Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

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MonkeyX
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby MonkeyX » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:29 pm

My group put the crew in low berths for a few weeks so the story didn’t get out of the Treasure ship disappearing then distributed them in small groups on several worlds. As no one saw them activate the ko gas the crew assume they were deposited on a world too and have yet to be found.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:45 pm

That's interesting, MonkeyX. My players also have gone to great lengths to protect their identities. I've got them questioning the value of that move to some extent. In our campaign, access to Theev requires being "One of the Faith" as it has come to be called. If you stop pirating, you have "fallen from the faith." If you take on and complete big heists and scores, your reputation goes up and you get more privileges. The players really love Theev and want to fully take advantage of what it has to offer so I think they're a little conflicted about whether or not they want to be known for their exploits.
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
mac40k
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby mac40k » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:28 pm

I'm curious how others handle the issue of prize ships. Per pg. 24 of PoD 1: "Selling a stolen ship is virtually impossible – not only is a stolen ship a ‘hot’ property, thanks to IFF beacons and serial numbers woven into the hull’s molecular structure,..." This implies that it is impossible to alter the identity of prize ship. While they may not be hunted by the Imperial Navy in the Trojan Reach, it seems that the other portions of the rules for skipping on debt in the core rules might apply. Do the pirates have to worry about ship tracers? Can giving hot property to a friendly system (as also recommended by that same section of PoD) come back and bite them in the ass? Or are most GMs just ignoring the problem for this campaign?
MonkeyX
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby MonkeyX » Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:23 pm

Ive had transponders be a major thing so that a ship can usually be identified by that alone. it is possible to switch them off but it immediately alerts nearby ships that pick them up on sensors that they are up to no good. The molecular Hull idents I’ve kept in too but decided they are only visible under proper examination. Not from scans. So a stolen ship may be identified that way only if they get aboard with the right equipment. The other thing is the speed of information is slow enough that the PCs are out of a system before the stolen ship is reported. They have been keeping a clean trader ship as well though.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:36 pm

The only ship my players have sold to a "chop shop" so far was Ferrik Redthane's Janal Torsk, a far trader. One can only imagine what the history of that ship is, but it stands to reason he didn't come by it honestly. However, knowing it's history, pirate lord Zhuekvi convinced them to let him take it off their hands for repurposing for a small percentage.

They haven't tried to sell the others they've acquired...yet.
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:41 pm

I was referring the Harrier captain who ran from the Sincerity and paid for it. You say he talked his way out of that with an Advocate skill. that's some smooth talking.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:47 pm

Old School wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:41 pm
I was referring the Harrier captain who ran from the Sincerity and paid for it. You say he talked his way out of that with an Advocate skill. that's some smooth talking.
Oh, I gotcha. Sorry for the misunderstanding. Yes, well, he explained that he wasn't "running" so much as just leisurely proceeding to jump point "as was his right." The Sincerity commander, feeling quite chagrined, will probably kick herself that she didn't put him into the brig once Komino arrives in system two weeks later with news that the treasure ship was pirated. It shouldn't take long for them to connect the dots.
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:57 pm

LOL. That's going to be a career limiting move.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby steve98052 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:12 pm

Old School wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:03 pm
So breaking the encryption on the mail drums is one thing, how accessible what they find inside is something else. Depending on how juicy the information is, you may only give a pieces of information, a coded message, etc.
I would argue that anything encrypted is absolutely beyond reach without the encryption keys. That's essentially true today, and I can't imagine a plausible future where decryption will catch up with encryption.

There's actually anencryption method invented in 1882 (and reinventedand patented in 1917) that's absolutely impossible to decrypt without the key -- the one-time pad -- but it has the inconvenient property of requiring advance exchange of keys.

Present day encryption through public key cryptography avoids that nuisance, at cost of being mathematically vulnerable to decryption, but by making the key really long decryption requires so much computing that it is effectively impossible.
Routine but valuable info that would be found:
- correspondence between commercial partners showing projected trade convoys, their routes and cargoes.
- same as above but including itineraries of important private citizens
. . .
Putting encrypted data out of reach doesn't necessarily mean useful information from a captured mail router is worthless. There's a branch of intelligence know as open-source intelligence (not related to open-source software), which is about finding useful information from public sources. Careful examination of news reports on a mail router could be useful.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Pyromancer » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:20 pm

steve98052 wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:12 pm
I would argue that anything encrypted is absolutely beyond reach without the encryption keys. That's essentially true today, and I can't imagine a plausible future where decryption will catch up with encryption.

There's actually anencryption method invented in 1882 (and reinventedand patented in 1917) that's absolutely impossible to decrypt without the key -- the one-time pad -- but it has the inconvenient property of requiring advance exchange of keys.

Present day encryption through public key cryptography avoids that nuisance, at cost of being mathematically vulnerable to decryption, but by making the key really long decryption requires so much computing that it is effectively impossible.
That depends on the fact that we know of no method to quickly factorize large numbers today - but that might change. And even with brute force only, one TL of advantage over the encrypter (which Drinax probably has), will make it possible to crack almost any code (yes, not one-time pads, but those won't be used for practical reasons). In the campaign, the hard part will be to convince scholar Voha to spend time and resources on that problem.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:40 pm

According to the text, it requires an Impossible (16+) Electronics (computers) check to break the encryption on the drums. That should make it pretty tough. And what happens if they fail? Do they get another crack? They don't list a time modifier so I'm not sure what to apply. 1D weeks? Anyone else handled this scenario yet?
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby steve98052 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:56 pm

Pyromancer wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:20 pm
That depends on the fact that we know of no method to quickly factorize large numbers today - but that might change. And even with brute force only, one TL of advantage over the encrypter (which Drinax probably has), will make it possible to crack almost any code (yes, not one-time pads, but those won't be used for practical reasons). In the campaign, the hard part will be to convince scholar Voha to spend time and resources on that problem.
We have methods of encryption that are mathematically more difficult than large primes, but we don't use them now because large primes are secure for now. Elliptic curve encryption, for example, is harder, and also secure against quantum computing, which can defeat large primes.

The thing is that if someone knows that a method is defeated at a high technology level, it's easy enough to choose a stronger method that is known but not needed at one's own level. If I'm a TL5 spy trying to get secrets past TL15 counter spies, I know that I can't use my Enigma machine, or even prime factor encryption on imported TL9 computers. I'd curse about the hassles of key exchange, and drag out the one-time pad machine. If I'm a TL9 spy trying to get stuff past TL12 counter spies, I'm not going to use my prime factor software, I'll use the quantum-safe elliptic curve software instead, even though it's slow.

The only time encryption will be vulnerable is when complacency comes into play. "There's no one with a TL12 computer who's going to see this, so why bother? Large primes are good enough."

The other point is that open-source intelligence is likely to be more interesting in game terms. The referee can toss out goodies like a corporate quarterly report that has risk footnotes about piracy as an ever-present risk to the company, but that local authorities assure the company's risk management department that pirate hunting operations should make operations safe in the company's range of business. Is the company knowingly downplaying risk to defend its stock price? Are local officials lying to the company about pirate hunting? Is there a dirty official in the pirate hunting operation who has the company sold short so he'll make a fortune when the pirates get them? Are the rewards so juicy that pirates are still there in spite of heightened pirate hunting operations? Hard to say. What do the shipping news records show? What do other companies in the area say? What do the characters know about the reputations of the people involved? What can they learn by seeing for themselves?
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Pyromancer » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:59 pm

So, how do you get your one-time pads across the Trojan Reach? Is there a better method than a Treasure Ship?
So the mail drum might very well contain one-time pads intended to be used up in later communications. And it may take months until the sender learns that they are compromised...
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:35 pm

You would expect the empire to use TL15 encription on these items, which would imply that they cant be broken. So either hand wave that point, come up withan adventure or means to gain at least a partial key, or drop that part of the adventure.

Perhaps an ex scout could gain illicit access to the x boat netork systems thst decript the messages for delivery? Lots of ways this could be handled.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Geir » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:27 pm

The rules from the Central Supply Catalog (p. 67, Decryptor Software) actually handle encryption pretty well without needing to speculate about specific technology that we might not even be able to imagine at TL8:

Decryptor software packages allow a comms operator to
analyse intercepted transmissions and decrypt them in
real-time. This typically requires an Very Difficult (12+)
Electronics (comms) check but DM+1 is granted for every
TL the transmitting computer or comms device is below
the intercepting computer. A further DM+2 is granted if 1D
hours is spent analysing the transmission though this will, of
course, no longer be done in real-time. Furthermore, Decryptor
packages will be utterly unable to decrypt transmissions made
from devices of a higher TL (in theory they can accomplish
this, but the time to do so is usually estimated in scales of
hundreds or thousands of years).


The rules have specific tech levels for various packages, but it would be easy to generalize the rule. It's like missiles versus ECM, essentially.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby locarno24 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:14 am

Pyromancer wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:59 pm
So, how do you get your one-time pads across the Trojan Reach? Is there a better method than a Treasure Ship?
So the mail drum might very well contain one-time pads intended to be used up in later communications. And it may take months until the sender learns that they are compromised...
Exactly. I mean, what (from the perspective of a banking organisation or something) is more secure than a mail drum in the armoured vault of an Imperial ship with a navy warship escort?

Exactly how you use the pads is going to be awkward - the intended recipient won't recognise them, but there might be a brief window between the dispatcher thinking the new pad is 'arrived and in use' and the news that the treasure ship was taken reaching them, assuming they don't know the Martin II was delayed en route.

Pulling a heist from a major Imperial bank would not do your reputation with the empire much good, but could be very lucrative, if you can figure out how to turn that into untraceable valuables rather than electronic credits in the timeframe.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby locarno24 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:15 am

Pyromancer wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:59 pm
So, how do you get your one-time pads across the Trojan Reach? Is there a better method than a Treasure Ship?
So the mail drum might very well contain one-time pads intended to be used up in later communications. And it may take months until the sender learns that they are compromised...
Exactly. I mean, what (from the perspective of a banking organisation or something) is more secure than a mail drum in the armoured vault of an Imperial ship with a navy warship escort?

Exactly how you use the pads is going to be awkward - the intended recipient won't recognise them, but there might be a brief window between the dispatcher thinking the new pad is 'arrived and in use' and the news that the treasure ship was taken reaching them, assuming they don't know the Martin II was delayed en route.

Pulling a heist from a major Imperial bank would not do your reputation with the empire much good, but could be very lucrative, if you can figure out how to turn that into untraceable valuables rather than electronic credits in the timeframe.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:34 pm

Havent had time to read much, but just stumbled across this:

http://piratesofdrinax.blogspot.com
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:17 pm

Question for those who have run the Treasure Ship Adventure: Irontooth’s vessels include a “300 ton bug-class” salvage hauler. I cant find this vessel. The ships book details a 400 ron vulture class, but no 300 ton. Is there somewhere I’m supposed to be looking for this vessel’s particulars, or is it an artifact left over from a prior version, or perhaps something that was planned but later left out?

Thanks.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Pyromancer » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:30 pm

Are there 2d deckplans for the ships in Drinax anywhere? There are official ones for the rulebook and High Guard, and I find those more useful than the fancy 3d ones.

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