Prizes

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hdrider67
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Prizes

Postby hdrider67 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:15 pm

Howdy. Long time no post. :)

I apologize if this subject has been gone through but I didn't find anything with a search.

I've been letting my books collect virtual dust on my hard drive while I dealt with a years long family crisis. Now I'm going to build a long delayed campaign and I'm considering using Beltstrike to kick things off.

I'm hoping that the party will have a ship by the finale of the storyline but it would seem there's a potential ship early on. I don't see any mention in any of the books how the imperium deals with prizes not taken under a license.

How would you deal with a failed piracy attempt that left the aggressors dead or captive? I would imagine the ship they used (a battered and heavily damaged Type-A) would be someone's condemned prize but would it go to the party, given they didn't have a letter of marquis?

Cheers
rust
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Re: Prizes

Postby rust » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:19 pm

Hmm ... I think the pirates' ship could become the
property of the government, to be auctioned off at
a very low price (low enough for the characters to
buy it).
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barnest2
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Re: Prizes

Postby barnest2 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:31 pm

Check out the traders play by post, were arguing in character about this right now :P
hdrider67
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Re: Prizes

Postby hdrider67 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:17 am

I was thinking government condemnation and auction at first but the players won't be able to afford very much and wouldn't have a chance, even if at bargain basement prices. They're going to wake up from their nap in low berths to find themselves very much out of money and in need of a ride as the ship they were on had a catastrophic drive failure and an epic misjump.

I'm going to see if I can find that argument now. :)
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Re: Prizes

Postby Mongoose Andy » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:07 am

IMO the PC's would own the ship, they would still need to re-register the ship at a suitable port so that it would no longer be classified as a pirate. They would also have to prove to the authorities how they came into possession of the ship such as supplying the ships black box etc to prove they didn't pirate the ship themselves. Also they would need to remember how long it will take that news to spread out to other systems and be updated on the various systems databases.

They could of course just hand the ship back to the relevant owners if they can be found and get a % of the ships cost as a reward for recovering the ship as well.
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Re: Prizes

Postby Captain Jonah » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:23 pm

As Rust said, the ship would be claimed by the government under the profits of crime laws or reclaimed by the previous owner or insurance company.

A group of players who get into combat with anther ship. Kill the crew and take the ship are committing an act of piracy. It doesn't matter who fired first or that the other group are known pirates. If firing the first shot or dealing with known criminals makes it ok to kill a ship’s crew and take the ship then no one would be safe. Player groups and free traders would have false charges levelled against them (or maybe not so false knowing most players), then they could be freely attacked and have their ship taken. Bad precedent to set.

Unless they were official privateers who had an agreement with the ships legitimate owners to claim the ship then they would be stealing it by force of arms.

The legitimate response would be to report the event, claim the reward for wiping out the pirates and then use whatever influence they had behind the scenes to get to the top of the list to buy the ship.
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Re: Prizes

Postby Nuclear Fridge Magnet » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:07 pm

It might also help their case if they can capture one or two pirates alive to stand trial... and if the pirates have a proven track record of extreme brutality and bloodshed. Accepting a target vessel's surrender, then blowing the pressure hull open to get rid of witnesses, that sort of thing.

Another point to bear in mind is just how vicious the players are when they encounter the pirates - and if they were captured on video. :twisted:
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hdrider67
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Re: Prizes

Postby hdrider67 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:16 pm

The ship in question is known to have been used for piracy and was involved in a recent altercation with another innocent who gave as well as he got and forced the pirates into a limping retreat. There's also a reward for the pirates, so I don't think anyone killing them or taking their ship would have to worry about piracy charges. The pirates are the owners of the vessel, though I imagine there would also have been a lien.

Basically, I was thinking that this would work out somewhere between a salvage award and a war prize. If the ship has an existing lien, the law dictates a salvage fee (as a percentage of value) that varies depending on a number of factors, Risk, likelihood of total loss, etc. Using old sea laws I'd expect that a captured prize would be bought in to service as often happened with repairable warships or sole outright.

I think I'm leaning towards a 4D% of ship value to be awarded as either prize or salvage awards and not letting them keep the ship outright as this doesn't appear to have ever been the case in historical prize awards.
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Re: Prizes

Postby hdan » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:48 am

This is a simple system that can give the players access to prize and salvage ships without being overly generous IMO. I don't claim this is realistic, but it seems playable enough at first blush.

(And this is IMTU, I'm not claiming any Canonical correctness.)

Inside the Imperium, Imperial law controls what happens in space, so the local world has little say in what happens to the ship.

A Scout base or Class-A starport will have the ability handle the business of dealing with a prize ship, or any change-of-ownership matters.

If you have a Letter of Marque, you can take ships from your licensed targets at will, though you must report your "winnings" and pay a registration fees to legitimize the prize.

In all other cases, what happens depends on if the ship has been reported stolen/missing or not. (Note that banks are quick to report ships which miss their payments, and bounty hunters frequently apply for salvage rights to such ships.)

If you have a salvage license for the ship in question, then proceed to the "finders fee". You can request a salvage license for any ship reported stolen or missing. The license expires after 1 year.

If the ship has been reported stolen/missing, the ship is impounded and you are tried for piracy. This could be a simple and undramatic "open and shut" case if you can prove you salvaged the ship (records of the salvage operation help here, as does a salvage license). Bribery and Forgery can work here as well. If the owner was "last know to be alive aboard his ship", then the Piracy trial will include Murder and may go very poorly for the finder.

Finder's Fee - you get 1/40th (1 year payments) the ship's value for a spaceworthy ship, and 1/480th (1 monthly payment) for derelicts. Whoever winds up with the ship must pay the cost of the ship's storage before the ship will be released. In addition, the ship will not be released without evidence that either the finder's fee has been paid or other legal arrangements for payment have been made.

The owner is free to make other arrangements with the finder, though either party may insist on the finder's fee. For example, banks frequently wave the 20% down payment, and allow the finder to assume the remainder of the ship's mortgage. (In other words, once the Finder and Owner are put into contact, the Imperium no longer cares what happens, except that Imperial Law controls the Finder's Fee. That's the benefit of registering your ship in the Imperium - you can be sure that someone will do their best to reunite you with your property.)

If the owner is known to be deceased or out of business, then the finder may take immediate possession of the ship. If there is no owner listed at all (which should not be possible for an Imperial ship...), then the finder may keep the ship after a 1 year waiting period, provided they can pay the cost of the ship's storage.

Pirates will of course know what Scout bases or Starports have a reputation for being willing to not dig too deeply for the right price. And registrations from unaligned worlds can make matters tricky in border regions, especially when some worlds will re-register an Imperial ship without asking too many questions.
/hdan
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Re: Prizes

Postby mr31337 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:55 pm

I'm not sure that 'local law' would apply in Imperial Space, but I think this would almost certainly true if the pirates were operating within '10 diameters'. Of course you probably won’t find any self-respecting pirate operating that close.

We know from the CRB that ‘salvage’ is permitted in Imperial Space. Salvage is generally a catch-all term for many situations including derelict vessels, flotsam & jetsam and windfall (ie: prizes). Our maritime courts generally have to resolve these cases, I’d imagine something similar for Imperial Space (perhaps the Navy or SPA), but clearly there would be a case for ‘windfall’.

The right to self-defense is permissible in the Imperium, if I’m not mistaken, and as such you may be forced to capture an attacking vessel. So therefore you might bring the captured ship to the local Starport and notify the SPA, who will most likely condemn the vessel pending the outcome of any appropriate hearing. Such a hearing would determine who actually owned the vessel, if they were indeed operating as pirates and any windfall claim the capturing crew may have.

Salvage (windfall) is usually awarded (in our maritime courts) back to the original owner less what it would have cost them to recover the vessel (expressed as a percentage of the total value) paid as a fee to the salvaging crew. The more unlikely and expensive it would have been for the original owner to recover the vessel the greater the windfall payment to the salvaging crew. Generally nobody would recover a vessel before settling on a fee with the original owners as the legal fees involved would be cost-prohibitive to any reasonable salvage operation.

I think it is very unlikely that the crew of an attacked ship who captured their attackers’ ship would have a full claim to it, unless the pirates had owned their ship outright. Even if they were awarded it outright, they might have a huge repair bill, legal fees and months of birthing fees. Somebody else, doubtful it was the pirates, paid for the ship, most likely as has been pointed out an insurance company. So the PC’s would probably see their ‘prize ship’ impounded pending months of legal hearings and court cases and then get a percentage of the cost minus their legal fees.

And I like this, what this means is you get lots of roleplay; admin, advocates, statements & interviews. What the crew end up with is a suitable amount of money that doesn’t break the campaign, if they’re really lucky maybe it is enough to put towards their next ship purchase or upgrade. But what’s more interesting is where this leads, somebody almost certainly more powerful than the PC’s will have a vested interest in the recovery of the pirate vessel; maybe a megacorp, maybe an insurance company, maybe a mercenary outfit, private investors, maybe a noble. And they want their investment back as intact as possible & without the implications of being associated with corsair. Now if only the PC’s could just ‘go away’…..
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Re: Prizes

Postby F33D » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:26 pm

hdrider67 wrote:The pirates are the owners of the vessel, though I imagine there would also have been a lien.
If there is a lien holder they get proceeds from the gov sale. (ship sounds heavily damaged). Characters would end up with reward money.
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Re: Prizes

Postby Greylond » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:04 pm

The Scoundrels Book has rules about salvage. Typically, for a working ship it is 1/10th to 1/20th of the price. Then it talks about 1/20th to 1/40th for wrecks or just raw metal. So, I'd say it depends on the state of repair of the ship, how old it is and how much a local representative from a Law Enforcement Organization wants to help or mess with the characters.

Also, I can see some sort of Admiralty Prize Court dealing with it and of course taking the Imperium's share. :)

For some ideas on Prize Courts check out this page;
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/reco ... iralty.htm
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Re: Prizes

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:20 pm

This is something that can be a very handy plot device, how much money (or even ship) do you want to give the players?

In general I think that the successful capture of a pirate vessel would be rewarded, the authorities may stump up a reward (the 3rd Imperium is very opposed to piracy), and the original owners of the ship (or their heirs) or the bank will definately give some kind of reward. How much? I would go for between 1% and 10% of the value of the ship, depending on how much cash seems to fit with the campaign. Might take some time to claim, though, perhaps the claim will have to be sold to a broker for a fraction of its true value (broker roll required), so the players get some cash now, rather than a lot of cash in 4 years time. Then again, perhaps they could plan to visit the system again to pick up the full value at a later date.

Of course, even if a substantial quantity of prize money is gained, the pirates may well have friends out there, dangerous friends who will want to punish the players in a very violent, and extemely terminal manner. Of course, they need to catch the players first ....

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Re: Prizes

Postby Greylond » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:11 pm

Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:This is something that can be a very handy plot device, how much money (or even ship) do you want to give the players?
This is the key thing. However much you give the players, make sure that you can handle it. If you give them enough to buy a BattleCrusier, that's perfectly fine, as long as you(The GM) can handle it.
hdrider67
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Re: Prizes

Postby hdrider67 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:53 pm

Thanks, all.

They won't be getting much ship in the end. No more than 24% of a free trader's value after passing an Advocate roll, so they'll need to finance, no matter what they do end up getting. There won't be much for starship trade in the start system, anyway. It's TL9 so the only stuff available is what some of the locals might have picked up over time in the limited traffic that passes through. A trader or old scout/seeker will almost surely be their starter.

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