Why Corsairs?

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
phavoc
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby phavoc » Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:48 pm

rust2 wrote:
phavoc wrote: Aside from the terrible but somewhat funny Ice Pirates movie, how do you see space pirates acting?
In my view space piracy requires an insider on the pirates' target ship or some other means to at least disable the target ship's attitude control system - I simply cannot imagine how to realistically board a starship which is still able to rotate around all three of its axis.
I totally agree! However under the new rules if you get close enough to your target you can "force" dock your ship. I guess that's MGT's way of saying it's still possible to swing from the rigging and board the other guys ship. To heck with physics and reality and common sense!
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby Annatar Giftbringer » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:13 pm

"Heave to, power down, and prepare to be boarded! Comply and we will not hurt you, resist and we will destroy you!"

Having an infiltrator aboard the prey vessel is good, but threats of violence works too. Look at the repair costs for ships, an independent trader might be unable to afford to fix the ship if the damage is too severe. Naturally, the risk of damage to the ship pales in comparison to risk of damage to the crew, or passengers.

A ruthless slave-dealer will of course abduct them anyways, while a ship-jacker might be kind enough to allow them to leave aboard a small craft - and someone that just wants the cargo might even leave both ship and crew unharmed (provided they comply and allow for easy boarding)
Reynard
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby Reynard » Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:06 pm

Book 6: Scoundrel explains pirates, piracy and pirate vessels. MANY pirate ships are in fact normal opportunistic adventure class ships, modified or not. Some are successful... most aren't.

Many pirates are privateers for various levels of organizational bodies. They often are granted access to ships purpose built for attacking non-military (and maybe smaller military support) targets. The Harrier of Pirate of Drinax is a special case while the corsair class somewhere in space history proved successful as a raider and became a recognized standard. So successful it's copied by pirates with the resources to build and sell. Why go pirating when you profit selling the means to others?

There are two features I swear people can't see about the corsair. They have a 100 ton bay able to scoop ships up. Except for scouts, the only reason to have that feature is attack and quickly capture Small Craft to be taken away as fast as possible as intact as possible. The craft may have cargo but you just grabbed a multi-million Credit object to take to the interstellar chop shop for cash! Grand Theft Smallcraft. The place that sold you the corsair probably fences small craft and I'll bet those are so numerous in the galaxy to find lots of buyers.

The other feature, which disappeared in some past editions and came back in Mongoose is their ability to mimic other ships in form and faking transponders. They updated with a holographic system that let's a corsairs get in striking range. THAT is a good feature and makes them very desirable. A ship that effectively hunts small craft or even lager ships and most likely getting first shot before the target knows what's happening possibly a called shot from surprise if the ref allows. By the time they Mayday, shoot them so they can't shoot back or can't run. Scoop the little ones up and gut the big ones. You're gone before the SDB's arrive and they may have passed you originally and never knew.

Hopefully we'll see the return of the Jumpcusser, the Pirate Interceptor and even the Pirate carrier.
Condottiere
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby Condottiere » Tue Aug 30, 2016 1:45 am

While Star Wars have wonderful visual designs, they tend to make very little design sense.
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby Annatar Giftbringer » Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:14 pm

I'd say there are advantages of both purpose-built and converted pirate ships.

Using a ship like the Corsair, the various Scoundrel ships or the ones from Piracy in Clement Sector for instance gives one a ship that is from the start built for raiding and pirating. You get stuff like breaching tubes, cargo holds large enough to swallow smaller prey whole, or even the ability to change the appearance of your ship! Plus of course weapons and other systems more suited for fighting.

On the other hand, you are an obvious pirate when you approach the intended target. Using a common trader gives one a better chance to hide in the open, so to speak. Much easier to get close to the target, or get landing clearance, if the pirate vessel looks like any other trader. The downside being that the ship is not really built for fight, unless it gets serious modifications along the way.
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:41 pm

Regular sensors cannot really see who you are until you are within 25000 km, by then it's too late for the merchantman. At longer ranges you only see a sensor blob with a transponder code.
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby Reynard » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:55 pm

Considering out of 60 possible space encounters, only 3 are pirates and one of those is an actual threat. I somehow don't think the average ship is going to be constantly on high alert. I'd say, if there are any number of pirates, they move around a bit hitting different systems depending how picking are and not trying to spook the marks. Getting within Long range even as true pirate vessel is not going to be hard. Remember again pirates have the same issue judging what's a Free Trader and a Police Corvette.
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby Condottiere » Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:27 pm

Image

Probably a more successful approach, metaphorically speaking.
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby Golan2072 » Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:07 am

The specifically-built Corsair is probably a commerce raider for use in times of war. Either the navy or privateers may operate these in times of war to disrupt enemy civilian and paramilitary shipping. The goal in many cases is to hit the enemy's underdefended "soft belly". Most polities cannot afford to patrol their entire frontier, so their enemies sneak in Corsairs to harass their economy there. Better yet, enough raiding forces the enemy to draw away naval assets from the front lines to protect its rear - thus weakening the front lines.

Once the war is over, of course, these ships typically "trickle down" to various shady types and "security contractors" on the frontier who have connections in the Naval bureaucracy. Ultimately, some reach the hands of actual pirates. However, most pirates operate regular civilian ships with added armament, as noted by previous posters on this thread.
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Sigtrygg
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby Sigtrygg » Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:00 am

Megacorporations engage in trade war from time to time. Having a ship that can mimic other ships in its tonnage class (400t corsair can appear to be a patrol cruiser, a close escort, a subsidised merchant) is a sound investment.

Similarly planets on the frontier have extensive home rule and they can sometimes go to war - with a rebellious colony world for example.

Providing worlds keep paying their taxes to the Imperium then the Imperium will turn a blind eye to such things - but if things get out of hand and the subsector economy is at risk (i.e. not paying their taxes due to the 'conflict') then it's time for the IN to get involved.

Your 'pirate' is just the other side's hired star merc.
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby Condottiere » Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:27 am

During the heyday of the privateers, there wasn't that great a discrepancy between civilian and military grade equipment.

Nowadays, they'd be using a lot of dual purpose stuff, civilian equipment that could function almost as efficiently as military issued.
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Thu Sep 01, 2016 1:02 pm

Working from MgT1 here...

Surely the "Corsair" design started out as an "official" commerce raider, a privateer, cheaper than a real close escort, but with the disguise options, and the usefully large cargo bay.

As a warship its rubbish, but quite capable of taking a merchant ship, which is the point of the design.
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Reynard
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby Reynard » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:15 pm

Specialty raider versus pure warship, a rogue versus a fighter. Finesse versus brute strength. Both can do the job of the other but not very well.

One thing to remember too, like many core adventure ships, they don't start with the best of everything. The corsair may seem offensively weak until they accumulate the finances to upgrade those puny three one laser turrets. One reason you pick on small craft in the beginning. After a while, invested capital make you a threat to ships bigger than yours.
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby phavoc » Thu Sep 01, 2016 4:40 pm

You know, talking about the whole capabilities of stealing a small craft.... The 400 ton subsidized merchant, with it's single cargo bay, forward and aft doors... it would make a MUCH better corsair than the corsair craft itself for this purpose. Mainly because nobody would really consider it to BE a threat, or even out of place in the spacelanes.

http://jamesbond.wikia.com/wiki/Liparus
Condottiere
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby Condottiere » Thu Sep 01, 2016 5:55 pm

Might it not be easier to hijack smallcraft?

The clamshell doors would make more sense.
Last edited by Condottiere on Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reynard
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby Reynard » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:17 pm

Since the Corsair isn't in the core book, I'll have to wait for my hardcopy of High Guard so I can compare and contrast the Corsair and Liner. Somehow I think comparing cargo space doesn't make a pirate vessel.
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Fri Sep 02, 2016 10:28 am

phavoc wrote:You know, talking about the whole capabilities of stealing a small craft.... The 400 ton subsidized merchant, with it's single cargo bay, forward and aft doors... it would make a MUCH better corsair than the corsair craft itself for this purpose. Mainly because nobody would really consider it to BE a threat, or even out of place in the spacelanes.

http://jamesbond.wikia.com/wiki/Liparus
Isn't the Corsair supposed to be able to reconfigure its outward appearance, change transponders etc, so you can make it appear like a subsidised merchant, or a gazelle, or whatever suits a particular encounter? It does have a large cargo bay anyway, for all that loot ...
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phavoc
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby phavoc » Fri Sep 02, 2016 12:34 pm

Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:Isn't the Corsair supposed to be able to reconfigure its outward appearance, change transponders etc, so you can make it appear like a subsidised merchant, or a gazelle, or whatever suits a particular encounter? It does have a large cargo bay anyway, for all that loot ...
Yes, it is supposed to have those features. Though there are limits to what it can make itself look like.
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby Reynard » Fri Sep 02, 2016 5:31 pm

I really need to see the 2e ship now. I know the corsair for 1e and it describes actual physical parts realigning and special electronics to simulate to fool sensors and transponder IDs but there's no displacement or costs. I went to find the technology for 2e and so far only see the TL 10 Holographic Hull which has highly limited compatibility. "Some pirates have made use of this system to simulate visual hull damage and lure other ships in with a GK distress call. However, most ship owner’s use it for the purposes of advertising." Sounds like you're still looking at a corsair when your sensor check finally clicks.
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Re: Why Corsairs?

Postby wbnc » Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:33 pm

Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:
phavoc wrote:You know, talking about the whole capabilities of stealing a small craft.... The 400 ton subsidized merchant, with it's single cargo bay, forward and aft doors... it would make a MUCH better corsair than the corsair craft itself for this purpose. Mainly because nobody would really consider it to BE a threat, or even out of place in the spacelanes.

http://jamesbond.wikia.com/wiki/Liparus
Isn't the Corsair supposed to be able to reconfigure its outward appearance, change transponders etc, so you can make it appear like a subsidised merchant, or a gazelle, or whatever suits a particular encounter? It does have a large cargo bay anyway, for all that loot ...
Changing the sensor profile of a starship isn't that hard beyond visual range. by the time a someone can get a clear visual image of a ship it is already withing weapons range. Changing the radar signature of a vessel, through the use of variable panels. tweaking engine output and EM signature to match a typical Subsidized Traders signature can be done with proper transmitters. and something as simple as inflatable bladders lined with radar reflective material can alter the shape a volume of a starship.

however once you get within visual, or optical range..the switcharoo gets a bit trickier. I suppose you could use inflatable dummy hulls to mimic a larger type of vessel but nothing you can do to make a ship look like a smaller vessel.

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