Jump Arrival Point

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Meanderer
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby Meanderer » Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:50 am

Some of the ideas here don't seem like they would work.

trying to set up a standard jump emergence point near a world or setting up a net of asteroids between some other system and the main world seem to miss the point that planets are in really big orbits. Earth is, what, about 93 million kilometers from our sun. That is one very large arc you need a net for, or your net of asteroids may only work for up to one day per year. Too much work.

After some speculation about old capital ships used as kinetic torpedoes, jumping in at an immense velocity to crash into a target planet, I enforced a time range for jump emergence. The best you could hope for was plus/minus 1 hour (more if you used unrefined fuel) and a variation based on the size of the planet. Refined fuel could get you close but tramp traders could arrive further off with a +/- of up to 10 hours. This gave a greater chance for a tramp trader to get into trouble.

Pirate ships would turn off their transponders, cut emissions and turn down their power plant waiting in an orbit behind or ahead the main world waiting. Targets don't show up that often, but the targets that do are vulnerable (having just jumped in they would lack the fuel to jump out again) and a ship jumping in could be expected to have cargo.

The alternative (hitting a ship enroute to/from the gas giant) is problematic. If the ship jumps further out to refuel first, then the pirate is trying to intercept a fully fueled ship (could try to jump out).

Ships heading out to the gas giant are the best target. Far from any reasonable help.

Desert worlds would be the worst. Any tramp trader that puts in to the starport but doesn't buy fuel must be planning to get it at the gas giant. Taking on passengers means a scheduled departure time. Informants planted in at the starport could arrange short coded transmissions to the pirates identifying target and time. There may even be information about cargo onboard.
phavoc
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby phavoc » Sat Jun 07, 2014 7:34 am

Most ships are never going to travel out to the gas giant to refuel. Not unless it's a planet like Regina orbiting a gas giant. The time it takes to travel there, refuel (which is not without risk), then maneuver to the 100D point to jump out all adds up to wasted time. That time could be economically spent better buying unrefined fuel at starport upon landing, equipping your ship with fuel purification equipment to refine it in 24-72hrs, and then departing to make money from trade or delivering passengers (and/or both). Otherwise you'd spend days in transit, which cuts into how many trips you can make per month.

Only if fuel wasn't available would this occur. Or, perhaps, if you were a naval flotilla, and you weren't in a hurry to get to your next destination. Then it would be cheaper to get fuel for free. But commercial ships aren't going to be stooging around systems trying to save a few thousand credits when they are potentially losing 10,000s of thousands.
Condottiere
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby Condottiere » Sat Jun 07, 2014 10:35 am

Probably need to expand settlement in the outer system, so that the Corsair has a more target rich environment.
Meanderer
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby Meanderer » Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:20 pm

Of course they keep saying it is very hard to succeed as a pirate in the Imperium.

Outside the Imperium, in the Trojan Reaches or in Vargr Space I think it is more like the dark ages with robber barons. Merchants would hire guards to protect their caravans but were as much worried about the local lords on the way (inventing taxes for those travelling through his lands) as bandits.

The Imperium succeeds because the amount of security merchants need is cut down, and trade flourishes.

The outrim void is a depressed backwater, cut off from trade, because the risk/rewards ratio is skewed. If you need to send armed ships capable of combat, the cargo capacity drops very fast. Hard to make it pay. You need the markets along the way to buy in and guarantee the safety of the merchant ships and share the benefits of trade- but do they all trust each other enough for this and can you trust them.
Fovean
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby Fovean » Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:03 pm

CT Supplement 4 Citizens of the Imperium had pirates as a career choice for players, right next to Belters. First two career choices in the book.
AndrewW
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby AndrewW » Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:00 pm

Fovean wrote:CT Supplement 4 Citizens of the Imperium had pirates as a career choice for players, right next to Belters. First two career choices in the book.
So does MGT Alien Module 1: Aslan Outlaw (Pirate, Raider, Thief).
Alien Module 2: Vargr has Corsair (Raider, Pilot, Reaver).
Wil Mireu
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby Wil Mireu » Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:38 pm

AndrewW wrote:
Fovean wrote:CT Supplement 4 Citizens of the Imperium had pirates as a career choice for players, right next to Belters. First two career choices in the book.
So does MGT Alien Module 1: Aslan Outlaw (Pirate, Raider, Thief).
Alien Module 2: Vargr has Corsair (Raider, Pilot, Reaver).
Just because they're there as options, that doesn't mean necessarily mean that anyone gave any proper thought into Pirates being a realistic option for the game.
Meanderer
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby Meanderer » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:15 pm

Well, we've seen all kinds of silly things added to the game over the years, including Mongoose books/supplements that have specially designed ships for bounty hunters or for prisons to use hunting down escaped prisoners.

As if prison breaks are so common and successful that prisons must include millions of credits in their budgets for acquiring and maintaining ships to hunt down escapees. As if our prisons are responsible for tracking down escapees. They may send a ship's boat out that they use for prisoner transfers (maybe having some armament) but would most likely turn to law enforcement (local authorities, subsector navy, Imperial navy) to be on the lookout for the escapee.

Or bounty hunters would want to have a ship that screams "bounty hunter" so their targets can see them coming. A modified scout courier would be a much better ship (aren't the Type S scouts the VW Beetles of space?)

I thought the Night's Dawn series had a fairly good depiction of piracy - an armed merchant vessel whose owner was having trouble keeping up with the bills takes advantage of an opportunity to attack another merchant ship and take its cargo. Piracy being a crime of opportunity it is not a full time occupation but a supplement to other sources of income. It makes sense for a merchant vessel to be armed on/near the frontier so weapons could be claimed to be for self defense purposes. Maybe the crew is skewed towards personnel with a mercenary background or navy/army veterans who aren't so picky about where the money comes from. Makes for crew that are more disciplined and capable in a shipboard firefight than the typical merchant crew. Maybe more mercenaries posing as passengers. But this costs more to operate the ship then and puts more pressure on the captain to find other sources of income (hiring on for odd jobs for patrons, for example). Using a merchant vessel as a basis for a pirate vessel has disadvantages (may not have any speed advantage over the target vessel) but has advantages (steal the cargo. forge bills of sale and/or bills of lading. claim it is a legitimate cargo you or one of the passengers owns).

Some of you may have noticed that the description of the merchant vessel with more guns and more combat experienced crew also pretty much describes a lot of Traveller character groups. A group of PCs and NPCs travelling in a merchant vessel may look quite suspicious to a subsector navy patrol trying to track down a pirate ship posing as a merchant. "Please explain why you have ACRs on board?"
Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:36 am

Meanderer wrote:Well, we've seen all kinds of silly things added to the game over the years, including Mongoose books/supplements that have specially designed ships for bounty hunters or for prisons to use hunting down escaped prisoners.

As if prison breaks are so common and successful that prisons must include millions of credits in their budgets for acquiring and maintaining ships to hunt down escapees. As if our prisons are responsible for tracking down escapees. They may send a ship's boat out that they use for prisoner transfers (maybe having some armament) but would most likely turn to law enforcement (local authorities, subsector navy, Imperial navy) to be on the lookout for the escapee.

Or bounty hunters would want to have a ship that screams "bounty hunter" so their targets can see them coming. A modified scout courier would be a much better ship (aren't the Type S scouts the VW Beetles of space?)

I thought the Night's Dawn series had a fairly good depiction of piracy - an armed merchant vessel whose owner was having trouble keeping up with the bills takes advantage of an opportunity to attack another merchant ship and take its cargo. Piracy being a crime of opportunity it is not a full time occupation but a supplement to other sources of income. It makes sense for a merchant vessel to be armed on/near the frontier so weapons could be claimed to be for self defense purposes. Maybe the crew is skewed towards personnel with a mercenary background or navy/army veterans who aren't so picky about where the money comes from. Makes for crew that are more disciplined and capable in a shipboard firefight than the typical merchant crew. Maybe more mercenaries posing as passengers. But this costs more to operate the ship then and puts more pressure on the captain to find other sources of income (hiring on for odd jobs for patrons, for example). Using a merchant vessel as a basis for a pirate vessel has disadvantages (may not have any speed advantage over the target vessel) but has advantages (steal the cargo. forge bills of sale and/or bills of lading. claim it is a legitimate cargo you or one of the passengers owns).

Some of you may have noticed that the description of the merchant vessel with more guns and more combat experienced crew also pretty much describes a lot of Traveller character groups. A group of PCs and NPCs travelling in a merchant vessel may look quite suspicious to a subsector navy patrol trying to track down a pirate ship posing as a merchant. "Please explain why you have ACRs on board?"
Answer to the Navy: "Cause your not doing a good enough job in protecting us from pirates! Since I don't want my starship stolen or its contents plundered, I have to have weapons to defend myself, as I don't want to be taken hostage either! Don't like it? Then maybe you should beef up your antipiracy patrols instead of bothering honest merchants like me!"
Meanderer
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby Meanderer » Tue Jun 10, 2014 6:06 pm

Yeah. Mouthing off to Navy lieutenants who are backed by a couple of marines in combat armor works for me all the time too. They enjoy my attitude so much they stick around for a full safety inspection such as ensuring my drives are operating within acceptable parameters and I have enough rescue balls for my passengers.

Put some priggish prat (or prattish prig) in a uniform and they lose all sense of irony or sarcasm.
sideranautae
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby sideranautae » Tue Jun 10, 2014 6:25 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote: Answer to the Navy: "Cause your not doing a good enough job in protecting us from pirates! Since I don't want my starship stolen or its contents plundered, I have to have weapons to defend myself, as I don't want to be taken hostage either! Don't like it? Then maybe you should beef up your antipiracy patrols instead of bothering honest merchants like me!"
Basically, if the navy starts ticking off the prime source of tax revenue (trade) the offending officers will find themselves commanding old SDB's stationed deep in a GG in some backwater system.
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Meanderer
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby Meanderer » Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:05 pm

Megacorporations, sure.

Hassling some piddly little one-ship merchant won't get him into any trouble.

Merchant captain's word against his, and the Navy lieutenant's superior may not be impressed with a lack of respect for the uniform - besides trade depends on safe means of transportation for passengers so these inspections are important because those tramp traders are notorious for not properly maintaining their ships.
GypsyComet
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby GypsyComet » Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:44 pm

Just make sure you know who that Merchant Captain is before you pull Service on him, Lieutenant.
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sideranautae
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby sideranautae » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:47 pm

Meanderer wrote: Merchant captain's word against his,

Yes, because even today I can't get a full A/V recording of a meeting without a person knowing it.

Ya crack me up Meanderer. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Meanderer
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby Meanderer » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:14 pm

Yeah. You have a Navy officer coming on board. Asking for your documents. You mouthing off at him. Him looking kind of irritated as he continues to scan your documents.

Says "These look in order. Once we have finished our safety inspection you can be on your way".

Gee. Post that on ImperiumBook. Particularly the parts about taking items out of storage lockers and count them. It's as exciting as paint drying.

Some reporter somewhere may reference your video as an example of the Navy harassing honest businessmen who are trying to get by. Or, if they find things missing, someone may reference it as a captain of an unsafe rustbucket complaining that he's being expected to follow the same rules that apply to everyone else. Comments on your video may run both ways, with some people writing about family members who were lost in space (misjump perhaps) and complaining that someone needs to make these merchant ships safer.

Of course there are rules and Rules. A lot of requirements put together by a remote bureaucracy in a more developed sector. Many are generally ignored with an understanding by the courts that some of the requirements are not quite practical in the 'Marches.

Of course at the end of this drawn out inspection which ticks you off as you are eager to make planetfall and your passengers keep asking the steward what's going on, you can get the Navy officer listing all your technical violations, sneering about whether your passengers know how unsafe your ship is and then letting you off with a warning that you need to get these items looked after and he'd better not see you come through without you getting them fixed. How gracious of him. Of course if you keep mouthing off at him he may issue you a summons to report to the Imperial Bureau of Transportation office and, because they are on station flagging down ships for the next week it will take a while for the paperwork to go through so you can apply to get the charges dropped. Just another week on planet until the misunderstanding is worked out. It's like a cop writing up tickets. You can pay the ticket to get on your way or stick around and appear in court to fight it.

You could skip out on the summons. They won't do any cross-sector manhunt for you. It's like an unpaid parking ticket but a few weeks later some starport will deny you leave to take off until you show documentation that this outstanding fine has been settled. You'll have to pay the fine before you can leave and will have to pay extension fees on your docking berth if you try protesting this. Not the Starport's fault there is this outstanding fine recorded, and they have some Imperial official calling because your ship came up on an automatic comparison with outstanding summons. Maybe you can argue them out of adding penalties on top of the fine but you can't appeal the original summons without the detailed records from the inspection. They can send for them if you want to wait around.....
Meanderer
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Re: Jump Arrival Point

Postby Meanderer » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:48 pm

Does the age of cell phone cameras and YouTube/Facebook prevent police from pulling you over or give you free reign to mouth off at them because "What can they do?"

Of course they can't say wait here while they walk off with your driver's license and vehicle registration to.... run them through the computer? Just sit and let you sweat a bit? Who are you kidding. They can keep you waiting an extra 15 minutes easily - no explanation required.

There are rules about working headlights and signals that he can have you test. Things cops really don't bother to pull people over for but are on the books anyway. Any number of things that are in police manuals such that the police officer is still just doing his job.

And then you get a ticket that you are sure you could fight. But it is just $150 and if you have to take four hours off work and pay for parking downtown to go and fight it do you bother? Particularly if you aren't sure you can make the whole thing go away. If you can just get it cut down to $50, why bother? And if it is in another city in your state, and you have to go back to court there to fight it.... you probably just mail in the check and privately curse what a jerk that police officer was.

Merchant captains may curse "The difference between the Navy patrols and the pirates is no one comes out to drive off or arrest the Navy patrol." And if there is anything more irritating than a b.s. Cr 5,000 fine for safety violations it's an extra week of downtime dealing with the bureaucracy while you have salaries to pay and bank payments to keep up on.

Of course the fancy shipping lines speak out quire favorably about the fine job these patrol ship crews are doing keeping the spacelanes safe (and keeping rustbucket free traders from cutting into their cargo trade, but they don't publicly say that part).

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