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Author Topic: Pirates, how?  (Read 3029 times)

CVB

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Re: Pirates, how?
« Reply #30 on: 16 October 2022, 02:33:32 »
Problems with piracy:
- Investment: Historically, pirates didn 't sail the oceans in proud frigates or even ships of the line (Hollywood withstanding), but in small and most of all cheap coastal cargo or fishing vessels - as did their prey. In BT, there are no cheap Jumpships. Every little band of interstellar pirates actually is a several hundred million cbill enterprise. Piracy is a business, not an adventure generator, and in many cases the smart business decision would be to simply sell the Jumpship (or never purchasing one) and invest the capital in safer business opportunities. Conversely, every free trader is an immensely rare and valuable (and therefore presumably heavily defended) multi hundred million or even multi billion investment.
-Targets: when we postulate that a pirate band can "harvest" the output of a large EU country, we would also need to postulate a corresponding defense force, even if just SRM or field gun equipped infantry (unless our pirates only target pacifists that offer their output in easily collectable and transportable treasure hoards). Even if the population doesn't defend their valuables, the local feudal forces would - it's their loot/taxes, after all.
- Black Ops: when we see that interstellar piracy isn 't such a great business idea, black ops/false flag units lose much of their role, simply because the real pirate traffic to hide among isn't there.
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pokefan548

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Re: Pirates, how?
« Reply #31 on: 17 October 2022, 10:52:18 »
This also assumes every pirate operates their own JumpShip. It's entirely possible, on some planets, for pirates to exist as a local nuisance; too large for the locals to deal with on their own but too small and localized for a larger military force to go out of their way to remove them. There's also the option for pirates to just buy a ride on (or hijack, if things get hairy) a legitimate transport JumpShip running its normal routes. I'm sure more than a few JumpShip captains are happy to take the money and not ask questions in some of the less busy regions of space, and even that aside the pirates could, with a little cunning, just pose as mercenaries on their way to or from a job.

Say, for instance, that you've got a pirate band consisting of a couple Intruder DropShips full of hired guns and three or four aerospace fighters. They hang around the system's recharge station or thereabouts, and extort tolls from passing cargo droppers. If the locals or feds get sick of them disrupting trade, they can lay low for a while, and try to find a JumpShip that hasn't seen the racket run (or simply doesn't care about the reputation of their passengers, so long as they pay up front and don't try anything funny while docked). Otherwise, they'll be able to run that con for quite a long time. When the jig is up as stated above, or freighters catch on and stop visiting the planet without plenty of guns of their own, move on to a system two or three jumps away (maybe taking some time to "borrow" some property on the intervening jumps), get yourself established with your leftover cash, and once you've got a feel for the place set up that same con again. If there is no option to escape the system any time soon, a planet is still a pretty big place. With even just a few members who's faces are relatively unknown, you can survive in the backwoods off of your accrued gains for anywhere from a few months to a few years until the heat dies down.

I suspect we don't hear about that type of piracy much because it generally doesn't make for too many intense stories about against-the-odds defenses or wild interstellar manhunts, much like how everyone likes to talk about Blackbeard and Bonne despite the fact that they represent an outlier in historical piracy. At the end of the day, it's a franchise about big stompy robots IN SPESS written by a variety of authors, some of whom may or may not have a habit of having at least one huge explosion every five pages and ending every engagement with a cheesy punchline. Credit to the authors that take the time to put a real focus on the more mundane, minor-annoyance aspects of the BT universe, for they're a relatively rare breed (at least in fluff; the crunch devs love their pointless minor details and it's great).
« Last Edit: 17 October 2022, 10:54:24 by pokefan548 »
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Daryk

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Re: Pirates, how?
« Reply #32 on: 17 October 2022, 18:35:52 »
Speaking of historical piracy, CGP Grey did a couple of interesting videos:

One from the perspective of the Quartermaster (how the money is actually made): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0fAznO1wA8

And the other from the perspective of the Pirate Captain (the importance of branding): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YFeE1eDlD0
« Last Edit: 18 October 2022, 18:00:14 by Daryk »

Colt Ward

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Re: Pirates, how?
« Reply #33 on: 18 October 2022, 12:48:14 »
And the other from the perspective the Pirate Captain (the importance of branding): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YFeE1eDlD0

"Ah, but you have heard of me."

It is a interesting point, considering some of the more infamous pirates developed signature styles/ships that led their way into action with the reputation.  Blackbeard lighting off parts of his beard would be one.

But the same also applies to outlaws- consider some of the reputations generated by those in the 'Wild' West.
Colt Ward
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Daryk

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Re: Pirates, how?
« Reply #34 on: 18 October 2022, 18:01:12 »
Indeed!  Reputation counts for more than most people give it credit for...  8)

DOC_Agren

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Re: Pirates, how?
« Reply #35 on: 18 October 2022, 20:56:11 »
Indeed!  Reputation counts for more than most people give it credit for...  8)
Right, it is amazing how much you can get if they know "who you are".  Remember the Black Cats Cross Your Path story in the Mechwarrior 2nd about the pirates who were posing as the "Black Widows"
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

Colt Ward

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Re: Pirates, how?
« Reply #36 on: 19 October 2022, 09:12:22 »
Or take the fight out of someone.  Blackbeard's smoking beard tips caused that quite often; or like Henry Morgan could quickly find followers for an attack because he was successful in raiding.
Colt Ward
Clan Invasion Backer #149, Leviathans #104

"We come in peace, please ignore the bloodstains."

"Greetings, Mechwarrior. You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Daoshen and the Capellan Confederation Armed Forces.