Piracy vs Salvage vs assistance

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings

If you find a crewmember alive on a 'derelic' ship

Is the ship salvage?
3
13%
You've committed an act of Piracy by claiming the ship
1
4%
You are simply rendering compsatible assitance to a ship in distress
19
83%
 
Total votes: 23
dragonladytoo
Mongoose
Posts: 101
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 6:40 pm
Location: Beautiful Southern California/MI

Piracy vs Salvage vs assistance

Postby dragonladytoo » Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:49 am

Here is an old question that I am seeking guidance on:
The question of piracy vs salvage vs assistance. If you find a crewmember alive in the emergency low berth, is it salvage, or do you commit the act of piracy by claiming the ship, or are you simply rendering compensatable assistance to a ship in distress?

Is this one of those situations where, yeah you were a good guy, but all ships under intersteller law are required to give aid with no expectation of compensation or is the ship that you rescue the survivor on (who would have died without your rescue) become salvage for you, or should you expect some compensation (finders fee or bounty) for rendering assistance.

What are the expectations or ground rules in the Traveller universe?

Thanks
"Oh. Not the one, no."
"Not the one what?"
"Not the one. Won't talk. Can't talk. Not the one. They told me, they did. Zathras listens, he does, yes. Zathras listens and does what he's told." "
Elrick
Stoat
Posts: 92
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 10:43 am
Location: Peterborough, Cambs, UK

Postby Elrick » Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:07 am

I'd suggest that it all hangs on whether the occupant of the low berth is a crewmember or a passenger. If they are a crewmember, you are rendering assistance; if they are a passenger, then you have a reasonable claim on salvage - but you'd probably have to file the salvage claim in a local court (say an A or B class port, for example) and go through the relevant legal process. I imagine space law being somewhat similar to maritime law in these sort of circumstances - but then your game background might modify that too.

Piracy only becomes an issue if you kill the survivor and attempt to conceal your actions intaking over the vessel. Of course, if you are the reason it is now derelict, that strengthens the case somewhat...
BP
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2802
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:40 am

Postby BP » Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:23 am

Would depend on the setting, and even then, where things occurred.

I don't play the 3I setting myself, but here would be my generic logic, which might likely apply.

There is no 'international waters' in an empire.
Transmission of finding would be required (though response may not be possible)
Reporting would be required at next point of call.
Pirates would take advantage of any 'Good Samaritan' requirement.
General salvage would not be an option unless pre-approved.

Boarding would generally be considered illegal unless requested, ship has been declared missing, or sensors indicate ship is derelict (cold, non-responsive, no required signal ID).

Ship could be towed/ferried - but authorities would retain legal possession till such time as a disposition on the state of ownership could be determined.

If no rightful owner could be found, finding party might be given possession (after government fees were paid, of course). Alternately, finders fee might be paid, and ship put on auction block. Low berth survivors would not default to being considered owners.

Banks would likely 'own' ships - and provide rewards/finders fees for good PR and as incentive.
Lord High Munchkin
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1292
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:12 am
Location: Vancouver, where the rainbow ends/Oxford, occasionally, in an ivory tower

Postby Lord High Munchkin » Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:34 am

As has been pointed out, it all depends on the campaign setting.

In a 'Culture' setting the answer would be likely nuanced from a 'Lensman' one, the 3rd Imperium would differ again (and probably also by political region and affiliation).
The desire for a "definitive, ultimate answer" is, in fact, classified by modern psychiatric medicine as a mental illness.
Somebody
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1359
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:18 pm

Postby Somebody » Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:48 pm

Assuming the OTU, pre 1116 my take on it is:

If you come across a civilian ship that drifts in space (1), does not respond to communications and has the transponder either off or in emergency(2) mode than you can board the ship assuming it is either a derelict or in need of assistance

If you find a person/persons in low berth AND it is save to revive the person you have to do that to check the persons identity. Failure to do so at least raises suspicion of piracy.

+ If at least one person is a crewmember than the ship has not been abandoned.

+ If none of the person(s) is a crewmember than the ship has been abandoned and can be salvaged

If you can't revive the persons (Or some persons) you can't claim the ship as abandoned

Military ships can never be claimed as abandoned/salvage.

(1) In the OTU there is little/no reason for a functional ship NOT to use the thrusters. Even less under MGT rules (Fixed fuel consumption)

(2) In the OTU transponders are a must have for all ships in imperial space (and it's save to assume Sollies, Ragheads, Pussycats, Slimestars and Vegans require the same. The Fleatraps are the possible exception). The civilian model has "active", "off, captain needs to explain" and "emergency" as settings (Transponders are introduced in Mega/TNE and described in detail in a Challenge artice)
Lord High Munchkin
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1292
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:12 am
Location: Vancouver, where the rainbow ends/Oxford, occasionally, in an ivory tower

Postby Lord High Munchkin » Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:14 pm

Somebody wrote:+ If none of the person(s) is a crewmember than the ship has been abandoned and can be salvaged
Or it can be used to claim a retrieval fee off the owner. It would be very unlikely that the finders could "have" the ship for their own—somebody typically already has title and "first claim" on the ship, if the crew/mortgagees default.

In the 3rd Imperium, local system rulers/administrators might have by-laws that affect the situation further.
The desire for a "definitive, ultimate answer" is, in fact, classified by modern psychiatric medicine as a mental illness.
CosmicGamer
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1181
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 2:45 am
Location: Central DE

Postby CosmicGamer » Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:54 pm

Somebody wrote:If you come across a civilian ship that drifts in space (1), does not respond to communications and has the transponder either off or in emergency(2) mode than you can board the ship assuming it is either a derelict or in need of assistance
Yes, the status of transponder, comms and any distress transmission would be important.
Somebody wrote:+ If at least one person is a crewmember than the ship has not been abandoned.

+ If none of the person(s) is a crewmember than the ship has been abandoned and can be salvaged

If you can't revive the persons (Or some persons) you can't claim the ship as abandoned
Go ahead and 'claim' salvage but that doesn't mean it will be granted.

Too many possibilities to go into, but to me, an 'abandoned' ship is still 'owned' by someone. Just like when you 'abandon' your car on the highway because it ran out of gas or broke down. To me, if a random passer by tows the vehicle off it is theft/piracy unless a claim to it has been granted. Again, numerous possibilities, like if a vehicle is somehow a hazard to other ships...
Jame Rowe
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1222
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:52 pm
Location: Boston Area, MA/USA
Contact:

Postby Jame Rowe » Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:51 pm

It would be rendering compensatible assistance.
"Are you in charge here?"
"No, but I'm full of ideas!"

Baron Damascaa Kiikiigulii/Sakhag/Antares. Deal with it - come visit!
dragonladytoo
Mongoose
Posts: 101
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 6:40 pm
Location: Beautiful Southern California/MI

Postby dragonladytoo » Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:17 pm

If it is compensatible assistance - what is a fair compensation?

I have heard of salvage rates of between 10% to 50% of the fair market value of the property recovered.

If this isn't a salvage, then what would the finders fee be? 10 to 25% (most finders fee that I know of charge 15%)

Has this ever been covered in any of the traveller books? I mean they have a salvager career, what happens if the players want to role play this?
"Oh. Not the one, no."
"Not the one what?"
"Not the one. Won't talk. Can't talk. Not the one. They told me, they did. Zathras listens, he does, yes. Zathras listens and does what he's told." "
Lord High Munchkin
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1292
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:12 am
Location: Vancouver, where the rainbow ends/Oxford, occasionally, in an ivory tower

Postby Lord High Munchkin » Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:42 pm

I think the problem is that there is no "hard-and-fast" "official" (or even semi-offical) rule possible.

It is a hugely variable and diverse topic—no formula is going to even fit a small proportion of the potential situations... the best advice is do what you think is reasonable.
The desire for a "definitive, ultimate answer" is, in fact, classified by modern psychiatric medicine as a mental illness.
Egil Skallagrimsson
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 838
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 6:59 pm

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:10 pm

Definately something that would be roleplayed and brokered/advocated.

Sounds like just the thing that Imperial High Law would have several volumes about, but the basic principle seems clear, the finder is expected to render assistance if possible, and may attempt salvage, if the crew are clearly dead etc. should be easy to establish if you are able to access the computer, which should also help you decided wether or not to revive low berths, if clearly crew, makes sense, if a passenger, probably not worth doing until vessel recovered.

Then the fun bit, recovering the vessel, then the even more entertaining bit, the court case. Under most circumstance 20% of value, plus all costs covered, looks like a good starting point, but there are an awful lot of varibles. Could drag on for years, so a group of travellers might just want to sell the claim to someone else, at a knock down price, but ready cash now can have attraction.

Don't think that salvage rules for something in the 10 or 100 diameter limits would be much different, Imperial High Law would overturn local arrangements.

However, in a non-Imperial system, almost anything could apply!

By the by, there have been some interesting cases in recent years when merchant vessels in distress have deliberately refused assistance, because in accepting it they (or the ships owners!) would have to pay fees to the salvage company.

Egil
Last edited by Egil Skallagrimsson on Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Alles fur Gram - Official motto of Gram's 3rd Grenadier Regiment
Wein, Weib und Gesang - Unofficial motto of Gram's 3rd Grenadier Regiment
Egil Skallagrimsson
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 838
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 6:59 pm

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:14 pm

Estastablishing ownership of a ship that misjumped 500 years ago near Terra, and reappears, floating and with dead crew in District 268 might be quite an adventure in itself!

Egil
Alles fur Gram - Official motto of Gram's 3rd Grenadier Regiment
Wein, Weib und Gesang - Unofficial motto of Gram's 3rd Grenadier Regiment
Somebody
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1359
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:18 pm

Postby Somebody » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:14 am

CosmicGamer wrote:
Somebody wrote:If you come across a civilian ship that drifts in space (1), does not respond to communications and has the transponder either off or in emergency(2) mode than you can board the ship assuming it is either a derelict or in need of assistance
Yes, the status of transponder, comms and any distress transmission would be important.
Somebody wrote:+ If at least one person is a crewmember than the ship has not been abandoned.

+ If none of the person(s) is a crewmember than the ship has been abandoned and can be salvaged

If you can't revive the persons (Or some persons) you can't claim the ship as abandoned
Go ahead and 'claim' salvage but that doesn't mean it will be granted.

Too many possibilities to go into, but to me, an 'abandoned' ship is still 'owned' by someone. Just like when you 'abandon' your car on the highway because it ran out of gas or broke down. To me, if a random passer by tows the vehicle off it is theft/piracy unless a claim to it has been granted. Again, numerous possibilities, like if a vehicle is somehow a hazard to other ships...
Well IMHO abandoned ships can be bit different from abandoned cars depending on "how" they are abandoned:
  • If the ship is in a stable orbit and running a transponder (maybe set to "I am in storage") or is landed/docked it definitly is owned by someone. Same for a drifting "deep storage" facility following a moon in orbit (Using the moon as a meteroid shield). That is the equivalent to the car above (The "transponder" being the warning ligh/triangle deployed)
  • If the ship is found "in transit" it is similar to a ship drifting at high sea. You can take it under tow and then claim compensation/salvage. At that point three things can happen
    • No prior owner(2) can be established due to age/origin/died out without hires(1). It's yours (minus a cut for Baron Greedy and Judge Greasypalm)
    • A prior owner can be established but the insurance has already payed and written off the ship. See above
    • A prior owner can be established and the ship has not been written off. Negotiate a salvage fee
  • The ship is clearly a drifting derelict with parts missing, no longer spaceworthy or maybe crashed on a planet. In that case I would rule "Ship op strand"(3) and have the Vagr minister lead the congregation to the salvage side (Or allow the group to strip the wreck)
(1) Asssume all owners where player characters ;)

(2) Prior owner can also be the heirs of the last owner, a government (If it is a Subbie) etc.

(3) According to a story told on the North sea during Christmas Mass a ship crashed on the coast and the "coastguard" came into the church yelling "Ship op strand" (Shipwreck at the beach). Immediatly the priest finished the mass and let the congregation to the beach.
Egil Skallagrimsson
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 838
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 6:59 pm

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:16 pm

A ship parked in orbit with a transponder stating that is not derelict in, board without permission and you will eventually get charged with trespass or theft.

I doubt that there would be many ownerless vessels drifing around in space, there may be lots of spacecraft drifting about, but ownership of such expensive items likely to be an important part of law, if the owners dead, the property will revert to the heirs, if no heirs available, I suspect that in a 3I setting, in the last resort, ownership will belong to the Emperor (who will, undoubtedly, pay a generous finders fee!)

Egil
Alles fur Gram - Official motto of Gram's 3rd Grenadier Regiment
Wein, Weib und Gesang - Unofficial motto of Gram's 3rd Grenadier Regiment
Egil Skallagrimsson
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 838
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 6:59 pm

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:19 pm

After all, the 3rd Imperium owns the space between the stars, and, more practically, when someone finally comes across a working Ancients battleship of horrendous power, the Emperor will want first dibs!

Egil
Alles fur Gram - Official motto of Gram's 3rd Grenadier Regiment
Wein, Weib und Gesang - Unofficial motto of Gram's 3rd Grenadier Regiment
kristof65
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 696
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:04 am

Postby kristof65 » Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:55 pm

If you can, check out some of the episodes of Treasure Quest on the Discovery Channel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treasure_Quest_(TV_series)

As a salvage company, they had some interesting takes on those laws - there is even one situation where they find themselves blockaded in a friendly port and threatened with arrest by another nation if they leave that port.

I would look to current local, state/territory and national laws for inspiration. Most governments have some sort of law that indicates how lost property is supposed to be handled - it's not finders/keepers at all, especially as the value gets higher. In many cases, after a certain period of time, ownership reverts to the government if not to the original owner or their insurance company. Therefore, pretty much anything found in Imperial space is going to belong to someone under the law, no matter how old.

In the case of the 3I, it could be really convoluted. Most of the megacorps have been around for centuries - what could seem a free and clear salvage operation of a ship 100s of years old could get really tangled in red tape when it's discovered that the original owner of said vessel was bought out by one of the megacorps somewhere along the way.

In terms of how it affects PCs, the real issue is probably going to be how long these things take themselves to sort out. Ownership disuptes/insurance payouts here on Earth can take years to solve - and we have the benefit of near instantaneous communications between just about every point on the globe. I can easily imagine similar court cases in the 3I taking decades if the owner of a ship happens to be outside the local subsector.

Of course, the 3I will have laws to dictate these sorts of things, but in most cases, it's not going to be something the PCs will really want to deal with. So what I would do is set a reasonable salvage fee of 10-20% of value - however, it will take the PCs years, even decades to actually receive those payouts, assuming they're entitled to them. So, in order to facilitate game play, I'd have an equivilent of collection agencies - companies/people who are willing to buy these claims off of the PCs for a fraction of their value - expenses plus maybe 10% of the payout value.

So a ship worth 100MCr is worth a salvage fee of 10MCr, but in order to collect that, the PCs will have to wait years. Instead, they can find a broker who will buy the claim off them for 1MCr plus their accrued expenses - if, of course, those expenses are reasonable.

In some cases, the PCs could get lucky - ownership is truly established, and the insurance company happens to have offices in their next port of call, who will offer the PCs an immediate 5% salvage payout rather than have the courts decide on how much it should be. Or the ship could be so old and a hassle that even though it's technically 3I property, the local 3I administrators don't want to deal with it, and sign all rights over to the PCs to get it out of their hair (of course, whether or not they had the authority and justification to do so is possibly a matter for another adventure).

With all the red tape involved, I can see a lot of possibility in people simply just taking what they find, rather than doing it legally. Especially if they're relatively certain the law would find in favor of them anyway. This, of course, is theft and/or piracy - assuming they get caught.

Bottom line - every situation is unique - the PCs should know the basics, but any given situation can have a unique spin put on it - which, of course, should give plenty of fodder for continuing adventures for the PCs.
justacaveman
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 248
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:02 pm

Postby justacaveman » Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:56 pm

I just roll 2d6 and the PC's get that as a percentage of the current value of the salvaged/found ship. They get paid in a number of months equal to the percentage x2.

I try to keep things simple. I roll the dice and then roleplay the results to let the payers know how much they get and how long it takes to get it. The Imperial Office of Salvage and Reclamation handles all salvage claims IMTU.

IMTU the Imperial Navy does pay a finder's fee for Navy ships, it is .2% of the current value and takes 2d6 months to collect.
*****

Freedom that can be taken away, was never real in the first place.

*****
BP
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2802
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:40 am

Postby BP » Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:24 am

Chopshop. :D
justacaveman
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 248
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:02 pm

Postby justacaveman » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:15 pm

The chopshop solution would yield the most money. I would give them the maximum salvage value (12%), and minimum collection time (2 months). This would also apply to military ships.

However, using chopshops would involve considerable risk. The more money involved, the greater the risk to the characters. In addition you would need underworld/pirate contacts just to find the chopshops. You never know when the chopshop will be raided/infiltrated, or will just decide to increase their profits by eliminating the characters.

:twisted:
*****

Freedom that can be taken away, was never real in the first place.

*****
Somebody
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1359
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:18 pm

Postby Somebody » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:37 pm

Na, they just tell your elder brother he either delivers 50 luxury spaceships till Friday morning or you'll end up dead. So he assembles his old gang and starts cracking ships.

Mmm. Make junior an NPC and the ships to luxury boats and we have a scenario...

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 30 guests