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Piracy and You
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The Brain
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:39 am    Post subject: Piracy and You Reply with quote

So after starting a new group my players have hit upon a plan to become pirates in an outlying frontierish sector. Now instead of giving them a lengthy homework assignment of reading Pirates & Privateers and other meta sources that would both bore and most likely reveal too much I've decided to try to distill it down to a basic primer that will keep them from getting stupid dead but still make them figure things out for themselves. So heres the first part and suggestions or modifications would be appreciated.
Caveats the group is currently 2 PCs an exiled noble Saber Rake and a gunslinger. The sector itself is located in and around a nebula formed from ancient super nova with a pulsar located somewhere in its middle which greatly hampers interstellar communications and on occasion disrupts hyperspace travel.

Homework Assignment: Things You Need in Order to be a (succesful)Pirate

1. A ship

2. A Crew. Even the smallest light freighter will be difficult to take with only 1 or 2 pirates. A crew of at least not too bright but controlable boarding muscle is needed. In addition a skilled astrogator for plotting possible vectors of prizes and making quick escapes into hyperspace is a valuable asset. Following that other ships crew (general space hands, medical personnel, dedicated engineering, etc.)

3. Information. Where are the trade routes. What ships are in transit. When are ships in transit, and where are they going. What cargos are they carrying. What level of threat are they if they resist.
I. Where do you get this information?
a. Shipping Schedules listing ship names and destinations (but not cargos) are publicly posted in almost all legitimate ports. Exceptions being goverment/military vessels and company ships traveling to their own company holdings.
b. Personnel Intelligence. Information gathered trhough personel contact often from sources not intending to reveal it. E.g. careless talk in bars can reveal secrets about the contents of a cargo hold. Cargoes and ships supplies purchased in person direct from their suppliers. A pirate who is plugged into the local market can spot who is buying what.
c. Technical Intellegence. Information gathered from technological sources. Sliced company computer records, tap comm lines. Often revealing the information as Personnel Intelligence, but allowing a wider net to be cast.
d. Infochants. Information merchants, 3rd party providers of b and c. Of course this brings in questions of loyalty, after is someone else willing to pay for information about you?

4. Logicistical Support. Ship repair for both mundane and battle damage. Modifications to elude identification and to improve ship performance. Crew and ship consumables.
I. Where can these services be obtained.
a. Legitimate ports. Small raider vessels disguised as legal vessels may be able to obtain legitimate some or all port services with well forged documentation, especially in larger spaceports where the shear volume of traffic provides cover. Particularly if contacts in the local criminal under world can be made. In addition time in port can be put to use gathering intelligence of commercial shipping. The draw back being that if discovered escape may prove extremely difficult or even impossible from an area at the center of law enforcement/military power.
b. Fringe Ports. Ostencibley legal starport facilities but often located at the edge of effective goverment authority these facilities while often not as comprehensive tend not to as rigorously enforce regulations either due to economic necessity or indifference to what they see as unecessary and meddlesome details.
c. Shadow Ports (work in progress)
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice rundown. THough why are YOU doing the leg work on this for them?
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
THough why are YOU doing the leg work on this for them?

Spoken like a true evil GM. He said P&P gives too much info. (It does have a GM focus, unlike Platt's Smuggler's Guide which is a true player handbook.) And most GMs actually want their players to be somewhat convincing in the roles they play. Players of pirate PCs should at least have a run-down like this to have a basic grasp of piracy. The players still have to read it and understand it.

Brain, great work. Thanks for sharing!
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JironGhrad
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Whill, it's excellent work. The only caveat I might offer is that perhaps the players should figure out getting the ship last. Given that the available ships that come pre-packaged as effective pirate vessels are virtually nil (unless they can pirate some type of warship).
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Tinman
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't neglect the contacts necessary to "move" goods, once they've been taken. The closest thing I've been involved with was a privateering game, and even though we didn't usually have to worry about where prize cargo went (we just offloaded most of it to the Rebel Alliance,) we still had to deal with black/lack market contacts on occasion. The latter is much easier, if you've taken the right goods. People who're desperate for certain things simply won't ask questions about where they came from, and are a lot less likely to be betray the only source they have for them.

Pirates, as opposed to privateers, are going to be dealing with some very disreputable individuals and organizations in the process of attempting to make a profit. Deals go sour, enemies are made, actual friends are few and far between, and good faith in deals and dealings should never be assumed.

Also, don't neglect places to hide. Trouble happens, plans go horribly sideways, enemies will come looking for their pound of flesh, and the authorities are not usually stupid or ineffective (though with varying degrees of effectiveness.) There were whole periods of time where we had to lay low while fallout cleared, and that was with powerful sponsors who could sometimes be counted on for assistance.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another thing with a piracy game is player actions will often come closer to hitting the 'gain dark side points' a lot easier than say a base rebel alliance game would (or should).. So how will you handle it when they start gaining DSPs? Will you let them play if they turn?
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JironGhrad wrote:
I agree with Whill, it's excellent work. The only caveat I might offer is that perhaps the players should figure out getting the ship last. Given that the available ships that come pre-packaged as effective pirate vessels are virtually nil (unless they can pirate some type of warship).

All it takes is for one player to pick the Privateer Captain template. He gets a combat-ready ship as part of his starting equipment.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
Another thing with a piracy game is player actions will often come closer to hitting the 'gain dark side points' a lot easier than say a base rebel alliance game would (or should).. So how will you handle it when they start gaining DSPs? Will you let them play if they turn?

IIRC, the only way non-FS characters can get DSPs under the RAW is to spend FPs while committing evil actions. It may limit their actions a little, but not so much that they can't be professional pirates. Just so long as they aren't a bunch of sadistic murder-hobos...
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Jar-Jar Deb Kaadeb
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which i have never liked/agreed with as it effectively says i can do evil all i want just as long as i do so without spending a force point.
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The Brain
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tinman wrote:
Don't neglect the contacts necessary to "move" goods, once they've been taken. The closest thing I've been involved with was a privateering game, and even though we didn't usually have to worry about where prize cargo went (we just offloaded most of it to the Rebel Alliance,) we still had to deal with black/lack market contacts on occasion. The latter is much easier, if you've taken the right goods. People who're desperate for certain things simply won't ask questions about where they came from, and are a lot less likely to be betray the only source they have for them.

Pirates, as opposed to privateers, are going to be dealing with some very disreputable individuals and organizations in the process of attempting to make a profit. Deals go sour, enemies are made, actual friends are few and far between, and good faith in deals and dealings should never be assumed.

Also, don't neglect places to hide. Trouble happens, plans go horribly sideways, enemies will come looking for their pound of flesh, and the authorities are not usually stupid or ineffective (though with varying degrees of effectiveness.) There were whole periods of time where we had to lay low while fallout cleared, and that was with powerful sponsors who could sometimes be counted on for assistance.


Precisely parts 5 and 6 are tentatively titled Booty and Hideaways.
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The Brain
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whoops double post.
"oh its nothing just old data"
"Nothing to see here move along."
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Last edited by The Brain on Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
Which i have never liked/agreed with as it effectively says i can do evil all i want just as long as i do so without spending a force point.

That's fine, but it is the RAW, so if you are going to deviate from it, it helps not to assume that everyone else does the same.
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Jar-Jar Deb Kaadeb
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Brain wrote:
Precisely parts 5 and 6 are tentatively titled Booty and Hideaways.

Hideouts and Strongholds highly recommended here.

The line between the Fringe and legitimate businesses can get pretty blurry when it comes to fencing loot. Historically, pirates did a lot of business selling stolen goods to legitimate businessmen who used their business contacts to sell the goods either on the side or mixed in with legal product.
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Jar-Jar Deb Kaadeb
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JironGhrad
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
JironGhrad wrote:
I agree with Whill, it's excellent work. The only caveat I might offer is that perhaps the players should figure out getting the ship last. Given that the available ships that come pre-packaged as effective pirate vessels are virtually nil (unless they can pirate some type of warship).

All it takes is for one player to pick the Privateer Captain template. He gets a combat-ready ship as part of his starting equipment.


He said that they only have 2 players at present:
The Brain wrote:
an exiled noble Saber Rake and a gunslinger.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which one is going to be the pilot? Or will the two PCs just be crew on someone else's ship?
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Jar-Jar Deb Kaadeb
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