The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
gylesw
Cub
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:36 am

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby gylesw » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:41 am

For me, Ataraxzy has it right.

It is a fact and canon that ship retain vectors in Jump and that starts have velocities relative to each other. It's fine if YTU does do that, but those two factors have interesting implications.

For example, a ship departing Whatchacallit for Thingamee would head in a set direction so that at 100d it would have the required vector to arrive in the Thingamee system with near zero relative velocity. If the delta V was small this might mean not thrusting all the way to 100d, or having to thrust beyond 100d if the delta V was large.

Also, I am totally cool with systems of even quite modest technology population and star port ratings having regulations about maximum velocity allowed inbound to any populated world within 200,000 km, say 20 km/s, allowing for a final approach of three hours or so, and would view dimly those who broke the rules and hail this who were inbound and not shedding v fast enough to be at a safe velocity within space traffic control. Don't think we need to explain why having ships with high v moving with an intercept to a planets atmosphere is a bad idea. Also allows easy boarding and inspection by the authorities.

So a 1g ship departing at 12:00 on Tuesday from Whatchacallit for Thingamee would arrive with a know velocity in a comparatively small cube of space at a known time. And ships with matching v nearby would not be inherently suspicious.

So intercepts are possible, and the tight beam message from a vessel shaping for Thingamee informing you to prepare for either boarding or incoming fire is viable. And intercepts within space traffic control are also easy, but risky as that is where the fuzz is.

But why would a pirate select a ship?

If it's lifting cargo, then because of Intel. Port side info telling of a worthwhile cargo. Cargo is easy to shift.

Ships on the other hand... Obviously if you nick a ship and pull it apart for parts, fine, but you need a supply chain and logistics for that. If you want to sell the ship whole, then either a way of 'grooming it' so it is saleable, or taking it where someone will buy it knowing it is stolen.

So, pirates would have crew or agents port side. A small pirate ship (e.g. A2 trader, type R, modified with more G and full weapons load out but carrying a spoofable transponder) would depart so as to be able to put the move on MV Rich Pickings. With insurance, if the pirates are just after your cargo, letting them have it is a good option. Pirate then jumps to arrive in a different system (not Thingamee), changes identity, and sells cargo. Or as those in the ten trade call it, rinse and repeat.

If they are after your ship you are dead, but that requires a pirate band and organisation. Ship either gets a prize crew and goes to the chop shop, or gets loaded in a bay for transport.

A base need not be in system. A pirate base could be between systems. You steal a nice big k ton ship with lots of cargo space, fit collapsible tanks, brim it, and jump to x. This is now a pirate base. Say it has J2, and can remain on station for two months whilst refuelling other pirate vessel before jumping out to scoop fuel. They'd look for a low tech low star port system with a gas giant far removed from the main world. Some of the stolen vessels would run stolen cargo and stripped parts and be seemingly legit.

So, yeah, pirates work m'harties, but have to be well organised.
sideranautae
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1412
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:28 pm

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby sideranautae » Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:41 pm

gylesw wrote:For me, Ataraxzy has it right.

It is a fact and canon that ship retain vectors in Jump
It isn't a fact in MGT. Rules from another edition cannot be assumed between editions that aren't written into an edition. :wink:

It is a possible House rule though.
Image
User avatar
Reynard
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3565
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby Reynard » Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:22 pm

A lot of rules aren't described in depth with Mongoose Traveller. That's why we have to refer to other earlier sources considered canon and work from there. That's when one can say "Older sources say it happens this way and that's what we use.", otherwise, it's best to say "There's no detail either way but our group does it this way."

Back to plunderin'!
sideranautae
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1412
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:28 pm

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby sideranautae » Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:29 pm

Reynard wrote:A lot of rules aren't described in depth with Mongoose Traveller. That's why we have to refer to other earlier sources considered canon and work from there.
Um, no. Lots of people play MGT without having ANY material from prior editions. Ergo, you don't HAVE to house rule from past editions. :?

The rules are written in MGT are stand alone.
Image
User avatar
Reynard
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3565
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby Reynard » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:09 pm

You left out the 'otherwise' part of my statement. Don't quote out of context.
sideranautae
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1412
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:28 pm

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby sideranautae » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:12 pm

Reynard wrote:You left out the 'otherwise' part of my statement. Don't quote out of context.
That part was irrelevant to the other point you were making. Which WAS the part I quoted. Since it was immediately above my comment it wasn't an attempt to mislead. OBVIOUSLY. :lol:
Image
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4921
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby phavoc » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:37 pm

I'm with Reynard on this one. MGT rules mention NOTHING about retaining your speed and bearing when entering/leaving jump space. That doesn't mean you do, and it doesn't mean you don't. Since MGT has no information on the particular issue, it's not unreasonable or unheard of to refer back to earlier versions of the rules to define a rule. To say otherwise would mean that MGT Traveller is completely different than every previous version. And it's not. Some pieces are lifted essentially verbatim from previous versions, other sections have been tweaked and modified. This particular instance falls into one of those issues that isn't addressed at all.

The original work published by Miller in the early magazines (available from FFE on the CD) stated that ships going into jumps retained their course and velocity upon exit. If I recall correctly, he mentioned specifically that most ships tend to come to a relative stop before jumping because when they also retain the angular velocity and momentum of the system they are jumping from and take it to the system they are jumping to. It is easier and quicker if they minimize the differences upon arrival so they spend less time (potentially) cancelling out their previous vector and speed to get to their destination. Jumping isn't an exact science, plus civilian ships aren't going to take on extra risks unless they absolutely have to.

On a more IMTU note, I came up with something that more or less organizes busier systems arrival zones into sectors, with each potential system that is in range having a specific zone they are to arrive in, and each zone is alloted to a ship by the departing planet to ensure they don't overlap. Upon arrival the ship moves to an inbound lane and can then accelerate towards out of the arrival zone. Once they reach the 100D limit they can contact traffic control for vectors to wherever they are wanting to go. I used the same reasoning we use today - it's better to be safe than sorry. While space IS big, and at 100D the amount of volume ships can come and go in is pretty large, it is still possible for accidents to happen. And it's the responsibility of the government to make space travel as safe as possible. So having some kind of system in place to minimize the potential for collisions just makes a lot of practical sense. Obviously you really don't need something as sophisticated for hardly-trafficed planets, but there's still usually something there just to be safe.
sideranautae
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1412
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:28 pm

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby sideranautae » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:54 pm

In frontier areas (not talking 3I setting) pirates are more likely to be privateers. Just like in the age of sail, they MANY times more numerous than unaffiliated pirates. Having safe ports is critical to longer term survival.
Image
ieqo
Weasel
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2014 3:52 am

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby ieqo » Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:54 pm

sideranautae wrote:In frontier areas (not talking 3I setting) pirates are more likely to be privateers. Just like in the age of sail, they MANY times more numerous than unaffiliated pirates. Having safe ports is critical to longer term survival.
While that's accurate as far as historical commentary and the implications of same, there's two salient points to be made:

1) Who cares if they're pirates, privateers, brave freedom fighters trying to overthrow the oppressive regime, or aggressive missionaries distributing literature? To the crew of the ship they're shooting at, it matters not one bit. "They're bleepidy-bleeping shooting at us and demanding that we heave to for boarding! That makes them bleepidy-bleeping pirates!"

2) If you're not talking the 3I setting, then you're either talking about SD, HS, or some version of YTU, since the OTU pretty much is the 3I. So moving forward from there, any statement made after the words, "not the 3I setting" is no more valid or relevant to the OTU than the guy who says, "Piracy isn't a problem in MTU because
starships run on rainbows and psionic unicorn farts."
sideranautae
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1412
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:28 pm

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby sideranautae » Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:20 pm

ieqo wrote: 1) Who cares if they're pirates, privateers,
Because it completely changes how and where they operate. :roll:
Image
ieqo
Weasel
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2014 3:52 am

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby ieqo » Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:41 pm

sideranautae wrote:
Because it completely changes how and where they operate. :roll:
I still maintain that the victim isn't really concerned about the semantic distinctions. Let's put it differently: if a band of urban thugs shoots your dog, kicks in your door, loots your belongings, and is in the process of doing unspeakable atrocities to your family, is there any possible permutation or combination of specific gang affiliations that would make this less of an outrage to you?

Yes I get that there is a real difference between a pirate, a privateer, and a commisioned commerce raider. My point is that those distinctions are neither apparent nor relevant to the ship on the other side of the crosshairs.
User avatar
Reynard
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3565
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby Reynard » Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:47 pm

They'll just have to wait until they're spaced, blown up, put in low berth or hear "Thank you for your patience and remember to contact your insurance company."
dragoner
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 1716
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:37 pm
Location: Indiana, US

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby dragoner » Sat Aug 30, 2014 12:33 am

There is an old JTAS write up on pirates.
User avatar
Reynard
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3565
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby Reynard » Sat Aug 30, 2014 1:29 am

That's was a good read. I reread it before joining a Pirates of Drinax campaign for inspiration.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4921
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby phavoc » Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:35 am

sideranautae wrote:In frontier areas (not talking 3I setting) pirates are more likely to be privateers. Just like in the age of sail, they MANY times more numerous than unaffiliated pirates. Having safe ports is critical to longer term survival.
A privateer is going to be someone who is using a letter of marque (or it's future equivalent) to prey upon the shipping of enemies. Which would require a lot of planets to be at war, or at least at unease, with their neighbors.

On the one hand, having privateers when you are a lower tech planet would be great, because you could not build starships to prey upon higher tech worlds in some cases. But beyond that, the lower tech planets really have nothing to offer, aside from safe harbor and a potential place to unload loot since the planetary authorities are looking the other way. There would always be the risk of an Imperial ship showing up at the wrong time, and most Imperial warships would be TL14-15, more than a match for a pirate in many cases.

It seems very odd to me that you'd have such rampant warmongering among planets that really have no need to do so. A planet can't claim an entire system, and the Imperium owns all the space between worlds, so there is further disincentive for war like that. And inter-system wars make some sense, but not a lot. Sure, there could be some economic warfare going on, or even war over resources on other planets/colonies. But the Imperium doesn't tolerate large-scale war, nor would many planets want to risk having the Imperium come down on their heads for supporting piracy. A privateer would potentially point the finger back at the world they are working for.

Historically privateers often did some piracy on the side, using the letter of marque when it was to their advantage. But the parallel to sailing-day raids to the 3I comes up a bit short, at least as I see it.
dragoner
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 1716
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:37 pm
Location: Indiana, US

Re: The Pirate in the Traveller Universe

Postby dragoner » Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:36 am

Reynard wrote:That's was a good read. I reread it before joining a Pirates of Drinax campaign for inspiration.
Yes, that is a good idea, maybe I should re-read it as well.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 32 guests