How to repo a ship?


Has anyone role-played out having the Travellers' (or any) ship repossessed?

I'm looking for other methods besides the obvious ship-to-ship combat and boarding action of securing a ship from its delinquent owners, and the blurb in CRB about skipping on payments isn't leaving me much to go on. Maybe in another sourcebook?

How have you played repossessing the Travellers or someone else's ship? Once a ship is out of the Travellers' hands, what happens to it?
The simplest way would be to have the ship impounded at a starport. If they dock at a starport in a system with a high enough law level with a notification of delinquency that should be sufficient. If they avoid higher law level systems a freelance agent could be sent to repossess the ship but this would be a secondary effort.

Once repossessed the ship would be surveyed for condition and state of repair then sold on market, probably at the sector capitol though possibly from the system where it was impounded.
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Whoever is tasking to retrieve the ship could use some kind of remote override using manufacture's in built 'special codes' or just via hacking.
Some kind of special encoded signal can be sent from the owners that deactivates the engines.
Once docked somewhere, it founds the docking clamps cannot be released.
The starport is told to deliberately sell them "fuel" that will cause them to stall in orbit, ready to be picked up.
I almost got to play in a Starship Repo Man campaign, but we spent the first few sessions just investigating/skiptracing, then the group fell apart for unrelated reasons. So no experience, but we did a little bit of brainstorming.

The obvious weak point is at starport. As kokopelli says above, at a high enough law level you might just serve notice with starport security backing you up. But in many places you'll need to be prepared to board and take possession first, present your credentials second. Computers, Mechanic and Stealth would all be useful for getting through the hatch and to the control room, ideally while the crew is on shore leave.

If that seems unlikely you'll have to get creative. Tempt the crew on board with alcohol, women, gambling, addictive VR chips, whatever it takes to get them out of position or just out of shape. Ship a cargo container full of your own guys, just to get them on board. If they're still taking passengers, book every ticket with your guys and rush them once everyone's on board. Fake an emergency at port, but do so before they've refueled so the crew move. (The last is better if you can spoof only the ship, faking an emergency for a whole starport is likely to be a Very Bad Thing.)

If you must go ship to ship, call on the bank or megacorp for back up if there's any in system, or just hire on a couple more freelancers and accept you're splitting the fee more ways. 3v1 is a lot more intimidating than 1v1, and can hopefully wrap up faster with less damage if they do fight it out.

Or conversely, boarding actions don't have to take a starship if you can locate the target inbound and hit it outbound. Could be a bunch of belters and mercs in suits on rocket sleds, launched from a civilian model M-drive only spaceship. Low profile, not apparently threatening if they're encountered near a starport or jump limit until they launch the suits. And while those will be obvious if someone is actively manning Sensors they won't necessarily trigger any automatic alarms, the energy and mass is low until they're close.

Or if you're very high tech and you have the bank's access codes, you could just attempt the infamous "I hack the ship" Computer roll. I don't actually like this one, I can't imagine people wouldn't just air-gap their ships' computers, but maybe if you're still paying off the mortgage they leave a backdoor for just such occasions.
Anything that involves a "special code" or other backdoor would be a very bad idea for the same reason as it is today: malicious types WILL discover and exploit it, probably before you ever get to make "legitimate" use.

Remote access to a ship's computers (and potential hacking) probably isn't available for the same reason.

In the case of Traveller, the most obvious candidates for malicious use are pirates, which makes the secret code a downright stupid idea: the people who fly the ship will get pirated, and the pirates will get the ship. As the bank, you'll lose the ship, AND you'll probably end up having to pay insurance to the people who got hit. (Or their next of kin, which will be even worse for your brand...)
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Garran, that is your opinion and you are welcome to viewing it in that limited and simplified fashion. The reality of it can be something far more complex.
Such methods already exist in current military systems, even allowing allied navies to access remote sensors and weaponry. Perhaps you should write and tell the US and Japanese navy about your concerns with piracy.
Codes are not likely to be effective in any case. In order for the code to work you would need to be in the same system as the ship and aware it is there. You would not likely hand out such a thing (if it exists) to third parties.

This is why I argue star ports. Once docked the ship is not leaving without the port's permission, to shoot your way out would make it a military matter which is a fight most ships will lose. Even a single SDB will be able to stop most non-military ships.

Also while at dock the number of people on board will be minimal, 1-2 people if anyone at all on a small (400 ton or less) vessel. It is trivial for a starport to control access and get the skeleton crew off. The reality is 99% of the time combat or even threats should not be necessary, simple administration is sufficient. If a crew tries to take on starport security they will lose, especially on a planet with a higher law level. If they do win in the short term the govt will have more resources and so the crew will lose eventually. For that matter most crew are in it for the paycheck, fighting to board and get a ship out of the starport illegally is not in their job description, easier just to find a new crew.

If you prefer rules approach look at pirates of Drinax, if you break a ship out of a starport after repossession you are effectively a pirate in a stolen ship.
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1. Insurance seems questionable for tramp steamers, and I don't think it's been mentioned in operating expenses.

2. On the other hand, proof of it would be required to dock at a starport.

3. It may be paid by the mortgaging entity.

4. Who'd automatically cancels it on default.
For convenience I would assume insurance is part of either maintenance expenses or the mortgage. I think maintenance is the more likely since that would be generally wise even without a mortgage for purposes of bonded cargo, spaceport liability, etc...
Decades ago, I ran a group of mercenaries that focused on repos when jobs they were interested in ran short. They would get a ten percent finder's fee based on the condition of the ship upon return (i.e. pristine/usable/crippled/scrap).
Aside from the normal boarding actions, they would come up with inventive ways to get aboard or lure parts of the crew away. Bribing the dockmaster for a berth near the target and then throwing a barbecue... with drugged meat; kidnapping crew members and then applying for the newly empty positions; forging documents as customs inspectors when they didn't actually have authority as customs inspectors, and then introducing viruses into the computer...
Eventually, they amassed a flotilla of ships, along with several missile bays, that they were able to use to convince most ships to surrender before causing damage.
At that point, the campaign went on hiatus due to military service, and on return switched over to fighting off a Vargr incursion, and eventually gaining noble land holds on a planet taken back from the Vargr.