cannibalistic natives as well. The pirates provide a means to get back to civilization, but of course they don't want to give up their hiding spot, so they will be in a less than "cooperative mood" when the PCs approach them.

Now in what way would you say these pirates would be different from those that Robinson Crusoe dealt with in the book of the same name. Would Traveller Space Pirates be less or more cutthroatish? How would they deal with a castaway or castaways, that they found on this planet?

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